Happy Jew Year!

September 8, 2010

That's pepper on the matzo ball. My doing.

Sorry I didn’t write yesterday. Actually… I’m not sorry. NOT sorry I didn’t write yesterday. I didn’t eat anything worth writing about, and I was reading the second Hunger Games book (Catching Fire). Among other things.

OH HEY, did you know that today (er, beginning at sundown today) is ROSH HASHANAH? Also known as the Jewish new year? Apparently it’s 5771 now. I have some mental block against knowing what Jewish year it is. Usually I just default to 5756, because it has a nice ring to it. (Apparently 5756 was in 1995. That was probably the one year I had to learn the Jewish year, in Hebrew school or something.)

The traditional Snack of Rosh Hashanah is apples and honey, for a sweet new year. We have both of those things in the office so I just might chow down… later. For now, I happen to have a Jewishy post on deck, so I figured I’d slap it up this morning, so I can go back to Catching Fire… and work. (I DO work, you know.) (GLARE.)

Over the weekend my parents and I took an unexpected jaunt to LA to rescue a beloved family couch from being kicked to the curb. On the way home we stopped in Long Beach and lunched at Katella Deli, one of our family’s chosen Jewish delis. (Get it?)

What I actually ate is pictured above. I think I literally ate that whole basket of bread. But if I’m going to binge on a basket of bread, that is the best basket possible. Pumpernickel, rye, challah, and what I THINK were mini kaiser rolls, with poppy or sesame seeds on top (the first basket had poppy seed).

And matzo ball soup is a Passover food, but whatever.

My favorite part of Katella deli is the order-out counter in the back, where you can admire all sorts of amazing desserts, most of which are somewhat nostalgic for all the Jews out there who grew up eating.

As far as the eye can see...

I have a soft spot for the sprinkle cookies… you know how I love my rainbow sprinkles.

Cookies a la sprinkle.

Whenever I post something colorful, I always have to stop myself from just writing, “The colors! The colors!” I think that was a line in an old Skittles commercial.

Also, can you spot my finger in the shot? I keep doing that, lately. Amateur hour.

Oh, here’s another holiday food that’s not at all associated with Rosh Hashanah. Hamentaschen. For Purim!

I'm skeptical about the prune flavor.

I gotta wonder if prune’s a big seller. I mean, I guess they cater to an older clientele. But my faves are apricot, poppy seed, and chocolate (duh). (Duh to all of those, knowing me.)

The hamentaschen are supposed to look like a three-cornered hat, because the bad guy (Hamen) always wore one. But that’s a story for PURIM, not Rosh Hashanah.

And here are a few desserts that have nothing to do with any personal nostalgia/Jewish holidays, but I just had to document them.

Can you spot everything adorable in this picture?

Those sea creatures slay me! I love starfishes! And those ladybugs are TOO HAPPY. I don’t know if I could eat these. Too cute.

And here’s a dessert where the animal is not a plastic thingy…

Not sure how I feel about this...

Kinda creeps me out, but I bet it’s delicious.

Lest you think that Rosh Hashanah is way healthier than all the other holidays, it also involves round loaves of challah and HONEY CAKE. Oh man, the thing I miss most about college is the amazing honey cake (spice bread?) they had at Hillel this time of year. If I can make it there this year and they still have it, I’m going to steal like 100 pieces. (Or… 4.)

In college I’d always break my Yom Kippur fast with the Hillel honey/spice bread/cake, but my body hates fasting (surprise surprise?), so food/drink would BURN my dehydrated mouth. (I’ve also ended fasts with intense vomiting… I generally don’t fast anymore.)

I wish I had the recipe for that cake, so I wouldn’t have to infiltrate/eat it when my mouth isn’t functioning.

But the potential for pain and torture comes next week. For now… HAPPY NEW YEAR! (Cue mouth-buzzer kazoos and confetti.)

L’shanah tovah!


Snack Trek: GETTY VILLA PICNIC- The Sweets

September 1, 2010

Dessert, anyone?

After much ado! Here is the second installment (of three) of the Getty Villa birthday picnic surprise series. I don’t THINK I have many words to add here, because the desserts speak for themselves… but I always tend to say that before typing out a giant paragraph. So we’ll see what strikes me. (As usual– click on the pictures to see them BIGGER.)

And major props to the Picnik editing tools (which I use through Flickr), without which many of these pictures would have been a lot less pretty. Maybe I went a little overboard with the editing. Or maybe it’s too subtle. Maybe I went underboard. (I can’t tell!)

