Posts by month
Posts by category
Author Archives: Julie
I’ve been in this town long enough to know about all of the great local places to find sweet treats, and I enjoy sharing my finds with pretty much anyone remotely interested. Consequently sometimes people assume that my delight in local means that I must also have a disdain for chains. Not true; well, not entirely true. I respect quality, and while I do try to help support local businesses, if it’s after hours or a day that there shop is closed? You better believe my chubby butt isn’t going to let that get in my way.
Recently, a new chain called Nothing Bundt Cakes opened up near a couple of the restaurants Andy and I frequent. Unfortunately for Andy, I found out it was open while I was out a dinner with a friend, and she and I hit it up before parting ways. Don’t feel too bad for him, though; I, of course, softened the blow of my betrayal by bringing him a mini cinnamon bundt.
This shop is undeniably cute; I mean, it is pretty much tailor made for baby showers. They have nine different flavors of cake all topped with their signature cream cheese “frosting” and are available in a couple different sizes.
I thought it was pretty cool that they had a tiered option (see above) it was something I hadn’t really considered with bundt cakes.
In addition to cakes, this shop also offers cute party supplies and kitchen items. I had a brief, but very real moment when I saw the Kate Spade display where I wanted to just throw my credit card at the cashier and buy ALL the things. Things I don’t even need, but I love Kate Spade so much and those lemons were just like this gorgeous pair of wedges she had last year (which legit almost bought). Ultimately, I decided I wouldn’t get a lot of use out of lemon print wedges; stupid practicality, stupid.
Yes, my husband is in a tank top. It pains me, but he was on the tail end of a skin allergy flare and was doing his best to keep cool. This did not keep me from mocking him, though. I also gave him his bundt cake first, so the cats would swarm him and I could eat in peace.
Not entirely effective as you can see. Stanley figured out my game and might have gotten the teeniest bit of frosting from mommy. He ended up with most of it on his nose which led to me having to chase him down and wipe it off. I live a charmed life.
If you’re interested, three flavors have been tried so far; the double chocolate, cinnamon and pecan bundt cakes all get a big thumbs up from us. Be prepared though; it took me two sittings to make it through mine, those things are rich!
And I am chipping right away at #3 on my 31 before 32, this time with Upside-Down Skillet Corn Cake. While seemingly simple, I had a tough time with the recipe. Was it an off day? Was it the humidity? Am I not as good at this baking thing as I thought I was? Who knows, but this recipe was delicious and, after a bit of reflection, well worth the trouble.
- Boy howdy did I have a rough time with this recipe. First, I could not get the brown sugar to melt into the butter. I stirred and stirred, up-ed the heat, turned it back down, and in a desperate attempt – added more butter. Alas, it was all for naught, and I eventually just had to give it a “good enough” and cross my fingers. It 90% worked out. Most of the texture issues worked themselves out as the cake baked, but there was one small grainy patch left that I gently scrapped off before serving.
- I also could not get the fruit to cooperate, I used nectarines instead of peaches because that fuzz on the outside makes me shudder. As I tried to pit the fruit, it refused to release the pit, and two of my nectarines turned to mush in the process. Even afterwards all I could do was squeeze fruit pieces off of the pit and use them for something else. So I guess I should go for slightly under ripe fruit next time?
- The cook time was WAY off on this. I baked it for the recommended time plus some and finally took it out when it seemed like the sugar mixture on the edges was starting to burn. The middle was still not fully cooked. Next time I am going to bake it lower for longer. Maybe 325 for 50 minutes to an hour.
- It is important to note, I do not have a cast iron skillet that is the right size for this recipe so I used a cake tin. Which might have contributed to the bake time issues. I’d still use it again, but I’d also be interested in a do-over with the recommended equipment.
As I mentioned last week, Andy and I recently took a trip out to South Eden Plantation to try Cream of the Crop for lunch. While we were busy stuffing our faces, the staff told us that they were running tours of the property that day. Of course, we leaped at the chance to poke around this gorgeous place, even more so when we found out that they had a small fleet of golf carts available so we wouldn’t have to walk in the 90 something heat.
The main house was better than I had hoped. The new management has created a perfect balance between preserving the original character of the house and adding a healthy dose of modern southern charm. When you step through the doors, one of the first things there is the restaurant where they host Sunday dinner every week, Harvest House. They are also planning on adding a weekly brunch, and I assure you I will be one of the first through the door as soon as they do. The blue ceiling is a nod towards a southern tradition; it was supposed to keep the ever present insects up and away, less of a worry these days though. The wrought iron chandeliers and matching sconces were created by a local artisan especially for this project and were inspired by the trees that are all over the property. Oh, and those beautiful floors are not original, but they are reclaimed wood from a 100 year old barn! I might be a little in love.
My inner princess was obsessed with all the different chandeliers that had been incorporated throughout the buildings. Evidently, I am not the only one, all of the outdoor chandeliers are currently playing host to families of sparrows. The staff originally tried to remove them, but now that there are eggs and baby birds they are leaving the nests be and laughing about how snobby the birds are going to be now that they’ve had the chance to reside in such elegance.
The third restaurant on the property is also located in the main house and is called Scarlets. It is is rich, decadent, and sultry, and that’s just the decor! The ceiling is hammered copper tiles that reflect and radiate the warmth of the dark wood and red velvet used throughout. I can’t wait to get dressed up and have Andy take me to dinner here for a date night.
Further back on the plantation is The Show Boat, a private movie theater that was part of the original property and was actually the first private theater to show the movie Gone with the Wind.
Andy’s favorite part of the tour was the pool house. The indoor poor is a salt water pool, which is perfect for someone with sensitive skin like my hubby. I was a little more interested in the original porthole windows and the fountain out front, but once they actually got me inside, I had to admit that with the chandeliers and the cover that is pasty girl friendly, I could see myself spending A LOT of time here if given the chance.
I had so much fun seeing this amazing place. I am only a 25 minute drive away, and I am still trying to figure out how I can justify investing in a nice staycation. In the mean time, I will absolutely be back to try out the two restaurants in the main house 😉
Portland, OR has been on my “to see” list ever since I learned about Voodoo Donut 13 lifetimes ago (yeah, it really doesn’t take much, right?), but now I have yet another reason to visit the land of hipsters in the pacific northwest, and that’s DIY Bar. More than anything, this seems to me like a natural progression from things like Painting with a Twist. Patrons order their project and beverages at the bar, everything from tools to supplies is covered, and you are given a set of instructions and away you go. You can tackle crafts for multiple skill levels, and the staff is always willing to help out if you find yourself a little stuck.
I really, REALLY wish there was one of these in good ol’ Tallahassee; it would be perfect for girl’s nights. I could also see myself stopping off after work for a cool beverage and a productive way to craft out some of that office stress. Heck, do that enough times and you’ll have Christmas gifts for everyone.