I have been digging through the photos that I took on our West Texas vacation and can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since we got back. Because I just can’t narrow it down, this recap is likely going to be a multi-part blog post — I need to share the detail of every.single.bite. I ate and lots of fun pictures too. First up: Austin! Austin, despite being about 100 degrees, was totally and completely awesome. We fell in love with the cute little house bars on Rainey Street, browsed through the vintage shops in the South Congress area, and tried many, many tacos to try and nail down a favorite (barbacoa tacos at Torchy’s were the winner!). A few more favorites from our Austin stay were…. IMG_3655.JPGElizabeth Street Cafe. When I was doing research for our trip, I happened upon Elizabeth Street Cafe through Mackenzie’s Austin recommendations and decided to check it out for ourselves! I love the super bright space with quirky little teapots and floral wallpaper, and the outside had a bright pink and turquoise paint scheme that was so cheery and cute. We had the pork belly buns and spicy pork meatball bahn mi — and I couldn’t pass up the macarons in the pastry case when we were leaving — they were delicious!DSC_0001IMG_3732.JPGDSC_0008 copy

Hillside Farmacy. I’d seen pictures of the Hillside Farmacy on Instagram and knew we had to go here. The striped awnings and bright green facade reminded me of our wedding color scheme, so I was sold even before we walked in. We ate here for brunch and I was prepared to go for eggs or pancakes, but then I saw a piping hot skillet of the mac and cheese walk by our table and I had to order some of my own. I am quite glad it did — it was super rich and delightfully tasty (and I washed it down with a wasabi bloody mary, yum!).

IMG_3695.JPGDSC_0016Barton Springs. This place was amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it! Given that the temperatures were creeping  up into the hundreds during out trip, a little respite from the heat was very welcome. It was part pool, part lake, one-hundred-percent refreshing once we jumped in.

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Josephine House. Our meal at Josephine House was phenomenal and the restaurant design was nothing but impeccable. We got there just as the light was fading and I didn’t get any pictures of the interior, but trust me when I say it was gorgeous — take a look at some of the gorgeous pictures on their website. The best part of the meal was dessert: a honey panna cotta with Texas figs and ginger-oat streusel — heavenly. It was just the treat we needed before heading off on the next leg of our trip! DSC_0021

 

We celebrated our 1-year anniversary a little early with a trip to Napa and San Francisco last weekend — I was traveling for work in the area so we decided to make a mini-vacation out of it! I know most people visit Napa and drink their way through the region, but I think we actually spent more of our time eating our way through. We wandered through Oxbow Public Market and feasted on Hog Island Oysters (paired with a rosé of course) and then made our way to Gott’s Roadside for burgers (paired with a milkshake of course). And we did manage to do tastings at a few vineyards (Robert Sinksey was our favorite, they had  tasty little snacks paired with the wines and the whole place had a laid back atmosphere).  We ended our day strolling through downtown Yountville — I had perhaps the tastiest salad of all time at Redd Wood — an asparagus, bacon, and burrata salad, yum! Before we left to drive down to San Francisco the next day we made an obligatory stop at Bouchon Bakery, where I had a croissant for breakfast and of course couldn’t leave without picking up some macarons for the road!

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This weekend I tackled a fun item on my 30 before 30 list: baking macarons from scratch! I took a class last summer (and marked that off my list too!) which was super helpful background when trying to recreate them on my own. The verdict: I was 50/50 on macaron success. I made a batch of lemon macarons that were  a bust, they lost their shape and cooked unevenly. But batch #2 — a raspberry macaron with raspberry champagne butter-cream filling — came out great. They weren’t perfect, but they were tasty and looked pretty good! I filled up a footed bowl with them and brought them off to Easter celebrations.

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I was picking up a few weekend supplies (ie: cheese plate rations) at Trader Joe’s this evening and made a detour down the dessert aisle only to find a frozen sampler of TJ’s macarons. I felt it was my duty to share this very important information with my readers, as a public service announcement. I will warn you, they’re not as light and fluffy as homemade macarons (which I know from my cooking class experience!) — but at just $4 for a dozen, they are totally worth it. I have completely demolished one full row already, cassis and salted caramel were my favorites, just in case you were wondering. 

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Last year after my birthday I wrote up a “30 before 30” list of things I wanted to accomplish and do — and the tastiest of goals on that list was to learn how to bake macarons. This weekend I tackled both by taking a macaron baking class at Sur La Table with sister and our friend! My greatest takeaway from the class was that now I understand why macarons are so expensive — it ain’t easy to make them! But our awesome teacher gave us lots of tips to perfect this tricky baking skill. We made some delicious flavors: mint with chocolate espresso ganache, strawberry with champagne butter cream, and then the wild card… bacon macarons with maple cream filling. I will totally try making them again (on a less humid weekend!) and am already hunting for my next cooking class to take because we had so much fun. And bonus: I now have 2 dozen macarons to snack on this week! Macaron 1Macaron 3Macaron 2Macaron 4 Macaron 5 Macaron 6 Macaron 7

It seems almost like this was already months ago, but it was just last week that I spent a few days in San Francisco (my first time!) for work. I have to say, it may be one of my favorite cities I’ve ever visited. Of course it helped that right after stepping off the plane I made my way to the Ferry Building and discovered the macarons and sea-salted caramels at Miette; one bite and anyone would have fallen love! Another highlight of the trip? Playing tourist and seeing two equally important landmarks: the Golden Gate bridge and of course the row of painted ladies houses from the opening of Full House (a childhood dream come true seeing them in real life!).  I promise I got some work done while I was there too!

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With all of the craziness in Boston and some last-minute wedding planning, I took an unintentional two-week blogging hiatus, oops!  But I’m back in action with some very cute pictures to share, a few sneak peeks of the amazing bridal shower my best friends and sister threw for me over the weekend. I can not wait to share all of the gorgeous pictures of their hard work but in the meantime I had to post a few snapshots from my phone of the decorated mantel that I opened presents in front of, and of course the money shot: a giant stack of ombre macarons on the dessert table. 

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Life has been a little crazy lately, which is why I’m posting a weekend review on a Tuesday and including highlights from the previous week. I was in NY for several days last week for work and for fun; my awesome co-workers know me so well and gifted me some very tasty macarons as a goodbye present (I’m starting a new job next week!). And while in NY I also got to visit with family and friends, which meant dinner overlooking Bryant Park, shopping with Mom (how cute are those PJs?) and a trip to the farmer’s market with my sister — where we skated past the veggie stand and honed in on the chocolate-stuffed croissants. I’m back now and  am enjoying a few days off before I start the next chapter, which hopefully includes a little more time for updating this blog! SFTW

 

The snow started falling in Boston on Saturday and it made me feel like the holidays were officially here. I snagged some really cute metallic wrapping paper and tinsel bows while I was out shopping — I can’t wait to start wrapping presents with these. And Sunday I found the holy grail at Trader Joes: Peppermint Mocha macarons in a bright shocking pink — this box was just a ‘test’ to make sure they lived up to expectations for some holiday entertaining — and they certainly did!

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It was a pretty amazing weekend; I had tons of fun celebrating my fiance’s birthday at the delicious Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston. Saturday was spent sourcing some eye-catching treats at Macaron Sweeterie. And Sunday was the cherry on top of a fun weekend, working on a styled shoot with two of my best friends — check back tomorrow for a sneak peek! How did you spend your weekend?
My new cooler tote is c/o Scout by Bungalow