I GRAPPLED for days over which cupcake picture to use. (I always GRAPPLE over the smallest, silliest decisions, and make the big ones in a snap. Weird.) Of course, you’ll never know what you’re missing. (Well– you can check out the rest in my Getty Picnic Flickr set.)

Up close & personal.

Seriously, it’s NUTS how much cake has been in my life this past month or so. My stomach has been a little off lately, and I’m wondering if I AM allergic to wheat, after all. It would be kind of appropriate if I unwittingly spent the month before a cake-less life binging on cake. Going out with a bang.

At least I could look back at the blog and see all my cake pictures and memories, and take heart in the fact that most of the cakes didn’t necessarily taste as amazing as they looked. (Though I always try to be kind on the blog.) (But for real, Sprinkles is UP THERE. Never a dry cupcake in the batch.)

As if this picnic wasn’t enough of a present, Lauren crafted a special set of stationery just for me (I have such a big ego now!), along with the AWESOME personalized heart pillow. (With a name like mine, I didn’t exactly grow up being able to get those name-stickers off the rack.) Not only does she know my favorite snacks, but she knows my favorite colors/images.

Raindrops on roses and ketchup in bottles...

Note that the cupcake on the card has a little flag in it– just like the flags in the cupcakes at the picnic. (NICE!)

Lauren also gave me this adorable card, which she picked up at LA’s Renegade Craft Fair. (I couldn’t go because I had improv class. So LA!)

Does this mean that LA people HAVE hearts?

As you can see, I had a lot of fun using the flags and the pillow as photo-shoot props.

Another red velvet identity crisis in the making.

In that photo the flag looks like it’s staking a claim. In the next, it looks like a sign of surrender.

We give up!

Word on the street (aka Lauren’s blog) is that she’s going to post a little DIY tutorial that will show you how to make those flags. (That link in the parentheses will take you to HER post about the picnic. She managed to do it all in ONE post, because she’s good at things.)

I got a little goofy with the macarons. This looks like a face, to me. (Though I think I intended for it to be double hearts.)

Looking weird, Face.

I also wanted to show you WHAT’S INSIDE a macaron. (Delicious cream stuff.) (Lauren was right– in the case of these Trader Joe’s macarons, the vanilla ones are better. Even the consistency of the cookie part of the vanilla seemed better– less dense/chewy. Must be the different ingredients that go into the different flavors.) (But the chocolate were still good. Just not AS good.)

Obviously I was feeling the love for the macarons. Another attempt at the double hearts…

This is getting creepy.

Some of my friends are still confused as to who RUNS this blog that I’m always promoting on my Facebook. If all these Elysse-name photos don’t answer that question, I don’t know what will.

Maybe the Getty Villa was my muse, silently inspiring the double hearts, because later I stumbled across this detail on a mosaic/fountain.

Is this garish? I want it in my bathroom.

Not sure what those double hearts are flanking, but it just might be an Ancient Greek version of a French macaron. (And by “just might be” I mean “definitely isn’t.”)

This picture is one of my favorites of the day. It looks quite editorial. (Somehow I even managed to avoid including the background-napkin-trash.) If you replace the Elysse with “Oprah,” this publisher-ready. (Probably not.)

My moment of zen.

I like to think of the areas of soft focus as an artistic choice, rather than not-amazing-quality camera issues.

Also, I chose to feature the cinnamon cupcake from Sprinkles because I’m a little bit obsessed. Not only is it the cupcake version of a Snickerdoodle (MUCH LOVE), but it’s a FROSTINGLESS cupcake. As you know, I’m a little queasy about frosting. So… sign me up. Double hearts for cinnamon sugar.

(I’m totally that girl in the romantic comedy who THOUGHT she loved red velvet, but over time she realized that he was all looks and flash and not as tasty as everybody made him out to be. Meanwhile, nice-guy cinnamon was there all along, ready to love her– but she took a long time to get over her initial prejudices about him, because some cinnamon-flavored things, like gum, are gross-ish.) (OMG, life-imitating-food preferences.)

The Getty Villa is a modern-day replica of a villa in Ancient Greece. Of course, the REAL villas back in Greece are in ruins by now. And here are the ruins of our picnic. (Food-imitating-Greece.)

We done good.

The more I type “Greece,” the less it seems like a real word.

You maybe be wondering what became of those surviving cupcakes. We put everything back in the car before we explored the Villa. Later that night, post-Spitz, I took a few pictures of the cupcakes with my birthday cake-plate.

Birthday presents on birthday presents!

And then we ate them. Two girls, three cupcakes. Nice work. (Cole bowed out pre-Spitz, or I’m sure he would have helped.)

Once again: Thanks to Lauren and Cole! Amazing desserts! Can’t wait to eat more desserts with you. There are so many out there. Never a shortage.

