A Slice of Royal Pie and Then Some

As of late, you might have noticed, my blogging has suffered. If it makes you feel any better, my food writing has suffered too. While I struggle to achieve balance in an ever demanding life, I am attempting to change that and fight my work life from taking over. In doing so, I've been scouring the world wide web for new sources of inspiration. I didn't have to look far.

Have you ever heard of Pleasant House? I read about PH in a feature in Chicago Mag, and then noticed them pop up at a recent trip to Dose Market. And then I stumbled across this video on Gapers Block while attempting to catch up on happenings at the Chicago Food Film Fest, and let me tell you. As if I wasn't dying to go before, now I really really want to take a trip to Bridgeport. Seriously. All I want for Christmas is for someone to take me to Pleasant House so I can eat one of their kale & mushroom royal pies. Go ahead. Take a look. And tell me you don't want to hop on your bike and go right now.
(***If the video doesn't load below, click on the link for "Farm to Barstool" and it should load in another window.)

Farm To Barstool from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.

So since I watched one, I decided I might as well watch them all...
Next up was a very charming video for The Doughnut Vault. Now I see donuts being made at work every day. And sure, they look quite tempting and the process is pretty amazing. But this just took it to a whole new level. Who cares about taste. They make it look like magic. Magic I tell you. Don't you want to camp out overnight with me just to be first in line? Please? And when we get there, maybe they'll even let us use the stamp ourselves to put the logo on the bag. Cuz that would just make my day. PS - Would it be weird to ask for a sheeter for my birthday? Ok, it would. But here's to dreaming...

The Doughnut Vault from Mode Project on Vimeo.

Lastly, I leave you with an inspirational caffeine jolt. Now, mind you, I'm not the world's biggest fan of Intelligenstia. I like the idea and their coffee is pretty gosh darn good, however, sometimes they take it to such a level that it becomes inaccessible for me. I love that their baristas are coffee nerds turned mad scientists, but sometimes it seems just a bit too much. Maybe I just don't know enough about coffee. Regardless, I still thoroughly enjoyed the artistry of this video. And plus, what goes better with a doughnut than a cup 'o joe. (Ok, first off it's espresso, not coffee. And second off, they'd NEVER call it that, but come on. Have a sense of humor already.)

Espresso, Intelligentsia from The D4D on Vimeo.

Now I ask you, dear reader. What were you inspired by today?


Out with the Old, In with the New... A Few Months Early

This week marked the one year anniversary of my official exit from the newspaper industry and my entry into the food/service industry. Boy, has a lot happened in that year. Sometimes, it's hard to believe what transpired this year happened at all. From making popcorn and slinging sandwiches, to selling baked goods, to working in the freezer of that infamous grocery store with those little shopping carts, it feels like more than just a year has gone by. The past few months especially have been an exciting whirlwind with the demands of my newest gig, and my entry into the online community as a bonafide food blogger. I've realized some important things about myself in the past year, that the written word never left my bloodstream, and nor has my desire to continue to be inspired and craft at every opportunity. While my list of hopeful future accomplishments continues to grow, I'm still pretty proud of all that's unfolded in a year. It may not seem like a lot on paper, but when you consider that a year ago I was basically entering my working life with a clean slate, I feel like I've made some pretty good strides in the right direction.

On that note, I'm leaving you with (what I found to be) an entertaining video entitled "WORK." Sometimes we get so bogged down in work, we lose sight of what we're working for. It could be so you can afford nice things and provide for your family, it could be to achieve your dream job, or heck, it could be for moon shoes. Either way, I don't know about you, but I'm definitely "ready to start the work!" as the prospect of a new calendar year approaches.


Sunday Brunchday

There's nothing I love more than Sunday brunches spent relaxing at home. With few exceptions. Not so long ago, I finished reading Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life. Not only is it an enchanting read, especially for all you foodies, but it also doubles as a great recipe book. This past Sunday, I found myself with a day off from work and a hankering for a delicious, filling, but somewhat quick and easy brunch to make. So I turned to Wizenberg's recipe pages, naturally. I remember reading her chapter on her dad (Berg's) French toast. Something about that chapter stuck. Maybe it was the description of her intoxication with his breakfast specialty, or maybe it was because I knew there was a loaf of my favorite white bakery bread sitting on the counter, but I knew I had to give this recipe a try.

It definitely did not disappoint. It may not be something you categorize under "healthy" breakfasts, however, it will most likely hit the spot if you're hankering for a special Sunday treat. I had mine with fresh fruit and some soy whip cream on top. Heavenly. And the perfect meal to round out the end of the weekend. I definitely recommend giving it a try. And if you do, be sure to let me know what you think!

You can find the recipe from Wizenberg's book here. Enjoy!


Seemingly Pedestrian

Why hello there dear readers. It has been quite a long while since my last post and I apologize. Life has gotten in the way a bit too often lately. But that's a good thing. While work and life have been a bit overwhelming these days, I must say, a lot of good has come out of my zombie state of over-worked exhaustion these days. Whether gathering around a table with new friends (ok, I'll admit it, sometimes we skip the table for some bar stools), adventuring on culinary feasts in China Town, or just finding humor in the little things, life has been good, albeit bursting at the seams.

Some other things I am quite excited about of late aside from recent company and altering work settings, are some new books I have recently learned about. First up, is Chicken and Egg: A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading. Now most of you probably know, that I don't eat chicken. However, this book is about so much more than just the meat a chicken can provide. It's really more about the eggs and appreciating where they come from.

The author, Janice Cole, documents her journey after deciding to purchase three tiny chicks to provide her with and endless supply of fresh and free eggs. Of course the story of raising a home chicken coop provided to be a lot more than Cole was ever expecting, but what a pay off. Now I've only leafed through the recipes and skimmed some of her stories, but so far, I can tell Cole's story is one worth reading. I always have an extra appreciation for recipe books that separate their concoctions by seasonality. Not only is Chicken and Egg separated like so, but Cole also specifies the time of season when these recipes work best (i.e. late winter, autumn harvest, etc).

The next book is Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery & Cafe, on loan from a coworker who used to work at Flour. The introductory paragraph says it all for me. 

Flour. On its own, it's an ordinary ingredient. Likewise, there's nothing special about a cup of sugar, a few eggs, or a stick of butter. But together, these seemingly pedestrian ingredients form the foundation of the magical world of baking.

Again, I haven't quite gotten the chance to get my hands dirty with this one just yet, but I cannot wait. Just flipping through has me wanting to spend every day trying everything out. Plus, it was published by my favorite, Chronicle Books. What's not to like about that? I also can't wait to attempt their ever famous stick buns that nudged out contender Bobby Flay on an episode of Throwdown.

I leave you with this video as a nugget of inspiration about the theory and composition behind creating the Flour cookbook, which, I have a feeling is going to become one of my newest personal baking bible. Enjoy!