Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekend Snapshots



If someone were to survey my weekend, they would think it was rather unproductive. Met with a few friends Friday night after a horrific work week filled with presentations, preparations, and breakdowns (of technology, not emotion!). Saturday was spent to myself. I cooped up in my room with a laptop and a latte and spent some much needed "me" time with some time spent in with a close friend later in the evening. I also took to my haggard nails with some tools and a bottle of "I'm With Brad" (OPI for Sephora) for a shimmery chocolate gloss. I guess chocolate really took center stage this weekend!



My clever handiwork :)


Sunday almost mirrored Saturday in its slow pace, but was upped in ante by a jaunt to a favorite beach-side seafood spot with my sister. We had a chance to pop into a local cafe to enjoy a soy latte (she) and Belgian hot chocolate (me) to catch up on some weekend goss. This week is sure to be a disaster, what with quickly approaching magazine deadlines and a smorgasbord of assignments tossed in for fun. Luckily, I will be celebrating my bestie's new job and taking time to catch up with another for dineLA @ Fraiche. Hope your week is off to a fabulous start!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Style Envy - Selena Gomez

Wow, I haven't done one of these in a while! What I love so much about Saturday Style Envy is that, not only do I get to give props to good fashion sense, but I also get to showcase a casual, daytime look from which I can suck inspiration. I love dressing up just like the next girl, but am in constant search of a low-key look that still rocks my fashionista socks.

{via}
Which is why I'm currently obsessed with this casual-cool look on Selena Gomez. Long-line cardigans are all the rage this fall and I have been in desperate search for one that melds the perfect silhouette with a to-die-for print. Here 'tis! And at a great price, too. I love to see the jeans and t-shirt look paired with a bold print and sexified shoes. Can't wait to rock this look sometime soon. Thanks, Selena, for the inspiration!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Ate My Heart in San Francisco...No, That Doesn't Sound Right


Yes, I did plan my San Francisco trip around food. You must have seen this one coming. What I did not plan on, however, was the second coming of the bubonic plague that kept me nice and irritable all weekend. It hit me as I was finishing loading my toiletry bag into my suitcase Friday morning. I’m actually surprised I remember most of my trip, considering my brain was foggy most of the time. Nothing ice-cold temperatures, sporadic downpours, and body-ravaging winds can’t cure, right? Right? Mother Nature also blessed me with her monthly gift the day we left. How generous of her. It sounds miserable, but we actually made the most of it by hitting all of our planned stops along our way around the Bay.



After a five-hour nap-filled drive up North Friday, we had a chance to dine at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana at the Pier, where I had the freshest fish I have ever tasted marinated in leche de tigre. Saturday morning, we decided to walk to the Ferry Building for its famed farmers’ market. On our way, we stopped at Minamoto Kitchoan to sample their fine Japanese sweets [see above]. After a windswept one-and-a-half mile trek, we finally arrived at our mecca. It was so worth the wait. Asiago cheese was heated and bubbling, waiting to be poured onto the awaiting crusty bread at Cowgirl Creamery. This was one of the more wondrous food-related sights I'd ever seen in my life.



Waiting for the next food adventure!

Chicharrones and the City

My sister and I finally made it to the back of the outdoor market to get a load of the famed chilaquiles at the Primavera Mexican food stand.We ended up indulging on a bit more than we anticipated and gorged on the light, fluffy, and crisp chicharrones (pork rinds) and we scooped up at 4505 Meats. As we walked around, we couldn't help but fall in love with the rustic fruit tarts that lined the halls, the succulents growing in crates, and coffee roasting at Blue Bottle. We also had a chance to sample some of Miette's most tantalizing pastries. Rose geranium macarons, anyone?


