Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Walton's Fancy and Staple, a patisserie

Coined by the French, a patisserie is a bakery producing only the best of pastries. It is a term not to be bestowed upon lightly. 

Breads, puff pastry, flaky pastry, and strudels - all are up for grabs at Walton's Fancy and Staple. Along with cupcakes, cookies, macarons, and tarts, both sweet and savory, Walton's haas become a great Austin patisserie.

One of my favorites is the Honey Bee Cake, an almond cake layered with caramel buttercream and topped with a chocolate ganache. Added bonus, isn't it adorable? Pictured below left.

And yes, the cinnamon buns taste as amazing as they look...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cherry Blossoms

It's officially the first day of Spring! And... today marks the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival!

The trees were a gift from Japan to the U.S. over 100 years ago and still continue to grace us with their beauty and symbolism. The first trees were planted in Washington along the tidal basin, where the Jefferson memorial now sits.

It was a gift that keeps on giving, each and every year.

 Now the cherry blossoms have spread and can be found throughout the city of Washington.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Barbour Bedale

When my husband first met me, he said he had never known a girl that owned so many sweaters. That's what happens when you grow up in the cold of Michigan. And being a gal from Michigan, I know a good, quality jacket.

In walks my Barbour Bedale:

What's go great about the Barbour waxed coats is that they are waxed. So any rain or snow (or spill of a drink) runs right off the side.

But what really gets the golden ticket for me is the sleeves. You know how sometimes you are outside, in the winter, in the cold, and a breeze makes it way right up your arm. Well, the Bedale has a soft wool inner cuff that snuggles its way around your wrist. Good luck sneaking in there!

Another thing that I quite enjoy about this jacket is that there is an under arm breathe way. When it's cold outside we like to layer - and layer and layer. And well, after a lot of layering, it can get a bit stuffy inside. I'm sure you get the picture. But don't worry, the studded vents won't let that breeze back in.

Mind you, the Bedale was initially designed for equestrians, so when you see it in the shop and try it on, you might notice that the back of the jacket has extra room, perfect for riders, but not so perfect for street folk. The intention is that a rider has room to let loose on the reins when atop a horse. But, if you are not atop a horse, then the extra room simulates the hunchback of Notre Dame. Not to worry, the back of the coat will drop. Give it a few wears and I promise it will break in.

For more interesting tidbits about the Barbour Bedale, visit The Daily Prep.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Florence, Italy

It was a rainy day when we went to Florence, but that didn't change a thing. Rain or shine, this city sparkles with a medieval beauty.

View from the Ponte Vecchio

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's Fat Tuesday!

It's hard to beat the Mardi Gras festivities in the French Quarter of New Orleans, but there are other ways to celebrate. And with the accessibility of the world these days, you don't have to travel to NOLA to get a taste of it, literally (yes, we can use that here). In walks Abita Beer.

 Abita beers are brewed with just the right touch of flavor. Some of my favorites:

Grapefruit - refreshingly tart, but not sour. Give it a good sniff first, your nose will thank you.
Amber - the brewery's original and a customer favorite, me included.
Jockamo IPA - hoppy like an IPA should be. Caution: Slightly higher in alcohol by volume, as is the case with most IPAs.
Purple Haze - a hint of berry. Sweet to start or finish.