Friday, November 20, 2015

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Mango shirt | J.Crew pants | Banana Republic trench | Cole Haan shoes | Kate Spade necklace

Oh Thanksgiving, come quickly! Of course, then December will dash by and Christmas will careen through and it'll be New Year's and hi hello 2016?!

Time to relish the remaining gleams of fall foliage (which always feels oh so fleeting) before the onslaught of the cold.

On a side note, Cole Haan's ZerøGrand Collection is très impressive. These shoes are hands down the lightest closed-toed shoes I've ever owned. I'd been looking for something that fit the bill of quality functionality and aesthetics, and although these more-than-fit-the-bill financially, they've proved their worth and more. Sorry, couldn't find the specific mint green color scheme online for the pair I'm wearing, but I purchased them in store at Nordstrom in August.

Wishing everyone a restful and rejuvenating Thanksgiving week! 

Station Kitchen Brunch: Washington, DC

Sunday, November 8, 2015

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Just a heads up: there's a lot goin' on here. But in a good way, like a bright-and-bubbly-new-brunch-in-town sort of way.

Embassy Row Hotel in Dupont Circle has recently undergone a major renovation and rebranding, and if they're targeting who I think they're targeting (aka people like me and likely you reading this), they done did good.

The restaurant, Station Kitchen & Cocktails, boasts a clean interior with art deco-esque furnishings and warm, modern accents. Considering I usually don't think of hotel restaurants when planning meals out, the efforts to differentiate Station Kitchen are impressive. The mini-mart of local artisan goods adjacent to the cafe is also a nice touch.

Staying true to its ties with hospitality, service was a strength here. From the bartender to the manager to our server to the cook (whew, what a mouthful), natural conversation and regular checkups ensured we felt welcome the entire duration of our meal.

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How could you say no to a face like that? Major thanks to the people who so warmly served us.

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The fruit plate? Très bien. The portion was a hearty size and each component oh-so-ripe - perfect for refreshing your palate in between savory entree bites. (Extra holla at the sweet & juicy pineapple).

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The Pork & Waffles with smoky pulled pork, corn bread waffles, and stewed apples: the real stunner of the show. The waffle crispiness endured the test of my extended picture-taking time, and the apple and pork topping was packed rich with savory-sweet flavor. I also appreciated the solid topping-to-waffle ratio - they definitely don't skimp on the meat here.

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Left is the Fried Rice with an egg sunny side up and spicy honey hoisin and right is the Chai Pancakes with earl grey poached plums and chantily cream. Though moderately innovative in theory, both were slightly lackluster in execution.

Anything including rice, scallions, and a subtly sweet flavor is a winner in my book, but the fried rice was a bit on the oily side for me (and thus the rice grains didn't hold very well together). Then again, if your palate hasn't been raised on Shanghainese father-homestyle fried rice, this paired with the ultiamte brunch protein is still a safe bet.

Truth be told, I should have tried the pancakes first. I really couldn't discern any hints of chai or earl grey after the savory umami of the fried rice took over my taste buds. The texture was fine - fluffy with crisp edges, but overall just your standard pancakes.

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Helloooo, presentation! These were to sooth our stomachs after the monster of our meal, and indeed, the dry smokiness was much appreciated.

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Smiles all around here, served with a side of Compass Coffee yes please!

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Taking it one more step, this was real good service and real cute decor. Food execution varied more across the spectrum, but with a menu curated in a simple New-American twist, it holds promise. Drinks also followed the creative trend. All in all, Station Kitchen successfully captures the essence of a fun and cheery brunch outing - if the food isn't a highlight, at least the experience and the people happily carry your stomach through. Thanks Station Kitchen!

Station Kitchen & Cocktails
Embassy Row Hotel
2015 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

Essential DC Cafe + Coffee Guide

Sunday, October 25, 2015

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'Twas a long time coming, but I did it!! I finally updated my Essential DC Cafe + Coffee Guide! Be it catch-up dates with visiting friends or study days needing liquid fuel, there's definitely something for everyone in DC's burgeoning coffee scene. Aka whether you're a cute-latte-art type (Caffe Afficionado has got it down) or a local-roaster-supporter type (Vigilante at Maketto), check it out!

Hellooo, artisan coffee culture. Now let us emotionally prepare for the arrival of Philz.

Steel Cut Oatmeal with Peaches, Skyr, & Coconut

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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Sooo we all know that if: fall, then: oatmeal. Ever since experiencing the bliss that is Grød (a porridge shop in Copenhagen), I've gone to town playing around with sweet and savory oatmeal variations with creative topping combinations.

Skyr is Icelandic yogurt - a bit like greek yogurt but thicker and less sweet. I assumed it wouldn't be too accessible upon returning to the States, but my fears were allayed upon discovering skyr actually manifest in the flesh in American grocery stores (Safeway, Whole Foods, & Market Street all carry Siggi's!). Anyhow, it has a pretty light flavor which makes it perfect as a base (or complement) for other toppings. I love pairing it a spectrum of textures especially as seen here: hearty + nutty steel cut oatmeal, soft + juicy peaches, and crisp + toasted coconut flakes.

Steel cut oats
1-2 ripe peaches, local if possible (aka farmers market!!)
Skyr or greek yogurt
Coconut flakes, sweetened or unsweetened

1. Cook yer oats - remember these are steel cut so they take a bit longer. Boil water, pour the oats in, let it return to a boil, and then turn it down to a simmer for 15-20 minutes (adding water as necessary if too much evaporates during the process). I don't really have a ratio of water to oats - honestly, pouring it in by eyeing it works just fine, and you can always add more oats/water if needed.
2. Toast coconut flakes on stovetop or toaster oven - watch them cause they burn real easy.
3. Top cooked oatmeal with sliced peaches, coconut, skyr, and a drizzle of honey.

Tropical Vibes | Global Pursuits

Saturday, October 10, 2015

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Abundance | Why We Suck at Being Happy

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I feel like this is big to why we get so belabored with the daily grind - why we so easily live the every day life under a canopy of fatigue rather than joy. Being abroad and alone the past summer triggered it: the realization of not just how much I have but how much surrounds me. Not to say that I was never aware, but this was when the implications hit me with the force of a bullet. 

I had never felt so utterly helpless, lonely, unequipped, out of place, and scared. I mean I love my personal time, but juggling unfamiliar surroundings and culture and work combined with alll the feels...not easy. Yet I’ve also never experienced such jubilance, awe, wonder, affirmation, strength, encouragement, and spirit.


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