prosciutto & egg cups

Whoever invented the concept of weekend brunch is up there with Taylor Swift and Blair Waldorf on my list of personal heroes. It’s hands down my favorite meal–you can opt for a sweet or savory dish (or both) and more often than not it involves best friends and mimosas. What’s not to love?! Last weekend Em and I decided to mix it up a little bit and cook Sunday brunch at home. It was amazing. She pioneered some incredible scones for the sweet element of my favorite meal, while I was in charge of the savory portion.  I decided to attempt my own version of some ham and egg cups discovered on Pinterest. They were absolutely delightful and super cute! This egg dish was perfect for just the two of us but it would also be easy to prepare for a larger brunch party, like the ones Em and I plan on hosting once we can comfortably fit more than 5 people in our apartment. Recipe below!

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Sunday Brunch in Apartment #2

Baked Prosciutto & Egg Cups

serves twoIngredients

ingredients :

  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 4 wide slices of prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese
  • black pepper
  • crushed red pepper flakes

instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.photo 2

2. Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray and line each with a slice of prosciutto. (I folded them in a cone shape and then molded it to the cups. You’ll get the hang of it!)

3. Crack an egg in a small bowl, then pour one into each of your cute little prosciutto cups!

4. Season with black pepper and add a few crushed red pepper flakes if you like it with a bit of a kick.

5. Bake in oven for about 10 mins or until the whites are becoming opaque. photo 3

6. Remove for a moment to sprinkle with chopped scallions and Parmesan cheese and replace.

7. Bake for about 2 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted and whites are opaque but yolks are still runny and delicious. Scoop out onto plates and devour while hot!

This recipe was super simple but looks pretty fancy and gourmet, if I do say so myself. I can’t wait to make these again!

xo,

a

the wren

Of all of the venues on our growing Where You’ll Find Us” page, The Wren is probably your best bet if you actually do want to find us. I just can’t stay away from this place for many reasons, including the proximity to our apartment, the killer cocktails, and the abundance of attractive men between the ages of 22 and 30.

Want to know the BEST thing about The Wren? Two words: elderflower. cocktail.

You will go here and you will order it and you will love it. And then you can thank me later. It’s a delightful concoction of gin, grapefruit, elderflower and a few other special ingredients. To date, it is the best cocktail I’ve had and I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur.

Besides this magical cocktail, The Wren delivers on just about every other front. The atmosphere is farmhouse chic and totally fabulous, complete with twinkly lights. Em and I love coming here after work for an elderflower cocktail or two (or five, like last night) and munching on a few of the jars or the steak tartare. The bartenders are talented and the clientele is very cool. As I mentioned before, there are always tons of hot guys here. Some I-banker types and others of a more hipster breed.

We’re partial to the downstairs room. It has a bit of a speakeasy feel and there’s another bar down there which makes acquiring elderflower cocktails much easier when the main one is too crowded, as it often is. This is where Em hosted her 23rd birthday party–a great success. We’ll see you around, maybe at The Wren!

xo,

a

Em & Ash at The Wren

Celebrating 23 years of Em at The Wren!

a’s short guide to great coffee

Croissanteria

Freshly baked Croissanteria croissants :)

What is the one thing that our beloved Chapel Hill, everyone’s favorite college town (unless you went to Dook, in which case, I’m sorry), has in common with NYC? It’s the abundance of seriously cool and delicious coffee shops! I’ll have to admit, I’m a bit of a coffee snob and the Keurig at the office just isn’t getting the job done. And recently our tea kettle broke, rendering the french press in our East Village abode out-of-order. I’m pretty sure this was a sign from the coffee gods and I’ve taken the opportunity to try out almost every worthwhile coffee establishment within a half mile radius of our apartment and my place of business. These are the winners when it comes to getting my caffeine fix, in no particular order:

1. Croissanteria – Top-notch coffee made with Brooklyn Roasting Company beans in a lovely atmosphere. And it’s RIGHT around the corner from our apartment! The combination of convenience and quality here may nudge Croissanteria into the #1 spot on my list of top coffee shops. It’s near impossible for me to resist picking up a chocolate croissant with my morning coffee when they’re right out of the tiny oven. Also, their smoked salmon sandwich is to DIE for.

Ave A @ East 4th St

2. Mud (and the Mud Truck) – The Mudtruck Blend, marketed as “Pure New York City Fuel” was brewing in our french press before the kettle mishap. The best way to describe it is just really excellent coffee. The Mud Truck parks outside the uptown Astor Place metro stop in the mornings, making it a lifesaver on mornings when I’m rushing out the door.

