A Birthday Dinner

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone had an awesome weekend. My Sunday was pretty great. I had volleyball practice with my girls, which was super fun, and then we went to help raise money for the maccabi organization at a wing bar in Austin. Only a few of the girls went after practice, but it was fun to spend time outside volleyball with them. Anyways for today I have a restaurant review of a trendy place in Austin known as Paggi House. We ended up going for my grandfather’s birthday this year, and in years past. My uncle deals wine to the restaurant, so it is always extremely great service when we go.

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This looks interesting. It was cast iron wild mushrooms topped with panko crusted cheese and garden fresh herbs. The cheese melted in your mouth and provided a nice crunch from the panko breading. It went along great with the mushrooms. The mushrooms were perfectly cooked and sauteed in the cast iron pan. I wish we would have had more of this dish because it was that delicious. I really enjoyed the appetizers throughout the night. The mushrooms tasted like butter and when paired with the cheese it was like tasty explosions in your mouth.

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Sorry about the dark images, the restaurant was dark and only lit with candles at our table and the light from outside. This was a sweet potato soup topped panko crusted chevre, red curry and fennel. Paggi house must really love fried cheese balls. Not that I’m complaining because they are the most amazing thing to ever exist. Cheese is definitely one of the greatest foods in the world, so a fried ball of it is great. This soup was creamy and rich. The sweet potato flavor was not overwhelming, and the cheese melted in the soup so it made it sweeter and creamier. The herbs provided a certain flavor to the dish, which was very enjoyable.

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If my entree wasn’t so mind blowing, I would say this was the best dish of the night. It was the special small plate of the evening. It was pork belly topped with apples, foam, and a sweet aoili sauce. It was the amazing. The pork belly was so tender and packed with a ton of flavor. While the apples provided a nice crunch to the soft meat. The sauce was creamy and rich, which just added to the variety of flavors that was packed into this small plate. We ended up ordering three of these for the table, and I totally kept snatching bites of it.

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This picture is the worst, but the dish was so delicious. It was grilled tuna tataki. It had pickled ginger, avocado, basil, and orange gastrique. The tuna was extremely fresh. It was a light appetizer that provided a ton of flavor in such as small dish. My grandma loves raw tuna appetizers, so we of course ordered two of these. In my opinion, I’ve had better tuna tataki. However if you don’t consume a lot of raw tuna then you will probably think this dish is amazing.

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Hello to the star of the night. This may have been one of the best pieces of fish I have ever had. This was the special of the night. It was gulf red snapper with crab meat and avocado. The fish was extremely fresh. The crab meat was such a great addition to the dish. I can’t remember the sauce on it, but it was extremely light and had a hint of lemon in it. The meat just flaked off the snapper with every single bite.

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It was perfectly pan-fried. The fish was crispy in just the right amount. This may have been the best dinner I have had at Paggi House. We have been there three times for my grandpa’s birthday, but this definitely was the shining moment of the restaurant. In my opinion, they should make this special a regular on the menu since it is so delicious. I think that it would sell a lot. My mom and I both ordered the dish, so obviously it will be popular. Who doesn’t like crab meat on top of a perfectly cooked fish? A sick person that is who.

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For dessert, they had made an Italian cream cake. I am definitely not a fan of this cake. It tasted more like a weird version of banana bread. I’m a simple girl when it comes to birthday cake. I like buttercream icing and white cake. To be honest, someone could just buy me a container of delicious buttercream icing and I would just eat that with a candle in it. I love it that much.

 

I hope you have a fantastic Monday!
What is your favorite type of birthday cake?
Where do you like to go eat on your birthday?

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A Sweet Treat – Petit Fours

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone is having a fantastic day. Today is a very special day. Two of my best friends, since high school, have the same birthday, which is today. I’m very sad because this is the first time in 9 years that I haven’t spent with them. So I thought I would give them a very special shout out on the blog and share a recipe that can be used for birthdays and birthday parties – petit four cakes.
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This is us watching Harry Potter at the alamo drafthouse. They had butter beer, which was really delicious.  We always have the best time. Happy birthday Isa and Shayna! I love you guys so much. So now time for the more delicious part of the post. A petit four recipe. I love to bake. It is such a stress relief for me, so anytime I can bake I am a happy person. These petit fours are not your traditional ones that are extremely tedious, but instead they are pretty simple to make. If you want to do a meticulous version, you can bake them on a jelly roll sheet and cut them into little square, but who wants to do that. No one.

