Showing posts with label tangent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tangent. Show all posts

Thursday, October 7, 2010

12 Boxes of Cookbooks: A Blessing and a Curse

My kitchen and cookbook collection all boxed up!

I moved last Sunday. I'm really excited about my new place. Beautiful kitchen with beautiful countertops. Plenty of room to roll out dough without leaving the kitchen to find a larger work surface. Woohoo!

But you might have noticed that I haven't posted a recipe lately. Well, that's because a lot of my kitchen is still in boxes! And not only the KitchenAid stand mixer. I can't even find my silverware! I know they're somewhere, not lost forever, but until I get through my boxes, I'll be living off plastic forks, spoons, and knives.

Perhaps the most amazing thing of all is my cookbook collection. It took 12 boxes and many hours to pack them up for the move. 12!!!!!!!! And since I haven't attached my bookcases to the walls yet for earthquake safety (ah, the awesomeness of living in California does come with a price), I've been holding off on putting the books onto the shelves. I miss my cookbooks. So much! I know that when I finally get to take them out, I'll be kissing each one on the forehead, er, cover.

Anyways, wanted to update you on the reason I haven't baked in awhile. All of my favorite things are inaccessible. I'll be posting plenty soon. I've got a sweet kugel recipe I'm dying to share with you.

Wish me luck with the unpacking!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Glamour Meets The Blogger at Blogger Prom 2010: Hollywood Confidential

The Blogger Prom Committee (that's me on the right!)
Photo credit:

Happy Go Marni is mostly home to baked goods, step-by-step photos, and food thoughts. But part of my identity is simply as blogger. And last Wednesday, Blogger Prom 2010: Hollywood Confidential made its grand entrance! After months and months of planning by the Blogger Prom Committee, of which I'm part, the day had arrived to put down the pencils, or keyboards, stop planning, and just have fun and enjoy the moment! And enjoy we did!

A welcome sign as you enter the lobby of Yamashiro

The event took place at the gorgeous, and historic, even haunted (!!), Yamashiro Restaurant in the hills of Hollywood. You know the views are going to be spectacular when you have to drive up a steep, curvy hill to reach the secluded restaurant at the top.

Blogger Prom is an exclusive, invite-only event for bloggers and their +1s, a chance for bloggers who only know each other by URL or twitter handle to meet in person.

The stunning view of the city from Yamashiro
Photo credit:

Gigantic doors at the entrance to Yamashiro
Photo credit:

This is the 2nd year for Blogger Prom. Last year was 80s-themed. This year, to do something completely different, we chose another era, the 1940s, and completely transformed ourselves and the venue into Golden Age of Hollywood 1940s glamour. It was so much fun to choose accessories, a dress, and even a hairstyle that reflected the era. The Blogger Prom Committee members were invited by the fabulous Studio DNA in Los Angeles for complete hair and makeup transformations. They treated us to mimosas and worked with us to get the look we each desired. My curly hair is not the easiest thing to take care of, so I don't usually hand it over to someone else to style. But I completely trusted the gals at Studio DNA, and with a curling iron, a whole lot of bobby pins, and even more hairspray, they gave me a 1940s wave up-do and attached my grandmother's hat to my hair! I love the look! Thank you so much, Studio DNA, for making me feel glamorous!

My glamour shot
Photo credit:

Blogger Prom 2010 was so well-planned, we had thought of everything! There was even a designated driving service called Y Drive stationed outside near the valet so attendees could be driven home safely (the driver drives YOUR car and packs his scooter in the trunk so he can get back to the party venue).

Yamashiro is truly beautiful. Once you've driven up the winding road to the top, you enter the party through gigantic, grand doorways into an amazing courtyard with walkways on all four sides. The party made use of the entire space, plus a bar area and a room with a million dollar view. I must say, working with Yamashiro to plan this prom could not have been more ideal. The entire staff at Yamashiro were so helpful and hospitable, and the venue itself is so fabulous, I just can't say enough positive things about Yamashiro!

The beautiful courtyard at Yamashiro
plus our twitterfeeds on a giant screen

The food at Blogger Prom was incredible! Chef Brock of Yamashiro, who is absolutely adorable and charming, not to mention uber-talented, prepared and personally served his signature tacos for guests. Barrie Lynn, the cheese impresario, was on hand to pair cheeses with your beverage of choice, plus, she even encouraged putting some delicious spreadable cheese on candy brittle! Wha? Coolhaus, the ice cream sandwich truck, had a booth and was serving up delicious ice cream flavors like Strawberry Jalapeno and Chocolate Orange Cointreau (which I ordered because I'm nuts for chocolate and orange together). Crumbs Bake Shop contributed mini cupcakes for the night. ChocolateBox Cafe provided an assortment of chocolates.

