Warming Up at Rooster and Rice

While we were in the Bay Area for the terrible Texas vs. Berkeley game (see Burnt Orange Nation's woeful recap or Oregon Live's which is more to the point), the redhead and I were are able to slightly offset the defeat by eating our way though San Francisco. One of my favorite lunch stops was Rooster and Rice in Cow Hollow. 

Rooster and Rice serves khao man gai. If If you haven’t heard of khao man gai, it’s Thai chicken and rice with a delicious spicy chili, ginger, garlic and soybean sauce that you eat with a broth. Rooster and Rice also serves a vegetarian option with organic brown rice, tofu, and vegetables. You alternate bites of the chicken and rice (or in my case, tofu and rice) with sips of hot broth. Here’s a video on how you eat it from Nong’s Khao Man Gai in Portland.

By the way, four months later, the redhead still hasn’t recovered from the Horns' loss.

Washington DC's Best Cupcakes at Baked and Wired Bakery

I've been to Washington, D.C. quite a few times and the one place that I have to go every time I visit is Baked and Wired bakery in Georgetown. I strongly believe that they make the best cupcakes in the U.S. and so does my friend, Phuong of Mibellarosa. Don’t doubt us, we will fight you. She’s a floral designer...vases and thorns might get thrown. 

Baked and Wired serves a huge selection of cupcake flavors daily and their Razmanian Devil cupcake (lemon cake with raspberry preserves and lemon buttercream), Smurfette (vanilla cake with blueberries and lemon buttercream), and pumpkin (pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting) cupcakes are my favorites. All those flavors are seasonal, so I’m not sure if they are ever available at the same time. The strawberry cupcake and OMG bar (s’mores) are also delicious and available everyday. The cupcakes are displayed across the counter in cloches and there is almost always a little bit of a line. Don’t worry, it moves fast, and it might be a good idea to do a glance through all the flavors before getting in line, anyway. Gotta be efficient. B&W also has cookies, bee sting bars, and marshmallows. 

In addition to the sweets, Baked and Wired makes the best soy matcha latte in their cafe. Soy comes standard.

If you want both a coffee or tea and a baked good, I recommend ordering the drink first, getting your cupcakes second, and picking up your drink afterwards. 

Baked and Wired’s sister restaurant, A Baked Joint is equally delicious with fewer (meaning zero) cupcakes and cakes and pies instead. I’ll need write a post about them, too. 

Pardon the iPhone photos, I'm planning a trip back to eat a dozen cupcakes on my own take better photos.

Southwest Airlines Companion Pass Obtained

Throughout 2016, the redhead was working hard to earn the Southwest Airlines Companion pass. This rewards program lets the most loyal of Southwest customers bring a friend with them on flights practically for free. In November, he got it and guess who he chose as his companion? If you guessed a Chipotle burrito, you are wrong. The companion does indeed need to be human, otherwise he may have actually chosen the burrito. The burrito wouldn’t have minded a middle seat, doesn’t cry, and isn’t loud, but may have had trouble going through security without taking off its aluminum jacket, and would have needed help boarding. It would always need to board with families with small children and passengers requiring additional assistance boarding the plane, right before boarding group B. 

I digress. Who’s almost as good as a Chipotle burrito? Me!

Growing up, I didn’t get have the privilege of traveling much as my parents were always working long hours and we didn’t have the resources. As an adult, I LOVE traveling and exploring new places, sights, locally-made items, and of course trying new food! Unfortunately in my career, I had limited vacation time and often took my PTO to hustle and do freelance work. When I finally got a job with a decent amount of vacation, scheduling days off was a sticky situation and it was extremely difficult to get approved with no rhyme or reason.

The redhead didn't travel much as a child, either, at least not by plane. Family trips were through parts of the Southwest— West Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, etc. His family really likes the desert. For being such pale people, I was surprised about this, but to each their own (with adequate sun protection).

Needless to say, we were both thrilled for the opportunity to travel across the country for approximately $6 dollars in fees.

2017 will be full of travel adventures, and I’ll be blogging about the Companion Pass here and posting even more on Instagram.

Photo credit: Jamie Jones Photography 

Big News

Hello? Anybody there? It's been a long time, I definitely didn't keep my end of the promise about posting more often.

I've been busy, but I'm always busy, so I guess that's not a good excuse. Shout out to patient reader Allison who kindly reminded me to post this weekend.

