Big Eats {August}

August is a goner, and we’re gearing up for our best months weather-wise here in SF, September and October. I’m getting ever so much closer to the end of this list, and it’s tricky business getting all these eats in. I owe huge thanks to all of my dining companions this month, who were great sports when I dragged them out to these places that I have to eat at. This month I owe thanks to Alicia, Matt, Chris, Rachel, Amanda, Liz, and…as always, Kevin.

1. Carnitas taco at La Taqueria {#4}
2. Duck and sausage jambalaya at Boxing Room {#23}
3. Greed goddess salad at Prospect {#27}
4. Papusas at Balompie Cafe {#30}
5. Nojo sundae at Nojo {#43}
6. Secret breakfast at Humphrey Slocombe {#46}
7. Chicken soup with dumplings at Leopold’s {#50}
8. Coconut buns at King’s Bakery {#87}
9. Hawaiian Hangover cake at Bluestem Brasserie {#94}

It’s pretty hard to pick a winner this month because they were all pretty darn amazing.  And I’m surprised to say that the winner is…a soup…#7! See that little white puffy cloud of loveliness floating in there? That’s a dumpling. It kind of reminded me of a matzo ball, but lighter and more delicious. Not to mention, the restaurant itself, Leopold’s, is like this great little charming abode of cuteness on Polk Street. It’s definitely a new favorite, and we loved everything about it…the beer was flowing, everything we ordered was hearty and delicious, and our waitress, Jana, gave us some of the best service I’ve ever had in San Francisco. (Fun fact…Leopold’s used to be Antica Trattoria, which is where Kevin and I had our first date!)

Coming in a very close second is the Hawaiian Hangover cake at Bluestem. Seriously, just check out how gorgeous that cake is in #9. The exterior is a layer of toasted marshmallow…nuff said.

I’m super on track for the big finish…just 27 more to go!

Enjoy the long weekend!

{NYC} Dinner at Prune

Remember when I told you about Gabrielle Hamiltons’s amazing, James Beard Award winning novel, Blood, Bones & Butter? I picked up this book in Cabo, and consequently couldn’t put it down. I was totally hypnotized by Gabrielle’s passion for simple, straight forward, seasonal food made with the best ingredients that aren’t overly-fussed over. Not to mention, she writes in the most spell-binding narrative (hence the bestseller and award-winning accolades). On our trip to NYC last week, her East Village restaurant, Prune, was on my “I’m not leaving until I eat there” list. And so we did!  We were joined by our friends, Phil and Leslie, and here are the highlights…

We all fell in love with this addictive snack they put in front of us. Crunchy and nutlike on the outside, and creamy on the inside. So simple, and couldn’t be easier to replicate at home.

When we  spotted squash blossoms on the menu, it was a must order. The fried shell was so light and  crispy…we also discovered you can eat the stems, and they are scrumptious!

Well, this was a first for me…I ate heart…and it was super good! It wasn’t at all like what I imagined. I was expecting it to be more organ-y, but it was more meaty, like a tender steak. And just check out the texture on that jamon. We saw the whole leg of it propped up on the counter and had to try it.

I won the best orderer award of the dinner…well, at least I think so. I had a major craving for steak, and this skirt steak with heirloom salad totally hit the spot. When a skirt steak is cooked just right, I prefer it about a million times over filet mignon. Yep, that’s right…I said it.

The desserts stole the show at this dinner. Imagine buttery croutons with salted caramel over the creamiest ice cream. And bread pudding with rhubarb…duh, why didn’t I think of that? A great way to end the meal.

And for those of you that remotely care, we ended the night at Newsies, AND I got my Playbill signed by Jeremy Jordan! The cast is so awesome. They stick around after the show and basically sign autographs for everyone that hovers outside the exit (yes, that was me and a gaggle of teenage girls). 

Alt Summit Recap {Part Two}

Yesterday, I gushed all about the coolest office on earth, and today I wanted to share a bit about what actually went on at Alt Summit…we did, in fact, do more than just gawk at our surroundings…
The day kicked off with a crafting activity, hosted by Jordan, Rachel, and Paul. We had the choice to make beaded bracelets or these little pinwheel things…I have to admit, I got a little sidetracked by my bagel, coffee, and chit chat, and didn’t manage to finish. It’s takes real dedication to follow through with a craft project at 8:30am…seriously.

Swiss Miss was the opening keynote speaker. I’ve actually never been a reader of her blog (not for any reason other than I’d never stumbled upon it), but I am a huge fan now. She is such a natural leader and innovator, and it was fascinating to hear about her side projects (aka: amazingly successful endeavors), including Creative Mornings, TeuxDeux, and the ever so fun Tattly.
Next came the panel of experts from Martha Stewart Living, including Pilar Guzman, Lucinda Scalla Quinn, and Kevin Sharkey. Pilar is the Editor-In-Chief of the mag, Lucinda is the Food Editor and host of Mad Hungry, and Kevin is the Decorating Editor (who also travels all over with Martha so his life does not suck). These people are true professionals and just totally get it…they get what’s now…what tastes great…what people want to read and buy and look at…they just. get. it. Oh, and btw, while holding down these super prominent day jobs, they are also bloggers themselves. Impressive.
After lunch, Katie, Jenny, and Natalie talked to us about how to grow you blog community (aka: how to get more readers). These girls have all made it pretty big in the blogging world. They’re what us newbies aspire to be. Jenny was literally mid-sentence when Martha walked in for a quick hello. I love that even the panelists were starstruck, and, if you could see the audience, you’d be hard-pressed to find one person without their phone in the air. I’m pretty sure #marthjustshockedit #altsummit was trending on Twitter at that moment. 

The afternoon session included a panel of social media experts from Etsy, Tea Collection, and West Elm. They shared lots of innovative ways they are using social networking in their businesses today, as well as how they partner with bloggers (remind me to add that to my to-do list: “partner with West Elm”).

The closing keynote was a fascinating presentation by David Koren, creator of FIGMENT. The best way I can describe FIGMENT is like Burning Man but, like, kinda for families? Here, this video will do a better job explaining than I can.

Of course, the day would not have been complete without a fabulous rooftop cocktail party. Martha’s staff wowed us again with a stunning party venue, refreshing beverages, delicious bites of food…and let’s not forget the cutie bartenders in matching white shirts, blue jeans, and white converse. It’s all about the details.

Altogether lots of lovely ladies, lots of inspiration, LOTS of great outfits,
and I’m looking forward to even more in Salt Lake next year!
Thank you, Justin Hackworth, for photos 2, 4, 5 & 6.

Alt Summit Recap {Part One}

There’s just so much to pack into my recap of Alt Summit, it has to be a two-parter. The venue alone was so amazing, I thought I’d start with recap of all that Martha Stewart headquarters had to offer.
The Office

Sigh…words cannot describe. On a totally unassuming street in the heart of Chelsea, just half a block from the Hudson River, the Queen of Domesticity presides over her kingdom. The office is everything you would imagine, from bight airy spaces…to creative offices…and, ya know, giant balloons hovering over what could be totally lame cubicles in any other office. But at Martha Stewart, cubicles are special. I cornered our very sweet PR host to ask if it’s truly as fun to work at Martha Stewart as one would imagine. I’ll let you guess what her response was…
The Food

No rubber chicken in sight here. The food was not only delicious, but so beautifully presented. It’s undeniable. Everything Martha’s team touches oozes with sophistication and style. Everyone can take note here…a little effort toward presentation and the experience goes a long way.

Tomorrow…the sessions and the takeaways!