Saturday, January 28, 2012

Queenie's Treasury: The under-your-cocktail edition.

I have a (relatively) new coffee table these days, which of course has led me to the conclusion that I need loads of lovely coasters to protect my precious baby. All of this to say: today is coasters day on the Treasury.

First up, these lovely, uber-feminine floral numbers from the eternally awesome Rifle Paper Co. I can't get over the gorgeous colors or swoopy botanicals, and I think they will make it onto my 2012 hostess gift list, even if they don't end up winning a spot on my new table just yet.

Next up, some punchy, oh-so-New York coasters from one of my very favorite tastemakers, Kate Spade. I love the colors (robin's egg blue, bright orange, pink, grey) and the simple gold typography. And, obviously, I love New York. So there's that.

Finally, some summery, nautical coasters that make me (a devoted winter enthusiast) yearn for summer. They're perfect for putting under a gimlet, but might not be quite right for a Manhattan. What say you?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Going granola.

I've become a bit obsessed of late with a certain dish. There's no pork fat involved, not a brussels sprout in sight. No, this is an obsession of a different kind. I have become enamored of Peels' granola. It's a heady mix of oats and seeds, served up with dried fruit and the thickest, most delicious yogurt in existence.

Don't believe me? That's my giant spoon, standing straight up in the yogurt. It's so good that I had to go back twice when I was off from work between Christmas and New Year's.

Get thee to Peels. Get thee this granola. Repeat.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A high point, indeed.

On Friday night, my friend Anica and I shared a delicious meal at a brand-new restaurant. Mads Refslund, one of the co-founders of the pretty-much-universally adored (it's been called the best restaurant in the world) Noma in Copenhagen, has brought new Nordic cuisine to NoHo, and we had to be among the first to try it.

The space on Great Jones Street, formerly home to a Cajun joint, has been overhauled with atmospheric lighting (hence the not-so-great photos), a marble bar and Thonet chairs, but the name remains the same: Acme. And that bar isn't just for show - the cocktails we ordered (a Manhattan - of course - for me, and a green pepper and tequila concoction for Anica) were delicious. And then came the food.

The restaurant recommends ordering family-style and sharing everything that's brought to the table, but you could easily go solo, too. The portions are completely reasonable for one. For our starters, we chose the farmer's eggs and the ravioli. The eggs were a wonder, full of different textures and temperatures, from the slightly crunchy cauliflower to the creamy, slightly cooler foam on top. They were served on a bed of chicken wire and hay, which was a bit twee, but pretty adorable.

The ravioli were tasty, but not over-the-top exciting. Filled with pureed greens, topped with Brussels sprouts leaves and tossed in browned butter, they were perfect specimens of comfort food, and a nice departure from the usual squash-and-browned-butter preparation you see on every single menu across the city.

For our main course, we chose to share the pork chop. Now, a pork chop isn't generally the most exciting thing on the menu, but this was awesome. The meat itself was beautifully prepared - moist and flavorful. The arugula leaves offered a welcome bitter, fresh note, and the cranberries sprinkled around the plate offered that key Nordic element: sourness. Parsnips and pears rounded things out with their mild sweetness. Truly delicious.

We also ordered some sides, since we are two very hungry young ladies. The creamy potatoes definitely had some kind of cheese magic going on, and were topped with sweet, meaty bacon and crispy onion rings. I imagine our small serving had approximately three pounds of butter in it. (Okay, not really, but still.) They were awesome.

Our other side was remarkable - carrots roasted to the point of absolute creaminess and topped with paper-thin sheets of lardo. (Yes, that's right - cured pork fat.) The sauce on the plate was a slightly sour affair and was the perfect counterpoint to the richly roasted veggies.

Dessert didn't disappoint. The doughnuts were the more traditionally satisfying option, served piping hot alongside caramel and applesauce. We broke them in two and filled them with the sauces, savoring each wonderful bite.

The beer and butter porridge was really good, and really interesting. A sour piece of beer bread covered the bottom of the dish, topped by a slightly sweet milk porridge. In the center sat a seriously salty scoop of caramel ice cream. A bite with all the elements was oddly delicious and seriously satisfying.

We didn't have time for coffee - we were running to see this - but that just means I need to go back really soon, right?

9 Great Jones Street
Between Lafayette and Broadway

Saturday, January 21, 2012


It's snowing here in Manhattan today, and boy is it pretty.

Warm beverages I've known and loved (recently).

Hot chocolate (with melty marshmallow) at Peels.

Cappuccino at La Colombe on Lafayette.
La Colombe cappuccino, take two.

Cappuccino at my new neighborhood Joe.

Joe's adorable to-go cup.

Einspanner (double espresso with whipped cream) at Café Sabarsky.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Queenie's Treasury

Aaaaaand...we're back! After a bit of a hiatus for the holidays (when real-life shopping and partying took over for the imaginary sort), I'm ready to reboot the Treasury for 2012. And it's going to be a luxe, lavish, happy, colorful kind of year, kids.

First up, this golden flatware from West Elm. I love how the rich, shiny color is set off by the supremely clean lines of the design. I'm thinking that - when it's back in stock, as West Elm has promised it will be - I'll buy a set to mix in with my vintage sterling. I think the combination will be divine.

Next, a perfect cold-weather food project, for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing. My friend Lucy Vanel lives a pretty amazing life in Lyon, and you can read all about it on her exceptionally beautiful blog, Lucy's Kitchen Notebook. (You can also engage her for what promises to be an incredible food tour of the city.) Today she posted her latest project, duck wing confit. Duck wings are traditionally neglected for their meatier breast and leg counterparts, so Lucy was able to snag a whole bunch of them at three euros a pound. Add in a bit of time, a whole bunch of rendered duck fat and some herbs, and you have a winter's worth of tender goodness.

