Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Today is a nice opportunity to be grateful and thankful and I wanted to share a short list with you. 

In no particular order, here is what I'm thankful for right now, this year and always.

Thanksgiving 2014

That this kind man found somewhere to go today. 

My dog, even when she does things like this.
 

My friends. Near and far, old and new.

The fact that Louie was found.

My family, whom I'll see soon.

Finding this cute sign.
 
Wine.

This pretty song because I like the words.

Pizza from here. The corn pizza specifically.

Laughter.

Champagne. And any reason to celebrate.

That every year brings something new and great into my life.

Coffee.

Surprises.

That I can walk through this spectacular display every night.

Impromptu reunions with college friends.

The wishbone tradition that I will share with my mom in a few hours. 

You.

I hope you have a lovely day with your friends and family. 
 
xo,
Your friend,
Caroline

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lists.

Hi friends,

I happened to come across this article tonight. And, it's not very nice about the people where I live and love. Although the comments are pretty entertaining.

Basically. We were named to the list of least attractive people by Travel and Leisure. I'm particularity amused by the Pat's and Geno's reference.

OK. Ouch. But, I've been here a while and have found many beautiful people, inside and out. Yes, I've seen some scary things or outfits and experienced some questionable behavior but that's for another time. Most of the time, I think anywhere you go, you can see something beautiful. This cute little site is based on this very thing. I always do. I'm lucky.

I hope the next time our friends at T+L come to town, they call me. I'll show them around.


In fact, I'd probably invite them to go with me on a dog walk. Much like the one I had tonight.

The scene. I'm walking Kennedy outside and I'm in a big puffy dog-walking coat with my hair pulled back. A man walks by and says something as we pass each other and I catch the word "beautiful" at the end. Here's the rest.

Me: Thank you. (My standard response because I'm sure he's talking about my dog, as most people do. This is a thing. On Friday, someone stopped me and asked to take a picture of my dog. Yes, the dog.)
Him: Married?
Me: (laughing and still walking away) Nope.
Him: Single?
Me: No.
Him: Can I marry you?

I turned him down, but, it all started with the word beautiful. So, T+L, let's have chat and I can at least tell you where you can get a better cheesesteak.

xoxo
Your friend,
Caroline










Monday, November 10, 2014

Hi friends,
None of us have any idea of what will happen next - today or tomorrow. But what I do believe is that during these moments of wonder, life happens. And it's up to us to take full advantage. But, don't take my word for it.

Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.
-Ernest Hemingway

I believe this. In this vein, I wanted to share a few details about how I lived today and the moments that stood out. First, I spent some time with miss Kennedy at the dog park and made some new friends from Ohio who had Airedales. (People who spend time in Ohio stick together, you see. People who know Airedales share a special kinship.)
Then there were some of my favorite hours of the day between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. where I went to one of my all-time favorite spots in Philadelphia, Headhouse Farmer's Market, grabbed coffees at Bodhi before my man friend and I walked to Kennett for brunch, where we sat outside. In November. I loved the lamb meatballs and I had my go-to dish, the breakfast pizza. The detail here is to get extra maple syrup on the pizza that is basically just eggs, cheese and bacon. Then, I spent quality time with long-time friend Adrienne (and reason why I live here now) and her new baby, Henry, who stole my heart and chunks of my hair (at the same time). Henry - you little heart breaker, you. I brought them this lasagna because Adrienne adores it. (There are a few alternations to it in my version. If you want to know, ask.)

And to save the best detail of my day for last - this Friday marked my friend Holley's birthday. Since she has not been to one of my favorite restaurants we went to Will, where no detail is ever overlooked. Ever. I wrote about it when I went on my birthday a few year's ago and tonight's visit surpassed all other visits. And given Chef Christopher Kearse's recent three-bell upgrade you know you're in for something spectacular.

There were a few killer details tonight that must be discussed - the uni fettuccine was a standout for me. It's a new addition and was served with a knife and fork, which is the polite way to serve it. Being a good Italian, I twirled mine with my fork. The second detail was the staff who mentioned Holley's birthday throughout the evening. Finally - the surprise pot de creme that arrived for Holley to try. 

