Archive for the ‘Food and Wine’ Category

R’s graduation is now well in the past (May 9, 2011!), but I didn’t want to let it go completely without posting a few pictures here.  Adding that M.D. after his name was such a huge accomplishment and we are all so proud of him!

The day began with a (very) early drive to Emory for the university ceremony.  R was required to attend and I went along for the ride.  There were tons of people and I couldn’t even see where R and his fellow med students sat, but it was a nice ceremony.  Janet Napolitano gave the commencement address.  My Uncle P sent a lovely graduation gift from Hawaii – his and hers leis.  It made a special day even more memorable.

Following the mass ceremony, I met up with all of the family for the medical school ceremony.  It was wonderful to have R’s grandmothers, parents and brother there, as well as my parents and my brother.  We were all thrilled to see R get hooded in the traditional medical green.  It’s real – he’s now Dr. R!  Following the ceremony, the med school held a reception which we would have enjoyed even more if it had not been blistering hot outside.

Back at home, we munched on snacks, cooled down and chatted.  R also opened a few graduation gifts.  He was particularly excited about his new iPad from his parents, complete with Dr. R engraved on the back.

Determined to keep the celebration going, we all went to Ecco for dinner.  Ecco is one of our favorite restaurants in Atlanta, and we were excited to share it with our out-of-town family.  We enjoyed great food (there is nothing like Ecco’s fried goat cheese), great drinks, and lots of laughter.  Congratulations, Dr. R!  I’m so glad I now have my own personal resident physician!!!  (Never mind the whole pediatrician part…)


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Hello?  Is anyone still there?

Ahem.  Apparently, I’m not so good at blogging consistently (read: at all) while employed as a Biglaw Cog.  A year and a half into this position and I’m still figuring it all out.  But inconsistent blogging or not, we’ve had some very exciting events around here lately and I’m determined to make the time to record them here!

March 17th was the day R and I have been anticipating for nearly four years – Match Day!

For those of you who haven’t had the ‘pleasure’ of putting a spouse through medical school, let me explain.  Beginning in the fall of their fourth year, med students fly all around the country, begging residency programs to accept them.  Then all of the students and all of the residencies make lists of their favorites.  (Think of it as being the world’s most expensive and anxiety-driven Greek Rush.  Only here, if you don’t get accepted, your college career isn’t shot, your life career is shot.  And if you do get accepted, you don’t get to attend theme parties, you get to work ridiculous hours for highway robbery pay.)  Finally, the students wait around for several agonizing months while some computer processes all of the lists and spits out the Ideal Match for each student and residency program.

On March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day!), all the med students in the entire country gather at their schools and countdown.  At the stroke of 12 pm Eastern, everyone gets their residency match.  Some people are elated – “first choice!” – and some people are not – “I’m moving where for the next five years?!?”

So obviously, after R’s cross-country interview travels and the looming threat of my having to take another bar exam, we were really ready for Match Day to arrive.

Our day started with brunch at a friend’s place, where all of the med students tried to look nonchalant, all of the spouses and significant others whispered about the possibility of having to move, and green jello shots and beers were passed around like candy.

We swung by our apartment to pick up the family members and headed to campus, where the students lined up in their white coats for a group photo.

Listen – if you want to know what true frustration is, watch a lone photographer trying to convince a bunch of sloppy drunk med students to look sober enough for one picture.

It took a very. long. time.

After the photos, we headed to the main medical school building.  At Emory, they lay out tables full of envelopes and line the students up several feet from the tables.  At 12, all of the students rush at the table and grab the envelope with their name on it.  I have no photos of this process, because the mass chaos made it impossible to get within 30 feet of the tables.

So we sat, huddled and nervous, waiting for R to make his way back to our little group.

Finally, he reached us with his envelope.  Hand’s shaking, he ripped it open, fumbled with the paper inside, and yelled:


That’s right, Atlanta.  We’re sticking around for another three years!

We were thrilled, as Emory pediatrics was far and away R’s first choice.  Great program, great people, great mentors, no moving, no more bar exams, close to both of our families.  March 17th and the scary Rush computer treated us well.

