When you wish upon a star…

Last month my family and I celebrated Gabe’s third birthday (they grow up so fast!) with the one and only Mickey Mouse. I thought that this cake would be easier than the fire truck one I made last year, which was only half right. I made a white cake using a recipe from the Food Network (very similar to the one I made last year). Since most of my nephew’s party guests were under the age of five and picky eaters, I wanted to stick with the classics.  I only made two tweaks to this recipe. I doubled up the recipe to add some height to my 9×9 round cakes and I beat the sugar and butter for 45 minutes until it was really fluffy.

To make the basic Mickey Mouse shape I traced a small bowl onto some cardboard. Using this as a stencil I cut out 4 circles for the ears. I filled the layers with whipped cream and strawberry slices. I then shaved off a thin layer of the cake’s “crust” until the entire cake was smooth and even. I covered each circle with a thin layer of butter cream frosting. I then refrigerated the cake for 30 minutes to allow the buttercream frosting to set.

Mickey Mouse Club

Sound the Alarm

Every year for my nephew’s birthday I go all out and make him a cake of his choosing, each year I try and top the year before sort of like a little challenge for myself and boy was last year challenging. My nephew, Gabe, turned 2 last year. Although he could barely form coherent sentence he was certain he wanted a firetruck cake, I think his exact words were “Titi firetruck cake” (Tia is the word for aunt in Portuguese, but he hasn’t mastered the pronunciation yet so we have gone with titi). The cake took the two of us, my PIC and I, about 8 hours to complete. During its construction a major storm ( also known as el derecho) hit my parent’s home and knocked out the electricity, but that didn’t slow us down. We cooked the entire birthday party meal (for about 45 people) on our grill outside, thankfully the rain only last about 30 minutes, but its after effects didn’t subside until the next day.

Firetruck

I made a sponge cake (its a secret family recipe) with buttercream and strawberry jam filling. I made 2 13×9 sheet cakes, then I cut one  2 rectangular shapes; one small one and longer slightly larger one for the truck bed. I took a little of the top of the truck bed to make it resemble an actual fire truck. From there i covered the entire base of the cake in buttercream frosting (or the cement) and refrigerated it for about 30- 45 mins (thankfully I did the before the electricity went out) to allow the buttercream to solidify. After the cooling process I mixed some red food coloring into some store bought fondant. I watched a couple videos on how to kneed the fondant to get a consistent color. Then I used a rolling pin to flatten and then draped the large red sheet of fondant over the cake. I used a frosting knife to smooth the fondant onto the cake, but if you see a lot of wrinkles there are a couple of tricks to smooth them out (botox for cakes if you will) you can use crisco or if you have a steamer you can use that ( I think steaming food is way to bizarre so I went the crisco route). Once I got the red fondant in place I trimmed the excess off with an exacto knife (this is a god send) .

Once I had the base fondant done I went to town decorating, I used everyday household items such as spice shakers to cut the wheels and windows. I adhered all of the windows, hubcaps, wheels, bumper, ladder and lights using clear vanilla. I bought silver sparkly dust which I used to color in the hubcaps and windows. I took a small amount of the silver dust and mixed with water to create a paste like consistency. Using paint brushes I accented by Firetruck’s decor.Once I had gotten the entire cake to my liking I pipped on his name and age using some left over buttercream. Remember the cake doesn’t have to be perfect you aren’t a professional pastry chef after all, people were just impressed by the cheer fact I attempted just an intense cake!

As my nephew’s birthday quickly approaches (T-minus 5 days) I am starting to plan my cake for his 3rd birthday, this year’s theme is mickey mouse. Im hoping there aren’t any major hiccups during operation Mickey Mouse, but I think I might be tempting fate with that wish!

Sponge Cake

Crème de la crème

Last Wednesday, my friends and I celebrated Washington’s top restaurants at Washingtonian’s Best of Washington party. We were joined by about 2,000 other guests and spent the evening enjoying delicious morsels and Patron loaded signature cocktails. We were transported to another world inspired by vintage travel; the decor was a mixture of “Around The World in 80 Days” and “Oriental Express.”

Come Fly with Me

We were greeted by Pan Am style flight attendants who immediately directed us towards the “ticket station” (more commonly known as the bar.)

flight attendant

Photo courtesy of Revamp

After knocking back our first cocktail we made our way through the food maze. There were so many delicious items I cannot pick a favorite but Brasserie Beck, Haute Dog & Fries, Bourbon Steak and Menomale were out of this world. At every turn there was a new sight to take in (they really nailed the travelling atmosphere) from caricatures, photos booths, specialty alcohol booths and even a Good Humor ice cream trolley.

Hello, Hello!

Molly’s dress is from Pieces and Mine is from Karen Millen

One stand-out booth was the vodka-infused lemonade stand that served 4 different  flavors; watermelon rosemary, strawberry basil, traditional lemonade and mint. The mint and strawberry basil were incredible.

Best of girls

We continuously ate and drank the night away, but managed to take a long enough break for some silly photos.

Say Cheese

The party continued at Graffito afterwards. We were still hungry after Best of (not sure how that is possible) so we ordered a Jersey Shore and an American Pie; the Jersey Shore was amazing (I inhaled it).

After Party

I highly recommend going next year, we had a ball! As you can see there was so much to experience; I don’t think this post can do it justice You will have to go experience it for yourself next year! Congratulations to all the restaurants and the Washingontian team on a fantastic job.

photo cred: Revamp

Photo courtesy of Revamp

PS My friends and I managed to make it on a couple of blogs’ coverage of the event. If you get a chance you should check them out, because their 200+ photos do the event more justice!

Happy Birthday America!

