Friday, September 30, 2016

Italian desserts for a little bit of la dolce vita- part II

It's Friday and I think we all need a little la dolce vita about now.  There's nothing wrong with having a little bit of sweet to start the weekend.  Back in March I wrote about Italian desserts and decided I just had to create another post featuring more Italian desserts I've tried since.  Of course, there are still more I've yet to try so look for a part III in the future!
Zeppoles are an Italian pastry consisting of a deep-fried dough ball.  I think of them as Italian doughnuts and they're usually covered in powdered sugar.  These are from Giada in Las Vegas and were plated with Giada's signature "G" in chocolate sauce for dipping.  They were even delicious several hours later back at our hotel.

Semifredo is a dessert meaning "half cold" or "half frozen" in Italian.  In Italy they use gelato for their filling but a mousse is also common.  This Semifredo, from Mbar in Seattle, had coconut, black cherry, and chocolate .  Every bite was as rich and decadent as the last. 

Italian Cream Horns, called Cornetti de Crema, are pastries made with puff pastry and filled with a cream filling.  This Hazelnut Cream Horn from Borracchini's Bakery in Seattle hit the spot.  Every bite of the pastry was filled with cream and the tasty hazelnut icing.  Borracchini's is the place for anything Italian and has been since 1922.  Seems like they have every kind of Italian pastry and I felt like a child in wonder again as my eyes roamed the long displays of treats.  The rest of the pastries and cookies featured below are from there.

Ahh, who doesn't love a good cream puff?  Cream puffs in Italian are called "Bocconcini con Crema" and this Chocolate Cream Puff from Borracchini's was a good representation of the traditional one.

These fried desserts called Rossettes are made using a rosette iron and are then coated in cinnamon and sugar.  They were a little plain for me and not really sweet, but their pretty to look at with their unique shape.

Angel cookies are really sweet and they melt in your mouth.  They are typically white but you can add food coloring to get your desired look.  They are a cross between a shortbread cookie and a sugar cookie and they'd be the perfect thing to bake at Christmastime.

Another traditional Italian cookie is a Florentine.  They are very thin, nutty, and buttrery.  The one I tried from Borracchini's was addictive and sweet. 

And finally, the last Italian dessert I tried was a Spritz butter cookie.  They're small and buttery and have a hint of almond.  They usually have sprinkles on top to look festive.  I think these Spritz cookies from Borracchini's are done in Seahawk colors!

Looking for more about Italian desserts? You can see my first post, Italian desserts for a little bit of la dolce vita, here.

Remo Borracchini's Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Giada Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato MBar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Fun Filled 3rd Birthday: A Cars Cake and A Visit To The Fair

My twins turned three and I wanted to do something fun for their birthday.  Their favorite movie is Cars so we got them a cake, balloons, plates, and t-shirts with the Cars theme.  They liked the cake the most and may or may not have had two pieces.  I think they may have inherited my sweet tooth...then it was time to hit the fair!  The Washington State Fair is held every September and this year was held from September 2nd until the 25th.  I think they enjoyed themselves!  Turning three was a blast for my boys!
Vroom, vroom-start your engines and get dressed.  Your Cars shirt is ready to wear!

Balloons are so much fun and are always appealing for the little ones.  Kids can be entertained for some time just throwing balloons around the living room.

It's Lightening and his best pal Mater, plus Guido and Luigi!  The Cars gang make everything great!

Speaking of great, we love bakery birthday cake and can't get enough.  Goodie, because my BD's coming up and that means more cake!

Rides, Rides, Rides!  Welcome to the state's biggest fair.  The Washington State Fair is the place to be.

The area near the kiddie rides is where we spent the most time.  Our sons love rides and would probably have kept riding until the sun went down. 

You've gotta love fair food, right?  Well, we may have chosen hastily because we were hungry.  Can you say unhealthy?  I think we have our fill of nacho cheese for a while.  At least this was for all four of us!

The animals at the fair is another fun part, especially these little piglets.  Can you say adorable?

This pretty hen was inside the kid's petting zoo area. 

This little sheep was also wandering around the petting zoo for the kids.  How cool that the little kids get a chance to touch the animals and learn more about them.

We also tried a Fisher scone for the first time.  We really enjoyed the raspberry filling.  Ok, I understand why everyone at the fair always had a bag of these...

Chicken and Waffles, what we should have eaten for dinner.  Live and learn.  There's always next time. 

