Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Recipe: Giant Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies

Last September, I was reading Design*Sponge and spotted this cookie recipe from food bloggers Big Girls, Small Kitchen. Being September and apple season at the time, cider and apple pie was all I craved. So I tucked this recipe away for springtime. Now, spring is so close I can taste it. And it tastes like big, giant, chewy lemon sugar cookies. It reminds me a lot of the "Lemonade cookies" sold at The City Market.

Giant Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies
Makes about 20 cookies

2 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
1/3 cup coarse sugar (plain, granulated sugar works if it’s all you have)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together.
3. Cream the butter, 1 cup of sugar and lemon zest until very smooth. Add the egg and continue to beat until fluffy. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined — you don’t want to overmix.
4. Spread the remaining 1/3 cup sugar onto a shallow plate. Form balls out of the cookie dough 2 inches in diameter and roll them through the sugar. Arrange on a cookie sheet 4 inches apart — these spread!
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until just the edges are golden. The tops of the cookies should remain pale. Cool completely on the cookie sheets before removing to a plate.

Happy Spring !

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Girls Guide to Brewers Opening Day

Less than a week until Brewers Opening Day :)

So, if you're going and you're in need of some helpful tips, I've got a few tips. The Girls Guide to Brewers Opening Day is posted on the Milwaukee Magazine website, InsideMilwaukee. So check it out, and feel free to add your own tips and advice. Good luck girls and GO BREWERS!

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Weekend of Shows

I've got a busy weekend on my plate: not one, but THREE concerts. Tonight is Amos Lee at the Riverside Theater (read about the history HERE). I'm VERY excited about this show. Lee's last album got some help from the Calexico guys and is without a doubt, his best album to date. There are still some tickets left, so if you're without plans (and the snow holds off), get your rump downtown to see this guy! Or check to see if he's playing near you. On Volcano Choir, fronted by Wisco-native Justin Vernon at Turner Hall Ballroom. This band got some good press down at SXSW, so I'm anxious to check them out.

And thennnn, Sunday night, Sarah Silverman takes the stage at the Riverside. Laughter attacks he we come!

MKE History Lesson: The Riverside Theater

I really do love the Riverside Theater. The Pabst Theater may be my favorite, but I still love the Riverside. Everyone always raves about the Pabst--it's more intimate, more ornate, more glamorous, so the beauty of the Riverside sometimes gets overshadowed. It was built in 1927, designed by Charles Kirchoff and Thomas Rose as a grand vaudeville theater. Unfortunately, its original use was short-lived but do its size and downtown location it was repurposed as a theater, movie, house and now concert venue. The theater has a main floor, Second floor balcony or orchestral level, and two side boxes with a total current capacity for 2,430 people. A huge crystal chandelier hangs above the main floor and is lowered twice a year by a winch inside the dome ceiling to be cleaned. Alongside it, are four smaller medallion chandeliers. The building suffered a devastating fire in 1966 when a patron tossed a cigarette onto the stage, so the chairs, main curtain, and some other original details were permanently lost. The theater underwent a major renovation in the early 1980's by contributions from a local philanthropist, Joseph Zilber. Out of sight from most patrons, the theater still houses the original Wurlitzer pipe organ. It is located beneath the stage coming up through a trap door with the pipes traveling behind the side boxes. It has only been played a handful of times in the last decade, most recently for the Brewers Winter Warm-Up Show in the winter. Some remnants of the theater's vaudeville past remain, one being the eight small dressing rooms stacked on top of each other directly stage left. A narrow and steep spiral staircase connects them, but they are no longer used. The artist dressing rooms are now located behind the theater, part of the seven backstage floors. The theater has its own chef, Kevin Sloan and full kitchen on the 8th floor. However, to get the any of the backstage floors, one must either walk up the fire escape stairway or ride on the tiny original manually operated elevator. This undertaking may seem a little frightening, but a handful of staff, patrons, and performers can assure you that this is nothing compared to the dozens of paranormal incidents that have been documented inside the theater.

