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Archive for the ‘Flavors’ Category

Copper Beech

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Although I’ve only visited interior designer Thomas O’Brien’s New York City shop AERO but once, I’ve had probably at least a dozen dreams since then that I’m there again, fawning all fanboy-style over the vintage/modern treasures Thomas is personally pointing out to me.

After 25 years of AERO, O’Brien is launching a brand new store inside a beloved old building.

CopperBeechLongIsland

What was once Wallen’s Market in the Long Island town of Bellwort Village, has been thoughtfully transformed by O’Brien and his partner Dan Fink into Copper Beech.

CopperBeechStore

Stocked with AERO-like antique accessories and furniture, Copper Beech sets most of its attention to the kitchen with an earthy assortment of utensils, vessels, and baskets, as well as pantry-packing canned, jarred, and dried goods.

CopperBeechGoods

CopperBeechPhoto

It’s small town living at its flax-y ‘n foxiest. There’s three weekends left this summer to suss out Beech’s chic seeds and antiques before the shop is fully functional next summer.

CopperBeechThomasOBrien

ThomasOBrienShop

I probably won’t be able to pop in to check it out ’til 2017, but odds are I’ll dream I’m cruising through Copper Beech basically any night now.

Homemaking Granola

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

I was never very into fancy granola. And neither GQ nor Gwyneth Paltrow nor any Tumblr-ing styled blog has recently told me I should start getting into grandiose granolas. But in the past few weeks those expensive bakery bags of granola I never would’ve bothered paying for before suddenly started seeming crazily cravey to me. Still not enough so to pay like $9.75 a bag for though, and so I thriftily and swiftly made my own.

And it tastes totally like Christmas cookies!

HomemadeGranola

Barely sweet and loaded with pebbles of pecans, it reminds me of butter cookies or sugar cookies or something like that, but its obviously way better for you – me.

I based my base recipe off this one – just cause it popped up first on Pinterest. For the fat I used coconut oil, for the sweetener I used some agave syrup I’ve been trying to get rid of for years, for the nuts I did sunflower and pepita seeds plus chopped pecans, and for the spices I used just a whisper’s worth of cinnamon.

I wanted my granola a little on the dark side so I kept baking mine for four or maybe more minutes. Next time I may add some dried fruit – but this time all my body and mind cared about was over-toasted oats and uber-roasted nuts.

Taking The Cake

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

NapaCakes

Revered as the original power bar, Panforte literally means “strong bread.” Solidly spiced and tougher than hockey pucks, Panforte packs nuts and dried fruit into a dense little disc of dessert-worthy nutrition.

NapaCake

I’d never had Panforte before, but since the makers at Napa Cakes wrap up their sugar-coated power pellets so sweetly, I thought I’d get a jump on the holidays with some Sienna-style fruitcake and give one a try!

Soul Food

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Since I won’t eat actual chicken anymore, I’m hoping these down home-style Chicken & Waffles potato chips are, somehow, weirdly vegetarian.

Whoever in Minneapolis finds me a bag first will become my boo.

Stocking Unstuffing

Friday, December 28th, 2012

The thing with me is: No one, not even the great and powerful Hurly, can ever be sure which gifts will really wow me, and possibly earn their way into the hallowed archives of The Treasury. Here’s what tickled my 2012 fancy and made the final, blog-worthy cut!

I don’t know if any of these Asian candies will even enter my mouth. But their packaging is totally eastern on the front, and then Helvetica-banal western on the sides. I told Hurly they belonged in a movie I could’ve once made about a sour but sweet-toothed U.N. representative circa 1973.

Hurly played no part in the gifting of this vintage Madonna pin. My sister did. Since, after all, it was she who I’d taught the dance in the “Vogue” video to after I’d carefully learned it myself back when we were kids.

This Welsh Corgi figure was the present that brought the biggest smile to my face for the longest spell. It looks just like our goofy guard dog, Aesop, and I knew instantly it was a gift I’d have laying on the various dressers and bookshelves of every home I’ll ever live in until the day I die.

I also got some carrot-y scented hair gunk from the brand that has the same name as my dog. I didn’t smile as big or long about it. It sometimes takes a lot to melt my freezing little heart.

A few Christmases ago I received a Mexican Bingo game that I love playing with my niece and nephew because it teaches me Spanish. I can now say Watermelon, Canoe, and Black Man in Spanish – La Sandia, La Chalupa, El Negrito. This set of rhyming dominoes might be less educational for me, but my nephew turned six on Christmas so he and I should get a few years worth of joy out of them.

One night after one of my niece’s school plays we went out for pizza and some of her sporty schoolmates were wearing these pom pom hats with the name of their school on it. I liked the retro, suburban, athletic look of them, said so, and now I have one for myself; allowing me to accessorize just like the jock-y, hockey-loving boy that I totally never was back in my own school days.

