Monday, June 25, 2012

Put It In The Book

I had the whole weekend off this past weekend, and I completely enjoyed it with my whole being. I'll share it with you via some Instagram pics.

Saturday morning my friend and I went to the South of the James Farmer's Market in Forest Hill Park to stock up on veggies/fruits for the week. She and I had never been to this particular one, but it proved to be a weekly trip for us. That morning I made my coffee at home a little strong and decided not to finish it. Besides, I knew Blanchard's would be at the market, but didn't know Crossroads would be. Upon arriving we went straight to the Crossroads truck, and I got an iced caramel latte that was delish! Then we headed over to Wild Heaven Farm's booth (they have goat's milk soap) and I picked up a large bar (only $4.50) of the scent, Mint In The Morning (I'm hoping it will clear up this summer cold I seem to have developed overnight).

Next, we attacked our veggie/fruit lists. I snagged a zucchini, yellow squash, large tomato, big ginormous cucumber, eggplant, two banana peppers, pint of blueberries, large bag of spinach, and half a bunch of kale for about $19. Not too shabby. My friend wasn't far behind in money spent, as she was buying for she and her daughter.

We finished up there and headed for the Body Worlds Exhibit at the Science Museum of Virginia. I have missed this exhibit in Pittsburgh and in San Juan, Puerto Rico, so I was determined to go when I heard it was in Richmond. I almost think it was a blessing in disguise though because I know so much more now about the human body (thanks to pharmacy school), that I had far more appreciation for the exhibit and what they had on display.

My friend had an eyebrow appointment in Carytown after, so I tagged along. Then we grabbed lunch at New York Deli. I ordered a four cheese omelet (just wanted three of the four cheeses) with tomatoes and jalapeƱos, but sadly received just a three cheese omelet. She ordered an omelet also, and had no complaints. In normal fashion we decided it would be a shame to pass up Carytown Cupcakes, as we were just a few blocks from their new location. After brunch we walked to the new cupcake shop where I had one of their weekly flavors, a gluten-free Georgia Peach cupcake, and my friend had their Red Velvet. Too yummy!

I headed home for a nap, but my mom had other plans. She wanted me to tag along to the paint store with her. So I did. I killed two birds with one stone though because I went next door to our grocery to grab a few things to make two dishes I had planned to make on Sunday. By the time we left it was late afternoon and my mom was craving something sweet. I had already had my cupcake a few hours before remember? Well I caved because they had my favorite flavor of fro-yo, Taro. I usually go to Sweet Frog in Carytown because they have the Taro flavor and their texture of fro-yo is better, but my mom likes Sweet Spoons.

Sunday was going to be my sleep in, bake, cook day. Wrong. My mom woke me at 6:45am trying to find something to do in Richmond for the day with my Nannie. Well, we didn't find anything and I was left sitting up at 7:15am like a crazy person. So I jumped on my baking first. I decided to make this Chocolate Hazelnut Cherry Tart. If you don't have time to invest, this is not the dessert for you. It's very labor intensive in terms of making the tart's crust. After that, it's easy peasy lemon squeezy. You'll probably need one of these also (if you don't already have one).

After making and tasting the final product, I decided that I would go a different route when rolling out the crust for next time, and I would also add a few drops of cherry liqueur or a cherry oil to the ganache before spreading it in the tart shell. It just needed that extra kick of cherry flavor.

Lastly, I cooked. I cooked probably one of the best meals I've ever made. I made this chick's Spicy Thai Noodle dish that she adapted from one of her friend's recipes, but I changed the sauce quite a bit. Essentially, I boiled and drained my linguine noodles, cut up two carrots, one zucchini, one yellow squash, and a bunch of green onions and set aside.

Then I made the sauce. The best sauce ever. I'm convinced it would taste good on anything. Really. I used 1/2 cup Sesame Oil, 1/4 cup Sunflower Oil, and 1 1/2 tbsp of red pepper flakes in a pan over medium heat for about 2 minutes (careful not to burn the pepper flakes). This will infuse your oil, but probably not enough. Separate the oil from the pepper flakes and place in bowl. Add 6 tbsp of honey and 6 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce to the reserved oil. Add two cloves of garlic, minced and about an 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly and dump over noodles. Next add a tbsp of unsalted butter and a whole clove of garlic to a pan over medium heat. Let the garlic sit in the pan for a few, then take out so it doesn't become bitter. Add your veggies and cook (while tossing occasionally) for about 7 minutes. Dump over pasta and enjoy. (This picture doesn't do this dish justice. At all.) You will have quite a bit of oil in the bottom of your pasta dish, so I recommend not dumping it all in and using it for other things throughout the week such as a marinade, etc.

My mom has this book that she puts everything delicious she has made/adapted over the years. Well she came in from running errands and tried my dish. She was like, "Oh my goodness. That's addicting. You need to put that in the book."