East 9th St @ 2nd Ave

3. Manhattan Espresso Cafe - My favorite place for an afternoon cappuccino on those long work days. This tiny place (there are about 5 seats) is cash only under $10. Last time I went sans-cash I was forced to get one of their freshly baked, still warm-out-of-the-oven oatmeal raisin cookies and a biscotti to reach the $10 minimum. It definitely made my day.

49th St between 3rd Ave & Lex

espresso

What’s your coffee order?

4. La Colombe – Best iced coffee in Manhattan, IMHO. Coffee is served on saucers with spoons (even for to-go cups) with milk options in ceramic pitchers instead of the standard thermos kind. The atmosphere is cool and industrial. The small wooden tables are usually occupied by brooding writers, perhaps due to its proximity to NYU. Another thing I love about La Colombe is their commitment to ethical long-term trade with coffee growers and dedication to carry “earth conscious” beans. With the coming of spring I am very much looking forward to La Colombe’s iced coffees and strolls through nearby Washington Square park!

Lafayette St & East 4th St

5. Joe The Art of Coffee – Em and I stumbled into this West Village gem on a snowy Saturday to warm up before brunch. What an awesome discovery! Joe has been named one of the “Best U.S. Coffee Bars” by Food & Wine and I definitely agree. Cozy atmosphere and quality coffee.Joe

Waverly Place @ 6th Ave

Honorable mentions: Konditori, The Bean, Macaron Cafe, Porto Rico Importing Co.

Go a little crazy and skip the standard Starbucks to give one of my recommendations a try. You won’t be disappointed!

xo,

a

la buvette

Last night I went on a girl date with my good friend Lauren from high school. We try to have them somewhat regularly to catch up since both of our schedules are so insanely busy. She provides endless entertainment, could literally hold an hour long conversation with a wall, and it’s always a juicy gossip sesh about high school friends, college friends and our crazy lives in New York. We like to try new spots, and this time it was La Buvette in the West Village. Lauren had been wanting to try the little french bistro ever since she realized is the old location of her mom’s old go to spot, The Pink Teacup, after dancing away nights at Studio 54…

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I have been known to fall in love with the French (a story we can save for another time) and La Buvette was no different – c’etait parfait! The restaurant is very small, cozy, and bustling with people, we showed up at 7:30 on a Tuesday and had to wait for an hour if that gives you any indication. We spent our wait enjoying a glass of wine and bowl of olives in the patio outback (may have been a little optimistic since its still pretty chilly here but I’d like to think we are turning the corner for spring).

Buvette's+Wine+List+Storybook+3

We ended up sitting at the front corner of the bar which was actually very nice and there was a little bit more room than the rest of the bar spots. Once seated, we realized that almost the entire restaurant was speaking French, minus the lone Australian bartender, which I loved. We were starving and happily tipsy after wine on an empty stomach so got straight to ordering. To share, we ordered…

more wine

the Pesto di Parma Tartinette – prosciutto, parmesan and sage made into a sort of pate consistency on thick toast.

the Cassoulet - pot of slow cook duck, pork and beans – yum.

the shaved brussel sprouts - which are not on the online menu so I don’t know the exact description, but they were raw with cheese and were delicious.

and of course, for desert how could we resist the chocolate mousse that our cute, pony-tailed, french waiter recommended? It was one of the best deserts I’ve ever tasted, I have been thinking about it all morning.

All in all it was the perfect girl date, would be a great co-ed date as well, and I can’t wait to go back to try their brunch!

photo cred: ilovebuvette.com

bruschetta martini

Ah back to New York. My quick trip back to California was perfect – 70 degrees and sunny filled with runs and tennis with dad, cooking and shopping with mom, and lots of sleep. As always, trip home would not be complete without lots of good food…and good cocktails!

This weekend, mom and I experimented with one from the SF Chronicle – The Bruschetta Martini

Tomato in a cocktail? Sounds weird but I love bloodies so we gave it a try, except we substituted gin for vodka and cucumber for basil. Also, it ended up a little light on the tomato so we added a few more.Turns out – I loved it! It’s surprisingly very refreshing and light, would be great for a summer barbecue. This may just become a regular in our NY apartment.