One final detail that I'll share is something I find to be beautiful - the image of a dinner party that has concluded. There is a certain charm about it, just before you have to take away the glasses and dishes and clean them. It shows that people met and hopefully had a lovely time and shared details about their lives over wine and dinner. I know I did tonight.
Wherever you are, I hope you had a lovely evening and shared your own details.


xo,
Your friend, 
Caroline







Sunday, November 2, 2014

Philadelphia mornings.

Dear Philadelphia,
I wanted to let you know, you're my favorite in the morning. I'll be specific: early in the morning, before the city wakes. The first time I remember thinking this was in 2003 on my walks to the Broad Street Line. I'd walk from 1810 Pine Street to Walnut Street. And on my six block walk, I'd watch the city slowly wake. The streets would become bustling, the stores would become full and not dark and empty, restaurants would open, commuters and cars would take over the sidewalks and streets. But on my short strolls, I was early enough to catch Rittenhouse Square's sleepy charm. I loved that I was walking in the city before it became busy and chaotic. There was something almost cathartic about it.

I've always thought you were the prettiest in the mornings for a myriad of reasons and this morning was no different. I walked my dog in the sunlight today and not the darkness, thank you Daylight Savings. We were walking around our new neighborhood at our normal time. (So much for gaining an extra hour of sleep with a puppy in the house. I know parents of small children know what I'm talking about.) But, even though it was early, our sunlit walk was a welcome change from the last few weeks when we'd walk outside at zero dark thirty, quite literally.

I will look forward to the long sunny days in a few months when I can sit outside with my friends and my dog well past 8 p.m. But, even today, on my least favorite day of the year, I thought you were still very lovely, crisp and cool. Today was a perfect fall day.

I've never been a fan of the dark nights that start in the afternoon. But until we see the sun at both ends of the day, I'll watch your gorgeous fall and winter sunsets from my office building and be content during my morning commute, that is once again, along Walnut Street -- in the daylight.

xoxo
Your Friend,
Caroline

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sbraga...finally!

Hi friends, I hope you had a lovely Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Boxing Day and New Years since we last spoke.

For 2014, I have a series of restaurants on my list and Sbraga was one of them and I'm pleased to report...I went last night! I also have plans to focus on Your Friend, Caroline.

At Sbraga, we both had the four-course tasting menu and you can select your courses from the menu, which is nice. The courses are all sized perfectly.

We sat down and ordered a cocktail (for Mark) and wine (for me, a pinot). Then, the bread was served, but, it was more of an over-sized gougeres. Sbraga's version is a larger puffed airy bread with a hint of Gruyere. I would have eaten 10 more, had they offered and I'm glad they did not. 

Mark had the lobster roll, which was a deconstructed version of what our friends in Maine or at Luke's Lobster are famous for serving.

I had the potato ceviche with avocado. It was light and fresh and popped in my mouth. But, no surprise here, the lobster roll won the first round.

For the second course, I had the octopus with harissa. It was grilled to perfection and this by far, was the best part of the entire meal. My favorite octopus in the city is at Osteria on their grilled octopus salad, but this, is a very very close second.

Mark had the smoked trout, with broccoli couscous and tiny onions, which to me, shows the kitchen's dedication. Again, this was great. Mark was talking about it hours after we had left. 

And now for the main course. I had the falafel, eggplant and artichoke option and Mark chose the lamb rigatoni. The falafel was delightfully plated and just the right amount of spice. It was very good but when I return, I would opt to have a larger portion of the octopus for my third course. The waitress suggested that for those of us who aren't huge meat eaters, like me. Mark's looked great and he polished the plate. But the best part for me are the dollops of ricotta cheese on top.


Dessert took some debating. I had the dirt pudding, with homemade cream and gummy worms. And for the record, I.do.not.like.gummy.candy. Yet, I loved these!

Mark had the eggnog cheesecake with cherry compote. It was not overly eggnog-y and on a thick cookie crust.

I also had the Night Capp cocktail with coffee spirits, vanilla vodka and Bailey's. The foam on top was identical to any perfectly brewed espresso drink.

Definitely try Sbraga, if you haven't. The only downfall? The noise. It was very hard to have a conversation and I could hear the tables next to me very easily. But, you really should run and not walk to try the octopus, if you like octopus.

Enjoy!
Your friend,
Caroline