Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On the road again: Kansas City

B and I had flew up to Kansas City last weekend for a wedding.  We had a great time with the family and here are a couple of highlights:

KC is full of gorgeous older historic buildings

We stayed at the Hotel Savoy, built in 1888.  Famous past guests 
include Roosevelt, Truman and Paul Newman (who filmed there).
Below is a gorgeous wall of stained glass at the ballroom and restaurant.

Glass dome in the lobby

The Savoy Grill is the oldest restaurant in Kansas City.  We had 
a great included breakfast the next morning from this 
ginormous menu (we were allowed to choose 4-5 items!)

A fun stop at Pryde's of Old Westport--an amazing kitchen and 
housewares store where I wanted to live.  I found the Fiesta Ware aisle!

There was a great little coffee shop and bakery at the back of the store

Pie?  Yes please!

Sunday morning farmers market 

There are pictures of the wedding as well but too many incriminating ones (mainly of B) to post!

Monday, September 27, 2010

We interupt this Vintage Monday with a congratulatory post!

Congrats to our friends J&A who are now
proud parents of a healthy baby boy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chicago: Brunch at the Signature Room

One of our favorite meals in Chicago was Sunday brunch at  
the Signature Room, located on the 95th floor of the Hancock Tower.

The best part about the Signature Room is the amazing view 
of the city from up high.  Our table had a gorgeous view of the 
north side of Chicago, along the shore of beautiful Lake Michigan. 

The food was mighty tasty too with (my favorite) seafood bar 
complete with shrimp, crab legs, smoked salmon and caviar.  
There were lots of tasty salads, creamy soup and artisan bread as well.

Traditional breakfast foods like eggs, bacon, french toast, and 
hash browns were also on the menu.  B went for the carving station  
(prime rib) and I hit up the fruit, dessert, and pastry tables.

A look at my dessert plate

And B got his own very special dessert plate as well

Overall, brunch at the Signature Room is a nice splurge for a special occasion and a wonderful way to see the city from a bird's eye view!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chicago: Architectural boat tour

It was a sunny 70 degree weather day when we went on the architectural boat tour down the Chicago river.  Our tour guide was informative and it was neat to learn more about the history of the buildings on the river front and recent revitalization efforts.  We also learned that there are actually a lot of newer buildings that have been built in the last 20 years and that the skyline of Chicago is still evolving.

Some pictures:

I think that's the Hancock building with the two towers at the top

One of my favorite buildings--doesn't it look so space-agey?

These distinctive corn cob towers have parking in the lower levels!

Love the use of green glass windows to reflect the river 
and the buildings across from it

The tour was about an hour and a half and a nice way to learn more about the city and see it from a different viewpoint.  I definitely recommend it as a "must see" when you're in Chicago!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: Mooncakes

 The Mid-Autumn Festival is an important holiday and held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar when the moon is supposedly at its fullest.  It coincides with the autumnal equinox.  Traditionally on this day, family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon and celebrate by eating moon cakes together.

In Singapore, we just cut straight to the chase and call it the Mooncake Festival and it is one of my favorite memories growing up.  Mooncakes are a Chinese bakery item made of a thin pastry crust with a dense sweet filling.  It is usually cut and eaten in wedges, served with Chinese tea.

Sometimes, there is a salted duck egg yolk in the center to symbolize the full moon (I know I know it sounds weird)

Traditional mooncakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese characters for longevity or harmony.  The more traditional fillings include lotus seed and red bean.

However, now there are a ton of other fancy variations of fillings out there which include pistachio, hazelnut, pandan, durian, chocolate, green tea, coffee, peanut, etc.  Here are some snowskin mooncakes with mango and avocado fillings

Snowskin mooncakes with strawberry and banana fillings

Green tea and cherry blossom filling

Foie gras and cheese, chocolate chips, caramel coffee and  sesame and white bean paste

And even Godiva, Starbucks, and Haagen Das got on board the mooncake frenzy

As a little kid I remember eating these little pig shaped versions found in these baskets

Fortunately for my homesickness, our local Chinese grocery store carries some mooncakes for the season so I'll be checking them out this week and chowing down on my favorite red bean version.  Happy Mooncake Festival!

Sources: wikipedia, google images and http://sparklette.net/food/mooncakes-remix-2009/

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chicago trip food recap

Whenever we pick a travel destination, one of the first things we think about is food.  Croissants in St Martin, conch salad in Provo, dim sum in San Francisco, falafels in NYC...  So of course, when we made it to Chicago, we headed for Giordanos for some deep dish pizza.

We went to the location off Michigan Avenue which was packed with tourists.  There is a 40 minute wait for your pizza and fortunately they let you order it while you're waiting for a table. So after you wait 30 minutes  for your table, you only have 10 minutes after that before you're digging into your food. 

We went with a canadian bacon, mushroom and olive pizza (this is a small...really!)

After one and a half pieces I was done in.  It was good though we walked around for an hour afterward to try to get that ball of cheese in our stomachs to dissipate.  Final verdict: a must try when in Chicago, but otherwise I'll be sticking to NY style thin crust pizza.

Another highly anticipated food visit was Garrett Popcorn.  We went three times and there was a huge line each time.  And let me tell you, it's really worth it.  I highly recommend the Chicago mix which is a blend of caramel and cheesy popcorn (that'll turn your fingers neon orange).  Amazing.

Sorry there aren't any pictures of the actual popcorn. Once we got a bag, our hands were too full with popcorn to care about the camera.

Another Chicago food favorite is the infamous hot dog, and this simply must be eaten at a ball game.  We watched the Royals take on the White Sox at Cellular Field and it was a pretty good game.  The Sox fans are pretty vocal and I was a little afraid for B's well being seeing as he was wearing the only Royals t shirt in the whole stadium.

Sorry no pictures of the food there again because we were too busy wolfing it down.  I do have a little fireworks video though.  Everytime the Sox scored, they would set off fireworks.  Every time the Royals scored it was dead silent in the stadium--except for me going "wait what happened?  did we score?"

I did manage to capture a picture of the chicken gouda hot dog we had at Chicago Renegade however.  It was really awesome with the poppy seed bun.  Where can we get poppy seed buns here in Austin??

So there you have it, a quick Chicago food highlights post.  I have more pictures from the amazing buffet at the Signature Room and the architectural boat tour that I'll be putting up soon.  I really enjoy writing these recaps and am toying around with the idea of compiling these little travel guides for must see, must shop, must eat places on this blog.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Vintage Monday: Cocktail napkins

I have a weakness for vintage linens (as evidenced by two full linen closets) and so had to have these little cocktail napkins when I saw the fun print.

I have plenty of Chicago pictures to post still so I hope to do a nice long highlights post tomorrow!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Favorite Friday Recipe: Corn salad

This is an easy side dish to make and is a constant favorite, even when fresh corn is not readily available because it's just as delicious with frozen corn (not canned though).  We had it the other night with sweet potatoes and B's favorite cowboys (stuffed chicken breast with mushrooms, cheese and jalapenos, wrapped in bacon--I'll have him write the recipe down sometime)  Oh and sorry for the lousy quality of pictures.  There is a lack of natural lighting after 7pm when dinner is made!

Corn salad

  •   5 ears of corn, shucked (or 1 bag of frozen corn)
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves (optional for me)


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone.
  2. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. 
  3. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.
  4. (When using a frozen bag of corn, just cook it on the stove or microwave and then cool it)
  5. Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  6. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. 
  7. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.