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Petit Four Cake

8 oz unsalted butter (make sure it is at room temperature)
8 oz of sugar
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
8 oz of all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla bean paste

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1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Get a silicon baking pan that are in small squares such as one for brownies or fudge. Then grease or spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray.

3. Sift the all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. Then place that mixture aside.

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4. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter. Then add in the sugar and vanilla. Add the 4 eggs into the mixture one at a time until thoroughly blended.

5. Slowly add the sifted flour mixture until mixed well.

6. Spread into the silicon pan up to 3/4 of the square.

7. Bake for 15-18 minutes until you can touch the top of the cake and it bounces back.

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This is just a plain vanilla cake for the base. However you can make a ton of variations of cake to make as petit fours. To make a lemon cake, you can add 2 tbsp of lemon zest and 2 or more tsp of fresh lemon juice. I’ve made them and they are quite delicious. I think if you want a stronger lemon flavor, I would add more lemon juice. You can also make an orange cake using the same ingredients, but oranges. So orange zest and orange juice. Also chocolate would be a delicious cake to make. Just add 2 oz or more of unsweetened cocoa powder. A raspberry cake would be good too. I have all kinds of delicious flavor combinations in my head. Yum. Next comes the hard part of all of this.

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For the filling part, which comes after the cakes cool off, you will need pastry bags, tips, and filling. For the first time we made these, we ended up buying round tips, which was such a bad idea. You need a sharper tip to stab into the cake. For the filling, you can either make your own or buy pre-made filling. We ended up buying pre-made filling from this super cute bake shop in Austin, Make it Sweet, where we bought all of the baking tools at. This store is fantastic. They offer tons of classes and have all kinds of baking supplies. It is awesome. So for this part, you take each cake one at a time, poke in the tip, and squeeze your pastry bag to insert the filling into the cake. Sometimes it is hard to tell, so I would practice on one cake and then cut it in half to see if you got enough in there. We ended up filling our cakes with lemon and Bavarian cream. Delicious.  Now it is time for the icing.

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Petit Four Icing
2 lbs of confectioners’ sugar
2 oz of butter, melted
8 oz of heavy cream
1 tsp of almond or vanilla flavoring
food color if you would like to color your icing

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1. Place all of the ingredients in the top of a double boiler over hot water. You can just use two pots in this method. Place water in the bottom pot and then place another one on top of this. Although if you have a double boiler, props to you for having awesome cookware.

2. Stir the mixture until it is smooth.

3. Divide the icing into smaller groups and color each if you want to.

We ended up making our petit fours hot pink and aqua. These were for our volleyball players, so that is why we choose those super girly colors. These were okay for our first attempt at them. We are going to perfect them now today for my mom’s friends engagement party for her son and his fiance. We made notes as we baked them about all the things that we needed to edit, so now we can make perfect petit fours. Although they were not the prettiest of cakes for our first time, they were still extremely delicious.

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Be careful if you dye them a darker color like the aqua. It can stain your mouth for a little while like eating a blue piece of candy. You will certainly enjoy these treats though. They are cute little cakes to have at parties or at tea time. While they aren’t very healthy for you, they are nice to have as a sweet treat every once in a while. A smart thing to do is bake them and then place them in the freezer. You can take one out at a time to enjoy when you are craving that sweet treat. One batch made about 40 cakes.

I hope everyone has a fantastic day, especially my two best friends!

Have you ever had a petit four?
What is your favorite thing to bake?

Belated Birthday

Hey ya’ll! This week is sort of crazy for me. I’m taking the GRE on Thursday night, so I’ve been devoting my life to studying for it. I am praying that I do good, so I don’t have to take it again. That thing is freaking expensive. To be honest, I don’t really think you need to be skilled in geometry or have a high vocab to get your masters in nutrition and exercise physiology. Anyways this past weekend it was my mom’s birthday! I seriously love my mom to death, she is pretty awesome.

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Funny story actually. So on Friday we went to this place called Hey Cupcake to get my cousin a few cupcakes for her birthday (yeah, all of my relatives are born at the same time – weird), and my mom decided to get one for herself for her birthday. The guy working there was like well how old are you and she was like guess how old my daughter is, so he looks at me and goes 16. REALLY DUDE? Like really? I’m 23, but sure 7 years off isn’t bad. He then proceeds to flirt with me and talk about how tall women are beautiful. Umm okay, you just thought I was 16 about 5 seconds ago.

