Category Archives: United States

Afternoon Tea at the Windsor Court Hotel, New Orleans

What do you do after running a half marathon? Gorge yourself on carbs, of course.  Or at least that is what I did in New Orleans after running the Rock N Roll half marathon in February.  We made reservations for tea at the Windsor Court Hotel after the race, and enjoyed a proper afternoon tea.  I will say I was frightened by the appearance of the hotel from the outside – it looks like a cement monstrosity and it is not in a very charming neighborhood, but as soon as I was in the lobby I was assuaged by the lovely decor and the live harpist.  We also had excellent service and the seating was very comfortable.  Feast your eyes below:


Sandwich Plate

Dessert Plate

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Bloody Mary Basics

Bloody Marys are quintessential for daytime drinking.  Whether you are imbibing them to get the fun going, or for a hangover cure, (or both), you can always feel good about the nutrient boost from the vegetables.  Plus, the garnishes make for a lovely healthy snack.  I like mine extra spicy, so I make sure to get a few extra shakes of hot sauce and perhaps garnish with a pickled jalapeno.  I am by no means a “mixologist,” but I have made my fair share of bloodies and think they taste pretty darn good. 

The basic building blocks of a good bloody are:  1) quality vodka (I prefer Kettle One, Belvedere, or Stoli), 2) tomato juice (like V8), 3) Worcestershire, 4) hot sauce (like Tabasco), 5) horseradish, 6) black pepper, and 7) garnishes (typically just celery, but this element you can go crazy with – like anything pickled, bacon, olives, etc.).  The ratios are really up to your personal preferences.  I put about two ounces of vodka in each glass (big glasses), then fill three quarters of the way with tomato juice, and stir in a big spoonful of horseradish and shake each of the Worcestershire and Tabasco at least four or five times into the glass.  Then I crack some fresh black pepper over the top, stir with celery, and perhaps add ice.    Taste and adjust to perfection.



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Brunch at Commander’s Palace

Commander’s Palace is a New Orleans’s institution.  (  Located in the Garden District, this historic restaurant has been serving rich, mouthwatering New Orleans cuisine since 1880.  From the service and decor to the cocktails and of course the food itself, everything is uniquely and exquisitely high class New Orleans (meaning charming and decadent).  Better to see for yourself:

Bisque with plenty of French bread

Beautiful Benedict

Shrimp and Grits a la Commander’s Palace (Fancy)

Dessert (as if the meal wasn’t rich enough)

After this scrumptious brunch my friend and I attempted to walk off a few bites by gawking at all the historic mansions in the Garden District.  We also gossiped about the fact that we saw Joan Rivers at Commander’s Palace and she looked just like she does on TV in person (sorry, no photo).  Anyway, Commander’s Palace is a must if you happen to find yourself in the Big Easy.  Your taste buds, if not your waist-line, will thank you.

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How do I eat for a week without buying groceries?  Improvise! That’s a fancy way of saying scrape the bottom of the barrel of whatever I have in the kitchen. My best improvisation by far was a take on the Post Punk Kitchen’s vegan brown sugar muffins at  I, however, not having half the ingredients, IMPROVISED and used regular whole wheat flour instead of spelt, extra oil instead of applesauce, and omitted the peaches altogether.  They turned out surprisingly well (and made my kitchen smell gingery and sugary and delicious):

I call them my vegan brown sugar improv muffins.  And I ate the whole batch in three days…. oopsies 🙂

The next improvised meal was just brown rice, peas, and a fried egg covered in siracha.  The last egg in my fridge – it went to good use.  I call it my improv-siracha-don:

The last MAJOR IMPROVISATION happened while camping over Labor Day.  What do you do when you are in the middle of the woods with five pounds of ground buffalo, a camping stove, and zero/zip/nil cooking utensils?  Improvise! This extreme improvisation consisted of cooking buffalo burgers with a machete.  Yes, a machete.  Pretty bad-ass, right?  And it turned out to be delish~ we topped them with spicy mustard, bleu cheese, baby arugula, and red onion.  YUM

So cheers to winging it – it usually turns out pretty yummy in the end.

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Amazing Chocolate Buttercream Caramel Hazelnut Cake!

Super Sweet! (Literally)

This was the cake to end all cakes!! A family friend and pastry chef made this bad-boy for my graduation party from law school. The intense chocolate buttercream frosting paired with the crushed hazelnuts on the outside made it taste like Ferrer Rocher truffles. And can you believe how beautiful it is!? Such a sweet sweet celebratory treat!!

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Birthday Afternoon Tea at the Brown Palace

How did I spend my birthday? Doing my favorite thing in the world – partaking in the hallowed tradition of afternoon tea at one of the nicest and most traditional hotels in Denver, the Brown Palace. The afternoon tea at the Brown Palace is exactly what you would expect from a good hotel: live piano music, beautiful lobby, three-tiered platter with scones, coddled cream, jam, finger sandwiches, and divine chocolates and pastries. Drooling yet? Here’s the picture:

Brown Palace Afternoon Tea Platter

Yes, that is a glass of champagne. Naturally I opted for the “royal” tea. Cheers.

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Back in the Kitchen!!

After being abroad for seven months I am finally back in my beautiful Boulder kitchen, equipped with all the gadgets necessary to get my bake on.  So what was my first dinner back? Feeling inspired by this glorious fall weather, I made “Roasted Chicken and Vegetables” from Great Food Fast (a Martha Stewart Living cookbook).  I really enjoyed buying all the vegetables for the dish at the Farmer’s Market.  Here is the recipe:

1 acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced (the thinner, the softer)

1 lb cremini mushrooms, halved

1 lg red onion, sliced

8 cloves of garlic (I used a garlic press, worked really well)

1 tbs olive oil (I used way more)

salt and pepper

4 bone-in chicken breast halves

1 tbs dry crushed rosemary

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix all the veggies with oil, salt, and pepper into a roasting pan and toss.  Roast for 15-20 mins.  Meanwhile, rub the chicken with rosemary, salt, and pepper under the skin.  Put the chicken on top of the veggies and roast for another 35-40 mins.

My chicken didn’t brown like the picture in the cookbook, but it did stay delightfully moist.


For dessert (of course there was a dessert) I made these delicious moist and uber chocolaty/fudgy flourless brownies from The Essential Best Foods Cookbook.  They were actually pretty healthy, which is surprising because they were REALLY good, and even more surprising is the fact that one of the ingredients was black beans! Couldn’t tell at all, which I think is a good thing.

Here is the recipe for the “Black Bean Brownies”:

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained (I accidentally only used 1/4 cup and it worked out just fine)

3/4 cup unsalted butter

3 oz unsweetened chocolate

3 lg eggs

1 cup sugar

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla

(the recipe called for walnuts, but I omitted them)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coast a muffin tin with cooking spray.  Puree beans.  Melt butter and chocolate (I used the microwave).  In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and salt until glossy.  Beat in the chocolate mixture, then the bean puree and vanilla.  Fill the muffin tin (recipe said to the brim, but I wish I had left more room in each cup.  I only filled 10 cups and the tops spread out a little too much and sunk in the middle.)  Bake for 20 mins.  Cool completely (very important step, I tore apart a few brownies due to my impatience).  Refrigerate overnight and served chilled.


Interesting Ingredients

Yummmm batter

They tasted better than they looked



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