Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Japan, Part 1

Our big vacation began last week!  I've already lost track of which day it is, so that's a good sign.  We are eating well, drinking well, reconnecting with old friends, as well as making new ones.

I'm going to try to drop some photos on here throughout so I'm not super far behind when I get back to Sweden in a few weeks.

Here goes!

Excited monkeys on the plane.

This is Juna.  She just might be the sweetest baby on the planet.  This little girl put up with all of our appointments and running around--and she was really into looking at the fancy kimonos at the bridal shop.  Here she is doing what she loves most--EATING.  

This cutie belongs to a darling couple--Tomo and Asami.  He gets freshly cooked steak for dinner, wears a diaper belt, and has stairs to get up on the couch.  Oh, the life of a Japanese dog!

So crazy all of the St. Louis things B and I found at one of the vintage stores in Tokyo.  There were four Blues sweatshirts, but it was the Billikens one that tripped me out the most.

I don't know what kind of fish this was, but it was delicious.  B and I had an adventurous evening at an izakaya on our own.  There were no English menus and not much English was spoken, but luckily we're pretty adventurous eaters so we took whatever they gave us and left full and happy.

It's much better to go to an izakaya with friends, however.  That way you get to try all of the best stuff.  Jetty and Tomo made sure we didn't miss out on anything.

And I found a new favorite drink--umeboshi hi.  It's shochu and soda water with an umeboshi plum at the bottom.  It's like the hangover cause and the hangover relief rolled into one!

And!  They sell sake in juice box-style at any 7-Eleven.  YES!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

One Outfit, Four Photos

This jacket is such a showpiece!

Vintage hand-knit jacket that my mom bought 30 years or so ago in the Philippines.  Shirt from H&M.  Skirt from J. Crew.  Sunglasses from &Other Stories.  Shoes from Rachel Comey (addicted, I know).  Bag from COS.


I just bought a vintage diamond and ruby pinkie ring.

Kaplans is killing me with their prices on vintage jewelry.  This is mostly stuff that didn't sell at auction so it's priced to move.  Bascially.

I've also been embracing the idea of wearing jewelry that is more age-appropriate.  (Or just, more precious.)

Fancy, hmm?

US: 1, SWEDEN: 0

Why is it so hard to find g-damn cold brew coffee here?  My 2 weeks in St. Louis spoiled me--there were beautiful cold brews everywhere I turned.  I even bought a big bottle from Trader Joe's so I could keep it in my own fridge, in case the urge for a cold coffee struck spontaneously.

And here in Stockholm, all they push are iced lattes, which is basically like an iced MILK--yuck yuck yuck, keep your dairy out of my coffee.  I mean, whatever, I can understand some dairy but the milk:espresso ratio in the lattes in Sweden is out of control.  And no, I don't want a frappeccino and no I don't want you to just pour an espresso over ice for me.

We went out of our way yesterday to hit up Drop Coffee because if anyone was gonna have some decent cold coffee, it was gonna be them.  We decided to try the kaffe tonic and the espresso tonic, the origins of which I learned about here.  The espresso tonic was the winner, but they both were fantastic!  They tasted sort of like coffee-flavored ice tea (and were garnished with lemon).  Yum yum yum!  I so wish Drop was in my neighborhood.

One Outfit, Five Photos

This onsie makes me look a little oompa-loompa-ish, but I'm going with it.

Oh, and this was before Summer decided to grace us with her presence.  Hence, the tights in July.

Vintage onesie from St. Louis.  Vintage denim jacket from Levi's.  Tights H&M.  Sunny G's from &Other Stories.  Shoes from Rachel Comey.  Bag from COS.  Quartz necklace by me.  Cardigan from Minimarket.  Vintage bangle from St. Louis.

Birthday Season

B and I have our birthdays a week apart.  (And for that week, I am a whole 2 years older than him.  He never ceases to broadcast this.)  The weather was good, I made him a cake, and lots of fun was had.


Oh boy, I made this super-easy cake, but put some chia-raspberry jam in the middle.  And I got real lazy on the "ganache" tip, but my Mississippi mud-style topping tasted damn good, looks aside.

We went to the new(-ish) Stockholm outpost of the CPH-king of beer geekery, Mikkeller, which happens to be just a few blocks from our apartment.  And they got that gluten-free beer!  And cider!

Then we met up with darlings Johan and Edie for a Mexican feast at Cantina Real.  

But the birthday fun didn't stop there!  We had a wander on Saturday and stumbled upon some dumb street dancing festival that featured delicious beer (for B!) and sausages by our favorites Taylors & Jones.  

And on Sunday, we caught a boat to the archipelago.  We went back to Grinda (which I was sure I had written about before but now I can't find the post to link!), which is a really swell little island in the Stockholm archipelago.  It was the most beautiful day.  We walked all around, ate at the little fish restaurant, drank lots of rosé, marveled at the beautiful archipelago houses we saw on our boat ride there/back, and had just about the best day ever.  I felt euphorically happy.

Wouldn't you be euphoric?  

One Outfit, Four Photos

It's been warm in these parts.  After weeks of waiting for Summer, it finally touched down.  And you know what that means--midriffs!

Shirt from &Other Stories.  (Man, I feel sorry if you don't have a Stories in your city but also not because, you know, MORE FOR ME!)  Skirt, vintage from St. Louis.  Sweater from COS.  Necklace (you can't even see it), from Digby & Iona. Shoes from that snazzy Rachel Comey.  Oh!  And Sunglasses from Monki;  you can't really see them, but what can I say, I'm a completist.

Eating It

What's gone in my belly lately.  (With more words than usual.)

