DC en rose: Cherry Blossoms Season in DC

I don’t typically gush up over a few pink petals like this, but I’ve been pretty swept up in the citywide cherry blossoms celebration this year. I blame my eagerness to switch from red wine to ros√© at the end of a long winter ūüėČ Usually, I find the whole festival annoying: local restaurants and bars stretch their menus to add cherries to everything (need I mention the cherry trees in DC don’t actually produce cherries?), tourists take over the streets with their selfie sticks and, worst of all, my sinuses go nuts from the pollen influx. But this year, I’m got really¬†into it and I just can’t get enough pink. I too have caught cherry blossoms fever!¬†Here is some of what I enjoyed¬†this year:

1. WALKING AROUND THE TIDAL BASIN

Cherry blossoms are fickle delicate little flowers, and the weather doesn’t always cooperate with the timing of the festival. The first year I ran the cherry blossoms 10 miler, my friend Caitlin came down from New York eager to run surrounded by pink flowers. Instead, it rained¬†two days before the race and all the blossoms were washed away. This year, we were so lucky that peak bloom fell not only on a weekend (and on the weekend of the parade and the 10 miler at that) but that it also happened to be a beautiful sunny and warm weekend. Don’t believe me? Check out some of my pics! I got up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and Sunday to try and beat the crowds around the Tidal Basin (keyword: tried!) and it certainly was worth every minutes of lost sleep.

IMG_6366 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial  during Sakura IMG_6493

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. SIP INTO SPRING

Bars and restaurants throughout Washington offered¬†special flights, tastings and/or parings of seasonal wines through RAMW‘s Spring Wine Fling. You can read more about that here.

3. SPEAKING OF WINE: IT’S FINALLY ROSE REASON

just in time for spring,¬†The Red Hen‘s co-owner and Beverage Director Sebastian Zutant released Dahlia, a pink wine produced in partnership with¬†Virginia Wineworks in Charlottesville.¬†Dahlia is¬†a very decent ros√© and it was the first¬†I drank this season so it will have a special place in my heart this year!

IMG_5970

 

 

4. DOG TAG BAKERY’S KYOTO CHERRY ROSE GREEN TEACLAIR & OLIVIA MACARON’S ROSE MACARON

I love pastries. I love rose.¬†That’s all there is to it. The teaclair could have been a little more flavourful, it was a little too subtle for my taste, but it looked SO pretty!

IMG_6171_2

IMG_5699

5. ODYSSEY’S CHERRY BLOSSOMS CRUISE

The trees had yet to bloom when we set sail from South West D.C. but it was great discovering the city I live in from a completely different angle. The boat cruised down past the national stadium all the way to the Kennedy Center, which is beautiful at night, and the Georgetown Waterfront. The cruise reminded me a little of Paris’ bateaux mouches minus all the commentaries, plus a lovely dinner and some bubbles.

IMG_6106

Odyssey Cruise offers a variety of experiences throughout the year, including bottomless mimosa brunch cruises, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day cruises, full moon dinners and a July 4th fireworks special cruise. You can find more information on their website. I’ll just say that while I loved the night-time cruise, I think I’d love to do a day-time one in the future so I can take pictures and really see the sights.

Did you enjoy cherry blossom season this year? Anything in particular?

Laduree Soho to Open February 5th

 

Laduree’s anticipated Soho Salon de The finally has an opening date! What’s really exciting about the location, other the fact that it’s opening just in time for my upcoming work trip to New York City, is that it will sell more than macarons. Laduree Soho will be a retail bakery, of course, but also¬†tea room, and full-service restaurant, overseen by chef Johann Giraud.

laduree, laduree soho, laduree salon de the, laduree new york, macarons

I can’t wait to check it out next week!

Laduree Soho opens February 5th, 2014 at 396 West Broadway.

Macaron Christmas Tree at the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte

I’ve been a fan of the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, NC since they unveiled their Bar Macarons last June, just in time for the Democratic National Convention. I, sadly, was not staying at the Ritz-Carlton during the DNC. Instead, I stayed at the Drake Hotel and then at another rather sketchy hotel just outside of the city. But I spent a lot of time at the Ritz-Carlton because it was right downtown (well, uptown… ) where all the convention activity was and I wanted to spend as little time as possible at my sketchy hotel. Also, the Ritz-Carlton has a fabulous bar, a Bar Cocoa AND a BLT Steak. And yes, macarons!

Well, the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte officially won Christmas in my books with their fabulous Macaron Holiday Tree.

macaron christmas tree, holiday rtee ritz carlton charlotte, macarons, christmas macarons

Macaron Holiday Tree at the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte . Picture courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton

The whimsical 8-foot tree is made of 8,000 white, green and red macarons and took 58 hours to assemble. It will be on display in the hotel lobby through December 29th and¬†complements a colorful showcase of seasonal confections, sweets and pastries offered at Bar Cocoa dessert boutique, as well as an upcoming series of Holiday Afternoon Teas, offered by the hotel throughout December. I love it!! No pressure, Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC, but what’s in your lobby this holiday season? lol

A French Twist on Halloween

There’s nothing French about Halloween. Unless you want there to be ūüėČ

Since Ladur√©e¬†no longer offers this beautifully stunning box of Halloween macarons (le sigh), you could head to Olivia Macaron since the Georgetown shop offers an adorable pumpkin jack themed macaron. Or you could also bake the quintessential parisian treat at home…