After the adrenaline subsided and we munched on the appetizers put out by the school, we took a group shot and headed for lunch at Capozzi’s to celebrate properly.  Emory pediatrics – whew!

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R’s one-week-long ‘summer vacation’ happened to coincide with my last free week before returning to work, so we decided to take the opportunity to head down to Florida.  We had a wonderful time!  To avoid a completely unruly post, I’m just going to hit the highlights here.  But beware – even a highlights-only account of a week at Walt Disney World is bound to be lengthy!  🙂

**  Listening to the first two Harry Potter audiobooks during our drive down and back.  They were just as good (and funny) as I’d heard!  More on this in posts to come.

**  Staying Saturday night with my sister and brother-in-law.  They recently moved to Florida for their new teaching jobs and it was fantastic to spend time with them and eat their yummy homemade pizza!

D & T cooking for us!Pizza!

**  R and my brother-in-law having a boy’s night with football and rocket launches while I checked out the beautiful artwork around my sister’s apartment.  (She paints and he sculpts – both very well.  Between them, they have covered every wall and flat surface with incredible art.  If you want to see more of his work, check out his website: Thomas Manley.)

Boys at playPottery

**  Getting ice cream with my aunt, uncle, and three cousins who also live down in Florida.

**  Staying at the festive Port Orleans-French Quarter resort at Disney.  The hotel was beautiful, the beignets weren’t bad, and we found some friendly critters on the property.

Port Orleans-French QuarterMusical gators

**  The Magic Kingdom!  Our favorite ride (largely because Space Mountain was closed) was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, although Pirates of the Caribbean with the new(er) addition of Cpt. Jack Sparrow was also worth two rides.  We got halfway up one of the big hills in Splash Mountain when they abruptly shut it down and evacuated us out of the ride.  We never made it back through, but we did get to view the inner workings of the Mountain.  Seeing plugs coming out of the backside of the Brer animals takes a bit of the magic out of things…  We also thought the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor was hilarious and we’re still not sure how they do it.  R made me stop spinning our tea cup in the Mad Tea Party because he was starting to get sick, something I will never, ever allow him to live down!

Magic Kingdom!AdventurelandUrsula - My favorite Disney villainCinderella's Castle

**  Epcot!  Soarin’ lived up to the hype – we both thought it was one of the best rides of all the parks.  If the wait hadn’t been the longest we saw in all of the parks, we definitely would have ridden it two or three times.  I loved the mini-aquarium at The Seas with Nimo and Friends and fell head over heels for the two manatees.  We had a great time walking around the World Showcase.  I was thrilled to find an entire Christmas tree full of German pickles – how many extra presents does that get me, Santa?  We caught one of the British Invasion performances and were pleased when they opened with I Want To Hold Your Hand, our wedding recessional song.  It started raining halfway through our World Showcase stroll, so we unfortunately saw some of the countries at only a fast walk.  (Even with rain coats and ponchos, we still managed to get pretty wet!)

Mine?  Mine?  Mine?I found ALL the pickles!I miss London!The Fab FourDrenched!

**  Animal Kingdom!  This ended up being our favorite park and we spent a full day and a half wandering around.  All of the animals were wonderful; we loved the Kilimanjaro Safari and really enjoyed all of the walking paths.  We got tons of great animal pictures because they were surprisingly active.  Expedition Everest was thrilling, although my hands were definitely trembling afterward!

Tree of LifeMeerkatGorillaTigerCrested crane with babyGiraffeLionExpedition Everest

**  Spending a day learning that water parks are really more for kids than adults (Blizzard Beach), that I am a far better minature golfer than R (two holes in one!), and that virtual reality masks really hurt (DisneyQuest).  We loved CyberSpace Mountain at DisneyQuest, going out of our way to create the scariest rollercoaster we could ride in the simulator.

