Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Feathers: Modern or Vintage

I adore feathers. In fact I'm totally in love with them. I think they are so whimsical and fun to add to a display or even clothes. They float and seem so graceful but are really funky and I love that they can be for the adventurous.

I decided early to incorporate feathers into my wedding. I love the idea. Of course I do, it's my wedding :) But even more so, others love my idea and I'm working with a fabulous designer of unusual bouquets that I think will be just Ba-na-nas.

I was asked one day about what other vintage pieces are going to be incorporated in the wedding and that confused me, till they mentioned the feathers. So I ask...

Are feathers vintage or modern?

I mean you see them in vintage looks for sure, but I think feathers can be completely modern. I mean they are one of the Hottest Fall Trends right now! They are everywhere and they are glorious!

Like this!

Now granted I think they can be fabulous in vintage things like so:

but really I believe feathers are universally fabulous, they don't have an era! They move gracefully from the mid century to now and just evolve even more. Feathers are the perfect accessory to add drama on or in anything. From hats on Vegas showgirls to hats in Saks Fifth Avenue. They can be amazing peeking out in your hair or just be the star on a skirt that makes it the "must have" in a girls closet. They can be demure by just floating or be the center of a glamorous centerpiece.

Therefore I say they are both, they are androgynous and they love being loved by all.
More love for feathers, don't be afraid of them, embrace them.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fruit Recipes

I love mixing foods with fruits. I love fruits in general in fact, they might just be some of my most favorites food. I always feel better after I eat some fruit. That said, here are two recipes that I love and have made over and over again that showcase fruit! They are healthy, quick and so simple to make not to mention they taste delish!

Melon Mint Salad
1 cantaloupe
1 honeydew
1 qt of strawberries (washed)
2 pints of blackberries or blueberries (washed)
1/2 bunch of Basil
1/2 bunch mint leaves
3 Tbsp. honey (I've made this with simple syrup, sugar, brown sugar, or splenda)
2 Tbsp lime juice
a dash of cayenne pepper

Clean the melons and skin them. Slice them into bite size pieces and put in a large bowl. Quarter or halve the strawberries into the bowl with the melon. Mix in black/blueberries. Take the leaves off the stem and roll up the leaves and chiffonade (slice very thinly) the basil and mint. sprinkle into the fruit.

In a small bowl, add the lime juice, honey and cayenne pepper. Mix until the honey is dissolved. Taste it, you want a bit of bitterness b/c the fruit will add their sugars to the flavor. Mix into the fruit and cover. Is best made a night before, but can be made 2 hours before serving.

Toss the fruit before serving to get an even mixture. Enjoy!

Mango Chicken Stir-fry (Serves 2)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 large mango, sliced thin
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1/2 cup green onion, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups broccoli (flowers and stems)
1 Tbsp ginger root, peeled minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
1 lime, juice of
1 tsp chili flakes
cornstarch (optional)

Prepare all ingredients in advance: mince the ginger and garlic, slice the mango, green onions, red pepper, and chicken, and cut the broccoli into flowers and stems.
Juice the lime, and combine the juice with the soy sauce, orange juice, and chili flakes.
Steam the broccoli until just tender.
Stir fry chicken in sesame oil until no longer pink in the center.
Add the ginger and garlic, and stir fry for 1-2 more minutes.
Add the red pepper, broccoli, and soy sauce mixture, and stir fry for about 3 minutes, until the pepper starts to soften.
Add the mango and continue to stir fry until the mango is heated through.
Stir in the green onions, and add some cornstarch to thicken the sauce, if desired.

I love to serve this over barley or rice. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Body Image

This post is difficult for me to write as I'm never really been this open about myself and my secret battle with my body...

I have been dieting for the last 15 months 3 weeks and now 3 days. I have been on this medical liquid diet to help me achieve this...well who am I kidding, it's the only way I've been able to achieve, because my body hates me. Now I know what you are thinking but it is true. I will give you some insight to my body and it's hatred for me.

I eat healthy. Really, really healthy. I work out and I go to the doctor on a regular basis. I've always been aware of the health conditions in my family that could cause me problems. My grandmother on my mother's side had Diabetes, Cancer (due to smoking), high blood pressure; on this side we also have a history of thyroid conditions, obesity, and alcoholism runs rampant. My father's side has the high blood pressure, strokes, bad backs, and cancer (mostly skin). I know you're thinking that's a lot. So I've always been aware of these and have lived to eat healthy. I was Vegan for 7 years, Vegetarian for 8 and stayed away from red meats for 10 years at one point in my life. I didn't know what a lot of processed foods were and I didn't choose to know. I was happy with my body, then it decided to turn on me.

