Diva is the Female Version of a Hustler

Who has two thumbs and had THE BEST SUNDAY EVER?!

(This is where I should post a picture of me and my thumbs. But I don’t have that picture. So just imagine it.)

Sometimes, going to grad school is an expensive life- and time-suck that seems impossible and endless. Other times, your classes are fulfilling and your field work makes you feel like you’re affecting change and you geek out over research. And then, there are other times when your Graduate and Professional Student Association decides to treat you to a day of glam that truly embodies the concept of “Treating yo’ self“.

Bellini, pistachio macaron, Earl Grey macaron. Yup.

Bellini, pistachio macaron, Earl Grey macaron. Yup.

In honor of the Oscars on Sunday night, they threw us a little “Diva Party” which made for the ultimate Sunday Funday. Hair, nails (which we skipped in honor of trying on crazy expensive outfits), and makeup. I’m in there like swimwear.

I'd like someone to do this to my head daily.

I’d like someone to do this to my head daily.

My partner-in-crime, Martha, and I took part in several of the services. And even MORE of the macarons.

Cheesin'

Cheesin’

The most delicious rainbow

The most delicious rainbow

I think between the two of us, we probably enjoyed 10-14 of those bad boys. Pistachio, as always, was my favorite. And since I had big plans for later (namely, a tasty bottle share with some of Philly’s most fun beer geeks), I figured I’d get all sorts of dolled up. Go hard or go home, right?

Sexy milk maid?

Sexy milk maid? Sure.

And, when in Rome (if Rome was the home of incredibly expensive and beautiful clothing), do as the Romans do.

IMG_9715

Do the Romans play dress up?

I hope so.

I feel like Queen Amidala.

I feel like Queen Amidala.

I admittedly didn’t have enough spare cash lying around to shell out for some Red Carpet Gown…. but if I did, I think I’d go back and get that dress. And then wear that dress ALL THE TIME to make sure I got the most bang for my buck.

Unfortunately, all that dress-up left me without time to get a manicure…. maybe I’ll find one somewhere in the Dominican Republic this weekend.  I still left feeling like a total diva.

What’s your favorite way to “Treat Yo Self”? 

I know some folks like Fine Leather Goods. I’m personally partial to fancy cheese

 

 

 

 

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Craft Beer for Breakfast

I recently entered a contest for tickets to the legendary Brewer’s Plate event in Philadelphia. The rules, a la Philly Beer Scene:

Don’t forget about our contest to win a pair of VIP Tickets (a $280 value) to this years #BrewersPlate ? Send us a picture of your favorite beer (local only) and food pairing along with a brief description of the dish and pairing. Fair Food Philadelphia will help us pick a winner.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to enter as my pairing and, though my mind initially went to cheese (as it almost always does) I figured let’s pair a PA beer with a Philly favorite. And thus, my perfect pairing was born. A craft beer breakfast to please my palate. And it’d be selfish not to share it with the rest of the world, right?

The best part of waking up

The best part of waking up

As a general rule, I don’t enjoy coffee. Unfortunately, this means that when I make my way to Federal Donuts (long-time readers might recall the time that I staked my place outside to be their first customer in their Center City location), I can’t sip on the legendary cold brew that Michael Solomonov and his team whip up as I nibble on my hots and fancies. Luckily, I think I’ve found a combination to fill the mug-shaped hole in my heart.

Check out that cereal crumble!

Check out that cereal crumble!

 

The perfect match to Federal Donuts’ French Toast Fancy. Lancaster Brewing Company’s Milk Stout, a flavorful, roasted cold brew of the alcoholic type, provides a rich and malty complement to Federal’s take on my favorite breakfast dish. The sweet, cakey donut glazed with a brown sugar icing and crumbled cinnamon crunch cereal is a the ideal match for this coffee-flavored stout. As the beer warms, hints of chocolate cut through some initial bitterness, coating the tongue with just the slightest hint of sweetness to round out the experience. A match made in Heaven, if Heaven was located both on Sansom Street and in Lancaster, PA.

