Sisters in Paris, a trip itinerary

26.5.11

My apologies for neglecting this feature, but I am hoping to revive it and make it a regular feature over the next year as my family and I are planning our trip to Paris. If this is the first you have read please follow this link for the first post.

My first order of business is learning the language. I don't want to be one of those stereotypical Americans that goes over to Paris assuming everyone speaks English. Although the majority of Parisians speak English, I think it's only polite to learn and attempt to speak the native tongue, and from what I've heard it will get me a lot further. So if anyone has any recommendations for a good audio tutorial it would be much appreciated. I commute about an hour to and from work, which is an ample opportunity to learn the language while killing time in the car. Hopefully, my employers will humor me as well as I practice my Francais with them.

Photo courtesy of Paris in Pink
Paris in Pink is a beautiful and inspiring blog by a French-American Parisienne and she is hosting an awesome giveaway for this book by David Downie, "Paris, Paris." It sounds like an enchanting and real book about Paris and I can't wait to get my hands on it. I hope I win the giveaway, but either way will be picking it up soon and then passing it on to my sister when I'm done.

Photo courtesy of Travel with Terry.
There is something so romantic about a leisurely stroll through Paris with a pastry in one hand. I really hope to relish in the simple pleasures like just walking around the city, it's gardens and museums. I am completely drawn to the Palais Royal and it's many gardens, but especially these chestnut trees. The symmetry and light are a beautiful pair.

Photo courtesy of Julien Hausherr for Hip Paris Blog
Paris is filled with hundreds of eateries from haute gourmet to small charming bistros. It's these sweet Mom and Pop bistros that are calling me. Le Chapeau Melon is a place where I feel my aunt, mom, sister and I can enjoy a nice traditional Parisian prix fixe meal and a simple, delicious bottle of Bourgogne.

Photo courtesy of Hip Paris Blog.
My return to the States will be met with comments like this: "Oh, Kate is that a Dior knock off you're wearing?" with charmingly, smug replies like this: "No, it's the real thing." [wink] 

It will be easy and affordable to pull off after visiting Thanx God I'm a V.I.P. A vintage designer clothing store in Paris that won't break the bank. I've already scoured their goods on their website with designers from Dior to Lanvin and Yves Saint Laurent. My sister and I will be in heaven, and I hear they throw awesome dance parties throughout Paris. C'est bon.

Photo courtesy of Repetto
As an ex ballet dancer I cannot begin to tell you the importance of good ballet shoes. My aunt will concur with me on this point, which is why she and I will enjoy visiting Repetto, one of the world's best and leading manufacturers of ballet shoes. Since I am not a dancer anymore I can still support and appreciate their craftsmanship by sporting ballet flats, quintessentially Parisian Chic. I want one in every color.


That's all for my trip dreaming for today, but as always I encourage and welcome any suggestions and tips you have for our trip, they are very much appreciated by my family and I. :-)

Some faves this Week:

22.5.11

Photo courtesy of Shutterbean

Dying to try this gluten-free coconut waffles recipe seen on Shutterbean and courtesy of Joy the Baker.


A new favorite with gluten-free options, Suzette Creperie. Treated myself to a lavender lemonade mimosa and gluten-free buckwheat prosciutto and caramelized onion crepe.

Photo couresty of Spiral Cellars

I am envious of these trap door spiral wine cellars as seen on The Kitchn.

Photo courtesy of Plaid Pigeon

Love these whimsical planters on etsy shop, Plaid Pigeon. My brother and I used to have a set of these dinosaur toys.


Listened to this interview on NPR with Annie Jacobsen on her new book, Area 51, this week and can't wait to get my hands on it and dive in.

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Fuss

I am head over heels with this flower arrangement recipe on Frolic this week because it has Lilly of the Valley in it. I love Lilly of the Valley it is so delicate and fragrant smelling.



Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

I am digging the new Destroyer album, Kaputt. It's unlike any of his other albums and has this weird electronic, jazz sound to it. I highly recommend it.


Have a good week!
xoxo,
Kate

Begstrom Dinner at Noble Rot

20.5.11

Earlier this week, my work took all of our sales team out to dinner at Noble Rot, in Portland, to celebrate our Quarter 1 sales. It was amazing dinner with beautiful wines to boot! Our winemaker, Josh Bergstrom, and his wife, Caroline, are always so gracious to share with us spectacular wines from their personal cellar. 