Chef Brock of Yamashiro preparing his signature tacos for long lines
of anxiously awaiting bloggers
Photo credit:

Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches!!! Usually they're a food truck,
but for Blogger Prom, they were a station!

Crumbs Cupcakes station

Choosing chocolates at the ChocolateBox station

We even had liquor sponsors, and our very own Committee Member Natalie Bovis who runs The Liquid Muse invented a signature cocktail drink just for us.

A few weeks ago I approached my friend Heather Kincaid, who I know from grad school at USC. She is now a professional photographer and I find myself constantly ooohing and ahhhing over her photography blog that features weddings and portraits and all sorts of other exciting events. The photos are so clever, beautiful, and playful. I asked Heather to be the official Blogger Prom photographer, and she said yes (haha it's as if I proposed to her!). Heather's photos from Blogger Prom are amazing. Visit her site for lots and lots of photos, including both color and black and white . She also blogged about her favorite photos of the night here.

And here I am with photographer Heather, all dolled up!

Heather and Marni
Photo credit:

DJ Steve provided us with great music from the era. Lots of big band, jazz, Sinatra, that sort of thing. And behind the dance floor was a giant projector screen, the entire size of the wall, where we had the movie Sunset Boulevard playing silently with subtitles. Aren't we clever! And speaking of giant projector screens, out in the courtyard, there was another giant projector screen, but this one wasn't displaying a movie. It was displaying twitterfeeds that mentioned Blogger Prom. Bloggers were on their cell phones tweeting away the evening and checking to see if they had won any of the awesome giveaway prizes the Committee had collected from sponsors.

But whether or not you won a prize, everyone went home with a gift bag filled with fun, and in some cases really valuable goodies. A $100 gift certificate for eye lash extensions at LuxLash, a $20 gift certificate to Border Grill in downtown, a free facial at Dermalogica, $25 to spend at, Unite hair products, free Sprinkles cupcake coupons, tickets to the Grammy Museum, and more! Read about all the gift bag items here.

Showing off one of the 200+ gift bags we stuffed until
late Monday night before the prom

The committee hanging out in the bridal suite at Yamashiro one night
before Blogger Prom, finishing up the last of the preparations

The partying continued even after Yamashiro closed its doors. Test Kitchen hosted our after party! From 11pm to 1am, and yes, on a school night, we met up at this almost underground establishment, sipping specialty drinks as we got sleepier and sleepier. I'm going to need a long period of recovery from this midweek party craziness!

Last year, attendance to Blogger Prom was completely free. This year, the committee selected a charity we could all get behind, Operation Frontline, and required a $10 donation to the organization for attendance to Blogger Prom. People purchased their donation via Goldstar, and some attendees generously gave much more than required. We were moved by how surprisingly sweet bloggers could be! It is not too late to donate. Regardless of if you attended Blogger Prom or not, Goldstar has left the donation page open to the public for a few more weeks. Operation Frontline helps families with nutrition education. If you're feeling generous, donate here, and help more families learn to prepare healthy meals at home.

@TaraMetBlog and @laocfoodie
Photo credit:

@carolineoncrack, @happygomarni, and the hand of @shopeatsleep
This photo should host a caption contest!
Photo credit:

@squashblossom and @estarla manning the Check-In Table

As this was a blogger event, dozens of blog posts are popping up, post-event, to recap the evening. Take a look at some of the coverage, including from The LA Times and Brand X!! I am so proud to be a part of something so cool, so unique and special, and I've made so many new blogger friends along the way. Blogger Prom 2010 is one of the brightest spots of the year for me.