While I romantically love the French Toast donut on its own, the experience is only heightened paired with the right beer.

What would be your dream food and beer pairing?

OR if you hate beer (which is such a shame, and I’m sorry for your loss), what would be your perfect match to a delicious donut?

Sunday School at Tria

I’m not big on religion. I don’t go to church, temple, or meeting for worship any more. For me, lately Sundays have meant traveling, or scrambling to finish up schoolwork, or napping on a bus. Or maybe a combination of the three. But today, despite a cold that just picked up mid-week (to my chagrin), I had my Sunday all to myself. I could do whatever I wanted to do. I could sleep all day. I could go workout (though that one was less likely all hopped up on Dayquil and zinc). I could online shop for spring break. OR, I could be semi-productive. And, with a hamper full of dirty laundry and a bare pantry, I went for the latter.

Two loads and a delicious Mexican omelet later, I was left wondering what was up next. And then, courtesy of my new friend, Ian (aka the Dashing Rogue), I was alerted to a wonderful Sunday pastime. Enter Tria’s Sunday School.

Sunday School, according to Tria’s site:

Learn about and enjoy a different not-so-common wine, cheese and beer every Sunday—at incredibly low prices. School was never this delicious! Limit one each per guest at the Sunday School price. Please, no returns: if you try it, you buy it.

That sounded good to me. And, after a quick jaunt down the street, I found myself faced with this delightful lineup:

Ready for some Schooling

Ready for some Schooling

As you might be able to tell, I steered clear of the wine choice for the day (though the SPARKLING MALVASIA SECCO did look divine) and stuck with beer and cheese, two of my favorite treats that could possibly be enjoyed on a Sunday (or really any day).

On draft, Dock Street Brewing Company’s Sexy Beast, a chocolate stout. According to the writeup at Tria:

With 22 pounds of Belgian chocolate—100% cocoa, no sugar—thrown into the boil, this Sexy Beast is quite the well-endowed Imperial Chocolate Stout. The unsweetened chocolate yields a silky smooth texture and adds a bittersweet bite to the roasted, toasted malt flavors. Pouring a sultry jet black, Sexy Beast flaunts a funky, almost smoky complexity due to a unique new Belgian yeast strain originating from Eastern Flanders.

I found myself kind of wishing that perhaps a little sugar WAS thrown in with the cocoa. This beer, while rich in flavor, displayed that telltale burnt taste that I am not too fond of in a lot of chocolate and coffee flavored beers. The line between toasted and charred might be a little too thin for my liking. As I’ve just recently enjoyed Sixpoint’s 3beans  more than one should be able to reasonably enjoy a beer, maybe I’m just a little spoiled.

Luckily, the spoiling continued with a bite of the chosen cheese of the day. And, since it’s the year of cheese and all….. Well, I consider myself a fortunate lady that such an awesome deal exists every week.  Here’s a bit about the Meadow Creek Mountaineer to the Tria writeup:

The mineral rich soils and deep, pure well water provide the natural sustenance that allows the cows to produce the highest quality milk. Today’s cheese was inspired by traditional Alpine-style cheeses from Savoie and the Valle D’Aosta. Mountaineer is a semi-hard cheese made entirely from Jersey cow’s milk, with a smooth supple texture, natural brown rind and off-white to pale yellow interior. Aged in cellars for a minimum of six months, Mountaineer develops a complex flavor, predominately nutty and sweet with hints of butterscotch.

This melt-in-your-mouth Mountaineer was paired with caramelized onions (served with the TINIEST spoon. Which apparently makes me silly-happy….) and, as it’s inspired by Alpine-style cheeses, I think it inspired me to say that, in general, I’m a big fan of the Alpine style of cheese.  Though described as semi-hard, I felt like at points it was bordering on soft territory and was easy to cut through with a butter knife and enjoy with the accompanying bread and garnish. For less than $10, this beer and cheese combination were just what I needed for a late Sunday lunch. And, as the beer clocked in at a comfortable 8%, I got to enjoy the rest of my grocery shopping with a pleasant little warmth in my belly, making those guacamole samples in Whole Foods doubly appreciated.