It all started during sophomore of High School. At 15 I started getting a bad back. I had to stop working out so much and it started a 2 year process of chiropractors, epidurals, steroids, back chairs, crawling, MRI/CAT scans and numerous NUMEROUS doctor visits, all finally to end at December 10th when I had back surgery and they removed a disk and shaved off a spur. But, those two years had caught up with me, I went from my lovely size 10 to a 14. Still I was okay with that, I understood why my body did morph into that size and I thought I am in control. I met my fiancĂ© then and went off to culinary college. There for some reason, people needed me to try all of these high fatty processed foods, Twinkies being one of the most particularly nasty choices. My fiancĂ© who was a Meat and Potatoes guy, he didn't understand my affinity to salads and not eating big meals and loved to take me to buffets. Then my back started acting up again. I pleaded with it to stop; I even did the exercises to no gain. I went back to the doctor who said I need more iron in my body. I explained I'm eating spinach and every iron rich food possible, and he said except for meat... I hated that he was right and I pleaded with him to not do the meat thing, I said I'm taking iron pills. He said it's not enough, you need to eat meat. So in late 2001 I started eating meat, again. It was bad, I'm not going to bore you with the gory details, let’s just say, it wasn't pretty.

I was still a size 14 but that was going to change very soon. I started taking Depo, as "The Pill" was not for me. It didn't matter if I was eating a cup of fruit or a block of cheese; I gained steadily 1/2# a week. After 9 months, a bitch fest (where I slapped D) and easily 70# heavier, I stopped taking the Depo and switched to an IUD. But the damage was already done. The medical weight was impossible to remove. I could eat anything and stay steady. I was like this for 4 years, I was miserable.

Finally I went to a doctor who diagnosed me with PCOS (a pre-diabetic condition which basically gives adult acne, cysts in the ovaries, and hormone imbalances that cause weight to stubbornly hang around). They started giving me metabolic medicines, I gained weight. They tried other medicines, I gained weight. Finally after 20# heavier I went in there, and they said I would need gastric surgery. I balked; I was like how if you don't even know what is causing the weight gain, would a life threatening surgery be a good idea for me, considering I don't eat unhealthy. They agreed and moved me to Northwest Hospital where I met Dr. Kanter and his medical team (Randy, Karen & Deanne) and he put me on his Optifast Program.

I was skeptic to say the least, it was going to be easily $5000 for a year of it and I didn't think it was going to work. But, Randy was very nice and easy to talk too, so I tried it. 4 months of drinking these opti drinks 1 every 3 hours, to total around 6; or 960 in calories.

You cannot imagine my utter delight when the first week I did the drinks I dropped weight! 4# in fact and it continued I lost a glorious 45# with the Opti, and they were ecstatic and started me into food again. That is where everything went downhill and is where I sit today. I lost a total of 55# since January 2007 and 50 of that was from January to April. I never got the success back even going back to the drinks. I have been stable pretty much since then.

Now if you are still awake, and you still don’t know why my body hates me. I will tell you. It doesn’t matter what I do, what I eat, how much I eat. I was eating 900 calories sustaining a body that usually needs 1900 calories and it didn’t care. I could eat pancakes one evening and not change weight and eat a healthy meal of about ¼ of those calories and be up in weight. It didn’t matter! I took countless blood tests, everything was normal. My body acts like I have a thyroid condition but it says I don’t. It acts like I have a hormone imbalance but according to the tests, I’m completely normal. Do you get it now?

I just stopped caring, and finally called it quits to my diet last Thursday. Apparently my body is going to stay this size and way no matter how many work outs I do or what the doctors give me to eat. I told Randy, Karen, and Deanne that and they understood and said give it 6 months we will send letters every week to let you know we didn’t forget you. I ate for the first time in practically 2 years, what I wanted to eat, I ate all my meals and didn’t drink one…and lost 2# *Throws arms up* I give up I get it! You hate me body, I just would like to know why…

If only I were a real blog...

I've been thinking I need to post more, but the problem is I don't really get out there to the new restaurants anymore. So that got me thinking...

I would like to still post about the restaurants but I would like to blog about other things: Recipes, weight issues I am currently having, maybe my favorite new food binge, etc.

