Archive for June, 2012

More Summer Reading

Posted in reading on June 22nd, 2012 by Betsy – 7 Comments

I always fought the Kindle.  I love books.  I love the feel of them in my hands and the smell of the pages, especially old books.  I enjoy the conversations started when strangers ask you about the book you’re reading because they’ve seen the cover.  With a Kindle or Nook, you just look like you’re reading a screen and plugged into yet another technological device.

BUT, I have to admit, I’ve been converted.  David bought me a Kindle recently and I’ve officially fallen for it.  I am tearing through books on this thing.  Now I probably won’t read a lot of non-fiction, history texts on the Kindle, because I like to flip back and forth between the index, the photos and the text, but the Kindle is great for summer reads.  It’s just so darn easy to hold too.  I never thought I would fall in love with the Kindle, but I have.

So here are my first three reads on the Kindle:

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer: This work of fiction that was made into a movie last year with Sandra Bullock.  While a major part of this book is about NYC and September 11th, it’s more about the odyssey of a boy looking to learn more about his deceased father’s past.  I enjoyed this voice of this book, through the eyes of the boy, Oskar, and his grandfather, and you feel like you’re a part of each story.  We can all relate to Oskar as he deals with grief, the past and an unwillingness to let go of his father.

The American Heiress,  Daisy Goodwin: If you enjoyed the drama, romance, and sometimes cheesiness of Downton Abbey, this is the book for your summer reading list.  While the story starts in Newport, Rhode Island at the turn of the 20th century, Cora Cash (the American Heiress and main character) spends most of the story among the wealthy in England.  A bit of a fish out of water in England, Cora (and her maid, Bertha) experience their own coming of age stories, full of love, heart ache and suspense.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, Anna Quindlen: My mom sent me this memoir, written by Pullitzer Prize winner and New York Times writer, Anna Quindlen.  In this book, she addresses the topics of aging, motherhood, generational differences, career, friendship, and faith.  As I’m about to enter a new stage in life, I really enjoyed reading Quindlen’s insights and reflections on her own life.  Even though she is twice my age, I still felt like I could relate to Quindlen’s stories, struggles and triumphs.  Lots of Candles… is a quick read that will provide you with an abundance of food for though.

Do you have any Kindle reading recommendations?

Culinary Inspiration

Posted in baking, cooking, meals, recipe on June 18th, 2012 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Sometimes I need a little creative inspiration so I turn to other blogs for ideas.  I thought you might enjoy some recipes I’ve found recently that are/look yummy and of course can be made gluten free.

Pulled Chicken Barbecue (Eat, Live, Run)

Summer Corn Salad (101 Cookbooks)

Feta Cheese & Roasted Red Pepper Dip (6 in the Morningside)

BLT Corn Salad Wraps (Joy the Baker)

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas (Gluten Free Goddess)

Spiced Tomato Gratin (101 Cookbooks) *I think I would add fresh parmesan to this one

Thick, Chewy Granola Bars (Smitten Kitchen) *Just make sure you use certified gluten-free oats.

Almond Butter Cookies with Chocolate (Gluten Free Girl)

What are you excited about cooking this summer?  What are some of your favorite “go-to” blogs for recipe ideas?

Start of Summer Reading List

Posted in favorite things, reading on June 8th, 2012 by Betsy – 2 Comments

While we are so excited about the arrival of Baby Girl Metcalf, I must admit that I’m enjoying my final days of peace and quiet, sitting on our front porch and reading a good book.  With this upcoming major life change, I am full of emotions: eagerness to have her here so I can start getting to know her, fear that our life is about to completely change, and of course the joy that our family is going to grow.

Soon there will be a little girl making her presence known in our world but for now, it’s just me and a book, and quiet.

So here’s what I’ve been reading…

Those Guys Have all the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, James Andrew Miller & Tom Shales: While I still haven’t been able to get through the 800 pages of Anna Karenina, I feel quite accomplished that I read all 800 pages of ESPN. If you are a lover of sports and ESPN, then this is the book for you.  This book is composed almost entirely of interviews from people who work at ESPN and athletes that have overlapped with the network and they don’t appear to sugarcoat anything.  Not only is this book about sports, however, it also addresses the changes and developments in the media over the last 30 years.  Cable television, internet, creating multiple channels, magazines, documentaries, live television: ESPN has done all of these things.  From a business perspective, this book is fascinating.  I enjoyed learning about the different individuals who have run ESPN, how they’ve chosen to interact with the NFL, NCAA, NHL, etc. as well as their interactions with other networks, especially Ted Turner’s empire.  If you know who the hosts of PTI are, the real name of “Stat Boy,” and that Rush Limbaugh was briefly a host of the NFL Countdown team, then ESPN is the book for you.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President, Candace Millard: After reading The President and the Assassin, I was interested in learning more about presidents and their assassins.  So I picked up Destiny of the Republic, which follows President Garfield and the man who ended his life, Charles Guiteau.  Yet again, I was amazed by the contrast of the two men featured in this story and how intensely Guiteau focused on ending Garfield’s life.  The book also discusses the drama following the shooting because ultimately Garfield died because of poor and mishandled medical treatment rather than the bullet.  Destiny of the Republic gives a unique glimpse of a piece of U.S. History that is often barely mentioned or thought of.

