December 28, 2010

Princeton

Princeton
Princeton Library

I also had the opportunity to visit Princeton while I was in New Jersey for training. Kim came by the hotel and picked me up and we drove into Princeton. We were meeting up with Terry for a moderator's breakfast at PJ's Pancake House. The day was sunny but cold especially when the wind whipped around the buildings but we had a sheltered area in front of the restaurant to wait for a table. The pancakes were fluffy, the coffee hot and the conversation fun. Time passed quickly.

Kim and Terry had other commitments for the rest of the day so I decided to stay in Princeton and walk around the village and the campus. I printed out walking tour of historic Princeton as a guide.

First I did a quick walk around Palmer Square. The shops were just starting to open and there was a lovely brass band playing carols. I had passed a shop that had a sign out for hot chocolate. That sounded so good plus I heard a mother talking to her boy about going to get hot chocolate. I went in and warmed up with a cup of thick dark hot chocolate from The Bent Spoon. I should have picked up a can of the mix. Yummm..

Next I headed down a couple of blocks to see if I could find where Albert Einstein lived while at Princeton. I couldn't really locate it but I had a chance to see a bit of the neighborhood. I walked a bit around the grounds at Morven. It was a country estate of Richard Stockton one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. I considered doing a tour but I decided to head over to the University campus instead.

I loved the campus. It was my first visit to an Ivy League school. It was so different from the campuses in the west. Most of the western universities campuses are mostly modern buildings. Heck, Washington probably wasn't even a state when some of the Princeton buildings were built. I particularly loved the dorm and quad areas. It felt almost like I was at Hogswart. I also remembered the movie "A Beautiful Mind" which was also filmed on campus.

I headed towards the University chapel and was pleasantly surprised to find out there was a free Christmas concert by the Princeton Choral scheduled to begin in a half hour. I headed into the Library to get warm and to look at the exhibit of the maps of the exploration of the Pacific Ocean. These were maps of the voyages of Captain Cook. It was fun to see how they depicted Borneo, Australia and Hawaii (Sandwich Islands) on the maps of the explorations.

The concert was beautiful and perfect for the season. The golden sun was just setting as the concert finished and I took a taxi back to the hotel. A quick but satisfying visit.

Princeton
Nassau Street buildings

Princeton
Neighborhood around the University

Princeton
Morven

Princeton
Palmer Square

Princeton
Local brass band playing on Palmer Square

Princeton
Nassau Hall - Princeton University

Princeton
Princeton University Campus

Princeton
Alexander Hall - Princeton University

Princeton
Blair Hall - Princeton University

Princeton
Blair Hall - Princeton University

Princeton
University Chapel - Princeton University


December 25, 2010

Photohunt: Circle

PhotoHunters

Washington State Capital in Olympia
Circles formed by the interior of the dome at the Washington State Capital in Olympia

This week's photohunt theme is circle. I did not have any idea what I wanted to post so it was definitely a hunt. I found a good series of photos that I had not yet posted. I visited my state capital building back in mid-August. I was in the area for a garden tour and decided to stop by and tour the capital building. The legislature was adjourned for the summer so it was deserted. I was able to walk around the building. I didn't have time to take one of the tours but thoroughly enjoyed the walk.

The dome is the 4th tallest masonry dome in the world surpassed only by St Peter's Cathedral in Rome, St Paul's Cathedral in London and St Issac's Cathedral in St Petersburg. You can visit the rotunda below the dome which is very impressive. The capital building opened in 1922 and the interior is indicative of the time. Throughout the rotunda are several circles of the state seal; on the flag, on the floor and on the railings.

Here are several more shots of the building.

Washington State Capital in Olympia

Washington State Capital in Olympia

Washington State Capital in Olympia

Washington State Capital in Olympia

Washington State Capital in Olympia

Washington State Capital in Olympia

Washington State Capital in Olympia

December 23, 2010

Christmas Lights at the Edmonds Yacht Club

It was a rain-free night so we decided to take the opportunity to check out the lights in Edmonds. Our main destination was the Edmonds Yacht Club and the public docks just next to Anthony's restaurant. The night was perfect for a walk and the lights were beautiful.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

December 21, 2010

Cassata alla Siciliana

Sicilian Cassata

We have a tradition of getting together with our good friends on Vashon Island and celebrating Christmas. We got together this weekend for our celebration. We have done this now for over 10 years. They are one of G's coworkers back to the days of Seattle Garden Center in the market. Neither of us had children at the time and it was a good way to celebrate Christmas together.

We both have grown and changed over the years. They now have a beautiful boy and a bustling farm. We have transitioned between jobs. But taking time each year to get together, enjoy food and time together is the basis of our wonderful friendship.

We usually plan the menu a month or so ahead. This year we decided to have crab and tuna. I usually make dessert because it is the one time of the year that I can make a decadent dessert. Some of the past desserts have been a killer Bûche de Noël. Another year it was rich eclairs. One year it was a wonderful espresso chocolate cake that kept me up all night.

