Love and Food in the Big D

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Food Porn Daily - Feature Shot THREE :)

Guess third time really IS a charm! 

FoodPornDaily shot #3 (taken by ME!!) up for viewing HERE!

I have to admit that everyday I take a gander at my gmail account eagerly hoping that I'll hear from the very sweet, and FUNNY Amanda Simpson, creator of Food Porn Daily... letting me know that another one of my food shots will be featured on her website.  Last night, I was obliged.  :)  This time however, the email went a little something like this..

"Thanks for another uber porny shot!  I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to be using your prawn photo as the image of the day tomorrow on FoodPornDaily.  Keep up the awesome work! "

How could that NOT make you smile?!?  :)  (insert immature giggle about my UBER PORNY SHOT...and then I'll give you a moment to get your HEAD OUTTA THE GUTTER!! ;)  

And here's my little Prawn friend in all his glory.  :)

If you're unfamiliar with what Food Porn Daily is all about... this is how their website describes their philosophy..

Our goal
To give you the most delicious food pic possible at least once a day, everyday.

What about the recipes?
The purpose of food porn is to get your (salivary gland) juices flowing – whether or not the recipe is readily available. Please keep this in mind when viewing the photographs on this website. We provide links to recipes whenever possible, but we do not believe they are crucial to the experience. Let these photos inspire your cooking. Use your cooking fundamentals, reference the interwebs, and trust your instincts. Most importantly, have fun!

What is foodporn?
"If the casserole is missionary style, foodporn takes its devotees into the foodie kama sutra.”
-The Skinny Gourmet

“The point is to get very close to what you are filming, so close that you can see an ingredient’s “pores” (You should believe the dish is in your living room), which then triggers some kind of Neanderthal reflex. If you’re flicking from channel to channel and come upon food that has been shot in this way, you will be hardwired as a human being to stop, look, and bring it back to your cave.”
-The New Yorker

Monday, July 25, 2011

Welcome to the World Baby Andrew :)

It's been over three years since the Maldonado family welcomed its last little bundle of joy... With the arrival of little miss Addison Grace, my niece and sweet god-daughter.  Today, at 12:44pm her baby "BRUDDER" joined the clan at a whopping 8lbs 11oz and 20inches long.. I can't believe how quickly these last nine months went.. Feels like just yesterday, my sister in law Christi and brother Omar were spreading the good cheer during Christmas.  I can't wait to snuggle this little guy..he looks so cute and love-able! I can't get there fast enough!  Because he was actually supposed to make his debut this coming Friday.. I scheduled my trip to the valley for next week :(. At least it'll give the family plenty of time to settle into life with new baby Andrew Omar Maldonado (before I steal him away to snuggle him with love and new baby kisses:) 

Aunt Yvette and uncle Chad love you papa!  Can't wait to squeeze your little baby cheeks!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

European Adventures in the Making - Part 3- Paris, France

Wow.  It seems like forever and a day since I did my last European Adventures in the Making post... and I FINALLY get around to our last stop on our trip.  Part 3- Paris!  I'm not even sure why it took me so long to get to this post... I think a part of me was stressed because I didn't feel like I've done enough research to warrant a post full of quality Parisian information.  And even though I still don't have a full grasp of ALL the places we'll be seeing while we are here... here's a little look at what we DO KNOW about our Paris Trip... 

Our home away from home.. The New Orient Hotel

Cute rooms...cute little place set in the heart of the 8th district :)

All New Orient Hotel photos courtesy of their website :)

A must stop.  The Louvre...And although we hear it's almost impossible to see EVERYTHING in a week..let alone a DAY, we do know we will be on the hunt for this little lady...

The Mona Lisa.. :)

Then... The Eiffel Tower of course.. where I'm sure I'll be literally DRAGGING Chad to the top.. 
(he's a little, scratch that.. A LOT afraid of heights.)

After what will most likely be an exhausting day of sightseeing, we will surely be ready for an energy boost of sorts....and I've done just enough research to know how we might get "said energy".... 
Laduree.  And I've heard it's fabulous.  :)

photos from one of my favorite "living the life in Paris blogs".. Oh Happy Day

One of the best known bakeries in Paris, Laduree is a must stop for us while we are there.  Everything about this place looks so decadent.  From the super quaint shop to the high style packaging of their famous macaroons... these beautiful double decker delicacies look divine... I can't wait to try one.  :)  

And if those sweet treats just aren't enough to hit our sweet spot... then we'll also have to check out this place.. ALSO by recommendation from Oh Happy Day.  Apparently Le Boulanger has some pretty amazing hot chocolate...mmm... just what you might need to wash down those tasty macaroons. 