Macarons @ Miette

Miette's famous Tomboy layer cake

Apple cider and clove sorbet

Jeggings: St. Blue / Sweater: Frenchi / Faux fur vest: F21 / Watch: Michael Kors rose gold Runway / Boots: Bakers (old)


Chocolate ganache and sea salt tart @ Miette

Saturday evening was spent dining at The Slanted Door, which had the most amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge. However, one of the most indulgent meals I had had in a long time was enjoyed Sunday morning at Brenda's, a French soul food joint that was well worth the 30+ minute wait and two mile hike through what I like to call Meth Valley. The pointed end of my umbrella was at the ready to swipe at a moment's notice. I would like to take this chance to say that I felt worse than death and couldn't wait to take my Dayquil. But sweet, heavenly Jesus, Ghirardelli chocolate-filled beignets are God's gift to the sick and dying.

Slowly dying. Can't you tell?



Chocolatey waterfall of gooey goodness
After the sugar coma, we sampled an omelette comprised of fried oysters with a side of cheesy grits and buttered biscuits smothered in homemade strawberry preserves. We didn't even get a chance to try the sweet potato pancakes drenched in butter pecan sauce. They are currently taking up residence in our fridge.



A walk through Fisherman's Wharf after breakfast proved to be successful, as we took in the fresh catches-of-the-day and settled in at Boudin for clam chowder in a bread bowl for a late lunch. Did I mention we lugged an eight pound bag of bread loaves through the city on our way back to our hotel?






In all, it was one of the most successful trips I had taken in a while and can't wait to go back and do it all over again! What are some of your favorite foodie adventures? I can't wait to share more of mine!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

San Francisco Chic

 
I'm actually quite nervous about what to pack for my upcoming San Francisco trip. I'm a pretty good vacation packer, if not a little bit OCD. I plan outfits and meticulously choose corresponding accessories. Tip: pack clutches and coin purses in more oversized handbags. Bonus: most satchels are collapsible! I'm a compulsive clothing roller (it's a condition, I looked it up). I believe it's the best way to avoid rumpled clothing upon unpacking (I tested this theory out on an international flight and was quite pleased). I always overdo the shoes, but nobody's perfect. 
 
I deal with the same travel wardrobe woes as the next girl. What if I head down to the hotel cafe after hours for a spot of Earl Grey? Uggs, it is. What will I do if the weather suddenly clears up? Striped espadrilles. What if water gets into my rain boots? Leather over-the-knees will have to do. 
 
See? It's tough to pack when dealing with a city that boasts an unreliable climate and requires multiple outfit changes to accommodate shifting plans. I'm thinking chunky sweater, heavyweight shorts, tights, and boots. A chic hat can add a bit of edge AND provide extra protection for my hair. Voila! Switch out rain boots for leather wedge booties for nighttime and I'll be golden. 
 
Day-to-night looks are tough enough in your own city. Lugging around a raincoat is also not ideal. How do you deal with wacky weather when you travel? Layering is the best way to ensure warmth, but doesn't it get uncomfortable after a while? Any tips are greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tasty Tuesdays - Three Cheese Boreg

{Ed Note: We here at Gigi HQ are apparently running a crackerjack operation. Our photographer, who was supposed to photograph the finished product after baking, "forgot" and ate said finished product. Not until I inquired about the photos did she remember that she had forgotten. Thanks, Lori. *sigh*}

I had always wanted to stake my claim as the first "famous" Armenian. Unfortunately, my best-friend-in-my-head Kim Kardashian beat me to it. And more power to her! If not for her, where, oh where, would I have developed my lust for perfecting the luxurious, naturally brunette hair with which she has become synonymous, or my unwavering dedication to achieving the sultriest smokey eye? I digress.

Credit: LPG

Credit: LPG


I am very proud of my heritage and have dedicated today's post to elevating one of my favorite appetizers found in Armenian cuisine: the cheese böreg. Flaky sheets of puff pastry enveloped around a blend of my favorite cheeses...need I say more? I'm just going to stop talking and let the photos speak for themselves. Bonus: a few scenic shots of a trip I took to Armenia in the summer of 2009. Enjoy!