Rest assured, I’ll be back to Tria soon. And I might just have to go ahead and clear off my Sunday schedules for the future.

What does your Sunday schedule usually entail?

How about your DREAM Sunday schedule?

Six Pack Sunday: Boozy Brunch and Subpar Sapphire

(Written on Sunday, I promise.)

Whether it’s Megabus, Bolt Bus, plane, train, or automobile, I will always find a way to get to the ones I love. And now, living in Philly, those trips just so happen to be a little shorter.  Which is great, because I love nothing more than weekend jaunts to my dear buddies in New York. So, in a throwback fashion, and since I haven’t even thought about Six Pack Sunday in forever, let’s bring it back to my roots.

1. Year of Cheese

In case you missed it, 2013 is all about cheese. I became every fellow bus-riders worst nightmare by toting along a rather fragrant Morbier in my purse. Luckily, I didn’t have a seat-mate, until I joined my cheese-loving partner for the weekend.

Food, Claire, and Beers

Food, Claire, and Beers

Not only was Claire my incredible hostess, she also makes a mean cheese plate complete with gourmet pickles and flax seed chips.

Jealous? Should be.

2. Found Nemo

This wasn’t a highlight as much as it was…. the bane of my existence.

Ew.

Ew.

Snow is disgusting. Snow in a city immediately turns into salty slush, and is disgusting on every possible level. When does Summer start?

3. No, Diggity.

Anyone else confused by that commercial during the Superbowl where Beck’s decided to transform Blackstreet into a beta fish who sings to a bottle of Beck’s Sapphire (which ironically has a ruby on it)? No? Just me?

Yeah, thought so.

Anyway, I had to figure out what the fuss was all about.

The first taste.

The first taste.

The verdict?

Um....

Um….

I’ll leave it to the beta fish.

4. Boozy Brunch at The Sunburnt Calf

The Sunburnt Calf is a delightful little slice of Australia nestled in Brooklyn. And, since Claire’s got a particular affinity for Australia, obviously that was our only choice for brunch.

Oh, hello there.

Oh, hello there.

The $20 endless mimosa brunch + coconute pineapple french toast didn’t hurt, either.

Come to mama.

Come to mama.

Since I basically ALWAYS put coconut in my french toast, I couldn’t resist this dish. And, though the portion was a little smaller than I expected for $10, the bread was soft like a pillow, the roasted pineapple was sweet, and the toasted coconut tasted a lot like what you imagine when you rub your body down with coconut body lotion. Not lotiony. Just delicious and tropical and made me forget the nasty weather just waiting outside.

5. Kindred Spirits

I realized, on the snowy Friday night of my arrival, that the reason Claire and I probably get along so well is because we get dolled up, do our hair real pretty, wear some sexy boots, and head to a bier garten. And we order beer by the liter and then we are perfectly content to beep boop bop as we occasionally talk to each other but sometimes a lot of times we happily tap away at our phones and show each other pictures and funny tweets.

Scenes from Friday

Scenes from Friday

We both commented that we wished someone was there with ANOTHER iPhone to instagram our overactive iPhones and our ridiculousness.

Whatever, don’t blame me for my generation’s pastimes.

6. Did I develop a lazy eye on the bus ride up?

(My fraternity-based "Little Brother"'s ACTUAL little brother, who is also in the fraternity. It's complicated.)

(My fraternity-based “Little Brother”‘s ACTUAL little brother, who is also in the fraternity. It’s complicated.)

What’s wrong, righty? Didn’t wanna come to the party?

I don’t even know what’s going on, y’all.

Favorite boozy brunch beverage?