Noble Rot has amazing views of the city and is a nice relaxed vibe for a nice dinner or casual drink. They have an awesome wine list and a couple of fun wine flights.


Take note of the beautiful views in the background. That is Noble Rot's glass atrium and you can sit in there!


Some beautiful red and white Burgundy compliments of Josh Bergstrom! Unfortunately, I did not get bottle shots of the other wines that we had, but we had vintage grower Champagne, Bordeaux, and two Barolos. Both Borolos were very good, however one was a real treat!


Noble Rot's house made ricotta and tomato chutney was a real hit at the table. It is meant to be spread on baguette, but I however, am still on the gluten free diet. :-(  I will say it was just as delicious!


Some delicious looking onion rings I couldn't have. :-(


Most of the appetizers I wasn't able to eat because of the presence of gluten, so I ordered this grilled leg of pork with mango and radish salsa and mixed greens. It was quite yummy!


I had the duck breast with rhubarb syrup, quinoa and snap peas. It was delicious and it kind of reminded me of a traditional Chinese dish! 
(Sorry about the quality, but entrees were much later in the evening and there was no light.)


For dessert, I had the flourless chocolate cake and chocolate mousse accompanied by a glass of Sauternes. 

Dinner was a real treat and it was nice to visit with some of my colleagues over dinner, outside of work. Thank you so much Bergstrom family for an unbelievable treat and Noble Rot for hosting our dinner!

Outfit Post

19.5.11

This post is a little late (these photos were taken last week), but better late than never, right? Last week after work I asked my friend Vanessa to take some outfit photos of me. It's a pretty casual outfit, but I love wearing classic elements, like the straw fedora, and striped oxford shirts are my favorite. I might have entirely too many blue striped shirts, but I feel like you can never really go wrong with a classic.


 I've always wanted to get some good up close shots of this barn and now I have great excuse with my new camera. It was a beautiful day and Vanessa, my friend from work, so graciously offered to take my outfit post shots after work. She did a fantastic job. Thanks Vanessa!


I'm not a very photogenic person, but I though Vanessa got some great candid shots of me.



This necklace is one of my favorite keepsakes. It's scrimshaw that my parents bought on their honeymoon and my mom passed it on to me. I have three pieces: two sail boats and a large tomahawk pendant, which I've been meaning to string on a necklace.

Shirt: Cailey 22, Jeans: Brooklyn Industries, Hat: Mad Hatter, Shoes: Me Too, Belt: Gap, 
Shades in the Background: Ralph Lauren

Photos by Vanessa Micale

Thanks New Cascadia for the Gluten-Free Goods!

15.5.11

I can't help but rave about New Cascadia Bakery. They are a gluten-free bakery located in Southeast Portland, but also distribute to our local grocery store, New Seasons. Since embarking on this diet it has had it's ups and downs, one of the many downs has been poor quality bread and pastries. I've tried a couple of recommended brands and while their product wasn't offensive, they also weren't necessarily good. However, a wine colleague recently told me about New Cascadia because his daughter has Celiac Disease and she loves this bakery. It is hard for me to justify going to SE just for a pastry, but luckily they sell their goods to my local grocery store.

While their bread is a little dense, it is the best tasting of all the gluten-free breads I've tried. The real treat, though, is in their pastries. They have the most amazing cupcakes. Today I treated myself to their orange cupcake with vanilla frosting. The frosting had a nice orange zesty-ness to it.


I am thinking that I need to get my lazy butt over to Southeast tomorrow and try one of their sticky buns or many other mouthwatering pastries.


This little guy didn't last much longer after this photo was taken.

Some faves this Week:

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

This article in NY Times Dining & Wine is perfect for those artichoke lovers like myself. Embrace the flavor of the artichoke over quantity!

Photo courtesy of A Cup of Mai

Wishing it was summer so I could indulge in this mouthwatering Strawberry Mojito recipe seen on A Cup of Mai.

Photo courtesy of Gray Works Designs

These cutting boards on Etsy by Gray Works Designs are beautiful and versatile. Functional as a prep board and serving board and keep it displayed on your kitchen counter. I want!

Photo Courtesy of Xtabay

Love this tea dress at Xtabay. If you live in Portland or are ever visiting, stop by this cute vintage clothing shop in SE. Hands down my favorite vintage clothing store in Portland!