Some of the Blogger Prom 2010 Coverage:

LA Times: Parties: Blogger Prom's Take on Old Hollywood Glamour
Brand X: Blogger Prom 2010: LA's Twitterati Goes Glam
Recessionista: Getting on My Vintage Vogue for the Los Angeles Blogger Prom
When Tara Met Blog: Blogger Prom 2010
Shop Eat Sleep: All the Glitz and Glamour: Blogger Prom 2010 Hollywood Confidential
L.A. and O.C. Foodventures: I've Been Busy
Confessions of a Fat Girl: COFG Goes to Blogger Prom...Again!
Kevin Eats: Blogger Prom 2010
Franklin Avenue: Scenes From the 2nd Blogger Prom
Sure Beats Work: Blogger Prom v2.0
Marian the Foodie: Event Recap: Blogger Prom 2010 - 9/22/10
Caroline on Crack: Studio DNA: On How to be Lovely for Blogger Prom
Hey Hey Scenesters: Blogger Prom 2010
Busy Beth's Blog: Blogger Prom 2010 - Hollywood Confidential
Diana Takes a Bite: Blogger Prom 2010: Living the Glamorous Life
Naked City: The Blogger Prom is Decadent and Delightful
Fete LA: Getting Hollywood Confidential
Here, Eat This!: Blogger Prom 2010 at Yamashiro
Once There was a Girl...: Hollywood Confidential

Photo Album!

Beginning with the committee doing hair and makeup at Studio DNA...




The back of my do

@carolineoncrack, @squashblossom, @estarla all beautified!


My grandmother's hat!

Here is a sampling of the amazing attire people donned at Blogger Prom!

Glamorous poses with friends...

@amandajoy, @happygomarni, @valleyfilmfest

@intellichick, @happygomarni

@toastymuffin, @happygomarni

@shopeatsleep, @happygomarni, @tarametblog

@estarla, @happygomarni, @carolineoncrack

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Go Marni Has a Facebook Page!

I started this blog in December of 2007. Yeesh! Now, 2 years and 9 months later, it's September of 2010, and the blog has a Facebook page! My, how it's grown. I feel like a parent who's marking her kid's height against a door frame using a red crayon. And this parent is in shock at the height increase. Fortunately for Happy Go Marni, the growth spurt isn't painful! Poor non-metaphorical kiddos.

I continue to have so much fun with this blog. It's time to take it to the next level!


More and more of my blogger friends are creating Facebook pages for their blogs and I'm finding it really helpful for keeping up with the latest posts of all these pals. I use Facebook as my aggregator. I have Google Reader too. But since I log into Facebook daily anyways, it is really easy and convenient to see my friends' blog posts come up in my newsfeed. And I can always visit their pages manually by doing a quick search.

So I am adding my own blog to the mix. Not only will it be an easy way for friends and family to keep up with the blog via Facebook, but Happy Go Marni readers I've never even met before will have a new way of engaging with the blog. As time goes by and I get into a groove where I know exactly how I want to use the Facebook page, I might include other commentary or links of interest. In that way, the page is not simply a place for me to share my most recent recipe or blog post, but a slightly deeper connection between readers and the author of Happy Go Marni. A maybe-not-quite-all-but-close-to-all-access pass to me. :)

If you're a Happy Go Marni reader, click Like on the Facebook page. I can't wait to get to know you better!

And a special shout-out to Hillel Smith, my talented graphic artist friend who created the profile graphic for the new Facebook page. He also redesigned this blog. He's really awesome. You should hire him. :-P

Friday, September 3, 2010

Speaking of Pie, How About a Model T Bakery Truck with a Pie Display in the Trunk!

The coolest bakery truck EVERRRRRR!

In honor of Sunday's 2nd Annual KCRW Good Food Pie Contest in Beverly Hills, I thought I'd share a very neat pie vehicle. Huh? Read on!

Back in June, I attended the Palo Alto Concours D' Elegance, an annual classic car show in the Bay Area. My dad was showing his 1935 Supercharged Auburn, and I might add, he placed 3rd in his class! Go, Dad! Whenever we attend car shows (which is not uncommon when you grow up with a father who restored a vintage car from a box of nuts and bolts and scraps of metal and expended a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for 20 years to complete the project flawlessly), we take an hour or so during the show to walk around and see the other car entries. It's always fun to take a stroll through time, spanning about a century, and see beautiful, old cars. Plus, my dad, who is a car expert, helps me appreciate everything I'm seeing more by explaining the history or significance of each car.

Mom, Dad, me standing in front of my dad's red 1935 convertible Auburn sedan,
and the reason we're at the car show

Standing with my dad's baby

Well, at the Palo Alto Concours D' Elegance, we happened upon a Ford Model T circa 1913. But not just any Model T...a Model T-turned-bakery truck with a pie display in the back!

My mom posing by the pie display at the back of the old bakery truck

My mom and I were instantly in love. We wanted this old bakery truck! My dad explained to me that back in the day when this truck was not vintage, but modern, a bakery would place an order with Ford for the Model T and then Ford would send the Model T to a body company to modify the body and turn it into this specialty truck.

