Things Girls Do After Graduation: Get Overly Invested in a Podcast

What were you doing in March 2016?

I couldn’t really tell you offhand, but a quick scan of social suggests Instagramming my food, going to Mexico in some strange semblance of a 28 year old’s spring break, dressing for theme parties, and dating like it was a part-time job.

What Instagram won’t tell you is that I was also questioning my career choices, occasionally lonely and missing the friendships of my college days (despite graduating in 2009), and trying desperately to figure out how to be:

a) Authentically myself

b) Cool

c) Satisfied

If that’s not PostGrad Problems, I don’t know what is.

During this time, I stumbled across the content of one Will deFries, through his iconic series “Things Girls Do After Graduation“. And after devouring everything he’d written about these ladies (worth a read, but that’s not what this post is about), I stumbled onto this podcast, Touching Base. Turns out these guys, too, were gearing up for a “Spring Break Cruise” with people way younger than they were, and so I decided I’d give it a listen.

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I didn’t work in a corporate environment (just a big hospital), I didn’t play golf, I could care less about most professional sports, and I wasn’t watching The Bachelor OR The Bachelorette. But listening to these three (eventually four) Austin-based hosts, David Ruff, Dillon Cheverere, Micah Wiener, and Will, speak about their day-to-day lives, their takes (hot or lukewarm as they may have been) on Instagram, socializing as an adult, and dating, and the politics of that elusive check mark on Twitter, made the commute to work, the long days occasionally devoid of real human interaction, and the occasional train ride peppered with laughter, insight, and, somehow, camaraderie.

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The boys

It’s pretty wild that we can get so invested in someone’s voice. People we have never met, and likely never will (though if any of you boys join Dan on a Philly trip, I’d love to buy you each one beer). But for over two years, I’ve listened to these guys “talk about nothing” more than most of my family and friends. I’m a part of inside jokes that none of my friends know about, and whether it’s waxing nostalgic about Old Gene, stifling laughter any time someone asks what time the rest of the guests are coming (the rest of the guests are what?) or laying out my weekend in fun on Instagram, these guys became like a second family (or at least like, a second friend group).

That’s why, five days ago, after reading Will’s post explaining the layoffs that affected Dave and Dillon, I found myself sitting at 40th and Market, waiting for Philadelphia’s rapid transit system after a particularly painful eyebrow wax in preparation for a bachelorette party,  crying into my Lululemon thumbholed-sleeves, wondering how the hell my weeks were going to be half as pleasant without the calming voices of my four favorite strangers. Reading through the comments on the post, I was not alone, not by a long shot.

So I just wanted to say thank you. Though Will and Micah seem to be safe for now, I know things won’t really ever be the same. You all stumbled across something pretty magical. I would be thrilled to learn that something comes together and that lightning strikes twice. But, if it doesn’t, thanks for the memories. The FMK (but with other stuff), the music advice, the chumps, the champs, the bracket, the Homie, Rosie and Randy, Cabeza-watch, the brunches, the Lost Tapes, the SZNs, the kings, the mamis, the savage cuckery, the Bean, the worst weekends, the Best ofs, the Vice headlines, the Gas Station, the Bunsen Burner, two minutes in Paradise,  and the popcorn lung.

Still waiting on that mousepad, Micah.

Okay, we love you, bye.

Date Night in Philly: Cake Life Pastry Pairings

Philadelphia is affectionately known as the City of Brotherly Love. And, though we do have a history littered with a few not-so-brotherly moments (cough Santa cough), at the end of the day, if you love Philly, it’ll love you right back.

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Promise, we can be nice, too.

There’s nowhere this is more evident than in the numerous collaborations our chefs, restaurateurs, and purveyors of adult beverages put together on a regular basis. I’ve noshed on lamb Barbacoa dumplings from Han Chiang of Han Dynasty & the gang from South Philly Barbacoa, nibbled Sweetgreen’s salad designed by Zahav’s Mike Solomonov, and, most recently, got to enjoy a pastry and drink pairing courtesy of two of Fishtown’s sweethearts (and neighbors!) – Cake Life and Kensington Quarters.

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Last week, the team from Cake Life and Tim Kweeder of Kensington Quarters, along with Jason Malumed of MFW Wine, banded together for an epic guided pastry & beverage pairing. While the wines were sourced from the region of Southwest France, the pastries were the brain-children of the brilliant minds of Lily & Nima, Cake Life’s co-owners.