Goodnight, Washington State Fair.  It's been a good one.  And Happy Birthday to my little ones! 

Homemade Fresh Strawberry Syrup

When I have a birthday or someone in my family does, I love to make a special breakfast.  Nothing's better than starting your day with some good eats.  My boys just had their third birthday and I wanted to make them French toast, their favorite breakfast food.  To shake things up and make it "birthday breakfast special", I made a strawberry syrup to pour over the French toast.  I found an easy recipe with four ingredients here and then I got to work.  The best part about making the syrup was the scrumptious scent of the strawberries cooking.  Before I knew it, the syrup was done.  Then I bottled it up to use the next morning for our breakfast.   The strawberry syrup was sweet and had the perfect consistency.  It went well with the French toast and as I ate mine, I daydreamed all the ways I could use the syrup.  Poured over pancakes, waffles, strawberry shortcake, get the idea. 

Fresh Strawberry Syrup


3 cups strawberries, diced
1 cup granulated sugar
2 T. lemon juice
1/4. t. vanilla extract


Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a gentle simmer until the strawberries are soft and the syrup is thickened and reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 in volume, about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.  Syrup will thicken upon standing so simply whisk in more water to reached consistency if needed. 

You can click here for the recipe I use when making French toast.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Date Night at MBar

My husband and I checked out MBar for our latest date night.  They just opened a little over a week ago and it's located in South Lake Union, in the Fairview Building.  The rooftop restaurant and patio on the 14th floor is accessed by an elevator and then a long walk down a hallway with South Lake Union below.  Everything is decorated in art deco with bright blue walls and colorful light installments.  I found the dining room to be electrifying when I entered.  The sweeping views of the Space Needle, Queen Anne, and South Lake Union added to the lure.  Then, a spacious patio with a bar and ample room for seating is right outside. 

Not only is MBar beautiful and eye catching but the main star is the food.  The credit is given to their Chef Jason Stratton.  I watched him on Top Chef and rooted for him because I was excited to see someone from Seattle competing.  He has a real talent in the kitchen and I was excited to try his food.  We were lucky enough to meet him during our meal at MBar and I found him to be friendly, humble, and proud of the food he presented to us. 

We started with cocktails.  My husband had a Stratton Manhattan and I drank a Rum Royale- a drink with Rum, Cantaloupe, and white sparkling wine.  Our drinks were perfect, just like the view.  The Space Needle winked at us as we perused the menu, getting excited for what was to come.  We started with the Heirloom Tomatoes.  They were served with roasted turnips, caramelized onions, anchovy, dandelion, and lime brown butter.  The flavors were new to us and we loved them.  We'd never had the combination of caramelized onions with fresh tomatoes and the flavor worked well.  The dish seemed complex with its ingredients but all of the flavors fit together beautifully. 

Next, we had the Crisp Chicken Wing Confit with burned honey and walnut mayonnaise.  Jason knows his stuff because we were super impressed with the chicken wings.  They're cooked in duck fat and that's why they taste so good.  They are coated in a honey and walnut mayonnaise sauce, giving the wings a sweet element to work with the crispiness of the chicken. 

The Duck Confit caught our interest since it's a favorite dish of ours.  MBar's was a beautifully inspired plate and most importantly, a delicious one.  There was a cilantro puree and colorful beets with a turmeric puree to accompany the perfectly cooked duck.  We were sad when the last bite was gone. 

Then it was time for round two of drinks.  My husband had a cocktail called Rosy Cheeks and I drank a glass of Sparkling Rose.  We were still hungry and we heard the table behind us ordering the Fried Potatoes and we couldn't resist getting some ourselves.  The fried potatoes had chilies and cilantro and have to be one of the best things I've ever eaten.  Perfectly hot and fried with the tantalizing flavors of the chilies and cilantro, they're hard to beat and will probably be a favorite dish at MBar. 

As much as we wanted to keep ordering food, it was time to close with dessert.  We shared the coconut, black cherry, and chocoalte Semifredo.  We each took a bite and closed our eyes in satisfaction.  Very decedent and rich, each bite was better than the last, if such a thing is possible.  I had several sips of my Sparkling Rose left that paired just right.  After paying and saying goodbye to our server, we wandered out to the patio and watched the sunset.  What a dinner and what a place.  People are going to love MBar, I know I did.   


MBar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato