Just don’t. Do not. Don’t go. Especially if you live in a large city, especially if it’s a “romantic” restaurant. It is chaos.
You’re eating overpriced food prepared by a panicked kitchen and served by pissed-off waiters who are silently placing bets on whether or not you and your dinner partner will make it to April. Everyone working at the restaurant is drunk. They’re all thinking about their ex who just dumped them, their partner who’s mad they can’t grab dinner, or desperately swiping through Tinder looking for a warm body to bounce on after their shift ends. We’ve worked in restaurants, so we speak from experience.
Here’s something that occurred in my previous job working at a big sexy steakhouse in the Village. I think I was the last obnoxious waitress who completely broke the chef:
WAITRESS: Hi there! Table 14 has a vegetarian guest. She wants to know if you have any meat-free substitutions for the entree course. CHEF: (finishes chugging a plastic pint Chinese food container of alcohol) Yeah. Tell her I’ll give her a plate of vegetables. WAITRESS: Ha ha, yeah okay! But really, do we have anything? CHEF: I just told you. WAITRESS: A plate of vegetables? You’re serious? CHEF: Yeah. Tell her I’ll give her a plate of vegetables. WAITRESS: It’s just that- CHEF: What? It’s what? (picks up a new, full container of alcohol) WAITRESS: It’s a… it’s just that it’s a $200 pre-fixe meal. CHEF: She’s a vegetarian. She loves vegetables. So I’ll give her a plate of vegetables. WAITRESS: Okay.
(Waitress goes over to table)
WAITRESS: Hi there. So our chef can prepare for you a… plate of veg-… a steamed garden plate… of vegetables, seasoned with a proprietary blend of spices, and served with a… you could… it comes on… you could also order some wine. GUEST: That’s ridiculous. Can I speak to the chef?
(Waitress looks over to kitchen. Chef is now drinking two beers at the same time.)
WAITRESS: He’s busy. GUEST: That’s really too bad. I’m a Yelp super reviewer. GUEST’S BOYFRIEND: Babe. Come on. It’s a steakhouse. They serve steak. GUEST: (looks at him with murderful eyes, then back to me) Steak is fine, I guess.
September 29 is National Coffee Day, so let’s wake up and smell our favorite caffeinated beverage with the classic Chemex coffee maker. The Chemex was designed by inventor and chemist Peter Schlumbohm. With its flared shape inspired by Ehrlenmeyer laboratory flasks, its all-in-one vessel for brewing and serving, and its heat-resistant wood “collar” for easy handling, the Chemex brought science and modernist style to the American kitchen. And it’s still in production, continuing to deliver the perfect cup through its seamless combination of design and function.
These are individual-sized pies made in little glass jars that can go straight from your freezer to your oven to your mouth. SO cute. You can make these with store-bought crust and canned filling or jazz it up with homemade like we do. And just for added cuteness we teamed up with crafting expert Lolly for some personalized tags. These are just about the best little gift from the kitchen you could share with someone!
Pie in Jar
This is the type of jar you’ll need.
They’re half-pint jars, but short and squatty instead of tall and skinny (Ya know, like me as opposed to my mother. Why oh why did I have to get the other parent’s genes??!) Mine are made by Kerr (Here’s the link to buy them from Amazon). They’re stinking cute as is, don’t you think? Something about a short squatty jar makes me giddy with the thoughts of fun things I could put inside. Ya know, like PIE. (And also cupcakes.)
Step 1: Pie Dough The first thing you’ll need is dough. You can use any pie dough you like. Here’s a great tutorial on making a basic crust. That particular recipe will make 4 jars. You can also use the all-butter crust fromthis post. Or if you’re really in a pinch, even a store bought crust will do.
Step 2: Make a topper and line the jar Roll out a small handful of dough. This is just for the tops of your pies, so eyeball about that much. Grab the ring part of your jar and use that as your cookie cutter. Brilliant, right? Cut out the tops and set aside.
Use the rest of the dough to line the jars. (No, you do not need to grease them) The great part is that there’s no rolling required! Just take little pieces and press them in. Make sure it’s pressed all the way up to the top of the jar, or pretty close to it.