Photo Courtesy of Cassmccombs.com

I'm so bummed that I missed the Cass McCombs show in Portland on the ninth. His new album, 
Wit's End, is beautiful: dark, poetic and ethereal. Reminds me of Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake.

...and finally, love this new Cave Singers music video. It's full of childhood adventure and imagination!

I hope you all had a good weekend, mine has just begun!

Best blog reader: Bloglovin'


I love Bloglovin'! I've been using Google Reader, but love Bloglovin' so much more. The aesthetics are much nicer. Some of my favorite blogs are on Bloglovin' and the exposure is much better than Google Reader or Blogger so I thought I'd give it a go with Fork and Vine.

Check it out, and:

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Chipotle Sauce

11.5.11

If you've read any of my previous recipe posts then it will not be new to you that I love the book
 Power Foods by Whole Living. I've been eyeing this recipe for a while and finally decided to try it. Well, the verdict should not come as a surprise, I loved it! This recipe is so flavorful, healthy and not all that complicated to make.

Will and I enjoyed this with some chips, salsa and guacamole while finishing up watching the King's Speech. By the way, have you seen it? Amazingly done. The cinematography, design and acting were stunning. I was quite impressed. We probably should have been watching the Three Amigos with what I prepared. I made myself a satisfying mojito and wished for more sunny weather.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Chipotle Sauce serves 4
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart, Whole Living

Ingredients
  • 4 large poblano peppers
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile in adobo
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup quinoa
  • 8 ounces small mushrooms, such as white button or cremini, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black soy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, rub peppers with 2 teaspoons oil. Roast until slightly blackened and softened, 15 to 20 minutes, turning once. When cool enough to handle, remove skins. Make a small slit in each pepper and carefully remove seeds, keeping stem end intact.

In a blender, combine chipotle, garlic, and 3/4 cup water; season with salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Add cilantro and pulse once to combine.

In a small saucepan, bring 2/3 cup water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes; fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes; add corn and beans and cook until heated, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese and quinoa.

Pour sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Stuff peppers with filling and arrange in dish; dot with 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Spoon sauce in a small pool on plates and place stuffed pepper on top. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

A perfect end to a beautiful day

10.5.11

It was a nice and sunny afternoon in Portland for a change. I raced home to try to enjoy the last little bit of sunlight. I made myself this tasty snack to enjoy outside:

2010 Ponzi Rose (quite lovely, nice and dry), New Cascade gluten fee whole grain, rice crackers, mortadella, sopressata, gruyere, roasted tomatoes and kalmata olives.


I enjoyed my glass of Rose in the last bit of sun.


and horsed around with my new camera and the dandelions.


our lawn is really more weeds than grass.
 :-(

It was a lovely evening, and a perfect end to a mellow day.

My Best Friend



I love this man to the moon and back. He is my voice of reason, my biggest fan, my shoulder to cry on, my belly laughter, my smile on a dreary Portland day, my best friend. This week marks our four year anniversary together and I am so blessed to have this special person in my life.

Will: I love you and look forward to many more years together.

Blog Love E-Course


I recently took the Blog Love E-Course and am really excited to utilize some of the many tools to my blog. I have read lots of articles on successful blogging, but found that many of the articles mainly dealt with social media and monetizing. However, the Blog Love E-Course covered all the bases in what makes a blog successful from photos, content, time management, and most importantly: purpose. I feel that I, now, have a better idea of how to focus the content of my blog. Elsie, of Red Velvet, teaches the course in a very conversational way. I felt like I was chatting with her and was completely engaged and inspired by her advice and personal experience. Whether you are new to blogging or a seasoned vet, I recommend the e-course for fine tuning your blog.

Spring Vegetable and Wild Mushroom Frittata

9.5.11

After Saturday night's rich dinner and libations I was not quite feeling myself on Sunday. It was a pretty lazy day for me, but I did squeeze some time in to go grocery shopping at New Seasons to spend my 20% off gift certificate. Last week, I took an hour and a half gluten free tour of our local grocery store and the nutritionist who lead my tour gave me a 20% off gift certificate to apply to a whole order. Needless to say I went a little crazy at the store yesterday.


