Friday, May 31, 2013

Links of the Week

I decided I'm going to try a new series out on the blog, giving you a round-up of all the links I've been clicking this week!

Top Row: Ben Hole's instagram really makes me want to live on a farm - 50 things that will take you back to the 90's - You never knew you wanted to see the founding fathers as pin-up models until now - Disney releases the dates of all their new movies until 2018 (be still my beating heart!)

Bottom Row: Damsel in Dior's Jacey and her husband Grant share their gorgeous West Hollywood home - awesome photos from history rarely seen - a hilarious video from Matthew Clarke re-enacting an actual conversation with his toddler - did you know you can make bread using ice cream?! Dani from High Walls has shown me the light, and I may never go back

Let me know what you guys think of this new series and if you'd like to see it again! Now I'm off to countdown the hours to the weekend, only 7 to go!

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Amada - Philadelphia

A few weeks ago we got the chance to try another Philly Top 50 restaurant, one we've been wanting to try for a while. Amada comes in at number 21 on the list, according to Philly Mag, and it did not disappoint. Our reservations were for 5pm (because we're actually 80 years old), but we decided to go early to take advantage of the lovely weather, and explore the streets of Old City.

After playing tourist we took a seat at the bar and ordered their highly recommended white sangria. I'm not exaggerating when I say it was by far the best sangria I've ever had; just sweet enough with a bit of tartness form the apples, it was absolutely perfect*.

The menu was big (and a bit overwhelming), but every single thing looked delicious, and our awesome server was happy to navigate us through the items.

In the end we decided on splitting a bunch of different items and ordered Piquillos Rellenos (crab-stuffed peppers), Pulpo a la Gallega (Spanish octopus), Chorizo, Patatas Bravas (spicy potatoes), and Calamari. Everything was brought out separately, so as to avoid crowding the table. I loved that, we didn't know what was coming next, it was like a delicious surprise.

Now let me talk about the food, oh my goodness the food! We started with a tuna tartar that was brought out on the house. It was a yummy and light start to the meal, not too fishy or oily. I don't know if I would've ordered it otherwise, but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth! On to the main event. The surprising favorite for me was the Spanish octopus. I had expected it to be chewy and fishy, happily I was wrong! It was succulent, spicy, a little smoky and seriously delicious! The expected (but no less welcome) favorite was the chorizo. I am a huge fan of Mexican food, and have had my share of chorizo, but nothing I've ever had could compare to this. I have no words, just go, eat, and thank me later.

The spicy potatoes were also delicious, and a great way to break up all the meat we seemed to be eating, though in retrospect we probably should have chosen a fresher vegetable considering all the spicy dishes we ordered. The crab-stuffed peppers were also a hit, I just wish there were more! The only disappointment of the meal was the calamari. Normally I'm a huge fan of calamari, but this one just didn't click with us. I think it might have been the sauce (it kinda tasted like grass), so we politely shoved that plate to the side. Our server noted this and, being the wonderful person she is, actually took it off the bill for us! We protested, but she insisted; great example of the service is here.

The small portions of dinner meant that we had left plenty of room for dessert, and I highly recommend for anyone going to do the same. We couldn't agree on who won the dessert round; I think Chrissy did with the Tarta de Manzana (apple tart, sheep's cheese, and roasted apple sherbert) and she thinks I did with the Pastel de Chocolate (Pedro Ximenez caramel, and chocolate sorbet). What we did agree on was they were both AMAZING and the perfect end to a delicious meal.

I think what I most like about Amada is how everything is done as small plates, it makes it incredibly easy to get a tasting for everything and really customize your meal. Plus, it's a great way to do a fancy dinner without breaking the bank (and they participate in restaurant week!). I highly recommend Amada and will definitely be going again!

*I did a Google search to try and find a copy-cat recipe for the sangria and was shocked to find that the owner actually shares their exact recipe here. Score!!

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Photos From My Weekend 5.24-5.27

Okay, Monday, time for work. Oops, scratch that it's, Thursday? Shoot, what day is it actually??! 

This has been my internal monologue each morning for the past few days. I don't know what it is about a long weekend, but as soon as you throw in that extra day, I lose all sense of time! Not that I'm complaining, this weekend was a great one. I filled my three days with adventures, down time with family and friends, a little shopping, and lots of great food. Now, I'll hand it over to my phone pictures to do the talking...
A huge vintage haul, and the beginnings of some very exciting new developments!

My parent's back-yard farm. It's totally normal to have free range chickens in the suburbs, right? 

Hiking the trails of the Wissahickon Valley 

I hope you all had a lovely weekend as well and that you got to enjoy the beautiful weather with family and friends. The perk of the long weekend is that it's almost the weekend once more, and this one is shaping up to be quite awesome as well, but more on that later :)

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Morning Muffins

Saturday morning usually means eggs, home fries, and bacon (if we’re feeling frisky). Today, however, we didn't really make it past the bacon step. I realized that 4 strips of bacon each doesn't exactly make for a filling breakfast, so I decided to make some yummy muffins. I found this recipe for cinnamon toast muffins, but since we already had the bacon going, I figured why not do a bacon variation!
I tried to do substitutions in the recipe whenever I could to make it a bit healthier (I’m using that term loosely considering there is bacon involved here), so I didn't even end up using the refined sugar. The end result was fantastic! You’ll need:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup raw oats (throw in a blender or food processor to make a fine powder)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon (plus more for topping)
1/4 cup brown sugar (plus more for topping)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup bacon fat
2 eggs
1 cup milk
4 strips bacon chopped up (for topping)
First step is to preheat the oven to 375 F and start frying some bacon!
Next combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the milk, eggs, oil, and bacon fat. mix until just comined then add the maple syrup.
Line your muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill them 3/4 full. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar, then top each muffin with your bacon bits.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until an inserted knife comes out clean.
Have your friends marvel at your baking prowess (and ask them to help you eat the end result), and enjoy! These were seriously delicious, I had to contain myself from eating them as soon as the came out of the oven…and then I ate two as soon as they were cool, oops!
Happy Saturday everyone!

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Tiny Terra Ferma or How We're Getting Involved with our Community

It's been a year (and 12 days) since we moved into our house in Manayunk. In this time we've enjoyed the food, drinks, and shops in our little nook of Philadelphia, but when it comes to meeting new people, we haven't crossed that bridge yet. We've taken baby steps in the right direction; we signed up a volleyball team for the Manayunk Sport and Social League, but it's mostly just been sport and very little socializing with the other teams. It turns out meeting new people is hard in the real world (there's a lesson they don't teach you in school)! So, in an attempt to branch out, the other night we went to a fundraiser dinner hosted by the Manayunk Food Co-Op at a new local garden supply store Tiny Terra Ferma on Main St.

The event was held to raise money for the Manayunk Farmers Market that will have its first season this Summer! I'm such a sucker for farmers markets (and this one is going to be held RIGHT across the street from our new apartment, eek!), so when we found out about the event while stopping by the store one day, I knew this would be right up my alley.

And what a night it was! Local farmers cooked delicious food (wild mushroom pilaf and fresh mixed greens, yumm) and the Philly Cow Share had awesome burgers. There was hard cider from another local fruit farm (crisp and dry, and packing quite a punch!) and live music from a local band.

It was a great night, made even more enjoyable by the fact that we were able to meet some people who live in the area and have a passion for good food! Every conversation seemed to end with "I'll see you around the market!" (Is that where adults make friends?? Not a rhetorical question, people!) I'm very excited for the market to start this weekend, and I've been thinking about going to some of the co-op meetings as well to get a little more involved with the project. And, I mean, any place where the main topic of conversation is food, is the place for me :)

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