Monday, October 30, 2006

anza borrego springs

last december, jake and i went for a spontaneous drive out to anza borrego to take pictures of the desert. we intended on making it all the way to the salton sea, but not realizing how long it would take us to get there (we took the route through Julian and stopped for a leisurely latte and their unbelievable doughnuts), we got over the mountain just in time to capture the fading light of the golden hour as it deepened the desert's colors before giving way to dusk.

del enjoyed this adventure as much as we did, but he was pretty bummed on all the stickers that i had to pull out of his paws with pliers. they were the gnarliest stickers i've ever seen...the size of lichi fruit and very lethal. he took it all in stride, however.

we also came home with a dutch apple pie from the infamous Julian PIE Company. i don't think i need to tell you that it was unbelievably good, so much so that we did not share with the neighbors.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

you probably think i'm crazy

in my effort to be sophisticated and have 2 blogs (because 2 blogs is obviously better than 1), i have managed to completely confuse myself. initially only wanting a photo blog, i started color and texture when in india last year. but after returning home, i realized that i wanted another blog to write all manner of random things that quite simply, tickle my fancy for various reasons. thus, bits & pieces was born. but then i discovered that therein lies much crossover and so i started posting photo/random stories on each blog lest the reader miss something (i.e. my birthday cake posting which contained both photos of MA's amazing food, my mother's delicious cake and my narrative).

i'm going to do my best to keep them separate, so you just have to promise me that you (my trusted reader) will endeavor to visit both sites if you so choose. i, in turn, will promise to keep you entertained, or at least i shall try mightily. finally, i hereby declare that this shall be the last double posting in the hopes that you will cease asking yourself, "didn't i read this already?"

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

i may get older, but the cake gets sweeter...

MA was ever the gracious host of this year's carmel birthday, where we (MA, the bird...aka mom, and the birthday girl) proceeded to enjoy some fine champagne and all of MA's delicious fare.

MA's delicious mustard-heirloom tomato tart

bird's "bestest girlfriend" (and bird)

my birthday cake is somewhat of an awesome feat of tradition. my mother has so far made 32 of the most perfect carrot cakes ever created for me, and only me. while many people have begged her to make the cake for them, she steadfastly refuses (get your own cake!!!).

she has used the same bundt pan every single year, the same pan that as a child, seemed to weigh about a thousand pounds because it's the real deal. she NEVER uses said bundt pan for any other, let alone anyone else's cake.

the cake is moist on the inside and chewy around the edges and the frosting is perfect, tangy cream cheese with a hint of lemon. the sprinkles are ideally multi-colored as pictured here, but in a pinch, silver balls will do fine.

last year, there was a bit of carrot cake panic as the original recipe went missing. on a yellowing index card the ingredients are listed and instructions detailed in the admirable penmanship of my mother's 16-year old hand. the card had always lived in her recipe box until the previous year when she made the cake at my house. i treasured that card until i was forced against my will to give it back.

i look forward to this cake for the better part of each year, as do the many friends who have been fortunate enough to share it with me. some have even enjoyed it fedex'ed when time and space kept me and the bird apart.

thanks MA for the hospitality as always. and thanks birdy for always making me my special cake.

and to everyone else, get in line!