It is currently my favorite season for produce. I love all the wonderful spring vegetables that are currently at the market. I picked up some amazing looking artichokes to make later this week, spring onions and asparagus.
Since I wasn't feeling up to par I decided to make a light healthy frittata for supper packed full of all the yummy goodies I found at the store, including some delicious local trumpet mushrooms. Our local market has a great olive bar so I picked up some roasted tomatoes to perk up my frittata. If making this recipe feel free to omit or substitute with something that strikes your fancy; roasted red peppers would be equally delicious!

Serve with some lovely simple salad greens (I used peppery arugula) and a lemony vinaigrette and your set for either brunch or a light supper.

Spring Vegetable and Wild Mushroom Frittata serves 4


Ingredients
8 ounces wild mushrooms, chopped or sliced thin (I used trumpet mushrooms)
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 spring onion, sliced with green parts removed for later
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup roasted tomatoes, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup gruyere, shredded
1/4 cup pecorino, shredded
7 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper




Heat butter and olive oil over medium in a large ovenproof skillet. Add yellow onion, purple part of spring onion and garlic to pan and saute until fragrant. Add mushrooms and asparagus to pan and cook until mushrooms are soft and asparagus tender, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler and fold gruyere, roasted tomatoes, spring onion green parts, salt and pepper into egg mixture. Pour mixture into pan, evenly distributing throughout pan. Cook until almost set, top will still be runny, about 5 minutes. (While the frittata is cooking you will occasionally need to lift the sides with a spatula to allow more egg to run to the bottom.)

Once the frittata is almost set, sprinkle top with pecorino and place in oven under broiler. Cook until cheese is golden and egg is set, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and slice into wedges and serve with salad greens.

Anniversary dinner at Paley's Place

8.5.11

Last night Will and I celebrated our four year anniversary, which is actually on Tuesday. We had a lovely dinner at Paley's Place which is my all time favorite restaurant in Portland. We have been hanging on to a gift certificate for Paley's for nearly a year and felt it was about time to use. We were a little early for our reservation so we popped into Wildwood's bar (a restaurant across the street), which is where I worked when I first moved to Portland. We sat at the bar for a cocktail. Will had a bourbon cocktail with rhubarb syrup and muddled basil served up. I was so jealous since I can't have bourbon on my gluten free diet. My cocktail was a local saffron infused vodka with muddled cilantro, cointreau, lime juice and soda water on the rocks.
We then headed over to Paley's for dinner. After sitting down we were pleasantly surprised by our server with an amuse bouche to open our palates for the meal. Will and I both were talking about oysters before we even sat down, so we ordered oysters on the half shell and split a half bottle of 2008 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre. The Sancerre was a perfect pairing with our oysters and mid course of mixed greens and lemony vinaigrette. I really have a weakness for Sancerre.

Will had a New York strip steak with roasted fingerling potatoes and parsnip puree while I had seared Diver scallops on roasted tomatoes with an herb pesto on top. The roasted tomato concoction was so flavorful, it kind of reminded me of ratatouille. They were lovely and the scallops were huge! With our entrees, Will had a glass of Cote du Rhone and I had a glass of Broadley Vineyard (one of my favorite vineyards in the Willamette Valley).

Our favorite part of the meal was dessert. We had a trifle of banana custard, chocolate mousse, caramelized bananas and brittle. It was heavenly! Will had the Smith Woodhouse 10 year old tawny port while I had a glass of the 2007 Venturi Schulze, Brandenburg No. 3 followed by coffee.

It was my first outing with my new camera and although lighting was pretty bad I was pleasantly surprised with how well some of the shots came out, and yes I was the nerd at the restaurant taking photos of everything that showed up on our table.

We had a lovely evening and I feel so blessed to share something I truly enjoy with my best friend!

Say hello to your mother for me

Me and my favorite moms, Grandma and Momma

Even though we are miles apart, you are always in my thoughts. I miss my two special ladies so much. I miss having special mom-daughter dates with my mom and having dinner at our favorite spot, The Horseshoe Bar & Grill (now, not what it once was). I miss the summers I used to spend with my grandma: going to movies and swimming at Helen's. (another great mama!)

These ladies have taught me so much. My grandmother has taught me what it truly means to have strength, courage and determination and my mom has taught me to embrace my passion and use that to grow as an individual.

I love you ladies so much and want you to know that I celebrate your motherhood everyday, but just sending you a little extra love today.


Happy Mother's Day Sharon, Audrey, Kate and Joan and to all the mamas out there!