Coming soon: The final installment– “The Villa.” As much as it’s nice to post a blog entry and be done with it, I’ll be sad to put this experience to bed. But luckily the memories will stay here, and I can visit them. A la the Getty Villa. (Food blog-imitating-museum.)


LOST & The Cupcake Sandwich

April 20, 2010

Thanks, Google Images.

You may recall my post-Easter blog about people who eat their cupcakes in an unusual manner. Nobody cared. The world did not spin off its axis.

But NOW Jorge Garcia (Hurley on “Lost”) has blogged about this phenomenon, known (I guess) as a “cupcake sandwich,” and people are all over this shit!

I broke this story. I want you all to remember this when Jorge Garcia is famous and I am toiling in obscurity. Oh wait. That is… already the case.

Carry on.

Actually, no hard feelings at all because I think Jorge is awesome (just watched his tour-of-the-island-locations LA Times video today) and I’ll be watching “Lost” tonight, for sure. You should check out his blog, because he has step-by-step pictures of how to turn a regular cupcake into a cupcake sandwich. PROPS. (Double props, because he learned this from the props guy.)


More Frosting-Related Curios…

April 5, 2010

The curious case of whatever's-going-on-here.

Several weeks ago I blogged about cupcakes, and mentioned that I am not a fan of frosting. Commenter Tim called me a heretic, chiding that “frosting is the point of cupcakes.”

Here is a post for people who agree with Tim. I wouldn’t EAT what I’m about to tell you about, but I found it very intriguing.

Yesterday at the afore-blogged Easter gathering, Whitney (pictured) served up a delightful tray of cupcakes, topped with a very spring-has-sprung array of pastel frostings. Unfortunately (but also–luckily) I could not partake (because… Passover), but as I watched Whitney prepare to consume her cupcake, her ritual fascinated me.

Step 1- Remove wrapper.

Step 2- Twist the cupcake so as to sever the top (the Muffin Top?) from the bottom.

Step 3- Put the bottom of the cupcake ON TOP of the frosting, creating what looks like an ice cream sandwich– made of frosting.

Apparently this keeps the frosting from hitting your nose as you eat the cupcake? Because everyone knows that nose-frosting is a MAJOR party foul.


Much later, another party guest (Ash) did the exact same thing, without having seen Whitney’s behavior. Ash claims to be the inventor of the… whatever this phenomenon is called.

And I am now a burgeoning cupcake anthropologist.

Send me your cupcake/frosting curios! I need to document this behavior, for posterity’s sake. (Because in the future, people won’t know how to eat cupcakes?)


Snack of the Afternoon, 3/19/10- SUPERMAN CUPCAKE

March 19, 2010

It's a bird, it's a plane... No, it's not.

If you’re guessing that it was somebody’s birthday today– you’re right. If you’re guessing it was Superman’s birthday– WRONG. (According to the NERDS, it’s June 30th.) Was it a small child’s birthday? Not so much. Was it a super man’s birthday? The jury is still out. (BURN!) But yeah… why am I still talking?

The little Superman logo is actually a ring. Which I am wearing as I type this. On my left ring finger. Does this mean I’m married to Superman? That I pledge allegiance to Superman? Probably not. Does it mean I’m bored at work? A little.

The cupcake was good and spongy, like a grocery store cupcake should be. I scraped off the frosting, because… STORY! (Actually because calories, but the story is my excuse.) When I was in kindergarten, some kid brought in cupcakes for his birthday (maybe they were also Superman cupcakes…), and I wolfed down a big cupcake, frosting included. (And you know grocery store cupcakes are 65% frosting. Proven scientific fact.)

And then I barfed. Which was pretty common during my childhood.

But ALSO, my mom always used to say that frosting was not meant for human consumption, and would demonstrate her point by putting clumps of frosting in water. (It doesn’t melt! It’s oil-based!) Gross. (And I pretty much scalded my hands just now, using boiling water to clean the frosting off of MY PRECIOUS… I mean, the plastic ring.)

The other day a woman was distraught because I wiped frosting off a cupcake that she frosted, so I had to tell her that whole rigamarole to make her understand that it wasn’t a personal slight. (Moral of the story: I eat too many cupcakes.)

MY PRECIOUS SNACK! (In case you didn't get it.)

Then again, I could have been referring to my PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE.

Welcome to 2010's pop culture references. (I love you, Gabby.)

No Precious pun intended, this cupcake kind of bummed me out because I bet it negated the 45 minutes I spent in the gym this morning. (I am not going to lie and call it an hour.)

Also, sorry for all the movie references. Is this a TV blog or what? (Or what?)



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