Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer Fun // Visiting NYC

Last week, I shared some photos from a wedding that Cameron and I attended in Philadelphia; prior to the wedding, we went to visit my sister and her fiance in NYC! Even though it was a quick trip to the city, we had a really great time and so I wanted share some (ok, a lot of) photos from our visit!

As much as I love Portland, New York is definitely my favorite city! There's just something about it that's unlike anywhere else. I love the energy and I feel like I see something new each time I visit. And the nice thing is that because my sister lives there, we always have a reason to go back. That's why I feel like when we go, we can just enjoy it without feeling pressured to squeeze a bunch of things into one visit. And although I love going to shows and museums and seeing the sights, this particular visit we had such nice weather that we just enjoyed walking around...and eating, of course!

Before going to New York, the one thing that Cam said he really wanted to do was go to Katz's Deli. We've both been here before and it's super touristy (it's the restaurant from the "I'll have what she's having" scene of When Harry Met Sally) but it's so so good! Seriously, their pastrami reubens are out of this world! It's kind of chaotic, but worth trying if you're in NYC! (especially if you like reubens!)

Happy Cameron :)
I asked Cam to take a picture of me and this is what I got...a picture of Steve Buscemi. Ha!
I was happy about my sandwich...and then sad because there was no way I was going finish it! The portions are huge, plus being pregnant I get full much more quickly! But it was delish :)
After lunch, we spent the afternoon doing some shopping in Soho and enjoying the weather :)
And yes, I realize that it seems a little ridiculous to go to a shopping mecca like New York and go to Old Navy...but maternity clothes are expensive yo! And the ON in Soho happened to have a really good selection of maternity stuff, so I picked up a few pieces...and then made Cam carry them :)
After meeting up with my sister and Ben in Union Square, we headed to Brooklyn for dinner!
We ate at a really delicious restaurant called The Gorbals in Williamsburg which I'd highly recommend! It had a really eclectic menu with lots of interesting dishes, along with a sweet rooftop. 
(You can see some of the food pics from this restaurant, as well as the rest of the trip, on my Instagram!)
The next day, we had breakfast with my sister and Ben before work, and then headed out to do some more exploring! They live on the Upper East Side fairly close to the East River, and so this trip we had some time to check out the Carl Schurz Park, which is where Gracie Mansion is located (the official residence of the Mayor of NYC). It was a really nice place to enjoy the gorgeous weather!
We eventually made our way over to Central Park - we had thought about going to the MET, but since we've both been a few times, we figured we'd just enjoy the sunshine instead! :) Plus, we got to check out some new (to us) parts of the park we hadn't explored before, it's such a beautiful place!
After making our way through Central Park to the Upper West Side, we grabbed some cookies at Levain Bakery (so good!) and enjoyed all the gorgeous architecture in that part of the city!
We made our way down to Columbus Circle and you can kind of see that the temperature says on the CNN sign says 76 degrees - unheard of for New York City in August! It was seriously amazing :)
We met my sister at her office in Midtown and then headed to have a late lunch at one of her and Ben's favorite French spots - La Tarte Flambee! This place is legit and their tarte flambees are delicious :)
For dinner, we headed up to Harlem to try out Red Rooster!
It's owned by Marcus Samuelsson (of Food Network/Top Chef fame) and we've been wanting to try it for ages, so I'm glad we finally got around to it on this trip!
We started the evening with chicken & waffles and deviled eggs - they were both great, but the chicken and waffles stole the show for me! They were really simple, but perfectly cooked. For my meal, I had the mac & greens with maple bacon - it was definitely some of the best macaroni and cheese I've ever tried! The bacon and collard greens added so much flavor. It was a really filling dish though! And surprisingly, that little side salad it came with was also amazing because it was so perfectly dressed! Everyone really enjoyed their food, but it be prepared to leave this place absolutely stuffed!
Red Rooster is definitely a popular spot! I really enjoyed the vibe of the restaurant and the food was amazing! I'll admit though, it did feel almost little voyeuristic to go to Harlem, an area we'd probably never venture up to otherwise, just to go to this restaurant. Clearly lots of people do the same thing...but then there were a lot of homeless people around the restaurant who actually live in the area that provide quite a contrast to the people dining. It just felt a little strange to come up to Harlem to have "soul food" that's supposed to be influenced by the neighborhood...and then try to get in a cab out of there as fast as possible. I don't know if that makes sense, but if you go, you'll see what I mean...however, I did really like the restaurant and would recommend it!
We had a really great time staying with Melissa and Ben (their apartment is super cute!) and we had a quick breakfast with them before heading out of town to Philadelphia. We ate at Maison Kayser, which is a delicious French bakery that Melissa took me to on my last visit to NYC.
Had to get some pictures of us (sort of) matching :)

And then just like that, our trip to NYC was over...the time always goes by way too quickly!
We had a great visit though and I can't wait to go back soon! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Recipes // Candied Bacon Ice Cream

Last month, I co-hosted a little ice cream social with a fellow blogger and it was such a fun way to celebrate summer! I made two flavors of ice cream - cake batter and...candied bacon! I was trying to think of a unique flavor to make that people wouldn't have tried before and so when I came across this recipe from David Lebovitz for Candied Bacon ice cream, it definitely fit the bill! People put bacon on everything here in Portland, so why not ice cream? The bacon isn't too overpowering, but adds just the right hint of salt and smoke to the creamy cinnamon base. It's decadent (after all, not often do you add butter to ice cream!) but it's really delicious and a definite crowd pleaser!

Candied Bacon Ice Cream
Recipe Source: David Lebovitz

For the candied bacon: 
5 strips bacon
about 2 teaspoons light brown sugar

For the ice cream custard:
3 tablespoons (45g) salted butter
¾ cup (packed) brown sugar (140g), light or dark (you can use either)
2¾ (675ml) cup half-and-half
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons dark rum or whiskey
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
optional: ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. To candy the bacon, preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
2. Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or aluminum foil, shiny side down. (I did mine on a cooling rack on top of foil)
3. Sprinkle 1½-2 teaspoons of brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon, depending on length.

4. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Midway during baking, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the dark, syrupy liquid that’s collected on the baking sheet. Continue to bake until as dark as mahogany. Remove from oven and cool the strips on a wire rack.
5. Once crisp and cool, chop into little pieces, about the size of grains of rice.
(Bacon bits can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for a day or so, or stored in the freezer a few weeks ahead.)

6. To make the ice cream custard, melt the butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and half of the half-and-half. Pour the remaining half-and-half into a bowl set in an ice bath and set a mesh strainer over the top.
7. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm brown sugar mixture to them, whisking the yolks constantly as you pour. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
8. Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
9. Strain the custard into the half-and-half, stirring over the ice bath, until cool. Add liquor, vanilla and cinnamon, if using.
10. Refrigerate the mixture. Once thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the bacon bits during the last moment of churning, or stir them in when you remove the ice cream from the machine.

*I opted not to add the liquor to my ice cream for two reasons - a) being that I'm pregnant, I figured I could probably skip it, plus I don't think we had any on hand and b) adding alcohol to homemade ice cream helps keep it from freezing too hard...but since the day I made this ice cream was SO hot out, I didn't want to make it even more melty (it already looks pretty soft in the top photos!). It tasted fine without the alcohol, but it would probably be good with it too!*

If you're looking for a new ice cream flavor to try before the summer ends, this is it! :)


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