Halloween macarons, macaron, jack o'lantern macaron, pumpkin macaron

Spiced Pumpkin Macarons by cakecrumbsb

And while I’m still traumatized by my attempts to make candy corn infused vodka, maybe the Halloween Candy would work better in a macaron:

If making or eating macarons isn’t your thing, you might want to a) stop reading my blog b) dress up like one instead…

DIY Macaron Costume by Kelly of Studio DIY

DIY Macaron Costume by Kelly of Studio DIY

Speaking of dressing up like a french pastry, I’m also a big fan of this croquembouche costume! But if this is too cutesy for you and you’re pretty good with the sewing machine (and the duck tape), you could also whip out this Eiffel Tower outfit…

ps: how adorable is the kid’s version of that costume? If you’re not crafty, you can always buy this sexy Iron Lady costume or maybe you can just carve one in a pumpkin (I tried and failed miserably though…)

Eiffel Tower pumpkin, paris pumpkin, eiffel tower jack o'lantern

Or you can just have fun with it like my friend Johanna of Notes from a¬†Messy Kitchen did last year with her clever “French Kiss” costume. J’adore so much more than the French maid costumes!

French Kiss costume, Halloween costume

Bonbons ou baton! Whether you give your holiday a French Twist or non, have a great Halloween!

5 New (Delicious) Reasons to Visit Union Market This Weekend

It’s been a few months now since I published my “10 Delicious Reasons to Visit Union Market This Weekend” post. Some of the reasons I listed are still relevant. It’s still great to support local food artisans,¬†Gina Chersevani still makes a mean egg cream and Rappahannock Oysters still has the best crab cake in the city (the lamb and clams is pretty standout as well!). But I’d like to add in a few more reasons, delicious or otherwise, why you should visit Union Market before the end of the summer.

1) Gin and Tonic on Tap at Red Apron Butchery¬†– Cocktails on tap are popping up all over the city (Sangrias at Hogo, Margaritas at Bandolero, Rickeys and Americanos at Teddy & the Bully Bar etc.) but there’s something about the¬†house-made sage and green apple tonic that Red Apron Butchery uses that makes it a favourite of mine*. The Green Hat gin helps too ūüėČ

gin and tonic on tap, union market, green hat gin, red apron butchery

2) FRESHFARM Markets is now running a farmers’ market at Union Market – From July 21 through October 2, there will be even more fresh produces and other artisanal local products (like McCauley’s roasted pepper relishes or draft only¬†WildCraft Soda‘s botanical sodas) available at Union Market¬†every Sundays, from 10AM-2PM! One of my current food obsession,¬†Number 1 Sons, sells their pickles and kimchi at the new farmers’ market and that’s reason enough for me to go! (if you can’t make it to Union Market, Caitlin Roberts also sells her¬†delicious kale kimchi and other fermented goodies at the Bloomingdale’s Farmers’ Market on Sundays as well…)

3)¬†I¬†‚ô•¬†macarons¬†(updated) – you can no longer pick up a box of six¬†DC Patisserie¬†macarons at Righteous Cheese (though you can still pick up some amazing fromages – like¬†burrata to pair with heirloom tomatoes…) but you can pick up a selection of Alexandrine’s macarons at Pearl Fine Teas. And while you’re there, try the moroccan mint ice mint too!

969993_10151542740703015_1029864420_n

Picture courtesy of Pearl Fine Teas.

4)¬†Meet A Top Chef and Cookbook Author¬†– I usually try to avoid stepping into Amanda McClement’s Salt and Sundry shop because, well, I want to buy everything and that’s just hard on my wallet! But occasionally, like when she also hosts fun events like the recent Red, White and Blueberry: an Afternoon of Sweets, Sips and Shopping (featuring Whisked‘s classic¬†American pies) or book signings with notable local cookbook authors and then I venture in (while trying to resist buying 18 different bitters I really want but don’t really need). Coming up? A series of vegetables focused book signings starting with Joe Yonan, food and travel editor for The Washington Post and author of “Eat Your Vegetables“, on Saturday August 10th (1-2:30PM)¬†and with¬†Domenica Marchetti, author of “The Glorious Vegetables of Italy” on¬†Saturday, September 7th, (1-2:30PM).

photo-2

5) Get a Dose of 1950s and 1960s Nostalgia – Both Gina¬†Chersevani’s Suburbia and Union Market‘s Drive in movie theater will transport you to a time you may or may not have known. Your last chance to attend the drive-in is actually this weekend, with the screening of No Way Out featuring Kevin Costner (Friday August 2, 9PM). While I’m eternally grateful to my friend DC Daybook¬†and her boyfriend for letting me and my husband come with them in their jeep (I had a reserved parking spot, they had a car, it was a match made in DC double date heaven) you don’t actually really need a car to enjoy the experience. Come very early (like 6:30PM) to get a spot on the grass otherwise bring a chair and set it up on the parking lot in front of the cars. ¬†And while you’re waiting for the movie to start, grab a refreshing frozen drink at Gina’s Suburbia – a silver¬†Airstream outfitted with frozen drink machines (open Friday through Sunday.)

DC Drive in movie theater, drive in, union market drive in

Check in in another few months, I’ll probably have another set of 5 or 10 all new delicious reasons why you should visit Union Market¬†ūüėČ

* The¬†Green Hat and Tonic with home-made sage and apple tonic¬†was developed for Red Apron by Columbia Room mixologist JP Fetherston and co-owner Derek Brown. It’s now also available, on tap as well, at Shaw’s Mockingbird Hill.