I did just that.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mr. Creswell

From the most recent, lengthy post, y'all saw that I went to Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. I decided to do a separate post on this since that post was far too long to begin with!

A man hole cover? Kinda boring right? Well sorta. Here's where I give you a nerd alert. I snapped this shot not even thinking that I would do a little investigative work about it. While walking the cell blocks of the penitentiary, I noticed the various man holes in the floors. Just general design stuff right? Probably so but I wanted to find out who Samuel J. Creswell was because I'm nosy. 

Thanks to Google we can find just about anything these days. After searching Mr. Oreswell's name I realized after looking at my photo that the man hole said Creswell, not Oreswell. I searched again and got some of the following links:

Samuel J. Creswell found in The American Architect and Building News, Volume 23.

After seeing that advertisement with that address listed, I Googled the address of Mr. Creswell's Iron Works' business and the address of ESP to determine their proximity to one another and got this:

Pretty darn close I'd say.

After opening just a few more links, I got this nice summary about Mr. Creswell and this forum thread provided a few very cool older pictures (notice the address at the bottom of the picture and the cut-off portion of Creswell Iron Works to the left):

Notice the name Samuel Creswell at the bottom followed by what I believe to say Iron Works:

And here's proof that his man hole covers weren't just in ESP.

Pretty neat things you can uncover when you least expect it.


Lock Me Up

Disclaimer - Content/picture heavy post.

It's no secret that I recently went to Philadelphia. There will be another post in the near future with some of the usual touristy photos from Philly because I visited late last October and that's when 

So yes. I finished my rotation a few weeks ago, and hours after giving my decent fantastic presentation (if I do say so myself) on a patient with unknown liver failure origin and induced renal failure, I headed for Philly with my roommate and her sister.

The drive up was far from pleasant. It was Friday. On I-95. At 6pm. In rain torrential downpour/storms that we drove in the entire trip. We did see some stunning rainbows/double rainbows while sitting in traffic.

We finally arrived. Went on a goose chase to find our hotel/reception site (they were at the same location - SO smart if you have a big drinkin' family/family flying in from all over). We found it. Then we were starving. So we dined at the finest establishment open at 12am. Hooters. Personally, I like Hooters' grilled cheese. Just saying.

The next day was absolutely gorgeous. Could not have asked for a better weekend. I'm not a fan of hot weather/humidity. AT.ALL. 

I kept seeing huge magnolia trees everywhere. We have them in Virginia, in fact I have a yittle one in my front yard, but magnolias take years to mature and produce flowers, and you're lucky if you can get a pretty one that hasn't fallen off the tree and begun to wither. Jackpot. I did. 

We were so conflicted about what to do that morning because the wedding was at 2pm and the reception wasn't until 6pm. Strange kinda but I actually ended up liking it honestly. It gave the bride and groom a little reprieve as well as guests. The reception site/hotel was located outside of Philly about 35 minutes or so, and the church where the wedding was at was only about 20 minutes from there in Upper Darby, so going into Philly to do things we had planned wasn't entirely do-able. 

Instead, we decided to embrace our food loves of Philly. We trekked to Pica's on that beautiful Saturday day and made it back just in time to eat gorge ourselves and get dressed for the wedding. If you've never had Pica's, you may not like it. It's like no other pizza honestly. It does however remind me of a cross between Ellio's Pizzas and the box Chef Boyardee Pizza Kits from when I was a kid (except eons better). Please tell me y'all have had both of these? If not, go buy both and make them. Then go to Pica's in Philly and order a cheese pizza extra sauce. You'll thank me. 

So we gorged. Then did the wedding shindig. Then we had time to kill. My roommate's dad insisted on WaWa pretzels (they're freshest in Pennsylvania because WaWa's originated there) and her sister stopped for a Philly hoagie at one of the multiple places to get one in Pennsylvania. If you've never had either of these, put it on ya' list. Not so much the pretzels, just WaWa in general. We have them in Virginny, but they're far more quaint and cute in Pennsylvania and I love them. All of them. 

We got back. We freshened up. We prepared to party. Then. We partied. Hardy. Had an absolute blast at the reception. Probably the most fun that I've ever had at a wedding. Crashed at some point. Woke up on Sunday. Got up pulled myself from the mattress, showered, packed, checked out, and hit the road for Philadelphia. 

The plan was the Philadelphia Museum of Art and then head back to Virginia. Well. That changed. Because this was going on. All roads near the museum were shut down and there were cyclists everywhere! We finally got parking squared away right across from this (about 10 blocks or so from the museum).

We definitely lucked out because we parked in the cutest darn neighborhood which happened to be right next to Eastern State Penitentiary. We had mentioned it before in passing, but hadn't really thought about it otherwise. So we fit this in first! 

Just a little side note, the Fairmount area of Philadelphia is to die for. There are tons of local little restaurants, row style homes similar to those in Richmond, DC, and Baltimore, and the nicest, prettiest, most tattoo-ed folks everywhere. I die. Lock.Me.Up. I'm moving. Watch me. I know, I know. Southerner on Northern soil? I think it could maybe work.