*Thanks to Matt at the Pabst Theater for the history and info
Photos: The talented CJ Foeckler

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cheap Thrills: Traveling Paths Handbag

I spotted this brown woven bag in a photo today and squealed when I saw the price. $60 from Le Mode Accessories. This chick and her blog, The Daybook, are just adorable. I love the simplistic cool factor going on with this outfit. I could definitely see pulling something like this off at the Amos Lee concert tomorrow night.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I want to go to there: Hotel St. Cecelia

This is the Hotel Cecilia in Austin, Texas. I saw it mentioned on another blog today and went to check out their website. Oh my goodness! This place is beautiful.....with just the right mix of laid back and cool, vintage and modern. So when I go to SXSW someday, I totally want to splurge and stay here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

MARCH MADNESS: Marquette Style

Marquette is headed to the Sweet Sixteen! It was a great game last night. My head began to have joyous flashbacks to 2003 when I watched Johnson-Odom nail a 3-pointer with a minute to go. I may not have shown my blue and gold colors as much as I should this season, but there's still plenty o' time to ring out ahoya with an m-u-rah-rah. Well, us Alumni will probably skip the face paint. Ok, I have to go and dig out my photos from the Final Four now.

Men's Stripe Tie, MU Nike Hat, Yellow Nail Lacquer, Gold basketball Charm, Sweet 16 t-shirt, Navy suede flats, Sapphire stud earrings, Yellow wallet

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Backyard Discovery: Harbor House Brunch

photo: Susan Witt, me on the far right

Last weekend, a big group of us had brunch at the Harbor House right on the lakefront in Milwaukee. It was a test run brunch; they start serving Sunday brunch regularly tomorrow. I thought it was great; every brunch item you could want including oysters, soups, omelettes, salads, belgian waffles, and mimosas. The best part about brunch here is obviously the view--overlooking the Art Museum and downtown skyline and harbor. But I also like the clean lines and yacht club feel of the restaurant. Yes, it's a little more casual than Lake Park Bistro, but not much. With all the food there, even a raw bar and elaborate dessert table, my favorite items were these little raisin toasts with goat cheese and red grapes. I had a few. So, brunch is a little pricey, $40, but it does include a lot. Here's a full list of the brunch menu. Brunch options in Milwaukee is bordering on epic, so if you're in town on the weekend or live here full-time, you have some tough decisions to make. I would definitely add this one to the list.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vintage Decorating: St. Patrick's Day

botanical print, coffee mugs, sweater, book, cauldron, skirt, postcard

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cabin Fever, SXSW


Some year I'll get to SXSW. I always check out the lineups and pick out who I would see if I was down there. Although, I should probably go soon before I start complaining about fad-soaked hipsters and the music being too loud. The joys of getting old. I have noticed since Sunday that my cabin fever quotient has drastically increased. I have tasted sunshine after 5pm and can never go back. I have a spring break coming up in mid-April and couldn't plan it fast enough. I think we've settled on a roadtrip to Nashville, but oh so many places along the way. Maybe SXSW next spring break. I love this picture below.

This is what pitchfork calls "ibuprofen pop" which I think is meant be a pejorative, but, I really like this sound and the funktastic quality of the video.

SXSW has a FREE DOWNLOAD sampler on iTunes for a limited time. I'd get on that because you know a couple of these artists are bound to be the next big thing.

These Pikolinossandals are on sale at Anthropologie. They'd be pretty dang cute trotting around SXSW or Austin's sister city, Nashville.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Catching up on reading.....

Some pathophysiology reading AND some not-so academic reading. I finally opened up the new Lonny Magazine and wanted to share some of my favorite photos. My synopsis: Dark paint is IN and those diptyque candles are EVERYWHERE.

Makes me want to rip out the windows in my kitchen and replace them with this.

I love how this wall is arranged. Perfect.

A black kitchen. Who knew?

And then I read the new Milwaukee Magazine with the cover story "Best Suburbs". I'm not a suburbanite and/or fan, but I did start getting ideas about a scooter getaway to Cedarburg. My favorite bit in the new issue was seeing my friends' restaurant, Hue, featured on pages 13, 80, AND 81! If you haven't gone to Hue, you have to go and try the Pho and the spicy crab rangoons.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Love This: inkblot silk tee

I just love the color in this Silk Tee from Etsy seller, Rachel Rose. A piece of art, really.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pączki Day in Milwaukee

Well, it was yesterday. I planned to get up early, drive to National Bakery before work and partake in a Milwaukee tradition, Pączki Day. That didn't happen and I didn't realize the bakery closed at 6pm. So what are these things? What exactly did I miss? Pączki (pronounced POONch-ki) is plural for pączek, a polish deep fried and fruity jelly filled doughnut that's either glazed or tossed in powdered sugar. Its texture is a little similar to a Krispy Kreme. Traditionally, they are eaten on Fat Tuesday, a day of indulgence or a day to rid your kitchen of everything fattening, before Lenten fasting begins. New Orleans has parades and hurricanes and Milwaukee has fried doughnuts topped with more fried doughnuts. Milwaukee has a rich Polish culture, as well as Chicago and Detroit so pączki day is pretty big in these other cities, too. These babies are easy found in most supermarkets and corner bakeries, but they do sell out, so call in your larger order a week ahead of time. If any of you had one, tell me how it was. Writing this post just made me want one even more.