It all goes without saying that I will for sure try to post about things often and hopefully that will trigger other thoughts and this will actually become a real life blog!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pearl - Bellevue

Sunday Evening D and I decided to try out Pearl, the new hip restaurant in Lincoln Square across from the Westin. We walked down around the Lincoln Square to the entrance where the music was extremely loud. The front entrance was interesting, dark and mysterious with a random rock and tear glass art piece in the tiny area between doors. We walked into the seclusion of the modern Pearl. The extremely sultry looking hostess was polite as I looked around she asked us if we would like a table. The place was quite slow as I saw maybe 5 tables in there.

The interior was a bit eclectic. I say that in the nicest possible way but the top half of the restaurant was gorgeous inlaid wood and the rest of place reminded me of 70's chic and not in a good way. Everything was made to look expensive and all of it combined, looked cheap and fake, with sheer curtains and gray decor everywhere, it was to put, very austere; but the hostess was pleasant enough so we sat down.

We received the menus and got down to business. D noticed a few appetizers that looked appealing but couldn't really drool appropriately over the entrees'. We ended up deciding on a Roasted Heirloom beets salad that sounds exciting and interesting with the greek feta and he decided on the House Salad.

As anyone knows the house salad should be unique to the restaurant and I think make a statement of what they want people to think of when dining in their establishment. Unfortunately it made me of think of overpriced and oily lettuce with random chunks of tomato. Even the blue cheese vinaigrette that when made properly should explode in people's mouth as they try to lap up every bite of it, was oily and dare I say commercialized. The lackluster vinaigrette overpowered the delicate and buttery Bibb lettuce so much that you should have been eating the overused mesclun mix for all you could taste. It saddened me to see such beautiful ingredients be abused in such a way.

I was excited for the Heirloom beets, a wonderful treat as not enough people use them to their full potential and when done well are so sweet they are like candy.

The salad looked pretty, although for a beet salad was lacking beets! I counted 4 chunks of beets and mound of mesclun greens. I hopefully take a bite of the lettuce to taste the brightness of the citrus vinaigrette and came crashing down to the ground with the amount of salt and oil in my mouth. I look up at my partner with dismay, it was so salty so I try it with the beets, alas no citrus there either, and just one dimension roasted beets. And, even though the beets were deliciously roasted, they were not enough to save the salad that was almost $10! I was so disappointed and that started the slowly winding path downward.

We tried bravely for the second course. D ordered the Juniper Braised Pork Shoulder with warm potato salad while I did the Pan-roasted Free-range Chicken with wild mushrooms and instead of the fries with it, I did the caramelized onion smashed potatoes, both were recommended by our server as excellent choices.

They came and executive chef knew how to present! The two courses both smelled wonderful and were glistening from their sauces.

I thought this can't be that bad, I noticed the sliver of fresh mushrooms and while I usually prefer chunks of them to get the full earthiness I didn't discriminate. I tried the potatoes and was slightly disappointed they had no flavor, just chunks of what seemed to be undercooked potatoes that were slightly bitter. I sighed and went bravely onward to the chicken. The chicken was cooked perfectly, moist and pink and just swimming in the natural jus. I take a bite, closing my eyes to lean in and savor…my eyes popped open. The amount of garlic in the sauce made my eyes water, I tried another bite, no good! Garlic! Everywhere garlic was seeping from every morsel of chicken and mushrooms. I take it all apart trying to find the sweetness of a free-range chicken, but alas they smothered it all with the overpowering jus.

My partner liked his pork shoulder but knew where he could find a better one for a 1/3 of the price. I tried a few bites and was disappointed to not even taste the junipers, the pork while cooked brilliantly was still very greasy and not flavorful at all and the warm potato salad was just subpar.

I couldn’t even try for two desserts so we just asked for one. We went for the White Chocolate Banana Cream dish; it was suppose to be a pastry cream with shortbread cookies, fresh bananas and a butterscotch sauce.

It came, again presentation was nice, but the piece of dried banana on top left much to be desired, and don’t even try to eat it, as it was chewy and wafer thin. I keep thinking the shortbread cookie should be good, and I’m sure it was if you like bricks! It was the hardest thing to break without pieces fly across the table and the cream was so sweet it overpowered the butterscotch sauce, which as we know is hard to do. It was so lackluster I didn’t even try to finish it. Once you got the cookie in your mouth it was tasteless and hard.

Our server while polite and nice was a bit of a flake, disappearing for long moments and then not bringing the things we asked of her. It seemed to me they took more time in getting the pretty girls/boys in there and not so much experience, I dare say I thought I was surrounded by models the whole time.

Overall I give this place a C- and don’t plan on going back.

Pearl Bar & Dining

Lincoln Square

700 Bellevue Way NE, Ste 50

Bellevue, WA 98004

T: 425-455-0181

W: www.pearlbellevue.com