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This was the fifth in a Summer Series the shop hosted highlighting either wines or spirits, and was one of the most fun nights I’ve had all summer. From 7:30-10(ish… five courses and wines in, and time was a loose concept), Jason and Tim led us through South by Southwest France – using tunes from the notorious music festival as a soundtrack.

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This tray is what dreams are made of…

We enjoyed savory and sweet treats highlighting seasonal ingredients like melon, tomato, and peaches. We salivated over syrupy sausage rolls and SOME of us may have even licked our plates after a particularly mouthwatering almond-plum cake, our final course of the night.

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Oh, that’s just a prosciutto crisp topping that Melon Tartlet

The time and consideration that went into the wine pairing was evident with each sip, and Jason and Tim brought us on a whirlwind tour through Southwest France that had me checking Google flights and vineyard tours.

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Sauvignon Blanc & goat cheese / tomato jam Croisstini – think the most elevated take on pizza & wine 

While the Summer Pairing Series is done for the season, Cake Life has a lot more up their sleeves… Keep your eyes peeled for similar, seasonally appropriate pastry-pairings to go down monthly. PLUS if you wanna get an amazing taste-tour through Cake Life’s goodies, try one of their Second Saturday Tastings, where duos can eat their way through the shop’s pie, tart, or cake flavors and fillings (BYOB at night – making this the ULTIMATE date night activity!)

Thanks Cake Life for making Philly (and Fishtown) a little sweeter and to Tim and Jason for livening the mood and making us look at Sauvignon Blanc in a way we never had before.

UrbanStems: Happiness (and flowers) On Demand in Philly

(Pro tip: Scroll to the bottom for a discount code to get a bouquet for $20 with free delivery!)

There are plenty of things to worry about in Philadelphia these days:

But there’s one thing you don’t have to worry about: doling out flowers to friends/loved ones at a moment’s notice!

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We’re all busy bees. From work to play, dating to dining, school to spinning, it’s easy to forget things. Birthdays, anniversaries, you know… the kinds of things that make us depend on Facebook reminders. Enter: UrbanStems.

Your friends in D.C. and New York have been sending stems for a year or two now, but with their Philadelphia and Baltimore launch, UrbanStems is growing like a weed. Luckily, their bouquets are a little nicer than anything you’d pick from your backyard.

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From seasonal shades to surprise succulents, I love that UrbanStems isn’t just jamming baby’s breath around some carnations and a rose or two, tossing it all into a fish bowl and charging $65 to deliver in the city. In fact, their system is pretty awesome.

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This convenient little box is hand-delivered by a super-friendly courier, complete with a hand-written note AND handles (that’s a lot of hand-iness, right?) They even send a photo to confirm your flowers made it to their destination! PLUS the convenient tote allowed my flowers to make it home safely (and easily) on a city bus!

Another bonus: UrbanStems works with Rainforest Alliance Certified™ and Veriflora Certified farms to source their environmentally friendly flowers!

The little tote also had a pull tab which, when yanked, pushed the bouquet out as if the petals were opening up!

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I verify, no “fluffing” up took place. This is exactly how my bouquet looked when I pulled it out of the tote!

They switch up the bouquets all the time, so your flowers are always going to be different. AND, you don’t have to be a big-time baller to deliver your daisies (or mums, or rosehips, or whatever is in this season!)

Bouquets start at a mere $35 with free delivery within a few hours (or you can schedule in advance, if you’re a planner).

BUT since I’m a little obsessed with UrbanStems, they gave me a discount code to share getting you $15 off your first bouquet!

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Just type inaTFpYg as your “Referral Code” when you sign up on UrbanStems’ site and you can get a killer bouquet to your bae (or mom) for $20! You probably spent that on cold brew in the last week, anyway. So make some at home, and #SendHappy (and then tell me how it went!)

 

MBFW: Rustic New Jersey Engagement Party

My Best Friend’s Wedding” – The 1997 hit featuring a young Julia Roberts pining for Cameron D’s man just moments before their wedding. It’s a whole thing.

