Saturday, May 29, 2010

Catherine's Mom's Wedding Cake

 Wedding Cake

This past Tuesday night I was at home when I got a phone call from one of my friends, Catherine.

Catherine: "Hey Nadia!"
Me: "Hi!"
C: "Are you busy?"
M: "No, what's up?"
C: "I was wondering if you could make my mom's wedding cake for Sunday."
M: ".....THIS SUNDAY???"

She went on to explain that it would be a small cake that needed to feed only about 7-10 people.  Ok.. so a 6 inch cake.  Not too big a deal.. other than the fact I've never done a real wedding cake before.  She and I talked about what the cake would be and what decorations it would have on it.  Her mom's favorite flower is Lily of the Valley which looks like this:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Conquering.. the Macaron.

  Chocolate Macarons 3

On my recent trip to Vegas one of the birthday girl's wish was to stop by Bouchon Bakery before our trip back home so she could take some back for her and her family.  This was my third time eating Bouchon's macarons and it gets better each time I eat it.  To date I've tried the Vanilla, Pistachio, Coffee, Chocolate, and Raspberry.  My favorite was and remains the vanilla.  


Monday, May 24, 2010

Jae's Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcakes 2

I feel like for most bakers, cooks, or anyone doing anything creative can get bored of the same thing over and over again.  This could lead to stifling one's creative juices. In some cases, this is true for me but for the most part... it scares and intimidates me. Why?  Well... it's the fear of the unknown.  The fear that something that seems like a good idea in my mind ends up not coming to fruition in reality.  It's the perfectionist side of me that can't let mess ups go.  So, when I find something that works.. I stick with it.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had also made some chocolate cupcakes for, my friend, Jae's 28th birthday.  The plan was to sort of recreate the treats I made for my lovely friend for previous birthdays.  Two years ago I made her devil's food cupcakes decorated with flowers in rainbow colors:

Rainbow Flower Cupcakes

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jae's Decorated Cookies


I just came back from a short but sweet trip to Vegas with a group of girlfriends to celebrate a birthday.  Two years ago we took a spontaneous trip to Vegas and this year we did the same.. but planned.  On our last trip I had made some chocolate cupcakes for her decorated with buttercream flowers:


This year, I made her about 2 dozen decorated cookies and regular chocolate cupcakes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Neat Stuff: Circular Silpats

After these few weeks of non-pastry/desserts/anything-sweet-related posts, you're probably thinking the same thing I am:  

Where's the Bakery related stuff in "Nads' Bakery"?!

I promise... less food and more baking related posts from here on out.........
.......maybe... at least for the time being.

I'm making these decorated cookies for my friend's birthday so I'll be posting photos of those as soon as I'm done with it, but in the meantime...

There is a restaurant supply store called Chefs Toys that I go to quite often for my kitchen supplies.  After shopping at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and other ridiculously over-priced stores at the beginning of my baking adventures finding this store was like finding $20 in a pair of pants I haven't worn in a long time.  Ok, well maybe a little better than that.  Items are significantly cheaper and I often find things I wouldn't find at other kitchen supply stores... like these babys.

Circular Silpats

Circular silpats for cake pans!  Well, not the actual Silpat brand but definitely close.  There were no price tags on them so I went to the check out counter and asked them to do a price check.  

ME: "Could I get a price check on this, please?" as I held out the 6" circular silpat.
CHEFS' TOYS PERSONNEL: "Let's see.  It is, two forty ($2.40)."
CTP: "Yup.  Two forty."
ME: "NO!  .......................................REALLY??"
CTP: "Yeah. Two forty."
ME: "WOW!!!"

It was quite comical.  Yeah, it's only a 6" round but still... if it were Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table it'd be $10.50.  So, I got one 6" and a 8" (8" was $3.30) for a grand total of $6.20.  AWESOME.  Now, I just have to test it out to make sure it actually works.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 1 & 2: Melograno & A Baking Lesson


2012 Sansom St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
(215) 875-8116

For the first official dining experience Jackie took me to this place called Melograno.  This was one of her favorite restaurants.  But before we went, we had to make a stop at the local wine superstore for our BYOB.  
 Wine Store

For the longest time I thought BYOB meant Bring Your Own Beef.  I think a friend a while back had a Fourth of July barbecue where we had to bring our own meat.  Little did I know what it really meant.  Pretty much all the restaurants in Philly are BYOB.  I still didn't get why all of Philadelphia make you bring your own booze even after 5 days in the city but I went with it.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 2 & 3: Honey's Sit & Eat, Dmitri's, and Parc


800 North Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123

(215) 925-1150


 On Saturday morning Jackie and I went to Honey's Sit and Eat.  There was another brunch/breakfast place similar to this (the name of which escapes my mind at the moment) that we were going back and forth on.  The other place had a cream cheese stuffed french toast that was just calling my name but decided on Honey's based on it's coziness.  