I hope you'll welcome my return, because I've got BIG news. In August, the redhead asked me to marry him. Well, he brought me up a mountain and gave me a ring, and forgot to ask me to marry him, but I reminded him...

It all happened at Grand View Park. You might remember this photo:

There's a lot of backstory about him asking for my parents' permission via traditional Vietnamese means (including cognac) and flying all the way to NYC to see my prospective engagement ring in person(!!!) at Anna Sheffield with my friend Katy.

I said yes, and then I was so excited, I stole this French bulldog. His name is Butch.

Photos by Tina Phan, who he secretly flew to San Francisco and had hiding on that mountain.

Boston Brunch at Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to be sent to Boston for a conference. My work best friends and I made a mini-vacay of it and even added a few days to the beginning for adventures.

Being a lover of brunch, I made my ladies fuel our first full day in Beantown with a brunch from Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro.

Lindsay and I both ordered the cider braised apple french toast, and Meagan had the frittata. Sorry for the weird cropping as I had to snap this photos quickly. I just couldn't wait to eat it.

Brunch was the perfect start for a historical day on The Freedom Trail.

Note: Brunch was also where Meagan began reading The Complete Guide to Boston's Freedom Trail to us. Get your own copy here. Meagan's book on tape isn't available...yet.

Cake Pops at Cupcakes and Cocktails Bake A Wish Event

I am designing two dozen Austin, Texas themed cake pops for Austin Food Bloggers Alliance's Cupcakes and Cocktails event benefiting Bake A Wish. Bake A Wish is a non-profit providing birthday cakes for children in need. Tickets for Wednesday's event are available online for $35.

My fancy cake pops will in the silent auction and will be made with chocolate cake balls from Objects of Confection. There may be a few other flavors here and there.  Be there and bid high. ;)

Jessica Forkner from Objects of Confection will be participating in the Cupcakes and Cocktails Challenge in which she will be baking up cocktail-inspired cupcakes and facing off against some of Austin's most talented bakers including Sugar Mama's Bakeshop and Amity Bakery (she distributes my fave almond croissants to La Boite). Man is this going to be tasty.

Cupcakes and Cocktails
Wednesday, July 27, 2012
6:00 - 9:00pm
AT&T Conference Center, Tejas Room

Find out more on the Cupcakes and Cocktails Facebook event

Doodle Dining Club: Lucy's Fried Chicken

It's National Fried Chicken Day! I promise I didn't make this one up. Check CNN's Eatocracy for more details. To celebrate this obscure holiday, I bring you a fried chicken-related post. 

Lucy's Fried Chicken
is yet another place that seems like I, as a vegetarian of many years, might not go to. My friend Meagan chose this as her first Doodle Dining Club adventure. You might remember the other adventure at Justine's, or the many trips to Franklin BBQ - I seem to go to plenty of places a veggie might not make their first pick.

As the name and the menu suggest, Lucy's specializes in fried chicken.

We started off with drinks. All the ladies had Juicy Lucy water melon margaritas. I somehow ended up with multiple limes.

To start, we shared the cornbread muffins with tequila butter. Yum! Meagan wanted the calf fries (others refused), and the chicken eaters got a big bucket o' chicken.

I had the fire kissed vegetable skewers. they were surprisingly good and thankfully came on top of a bed of greens.

There was some sort of issue with our order, so we got a table full of complimentary pie. The waiter said there was pie in our future. He was right. There was plenty. We had shoofly, s'mores, key lime. We had high blood sugar for the rest of the week.

Austin, Texas, I Love You - Chalk Art Time Lapse Video

Big news: I recently branched into a new medium - chalk art.

Here is a video of my largest piece to date from Austin handmade boutique, Burlap Bag.

Owners Lauren and Josiah Lowe curate a collection of handmade items from makers around the US including several Austin designers. They also have a cute and helpful DIY blog with tutorials like how to make brown sugar or branch jewelry holder. Their site goes straight to the blog.

Here's Lauren's post about the Austin Texas I Love You chalkboard on the Burlap Bag blog. That's a mouthful -- or a bagful.

Stop by their store and see all their amazing handcrafted finds, and check out my chalkboard art while you're there.

502 W. 30th St.
Austin, TX 78705

Not in Austin? Lucky you, they just launched their online store. Unfortunately, you won't be able to see the chalk art in person.

Here are some in progress shots.

Thanks Burlap Bag for letting me fill your window with chalk.