Step 3: Fill ‘er up You’ll need about ½ C filling for each jar. You can use any filling your little pie-craving heart desires, even (gasp) canned! You can also use the same method shown in the galette post to use any fruit you happen to have around.
Here’s the basic recipe (for 4 pies) 2 C prepared fruit (pitted, diced, peeled, etc.) 2 T sugar- brown or white (use more or less depending on sweetness of fruit) 2 T flour- (again, more if your fruit is super juicy like cherries, less if it’s pretty dry) 1 T butter (divided between the pies) Seasonings/flavorings- cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond extract, citrus zest etc)
Play around with it and come up with something yummy! I made 2 different pies in my pictures: one, a cut-down version of Kate’s Apple Pie and one with fresh cherries and almond extract.
When your filling is all combined, divide it between the jars and dot a pat of butter on top (about ¼ T)
Step 4: Top it off Make sure your “lid” has a vent so steam can escape. You can use a knive to make a couple of slits or a tiny cookie cutter to make it decorative. I am in LOVE with these little Autumn Leaf Pie Crust Cuttersthat my sister gave to me last fall. Oooh, I just saw this year’s set has an acorn in it! I might have to get that one too–how cute is that little acorn??! My little maple leaf is pretty darn cute, too.
When your topper is ready, slip it onto the top of the pie. It will be large enough that the outside edge goes up the side of the dough-covered jar a bit, as show in the picture below. Then use your finger, or a fork (as seen above), to press the 2 pieces of dough together to seal. And nobody even think about mentioning the state of my fingernails.
Another option is to do a crumb topping. I put a basic crumb topping on my cherry pies and they were sooo yummy.
Crumb Topping (for 4-6 pies) 1/4C brown sugar ¼ C flour 2 Tbs oats ¼ tsp cinnamon 3 Tbs cold butter Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter. Add oats and stir to combine.
And I couldn’t help but try a mini lattice on one. Eeek! Dying of cuteness overload. (Click here for a how-to on a lattice pattern)
** Optional step here that I HIGHLY reccomend: Brush pie tops with butter and sprinkle with sugar at this point. Yumminess highly instensified!
Step 5: Freeze ‘em!
Ready for this? When your pies are all done and topped, place metal lids back on and seal them tight.
Then pop these little cuties in the freezer. There they will stay until you find yourself having an insatiable craving for home-baked goodness. You’ll be reaching for the crumbs at the bottom of the keebler box when suddenly your eyes will light up because you remember you have THESE sitting in your freezer.
Or when you have unexpected guests in need of impressing, or a friend needing to be cheered up, or it’s Thursday…I can think of a million reasons why one should have a constant supply of fresh pie in the freezer.
Step 6: Bake ‘em
Now first let me say that one of the biggest concerns from everyone is about the jars breaking in the oven. All I can say it that I’ve baked hundreds of these and never once has a jar broken. These arecanning jars- they are designed to be boiled, pressure cooked, etc. So it’s different than putting any ol’ piece of glass in the oven. They bake just fine!But if you’re freaking out then my advice would be this: remove lids from jars and place jars on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in a COLD oven. Then turn the oven to 375. That will give the jars a chance to warm up slowly as the oven preheats. If you’re really worried you can always let them sit at room temp for a bit first before putting them in a cold oven. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the middles are bubbly. If you’re baking them fresh and not frozen they take about 45 minutes.
Depending on your filling you can pop them right out of the jar and onto a plate like so:
Or just eat them right out of the jar. There’s something way more fun about eating it right out of the jar…
And if you have oozing cherry filling, that might be the only option!
Or you can skip the freezing all together and just bake them up for gifts.
Change out your cookie cutters on top for cute holiday versions
Okay now…freebies for all! Lolly is the brain behind Lollychops. Some of you may remember last year when she designed these cute cute Christmas tags for us to put on our goodies. So of course, I instantly thought of her when I realized that I could not sleep at night knowing these mini-pies could be better dressed. They needed just a touch of Lolly. And she delivered like always with these adorable tags!