Credit: LPG

Credit: LPG




Three Cheese Böreg
Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients:
4 oz. shredded muenster cheese
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
4 oz. ricotta cheese
1 tbsp. crushed Aleppo pepper
1 sheet puff pastry
1 Egg (for wash)

Instructions:
> Mix three cheeses and Aleppo pepper in food processor until combined. Mixture will be slightly sticky.
> Cut sheet of puff pastry lengthwise and cut five triangles out of each strip.
> Spoon one rounded tablespoon of cheese/pepper mixture near one long end end of triangle.
> Fold over once (a la a turnover) and secure edges with a fork.
> Crack and beat one egg. Brush over tops of folded böregs.
> Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

Lake Sevan

Mountainside near Lake Sevan

Sevanavank

Sevanavank

Khachkars @ Sevanavank

Khachkars @ Sevanavank

Monday, January 16, 2012

Golden Globes 2012 Red Carpet

I don't always have the nicest things to say about award show fashion. The red carpet hasn't wowed me so much in recent years (see here and here), but this year's Golden Globes had something different. I don't know if it was the forward-thinking designers, ingenious stylists, or more risk-taking on the part of the stars, but I was truly impressed with almost every look on the carpet! My top picks have to be Charlize Theron for her ethereal yet edgy look, Elle MacPherson for looking STUNNING in a showstopping structural gown, and Salma Hayek for making me gasp when she stepped onto the red carpet.

Charlize Theron in Dior couture

Kate Beckinsale in Roberto Cavalli

Jessica Alba in Gucci

Elle Macpherson in Zac Posen


Laura Dern in Andrew Gn

Salma Hayek in Gucci

Piper Perabo in Theyskens' Theory

Sofia Vergara in Vera Wang

Friday, January 13, 2012

Gonna Get Away, Gotta Get Away


Perhaps the only upside to a rain-soaked trip to San Francisco is that, besides the culinary adventure on which I am about to embark, I finally get to break in my Hunter Carnaby Boa rain boots! Wet weather doesn't quite exist in sunny SoCal (boohoo, right?) and my much sought-after boots have been relegated to their ginormous box currently taking up prime real estate in my closet.



I can't wait to peruse the farmer's market at the Ferry Building (after sampling cheeses at Cowgirl Creamery and sweet stuff at Miette), dine on modern Vietnamese fare at The Slanted Door (after enduring a challenging conversation with a very patient reservationist), and just get out of town for a few beats. It's much needed. Maybe the air is different up there. Maybe the rain will wipe the slate clean and clear the clouds from my mind.



I would love some more recommendations for a non-first-time SF traveler, someone who loves food, fashion, culture, and adventure. Let me have it!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursty Thursdays - Blood Orange French 75 Cocktail Recipe

{via}

A few weeks ago, I treated one of my bestest (hi, Tamar) to a yummo birthday dinner at Fig & Olive in WeHo. Prior to dinner, while we waited for our highly-anticipated reservation to become available, we opted to imbibe at the beautiful cocktail bar (with yummy carrara marble countertops) lining the back wall of the restaurant. Not being much of a drinker, I mooched off of her tasty bev, which happened to speak to every single one of my taste profile preferences. This recipe reminded me of the creamy, sweet, and tart flavor notes of the Rossellini cocktail, a blend of passion fruit vodka, freshly squeezed blood orange juice, and fresh lime juice, that we she consumed. I hope to try this similar recipe using gin and champagne (less passion fruit) out in my own kitchen soon!

Blood Orange French 75 Cocktail Recipe
Adapted from Imbibe Magazine’s French 75 Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1 small blood orange (about the size of a lemon), juiced
  • 1/2 small lemon, juiced
  • 3 ounces Champagne or sparkling wine
  • Ice
Instructions:
  1. Fill a Champagne flute or comparably sized glass less than halfway with crushed ice (optional).
  2. Fill a small cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the gin and the blood orange and lemon juice. Shake well.
  3. Strain the gin mixture into the glass. Top with Champagne. Garnish with a blood orange twist.
 
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