Garlic & Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, Ruth Reichl: Well, I’ve been on a bit of a nonfiction kick with this series of books.  My most recent read is written by former New York Times food critic, Ruth Reichl.  Previously, I’ve read her book, Comfort me with Apples, about her time starting out as a food critic in California.  Garlic & Sapphires takes the reader to New York, where Reichl is forced to wear disguises when visiting restaurants so the staff and management don’t know who she is.  She visits these high profile restaurants both as herself and then as her new identity and in her review, compares the two experiences.  Reichl’s disguises change with each restaurant and she shares with her reader, not only how her looks transform but also her personality.  Through her memoir books, we learn about Reichl’s life, her family, as well as her professional work.  This is a light, summer read that will make your stomach growl.

In case there’s a little too much nerdy non-fiction in this post, here are some of my older lists, in case you’re looking for other summer reads.

Happy Reading!  Cheers to summer!

The “New” Watershed Restaurant

Posted in Atlanta, local food, Restaurants on June 6th, 2012 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Last weekend, David and I went on a date night to the new Watershed Restaurant.  For those of you that don’t know about the first Watershed, this Atlanta favorite was located in Decatur and owned by Indigo Girls’, Emily Saliers.  The restaurant was well known for its fancy southern fare and famous chef, Scott Peacock.  Sadly, last year Watershed in Decatur closed, but there were promises that it would reopen in the future at a new location.

A couple of weeks ago, this promise became a reality and the new Watershed (still owned by Saliers) opened on Peachtree Road, between Uncle Julio’s and Mellow Mushroom.  While both the décor and the clientele offer a different ambiance (think Buckhead prepster verses Decatur hipster), the restaurant still makes delicious food and celebrates southern cuisine.

I get a little nervous about going to a “southern” restaurant due to my fear that everything will be battered and deep fried.  Last week their menu still wasn’t up online (now you can find it on their website), so I called and they assured me that I would be able to find gluten-free options at the new Watershed.  We decided to give the revamped Watershed a try and we were not disappointed.

Once we arrived and valet parked (of course it’s valet, we’re in Atlanta), we were immediately seated.  The bar was bumping with a well dressed stereotypical Buckhead crowd and the room with the bar was extremely loud.  There are three rooms at Watershed and I would suggest asking to be in the room farthest from the bar if you want to converse with your date.  Fortunately, we were put in the far room and while there was still good people watching, I wasn’t completely distracted by everyone else’s conversation.

Yummy, pimento cheese cornbread

The menu immediately looked intriguing and I felt reassured about my options the minute that I saw a gluten-free beer on the drinks list.  I spoke with our server and he went through some of my options with me.  I was particularly impressed when he told me that the pimento cheese cornbread, which comes with the veggie plate, is gluten-free.  I had him double check with the chef multiple times since usually cornbread is not GF at restaurants.  He assured me that it was in fact GF after talking to the chef.  Even though I didn’t order the veggie plate, they let me enjoy the cornbread as a side.  David and I shared this snack and it was one of the best items I’ve ever had at a restaurant, being that it combined two of my favorite things: cornbread and pimento cheese.  The texture was perfect and the flavor combination was so yummy.  The cornbread was not dry at all and the perfect balance of salty and sweet.

Beautifully cooked salmon

I decided to go a little healthier for my entrée, selecting the salmon a la plancha with zucchini ribbons.  As I look at the menu online today, however, it says this dish comes with faro.  It did not include faro on the menu last week so I’m guessing their menu changes.  Always make sure to double check with your server or the manager.  I’m sure they would be willing to take out the faro…they were extremely accommodating to me.  My salmon was perfectly cooked and crispy on the outside.  There were no batters or fancy sauces and the cold zucchini ribbons offered the perfect texture and flavor compliments.  David enjoyed the deconstructed jambalaya for his entree, which was not gluten free, but he loved it and would recommend it to any gluten eaters.

Overall, we had a great experience at the new Watershed.  The ambiance is quite different than the original in Decatur now that it’s located in an apartment building in the middle of Peachtree Road, but the quality of food will not disappoint.  We had great service and I felt that my food needs were well accommodated.

Have any of you tried the new Watershed?  What are your initial thoughts?  Any other new restaurants in town worth checking out?

Watershed Restaurant – 1820 Peachtree Road NW – Atlanta, GA – 30309 – 404.809.3561 (Reservations Recommended)