It’s getting crazy over here and I totally did it again. Now that the humidity has left us (I miss you already, Summer) and I really need a sweatshirt on my way to the gym, Fall is officially here. But I’m still wearing flip-flops, so it’s really not that bad. Oh. And pumpkin is back in my life. So I’m pretty sure I can deal for now. I started this season with a BANG and I sense no amount of slowing down. I’ve busted out one batch of pumpkin bread, waffles, and now I bring you: ice cream.
It’s in the 50s in the AM and I don’t need ice cream every moment, except it’s never far from my mind. And my new neighborhood has an ice cream truck that passes by our apartment no less than 5 times at night. The one with a bells and music. I’m basically 6 years old every time it passes. But then it reminds me of being little when the truck would come to beach and my mom wouldn’t let me get any ice cream. It’s pretty traumatic to think about. Except now I’m a grown-up and make ice cream whenever I want. And then curl up in a blanket. Forever a child, obviously. So once again, I’ve got ice cream on the brain. Ugh. When will it end. Never. I’m gonna go with never.
And I’m back. Did you miss me? I definitely missed my little red mixer and of course sharing my overly sugary treats. We finally found a place in New York after a few months of staying with friends and I am so glad to not be homeless. And to be baking again. Right in time for my favorite baking season: it’s all about the pumpkin.
My return to baking actually doesn’t involve my mixer at all. But it does include pumpkin. It’s a tradeoff but it works. You know what else works? Browned butter. Everysingletime. Lets not just melt that butter. Let’s glam it up, Gaga-fy it, and show it all kind of love. Kind of make it the star of this essential breakfast option. Except there isn’t one MVP here. These pumpkin waffles are a total team effort. Pumpkin, browned butter, ricotta cheese, essential spices, and the usual suspects all work together to bring you the greatest fall-themed breakfast. Like the Gold Medal ultra team sport of the breakfast world.
Seriously. These are amazing. Ahhh-mazing. They are light, fluffy and basically everything a decadent fall breakfast should be. “A dose of autumn deliciousness.” Words of my favorite taste tester. Truth fact, absolutely. I think it took me about 5 full minutes to get over how awesome the flavors were before I enjoyed them. And they were gone and I wanted more. Except this will also fill up so you can’t even eat another, even if you tried. Especially if you drown them in syrup. The only way in my opinon.
I’m so in love with waffles. I knew the boy and I were meant to be when he gave me a rotating waffle maker for our first Christmas. A carbolicious breakfast is never far from my thoughts. And when you mom gives you a growler of New Hampshire maple syrup you have to be ready for waffles anytime. I’ve been on a hunt for the perfect pumpkin waffles and these just might be it. All my favorite flavors and ingredients for waffles. Happy fall and welcome home.
After making the move to New York, things are still a little hectic. Between not having an official place of my own, commuting to the city, immersing myself in awesome projects, and being separated from my little red mixer, I kind of don’t know how to deal. Its really tragic. Obviously the best thing to calm my nerves is escaping on adventures.
This time it took me to Chicago, a city I had never been to, and it was absolutely awesome. I’m not sure if you’ve caught on yet, but I’m currently dating this guy who is a little more than awesome. Unofficially, we’ve been together for 3 years, which is pretty cool. I can’t even make up my mind about what ice cream to have, so sticking with one guy really should be applauded. We aren’t exactly sure when our actual first date is, so we ball park it. It works. Lets just go with it. We like eating meat, so we went to Chicago to eat delicious meat, among other things. Overall an amazing way to spend the last official weekend of summer.
Architecture is unreal. I never get sick of it.
I had always heard such great things about Chicago but never made it the top of my list. Dear God, why not? Chicago is totally kickass. Delicious food (and not just deep dish pizza), sunny days, boats, buildings. Chicago has seriously got it going on. I’m pretty much a city-phile, so tall buildings and too many people always feels like home. The architecture is seriously redonk. I couldn’t stop looking up. Gorgeous buildings everywhere.
We were lucky to spend a few days with friends who lived in an awesome area and took us around Chicago (bike tour anyone) and introduced us to delicious food. I didn’t look up reviews once. At all. Oh except for chocolate cake. Essential. We had a Chicago experience from locals and then a little time to ourselves, which was absolutely perfect. I was pleasantly surprised by Chicago and I will definitely be back. Except only in the 4-month-long summer. I don’t like winter in New York, there is absolutely no way I can handle it in Chicago.
