Thursday, October 27, 2022

Book Review: Paris: Delight in the City of Light

I can't help but share this kind review of my book that was posted on Amazon. Thank you, J. Wagner!

Subtle Pleasures of Paris
- J. Wagner on Amazon

"It's been 10 years since we've honeymooned in Paris and this softcover travelogue by Anne Reeves reminds us of the precious and personal memories that make the City of Lights so special. Most travel guides provide the standard information and photos of famous sites (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, bridges over Seine bridges, etc.). While these sites should certainly be on everyone's itinerary, this book captures the sublime moments that stick with you over the years - window displays of pastries, baubles or ribbons, rooftop panoramas from Sacre Coeur, a whimsical pink cottage off the Champs Elysees, the perfect brunch laid out on your courtyard table, the endless offerings of the perfect dessert. The missing narrative of the opening scenes in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, this book fills a unique niche you won't find elsewhere. 

Leafing through Paris-Delight in the City of Light is like spending the afternoon on the couch with your best friend, and being treated to her photos, tidbits and tales of her recent trip to Paris. Each page has bright photos and personal captions, sure to trigger memories in those who have visited, and likely spurring motivation to travel for those who have not. A perk of website addresses for the hotel, haberdasheries and pastry shops is appreciated and will be put to use. Leave the heavy lifting of travel planning to a Rick Steves or Michelin guide; pack this lightweight coffee table book in your carry-on to guide you to the more subtle delights of Paris." 

What's Gaby Cooking: Meeting Gaby Dalkin

I was a wonderful to meet Gaby, author of Take It Easy: Recipes for Zero Stress Deliciousness, but the cookbook signing event itself could have been so much more fun. When you decide to go to an event, you want things to be great and this event was lacking the extras that become the talking points you tell people after a great outing. I know that they didn't plan on having Gabi cook or talk to the crowd, but I would have loved to shop a table of her favorite kitchen products. They could have had little place card markers with Gabi quotes "I've had a similar Crate & Barrel bowl set since I got married" or "I actually keep 3 sets of these measuring spoons in my kitchen to keep up with my big batch cooking." Something personal and unique to Gabi/Crate & Barrel and that we hadn't seen before.

I have followed What's Gaby Cooking for about 2 years now, ever since my cousin Carol served her oh-so delicious Avocado Peach Summer Salad. I read her Instagram posts and try her recipes all the time. It was big news when she announced Seattle's University Village as one of the few stops on her book tour. My friend Darcie and I made plans to go and then I found out that the Junior League of Seattle Sustainer group was going to attend this event as a social night. Fun! 

I knew people all over the enormous line of Gabi's fans, which was great, but why did we have to wait outside the store for 2 hours, instead of shopping as we waited (maybe with a number?) inside the store loaded with new holiday merchandise? It was puzzling to all of us.

It was great to meet Gaby. She was so kind and relaxed. My friends and I shared a few moments talking with her and she was wonderful.  

It was fine, but it could have been so much more fun if we could have had the store's new holiday product to admire and discuss while we waited. The cookbook looks great and I can't wait to try out her new recipes. 

And guess what was just announced? Gabi is going to have her own tv cooking show called My Best Friend's Kitchen! The promo was released on her social media channels, and it looks very well done. I can't wait. Good luck, Gabi!

Friday, October 21, 2022

Summer Colors in October in the Pacific Northwest

This is why I can't by mums. I mean, I buy mums but they are for my mom's patio. At my house, east of Seattle, it is October 21 and the roses and sweet peas are still producing bloom after bloom. We haven't had a freeze. The deer are being reasonable (for now). And I have more pink, yellow and dayglo pink buds coming. It's glorious, but it is not a Fall palette. Mums would look dumb. 

My sideboard, however, looks amazing with sweet peas and roses afire in a Target Magnolia Hearth & Home propagation vase. Fall is Relative.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

When Gourds Are Art: Gordon Skagit Farms

Last year, when I saw the gorgeous photos about family-run Gordon Skagit Farms that were published in the September issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine, I wrote "Gordon Skagit Farm Oct 1-31" in the sidebar of my calendar for October 2022. 

Do you ever do that? Make yourself notes so you don't miss the good stuff? Then I color copied the article and mailed it to my GardenComm friend who writes for the Seattle Times with a Post It saying, "We're going!" I like to let people know when I'm making big plans.
We went on a weekday afternoon to be able to take photos without the crowds. The selection is staggering. It's a wonderful to buy every color of unique gourd, squash and pumpkin right from the farm that grew them. We were told that they are experimenting with breeding too, so you may see some exclusive varieties when you visit. 
All of the displays are photo ready and I loved it. Why wouldn't you display your medium to its advantage? Honor the product. 
The specimens were beautiful and there were plenty of open areas to let your mind wander. There's room to think about what you really want in different displays at your home or business. It's terrific. And there are different color stories everywhere so you can consider everything. Here is a master list of pumpkin varieties to help you identify some favorites.
And bird house gourds! My mom and Dan have successfully converted a bird house gourd into a birdhouse - you can see it here. I bought my mom 2 gourds on this trip because I just couldn't decide.
There were other displays that made me want to question everything. The paintings (I assume created by Eddie because he mentioned sketching the large owl on Instagram) are incredible. This vignette (above) is worth the drive north to the Skagit Valley. To see the colors of the squash echoed up onto the canvas and then the trees and changing leaves reflecting down, with a false perspective of the farm going far into the distance blew my mind. I stood there thinking about how the squash, which Eddie grew, were as important to this painting as the paint. I wondered about a lot of things and none of it had to do with a pumpkin farm, which was weird. I was blown away and I didn't tell Eddie either, which is wrong. 