My best friend’s wedding (MBFW): the upcoming 2016 production wedding featuring my boon companion Claire (you might remember Claire from a buncha times) and her fiancé, Theo, a strapping young Brit who’s taken a shining to my favorite Brooklyn babe.

Both, I am certain, will be classics. One, I imagine (**spoiler alert**) will feature slightly less heartbreak for Ms. Roberts.

BUT I DIGRESS. This is not a post about rom-coms. This is a post about the most beautiful engagement party thrown  to celebrate these two lovebirds. Set in the charming home of another one of Claire’s best pals, this party had it all, nestled in a quaint Jersey shore town on a brisk November afternoon.

Picturesque noshes.

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Biscuits for days, tarts for hours. Goat cheese and tomato and onion tarts featured.

Warm flannel blankets clustered around a fire pit….

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Oh, and a cornhole set

HAND-CARVED WOODEN LETTERS for the names of the couple-of-honor and simple, bright yet subtle flower arrangements (Pinterest, eat your heart out).

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Precious moments.

A rugged Englishman to tend to ALL THOSE FIRES!

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Theo does chimineas. Everyone benefits.

And a TON of frittatas.

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Hello, lover.

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I know….

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EGG-BASED CASSEROLES FOR THE WIN!

Apparently, Claire, the blushing-bride-to-be, agreed. She is (expertly) pictured below, in a stunning almond-colored, embroidered Free People frock, her face crammed with homemade Vietnamese spring rolls just dripping with fish sauce.

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She loves this photo and, because of it, has hired me to be her wedding photographer.

And while the food and the decor were divine, the part of this engagement party that made it so magical were the people. The couple’s friends and family from near and far (luckily, mostly near, England is a hike) gathered together over the most amazing, homemade eats (shoutout to Katherine and her family, the hosts for the day, who probably have more tart pans than I have fingers) to eat, drink, and be merry (ALMOST made the married pun, but I’m better than that).

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Grandmothers gabbing

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The firepit served as primo real estate on this chilly November day

They say “It takes a village to raise a child.” And I’m pretty sure that it also takes a village to throw a quality engagement party. From a signature cocktail speaking to the couple’s favs (it was a Pimm’s Cup, British roots are strong!) to crowdsourcing main dishes and desserts, from understated decorations to perfect placement of seating areas, the flow of this soirée allowed everyone to mingle, munch, and merrymake in the most natural way possible. It takes a village to throw a party.

But, don’t worry, we didn’t forget about that child.

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This little man tried hard to make this photo NSFW by yanking on this dress.

As is tradition, the party couldn’t be called official until the Cermonial Crying of the Mom. Kathleen, Claire’s mama, delivered.

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No, I just have some smoke in my eye.

To Claire and Theo, I raise my (virtual) glass to you both. You have one of the most loving support systems I’ve ever witnessed. Your family and friends loves you more than you can ever know, and I’m elated at the opportunity to chronicle this whole process.

By Claire’s request.

 

 

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Papa Brandow toasts. Everyone tries not to cry.

Thank god for that smoke, made for the perfect excuse.

Could someone pass the tissues?

 

 

Jordan’s #poperide or “You’re Doing it Wrong.”

In case you weren’t aware, this weekend Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church, Bishop of Rome, Il Papa, schlepped out to Philly. A lot of Philadelphians escaped town, fearful of the crowds and influx of Pilgrims. But I wanted to stick around. Regardless of any religious, political, or emotional leaning, it seemed like a chance to witness something historic. And, truthfully, a chance to do a lot of laundry and enjoy my apartment sans roommates (and, consequently, sans pants).

I had high hopes for the weekend. There was a BLOODY SUPER MOON (I’m certain that’s the official term for it), there was a Papal parade, a giant mass, and a concert on the Parkway. There was also a GIANT city-wide bike ride, scheduled for the Saturday Il Papa arrived when most of the streets in Center City were off-limits for cars. I was thrilled.

I’m not a big biker, but the opportunity to feel like queen of the city on my wheeled-throne…. that wasn’t something I’d pass up. PLUS, Snapchat had a buttload of special Papal geofilters, and I’m obsessed with geofilters (add me, show me your city’s geofilters! jpreezy22)

It went a little something like this:

And ended a little more like this:

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RICE is nice

Don’t worry, I didn’t break my foot (again). But I did get rear-ended due to a sudden stop at a confusing “finish line”. The result? A bed-ridden brat living off of banana bread and Twizzlers (comfort food, eh?)