Here's a rundown of Milwaukee area bakeries that are brimming with pączki every year. I'll plan ahead better next year.

- National Bakery: 3200 S. 16th St. (414) 672-1620 (plus 2 suburb locations)
- Grebe's Bakery: 5132 West Lincoln Avenue (414) 543-7000
- A&J Polish Deli: 1215 W Lincoln Ave (414) 643-7733
- Polish Center of Wisconsin: 6941 S. 68th St., Franklin (414) 529-2140
- Old World Deli: 7630 W Grange Ave, Greendale (414) 855-0470

photos: 1., 2., 3.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Milwaukee Hotel Guide

I often get asked where to stay when planning a trip to Milwaukee. There are actually a lot of downtown hotels to choose from. "Downtown" is a word that usually means high priced with nowhere to park, but as for Milwaukee, it's actually pretty accommodating. My favorite hotels in the city are historic, full of style, and relaxing, have great food and are within walking distance to the best of what Milwaukee has to offer. Sounds like a vacation to me!

1. Hotel Metro

This Historic Art Deco hotel is one of the best boutique hotels in Milwaukee. It's only a couple blocks from the lake, the river walk, and plenty of attractions. The restaurant and bar downstairs is popular with the after work crowd and couples on dates. My favorite part about this hotel is the rooftop deck. Built in is a rooftop garden and patio called "Zen on 7", and is mostly a lounge after dark, but this space is great in the morning for yoga, too.

2. The Iron Horse Hotel

This boutique hotel in Milwaukee just opened a couple years ago but has already received national honors like Boutique Hotel of the Year. Although slightly motorcycle themed (it's right across from the Harley Davidson Museum) it lacks the black leather fringe and hog references. Instead, it can be described as masculine-chic; high-end furnishings, soft, lived-in leather, exposed warehouse fixtures, and gourmet hamburger sliders. And there's motorcycle parking, too.

3. The Pfister Hotel

For a hundred years (and probably a hundred more) this is the premiere place to stay when in Milwaukee. It was built in and boasts almost all original architecture. There are some high end clothing stores off the main lobby as well as a cafe where afternoon tea is served. Adjacent is The Mason Street Grill, my favorite place for martinis and steak.

4. The Intercontinental

The location is about as central to downtown as you can get. If you're in town for a show at the Pabst Theater or a play at the Milwaukee Rep, you're in luck, because the buildings are attached. The artists usually stay here, too. The intercontinental is maybe the best place to stay during the winter months, too, because you don't have to walk very far for anything (there's even an art gallery off the lobby). The rooms are modern with a lot of amenities and highly rated.

5. County Clare

Downtown Milwaukee doesn't claim many authentic or quality bed and breakfasts. However, the County Clare is a perfect substitute. The Inn and Pub on a quiet street on the lower east side is a true gem. The restaurant serves traditional irish fare, plenty of Guinness, and on weekends has live celtic music. The rooms are homey and comfortable like a bed and breakfast and the restaurant serves breakfast in the morning.

6. Aloft

This is the newest of the downtown hotels and made the list because everyone in town for my wedding loved it here. It's youthfully modern, close to Water Street bars and the river walk, so a far cry from the regalness of the Pfister. Simply put, this place just looks like a fun place to hang out. And the rooms are the most reasonably priced of any on this list.

Note: Milwaukee has plenty of national chain hotels to choose from. Most are in great locations and have good word of mouth. Above are some of the unique places to stay if you're in town, but not the only options. I've stayed in the Marriott Residence Inn and the Hilton and have enjoyed both. Fortunately, downtown is a pretty compact and walkable area so it's hard to get too far off the beaten path.

Photos: Aloft,, PreservationNation, Simonk, mrsscott95, the iron horse hotel

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In the kitchen: m-i-c-k-e-y

I think I just found how to turn any day into a great day--Mickey Mouse Pancakes. I mean, how can you not be in a good mood when you're a.) eating pancakes b.) thinking of Mickey and c.) thinking of warm and sunny Disney World. It's pretty much prozac. My High School friend and tennis teammate Julie, who now lives in Ohio and still loves all things Disney, took this picture with her phone. I just love it!


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