But I was in a family business, and I respect that the season to sell is S-H-O-R-T. He was busy with the day to day, and I could see that the gourds, squash and pumpkins the family had grown were the focus. There will be time to talk about art later. But holy cow, the art on site that supports the farm is stunning.
This year the farm opened to the public September 27 and was open through Halloween. We had a glorious day to walk around and explore. You must get out a pen and write "Gordon Skagit Farm" in the margin of your October 2023 calendar, ok?
I'd like to bring a large group of friends here for an afternoon next Fall. Wouldn't that be neat? Shopping the local nurseries and gift shops, having coffee and pie and then stopping here for heirloom pumpkins?
It's easy to make it sound good.
They have a small farm stand that sells local produce and honey too. I loved it and I am so pleased to have visited. I will be back again and again. Happy Fall everyone. And be sure to tell others when you find a treasure.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Lemon Slice Citrus Cookies

We have a contender! Have you been searching for an elegant and delicious lemon enough lemon cookie? I've found the winner.

And when you see how darling they are, you're interested, right? These are made with Nordic Ware citrus cookie stamps, using the recipe on the box, which technically uses lime but I swapped throughout for lemon. These cookies are so very good. 

My dear friend Amy gave me these for Christmas last year and said she bought them with the hope that we could make them together. Now I think that is wonderful. We went out to dinner at Saints & Scholars Pub first and then we came to my house to bake and glaze the cookies. I'd made the cookie dough ahead of time to give us a head start.

It was such a fun night and although it took us a few tries to get the dough to release from the cookie stamp, we got a whole batch successfully on the trays (we decided that the whole lemon slice was the most effective design) and they baked in no time. We decided to glaze each cookie on the back to make sure we preserved the perfect design on the front. 

This recipe is going to go in my "perfect" recipe folder - I loved the tender crumb and sharp lemon icing.

#nordicware #lemoncookies #lemondesserts #ilovelemon

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Saints & Scholars Irish Pub in Snoqualmie Impresses

Ribbon Cutting at Saints & Scholars 10-3-2022

I am thrilled to share an inside look at Saints & Scholars Irish Pub in Snoqualmie, Washington! Our dear friends, Amanda & Adrian spent the last 2.5 years pouring their heart and soul into this magnificent project and it is stunning. 
Amanda & Adrian share remarks with Mayor Katherine Ross

A view into the bar before the crowd streamed in

The ribbon cutting was at 2 o'clock and as everyone gathered, live bagpipe music brought a celebratory mood to the air. Mayor Katherine Ross spoke of the enormous challenge Amanda & Adrian had faced when taking on a new restaurant and bar. Little did anyone know that 6 months later we would face a global pandemic. The couple had always imagined expanding the kitchen to be able to serve a full menu and they definitely wanted to convert the space into an upscale Irish experience, but I don't think anyone thought that it could be this beautiful. Amanda is the secret sauce that that elevated this combination of tables, food and mood into an establishment to remember. And be drawn to again and again. 
A moment for a pint during an afternoon filled with bagpipe music

A drink with our neighbors Nicolette, Trevor and Dawn after the Ribbon Cutting

The Glendalough: Botanist Gin, Fresh Lemon, Cucumber, Basil, Lemon Agave

The custom millwork was made in Ireland.

Guinness & Shepherd's Pie and Fried Chicken Sandwich with Side Salad

Dan and I had the Shepherd's Pie and Fried Chicken Sandwich with a side house salad dressed in champagne vinaigrette. Yes, this is going to be very popular place. 

Look how beautiful this little hallway is! Each piece of art was chosen with care.

Amanda joined us for a little while to celebrate.

The Apothecary cabinet and botanical prints - a nod to the wonderful world of drinks and spirits.

The beautiful and bountiful selection of whiskey

Aqua lights are a mood

In the formal bar area, a stream of aqua light glows from beneath the bar to compliment the stained glass panels that were painted, fired and glazed in Ireland before being set in the wall at Saints & Scholars. The menswear suiting that lines the back of each leather barstool is a nod to the rich history of Irish tweeds and seeing this touch made my heart swell. 

Did you notice the hanging crystal decanters used as decorative lights in the front window? Do you remember where all of the beautiful cut glass crystal wine glasses came from when you were registering for your wedding? Ireland. These chandeliers bring a touch of jewelry to a beautiful ensemble called                Saints & Scholars Irish Pub. I insist you come and experience this 
bespoke Irish restaurant for yourself. 
Bailiey's Creme Brulee - someone's a genius

Bless Amanda, Adrian and their entrepreneurial spirit, for building this restaurant from scratch during a pandemic was a Master Class in design, planning and grit. Slainte!   

*Note: Saints & Scholars Irish Pub is wildly popular already and they are relying on Open Table to manage the reservations for dinner. You can check availability and reserve a table here.

#saintsandscholars #irishpub #irish #snoqualmie #snoqualmiewa #grandopening #newrestaurant #seattle #seattlerestaurants #seattlefoodie #finddelight