This is the closest I managed to get to Il Papa:

Jumbotron Pope Bot!

Jumbotron Pope Bot!

It was still a memorable weekend, but not for the reasons expected. I got a little blip of the Bloody Super Moon, but the clouds overhead played pretty aggressive defense.

I’m hobbling, and probably not terribly holy. BUT the laundry’s done. The geofilters are preserved for all history. And I’ve got a whole new perspective on the city….

Totally worth the semi-sprained ankle/foot.

Totally.

Just gonna keep telling myself that until the next Pope comes to visit.

The Seven Things I’ve Done Since July

Oops. I took an unintentional, unplanned blogging hiatus. But I promise, it’s been for good stuff. Like actually writing for another blog or two. And a bunch of other stuff. BUT instead of just laying out for you, I figured I’d go with a little assist from the artist formerly known as adorable, Miss Miley Cyrus. (Aside: I can’t stop writing Yelp reviews to songs. Blame Yelp.)

Is this Miley enough?

Is this Miley enough?

Please, if you’re able, read along to the tune of Miley’s 7 Things I Hate About You. If you’re not, just listen to the linked song about 24 times. And then read…

The Seven Things I’ve Done Since July

Sha, sha, sha

I probably shouldn’t say this
But sometimes life escapes me
And I totally forget about
The blogger I wanna be
Life’s for living, I’m forgiving
Of the fact I haven’t written for a while….
But it’s “fall” now and it’s time to
Nose to grindstone, she’s back at it
In Jordan styleeeeeee

Hold onto your butts. this is gonna get weird.

Hold onto your butts. this is gonna get weird.

The seven things I’ve done since JULY!
The seven things I’ve done since JULY!

The Gang en Blanc

The Gang en Blanc

Oh, my….
Dîner en Blanc, turned twenty eight
Moved apartments, that was great
Took a trip to San Fran, I… chugged four beers while running a MILE.

FAM IN SAN FRAN!

FAM IN SAN FRAN!

Spent weekends at the beach, hit up a Festival called The Peach
I wanna share, everything I doooooo.
And thanks to the blog, y’all know how it’s gonna go.
I’m gonna tell YOU.

I spent most of this August
Prepping for a big night
4,500 people, they were all dressed in white.
Went to San Fran with my whole fam,
Ran a beer mile, forced a big smile, then

Peach Music Festival (or "maybe I'm too old for music festivals?")

Peach Music Festival (or “maybe I’m too old for music festivals?”)

Off to Peach…
Barely made it back…
And then I relaxed at the BEACHHHHH.

Running my first beer mile!

Running my first beer mile!

The seven things I’ve done since JULY!
The seven things I’ve done since JULY!
Oh, my….
Dîner en Blanc, turned twenty eight
Moved apartments, that was great
Took a trip to San Fran, I… chugged four beers while running a MILE.
Spent weekends at the beach, hit up a Festival called The Peach
I wanna share, everything I doooooo.
And thanks to the blog, y’all know how it’s gonna go.
I’m gonna tell YOU.

It’s been a busy summer
And I feel I did it all
Probably shouldn’t mention….
The stuff coming up this Fall…

The seven things I’ll do in the FALL
Some pumpkin beers, raise them up (cheers!)
Halloween: it’s almost here!

Whip out your grease makeup, folks.

Whip out your grease makeup, folks.

New restaurants, there’s lots to eat, Kayla Itsines will get me off my seat
Headed down to Chapel Hill, I’m thrilled, and I’ve gotta book a flight
I’m getting back to writing more again
Guess the seventh thing that I will do in the fall….
I’ll share with you all.

Yup. That was super ridiculous.

Glad to be back.

Garnet Valley High School: End of an Era

Today’s the day that the last of the five Price children, Kiley​, walks through those hallowed halls of Garnet Valley High School​ as a student.
This geek is off to Wake Forest in the fall!

This geek is off to Wake Forest in the fall!