I've had a complicated relationship with dairy lately.  I've eased up on gluten a little (sneaking a flour-y treat here and there)--and perhaps that was the cause of my having two colds in 6 weeks' time.  Grrr. 

And now I've found myself looking side eyed at dairy, too.  I've stopped adding it to my coffee (Later, cappuccino!), stopping using butter in cooking/baking/spreading, cut the yogurt out of my smoothies and overnight oats, stopping sprinkling parm on my pasta (nutritional yeast, you are an umami girl's best friend!) and stopped indulging in those creamy sauces the Swedes love putting on their potatoes, meats, desserts, etc.  

So what's a girl to spread on her bread when she wants something non-hummus-y to go with a fruit/nut bread?  Cashew cream cheese!  It's basically cashews (soaked, bien sur), lemon juice, and a little nutritional yeast (for proper cream cheesy tang).  Looks almost like the real thing, right?  And tastes pretty damn good.  If it weren't for my not wanting to be a royal pain in the ass at dinner parties/fikas/meals out, I might kick dairy to the curb entirely.  As it stands now, it can be my faux friend--we can pretend to get along in social situations (I'll give it the cold shoulder but others will hardly notice).  But yeah, I'mma talk shit on dairy behind its back and it's totally not on the list for any parties I'm having.  

Except, cheese.... why does cheese hang out with the dairy crew?  I don't miss my fancy cheeses yet and honestly eating locally produced (Who am I kidding?  I live in Sweden.  Let's say EU-produced with my eyeballs square on FRANCE.) cheese never messed with my system much at all (unlike getting the dairy bloats from straight-up milk) and it's produced in a small/craft/not overly processed way that I dig, so yeah... fancy French cheese, you can still come to my parties.

It's been a smoothy frenzy up in this piece lately.  This one's a peach-banana jammer with chia seeds, coconut-rice milk, and a smidge of honey.

You know I love all things made with glutinous rice flour.  (Thanks to Korea for turning me onto it, and Indonesia for making my love burn a little brighter.)  I fashioned these puppies after some pumpkin doughnuts I had in Korea.  I found a recipe online, but you basically steam a sweet potato, mash'er up good, then combine with glutinous rice flour, some normal rice flour, and add some honey or maple syrup.  Fry them up in some coconut oil, then drizzle/toss with honey and sprinkle/roll with dried unsweetened coconut.  Damn, these were GOOD.  I brought a few into work every day and found myself nibbling on them throughout the day, pulling them out of my bag while I was walking around the city, like a little urban squirrel.

This may not look like much, but this perfectly cooked (oven-baked, maple-syrup-alized) piece of thick (eco, local) bacon sits atop a (ripe--not rotten--but not awesome.  The avocados we get in Sweden taste like [Warning:  here comes a smell-as-taste comparison.  But for real:  I have never actually tasted this or any make-up.  But really real:  except maybe that Dr. Pepper flavored lip gloss from the tube in 1988 but that shit was borderline food product--THEY EXPECTED US TO EAT IT.  The human animal cannot have something that good smelling on its very lips and not indulge, says me.] the drugstore face powder my Aunt Helen has used on her face for the last 39 years.  Are you with me?  Our avocados taste like face powder.  It's not fair, you having all of the avocado flavor, California.) avocado mash that sits atop some spinach that sits atop a homemade oat-rice-honey piece of flatbread that you can't even see but that tastes like a delicious drop biscuit.  Oh, and there's a bit of watery tomato to round it out.  Anyway, this was breakfast yesterday.  If you take anything away from this ADD paragraph it should be that this dish was delicious.  And that the avocados here suck.

These are two photos of last night's dinner, which--now, here in the morning light--looks like someone barfed in a moldy wrap.  Here's what it really is.  A buckwheat spinach crepe filled with apples and chickpeas tossed with some tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil, and topped with some mango-curry tofu.  We had some fancy French cider to go with our hippy-bastardization of a Breton meal.

Monday, July 7, 2014

StL Visit

I haven't gone anywhere lately for work, but I did take a trip home to St. Louis to visit my parents and my friends.  Thanks to shitty midwestern regional carriers, my flight from St. Louis to Newark was either cancelled or prohibitively late (yeah right, I can manage a 30-minute transfer in Newark!) 2 days in a row so that I ended up staying in St. Louis 2 extra days.  Which made me feel like this:

Thankfully, my dad gave me a couple of free passes to the United Club lounge (because I no longer have baller status thanks to European companies flying you in economy), so I could be all like this during my 6-hour layover in Newark:

Also, Smashburger is awesome.  Thank goodness for their sweet potato fries.

Besides all of the travel BS (props to my company/boss for being so cool about me being 2 days late),  it was a nice trip.  Here are some photos.

Went to the circus with these two favorite ladies:

St. Louis is one of only two cities (did I get that right?) with their own circus.  Ours is the lovely Circus Flora.  

In America, club packs are a RIGHT.

Selfie with one of Alexis's kittehs.  They rule the joint over there!

Scotch eggs from Square One in Lafayette Square.

Late night snacking', midwestern style.

Salad with artichokes, tomato, cashews, feta, and chicken from Ballpark Village (which can go eff itself) in St. Louis.  Yeah, I know, it just looks like a buncha iceberg slop!  The waitress was all-to-eager to comp it, so I think others have been returning these "salads" in outrage, as well.  The place was packed.  I'mma save my ire for my yelp review (it's coming...), so I'll leave it here for now.

Ballpark vignette.

Juniper's fantastic Mallow King cocktail (smoked rum, coffee syrup, cynar, and a toasted marshmallow).  

Drinks on my last night with this hound at the Fox and Hounds.