All of the directions are right on the tag and you can write a little To/From on it. Plus in true Lolly fashion there’s like, a million different versions to go with any flavor you could possibly imagine.
These little pies are perrrrrrfect for giving. So once you have these cuties made up, download Lolly’s tag set, and get your cute on. People will think you are amazing because not only did you come up with the brilliant idea to make a mini pie in a jar, you also made an adorable personalized tag. Talk about moving up a notch on the popularity ladder.
–> CLICK HERE <– to head over to the Lollychops blog and get all of the instructions and details on downloading and using the tag sets. And here is a direct link to the tags.
Imagine if you opened up a drawer in your kitchen and found twenty cheese graters but no other utensils. Not very helpful when you’re looking for something to eat your soup with. Just as there are different utensils in the kitchen that serve diverse functions, God has created unique people to accomplish a variety of purposes throughout the world.
A quirky and intimate London hotel, Artist Residence offers creative accommodation in a handsome Regency style building on Cambridge Street in Pimlico. Inside, the décor is an eclectic blend of exposed brick walls, original art, and chic fabrics. The guestrooms - 10 stylish, individually designed spaces - come with bespoke vintage furniture, fully stocked mini fridges, and Egyptian cotton linens, while the suites boast stunning freestanding baths. Additional features include a cozy lounge and a trendy café with an open kitchen serving tasty dishes based on fresh, seasonal produce.
NAOMI CAMPBELL: I first met Azzedine when I was 16. It was my first day working in Paris and somebody had stolen all my money. I didn’t know anyone in the city and didn’t know how I was going to eat. A fellow model who was doing a show with Azzedine then brought me to dinner, and I ate very well. I immediately thought that he was very sweet, normal and humble person, because he was cooking the dinner in the kitchen himself. He also served the food himself. I didn’t say one word, because I didn’t speak French. But as I left, he gave me a present - a dress.
After that, whenever I came to Paris, I would stay with him. He gave me my own room and I still have it. My mum didn’t want me to go to discos and he never used to let me go. One time, I climbed out of the window to a waiting taxi. When he found out, Azzedine put me in the room above him so that if I wanted to go out, I would have to go through his room.
Now, when I come over, we sit around and watch TV. He loves Tunisia very much and has still got very strong roots. You can see that in the videos he watches - old Tunisian movies. We cook eggs, fish or lamb chops in the kitchen and have dinner. Now that I’ve got a little bit older, Azzedine also comes to my house. But the most important thing is that we laugh. We fight and we laugh.
He’s a really big practical joker. Over the 12 years I’ve know him, he has played so many on me. I’ve lost count of the number of times he’s pricked me with pins during fittings. Sometimes, I’ve crept into bed at night and he’s put things under the covers. I remember once I fell down the stairs. There was no ice left in the freezer. So Azzedine put a leg of lamb on my head because it was the only thing he had that was frozen.
Azzedine saw something in me and taught me to have confidence. I didn’t know how to do runway when I started modelling, but he believed in me. That brought attention from other designers, and is kind of how I became known - because other designers heard of this little girl Azzedine was working with.
He really taught me everything about the business, and also taught me even more important things about life - to be yourself, to do things with integrity and to do things from the heart. I think you really can say that he manages to do all of those things. He only designs when he wants to design. He’s always making something new, but doesn’t work to a schedule. He works according to his own schedule. He likes to work late at night, until three or four in the morning. He doesn’t have to do a fashion show because people will come and want to buy his clothes - whenever and whatever he wants to make. He really is unique. He understands a woman’s body better than any other designer. All the other designers respect Azzedine for that and salute him for it.
Fame has not changed him at all. He still works the same way he did the day he started. He has to look at every pattern. He still goes over everything; every single thing. He doesn’t let anything go without him having looked at it and restitched it and repinned it.
My relationship with Azzedine is different from those I have with other designers, because he is the only one I’ve lived with. I call him “Papa” and we really do have a father-daughter relationship. When he’s pissed off with me or mad about something, he picks up the phone and calls my mother. He’s very truthful and that’s another important thing in a friend. When he doesn’t like things I do, he tells me. I was very lucky and fortunate to meet him. Knowing Azzedine kept me on the right road.
