Happy Halloween!

Are you a super lazy slacker without a Halloween costume? Don’t worry, I found the COOLEST, CHEAPEST, FASTEST HALLOWEEN COSTUME EVER! And I’m very excited about it and jealous that I no longer need a costume for this year. Are you ready?

BAM! 

I also thought it would be fun to share some of my Halloween costumes throughout the years. Not Pictured: Raven (Bryce was Edgar Allen Poe), Bunny, Astronaut, Fairy, Power Ranger, Pumpkin, Another Witch, Where’s Waldo, and probably many more that I’m forgetting.Photo on 10-27-11 at 9.07 PM #3

| zombie |

DSCN1872

| oil spill |

jackie o

|jackie o. & andy warhol |

lizzie borden

| lizzie borden |

Scarecrow

| scarecrow |

snow white

| snow white |

witch

| witch |

IMG_2318

| ringleader |

The Ultimate Milwaukee Brunch Guide — Part 2, Third Ward

photo

Alright, round two! I hope you have your fat pants on because this time we’re headed to the wonderful third ward. I have a couple of quick breakfast (not so much brunch) places thrown in for good measure because when you’re in the third ward, you need all the time you can get for shopping.

Check out the other MKE brunch guides too!

Part 1, Walker’s Point
Part 3, Bay View
Part 4, East Side

The Third Ward

Coquette Cafe — If you’re looking for a beautiful, gourmet Sunday brunch, Coquette Cafe is the place. Similar to Smyth at the Iron Horse Hotel, I think brunch at Coquette should be reserved for a special occasion like a holiday or a treat during a Milwaukee weekend getaway. With a menu boasting escargot and coq au vin, you’re in for an indulgent meal.
316 N. Milwaukee Street  (414) 291-2655

Rustico Pizzeria — Breakfast pizza, breakfast burgers, breakfast breadsticks. Rustico has it all. While I prefer to eat at Rustico for dinner (fried stuffed olives!), brunch at Rustico is where I discovered this bubbly delight and you can never go wrong with a fruit plate that comes with mascarpone for dipping.
223 N. Water Street  (414) 220-9933

The Wicked Hop — This place is always busy at brunch time so make sure to get there early or plan for a wait with a bloody at the bar. If I’m being honest, the last time I had brunch here was the morning after my bachelorette party so you can imagine the state I was in. That being said, I had the Fat Boy Brunch Burrito with cajun sour cream and sunday spuds and it was to die for! I’m hungry just thinking about it…
345 N. Broadway  (414) 223-0345

Cafe Benelux — Another hot spot, we tried to eat here recently and gave up when we heard it was an hour wait. The last time we did actually stay and eat, I really enjoyed the spinach feta omelet. Delicious.
346 N. Broadway  (414) 501-2500

Holey Moley Coffee + Doughnuts — See my full review of Holey Moley here!
316 N. Milwaukee Street (inside the Coquette Cafe building)  (414) 308-1616

Coffee Shops: Stone Creek is my favorite for coffee and Colectivo is the best for food, but all are lovely!

Anodyne
(Located inside the Public Market) 400 N. Water Street  (414) 336-1111

Colectivo
223 E St Paul  (414) 220-8330

Stone Creek
422 N. 5th Street  (414) 270-1008

Party Planning

Oh, I just love throwing parties. Also, I hate throwing parties. Well, I guess it’s up in the air.

Nevertheless, I get the strong urge to host one every year around this time. Like this party and this party. For a while, Bryce and I threw an annual New Year’s Eve bash, but at some point we realized we were old people that just wanted to relax our way into a new year. Since then we’ve always had a shindig between October and January for a variety of occasions. The most recent was our Bryceukkah party (Bryce’s birthday + Hanukkah Celebration) and I think for the FIRST TIME EVER I actually provided the correct amount of food & drinks. I always make too much food. Like way too much. To the point where I spend the whole day and night cooking & cleaning, but never really enjoying myself.