This truck has so much character. Look at the wood sides, the shelves, the paint job. I wish more vehicles today had a personality like this. Instead, I'll just continue to attend car shows with my dad and continue to dream as I walk down aisle upon car aisle representing an era that's now mostly a happy memory.

The pies are on wooden shelves at the back of the bakery truck

Though maybe if I save up enough money, I'll invest in my own Model T bakery truck so a piece of that car personality I yearn for can be mine. And I'll have the paint job say Happy Go Marni Bakery. Wouldn't that be nice...

See you Sunday at the pie contest!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Mom and I Are Entering the 2nd Annual KCRW Good Food Pie Contest!

Well, we've gone and done it. We've signed up AGAIN for the KCRW Good Food Pie Contest. We, as in my mom and me! The contest is this Sunday, September 5, at the Taste of Beverly Hills event from 4-6pm. You might recall that this mother-daughter team entered and won the Cream Pies category last year. Woohoo! Well, we're back, and we're changing things up a bit. I don't want to jinx anything so I won't discuss our pie. But I will say, we are not competing in the Cream Pies category this time! We are so excited! My mom is flying down from the Bay Area for the weekend!

Several weeks ago, when my mom and I were flirting with the idea of entering again, we discussed flavor combinations we love. It's funny how the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. We both immediately knew the general direction of the pie, and which two ingredients had to be present. Then we set to building the pie, layer by layer.

We tested fillings, crusts, toppings, and more, adjusting the quantity of sugar or butter or xxx (wouldn't want to give away the recipe!), until we found what we believe to be an exceptional pie! It's taken a lot of time, thought, and expensive ingredients, but it's one of those fun things worth putting resources toward - and come on, doing it as a mother-daughter project makes it a no-brainer. Plus, it's delicious! So regardless of how we do this Sunday at the contest (um, there are more than 200 pies entered!!!), we are quite pleased with how our pie turned out and have already had a lot of fun preparing.

Oh, and there's going to be an apron fashion show at the pie contest. So I am planning on wearing the adorable bright, ruffly apron my very talented and crafty friend Crystal sewed for me in between the long hours she spends researching biomedical engineering orthopedic something-or-other for her Ph.D. Yes, she's a renaissance woman!

With Crystal on the night she gave me the apron!

Anyways, wish us luck this Sunday! And if you're in LA, think about coming out to cheer us on, say hello, and meet lots of fellow foodies. It's very fun and you get to taste the pie entries after the judging is over! Free pie? Yes siree!

Details about parking, schedule, etc... are on the official pie contest page.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Behold! Mystery Eggs! And These Are Nothing to Yolk About! Plus Egg-sclusive Video Diary

I was making ice cream last night using the custard method. Custard method means I'm going to need some egg yolks, 5 egg yolks to be exact.

So I took the carton of eggs out of the fridge, a carton of large, cage free, vegetarian feed, brown eggs from Trader Joe's. I selected an egg to crack open so I could separate the yolk from the white and discard the white.

But when I pulled apart the egg shell, something quite unusual, VERY cool, was staring at me in the face! Not one, but two egg yolks! In a single egg! What? Yes! Two egg yolks were inside one egg! I was in shock. Giddy. I felt present at a school science experiment or bizarre egg research study in a government-run food science laboratory. But no, it's just me in my kitchen, using friendly Trader Joe's eggs. Huh. So I poured the contents of the shell into my hand, allowed the egg white to fall through the cracks of my fingers, and stared dumbfounded at two egg yolks sitting in my hand. They were connected! They were not just twins. They were conjoined twins! Siamese if you please?

I put them in my large glass bowl, moved the bowl around, and watched as the two yolks slid across the bottom of the bowl TOGETHER, connected at the hip, if you will. I'm clearly not over the shock. Haha!

But back to the project at hand. I still needed three more egg yolks for my ice cream!

I picked up another egg from the carton, cracked it on the countertop, and...


I was even more dumbfounded to find two more yolks in a single egg! It was happening again! OMG!

Let's review the stats so far.
  • I need 5 egg yolks for this ice cream recipe.
  • I've cracked two eggs.
  • I have four egg yolks.
  • You do the math!
As it turns out, when I cracked my third egg, the results were more normal, and I got only one yolk inside that egg. But hey, five yolks in three eggs is pretty impressive stuff.

Is the moral of the story that everyone should buy their eggs from Trader Joe's so they can get more bang for their buck? I mean, I only needed to crack three eggs, not five, to get my five yolks for the ice cream recipe! Saved me a few pennies.

