Thursday, October 29, 2009

Palomino's happy hour

I rediscovered Palomino's happy hour a couple weeks ago with a group of coworkers. I used to go to Palomino all the time when I first started working downtown Minneapolis. I remember drinking way too many cosmos and staying out too late on a weeknight. But hey, I was in my early 20's and that's the kind of stuff you can get away with at that age, right?

Fast forward a couple, er six years and I found myself back at Palomino, but this time I drank a beer and left at a reasonable hour.

The pretty drink below is a cranberry mojito (My coworker Amelia's drink of choice) and it was only $4. We also got a pepperoni pizza (all pizzas are only $5 during happy hour) and a platter with pita bread, roasted garlic, blue cheese and tomato chutney. That was half off and I believe it was only $6-$7ish. We had great service, the food was delish and the bar area had a cool vibe.

Happy hour is all day Sunday-Thursday, Friday and Saturday 4pm-6pm and 10pm to close. Check out the menu here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Real Wedding: Stephanie and Anwar, September 2009

I have an awesome real wedding that I am very excited to feature today. Stephanie and Anwar were married at the gorgeous Mill City Museum in Minneapolis on September 5 with a combined style of urban and vintage.

Stephanie wore a birdcage veil and Anwar would not go with out Chuck Taylor shoes. Aren't they an adorable couple? I love all the amazing details that went into the wedding (Stephanie is in the industry and it really shows!). She has an event planning business and gets rave reviews from local MN brides. Be sure to check out her business blog and website

Stephanie's favorite vendors were Sadie's Fine Floral, photographer Spencer Combs, and the Mill City Museum (catered by D'Amico, always has amazing food).

Enjoy the beautiful pictures! All photos credited to Spencer Combs.

Who wouldn't want these good-looking guys in their wedding party?

Love Anwar's smile in this picture.
Great color and texture here.

How adorable is this cake topper? I love it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Winter wonderland dessert display

These images come from the Inspired Bride blog, another great blog all about wedding inspiration and the writer/creator is from MN! She partnered with Bake It Pretty to create this stunning winter wonderful dessert buffet display. If you are at all into baking, check out Bake It Pretty, the site has amazing supplies including cupcake baking cups and toppers.

I love everything about this display, the color palette, the gorgeous miniature desserts, the attention to detail and most of all the branch/bird centerpiece. Something like this would have fit in perfectly with my winter wedding last December.

It's probably a good thing this wasn't posted a year ago or it would have given me more ideas to drive my husband crazy with. I stuck with a traditional 3-tier wedding cake, which was gorgeous, but the trend of dessert displays is really coming on strong this year and is so cool.

I have a feeling my best friend Kristin will love the color of this display as she is definitely gravitating towards all things blue/teal/turquoise. She just got engaged a couple weeks ago and I could not be more excited to help her plan her big day!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy weekend: fall inspiration

These gorgeous images come from a blog I recently discovered called, Honey and Jam, all about baking and photography.

Just a little fall inspiration on this gorgeous day! I am looking forward to enjoying the pretty leaves and the sunshine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

My mom absolutely loves Boston Cream Pie. It is one of her favorite desserts so my sister and I decided to attempt to make it for her birthday last weekend. I brought up this dessert a few times last week to a few different friends only to hear the exact phrase, "my mom (or dad) loves Boston Cream Pie, too!" Is it a generational thing?

My sister found a great cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart. They were pretty easy, but did require three separate steps. You have to make the vanilla cream ahead of time as it has to cool in the fridge for at least an hour.

They turned out cute as hell and very tasty. We made regular and mini sizes. My mom enjoyed them which is all that really mattered.

Here is the recipe:

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for tins
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Vanilla Cream (recipe below)
Chocolate-Ganache Glaze (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour standard muffin tins. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Warm milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat.
Beat eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in dry ingredients.

Bring milk and butter to a boil. With mixer on low speed, add milk mixture to batter, and beat until smooth. Add vanilla. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each halfway. Bake cupcakes until light gold, about 15 minutes. Let cool in tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. Let cool.

Using a serrated knife, cut each in half horizontally. Spread 1 tablespoon vanilla cream on each cupcake bottom. Sandwich with top. Spoon glaze over each, and serve immediately.