Along with her and my other siblings, Somers​, Connor​, and Hunter​, we’ve been bastions of the school district since 1998! I can only hope we’ve left a legacy of being top of our respective classes and rockstars on the football fields, ice hockey rinks, volleyball and basketball courts, and halftime shows (HA, Hunter, you nerd).
My brother, Connor, the tallest, and of course arms around his team

My brother, Connor, the tallest, and of course arms around his team

GVHS Volleyball gals go to TEXAS!

GVHS Volleyball gals go to TEXAS!

We were on yearbook committee and student council, Students of the Month; Most School Spirit; Best Sense of Humor.

Hunter, proudly holding up the 2 in a crop top

Hunter, proudly holding up the 2… in a crop top

We went to France and probably terrorized Canada (sorry, Canada).
So Parisian, that Kiley.

So Parisian, that Kiley.

Goodness, Hunter has some great photos of his life.

Goodness, Hunter has some great photos of his life.

We sold overpriced candy to unsuspecting underclassmen and turned mad profit (future finance bro in the making or WHAT?!). We snuck into the teachers lounge and made photocopies of our faces (the original selfie?)
Ghost Girls

Ghost Girls

We snuck ice cream out of other schools’ cafeterias (budding foodie on a budget!). We stole kisses from our peers in dark corners of the school grounds (can’t tell you which of us did that, but I’ll go ahead and let you know it was more than just one). We even dressed up sometimes…
MWA!

MWA!

Look at those studs!

Look at those studs!

We were popular, and not so popular; cool, and not very cool.  But through it all (even if it’s only in my imagination) we crushed our academic, social, and extracurricular careers at GV for the past 16-17 years.
Sunkissed sibs

SunkissedSunburned sibs

And Santa sibs

And Santa sibs

Cheers to Dana​ and Chip “Not on Facebook” Price for the end of fundraisers, Friday nights at another football game, meetings with counselors that didn’t know our gender (“Jordan’s doing so well in all of his classes!”), long talks with administrators about god knows what, working snack bar shifts, traveling to ANOTHER volleyball match/football game/ice hockey arena, and doing it all happily, with smiles on their faces.
That time we barely made the wedding!

That time we barely made the wedding!

It’s been a good run, Garnet Valley. And as much as we’ve joked or complained about it, I couldn’t have asked for a better school for my family to attend.

Congratulations, Kiley (and belated congrats to Hunter, Connor, and Somers!) Whether you’re a Deacon, a Terp, a Lion, a Wildcat or, best of all, a Tar Heel, remember… You were a Jaguar first.

Philadelphia: City of (M)otherly Love

A fondness for Philadelphia runs in my family. I’ve been lucky enough to have my brother move in across the city and my parents are frequenters, though they maintain suburban roots. I must say, though, no one has embraced this incredible city I’m lucky enough to live in quite as much as my mother.

Our first Diner en Blanc!

Our first Diner en Blanc!

She spent much of her life living within spitting distance of the city, but since my move, she’s been itching to try anything and everything that makes it all so very PHILADELPHIA. And, in case your mom is the same, here are a few of my favorite “Mom Friendly Finds” for the City of BMotherly Love.

  1. Bird’s Eye View at XIX at the Bellevue 

    Find a time, ideally during the day (whether it’s Sunday brunch or lunch any other day, or teatime), get on OpenTable (still reservations for Mother’s Day!!), and grab a reservation for 2 (or 3, or 6. TRIO OF MOM/DAUGHTERS [or sons!]), and request a table by the windows at XIX. And prepare for one of the most picturesque meals of your life.

    Photo yanked from DrinkPhilly

    Photo yanked from DrinkPhilly

    It’s quality food on a very reasonable budget, and the ambiance just kills it. If you grab lunch or tea, splurge and get a glass (or bottle) of bubbly. Your mom is worth it. And so are you.

  2. Na-MOMs-DAY! (Yoga. IN case that wasn’t clear)
    Ok, that was sort of supposed to be Namaste. Whatever.
    Did you know that, during the summer, you can do yoga EVERY SINGLE DAY, overlooking a body of water, for free?!
    Race Street Pier – Morning and Evening M-Thurs, and mornings Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!
    Schuylkill River Banks – Tuesdays at 7am and 6:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-12pm

    Photo courtesy of Yoga on the Banks Facebook!

    Photo courtesy of Yoga on the Banks Facebook!