DSCN0160For my mom’s actual birthday, we ended up going to the Whole Foods in downtown Austin to pick up lunch and about 5 million desserts. Okay, I exaggerated a bit. Only like 6 desserts because there was a surprise waiting for my mom at home. We first went to go get my mom a chocolate covered caramel apple at the chocolate bar in the Whole Foods, and that is where I saw some pretty cool stained glass chocolate. I love that chocolate is an art form. I also love the way it tastes. You are probably a deeply disturbed person if you don’t like chocolate.

DSCN0167For my lunch I had a salad from the hot and cold food bars. I piled it on with delicious goodness. It had spinach leaves and romaine lettuce, eggplant with miso glaze, roasted zucchini, grilled mushrooms, pesto roasted tofu, edamame, and some roasted tomatoes. Healthy and delicious. That is my style. My brother and mom split a sandwich called the Mopac. I know ya’ll are telling me to shut up about the food and just get to the desserts, so lets do this.

DSCN0171That is beautiful. I have a weakness for cherries. Oh and if you didn’t already know chocolate too. I love chocolate. This was a black forest cake in a cup. I love when Whole Foods smashes up a dessert and puts it in a cup to go. This dessert was probably my favorite of all the ones we picked out to have. It was so rich from the chocolate and it was moist. Thank god because I hate when cakes or brownies are like crispy instead of squishy.

DSCN0170That cloud of fluffy icing looks like a nice pillow that I just want to lay on and eat it up. Maybe not exactly, but I definitely want to gobble it up. This is the tres leches cake at Whole Foods. If you haven’t had it, you seriously need to get in your car and go pick one up immediately. This is probably the moistest cake I have ever had, and also the best tres leches cake I’ve probably had too. Whole Foods does a perfect job of incorporating the classic flavors of this traditional Mexican dessert.

DSCN0163The surprise that was awaiting my mother. A Banana Fosters birthday cake. Yes, I know. This actually exists in reality. Thank you Whole Foods for being the greatest place in the world. Okay I wouldn’t go that far, but I do love the Whole Foods. Really just the one in Austin because it is the headquarters and far superior to any other one in the world.

DSCN0169This cake was heaven. It had a thin layer of caramel for every icing layer within the cake. The bottom of the cake was surrounded in dehydrated bananas, I was a fan and no one else was. The icing was fluffy and delicious, while the cake was not dry and had so many flavors packed into it. It was sort of overwhelming, but in a good way.

DSCN0173I ended up having some fruit salad, so I could pretend that I didn’t eat all of that dessert. I’m not that much of a fatty. I only had one or two bites of every dessert that we actually got. I liked the fruit salad though. It was only filled berries and pineapple. I was glad because I’m not a fan of honeydew and I hate when people put it in fruit salad. Gross.

DSCN0161I just thought this was really neat. We obviously didn’t buy a huge thing of chocolate, but I love how they do all these cool artsy pieces in the display case at the chocolate bar in the Whole Foods. I do wonder if someone actually buys these things. I wouldn’t mind if a guy bought me that key in dark chocolate.

DSCN0162We know I love cupcakes. My weakness in life. Whole Foods does such a good job at making the cupcakes look crazy adorable, so people will buy them. This one was my favorite one that day. It was an icecream sunday on top of a plain vanilla cupcake. I’ve had their cupcakes before, so I didn’t want to get one. I love the icing, but the cake is just sort of a cake. Whole Foods is obviously somewhere you don’t go to get the cupcakes, but still most of their desserts are pretty mind blowing.

What is your favorite dessert?
How often do you go to Whole Foods?

Happy Birthday to Me

Hey ya’ll! I hope you had as an amazing weekend as I did. It was my 23rd birthday, and I swear that your birthdays get better as you get older. Lets recap the memories and the munchies.

I woke up friday morning to go to my Microbiology class and lab, and there was a surprise waiting for me from my amazing roommate. She had gotten me a cupcake balloon. For those of you that don’t know, I LOVE CUPCAKES. This put me in a super awesome mood!

My  roommate is way cooler than yours. She got me a thing of flowers and a really cute card too. I seriously love her. She entertains me. Feeds me. Brings me laughter. LOVE YOU. After I made a scrumptious breakfast of chocolate chip pumpkin cheesecake oats, I loaded my backpack up and went to class. It was boring. Lab was stupid. I swear my TA is lacking a few brain cells or something. A lab that should have taken 30 minutes took about an hour and forty five minutes. BOOOOOO.