Enjoy!

xo,

e

Bruschetta Martini

Makes 1 drink

  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 ounces Hendricks
  • 1/4 ounce olive juice (we got this from the serve yourself olive section at the grocery store!)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small slice of garlic
  • – Pinch salt
  • – Pinch black pepper
  • 1 slice of cucumber

Instructions: Muddle the tomatoes in a mixing glass. Add the remaining ingredients, reserving the cucumber for a garnish. Add ice and shake well for 10 to 15 seconds.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass through a fine-mesh strainer. Garnish with the cucumber slice.

a perfect day

Just in case this isn’t totally obvious from the rest of our blog: I LOVE New York. It’s the center of almost every industry: finance, fashion, law, politics, journalism, etc. I feel so fortunate to live in the City while I’m young, single and essentially free from obligations. Who knows how long I’ll be here in NYC? It could be 1 year, 10 years, or forever, but before I have my last day here I am determined to have the perfect one. I imagine that day will look a lot like this:

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9:00 am – Get up and go for a run. It’s a fantastic way to experience the City. I recommend the 5-mi Central Park loop. Last time Em and I jogged this route the people watching was so stellar that the miles flew by (which is really saying something since we went to bed around 4am the night before)! I also love this loop around Lower Manhattan. It takes you around on the East River Promenade and West Side Highway with fantastic views of the Statue of Liberty. Not a bad backdrop for a morning run!

10:30 am – Breakfast at the Croissanteria. Pick up the NY Times from next door and snag a table in the windows. I can’t imagine a better start to my perfect day than posting up here with a latte and enjoying a freshly baked chocolate croissant. Heavenly.

photo(2)

11:30 am – Shopping in SoHo. It’s easy to spend hours perusing the cute boutiques on Mott, Elizabeth and Prince streets. I never miss Rebecca Taylor, Dolce Vita, Calypso and Wink. Em has turned me on to Rag & Bone (I get 90% of my fashion advice from her) and we love this funky little boutique called “Love Adorned“. We stumbled in one rainy day and were entranced by all of the seriously cool merchandise. We have plans to go back and get friendship bracelets! Judge us if you want…

1:30 pm(ish) – Take a break in Washington Square Park. Grab a coffee from La Colombe, sit on a bench, and just take it all in. Hopefully the piano man will be giving one of his casual performances (this guy legitimately has a full-size piano in the park–don’t ask me how he gets it there) and the daredevil skateboarders will be up to some entertaining new tricks. Obviously the weather will be idyllic on my perfect day (77 and sunny) making it very conducive to these outdoor excursions.Washington Square Park

2:00 pm – Leisurely stroll over to the west side for lunch at The Standard Grill. I’m frequently struck by cravings for the Standard Cobb Salad; it’s one of the best I’ve ever had with chunks of crispy bacon some exceptionally tasty blue cheese. Definitely get one of the tables outside in the sun.

3:30 pm – Walk the Highline and check out Chelsea Market. Hopefully there will be a good sample sale on display, like the Alice & Trixie one last summer where I scored some great jewel-toned party dresses.

5:00 pm – Happy hour! Afternoon snack and cocktail. Maybe at our St. Marks go-to, Ten Degrees. 2-4-1 cocktails from noon-8pm every day. Even champagne cockatils.

6:00 pm – Home for a shower and quick post-shower nap. I received this amazing spa robe from Restoration Hardware for Christmas and it’s the best for cozy naps before getting ready.

7:00 pm – Get ready for dinner. Hopefully I’m donning a fabulous new outfit purchased on the morning SoHo excursion and I will most definitely be enjoying a “dressing drink”. I picked up this term from my mom, who got it from her grandmother, so I guess it’s kind of vintage? I love it.

The 5 of us post Rosemary's brunch.

The 5 of us @ Rosemary’s brunch.

8:30 pm – Flag down a West Village-bound cab for dinner at Rosemary’s Enoteca & Trattoria. This will be a lingery dinner with copious bottles of wine, maybe two orders of their fantastic brussel sprouts, and the decadent olive oil cake for the finale. I chose Rosemary’s out of the 1000s of incredible restaurants in NYC for dinner on my perfect day not only for their amazing food and farmhouse-chic ambiance, but also for the memories it brings back. I’ll never forget our 5 best friends from college all reuniting for the first time since graduation at Rosemary’s over brunch, exchanging Valentines with my girlfriends here amidst too many bottles of prosecco, or when Em and I ventured up to the roof and were once again awestruck that we live in the greatest city in the world.

11:00 pm – When my perfect day segues into a perfect night I will likely venue-hop (Do people say venue-hop? Like bar-hopping, but to various clubs/lounges/etc.?) with the usual suspects in tow (you know who you are ;)) to a variety of our favorite places. Who knows where the night will take us, but that’s one of the best things about the City–you NEVER know what to expect. You can be sitting on your couch on a Friday night, deciding what time you should wake up in the morning to make it to that 10 am hot yoga class in Herald Square, and next thing you know you’re throwing back glasses of Veuve Clicquot while dancing on tables at Lavo with New Zealand’s national rugby team until 4 am. Disclaimer: I think dancing on tables is my guilty pleasure.

photo 14:00 am – In all likelihood, Em and I will be in a cab back to the East Village, and I will be on the phone with Lil Frankie’s ordering our usual. Me at 4 am: “Hiiii Lil’ Frankie! Can we have a pizza? Something with truffle involved? Yes, to East 4th St. Thanks Lil’ Frankie, you’re the best!”. I’m SO over the Lombardi’s v. Grimaldi’s debate for best pizza in NYC. Will they bring you a truffle pizza at 4 am? Nope. But Lil’ Frankie will and that’s why he’s the best.

