Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Dogwood: A Review

I will warn you that there are NO pictures from my visit to The Dogwood restaurant in Hampden.  However, if there were photos, you would see mostly senior citizens in the background.

Jeremy and I realized that we have the same eating schedules as most grandparents.  We’re hungry early and we want to eat, dammit. 

So for our 3-year anniversary, we wanted to try something new.  Since we’re both vegetarians now (I can’t express how thrilled I am that Jeremy converted) – we wanted to go somewhere that offered more than 1 vegetarian entree… because sharing your meal is a part of the fun.  Hello?

The Dogwood was also appealing to me because of their “mission” (taken directly from their website):

Food

With a respect for classical technique and a love of straightforward food, The Dogwood lets the ingredients sing with its Sustainable American Cuisine.

We cook with the seasons and feature the finest local and natural ingredients, sourcing from sustainable, artisanal, and organic producers whenever possible.

The Dogwood is community gourmet. We develop relationships and opportunity by preparing, learning about, and sharing outstanding food and wine (and our knowledge about them).

I also learned, after the fact, their “social mission” is to “transform lives one plate at a time by providing training opportunity and paid employment to individuals who are transitioning from addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and/or underemployment.”  Someone said the idea of that might have freaked them out – but I didn’t even realize.  Every staff member that approached our table was fabulous and friendly.

So what did we eat?

Appetizers:

  • Grilled Olive Tapenade & Hummus – flatbread and crudites $5.25
  • Trio of Tuscarora Organic Beets – red beet ‘tartare’, herb creme fraiche, cider pickled golden beets, Chiogga candy striped beets, frisee lettuce and Rogue’s Smokey Blue cheese crostini  $11

It was all very good.  Jeremy was starving because he apparently skipped lunch so he devoured everything.  I had a few bits as well.  They also brought out Irish Soda Bread.  I’d never had that before either and it was awesome.

Entrees:

  • Forbidden Rice ’Risotto’ with Roasted Squash Curry  – zucchini and yellow squash, organic black rice, mild curried coconut sauce with Vann’s spices, currants, toasted almonds and today’s vegetable $18
  • Spring Pea Risoto & Tuscarora Oyster Mushrooms
    garlic sauteed mushrooms, parmigiano reggianito, fresh spring peas, organic pea shoots $18

I ate the “forbidden” rice risotto and it was frickin’ awesome.  I believe it was vegan as well.  Fresh vegetables, delicious and light… oh, so good.

Jeremy also really enjoyed his Spring Pea dish.  I liked it but it was A LOT of cheese.  As a person who doesn’t eat a lot of cheese, I appreciate it in small doses.  Don’t get me wrong – it was still marvelous.

I also ordered a glass of wine.  They had a special going on for 20% off bottles of Pinot Noir and normally I would have jumped all over it but we had a bottle of wine to drink at home (that super special bottle).  So… I just got a glass.  I picked this wine from their menu because it was under the section “Different (Which We Love)”:

Steele Vineyards Shooting Star 2008 Blue Franc (Lemberger, Blaufrankisch) (Yakima Valley, Washington State) 8/31

It was fruity.  And good. 

However, they had a few drinks on their drink menu that caught my eye (and are enticing enough for me to want to go back JUST to try these drinks):

  • The Dogwood, Springtime
    our signature cocktail: citrus-infused Prairie vodka, couintreau, splash of Campari, agave nectar, pomegranate juice and a splash of fresh lemon juice, topped with Prosecco, garnished with a cucumber round and a lemon twist, served over ice, sangria-style in a wine glass, 10
  • Death in the Afternoon
    the perfect amuse bouche: sparkling Cava with 21st century absinthe, in honor of Ernest Hemingway and the Pamplona running of the bulls he made famous. (Viva la celebracion!), 9
  • The Phoenix
    prosecco, splash of vodka, splash of St-Germaine Ederflower liqueur, garnished with a sprig of organic thyme (To second chances and to rising from the ashes), 9

Overall – I would highly recommend this place to anyone.  And if you go for dinner around 6:30pm (like we did) – you’ll be dining amongst senior citizens.  And I’m cool with that.

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Some highlights from my anniversary

One good thing came out of the Snowstorm of the Century that hit Baltimore in February.  It cancelled Jeremy’s class last night so we COULD go to dinner!  Although one consequence is that he has a final exam on SATURDAY NIGHT.  Ew.

I came home from work to this:

Photo of my anniversary flowers

Flowers, sour patch candy and toblerone. Perfect.

And I loved his card:

A photo of my anniversary card (front)

I'm a sucker for a picture of dogs.

 

A photo of my anniversary card (inside)

This is funny because it is SO true... and it happens both ways.

Anywho – as much crap as I give my husband about not being very romantic (not that I ooze romantic myself), I have to give him credit on being creative and thoughtful.