Photo by Panoramio

The Notre Dame.  What I remember most about Architectural History class in college.  One of the finest examples of French Gothic Architecture, Notre Dame was completed in 1345 and was the first building in the world to use the flying buttress.  I can't wait to see this place in all its glory.  :)

The Pompidou Center, another architectural wonder we learned about in school

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Meddlesome Moth - Chef Chad Kelley "Specials"

If you haven't yet made it to The Moth and been able to grab a bite of Chef Chad Kelley's yummy specials..(which change daily... from lunch to dinner even), here's a little looksie of what you've been missing out on. 

All photos are courtesy of The Moth's Facebook Page
(Oh and if you haven't "liked" The Moth on Facebook yet,!)

Soft Shell Crab Sandwich 

Ahi Tuna Tartare with Soy Caramel and Lotus Chip Salad

Arugula Salad with Finnochiona, Dried Figs, Apple Slices and a Citrus Vinaigrette

Baby Back Ribs and Slaw

Burgundy Pasture Meatloaf wrapped in Bacon, Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

Carribbean Spiced Mobay Chicken Skewers and Banana Ketchup

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Honorary Patio Prince for a day :)

The other day Chad came home proudly displaying this little number.  I honestly didn't know what to think at first.  ;) Was The Moth management trying to lift his stressed-out-kitchen-spirits??  Do I act happy for him if this was some twisted substitute for a bonus check??  It WAS cute... in a "cutesy" sort of way... lol. but what was I supposed to say to this??  "You know this is going up on our blog right??" I finally said.. he just smiled that, "I never had any doubt" smile that I love so much... :)

I soon found out that this wasn't from the Moth staff at all.  Apparently there's a lively group of ladies...called the Patio Princesses that get together every so often (once a month according to their website) at different restaurants across DFW.  This month, it was The Moth's turn to show the ladies some love.  :)  And looks like they enjoyed everything.. making Chef Chad Kelley their honorary Prince...or Princess??  ;)  for the night. What an honor.  ;)  (Let's just PRETEND they spelled our last name right ;) 

Chef Chad Kelley, accepting his award.  ;)

You can see more pictures of this event at The Moth at the link below. 
Patio Princesses at The Moth

Monday, July 18, 2011

Freebie Downloads

I love when free stuff goes viral across blog land!! :)

If you're a sucker for mighty fine graphics and invitations like I am... (although Chad and I don't NEARLY host enough parties to take advantage...boooo...) you'll definitely enjoy these very sweet invitation downloads HGTV recently put out.  One of my favorite blogs, How About Orange, was kind enough to post the link today, so I thought I'd share the love with my friends too.  :)  Now I better get an invitation to that mighty fine party you're going to throw with these mighty fine invitations.  ;) 

Get ALL SEVENTEEN freebie downloads by clicking the HGTV link below.  Happy Party Planning!

HGTV Printable Party Invitations


Friday, July 15, 2011

Snort Laughing...

So I realize I skipped right over Part 3 of our European Adventures in the Making Series..but, fret not dear friends.. it's a-coming.  ;)  I just thought you could use a good morning laugh on this glorious Friday ;)  You're WELCOME!  ;)  Read on. 

Have you ever read something that was so off-the-wall-funny, that you actually SNORTED?!?  lol.. I'm not sure if it was the time of day?...the time of the month?... or maybe it really IS...THAT funny?  Whatever the case may be, I was dying when I read this...WHILE I was on the elliptical no less.. risking life and limb as I laughed my A$$ off.  :)  How could I NOT share??  Even Chad was dying of laughter when he read it.. like, CRY-laughing type stuff!  It was most likely a combination of seeing how hard I was laughing (AGAIN!!)...and me repeating things from the post in funny voices.  :)  Either way, This girl's freakin' hilarious.  So thanks Penguino for sharing this on your facebook page... I'm now addicted to The Bloggess.  :) 

And that's why you should learn to pick your battles...