I need a guide when it comes to serving food & stocking the bar for a party which is why I created these handy dandy cheat sheets. Fellow party throwers, never again will we spend our day & night chained to the kitchen! Now go pour yourself a nice glass of bubbly…

 

How Much to Serve for a Party

 

 

Stocking Your Bar for a Party

 

 

Manie

Halloween is very, very high on my favorite holiday list. It probably comes in second to Thanksgiving (I like food, what can I say). This weekend was absolutely gorgeous so we took Bea on a long walk around Walker’s Point — we ran into Dracula a few times. We also attended our friend’s annual Halloween party. I was a circus ringleader, whipping everyone into shape, and Bryce was Bob Ross. He wore the most unattractive wig ever to exist and I hated it so so so much. Beatrix held the fort down at home, but I couldn’t resist buying a her a lion costume to go with my ringleader costume solely because I wanted to take the below picture. WORTH IT. Most adorable lion EVER!

 

Dracula GraffitiRingleader, Lion, Bob RossHalloween Party

Apple Pastries

Apple PastryApple PastryApple Pastry

 

As I mentioned in my Seattle post, I had a pastry at Le Panier that was to die for. I haven’t been able to find a recipe for something similar (even though it’s a fairly minimal pastry) so through some experimenting, I figured it out myself. It’s essentially just a puff pastry with pastry cream and green apples nestled inside.

You’ll need to put a bit of prep work into the pastry cream — I recommend making it a few hours before you want to make the pastry so it has time to get really chilled and set in your refrigerator. I made my pastry cream in the early afternoon, made the pastries that night, and served them for breakfast with my family the next morning (stored them in the fridge and set them out about a half hour before everyone arrived).

 

Pastry Cream (adapted from Tartine)

Ingredients:

2 cups Whole Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Salt
3 tbsp Cornstarch
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp Sugar
2 Large Eggs
4 tbsp Unsalted Butter

Prep work is key when making pastry cream. It’s not particularly easy the first time you make it — everything moves really quickly once the milk is hot and it’s very important to keep the eggs from curdling. Have a bowl ready for cooling the pastry cream once it’s done.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together cornstarch and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Have your egg mixture bowl ready and waiting near your stove.

Pour the milk into a heavy sauce pan, mix in vanilla and salt. Place over medium-high heat, and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the milk solids aren’t sticking to the bottom of your pan. Once your milk is heated to just under a boil, turn off the heat and slowly ladle about 1/3 of the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the sauce pan and continue whisking over medium-heat until the custard is slightly thick, about 2 minutes. You should see a few slow bubbles, but it should not come to a boil.

Immediately pour the pastry cream into the bowl you had ready (move quickly!) and let it cool for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally to release the heat and prevent a skin from forming.

Cut the butter into 1-tablespoon pieces and whisk the butter into the pastry cream, one at a time, whisking until smooth before adding the next tablespoon.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the cream so a skin doesn’t form. Place it in the fridge (you can keep it there for up to 5 days) and try not to whisk it much once it’s completely cold so you don’t break down the starch.

 

Okay, I know that was a little bit intense, but have you tasted your pastry cream?! So worth it. Plus, pastry cream can be used in so many things — cakes, pies, heck I even used the leftovers as an apple dip. The rest of this is pretty easy, I promise (and also so worth it).

Apple PastryApple PastryApple PastryApple Pastry

Apple Pastry
(Makes 18 pastries)

Ingredients:

2 sheets Puff Pastry
2 small Green Apples
Pastry Cream
1 Egg
1 tbsp Water
A little bit of Sugar (for sprinkling the top)
A little bit of Lemon Juice (for the apples)

This also requires a little prep work — you need to thaw your puff pastry. Follow the instructions on the box then roll it out and using a pizza cutter, slice into 9 even squares on each sheet. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake the puff pastry until it’s just about fully cooked (around 7 or 8 minutes).

While those are baking, slice your apples. I used my little apple corer then sliced the apple pieces in half again. Put them in a bowl with a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning. In a separate bowl, whisk your egg and water to create an egg wash.