Hopefully you all enjoyed the Fourth of July festivities as much as my friends and I did yesterday. We spent the whole day celebrating our nation’s birthday and being O so ‘Murician.

Abe

At every Nats  game after the 4th inning there is a thing called the “President’s Race.” Abe, George, Teddy and FDR all race each other around the baseball diamond. This is definitely  one of my favorite parts of  the game. Luckily we were able to snag a quick picture with Abe before his big race. Fittingly,  George Washington, won yesterday’s President’s race, better luck next time Abe!

Natitude

Our view from the behind homeplate at the Nats game. Winning the game was an extra bonus!

The Gang

The whole gang hanging out in the diamond club trying to escape the 90 degree heat.

'Murica

We baked our girl, America, a very special birthday cake!

We ended the night by watching the fireworks exploding over the memorials. Hope you had a wonderful 4th!

P.S.- This PBR commercial is hilarious it makes me laugh every time I watch it, enjoy!

Temptation Tuesday

graham

Over Memorial Day weekend, my friends and I were supposed to go to the Graham rooftop bar in Georgetown. However, since it was overcast, dreary, and all around miserable weather on Saturday we unfortunately didn’t make it to the swanky new bar. But lucky for me, Washingtonian Magazine is hosting a “Best of DC” kick- off  happy hour at the Graham on June 19. Every year, Washingtonian hosts a huge party at the National Building Museum that showcases the best that Washington DC has to offer. No need to buy a ticket for the kick-off happy hour, they just ask that you make a charitable donation that will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Cocktails, charity and a rooftop happy hour? Yeah, I think I can handle that.

It’s FestaTime

For my mom’s 60th birthday, we decided to throw a big shindig to celebrate the 6 decades of her wonderful life.

Mother & Daughter

We asked guests to write down their favorite memory of my mom from the past 60 years.  On the sign-in table, I included one of my favorite photos of my mother and grandmother, which was actually featured in a DC magazine over 40 years ago.

My Dress: old DVF and Mom's Dress: DKNY

My Dress: old DVF and Mom’s Dress: DKNY

We decided on a peacock theme for the party. We bought a bunch of peacock feathers from z gallery, (also available from your local Micheal’s craft store). We placed the feathers in guests’ napkins to add to the peacock decor. Also from z gallery we picked up some glittered peacock napkin rings to use as a decorative touch for the centerpieces.  We kept the linens simple and used a combination of solid white and olive  green tablecloths. On top of the white tablecloths we placed peacock themed runners to add an extra pop.

Lucky for me my professional-event-planner- cousin made all of the center pieces for the party. She used purple and violet carnations and blue hydrangeas to create these little beauties. We perched the peacock napkin rings within the arrangements to give them a little extra sparkle.

To many more years!

Singing our heart out.

Again I was very lucky because my mom’s family helped by making a lot of the desserts featured above. For the most part, we served traditional Portuguese dishes and desserts such as flan.

Love Birds

The love birds

All in all the party was a great success and everyone had a wonderful time!

Temptation Tuesday

Px

I have been dying to go PX in Alexandria for quite a while. I have always been really interested in the 1920’s and this interest has been spurred on by the upcoming release of the Great Gatsby.  It’s a combination of the classic drinks (many of my friends say I drink like an old man) and the secrecy that I find so intriguing. It’s a running joke that I was born in the wrong decade due to my obsession with the 20’s and the Victorian age.  I have plans in the works to go to PX with PIC , but until then I will be enjoying a gimlet.

Gimlet

Gimlet

1.15 oz of gin

1/2  of a  fresh lime 

carbonated water or club soda 

Place ice in a highball glass then, squeeze in 1/2 fresh lime juice then drop in lime. Add gin and soda water. 

 

 

Cherry blossoms are in the air

Jefferson

As a Washingtonian, you are obliged to make the hellish trek down to the tourist infested D.C. to gawk and marvel at the cherry blossoms. Don’t get me wrong they are beautiful, kudos nature, but the tourists and crowds can be a little overwhelming! Since the weather has been fluxing so much,  my PIC and I went down to the tidal basin and joined the millions of cherry blossom peepers. I hope all you tourists and Washingtonians are enjoying the beautiful weather and spring time activities. If you have the chance, I highly recommend seeing the blossoms, especially before they blow away!

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P.S. Cherry blossoms are so popular they have their own tumblr check it out.

Down by the Bayou

Recently I have been itching to head back down to NOLA , I know why would you want to go to NOLA now the weather is terrible during the summer! But I’ve been craving beignets, hurricanes (the drink not the weather) and the nightlife. If you ask anyone who has been to NOLA for Mardi Gras they will tell you it’s the best and worst time they have ever had. Best time because you can drink in the streets and anything goes. Worst because you do nothing but party for days on end (that is if you are doing it correctly) and you liver/body hates you.  Lucky for there are people in the DC area who share my love for New Orleans, so this weekend I will be heading out to Bayou bakery and picking up some beignets. While in NOLA I waited in line for an hour and 1/2 to get beignets from the legendary Cafe du Monde of course I sipped cocktails the whole time I was line, which made the experience actually bearable, so the bar is set pretty high (maybe impossibly so).

Dats uh big alluhgatuh 

Jubel zum Oktoberfest

Cheers to October! And what better way to celebrate than drinking beer and enjoying some sausage? That’s exactly what my friends and I did this past Saturday at the Shirlington Oktoberfest festival. After enjoying some delicious food we sampled some local and german beers. Now I’m not a beer connoisseur (I drink natty lite and think its good) but I love when breweries come out with their fall inspired ales for this time of year! My personal favorites are the pumpkin ales, because in the words of Stephanie Robinson “they taste like what I imagine pumpkin juice tastes like.” All in all it was a perfect fall day for perusing the beer laden streets.