Back to ESP - yes it's on the ghost tour thing, yes it's the one you've seen on tv, yes it's creepy/spooky, yes I loved it and want to do it again in the dark, yes Al Capone stayed here, yes you should put it on ya' list, and yes the rest of this post will be tons of photos of doors, locks, and windows. 

But first, flowers. Duh. Strangely enough, ESP is surrounded with the prettiest little flowers. Their attempt at making it more appealing hardened criminals?

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

ESP was built in the 1820's if I remember correctly and advanced as technology did. It closed in the 1970's, so if you think about it, that wasn't that long ago. We did the audio tour of the place and listened to eerie stories about the construction of the penitentiary, as well as stories about various inmates that they housed. In fact, ol' Thomas Jefferson wanted to visit ESP just because of the architectural design that ESP possessed. ESP was designed with a watch tower in the center with arms that extended off of it termed "cell blocks." Each cell block was built as the inmate population grew. I think all but one of them was built so that you could see from one end to the other. 

The center watch tower.

Cell block one.

The cell blocks that were designed to be long hallways of sorts so that guards could see from one end to the other.

Standing inside one of the cells.

Bet they didn't sleep on memory foam.

Food door (that was later blocked in).

Loo anyone?

The light within ESP entered solely through these skylights.

Doors on the outside of the cells.

Probably why my throat hurt so badly after leaving.

Wouldn't want to drop your soap in there.

I believe this may have been a barber's chair.

Some of the outside ruins.

Cell block 3 where the hospital was located.

Al Capone had his tonsils removed here.

Some of the ornate locks located within ESP.

In the "New York" type cell block within ESP.

Just in case they wanted to clean up a little. HA!

Inside the cell block that housed Al Capone.

Al Capone's cell (yucky picture, little chil'ren running around in front of me, beside me - you get the idea).

Outside the cell blocks within the walls of ESP.


Just in case you wanted to hang around for a few and ponder life's mysteries where inmates once had.

Buttons from the only mechanical type cell block located at ESP. Most of the inmates scheduled for the death penalty were kept here.

Pillows that withstood the test of time.


All of the walls at ESP had paint just peeling off in sheets everywhere. I can probably assume that this paint contained copious amounts of lead, in which case I probably have a small tumor growing inside me now.

My how visitation rooms have changed over the years. Just a thin screen between you and your inmate.

 Leaving ESP.

Our view from lunch.

Speaking of lunch. By the time we were done at ESP we were famished could finally stomach food, so we headed for the closest restaurant we could find. We decided on Jack's Firehouse which happened to be right across the street along with various other cute eateries. It reminded me so much of a hometown favorite, Station2 (get the fried pickles if you visit). We sat outside on their charming little patio and feasted on these first.

Biscuits of course! They also brought a cornbread type muffin and another muffin of sorts. The biscuit wasn't awful, but the butter and homemade cherry stuff was to die for. It wasn't a jam and not really like a compote either, mostly just cherries broken down in a liquid-like glaze. Dee-vine though. For my meal, I had the southern omelet with organic sausage, peppers, and cheddar with a side of killer cheesy grits. Two things I'll admit - I hate when eggs are overdone (I have won an egg cook-off before) and I love me some grits. Well . . . the omelet had cooked too long and the grits were on point. One point was awarded. The roomie had the filet mignon benedict with spicy hollandaise over biscuits, and she didn't seem to have any complaints. 

After lunch we headed for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We got caught in a small rain shower on the way and stumbled upon the Perelman Building first (there's the main building and this building below that comprise the Philadelphia Museum of Art). We passed on this one and ventured to the main one.

First glimpse.

We made it!

Now this may look familiar to some as being the steps that Rocky Balboa ran. Well you're right. Here's a little flashback for anyone that wants. Naturally, we had to visit his statue.

Next, we followed suit (ya' kinda have to, to get in the museum), and the steps weren't bad at all (maybe if it's snowing and I were running I would feel differently haha).

There's a decent shot of City Hall. In my future post the pictures will be from City Hall and LOVE Park looking towards the Museum of Art.

The ceiling and pillars of the main building.

Some of the beautiful glass pieces inside the museum.

The Agnew Clinic by Thomas Eakins (a native from Philly - a lot of his work was on display). I really wanted to see The Gross Clinic, but it had been taken out temporarily for another exhibit to be displayed.

Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen.

Camille Roulin by Van Gogh.

Brillo Boxes by Andy Warhol.

Four Jackies by Andy Warhol.

Still Life with a Pipe, a Violin, and a Bottle of Bass by Picasso.

Glass of Absinthe by Picasso.

We spent about three hours inside and only covered the first floor! You could definitely spend all day there.

Boy do I love Philadelphia.

Get ya' lists ready and head to Philly!