Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Break Adventure: State Capitols

When planning our drive from Boston to DC, we realized that we would be passing through numerous state capitols. Brandon and I decided that our new "thing" would be to take pictures in front of every state capitol building. Anybody want to build a custom photo frame for us in the shape of the US?? Here is a look of some of the stops along the way:
Providence, RI
Fun fact, two seconds later, a meter maid was writing Brandon a ticket. He dashed back across the street and said, "No we weren't parking, we were taking a picture," and she let us go! Another pit stop we made was for breakfast, at Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featured, Louis Family Restaurant.
Jeila bravely ordered the Poached Passion, without even asking what it was! Turned out to be a winner - English muffin topped with tomato, spinach, poached egg and topped with cheese. I had a basic two egg breakfast. The prices were dirt cheap and we got to eat alongside Brown's tree-hugging co-eds.
Then we were off to see more capitols:
Hartford, CT

Trenton, NJ
And finally we arrived in Philadelphia where we met up with Raha and Lindsey for dinner at Iron Chef, Jose Garces' restaurant, Village Whiskey. Yum!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Break Adventure: Boston

From Buffalo and Niagra Falls, we decided to take the long way to Boston. And by long, I mean looong. Brandon had to cross off Vermont and New Hampshire from the states he's driven through list. But before we left New York we made a stop in wine country - the Finger Lakes - and made a pit stop at Montezuma Winery. They are known for their Cranberry Bog and their BEE Vodka. They let us try six wines and had a large gift shop. Brandon has been to this part of New York once before when he visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. We were stoked to learn about the Cooperstown Beverage Trail, so now we definitely have to come back to the region and explore some more. In NH and VT we drove through some very pretty mountains but once it got dark, the roads had me a little nervous. 

It was so exciting to see the city lights as we pulled into Boston. Jeila is a Junior at The Boston Conservatory. It was also her Spring Break. She let us stay in her sweet apartment.

Brandon has a life goal to drive through all 50 states. So the next morning he suggested a quick drive north to Maine. Unlike Brandon, Jeila and I were not going there without making a stop. So breakfast in Maine it was. We stopped in the first town along the interstate, York, ME:
Our brunch spot was at The Stolen Menu Cafe. This place was busy with the after-church rush. The menu had so many choices. Jeila and I ended up sharing the juevos rancheros because it was something we've never had before and it was a little spicy. OMG freaking delicious. Drive there now. Brandon had the sticky bun french toast.

In desperate search of a Maine souvenir, we headed over to the Kittery Trading post. We ended up with a Christmas ornament and a picture with the giant moose.
Black bear photobomb!
Then we had to drive back to Boston to make it in time to meet my friend from elementary school, Elin.

Jeila lives near Fenway Park so we met up at Boston Beer Works. We did a flight of beer. My favorite was the Blueberry Ale which came with fresh Maine blueberries floating in the glass. Unfortunately, the bar snacks we ordered - pretzel bites and spinach artichoke dip - were disappointing.

After beer and munchies, the weather was so wonderful we decided to walk over to the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Yes, the hotel where Brandon and I met in August of 2006. Loved the nostalgia of it. Someday we will come back as guests.
We said goodbye to Elin, and headed to Newbury St. for ice cream at JP Licks. The next day we saw on the news that JP Licks was closed for business, at least that location. We were their last customers!!

The next morning we started by taking the T to the Samuel Adams Brewery. Our tour guide was a total geek and talked our ears off. The highlight was the tasting room where we got to taste 3 samples.
From there we got back on the subway and hopped on The Freedom Trail. There we so many great sites along the way.
Another Capitol
Our evening ended at The Barking Crab where we wanted to indulge in some New England seafood.
Fish n' Chips

Lobster Roll
The restaurant was a bit pricey but it was right on the water. The city skyline was gorgeous. We also saw someone order the the 10lb lobster at market price - $215 - yowzah! Dessert was had in Cambridge with John Harvard in the dark - tea and cupcakes!