Had any good cheese, lately? If yes, which one? If no, you better hurry! It’s almost mid-February!!

 

 

 

2013: The Year of Cheese

It’s no secret, I’m a bit of a cheese head. Not this kind of a cheese head. But, maybe, this kind of cheese head:

Ha, get it. Cheese head.

Ha, get it? Cheese head. (Don’t worry, that’s not me. Almost had you, didn’t I?)

I can’t get enough of the curdy, creamy, smelly, salty stuff. And, this year, I decided to legitimize my love in some fashion.  I claim 2013 to be Jordan’s Year of Cheese. Feel free to celebrate along if you’d like, you have all year.

Last year was all about abstaining from something. Soda. No soda for one year. And what did I get from that? An appreciation of soda, to be honest. But, also, the realization that I don’t NEED a Coke with every sandwich, I don’t need soda for energy or as a mixer. It can be an occasional treat that is savored, and not a stable of my fridge or lunch. Great job, Jordan. But I wanted 2013 to be about something else.

I don’t take resolutions lightly, and normally don’t even make them unless I have something I’m really feeling serious about. Well, this year, at this point in my life, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more serious about cheese. And so, with the help of Steven Jenkins and his Cheese Primer, Fromage (the ultimate cheese app for the iPhone, apparently), and the cheese mongers of Philadelphia (and beyond), I’ll be making my way through a self-taught cheese education.

What I've learned so far: These ones are smelly.

What I’ve learned so far: These ones are smelly.

Luckily, Philadelphia has an abundance of cheese mongers just itching for a guinea pig to feed cheese to. And I’m more than happy to oblige.

Also luckily, my friends (whether they intended to or not) have been enthusiastic enablers for this education.

A massive cheese party for me? You shouldn't have. [Side note: they didn't, but it felt like it.]

A massive cheese party for me? You shouldn’t have. [Side note: they didn’t, but it felt like it.]

Though, I’ll admit, after a few too many tiny cups of wine, the cheese was less of an edible education and more like a sponge for vino. But don’t worry, I had plenty of time earlier in the night to enjoy a few specifics.

Primarily: Adelegger, an alpine cow’s milk cheese that is nutty and sharp, washed in white wine (and dusted with angel tears, I think). I originally was looking for Tete de Moine, and Amanda, my very favorite cheese monger at DiBruno Brothers, suggested this gem instead. It had more bite than the TdM, and a lot of body. She implied a nutty flavor, I said it almost tasted meaty in heartiness. And the best thing? We’re both right. Cheese, like beer, is a subjective delight to be enjoyed by anyone and everyone (except lactose intolerant people, whom I pity during The Year of Cheese). Speaking of beer, I paired it with a Belgian Quad, which cut right through that meatiness and made a spicy beer shaped imprint on my heart.

Cheese on Cheese

Cheese on Cheese

I’ve got a few dream cheeses that I’ll be seeking out in the city, and have already found that Reading Terminal Market alone hosts something like 4-5 excellent cheese shops featuring international and domestic cheese options galore. And, since I’m apparently some sort of grownup, people are always suggesting to get together and drink wine. And nothing goes better with wine than cheese. (And sometimes beer, when you refuse to bring wine to a Wine and Cheese party. [cough ME cough cough]).

I’m ready for you, 2013.

Give me your Gouda, your Morbier, your Chevre. I’m looking at you, Shropshire blue, you chameleon of curds. Wensleydale mixed with ANYTHING, and Ossau Iraty, you sexy beast. I’ve got a cheese plate, a set of cheese knifes, and enough lactase in my small intestine to be cheese tolerant for a woman five times my size (which would be over 30 feet tall….)

Come at me, brah.

Come at me, brah.

You trying to try some new cheeses? Just let me know. I’ll be there, cheese in hand.

It’s going to be a good year.

Any recommendations for must-try cheeses?

What’s your favorite cheese pairing (food or drink included)?