Beach, lake, and more buildings.
If you head to Chicago…DO THIS
- We frequented awesome sports bars, a few lounges with delicious drinks, and were welcomed with a fantastic chorizo-benedict brunch by our foodie friends our first morning there. I am a huge fan of chorizo and Chi-Town. Here are a few specifics that I will definitely do again:
- Wrigley Field – Got off the plane, went to a cubs game. Obviously. Cubs lost, and it was hot, but beer fixes that. And we sat near the greatest group of guys. Hecklers to everyone, especially the nearly-naked girls, opposing team fans, and just anyone in the vicinity.
- The Peasantry – Awesome restaurant with the most interesting combination of flavors. Sweet potato pancakes with pineapple glaze. Trust me. Its amazing And the best Bloody Mary I have ever had. And I hate Bloody Marys.
- Lou Malnatis – When you think of Chicago you think of pizza and when you think of pizza, this is what you should be thinking. This was delicious AND they place a layer of meat on top of all the cheese. An entire layer. Yes, it’s incredible.
- Portillos – This was the surprise of the weekend. The best chocolate cake (it’s known for it) that is not from a swanky restaurant. This is a hot dog-to-go kind of place and they cake was perfect. Just chocolatey and delicious. Nicely played, Chicago.
- Bike Tour – If you want a nice overview of the city, this is the way to do it. Chicago is beautiful and each area has a different view of the city center. And riding along the water is cool too. We rented the Divvy Bikes and cruised our way around the city. Through Lincoln Park, Navy Pier, and over to Millenium Park to see Clouds Gate (The Bean) and Buckingham Fountain.
- Chicago Riverwalk – Underneath the main streets there is litterally a walk along the river. Its so peaceful and plenty of stops along the way to grab a snack or a drink. On a hot day you can even convince two non-wine drinking guys to polish off white wine.
- Hancock Building – Of all the impressive buildings in Chicago, The Hancock is uberimpressive. Its huge and black and very ominous looking. And charges $18 to go to the observation deck. Don’t do that, instead pay $15 for a girly drink (or $10 for a gin & tonic) at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor. We waited in line for about 5-10 minutes had a drink and enjoyed killer views. Seriously. This is a must for any trip to Chicago.
Sometimes I hear that phrase to describe a beach house on The Jersey Shore, or a mansion in The Hamptons, even a penthouse apartment in New York City. While each of these places has its charm, “a cape cod feel” it does not have. Sorry New York, I love you, but nothing really compares to Cape Cod. Placing nautical-themed anything in a 6 bedroom townhouse or a kitschy sign with anchors and sea shells on the porch of a mansion in a New York beach house isn’t the same. At all. And I love me some nautical-themed anything.
I spent most of my life in California with a 2-year stint in Massachusetts, followed by more California, and finally New York.Through all the sunshine of the west and excitement of the city in the east– two things I absolutely cannot live without — Coastal Massachusetts feels much more like home and childhood than any other place. My mom grew up in a small seaside town and everything about that place, the people, and they way of life has rubbed off on me. Whoopie pies, donuts, lobster, Portuguese sweet bread, steamers, I can seriously go on. But it’s also spending 9+ hours at the beach, running away from horseflies to find solace with hermit crabs, and just feeling like I have a place.
Coming back for a family memorial service was everything it should have been. Tears mixed with laughter and drama as only my family can provide. Reconnecting with cousins, aunts, and uncles and sharing memories over lobster rolls and crab cakes is bittersweet and perfect. Rediscovering that my hard exterior which encases a gentle giant is a family trait, and not unusual, is refreshing. I am my mother, grandmother, and other who came before me. My take-charge, don’t-mess-with-me attitude has been passed down. As has my love for the nautical lifestyle. I want to be on a boat always.
I want it all. Every ray of sun in California. Every single never-ending beach day in The Cape. And all the city lights and taxis speeding everywhere. This is what I think of as “having it all.” I need it all. The beach. The coastal life. Nautical-themed rooms. Excitement of the never-sleeping city. My boyfriend likes to say I’m from wherever is convenient at the time. My heart’s been broken and each place has slowly picked up the pieces. Never relinquishing the piece of me that loves each one. I wish I’d spent my whole life in the same little house that my parents brought me home from the hospital to. But that didn’t last long. I’m not really sure where I’m from. But I know where I’m going. Well, I have three options. All I have to do is pick one. So easy.