His friendship means very much to me and I hope I have it forever. It’s more than just about material things and clothes. He is someone in the world I know I can call up whenever I am down, in need of anything or just want to talk.
One of my best memories is of when I was so overworked at one point and I just called him up and he said, “Come home, ma fille! Come home!” He cooked dinner for me and put me into bed. Then, he called up my agency and said, “Stop overworking her. She doesn’t need to do all these things.” It’s that genuine love of his that’s very special to me.
AZZEDINE ALAIA: The first time I met Naomi, she arrived with a model called Amanda Caseley, who had come to do fittings for my show. While we were doing them, I saw Naomi sitting down and thought, “Wow.” There was something about her which reminded me of Josephine Baker. So I asked her to try something on. She was only 16 at the time and not yet fully developed. But I saw her wonderful muscle structure and asked if she could stay on to do the show. I had to phone her mother, who said, “She can only stay if you put her up.”
Naomi speaks French now - not very well, but I manage to understand her. At that time, however, she didn’t speak French and I didn’t speak English. During the day, things were fine because there were other people around who could translate. But in the evening we found ourselves alone. Her mother speaks French. So I would phone her up in London and and she would explain what each of us wanted to say.
In the beginning, Naomi just slept on a mattress. But she would escape through the window to go out clubbing with other girls. So I put her in the room above mine to keep an eye on her. Sometimes, I even gave her my bed and I would sleep on a mattress on the floor.
At night, I really had to keep an eye on her because she would not stop calling people. She would crawl out of her bed, pick up the telephone, get back into bed with it and pull the covers over her head. I used to scream, “Naomi! Stop phoning abroad.” Her calls were always to New York or London and she’d stay on the phone for hours. When she went, I was left with huge telephone bills. Even now she’d be quite happy to spend her whole life on the phone. I don’t know quite how many mobile phones she has in her bag.
Right from the start you could feel that Naomi had star quality. She has a real presence; whenever she enters a room, something magical happens. But at the beginning, nobody wanted her to model for shows. We went to New York together to see the model agencies. I remember that Elite did not want to take her. So I went to see the owner and said to him, “Listen. She is my daughter, so you have to take her on and look after her. I don’t want her to be left all on her own in New York.”
For me, Naomi really is my daughter. In the past, she used to call me up all the time to ask for my advice. Now, she doesn’t really do so anymore because she knows what I’ll say. She hides things from me. For example, she didn’t ask me if she should record her album or write her novel. I think both were a very bad idea. But it’s not easy for her because she spends her whole time with people who tell her that she is beautiful, and only her mother and I can warn her that she’s being given bad advice. From time to time when I hear or read something, I ring her up and say, “Just what’s going on?” I fall out with her regularly. I sulk and don’t speak to her when she does something stupid. But it never lasts.
I think I’m so attached to Naomi because we are both so alike. We can both be quite unbearable! Seriously, on first meeting her, she can seem quite defensive. But, once you’ve gained her confidence, she lets herself go. She may have a reputation for being difficult, but she really isn’t at all. She is a very fragile person, who needs affection. She needs to be loved. If she is capricious, it’s because there is a good reason. When she was younger, I was always being called into photo studios to calm her down, because a stylist had upset her. But now she has changed.
She’s a great practical joker. She plays jokes on everyone, especially my cook. She’d put things in his sauces and pour in lots of salt when his back was turned. But she is also very generous. When she was young and poor, she bought me a dog: I don’t know how many jobs she had to do to save up the money. Now when she offers presents, they are never little ones. They are really quite sumptuous. Recently, for example, she bought me an antique Prouve bookcase.
Nowadays, we don’t see each other as much as before. She doesn’t have as much time: she is always in a plane going from one country to the other. But, she really is a very faithful friend. In modelling, it’s very hard to keep in touch with the people you knew when you started. Even though we fall out from time to time, I do think that our friendship will last. Something really serious would have to happen for us to lose touch completely!