I haven’t posted anything in a week and it’s kind of nice. I love sharing recipes, projects, and musings, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break. Between having a toddler, the holidays, and my parents visiting for the week, there’s been a lot of awesome stuff going on. So instead of telling you all about it, here’s a collection of pictures sharing all our fun….
Yesterday we were treated to a holiday lunch at the Anchor & Hope by some wonderful friends. My husband’s known this couple for almost 20 years, and has been working with his buddy for over 10. It was a true treat for us to drop the tot off at preschool and then head into the city for this special gathering, and I was looking forward to a tasty lunch (and maybe a mid-day glass of wine — total indulgence!).
Known for their tasty fish dishes, the restaurant is tucked on Minna street and has an ample seating area and a bar for patrons. We had a noon reservation, and when we got there (after struggling to find parking!) the place was packed. Before I even had a moment to look at the menu, a beautiful selection of oysters, perfectly poached shrimp, fresh clams, crab and lobster salad, and a variety of house sauces was placed on our table.
From here we sampled more delicious oysters and also sipped an amazing bottle (or two) of wine.
While watching the food come out of the kitchen it looked like the lobster roll sandwich was the thing to order, and our party ordered their share — along with the seared salmon sandwich (which I ordered).
Then it was time for coffee and dessert, which was also absolutely delicious. In fact the cup of coffee that my husband ordered (that I sipped too) was one of the best cups of coffee I’ve had ever.
But the best thing about our lunch was the amazing service. Our waiter was wonderfully attentive without being overbearing and the rest of the staff filled water glasses and removed plates like silent serving ninjas, making us feel like we were the only table in the place, which we weren’t. The place was packed, and from the smiling and approving faces seen around the restaurant, everyone else was having an awesome time too.
While checking out the dinner menu, which wasn’t much different than the lunch offerings, I had no doubt that the restaurant would be packed again in only a few hours with patrons that would continue streaming in until closing. But, I would suggest hitting Anchor & Hope for lunch — with a reservation of course. You can sit and enjoy a leisurely mid-day meal, without feeling rushed, and not bust the bank. Sandwiches run around $15 to $24, with lunch entrees over $18. And you have to order a few oysters (starting at $2 each), which are shucked perfectly and seriously tasty.
Plan on parking at the garage on Howard and 2nd (which ran us $9) and metered parking is free after 6pm and on Sundays. You’ll love the energy of the restaurant, the fantastic staff, and the sensational fish.
My tot is in love with the color red. She had to have red shoes, only uses red paint when getting creative, and wants us to paint freshly painted white walls of her room red. So I wasn’t at all surprised when she decided we just HAD to make RED cookies to share with all her friends for Christermax. Sure, I could’ve added red food coloring to basic sugar cookie dough, but wanted to make something not-so sweet that also had a nice holiday flavor. We mixed together a lovely red velvet base, added sparkling red sprinkles, and created a delectably crisp and balanced holiday cookie that’s perfect for making with your little ones. And these cookies aren’t too sweet, or filled with too much butter, making them a healthier option than that cookie dough you can pick up the in refrigerator section.
1/2 cup room temperature butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
1 tablespoon (plus) red food coloring
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups flour
Preheat your oven to 375F and gather the ingredients for making the cookies. Red velvet cake is a seriously yummy combination of vanilla, chocolate, a bit of tang, and a whole lot of red. I absolutely love red velvet cake, and with it’s vibrant red color, figured this cookie rendition would be perfect for celebrating the season.
Invite your child to help measure and add the butter, oil, sugar, and vanilla to a mixing bowl. Use a hand blender to mix everything together until it’s nice and smooth. I even let my tot use the blender for a brief moment (while holding with one hand AND attempting to take a picture) but quickly realized that toddlers and hand blenders might not be such a good idea. We’ll try again when she’s a bit older…
Now add the egg, milk, and the vanilla, giving things another mix. Hold off on adding the vinegar, because if you add it at this point, the milk will separate and things will look really gross (your cookies will still taste good – don’t worry).
Sift (or mix) together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa and then add about one-fourth of the dry ingredients to the batter. Give things a stir until incorporated and then add the vinegar and a good amount of red food coloring. If you want the cookies on the darker side, add another few drops of the food coloring.
Continue adding the dry ingredients until all incorporated. As you can see, my daughter really took stirring seriously.
Cover a sheet tray with parchment and invite your tot to drop spoonfuls of batter on the pan, allowing an inch or two between cookies. Now your child can douse the cookies with the red sprinkles.
Offer your child a clean glass to gently press on the cookies creating sprinkled rounds of dough. Yeah, they aren’t going to be perfect, but that’s how it goes when you’re cooking with little ones. It’s about the experience, not the super pretty outcome — but it’s sure a plus when things taste good!
Pop the cookies in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops are cracked. If you prefer a chewy-er cookie, leave in for 9 minutes or so. But these are really good nice and crisp with a tender center, which is what we discovered after about 12 minutes of baking. Remove from the oven and top with more sprinkles or even a dusting of powdered sugar before serving.
Next Thursday I’m making the trek into the city to attend BlogHer PRO. I’m excited, anxious, worried, and apprehensive. It’s my first blogging conference and I’m not really sure why I’m going. Sure, it seemed like the right thing to do when I purchased the ticket over a month ago, but now I’m letting my head get the best of me and I’m seriously ready to find some excuse not to go.
Yeah, I’m lame like that.
But then I remind myself there is an amazing community of awesome crafty (and local!) ladies that are attending, all of whom I’m excited to meet. There’s going to be interactive activities and professional speakers. There’s going to be free food.
And it’s a whole day away from the responsibilities of the tot.
Yes, I’m seriously over-thinking what I’m going to wear, concerned I’ll be sitting in a corner all by myself — or that I’ll say something seriously awkward (which I’m known to do). But I also know I need to get over myself, get out there, AND BE SOCIAL.
If you’re heading to BlogHer PRO next week I’ll be there and I’d love to get to know you in real life. I’ll be the one lugging around my massive teal green Epiphanie camera/laptop bag.