**  Eating tons.  Some of the meals were lackluster, but others really stood out.  A dear friend and Disney connoisseur recommended some great places to us.  As promised, Earl of Sandwich served some truly excellent sandwiches.  R ordered some fabulous Moroccan wine and mint tea (and watched some belly dancing) at Restaurant Marrakesh.  R taught me how to eat crab and lobster at Fulton’s Crab House – it was so fun!  Narcoossee’s helped us celebrate our anniversary (we celebrate around the 1/2 year mark, since Christmas and New Years get in the way of the actual date) with festive dessert plates.  At Boma, in the gorgeous Animal Kingdom Lodge, I added ‘fufu’ to my collection of best named foods I’ve ever eaten (a mashed potato dish, it joins ‘toot’, a mulberry drink).

Getting messy at Fulton's Crab HouseSweet dessert celebrating 1.5 wonderful years

**  Laughing at the hilarious things kids do and say.  When Crush at Turtle Talk asked the audience for the name of the bikini top hanging around his neck, a kid up front yelled, “It’s an over-the-shoulder boulder holder!”

**  Discovering that fall comes very early at the Magic Kingdom.

Fall in August

Despite coming home almost as tired as we were when we left, it was a wonderful week.  Just what we needed before jumping back into real life this past week!

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My sister once told me that she keeps a journal listing three things for which she was thankful from each day.  I’ve never had the discipline to do this, but I admire her ability to focus on the positive.  In an effort to emulate her (see – big sisters can copy little sisters sometimes!), I thought I would list some things from the past several days that have brought me joy and excitement.

Lipstick Jihad

  • My copy of Lipstick Jihad arrived in the mail on Thursday.  This was a contest win from Teresa at Shelf Love.  I’ve had this book on my list for some time and I can’t wait to read it.

Carbon Leaf

  • R and I went to a Carbon Leaf concert on Friday night.  This is one of R’s favorite bands, and I’ve happily tagged along to their shows for as long as we’ve been together.  They put on a great show and I can honestly say that their lead singer has my favorite ‘lead singer voice.’

Cherry frozen yogurt

  • I made a delicious Cherry and Chocolate Stracciatella Frozen Yogurt.  My fingers are still stained from pitting the cherries, but it was totally worth it.
  • R and I had Sunday Supper at Restaurant Eugene.  We wanted something celebratory and RE delivered!  The grits with my entree were so good, I was nearly inspired to turn in my Yankee Membership Card and declare myself a born-again Southerner.  Nearly.
  • I found out that I won a contest on More Than Burnt Toast, which means I get to try three yummy sounding spice mixes from Made With Love Delectable Edibles.  I’ll definitely be posting the results of these spice tastings!
  • Lunch today was a group outing with the entire legal department.  It really was lovely to have lunch with everyone, especially as I’m nearing the end of my time with them.

Interpreter of Maladies

  • Two books were waiting for me when I got home tonight!  I received Interpreter of Maladies – one of my all-time favorite books – through Swaptree.

The Last Queen

  • I also (finally) got a copy of The Last Queen using an Amazon gift certificate.
  • After a nearly two-month blogging hiatus, one of my favorite bloggers ever is back!  I’m slightly embarrassed by how excited I was to see Orangette‘s name back in my Reader.  And I’m thrilled that I don’t have to keep going back to her old Bon Appetit articles for a bit of her writing.  (Although her blueberry scones from the July issue were well worth the re-read – these were delicious and easy.  Make them.  Trust me.)


  • Finally, Avis at she reads and reads awarded me the Proximidade Award.  Thanks so much!!  This is my first ever blogging award, and I’m thrilled about what it stands for:  “This award invests and believes in proximity—nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award.”  I haven’t had a chance yet to think about who to nominate in turn, but I will do so soon!

I just realized that everything here is somehow connected to food or books.  Oh my.  I suppose that says a lot about me!

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This past weekend was incredibly full of travel (which made the beginning of this week a little hectic).  Early Friday morning, R and I headed to DC for my Grandfather’s funeral service.  We met up with many family members from all over the country and attended the lovely and moving graveside service.

Grandfather could seem gruff, but his heart was pure gold – and usually his gruffness (especially with his grandchildren) was in jest.

We called him many things – Grandfather, Bap Bap, Grand.  He called me Brat just as often as he called me by my first name.  I loved that about him and our relationship.