This tooth brush’s jet black bristles are made partly of charcoal, which is a natural purifier. Color me intrigued!

I don’t know what I love more. Gymnastics, or playing Wii, or watching Shawn Johnson “Aw, shucks” her way through the Norman Rockwell poster that is her life. Now I can combine all those loves, plus the thrill of “designing” my own video game gymnast with this possibly life-affirming Wii game.

And then lastly, a happy pack of HawCakes. Whatever those are. The first ingredient is something called haw, if that at all helps.

I hope that your holidays were wondrous and filled with pins of pop stars you learned the dances of when you were 14, and candies you’d make movies of, if you ever made movies. I am pretty positive 2013 is gonna be better than 2012 was. It’s gotta be.

Going Nuts

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Lately I’ve been way too wrapped up with getting two seasons up to speed on the many dirty deeds of Nucky Thompson to be bothered with such underling-ish tasks as shelling my own pistachios.

But the beautiful, Boardwalk-y bag these Bazzinni’s brand nuts come packaged in are worth the extra work.

And makes me hear calliope music and bootleggers being shot almost every time I unfold the pack.

Suddenly This Summer

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Yeah, so suddenly this summer I’m wearing a brand of sandals I never thought I would.
(Cause the soles are white like a Red Wing boot or something!)

And I’m stocking up on double-bar packs of chocolate from Iceland.

And I’m sporting a Panama Hat two or three times a week.

I’m also rooting hardcore for happy-headed gymnast Gabby Douglas, going Nuts on my iPad, wondering if Fiona Apple isn’t too old now to be freaking her own self out so darn much, and last night I finished  Girl Gone.

What have you all suddenly been up to?

Life-Changer: The Tides South Beach

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

When traveling, I typically like to save all the splurging for the shopping or the sightseeing – and not the hotel room. But for our two and a half day stay in Miami, we reversed our position and booked a fine, fancy suite on the fifth floor of The King & Grove Tides South Beach.

We’ve stayed at some allegedly luxe establishments before, but The Tides was the first hotel Hurly and I have ever stayed in that completely silenced our (semi)-sarcastic snobbery. Revamped by design deity Kelly Wearstler, The Tides shimmers with brassy beauty from top to bottom.

Walking around Miami’s a bit like being bombarded with fireworks. It’s color, heat, light and noise bursting everywhere around you, so stepping into Wearstler’s dimmed and muted space is striking initially in its serenity and restraint.

As your eyes and ears adjust to the aesthetic hush, Wearstler’s signature boldness then shifts into focus through avant-garde furnishings like side chairs ensnared in sea rope, and table lamps seemingly snatched, half-finished, from some Caribbean potter’s beach-side studio.

The revival of Miami’s endless empire of art deco hotels tend to tether their redesigns too tightly to a 1930s rehash of old glamour, whereas Wearstler’s work with The Tides exudes a more eclectic and earthier aura of glitz that references everything from Druids to Dali to Dynasty.

Up in the air of the beach-view suites, the feel is lighter, cheerier, but still serene.

I spent quite a bit of time in our room wondering how many guests had, like me, considered swiping the pony-hide upholstered desk chair, and the arched brass lamp, and the fossilized wood cocktail table-ettes.

The quiet pool was situated in the shade of the mezzanine level in the rear. Capped by two epic cabanas on each side, the water was warm and reviving, and every time I dipped in I had a devil of a time ever getting out. (Even Hurly, a non-swimmer if I ever knew one, lapped it up.)

Eventually a snorkeling excursion in Key Largo pulled us out of The Tides, but before it did, I wanted to soak up a few more drops of paradise.

We stopped back into the main lobby restaurant for a made-to-order glass of fresh-squeezed carrot/apple juice, an old favorite I hadn’t enjoyed since before I got old.

Considering how much I enjoyed every single second of being at The Tides, one would think that I’d miss it immensely. But I sorta don’t – just because, I feel very grateful I was able to stay there at all (thanks, Hurly), and moreso: because already I can tell that I’m carrying the peaceful, beautiful feel of luxury that The Tides has perfected into how I’m gonna live from now on.

Florida For The 14th Time

Monday, June 4th, 2012

There was a wedding in Sarasota last weekend I initially attempted to weasel out of attending. When that didn’t seem to be working, I bartered with Hurlyburt for a post-wedding splurge of a sidetrip to Miami as my reward for smiling politely through the sweatiest marriage ceremony ever endured.

Florida is like my own personal mob. Every time I try and get out for good, something sneaky always pulls me back in. If nothing else, the sunshine state’s one enormous set for the photo shoot that my life basically is.

I mean, even the airport elevators and same lame chain drug stores that we have in Minnesota tend to be more beautiful in Florida.