When I got to Austin, my mom had two slices of birthday cake waiting for me. Delicious. I didn’t want to get a full cake since I eat healthy and have my Turkey Trot plans, so she just got me two slices. It is a strawberry and cream cake from Uppercrust bakery in Austin. If you are ever in Austin, you should definitely go here because their baked goods are delicious.

Then it was time to open some presents. I love opening things. That probably is the best part about getting presents. I told my mom she could just wrap a bag of skinnypop or some other health food, and I would be just as happy. Of course my mom is awesome and got me tons of amazing presents like these BCBG shorts with lace on the bottom and this coral purse.

Steve madden boots? Why don’t mind if I do. I have a scary boot obsession. Not sure why since I live in Texas and it is hot pretty much all year long. This is just probably another reason why I want to move back north, so I can utilize all my pairs of boots and SCARVES (whole different story). Anyways I also got a bunch of clothes from anthropologie, tons of roll on perfume, a donut pan (awesome recipes to come), and a huge bag from Vera Bradley.

My mom and I went to a UT volleyball game and it was seriously AMAZING. Texas won and the final point was an amazing block. My best friend came over after the game, so we could get ready and go to the main event of my birthday: BASSNECTAR. Bassnectar is a siiiick electronic artist that was hosting a late night ACL (austin city limits festival) show at Austin Music Hall.

We bought balcony tickets, but photoshopped our tickets for floor ones. Yes, my best friend is that evil and a genius. It was so epic the way things worked out. We put our floor fake ones in our bottoms, let them scan our real tickets, and then when we got into the atrium we switched the tickets out and just showed the floor ones. MWAHAHA. It was amazing.

We were literally so close to the front, which was hilarious since we were supposed to be up in the balcony. Boooyah. It was such a fun concert. We even made friends with some guys behind us, and we totally owned the floor so that no one was like getting into our personal space.

I forgot to mention that my best friend is even more amazing because she brought me cake balls: strawberry and cream, chocolate, red velvet, and tiramisu. They were so delicious. She also got me a tiara (you know I have a thing for tiaras from last years birthday) and a glow wand, but they made me throw it away because apparently glow sticks aren’t safe.

Here is a little snippet of the concert. Just imagine how crazy it was. I wish I could upload my video because I film the responses of my friend and I. It is funny. Anyways I hope ya’ll had an awesome weekend!

A Birthday Celebration

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I’ve been gone for a while. School has been crazy. Anyways I’m back for good now and I’m here to share a review of one of my favorite places in Austin: Perry’s Steakhouse. Thankfully they serve fish otherwise I would have just been able to eat the side dish vegetables.

Perry’s is located on 7th street in downtown Austin, so it has a swanky feel. This is normally a place I would not go on my own except for maybe a happy hour. It is fancy and expensive. The food is amazing though. We went Saturday night to celebrate my Grandmother’s birthday and it was quite the occasion.

My grandparents decided to order appetizers for the table, which I was happy with since most of us have the same taste in food. One dish that was ordered is tuna tartare. I love myself some raw fish, so when this came out I was so excited. It is an asian flavored tartare, so it has a ginger sesame hint to it. The chips were really delicious too.

One of the other appetizers we ordered were the crab cakes. Definitely my favorite appetizer of all of the ones we ordered. It was fried on the outside, and the jumbo lump crab was so fresh and juicy on the inside when you bit into it. I could have eaten a few of these as my entree.

Sorry the picture is dark. The only lights in the restaurant were candles and some dimly lit lights way above us. The other appetizer we ordered was calamari. It was pretty spicy and filled with jalapenos. It was good.

Champagne showers. I love a good glass or bottle or two bottles of champagne. We had a toast in honor of my grandmother’s birthday. I was pretty much in heaven. I was sad that we only got one glass because I definitely could have had more.

For my entree I had a pecan crusted red snapper served with broccolini on the side and topped with jumbo lump crab meat. The crab meat was amazing, but the fish was just okay. I wish I would have ordered what one of my cousin’s got. It was lobster mac and cheese. She let me have a bite and it was mind blowing.

This was the best part of the meal. Rocky road bread pudding. The bread pudding was swirled with chocolate, filled with nuts, and a huge marshmallow topped the bread pudding. OH GOD. Seriously I would go just to eat it.

Nom. Nom. Nom.

I hope you all have had a fantastic weekend.