    What mom wouldn’t wanna see you resume your former role as a “Happy Baby” overlooking the Delaware or the Schuylkill? Chase it with a

  3. All the World’s a Stage 

    When I was younger, my mom absolutely loved checking me out in some of my theatrical performances (started as Sneezy from Snow White, then peaked playing Ms. Goose, a psychiatrist for the characters of Grimm Fairy Tales who have gone crazy). While my days on the stage are over, our appreciation of the arts continues.

    Photo snagged from Theatre Exile's Facebook!

    Photo snagged from Theatre Exile’s Facebook!

    We checked out Theatre Exile’s performance of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and it, frankly, blew my mind. I laughed, I was deeply uncomfortable and, bonus, mom and I scored a drink upstairs at the in-house bar during intermission. Win-win-win. But if that kinda thing isn’t your bag, you could check out the Kimmel Center’s programming (dancing! singers! Broadway!) or the Society Hill Playhouse, great location for dinner after the show.

  4. Festivals for the Restival(l of us!) 

    What better way to show your mom a real taste of Philadelphia than to literally let her taste bites and sips of Philadelphia?! While she’s at it, she can scope out retail tents, local artists, and music, all in one place surrounded by the real “salt of the earth” Philadelphians that live and breathe this city daily?!Outdoor festivals, IMHO, are one of the coolest ways to explore the city surrounded by tens of thousands of your closest (potential) friends. They’re also happening ALL summer long!! And while I’ve already spoken about how to survive them, I’ll go ahead and say that I invited my mom to venture out this past weekend to the South Street Spring and Rittenhouse Row Festivals this past weekend, and she had a blast.

    And who knows, after eating and drinking your way through the crowds, you might end up getting matching piercings at South Street’s very own Warrior Piercing.

    Because the mommy daughter duo that pierces together.... is... awesome together?

    Because the mommy daughter duo that pierces together…. is… awesome together?

    Philly REALLY is a city ripe with opportunities to bond with any family member, whether it’s over food, drinks, performances, fitness, or simply shopping your way down Walnut Street. And, if you’re lucky, your mom can be the ultimate plus one/buddy/guest whatever you end up doing.

Wishing your mom, and really ALL moms, caregivers, and ladies out there, an incredibly Happy Mother’s Day full of all the best things.

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What’s your favorite “Mom-Friendly” activity to enjoy with your mama?

My mom proved she can handle just about anything, so I think my next goal is getting her out to Bob and Barbara’s for their Drag Show.

Dream big, right?

Blindfolds and Brown Butter: Cooking with Campbell’s

I love the cooking process. The chop of vegetables, the sear of meat, the sizzle of oil, and the aromas filling the kitchen. Unfortunately, my “kitchen” is actually just a stove in a hallway and bumping into hanging pots and pans when I turn to grab the salt makes the whole experience a lot less pleasurable. When I was presented a chance to try my hand in something a little spacier, I jumped at the chance.

When can I move?

When can I move?

Sure, the folks at Campbell’s aren’t technically in Philadelphia, but just a quick trip over the bridge in Camden, you’ll find the Campbell’s Campus complete with kitchens, cafeterias, and kettlebells (well, I’m not sure about the last one, but they do have a gym for the employees). Their kitchens are where the magic happens, and thanks to a partnership with Camp Campbell’s last year, I was able to visit this cave of wonders with the wizards themselves. Certified Master Chef Tom Griffiths, Executive Chef Maria Gamble, and Chef Carrie Welt brought the heat (get it?! kitchen humor!) teaching us about how and why the chefs at Campbell’s “Own the Flavor”.

The Master at work!

The Master at work!

We started out discussing the importance of the entire sensory experience, and there was even a little sniff-off.

Half of us were blindfolded, and the other half administered “the test”. Guess who didn’t miss one?!

50 Shades of... Smell?

50 Shades of… Smell?

Wanna know my secret? Every single ingredient has been in a cocktail I’ve enjoyed lately. Finally, being a part-time cocktail queen pays off!

Thank you, Volver, Sassafras, and 1 Tippling Place for all the help.

Thank you, Volver, Sassafras, and 1 Tippling Place for all the help. Ginger, lemongrass, limes (“This smells like shots!”) and lemons!

My prize was yet to come, but I did get a hint…

I see you, baby.

I see you, baby.