I’ll never look at a crossword puzzle without thinking of him.  He and my Tutu always tag-teamed the daily paper’s crossword, and a visit from them was never complete until a mostly-finished puzzle was lying on our kitchen table.

I know I learned my love of games from Grandfather and his unending willingness to play cards.  As a family, we spent thousands of the best hours playing rounds of Sink – big, crazy, boisterous games of Sink.

Saying goodbye is so hard, but I’ll cherish these and many other memories.  I love you, Smiley.  To me, you’ll always be the STAR of the day.guestbook table 001

Wow, since that was much harder to write than I expected, I’m going to just jump ahead to the next round of our traveling weekend.

After taking a (very) late flight home on Friday, R and I got up early Saturday and drove to Asheville, NC for his cousin’s wedding that evening.  Asheville is one of my favorite cities in the Southeast (maybe even in the whole country?), so I was thrilled to go back.  Some of the highlights:

  • Lunch at Early Girl Eatery where I re-discovered their yummy grit croutons (if anyone has a recipe for these, please tell me!)
  • Staying at a lovely downtown hotel, courtesy of my father-in-law’s mad Priceline skills
  • Attending the wedding at the Asheville School’s gorgeous chapelMarci and Ben
  • Catching up with all of R’s family at the reception

B and R at wedding

  • Brunch at Rezaz, the restaurant I’ve been wanting to revisit since eating there last year
  • Muhamara at Rezaz, the dish that I’ve been dreaming and talking about for a year
  • Exploring the River Arts District for its biannual Studio Stroll with R, my mother-in-law, and brother-in-law
  • Being dressed up by an artist who makes latex ‘armor’


It was a good weekend.  And it is good to be home.

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My Life in France

Title: My Life in France

Author: Julia Child & Alex Prud’homme

Published: 2006

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

Rating: 4.5 of 5

My Life in France combined many of my favorite things in one enchanting package – books, food, wine, and travel.  Before her death, Julia Child spent several months telling Alex Prud’homme all about the experiences that made her ‘Julia Child.’  Prud’homme compiled her tales into this memoir, retaining her unique tone and matter-of-fact attitude.

Child did not begin learning how to cook until her mid-thirties.  After she and her husband Paul moved to France, she launched herself into learning everything she could about classic French cuisine.  Pursuing her new-found passion with single mindedness and intensity, Child eventually met two Frenchwomen who invited her to co-author a French cookbook for Americans.  After years of dedicated ‘cookbookery’ and some amusing brainstorming (would Method in Cuisine Madness or The Witchcraft of French Cooking have done as well, I wonder?), the now infamous Mastering the Art of French Cooking – and the beginning of Child’s television career – was born.

My Life in France isn’t just about Child’s life in France.  It is also about her happy marriage to Paul, the politics of the decades following World War II, her relationship with family and friends, her life in Paris, Marseilles, Germany, and Norway, and her development into the first successful television chef.  Coupled with dozens of Paul’s lovely photographs and generously scattered with mouth-watering descriptions of various culinary adventures, this book is a fascinating peek into the mind and heart of the incredible woman who revolutionized how Americans thought about food.

I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this memoir and would highly recommend it.

Bonus – Take a look at this video clip of Child’s television show, the French Chef.  If you can get over watching her paw at an army of raw chicken without sink or soap in sight, you’ll get a good glimpse at this fascinating woman and a bit of her true joie de vivre.


Don’t take my word for it.  Check out what others are saying about My Life in France:

The Evening Reader – My Life in France

The New York Times – Becoming Julia Child

Powell’s Books – One Simple, Perfect French Meal Changed Her Life

Small Spiral Notebook – My Life in France by Julia Child, with Alex Prud’homme

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I’m a huge fan of the Cake Wrecks blog – the vast number of wreck-ish professional cakes is astounding (and hilarious) to me.  But I also love the Sunday Sweets series on Cake Wrecks, full of beautiful cakes by talented bakers.

So I was particularly excited that today’s post contains ‘Reading Rocks‘ cakes.  What a delicious trip through childhood reading memories – Dr. Seuss, Where the Wild Things Are, Eric Carle!  Check it out.  You’ll be impressed.

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