This morning I had a fight with Victor about towels. I can’t tell you the details because it wasn’t interesting enough to document at the time, but it was basically me telling Victor I needed to buy new bath towels, and Victor insisting that I NOT buy towels because I “just bought new towels“. Then I pointed out that the last towels I’d bought were hot pink beach towels, and he was all “EXACTLY” and then I hit my head against the wall for an hour.

Then Laura came to pick me up so we could go to the discount outlet together, and as Victor gave me a kiss goodbye he lovingly whispered, “You are not allowed to bring any more goddam towels in this house or I will strangle you“. And that was exactly what I was still echoing through my head an hour later, when Laura and I stopped our shopping carts and stared up in confused, silent awe at a display of enormous metal chickens, made from rusted oil drums.

Laura: I think you need one of those.

me: You’re joking, but they’re kind of horrifically awesome.

Laura: I’m not joking. We need to buy you one.

me: The 5-foot tall one was $300, marked down to $100. That’s like, $200 worth of chicken for free.

Laura: You’d be crazy not to buy that. I mean, look at it. IT’S FULL OF WHIMSY.

me: Victor’d be pissed.

Laura: Yup.

me: But on the plus side? It’s not towels.

Laura: Yup.

me: We will name him Henry. Or Charlie. Or O’Shannesy.

Laura: Or Beyoncé.

me: Or Beyoncé. Yes. And when our friends are sad we can leave him at their front door to cheer them up.

Laura: Exactly. It’ll be like, “You thought *yesterday* was bad? Well, now you have a enormous metal chicken to deal with. Perspective. Now you have it.”

Then we flagged down a salesman, and we were all “What can you tell us about these chickens?”, as if we were in an art gallery, and not in a store that specializes in last years’ bathmats. He didn’t know anything about them, but he said that they’d only only sold one and it was to a really drunk lady, and then Laura and I were all “SOLD. All this chicken belongs to us now.”

Oh, but WAIT... it get's better!..

Read more of this post on her actual blog... 
The Bloggess

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

European Adventures in the Making - Part 2 - Avignon, France ;)

Even though I'm BEYOND freakin' be going back to my old stompin' ground of Barcelona, I'm giddy as a school girl for getting to travel a bit through France.  I mean.. SERIOUSLY?!  What world travelers we're turning out to be?!  Well... ok, maybe not yet...but someday.  ;)

I have to admit that my first taste of the French back in 2001 wasn't a pleasant experience by any stretch of the imagination.  Rude, crude and socially unacceptable, as my good friend Lisa would say... ;) BUT... I'm willing to chalk that up to being among overly-excited-to-be-traveling-via-train, college girl friends that were probably too loud for the French folk to stand.... Soooo...I've decided to give them a second chance. ;) And the more I think about it... the more excited I get.  I AM though, SLIGHTLY nervous for not really knowing jack SQUAT of the french language..but I can maybe we can just get by with just some pretty pictures to light the way.. (hmmm... I should look into french flash cards for travelers).  ;)  Heck.  I'm sure there's a audio translator thing on the iPad or Iphone that might work for this too..must look into this later.  :)

So... the general plan for PART 2 & PART 3 is to train-it from Barcelona to Avignon on September 28th.  Stay and explore this medieval city for a few days, then head to Paris. :)  Again, the plans are soft and squishy so far.. BUT!!  We have accommodations!  That's all we need, right??  ;)  Off we go!

According to our good travel buddies, Frommer's

Once the heart of Christendom, medieval Avignon invites you to meander its elegant cobblestones in the shadow of one of the most notorious palaces in the Christian world, the 14th-century Palais des Papes. Nowadays papal fervor has been replaced by an upbeat, arty vibe that peaks during July's wildly theatrical Festival d'Avignon. But the Provençal capital of France's Vaucluse region throngs year-round too, in bijou squares and museums, on bustling cafe terraces, and atop the ruins of the world's most serenaded bridge, the Pont d'Avignon.

Palais des Papes - read more about this historic site HERE

Pont Saint-Bénezet or also known as Pont d'Avignon - built between between 1171 and 1185 
Photo by:  Dallas and John Heaton from Stone—CLICK/Chicago

Cool Photo but I don't know who to give credit to.  It was once sold on Etsy. 