Before we got too sweet, though, we had to get a little savory. And, for savory, we went to the sea. Namely: Scallops.

My buddy KT making fast work of these little suckers. And there were a lot of them.

My buddy KT making fast work of these little suckers. And there were a lot of them.

We learned how to yank the muscle out of the scallop and we prepared these bad boys for cooking two ways:

  1. Poached in green tea
  2. Sautéed in brown butter

I know.

Poaching is something that I typically only equate with eggs, but Chef Tom let us know that it can create a clean, fresh take on seafood. Green tea poaching was something I’d never considered, and the scallops came out of a brief bath with a hint of earthy lightness (think the suggestion of grass).

So fresh and so clean

So fresh and so clean

We were momentarily sated.

And then the butter came out to play. Sorry, green tea, but you really didn’t stand a chance.

What's that you say? You need to be tastier?

What’s that you say? You need to look tastier?

You got it.

You got it.

I ate more scallops this evening than I may have ever consumed in my life, total. And I thought I couldn’t eat any more. But when Chefs Marie and Carrie let us know things were about to get sweet, I somehow found some room.

After discussing the differences between dark chocolates, and how well they pair with Port (spoiler alert, very well), Chef Marie got to serious business. The business of honey tuile cups and macerated fruit, of homemade ricotta (and the subsequent homemade ricotta ice cream), and of washing it all down with sweet, rich Port.

(I had some trouble telling them apart. I had to try a lot of each one...)

(I had some trouble telling them apart. I had to try a lot of each one…)

Take me to this Dessert Island

Take me to this Dessert Island (notice the Port glass has magically refilled itself)

The trip was, to say the least, incredible. Eye-opening. Decadent. We saw the kitchens where products I’ve eaten my whole life were tested (I practically grew up putting way too much Prego in my pasta!) We met the folks who eat, sleep, and breathe food innovation and creation.

These aren’t the chefs that are touted in magazines for using molecular gastronomy to create the most sublime tasting menu (for a paltry $300 [$450 with wine pairing]). These are the men and women who are striving to make flavorful and nutritious accessible to everyday men and women cooking for their families. Sure, they served us scallops. But they demonstrated how the same techniques could make a piece of cod sing with flavor. Chef Tom proved that cooking time and proper seasoning makes the difference between green beans that taste like they’re from a can and those that are crisp and zippy.

Real food that matters for life’s moments. Doesn’t get much clearer than that.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.29.06 AMThanks, Camp Campbell, and here’s to many happy returns.

And brown butter.

National Puppy Day (or: Gratuitous Great Dane Puppy Pics)

Once upon a time, in June of 2014 (which practically feels like an eternity ago and WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO FEEL MY FINGERS AGAIN?!), a new man entered my life. Only instead of really being a man, he was just a baby. And actually…. he was a puppy. His name was Cornwallis (though he immediately became Wally) and it was pretty much love at first sight.

Hello little man, welcome home!

Hello little man, welcome home!

He’s not even a year old yet. But, since it’s National Puppy Day (sure, that’s a thing!) and I love him even though we recently discovered I’m allergic to his saliva (lucky me, he is the drooliest dude in the kingdom), I figured…. why not?

He puts the Dane in Dainty (you just have to sound it out)…. Wally Dog, Beast of the East.

Just for scale, this is the first picture we have of our little baby.

unnamed-1

I know. I really do.

And now… some recent snapshots.

Sometimes he’s sleepy. Must be all the growing.

Supporting his favorite rugby team, the Rabbitohs. That is a queen sized bed.

Supporting his favorite rugby team, the Rabbitohs. That is a queen sized bed.

Sometimes, he is a gentleman.

Please, have a seat in my office. Would you like a water bottle to chew on?

Please, have a seat in my office. Would you like a water bottle to chew on?

He is never a scholar, because he is actually quite a fool.

Most of the time… he is trying to play with my mother. Who, for the record, is 5’4″ on a good day.

Dwarfed by the dog

Dwarfed by the dog

But, no matter how big he gets (last measurements, he’s taller than she (easily) and weighs about 145 lbs), he will always be our little puppy brother.

Our first meeting. I'm smitten.

Our first meeting. I’m smitten.

Happy National Puppy Day to all you dog lovers out there, and thank you for tolerating my excuse for gratuitous Great Dane pics.