Well, I think that just about covers everything. That’s my perfect day. I’ll be sure to update when it happens!

xo,

a

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avocado obsession

I have a serious addiction to all things avocado. I know Em will agree with me in arguing that avocado is a fantastic addition to almost
any dish. We love it in caprese salads, BLTs, anything Mexican and especially our fancy 5 am burgers (which deserve their own post-they’re epic). While cruising around on Pinterest during work the other day (shhh) I discovered a recipe for chicken salad with a creamy lemon-avocado dressing. Um, RIGHT up my alley. This is a perfect way to use up that almost-too-ripe avocado. Kitchen impaired? No problem! This clever recipe uses a rotisserie chicken–you don’t have to worry about setting off your smoke alarm for the millionth time. I reccommend serving it on a bed of fresh spinach with green apple and topped with toasted marcona almonds. This one’s for all of you other avocado lovers out there!

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Avocado Chicken Salad

ingredients:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, white meat shredded
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 c greek yogurt (I used Chobani 0%)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c cool water
  • salt & pepper

really simple instructions:

1. combine yogurt, avocado, lemon juice, cilantro and water in a medium mixing bowl. season with salt & pepper. blend with hand mixer.

2. add shredded chicken. stir to coat.

3. serve and savor every bite!

xo,

a

california bound

I’m flying home to California this afternoon for Easter weekend! I could not be more excited, definitely not getting any work done today…

e

california bound

dreaming about…

aspen

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Some of my happiest memories are from family trips to Aspen – one of my favorite places in the world. Our yearly trip was always the perfect way to reunite with my family for Christmas after a long fall semester at Carolina. Highlights: skiing Aspen Mountain, taking pictures on long walks, Christmas carols at the Hotel Jerome, eating delicious food at Campo de Fiori and Montagna, giving my little brother his first tequila shot…

It’s truly a special place: a unique combination of an amazing ski mountain and a beautiful town with seriously great restaurants and shopping. And its a real town, not a “built for the mountain” town like Vail or Squaw Valley (which are both great in their own right).

I was lucky enough to go about a month ago, this time not with family but with my boyfriend (SO adult of us). It was far and away my favorite trip I have been on in a very long time.

where to stay

The Sky Hotel. This was my first time staying here and I loved it. I knew this hotel would be great when a red Escalade was waiting for us in front of the airport, ready to take us to the hotel. Renting ski’s? no problem. The hotel is ski in ski out (right next to the Little Nel) and you can rent your skis directly through them. Two words – ski concierge. Leave your skis poolside, grab a cocktail to join the Apres Ski party, and they will be waiting for you fresh and clean in the morning. The hotel also boasts a complimentary wine hour, which even got Jake (a die hard Jack and Diet fan) drinking wine. As for the hot tub, each room comes with two animal print robes to stay cozy on your walk (or stumble) back up to your room.

where to eat

Campo de Fiori – the most delicious Italian and awesome atmosphere, penne vodka is the best (Jake had major food envy).

Matsuisha – by the Nobu guys, they had me at yellow tail sashimi with jalepenos. They are a little stuck up which is annoying but the food is so good.

The Meatball Shop – who knew! We ended up going here our last night for something more casual and it was perfect. Good food (truffle brussel sprouts, buffalo meatballs, mac and cheese), fun bar scene (hello tequila shots), and great service.

Poppycocks – for the best pancakes you will ever eat (one word – oatmeal)

Montagna at the Little Nell is amazing, but I didn’t get to go this time (their pasta with shaved truffle is heaven).

where to shop

Pitkin County Dry Goods, Theory, Moncler, ok let’s be honest – everywhere.

what to pack

Side tip: mail your shit. Your helmet, your goggles, your gloves, your jacket, your ski pants, FedEx it all.

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Rag and bone coated black skinnies. Helmut Lang Puffer (I live in this baby, can be a vest or jacket). Lulu Lemons for under ski pants for a quick transition to Apres Ski. Chunky wintery scarves (this Rag and Bone one is actually not mine, I bought it for Ash for her birthday. Would have loved to have stolen it!). Sorel boots are a must. A good book to entertain yourself while your boyfriend sleeps in and you are ready to get on the mountain!. I’m currently reading Grace Coddington’s memoir and loving it.

xo,

e