I always find Rita Konig's particular brand of casual polish enchanting. This shot of her living room inspired me to finally pull together a few stray corners of my own tiny apartment. The result has been an ongoing sense of harmony, comfort and oh-so-grown-up-ness. I could get used to this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A little kick.

Aside from sautéeing them with a serious amount of garlic, my favorite way to prepare shrimp is to roast them. They get all plump and juicy, and as long as you pay attention and don't overdo things, they come out perfectly ready to eat.

You can just toss them with some oil, salt and pepper and be done with it, but I love adding a bit of mustard and lemon juice to the mix.

Now, to make it worth your while, you have to use a good Dijon, and I don't mean Grey Poupon. Maille is my favorite, and it's available in pretty much every grocery store these days. It's only marginally more expensive than the pardon-me-do-you-have-it variety (in some stores, no more expensive at all), and it packs way more mustard flavor. (It's also better as an emulsifier in sauces and dressings, which is mustard's other big role in classic cooking.)

The mustard adds kick and the lemon adds freshness, and together you have one pretty perfect package. The best part? These babies will be ready in under 15 minutes total, so you can throw them on top of your favorite salad and get to eating in no time flat. (I particularly enjoy them alongside my tomato, avocado and onion salad, or atop my lentils with bacon.)

Mustard Roasted Shrimp

1/2 pound large or jumbo shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
1 tsp. canola or grapeseed oil, divided
1 tsp. good Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tsp. lemon juice

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss together the shrimp, 1/2 tsp. of the oil, the mustard, the salt and the pepper, until the shrimp are well and evenly coated. Using a pastry brush, brush the rest of the oil all over the bottom of a small roasting pan or oven-proof skillet.

Arrange the shrimp in the prepared pan, laying them in a single layer. Once the oven has come to temperature, place the shrimp in the oven and roast for 10-12 minutes, until the shrimp have turned completely opaque and are just firm to the touch.

Remove the shrimp from the oven and toss with the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

Serves two as part of a meal.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Going solo.

After my trip to Sonoma, I worked from San Francisco for a few days. I had one day where I worked from the office, but without my friend YaeRi. Left to my own devices, I decided I'd give Super Duper's veggie burger a whirl. I got it with everything, plus avocado, and it was wonderful.

Equally delightful - if a bit overwhelming - were the garlic fries, tossed with parsley and a bit of parmesan cheese. Make sure to get the dipping sauces, too. Split these, though, if you're not on a solo expedition like I was - you don't want to be the only one with the garlic fries breath, you know?

Super Duper
721 Market Street (Between 3rd and 4th)
San Francisco

Monday, January 9, 2012

Run with a view.

Over the course of our weekend in Sonoma, I went on three morning runs.

They were chilly, but beautiful.

I mean, running in Central Park has its charms, but even the views downtown from the north side of the reservoir have some stiff competition when it comes to these.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Family style.

Way back when at the beginning of December, I flew out to San Francisco for the very best reason of all - to celebrate a friend. My friend Jason turned 30 recently, and 13 of us gathered in Sonoma to fête him with the proper pomp and circumstance. On our last day, we headed over the hills to Yountville for a visit to one of Jason's very favorite places, Thomas Keller's family-style restaurant: Ad Hoc.

The deal with Ad Hoc is that you show up (you can, and probably should, make a reservation) and eat whatever's on the menu for the day. You can sign up for menu updates on the website, but I kind of like the idea of being surprised. We went for Sunday brunch and completely hit the jackpot: chicken and waffles. Before the true debauchery started, though, we had a delightful citrus salad, with crème fraiche and frisée and candied nuts. It was amazing - the different kinds of citrus (pink and ruby grapefruit, blood oranges) were luscious and juicy, and the nuts added richness while the crème fraiche added body.

And then came the main event: fried chicken with sourdough waffles. Two dishes like this one were brought to the table, and the six of us killed them both. How could we not? It was the best fried chicken I've ever had. (Keep in mind, that's coming from a Yankee, so...) I could tell the meat had been brined, but only in the good way (not in the overly-salty, too-watery way), and the crust was crisp, flavorful, and adhered. Adhering is key, you know, because you want some in every bite. Skin that comes away in one piece with the first bite is no good to me.

The waffles were delicious, too - crisp on the outside, tender on the inside (not unlike the chicken, come to think of it), and speckled with bits of rosemary. Doused with cream gravy and maple syrup, the plates of chicken and waffle were good. So satisfying. So wonderful.

I could only eat three bites of dessert, but not for lack of delicious. It was a spiced chocolate pot de crème with Chantilly cream, with snickerdoodle shortbread served alongside. The cookie and chocolate went marvelously together, and that's coming from a woman who rarely likes anything other than marshmallow, caramel, salt or nuts coming anywhere near her chocolate.

After lunch, we went for a little stroll around Yountville, starting in the garden behind the restaurant. As a born and bred Northeasterner, I don't know that I'll ever get over the magic of citrus trees in full bloom. Or perfect fried chicken.

Ladies who lunch.

When Louisa visited New York ahead of Thanksgiving, we spent a whole day together doing a whole lot of nothing. Or, more specifically, got ridiculously long massages and then had a ridiculously long lunch at Balthazar, one of New York's best approximations of a Parisian brasserie.

Oysters and Champagne were both enjoyed, as was a fair bit of salty conversation. I do love visiting Austin, but sometimes I wish I could have lunch with Louisa every week.
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