The wait wasn't too bad.  We were expecting at least an hour wait because Jackie had just been there with her cousins and they had to wait for an hour and a half or some insane amount of time.  The wait was maybe 15 minutes.  In the meantime we went next door to a small flower shop and looked around.  

Honey's_Flowers 2

Very cute. Lots of random stuff I didn't even know existed for plants..


I saw Peonies everywhere I went in Philly.  I wonder if it's the city's official flower.  Hhmm.. just Googled it and no city flower but the state's official flower is the Mountain Laurel.  Anyway.. I digress...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 3: Philly Cheesesteak Wars & Rita's


Cheesesteaks_Jims Whiz

One of the things I HAD to try while I was in Philly was, of course, the Philly Cheesesteak.  I'm sure most of you have seen on TV at one time or another the great debate over who has the best Philly Cheesesteak: Pat's or Geno's.  They've featured these two joints playing up the fact that they are directly across from each other and claim to be the originators of the Philly Cheesesteak.  My friend and her boyfriend told me that these two places draw a lot of the tourists, probably because of all the exposure on TV, but the REAL place to go was a place called Jim's which was another 10 minute drive.  My goal.. try them ALL and see which was really the best.  

I was in my stretchy pants, ready to go.

Philly Cheesesteak Round 1: PAT'S
1237 East Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19147-5060
(215) 468-1546


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 4: Philadelphia - Touring Philly

Philly_Love 2

On Monday (April 19th) Jackie had to go to work which left me alone until about 5PM.  I had decided to walk around Philly taking photos and doing the touristy thing.  All throughout the weekend I've been taking photos non-stop and I felt bad for making her constantly wait, quietly with no complaint, for me as I took my pictures.  This was a great opportunity for me to leisurely take photos of the beautiful sights I had seen while driving around.. not to mention getting some form of exercise in.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 4: Philadelphia - Garces Trading Co. & The Naked Chocolate Cafe


1113 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5890 
(215) 574-1099

Garces_Olive Oil

After my afternoon walk around Philadelphia doing my touristy things I decided to make my way over to Garces Trading Company for lunch.  My friend, her boyfriend, his friend, and I tried going there the night I arrived but it was packed and they said something along the lines of, "We're completely full for the rest of the night."  Really?  For the REST OF THE NIGHT??  It wasn't even that late... maybe 9PM or so.  It wasn't even like, "The wait will be over an hour," but it was straight up, "We're not taking any more people."  I had no idea restaurants even did that.

My friend had told me that Jose Garces, the winner of The Next Iron Chef: Season 2 winner, had already had a series of restaurants in Philly before he went on the show.  But after his win on the show, he had opened up 2 more, one of which being Garces Trading Company.  It hadn't been open long but it was already a packed house.  Very hip vibe.  With no places to sit/dine, we asked if we could look around.  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 4: Philadelphia - Standard Tap, Max Brenner, & Capogiro


901 North 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 238-0630


I had done some research right when I had arrived in Philly of local dives, particularly of pubs and burger joints. One of the places I found through various sites was a gastro pub called Standard Tap. When I had mentioned it to my friend and her boyfriend they said they had never heard of it. According to some online resources, Standard Tap was a local hangout.. very popular. I was quite proud to help them discover a local favorite that even they didn't know about. A win for the Californian!


The first night we tried going it was a complete zoo. Wall to wall people and absolutely no place to sit. We ended up going to a different restaurant that night. Jackie and I came back on Monday night when it was a bit quieter. We had actually wanted to stop by this popular cupcake store called Brown Betty right before we went to eat dinner but was greeted by a sign. Not a friendly, "Welcome!" but

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Dining Room - *Philly/New York Intermission*

The Dining Room 2

For the 3 or so of you that are anxiously awaiting the recap of my recent Philly/New York gastronomic tour, I apologize for this short intermission. As a spontaneous splurge, I decided to take my friend for her belated birthday dinner to Michael Voltaggio's restaurant, The Dining Room, in Pasadena last night.

We were in the San Gabriel/Pasadena area to see a play that my friend was in. Earlier in the morning I was doing a search of good restaurants in the area and this had come up. With the recent trip to Philly and all of the wonderful restaurants I dined in, I've developed a new appreciation for good food. I wanted to take advantage of the fact that we were so close to the restaurant and of my friend's birthday. Really though, I just wanted to be able to say that I ate at his restaurant and post pictures.

Flowers 2
The reservations were for 6:15. We parked on the street and walked over to the hotel because... I was about to shelve out $200 for this place and I refused to pay for valet. Valet was actually free but I didn't want to pay tip. You can guess how often I dine in these kinds of fancy shmancy places. The Langham Hotel was stunning. As we walked through the hotel to get to the restaurant we came upon a small wedding. After our dinner we saw the bride in the most beautiful gown. We also ran into an old pastor who had officiated the wedding. Small world.