Pull the puff pastry out and with a pointy knife, lightly slice a circle in the top of each pastry so we can create a little groove to nest our cream & apples. Place about 1 heaping spoonful of cream and 2 apple slices in each pastry. Brush egg wash over the pastries and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar.

Place back in the oven for about 4 minutes or until the top is browned and apples are a little soft.

Let them cool completely and enjoy. As I mentioned, I stored mine in the fridge (covered with plastic wrap) overnight and brought them out for breakfast in the morning. So perfect!Apple Pastry

 

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/10334397/?claim=sskbvp5t5jx”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Travel Bug — Seattle

I have a major itch to travel right now. Normally Bryce and I go on one big trip a year — we’re working to check off all 50 states and last year we actually knocked out three of them. This year our only trip was to get our pup in Missouri, which we had been to before, so while I think Beatrix was definitely worth the trip it didn’t exactly cure my yearly travel bug. Originally we were going to take an anniversary trip (most likely to New Orleans), but we were responsible puppy parents and used up our vacation time to stay home with Beatrix after she was spayed. Between her surgery, new tires for my car, and our desperate need for a new mattress, we decided that traveling just wouldn’t be in the budget for this year.

With all that being said, I’ve been really reminiscing about our honeymoon last year in Seattle & Portland. It was an incredible couple of weeks. I intended to create a blog post about it after we came home so I could remember all of the details, but as you may know, I kind of fell off the blogging planet for a while. This past year really flew by and I want to record our trip while the memories are still somewhat vivid. I don’t know that anyone actually cares about our honeymoon, but I always enjoy reading about other people’s trips to get ideas for my own. I highly recommend a visit to Seattle!

Seattle

seattle loft

Where We Stayed
Airbnb Loft in Downtown Seattle walking distance from Pike Place Market and the Space Needle
$178/night

Airbnb has grown so much in the past year. When we booked our places, no one we knew had heard of it. We saved so much money by using Airbnb that we actually extended our honeymoon by a couple of nights. While it wasn’t exactly the experience I hoped it would be (full Airbnb review to come), it was worth the money savings and the access to a full kitchen for this trip.

 

Day 1

beers at tour

Where We Ate
Whole Foods hot bar & grocery shopping

What We Did
Discovery Park — We pretty much just drove all over Seattle until we were allowed in to our airbnb rental (which was supposed to be ready when we got off our plane, hmph).
Bill Spiedel’s Underworld Tour — We went on this tour the first night we arrived in Seattle because we figured if we had something scheduled late at night it would keep us awake to help in our adjustment to Pacific time. This tour was awesome and the perfect way to start our honeymoon. Definitely a must do if you’re in Seattle! Since this is their late night, adults only tour, a free cocktail is included and the stories are R-rated. You know, prostitution, murder, opium. The usual and all underground (modern day Seattle is built on top of former Seattle, it’s pretty cool).

Day 2

le panierpink door 2pink door

Where We Ate
Le Panier — This french bakery & cafe is located in pike place right near the original Starbucks and we had breakfast here a lot. Le Panier can be blamed for my returned coffee addiction because prior to my cappuccinos here, I hadn’t had coffee in years. Even more delightful, the seasonal apple tart. I’m planning an attempt at making the pastry myself.
The Pink Door — An iconic restaurant, The Pink Door serves up fresh & delicious italian food. Their caprese salad is LITERALLY THE BEST CAPRESE I’VE EVER HAD.

pike place 1 pike place 2space needle
What We Did
Pike Place Market — Obviously we couldn’t pass up a trip to the iconic Pike Place market. We watched the fish fly, smelled some flowers, and bought a couple of souvenirs.
The Space Needle — Somewhere, floating around, is the picture of my unimpressed face next to the space needle. We didn’t go up, I don’t care. We walked around. We went home. I hate being a tourist. Cool picture though.