Or maybe this happens to everyone now and then? Doubt it. I can tell you this. I'm a baker. I've cracked hundreds and hundreds of eggs in my lifetime. This has never happened to me before. It may never happen to me again. But it just happened to me twice in a row!

I'm going to buy a lottery ticket.

Watch the video as it all unfolds....


Thursday, July 1, 2010

What Do You Think of Restaurants Charging for Splitting a Dish? Or, How I Became a Troublemaker

I became a troublemaker yesterday when I started a controversial thread on Serious Eats. Anyone with a Serious Eats account can initiate a topic.

It all started when a friend emailed me the menu to a restaurant in Beverly Hills that she wanted to try with me. I immediately noticed a note at the bottom of the menu stating there'd be a $3 charge for splitting a dish. I've seen this on menus before, from low key diners and delis to high end fancy shmancy restaurants and everything in between. But for some reason, while reading this menu from a friend, I got curious. I wondered if this split dish charge was really fair. I've never liked paying it. So what did I do? I went to a community of passionate foodies - Serious Eats - and started a thread on the topic. This is what I wrote:
What is your opinion of restaurants that charge for splitting a dish? I often read on menus that there is a $2 or $3 charge for splitting. Obviously they can't charge you for splitting if you are ordering your food to go, since they have no idea what you do with the food when you get home. But it's often the case when dining in. I'm sure restaurants have their reasons, but it feels a little bit like nickel and diming to me. Is my annoyance justified? Because I really don't like this extra charge!
In one day, there are already 31 comments! And some of them are heated, where I can see the fire under their tuchus, enraged at a fellow commenter, or the concept of charging for splitting a dish at all. Who knew this would spark such controversy!

I have to admit, when I posted my topic, I did not really think there were good reasons for the charge. But after reading some of the comments, I do understand a little bit better why restaurants choose to charge. Does that mean I have to like and support it? No. But I'm less in the dark about it. And yeah, maybe even a little more supportive.

Here are some of the arguments in favor of this charge:
  • When the restaurant splits the dish, they have to plate the dish twice and break up a beautiful plate presentation, which can be a challenge, require skill, and take extra time
  • Splitting dirties an extra dish
  • The restaurant needs to make money and your table of two is taking up space but only ordering food for one
  • Splitting a dish is no different than a corkage fee or cutting-a-cake fee
  • The restaurant might give you extra food on each of the two plates so you're actually getting more food than the original single dish
  • The waiter is serving two people, not one, and so you are being charged because the waiter is still attending to you, even if there is only one dish shared between two people
I'm sure there are plenty more arguments in favor of the charge that I forgot to mention. And there are tons of people on the other side of the coin who can't stand the charge.

One statement that's been made a couple of times in the comments is that those people (myself included) who do not like the charge are just cheap. I take offense at that. I am not cheap. If I don't want to pay the charge, it is because I do not think I am receiving anything of monetary value for the charge. If I am receiving a service, or using valuable restaurant resources in order to split a dish, then it should be more clear and I'd be just fine paying the fee.

To the argument that when you split a dish, each of the two plates is given extra food so that you are, in sum, getting more than the quantity of a single dish, I just don't find that a strong argument in favor of the charge. Yes, I'm getting more food than I asked for, but that's exactly the problem: I didn't ask for more. It's certainly generous of the restaurant to give me extra, but it's unsolicited and I do not want to pay the restaurant for freebies. They're not exactly "gifts," then. I am a generous tipper at restaurants when I think the service was sufficient, so my extra charge should be my prerogative and it should come in the form of a tip.

But at the end of the day, it's only $2 or $3 we're talking about and I'll survive. I just like to stir up trouble. Thank you, Serious Eats, for putting up with me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Iguana Cookbook and Other Weird Cookbooks I Admittedly Do Not Own...YET

At various times, I've mentioned my extensive collection of cookbooks. Hundreds and hundreds of them. But not until today have I seen a list of cookbooks where I do not own a single one. That's because The Huffington Post has compiled quite the list! A list they call "The Most WTF Cookbooks of All Time."

You have got to take a look at their slideshow of cookbook covers! From a serial killer's cookbook to trailer park down home cooking to cooking with iguanas and a book dedicated exclusively to testicles. And lots of other random, unusual cookbooks.

Now my cookbook collection, as large as it is, feels a bit boring! Maybe I should start eating iguana. Where does one purchase a cooking iguana? And are they kosher?
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