Chocolate chip cookie rescue

I cannot make a chocolate chip cookie to save my life. No one in my family can. We have what I call the curse of the chocolate chip muffin. No matter what recipe, tip, or trick we try, when we actually bake the dough, the “cookies” come out like muffins and taste like crap.  

Help! Anyone have a good muffin recipe? Maybe I’ll use it to try and make some cookies:)

Pancakes with a side of sourdough toast please

If you find yourself anywhere near Southern Vermont, don’t miss The Blue Benn. I grew up eating at this spot. Even though I live states away now, it’s the first stop I make coming into town for a visit, and the last stop before I leave. You’ll be hooked too. I promise.

What to expect, relish every minute of, and other great things about Sonny’s Blue Benn Diner:
*Locals, locals, locals
*Endless handwritten items on paper place mats taped up all over the walls.
*No website. 
*Cash only or gold boullion only. (Yes-it really says that on a hand written sign on the door.) Love it.
*Vermont white cheddar cheese and syrup. Those and about 100 other homemade delectables like cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, pies and jam.
*A wait to sit in one of the 6 booths-almost any day of the week.
*Smiling waitresses, even though they’re a little peeved sometimes that you didn’t wait in the foyer even though they told you to and there is a huge STOP sign on the door to enter. Pay attention first timers!
*Juke boxes at every table. Yes-they work. Two songs for a quarter.
*Occasional celeb sightings. Not that the staff there or any locals care, but it’s nice to know even Gwyneth Paltrow can appreciate a delicious pancake. She’s been to the Blue Benn.
Stop in for breakfast. It’s worth every second you might have to wait and your belly will be glad you did. Tell Sharon, Lisa, and Pat I said hi and I am coming soon for a grilled corn muffin.

Ill Communication for lunch. Tasty

That’s right. Sheryl Crow, Jack Johnson and the BEASTIE BOYS are playing short-sets today from 1-3pm at VCU’s Monroe Park, in Richmond VA. A preview of the Rock The Vote Concert that will be held later tonight at the Richmond Colliseum. 

Grab a sweatshirt and go hang in the park for some good music and fun. Who needs to work this afternoon anyway, and who says you can’t get anything for free?! 

Truffles and cocktails? -Oh yeah.

I went to Aurora for lunch with an old friend this week. Here’s a new look for Richmond, VA. (Thank you, thank you!) This place looks like the type of spot you’d find in a real city. A place where a bunch of girlfriends can get gussied up at night to go out for a cocktail when they are sick of packing themselves into the otherwise smoky dive bar. No offense dive bar-it’s just nice to see a funky clean and trendy little joint that’s new in town that we might actually be able to wear heels to.

Sure, my lunch left a lot to be desired, but other diners looked like they were drooling over their choices, so I’ll just try something different next time. Plus, there was a bonus:
The pastry chef dropped by our table with complimentary yellow cupcakes that had a thick chocolate frosting. (Um-are you a mind-reader Mr. Pastry?) -Thanks! I promptly ordered an espresso to dip the cupcake in. YUM.
Cupcakes you ask? Yes, at this part bakery/espresso bar, restaurant, venue/event space- there are two enormous pastry cases that line the front wall with all delectable goodies that anyone could drool over. Great spot to grab a box of treats for a party or gift. 
Wow. Open, bright place with huge windows, good service, and where you can get a chocolate such and such with a nighttime cocktail? 
Check please! I’m in.


DC on a dime

Here’s an idea that we tried this summer; Don’t make plans or reservations. Show up in whatever city you want to check out (we chose DC this time) -grab a hotel room and restaurant hop. Pony up to the bar to eat and drink instead of getting a table. You can check out more than one spot, save your on your wallet and maybe even get to talk to some interesting strangers. 

Here’s where we stayed and what we checked out on our weekend. All for 200 bucks including hotel. 

*Holiday Inn Capital; We got our room walk up, day of. This one is a great location, walking distance from everything below. 

*Jazz In The Garden; FREE jazz and people watching in the sculpture gallery at the National Gallery. Spring for the pitcher of sangria they serve out of enormous garbage barrels.

*Jaleo; Jam-packed Tapas joint. Great appetizers and sparkling wine. This place looked like it gets packed every night. 
*The Source; (Wolfgang Puck’s spot) Uber trendy and a bit more of a pish posh crowd. They give you a glass of $13 sparkling for free on your b-day. Between that, a yummy appetizer, and high-fiving some well-dressed bar flies when Michael Phelps won one of his many gold medals that night (Olympics were on TV)-this spot ended up a fabulously pleasant surprise all around. (The bathrooms are incredible too. They didn’t even skimp on where you pee:)
*Ellas; Wood-fired pizza. We had a de-lish tomato basil pie and friendly service.
Good, fun times for a super deal. Can’t beat that with a stick!

Front Porch Cafe’

This morning I met a friend at the Front Porch Cafe‘, a mom and pop local fave at MP 6 in Outer Banks, NC. They had plenty of fresh baked pastries and that unmistakable air of grunge, disorganized and chill coffee house. This was a perfect spot to sit outside on warm NC fall day in a big rustic wooden chair sipping a dark roast.

Forget Starbucks for a day and stop by this spot next time you’re at the beach.