Also working in Florida’s favor is the presence of Krispy Kreme donuts/shops – completely extinct in my state since about 2006.

Shopping-wise, this trip was a bummery bust. I bopped optimistically to Zara, and Armani Home, and 1111 Lincoln Road, and, last but not least, The Webster Miami, and didn’t snag even a single souvenir during my six day vaycay.

I left with something a little better, though, I think. A serene and cinematic stay in my favorite hotel ever, The Tides South Beach, that I’d say was sorta life changing.

An entire Tides post is obviously in order (and on its way).

Santa Tracker 2011

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

St. Nick must’ve sent a team of his elves to Mumbai this past year to set-up a satellite workshop in order to stuff my 2011 stocking. Cause he ended up leaving me a stash of beautiful Indian treasures this Christmas, like this nano-sized pill box and citrus-scented soap.

And this sparkling vintage cricket ball!

My household Santa rejected this box of Elephant brand noodles as an “official” Christmas present, so I was handed it, unwrapped/unceremoniously, early on the 24th as a reject gift. But its packaging was so cheery and charming, it’s earned “official” status in my heart.

I don’t drink soda pops all that much anymore, but I still have a super strong sweet tooth for unique, extinct, or international soft drink (bottles). We’ll see what this CocaCola branded, coconut water-colored Limca goes down like.

After departing India, Santa’s sleigh must’ve stopped in England somewhere along his journey to my house to pick up this vintage postcard book featuring the small town in England in which I was born. Although it was a gift for me, it was my Mom and Dad who most enjoyed flipping through the photographic reminders of the first place they called home as husband and wife.

Santa didn’t forget to Buy American this year though, and these Thurmoc Slippers from Hickorees are not only puppy belly-soft, inside and out, but they’re packaged in the greatest, grandfather-ish box.

Kris, Kelly, and Sabrina showed up on Christmas too…

With a 34-year old piece of gum and a sticker of Kris on one of her earliest cases.

Petrified, deadstock chewing gum is quickly becoming the hipster sweet of the year, if no other blog’s told you so just yet.

New York Stories pt. 2

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Our first full day in New York began at the Doughnut Plant. It wasn’t situated near any of the shops we’d assigned ourselves to visit, but when there’s playful Pistachio, Creme Brulée, and Peanut Butter Frosted/Jelly Filled doughnuts baked fresh in the city I’m waking up in, I’m gonna do whatever needs to be done to try them out.

The bulk of the day was spent in Soho. There were very few shops I cared to return to from my 2005 visit to New York, but Opening Ceremony was definitely one of them.

Although last time the shop was just a floor and a half worth of inventory, and now its spread out over two adjacent buildings with staircase after staircase leading to endless levels of sequin bow ties for him and lucite pumps for her.

The two-headed or pinata-topped mannequins throughout were every bit as kooky-cool as the merchandise. I’d thought about picking up a Carhartt blazer for myself there, but like every blazer manufactured anywhere in the Milky Way since the early 1920’s, even the Small was way too Not-Small for me.

To keep up our strength we stopped into the Mariebelle Chocolate shop where I ordered a hellishly hot Banana/Milk Chocolate drink.

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced Hot Chocolate so thick it needs to literally be chewed, but now you at least know someone who has. I almost needed a damn fork to finish my “drink”.

Near the end of the day, my shopping dry-spell was broken at last when a mix-matched set of vintage Italian dishes were snatched up at Aero, and a sparkly slab of pyrite was unearthed at Evolution. On the subway ride back to the hotel, I started to realize I was going to need to base the success of my New York trip on something other than how many shopping-bags worth of sweaters and bookends I slammed into my suitcase once it was over. I vowed to enjoy my visit, and my hunt for new treasures, regardless of how much I ended up buying/not buying.

While still in Minneapolis, I’d made dinner reservations for Friday night at the Oyster Bar under Grand Central Station.

It seemed just the sort of place Holden Caufield would’ve weaseled his way into and then out of, filled with all sorts of over-drawn characters.

In fact we sat at a table next to two college prep pricks who, now that I think about it, I know Holden would’ve royally hated.

But watching the almost fictional-feeling Taiwanese tourists, and lackadaisical latin waiters, and jock-itchy jerks around you is exactly what makes dining at The Oyster Bar so Salinger-esque, and so New York.

Bar Keeping

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

When I first came across a pair of open Mountain Valley Spring Water bottles they were so Pre-War lovely that I assumed they were vintage props disguised as cocktail-hour carafes.

But I was wrong, which makes our world a little more right! Bottled at the source in Garland County, Arkansas in gorgeous green glass, Mountain Valley is available in sparkling or still varieties at the swankier of the Twin Cities supermarket chains.

So slap on some striped suspenders and mix yourself something super stiff with Mountain Valley on my behalf. I’m probably gonna just take mine straight.