My friend mentioned how much she loved Casatta - a Sicilian ricotta cake. I looked up the cake in Dolce Italiano and found the recipe. It looked time consuming but good. I was a little skeptical about an almond glaze but decided to follow the recipe.

It is not difficult but it does involve many steps and takes a good half day to complete. It was so good. My friend thought it was one of my best dessert and I would definitely make it again. Please check out the book for the recipe but here are some pictures of the steps.

Sicilian Cassata
Gathering the ingredients

Sicilian Cassata
Pistachios are one of the main ingredients of the filling layers

Sicilian Cassata
It takes bit to chop them

Sicilian Cassata
As does grating the chocolate

Sicilian Cassata
Spread the filling between the sponge cake layers

Sicilian Cassata
All of the layers are brushed with a rum syrup

Sicilian Cassata
Final with the almond glaze

December 20, 2010

Christmas in New York

Christmas in NYC

I spent the first two weeks in December in New Jersey training for my new job. So what to do over the weekend? It was only an hour by train to NYC - Perfect. I have always wanted to see NYC at Christmas.

I had two main goals initially. I wanted to see the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Square and I also wanted to go to the Museum of Modern Art. MOMA was closed the last time I was in New York for renovation. I was talking with the hotel staff and they mentioned it would be crowded. They also suggested that I google Christmas in New York for other idea.

I completely forgot about the Christmas windows in the major department stores. Perfect! So I did a little bit of planning. It was easy to catch the New Jersey Transit train from Princeton into to Penn Station in New York. I used Google Maps to map out a route. Macy's is close to Penn Station so I decided to start at Macy's and then work my way up 5th Avenue which would take me by Lord and Taylor and Saks. Next, stop at Rockefeller Square to see the rink and tree and then go to the Top of Rock which is highly recommended on Slow Talk. I really like the idea that you can see the Empire State Building from the Top of Rock. Then on to MOMA for lunch and a bit of culture. Finally up to 60th to see Barney's before heading back to New Jersey.

I got to the Princeton Station just as the train was pulling out. The lobby filled up quickly with couples and families which gave me a hint that it was going to be very crowded day in NYC. The ride took about an hour and gave me a chance to see a bit of central New Jersey. It took me a little bit to orient myself after arriving at Penn Station but soon I was heading up 34th Avenue to see the "Miracle on 34th Street" windows at Macy's. I also needed do a little shopping. My Goodness, Macy's was already crowded at 10am but so beautiful with all the decorations.

Heading up 5th Avenue, I stopped and queued up to see the windows at Lord and Taylor. They were okay. I had a great time talking with some tourists from UK while we slowly queued past the windows.

It was packed but crowd moved along at Rockefeller Square. I was able to elbow my way up to the glass and watch the skaters. Santa was circling and weaving through the skaters. I bought my tickets for the "Top of the Rock" and had a few minutes to walk over to see the decor on the buildings and Radio City Hall.

I lined up for the elevator and watched the movie about the building of the center. It was built during the depression. I kept wondering why we could have similar projects today to reduce unemployment. The elevator car zoomed to the top and soon NYC was at my feet. I loved it. I explored all three observation floors amazed at the views. Highly recommended!

It was 1pm and I was starved so I headed off to MOMA. I had a bowl of rigatoni and a glass of Chianti at the cafe on the second floor. Very filling and perfect for a cold day.

I took an hour and viewed the wonderful paintings. My favorite period is the early 20th Century. The end of the impressionists, cubism and on into surrealism. I have more difficulties with the later abstract painters but do enjoy Pollock and De Koonig.

The afternoon was waning so I headed off to see the windows at Barney's. I was not impressed. The theme was The Food Channel and it was creative but not what I wanted to see at Christmas. I headed back and stopped at Bergdorf Goodman - What a beautiful collection of windows. These were my favorites. I loved, loved, loved them.

I started to head back to Penn Station and decided to head back along 6th and 7th Avenue with a stop in Time Square. And then along 6th to Bryant Park where I loved the ice rink and market.

It was a packed crowd in the lobby at Penn Station waiting for the track to be posted for the Trenton Train. Track 14 - and the rush was on. It was a stampede as we all rushed to get on the train and a seat. We squeeze through the doors and down the stairs. I found a seat.

I loved my day in NYC. I wish I would have been a bit braver and stayed after dark but even in the day - it was perfect day to get me in the holiday spirit.

Christmas in NYC

Christmas in NYC

Christmas in New York

Christmas in NYC

Christmas in NYC

Christmas in NYC

Christmas in New York

Christmas in NYC

Christmas in NYC

Christmas in NYC

Christmas in NYC

About Me

I live in the suburbs of Seattle with my husband. I love traveling, photography, hiking, cooking and hunting for wildflowers. Read more

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