Where We Will Rest our Weary Heads -
La Banasterie - a charming bed & breakfast in Avignon's center, just steps away from the Popes' Palace!  Small, with only 2 guest rooms and 3 suites, this charming B&B is tucked away, almost seemingly impossible to find.  :)  We'll take it!  (all photos courtesy of La Banasterie Website)

I could be wrong, but I'm more than sure that we secured the Criollo Suite for our stay here.  With the exposed cinder block wall and wooden beams... It looks like a dream. ;)  Insert excited girlish "eeeeeeeeee!!!!!" here.  ;)  CAN'T. WAIT!!

***'ll just have to wait patiently for OUR pictures of this trip to see more of this seemingly beautiful city...and if you know us well, I'm sure we'll have TONS to share... until then, MORE PLANNING, PREPPING and giddy squealing!!

Next Stop:  PARIS!! 

Monday, July 11, 2011

European Adventures In the Making - Part 1 of 3 - Barcelona, Spain

As the excitement builds for our Great European Takeover of 2011, the "responsible, super annoyingly organized" ADULT in me really wants to have every single detail of our 10 day European excursion planned out to the millisecond.. making sure that no stone is left unturned.. no travel book left questions left un-answered.  Basically, if we could pack our bags now, just so we make sure we don't forget anything... I probably would.  It's a sickness really.

On the flip side of that coin, the "free-spirited, I still want to live like a 21 yr old" Yvette, just wants go-with-the-flow and figure it all out as we go along...knowing full well that everything will be an amazing adventure regardless of what kind of well laid plans we might have. 

We begin our 3 part trip in my home away from home.  Barcelona, Spain.  The place I once knew like the back of my hand.  I devoted my time there to learning the ins and outs of this great city and I have to say that I'm having a hard time fitting the four months I lived there into the 3 days we'll actually be in Barcelona for this trip.  I want to show Chad EVERYTHING!! It's going to be impossible to narrow down the choices ...but here's our very, very generalized itinerary of what we have planned so far. 

PART 1 - Barcelona, Spain
(PART 2 - Avignon, France & PART 3 - Paris, France )
Arrive in Barcelona, Spain - September  25, 2011 (Wooooo Hoooo!!!) :)
Check in to our Apartment - We were so incredibly lucky to score a short term apartment rental right off the port, down by the Ramblas :)

That's us waving "HI" to all the beach goers and people walking around the Port from our apartment ;) 

And for those who may be wondering... or planning your own trip to Barcelona, the Ramblas is one of the most famous streets in Barcelona. A 1.2 kilometer-long tree-lined pedestrian mall between Barri Gòtic and El Raval, it connects Plaça Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus monument at Port Vell. 

Placa Reial is an absolute MUST stop for us on this trip.  Set right off the Ramblas, this square is home to many restaurants, beautiful fountains and tons of people watching. If it's still there... (and by the looks it and their fully functional and updated website, they ARE... Woo Hoo!)...I hope to take Chad to Les Quinze Nits.. a mediterranean restaurant I visited several times during my stay back in 2001.  Ahhh.... sweet memories.. :)

Among the other must stop attractions for our visit: (and by no means is this everything we want to see.. just a snip-it of some of the best)

Parc Guell - built between 1910-1914, this 50 acre park is one of Antonio Gaudi's masterpieces. 

Sagrada Familia - Another of Gaudi's most famous works, this Basilica has been under construction since 1882 (the photos below were taken by me back in the day with a FILM camera!  Can you even believe it?!) 

Casa Mila - One of my favorite Gaudi buildings.  Also known as La Pedrera, Casa Mila has a rooftop unlike anything you've ever seen before.  (Again, the photos below are from my 2001 trip)

And last but not least...(for this post at least)...a ceremonious visit to the little 'ol neighborhood I called home.  A few blocks up the steep Escorial hill from the Joanic Metro Stop... I can't wait to take the trek we used to take everyday to our apartment. 

View out our apartment window.. :)

Alright, alright... as if you care.. lol. I'm just walking down memory lane now and I could do this all day.. ;)  I'm just amazed at by the power of google street view, I can instantly be back there.  :)  Funny how not much in the area has changed in the 10 years since I've been there.  Crazy-ness.  :)  Can't wait!