For our first anniversary, he instituted a tradition.  The tradition goes as follows:

  • bake a specific cake.  Jeremy invented his OWN cake recipe.  Granted it is comprised of pieces from different cake recipes but still.  If I tried to invent my own cake recipe, it would taste like poop.  This cake tastes like magic.  It’s a cake with chocolate chips, a raspberry filling and a magical chocolate and fluffy buttercream frosting.
  • drink a bottle of wine.  This is not just any wine.  Jeremy, one our one year anniversary, picked up a case of a pinot noir.  So every year, we drink a bottle of the same type of wine (all purchased in 2008) and take note of how the wine has changed each year.
  • Write in journal.  This journal was intended to write about how the wine has changed but I thought it was boring.  So on top of the wine notes, we write down what we did to celebrate our anniversary and then highlights from the year.  It sounds corny but it was kind of cool to read how we celebrated last year (apparently the weekend was filled with a friend’s wedding and taking Petie to the vet).

Well, we did all of those things and we also dined at The Dogwood.  Last year we went to Ixia and LOVED it.  We had even deemed it our anniversary restaurant but sadly it closed down.  Apparently we should have deemed it our “let’s go all the time” restaurant to help it stay afloat.

For gifts we opted to register for a Motorcycle Basic Rider Safety course.  That’s right – we’re learning how to ride motorcycles (and potentially get licensed).  Unfortunately these courses are crazy popular so we won’t be attending until August.  And if you follow the traditional wedding gifts by year – year 3 is leather.  I guess motorcycles are kind of related to leather, right?

I’ll blog about The Dogwood tomorrow.  It was awesome.

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3 Years

3 Years ago today, I married a man that…

  • Makes me laugh nearly every day
  • Takes care of the crap I don’t want to take care of… like finances and vacation booking
  • Converted to a vegetarian diet because I was such a nut about animal welfare
  • Puts up with my crazy
  • Is able to cook ridiculously delicious meals
  • Supports me in all of my decisions including (but not limited to):
    • Triathlon – getting up at the butt crack of dawn and hanging around ALL day to snap pictures and cheer me on
    • Marathon – cooking pancakes for me after my long training runs, calming me when I cried through my injury and running all over Philly to make sure he caught up with me on the course
  • Is good at everything he does – like running a half marathon without any training and still running it faster than I could ever hope to run it
  • Still loves me even when I vomit all over his car and on our bedroom floor after a night of binge drinking

Okay – the list could go ON and ON and ON… but these were the highlights from the last year.

While sometimes I feel like time is flying by – I’m feeling more and more like “we’ve only been married for 3 years?”  And I don’t mean that in a negative way – I mean that in the “I feel like I’ve been with you my entire life” love kind of way.

Happy anniversary!

A photo from my wedding

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Building Up My Wardrobe

Now that I’m trying to refocus my professional attire (aka “Corporate Kim”) — I’m need a plan.  While I’d love to go on an all out shopping spree – I’m pretty sure Jeremy would have a heart attack.

Obviously I thought of Tim Gunn (my imaginary best friend).

A photo of Tim Gunn

I own his book, Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style (Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style) and while I recall it being a light, interesting read – I didn’t really want to thumb through the book again.

Then I remembered his short lived Bravo show Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style.  In his show – he talked about the 10 essential wardrobe items every woman should own.  A 10-item checklist?  I can start with that:

  • Basic Black Dress
  • Trench Coat
  • Classic Dress Pants
  • Skirt
  • Blazer
  • Classic White Shirt
  • Day Dress
  • Cashmere Sweater
  • Jeans
  • Sweatsuit Alternative
  • Bonus: One Indulgent Trendy Item Under $20

I own the majority of these items except for a Cashmere sweater (that I’ll never buy because I’m a vegetarian) and a trench coat.

I think, however, that I need to step up the classic dress pants, classic white shirt and a blazer.  I have blazers but I think I need a good go to blazer that works with the majority of my items.

As for classic white shirt – I need a good, crisp white button up shirt.  Preferably one that is stain resistant and doesn’t require ironing.  :-)

Oprah featured a white, non-iron shirt, last year that I’ve been meaning to get.  Its a bit pricey but it seems well worth it if I don’t have to iron.  I have difficulty with getting button up dress shirts to appear crisp.  (I am the world’s worst ironer)

Brooks Brother Non-Iron Tailored Fit Dress Shirt

I’m going to invest in a nice shoe polish/cleaner to “save” some of my current shoes but am also hunting for nude pumps. 

Based on some of your suggestions – I’ll look into Target and Kohl’s for a trenchcoat.

I am well on my way!

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Like I Needed Another Reason to Shop

Last week I did my first adult thing… I went to a professional conference ALONE.  If any of you follow my tweets, you’ll know that I was incredibly nervous about venturing out alone and schmoozing.

Well, I survived.  And as dumb as it sounds – I feel more grown up.

I took a workshop titled, “The Power to Persuade and Influence without Authority”.  While it sounds a wee bit corny – I actually learned a lot.

One of the things that stood out to me was the idea of conveying a perceived authority.  The quickest way to do this is by your clothing since a first impression is important.  This includes:

  • Name brands – people look at logos!  And apparently the fancier and well-known a label/logo, the more important you appear. 
  • Jewelry
  • Neat appearance – ironed, lint-free, well-coordinated clothing
  • Shoes – polished and professional

This idea isn’t exactly ground-breaking.  We judge people all the time!  You don’t?  Okay, I do! 

I work in an environment that is “business casual”.  And some people take the casual part very seriously.  I have let my work clothes go and have summed up my look as “soccer mom”.  I wear a lot of khakis and flats. 

However, this course just reiterated that old adage that you should dress for the job you want and not necessarily the one you have.  I think if I want to be taken more seriously or at least have a chance to climb up the corporate ladder — I need to step up my game.

I need a serious overhaul of shoes.  I’m a total klutz and a lot of my shoes are really scuffed.  However, I don’t wear leather.  Can I tell you how hard it is to find cute, professional shoes that aren’t made of leather?  The one I’m struggling the most with is a pair of nude leather pumps! 

I want these… in a NON-leather material:

Kate Spade Karolina Shoe

I feel like I’m chasing after a damn unicorn or something.  I found some camel/nude color kitten heels at Target.  They looked nice online but cheap and flimsy in person.  Ugh.

I also decided to use one of my more structured bags to carry my work crap in (planner, folders, etc.).  It is an old Coach tote (before I decided to nix leather) and since brands carry a lot of weight – I figured it couldn’t hurt.  Despite the Coach bag being a little stained and scuffed, I am always peppered with compliments anytime I break it out.  This probably just reiterates the fact that people notice brands.

I made a shift today into a more professional outfit and was instantly asked if I was interviewing for a new position today.   Good sign?

We’ll see.  And now I have another reason to shop!  I’m looking for new shoes and a nice trenchcoat.  Any suggestions of where I can find a not crazy expensive but still nice trench?

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91 Years Young

The evening is almost over and as I gazed lovingly into my dog Petie’s eyes while he tried to lick my face… I remembered that today is his birthday!

Petie is officially 13.  That translates to 91 HUMAN years. 

Holy hell!

He still acts like a puppy although we’ve noticed him hesitating to run up the flight of stairs… and don’t even get me started on thinking of him getting really old because I just can’t deal with the thought of THAT.

So here are some random pictures I pulled from my phone.  If anyone were to ever steal my phone, they’d see a bajillion pictures of food and my dogs. 

A picture of my dog, Petie

Petie gets bored when we play on the computer.

A picture of my dog, Petie, watching television

Petie loves to watch TV

A blurry photo of my dog, Petie

It is really difficult to get Petie to sit still especially if he sees an animal on TV

A picture of my dog, Petie, sleeping

Petie and Emily love to curl up around us in bed. While it can be super cute, it can get ridiculously hot and they do not hesitate to shove you our of their way.

Happy birthday, Petie!

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DVR – the best and worst thing that has happened to me

I have recently found myself talking about television an obscene amount of time. 

And I’ve realized that I watch way too much fucking TV. 

Once upon a time, I had a life.

Now?  My life is rule by my TV.  And I definitely don’t watch it live anymore.  I digitally record a TON of shows and spend hours after work unwinding by watching my shows… spend hours on the weekend watching shows… spend too much time talking about shows… UGH.

So I’m going to list all of the shows I currently DVR so that I can potentially shock myself out of watching so much damn TV (or perhaps start a lively dialog about any of the shows).  Keep in mind that these are only the shows I’m currently watching.  Bravo, Style and E!  all have shows that have irregular seasons… (wow, I can’t believe I just typed that as though this makes my TV watching any more sane):

  1. Amazing Race (CBS)
  2. Ruby (Style)
  3. Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane (Style)
  4. Rachael Ray (ABC)
  5. Oprah (NBC) – not all of her shows…
  6. How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
  7. The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
  8. Accidentally on Purpose (CBS)
  9. RuPaul’s Drag Race (Logo)
  10. LOST (ABC) – I’m secretly happy this show is over so I can stop watching it
  11. Glee (Fox)
  12. Modern Family (ABC)
  13. Cougartown (ABC)
  14. Chuck (NBC)
  15. Parenthood (NBC)
  16. The Real Housewives of New York (I watch all of these… except for Orange County)
  17. Project Runway (Lifetime)
  18. Models of the Runway (Lifetime)
  19. The Office (NBC)
  20. Community (NBC)
  21. 30 Rock (NBC)
  22. Parks and Recreation (NBC)
  23. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
  24. Private Practice (ABC)
  25. Fringe (Fox)
  26. House (Fox)
  27. Bones (Fox)
  28. Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (ABC)

Sadly – I know I’m forgetting a few.

I need a life!  What do you watch?

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Hurting All Over: My First Pilates Experience

While I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will not have complete my 101 in 1001 items, I did manage to cross another item off of my list this weekend:

83. Take a pilates class at an authentic pilates studio

I purchased a Groupon for 3 mat classes and 1 30-minute private lesson at a Pilates studio in Baltimore called Inline Private Training.

With the 101 deadline looming (and the fact that the Groupons all have expiration dates) – I convinced 2 girlfriends to take the Saturday morning mat class (because I can’t do anything alone).

The studio itself was very cool.  It was an open loft space with basic gym equipment, scary pilates machines and an area where you can do the mat exercises.

I loved the instructor.  He was funny, tough and helpful (who knew I had such poor form?).  Oh and they played a lot of Michael Jackson in the studio.

We used this this torture device: The Pilates Ring

One of the moves that nearly killed me was squeezing the ring between my left knee and right elbow and crunching (pulsing)… but that was it.  He has us lift our other leg, straight out and at a 45 degree angle from the floor.  UGH.

So, I am hurting in places that I haven’t felt pain in a looong time.  My upper abs (mostly around my ribs) are killing me… like it hurts to take a deep breath kind of pain.  My ass?  Hurts.  My hips?  Hurt. 

But I am so going back this Saturday.

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30 Before 30?

So in case you haven’t noticed, I started a 101 in 1001 list awhile ago.  My 1001 days are almost up (in a week… 4/21/2010!).  I’ve kind of abandoned this list so I thought I’d revisit it to see what was left.

Holy crap.

I will say that I have accomplished over half of the list and there are only 45 remaining items.  Some of these items are never going to happen such as:
89. Eat at Paula Deen’s restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. 
I wrote that before I went vegetarian and clearly I’m not going to find anything of substance there for me to eat).

There are also a number of items that are just not going to happen in a week (basically any of the items involving travel) :

21. Travel to the California wine country
25. Go to Cedar Point Park
29. See The Grand Canyon
34. Go camping
36. Go on a random road trip (this would have to be planned at this point… making the idea of “random” not so much)
60. Snowboard all the way down a trail (the snow is gone!  I’d have to travel somewhere cold… and that’s not happening)
90. Eat at any Food Network star’s restaurant in NYC (I’m not driving up to NYC just to eat this weekend)

So, I’ve decided to rip off an idea from a friend and compile a 30 before 30.

I’m taking the top 30 (out of my 45) and determining what I can feasibly do before July 22nd.

However, I just tried to pick the top 30 and it was kind of difficult.  I mean, I have a few easy ones that I could probably bang out this weekend (like read an entire newspaper… isn’t it sad that I’ve never done this?  The internet has ruined me) but in terms of exciting stuff, well… just the crap is leftover.

So I’m happy to take suggestions on things I just MUST do before I turn 30 (within reason, of course).

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Neti Pot Fail

Since my husband’s allergies are out of control this season (as are apparently everyone else in Maryland this season), I suggested that he try the famed “Neti Pot“.  For those of you who have no idea what a neti pot is,

A neti pot is a container designed to rinse the nasal cavity. You might use a neti pot to treat nasal allergies, sinus problems or colds. In fact, some neti pot enthusiasts say that regular use of a neti pot is more effective for nasal allergy and sinus symptoms than are over-the-counter medications. First, fill the neti pot with warm salt water or an over-the-counter saline nasal solution. Then tilt your head over the sink, place the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril and gently pour in the water. As you pour, the salt water will flow through your nasal cavity and out the lower nostril. Repeat on the other side.

Source

My husband tried it on Sunday with good results.  I didn’t watch him (because who really wants to watch their loved on pour water into their nose… or watch water pour out of their nose).  Now I kind of wished I would have and taken a picture.  So here’s a picture I pulled off of Google:

Image of a woman using a neti pot.

Jeremy has since used the neti pot several more times.

Despite not having allergies, I thought I’d give it a shot.  I’m sure my nasal cavity could use a good rinse (since I’ve never rinsed it before).

I read the instructions, I prepared the solution, I poured it into the neti pot and…

WHAT.THE.FUCK?!

I basically poured a bunch of lukewarm water into my nasal cavity and IT DIDN’T GO ANYWHERE!  Some if it dripped into my throat so I knew to lean forward a bit…

BUT WATER NEVER ESCAPED. 

Every since my failed experiment, I feel like I can’t hear out of my left ear and my head hurts. 

Stupid neti pot.

I’m trying it again this week.  I will not be defeated by a ceramic pot!  So all you neti pot fans, what the fuck am I doing wrong?

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