Vanilla Cream

Makes 1 1/2 cups
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk yolks until smooth. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.

Pour 1/3 of milk mixture into yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla.

Pass vanilla cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

Makes about 1 1/4 cups
2/3 cup heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and add chocolate and corn syrup. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool, stirring often. Use immediately.

My mom blowing out the candle on her Boston Cream Pie cupcake.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Real Wedding: Erin and Ryan, August 2009

I realize that the content I post on my blog is quite a wide range, but I try to remain fairly focused in all things food, wine/cocktails, hosting and entertaining and fabulous parties. My hope is that my blog will inspire you to cook wonderful food, drink pretty cocktails and throw fabulous parties! And what party is more fabulous in your whole life than your wedding? This blog was really born out of my love of wedding planning.

Weddings are really a wonderful thing. They are all about love, beautiful details, family, friends and a lot of fun. And the photos reflect all of those things and tell a lovely story of a very important day.

This post marks a new feature I'm hoping to include on a fairly regular basis; real weddings (mostly local MN weddings but I will post weddings from anywhere). If you are interested and have recently had a wedding, please send me 5-10 of your favorite photos from your day with a brief description ( Details and of course food/wine/cocktail photos would be great!

The adorable bride in the photos below is Erin and she married Ryan in August 2009. Their ceremony took place at the beautiful Diamond Lake Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and the reception was held at Blaisdell Manor. Jackie Just of Just-Bloomed was behind all those lovely flowers. All her gorgeous photos were taken by Spencer Combs.

Enjoy the eye candy!

Who doesn't love calla lillies?
The bride wore purple shoes, how fabulous is that?

Cupcake displays are a nice departure from the traditional 3-tier wedding cake.

I love this. Chandeliers are so classic and gorgeous.

The Blaisdell Manor ballroom, very pretty.

Friday, October 16, 2009

DIY Sushi

Sushi is fabulous and when you are spending the evening with two awesome gals with cocktails, sake and prosecco it is bound to be one fun night. And that is exactly what I did with Maija and Brooke a couple weekends ago. The three of us work together at my ad agency gig and usually at the office it is mostly work and no play. So we decided we needed some more "play" and set a sushi date at Brooke's house.

Maija took a sushi making class at Whole Foods a few months ago and brought all that great knowledge to us. On the menu was edamame, Mexican rolls and a salmon philly roll, all delicious. The class only included already cooked seafood such as tempura shrimp and smoked salmon so we didn't get too adventurous but we'll save the raw stuff for another day.

I can't divulge the secrets of making good sushi rice because Maija brought it over pre-made. Other things you will need:

Mexican Roll
tempura batter
peanut oil
deep fryer

Salmon Philly Roll
smoked salmon
cream cheese
cucumbers (seedless)

pickled ginger
Nori (seaweed)
Bamboo sushi roller (I have no idea if that is what it is really called)

Maija highly recommends taking the Whole Foods class and I have been trying to get in for a couple months now and they are so popular they always have waiting lists.

I ate way too much but everything was delicious, thanks for the fun night ladies!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I've been blogged!

The blogosphere is a very cool and somewhat strange place. In some ways it feels like there are millions and millions of blogs and how can you ever stand out? In other ways it feels like a community when you find other blogs that write about similar topics. There are so many awesome wedding, food, entertaining blogs out there and many of us share and pass around content.

Check out the blog-love I received from All Things Lovely, a blog dedicated to all things wedding, design and inspiration. They picked up the photos from Erik and my post wedding session!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Al Vento never disappoints

I've been to Al Vento in South Minneapolis a few times now and each time the food is delicious, service is great and I am pleasantly surprised by the reasonable prices on the menu.

Emily and I met for dinner to celebrate her 30th birthday towards the end of September. We were lucky enough to get one of the last nice days of late summer and sat on Al Vento's lovely patio.

What we ordered:

Sample of four bruschetta
Gnocchi with mushrooms
Pizza with salami toscano with tomatoes, artichoke and fresh mozzarella

I can't remember what day of the week we were there but they also had half priced wine which was awesome. I've been to Al Vento each time with girlfriends but it would also be a great date night restaurant. The space is small, intimate and romatic.