For the Barbie Dream Kitchen

934 Comments »   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food, shopping

If I were 20% more impractical, these would both be taking up space in my kitchen right now.

Images via Target (here & here).


Road Trip: Vancouver

1,092 Comments »   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food, Music, Travel

Brian and I went up to Vancouver to see Spoon in concert yesterday.
We were only in town for dinner and the show, but we had such a great
time, we’re already looking for the time to go up for a long weekend.
Even though we live less than three hours away, it had been years for
both of us since we’d been up for a vacation (I used to go there for
work when I was a flight attendant, but it isn’t the same thing).

After crossing the border and going through the countryside, we
stopped for dinner at the Cucumber Cafe, a restaurant at Sandman
Signature Hotel
(where I’d stayed for work in the past).  There is a
reason I remembered this place so specifically after more than two
years- the decor and the food are amazing!  The details like dark tile
and silver textured wallpaper really make you feel special as soon as
you enter.  Also, the light filled windows boxes feature a variety of
succulents, and the retro globe lighting fixtures complete the modern
vibe.  Now, you probably wouldn’t expect a restaurant that looks like
this to serve diner-style food; well, they do!  And quite well, I must
say.  They serve breakfast all day; Brian ordered bacon and eggs,
which came with a side of multi-grain toast.  I ordered a tossed salad
with grilled chicken.  Both of our meals had a fresh taste, and were
made with quality ingredients.  I wish I’d taken the time to
photograph our food, but we both just dug in!

Spoon put on a great show.  I’d never seen them in concert (and I call
myself a fan!) but my years of expectations were met.  Even from our
seats in the balcony of the Orpheum Theatre, they looked great and
sounded even better.  Britt Daniel’s voice sounds exactly the same as
it does on CD.  While we were waiting for Spoon to take the stage, we
wandered around the historic theatre.  The three story lobby is very
formal, featuring several chandeliers, but we felt comfortable and
welcomed.  I noticed a drink at the lobby bar I’d never heard of: Rye
& Ginger.  We asked the bar tender about it, and he said that Canadian
whiskey is made with rye, and they mix it with ginger ale.  Brian and
I each ordered one, and as soon as it hit my lips, I knew I’d
discovered my new signature drink!  Why hadn’t I thought of using
ginger ale as a mixer?

The concert got out at 11:00, and I was expecting the streets to be a
ghost town.  Monday mornings must not mean the same thing up in
Vancouver, because people were still out having a good time!  There
was a line in front of the club across the street, a limo full of
young women were being dropped off to party, and lots of people were
just out and about!  Vancouver may be the coolest city I’ve visited.

Photos: Gretchen Lilly


Low and Slow

968 Comments »   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food


When we were in Arizona, Brit made this amazing dinner- a Tex-Mex style salad with Tomatillo Ranch dressing.  Her inspiration came from a chain of restaurants in Arizona and Utah, Cafe Rio.  The other day, I had an out of the blue flashback  to that meal; I had to create it.  I did some digging around the internet and found some recipes.  I decided to go with the Sweet Pork Barbacoa salad with Tomatillo Ranch Dressing.

I used this recipe for the pork, these directions on how long to cook it in my Dutch oven, and this recipe for the dressing.  I ended up changing the pork rub a bit- I used salt, pepper and brown sugar.  I also poured half a bottle of hard cider in, and placed aluminum foil under the lid, almost touching the meat (this helps keep the heat in).  I’d forgotten how easy slow cooking is- you only need to spend a few minutes getting everything in the pot, and then it just cooks down.

I invited Marta over for dinner, and she and Brian both gave it the thumbs up, so I’ve put this recipe on my short list.


Marta brought over these GF sandwich cookies for dessert.  I ate them like the Cookie Monster.