Monthly Archives: January 2012



When I was in Portland back in December, my mom and I packed up a box of overflow books and things to mail. It got lost in the mail and only finally arrived today. When I opened it, I was so disappointed to discover that it had been opened in transit and had lost several items, including a silver trivet that had belonged to my grandma Bunny, one shoe and several books.

After a few tears, I was able to remember that sometimes, things get lost.



A Monday afternoon pick-me-up from my local Starbucks. My mother-in-law gave me a gift card for Christmas this year and I’ve been saving it for those moments when I need a lift. Today I felt foggy and generally off all day and the milky coffee helped enormously.



The view of Philadelphia from the steps of the Art Museum. Scott and I spent the afternoon walking around city and made our way up the Schuylkill River path to Boat House Row and the museum. It really is a lovely city.



The weather has been gorgeously unseasonable of late. So much so that I put away my work a couple of hours early today and walked around the city. I got home to a energized neighborhood just as dusk was settling.



Heading to a meeting at Greensgrow. My summer of canning classes and book promotions are coming together nicely.


On the bus, heading to meet a friend for dinner! (257)

On the bus to meet a friend for dinner and a movie. Septa used to be such a regular part of my life and now I rarely do so much as hop on a trolley. Funny how life goes through its shifts and changes.

Plates Menu at The Capital Grille

field greens salad

My great-aunt Flora loved good food. She grew up in Center City Philadelphia, in a household that kept a Chinese cook. Both her parents were physicians and when Flora was old enough, she too went to medical school (she would have preferred to be an anthropologist). Though she did learn to cook, she preferred restaurants to her home kitchen.

roasted red pepper soup

By the time I was old enough to dine with Flora, she’d been married three times, was retired from her psychiatry practice and no longer went out in the evenings. However, that didn’t stop her from eating good food. It just meant that she frequented any fine dining establishment that served lunch.

housemade soda samples

Thanks to this early conditioning, I see nothing wrong with taking the time to eat well at lunch. And so, when I got an offer to come and try the new lunch time “Plates” menu at The Capital Grille, I was thrilled to accept.

mini tenderloin with french green beans (241)

The idea behind the “Plates” menu is that busy working folks want to occasionally have a nice lunch, but are nearly always pressed for time. With this three-item fixed price menu, you can easily have a lovely lunch and still get back to the office within an hour.

Wagyu beef burger with truffle fries

You choose between three soups/salads, three sandwiches and three sides that change seasonally. While we were there, the first course options were a green salad (that’s what I ordered) a roasted red pepper soup (Scott picked that one) and clam chowder.

bruleed cheesecake

For the second course, we chose between a tenderloin sandwich (that was my pick), a Wagyu cheeseburger with a drippy fried egg (Scott got that) and a lobster roll (it was hard to decide!). Sides were truffled fries (Scott), crisp green beans (mine) and roasted root vegetables (they sounded good, but I was going for green).

creme brulee

We ended up also getting dessert, though that was not included in the $18 fixed price. We got the creme brulee and the cheesecake and both were dreamy. Other extras we tried were the housemade fruit sodas (grapefruit! mint lemonade!), fresh mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto and nibbles from the bread basket. Delicious, all of them.

Capital Grille's new Plates menu

I was entirely impressed by the meal at The Capital Grille. It’s a chain and in a city so full of wonderful independent restaurants, I rarely consider the chains when looking for a place to eat. However, from service to food, this experience was so pleasant. Both Scott and I would be happy to go back again in the future.

Disclosure: The Capital Grille comped our meal from beginning to end. However, my opinions remain entirely my own.  


cuppow on full jar

If you read the other blog, you well know that I have something of an obsession going with mason jars. I use them for everything, including my daily liquid intake. I was delighted to learn that two guys in Somerville, MA (so close to the town my dad lived in during his high school years) designed a plastic drinking lid that fits on top of a wide-mouth jar. I bought one and am entirely smitten. There’s a giveaway happening at FiJ right now, should you want a chance to win one for yourself.



Back in October, Scott got us a pair of Fitbits. They’re high tech activity counter that monitors how many steps you take a day, how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed, approximately how many calories you’ve burned and how much ground you’ve covered in miles. You can even use it to track your sleep.

I find it incredibly motivating, because it forces me to be honest with myself about how much I actually move during the day. Working at home means that some days I can easily stay parked within our 1,100 square feet. However, thanks to the Fitbit, I know how much I’ve moved and so there’s no way to fool myself into thinking that standing in the kitchen all day has provided me with enough cardiovascular stimulation for a 24 hour period.

I’ve been running errands on foot more and have been hitting the gym with increasing regularity. My running mileage has ticked up considerably (I can do 3 miles without dying, which is the best I’ve achieved in nearly 6 years) and I’m sleeping better. I highly recommend it.