Day 3

hot cakesblack bottle

Where We Ate
Hot Cakes — Take and bake molten chocolate lava cakes in mini mason jars. I don’t know how I even found out about Hot Cakes, but we went, we bought, we baked, and we devoured. You can purchase them online, but it is pricey. I planned on buying these for our anniversary in lieu of wedding cake (because we weren’t happy with ours), but I just can’t bring myself to pay $68 for 4 tiny cakes (shipping is crazy).
Black Bottle — We shared several small plates here after a day of whale watching. I’m not sure Bryce entirely enjoyed the experience since he was post-whale watching tour motion sick through dinner, but the food was delicious. I still think about their broccoli blasted everytime I roast vegetables.

orcas 2 orcas

What We Did
Mystic Sea Charters Whale Watching Tour — We were so lucky to have a beautiful, magical day on our orca whale watching tour. So lucky, in fact, that we got stuck out in the ocean because we were surrounded by so many whales. There are laws against turning your boat on when a whale is within a certain distance and we just couldn’t get away. Probably the best way to be stranded in the ocean. The on-board naturalist taught us so much about the whales and what we were seeing. She said our trip was the best she’d ever been on — she was pretty excited about that since it was her last tour before maternity leave. I think we can all thank her baby for the good luck. Oh and we had a Groupon!

Day 4

beer in wine country

Where We Ate
The Station Pizzeria — A fun little pizza place in the middle of Woodinville’s wine country. We stopped for a quick lunch between wine tastings and Bryce ordered a beer. Who orders a beer in wine country?! My husband, apparently.

woodinvillenoveltyhill-januik winery
chateau 1
chateau 2chateau 3snoqualmie 1snoqualmie 2boehms
What We Did
Novelty Hill/Januik Winery — This building was so modern & organic and if I lived in Washington I’d want to hang out there all of the time. I wish I had a better picture. This winery introduced me to one of my new favorites — Grenache. Fun, casual tasting.
Chateau Ste. Michelle — I’m really happy we decided to go to a bigger winery on our trip. Since their wines are easy to find, we buy them for special occasions or just a night in and remember our honeymoon by it. Beautiful grounds, nice free tour and great tasting.
Snoqualmie Falls — This was a gorgeous stop on our way back to Seattle from Woodinville. I have to say, waterfalls just aren’t that impressive when you’ve been to Niagara multiple times, but these were still pretty. And the falls & Snoqualmie lodge are in the show Twin Peaks!
Boehm’s Candies — We read about this store in our travel book and it was a neat building & yummy chocolate. A nice snack to have for the ride home.

Day 5

canlisvirginia inn

Where We Ate
Le Panier — Again.
Sisters European Snacks — A quick little lunch near pike place. Great for light sandwiches on a day full of exploration.
Virginia Inn Tavern — An impromptu beer stop on our way back from the market. What a cool, historic building! We ordered inside and asked for a local beer recommendation. Geez, they really like their fruity IPAs with lemon out there. We sat outside and sipped away.
Canlis — We decided to have one crazy, fancy night out in both Seattle & Portland. Canlis was our crazy night in Seattle and it was the most amazing dining experience ever. Outrageously incredible food and service. We had the vegetarian tasting menu and it was absolutely the best food I’ve ever had. Can’t say it enough…INCREDIBLE. We opted not to see the menu so we could be surprised when each dish came out. It was so much fun to guess what was coming based on the silverware being put in front of us.

Here’s the menu:
Corn & Espelette
Beets
Goat’s milk curd & raspberries
Carrot
Pickled radish, leek & rutabaga
Asparagus
Chantrelle mushrooms, soubise & caramelized onion
Raviolo
Broccoli, white cheddar & ramps
Strawberries
Brioche, basil & chamomile
Apple Tarte Tatin
Green apple sorbet with hazelnut

This also included three “bites” at the beginning of the meal and macarons at the end of the meal. The bill is served with a chocolate bar and your car is waiting for you as you walk out the door. Unbelievable.

What We Did
Ananya Spa — A spa day was very much needed after the chaos of planning a wedding. And, as it was our last day in Seattle, we wanted to make it really luxurious. Couples massage, body wraps, the works. I’ve decided I don’t like massages — Bryce was in heaven.

 

Stay tuned for Portland!