The next morning we were off to DC!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Break Adventure: New York

I'm back! My whirlwind Spring Break road trip has come to an end. We left Carbondale Friday after work and drove through the night. Our friend Caitlyn in Columbus stayed up and we got to visit her at 1am! It was a short but nice visit. By morning, we had made it to Buffalo, NY. We looked up a place to have breakfast and chose the Lake Effect Diner because it was featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
The 1950s diner was saved and moved from Pennsylvania to Buffalo. So cute but very tiny! We started with the fresh-squeezed OJ. I ordered Eggs Benedict. Great decision!

My only complaint was that the hash browns could have been a bit crispier. Brandon had the Blizzard Breakfast, it was huge!
His sausage was house-ground and tasted delicious. It also came with a pancake topped with a big ball of sugary butter.
When we were done, it was a short drive to Niagra Falls.

Brandon Jr.
We explored the visitor's center first.
Then we headed outside, where we froze our butts off. But the view was worth it:
The mist turned into the snow that was falling on us.
Both Brandon and I had been here with our families before but it was our first time there together. We were glad we stopped and checked it off our list (and added it to the map).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lab Practical

Cram study session in the Logan library at 4pm today:

I got out of work a bit early which was awesome because our Anatomy lab practical was today. I headed straight to the library and studied my butt off. Then I took the exam. You know, the kind where you walk around the room and look at dead cats with pins stuck in them

I think I did good. Bring on Spring Break!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cooking Kabobs

Saturday night I was inspired to do some serious cooking. Iranian food was again on my mind. I've made kabobs a couple times, but have yet to master them. I also wanted to try basmati rice with tahdig. I have to say, that with the help of  this cookbook and My Persian Kitchen, I came close.  Check out my feast: 

According to Brandon, the meat was spot on (tasted just like my Dad's). I skewered the meat and cooked in over our grill pan. Not 100% satisfied with this technique but it did stay mostly on the skewers and got cooked all the way through. Roasted tomatoes are to die for - slice in half, skewer and grill baby - don't forget the salt! The rice was a labor of love, mostly following this recipe. My tadhig was a bit burnt and the rice was a bit too soft. Must learn how to make potato tadhig. And finally the salad was made according to this recipe. I didn't have any mint though. I topped off my plate with a scoop of plain yogurt and it was so good (I'll need to get some dill if I want it to taste like Baba's).

Overall, a great meal with plenty of leftovers.

Ground Meat Kabob
Serves 6

2 lb lean ground beef
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 large onion, peeled and finely grated
2 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp lime juice

1. In a warm mixing bowl, combine meat, salt, pepper, baking soda and onion. Knead with your hands for about 5 minutes to form a paste that will adhere well to cooking skewers. Cover the paste and let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature.
2. Using damp hands, divide the meat paste into 12 equal lumps about the size of oranges. Roll each into a sausage shape 5 inches long and mold it firmly around a flat, sword-like skewer. Cover and keep in a cool place.
3. For the baste, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add a pinch of salt and lime juice.
4. Arrange the skewers on the grill. After a few seconds, turn the meat gently to help it attach to the skewers and to prevent it from falling off.
5. Grill the meat 3 to 5 minutes on each side, and brush with mixture of melted butter and lime juice, just before removing it from the grill.

Wedding Inspiration: Accessories



Source: via Lela on Pinterest


Source: via Lela on Pinterest


Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Weather

Well, tornado season has really come in with a bang. On Tuesday night we all went to bed thinking that the storms they were watching weren't really anything to get nervous about... then the storm radio started going off around 3am.

Growing up in Virginia we had numerous tornado drills, 2-4 per year... and never a single tornado warning or reason to assume the position:
Tornado Crouch
It really desensitized me to the threat of a tornado. I have to say that after living here for a year, I am now sufficiently scared.

Harrisburg was hit by a tornado early Wednesday morning. This is probably the most famous image from Harrisburg that you have seen:
Harrisburg is about a 45 minute drive from Carbondale. You can help by donating much-needed supplies, including non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies, bottled water and toiletries to the First Baptist Church in Harrisburg, which is acting as a relief center, or the Little Egypt Network of the American Red Cross.

Yesterday, another set of storms moved through.This was the view from my window at lunch time:
Winds were blowing and hail was falling. But after about 20 minutes, the rain cleared and I was able to go back to work. However, another storm blew through and knocked out the power in our office for about 45 minutes.

What's you weather like?