Chef in the Hat, V2

As a Christmas present, I found tickets to a Microsoft/FareStart Fundraiser dinner featuring one of our favorites, Chef  Thierry Rautureau. What better way to enjoy a great meal while supporting an amazing program. FareStart is a a culinary program that helps people find their second chance.

Tonight was the night! We arrived in time for the champagne, of course.

The menu…

Smoked Trout with celery root, gribiche sauce and capers Crispy and delicious!

Guinea fowl consommé, mushroom, root vegetable Warm and comforting. 

Wagyu beef, salt spiced rub, potato-parsnip gratin, pickled apple and carrot, Harissa/sage sauce I could have used another serving of the potato-parsnip gratin

Chocolate gateau, hazelnut, meringue Pure chocolate heaven, of course

After the service, the fun began. Chef Thierry introduced the student chefs that assisted in the preparations and talked about the FareStart program. Then he talked about food. And more food. And more of his favorite foods. He also opened the floor to questions. We learned the best places in Seattle for croissants. And advice on making charcuterie. And laughed at suggestions for what not to feed your kids. Or how not to use your new food processor.

And we went home with a few bottles of wine from the silent auction. It was also fun to thumb through the Microsoft Cookbooks (two volumes of recipes from MSFT employees around the world). What a delicious, fabulous night.

Spa Day = Heaven

One of my original things was to schedule a monthly spa day. Looking back, I didn’t realize how ambitious that would be. At least I ended the year on a high note at Helle Skin Sanctuary. Found them on Groupon…and I will be back. As soon as possible.

Their website says it best…”Tucked away in gorgeous old Georgetown, Helle is a sanctuary from urban grime and pretentiousness.”

Expecting to find Helle right on the main drag, it was just a few blocks away. In a older Victorian house. Filled with beautiful trim. Painted rich colors. Playing a great iPod playlist. Included “Just a Little Lovin Early in the Morning”. Haven’t heard that song forever. What a classic.

And for the spoiling…

  • Angel Face: A 60 minute facial, complete with an excellent pressure point scalp massage.
  • Dead Sea Salt Glow: Jump-start your circulation with all-over exfoliation. My skin really felt like it glowed.

I walked out refreshed, re-energized and hungry. Thankfully, she recommended Hanger Cafe next door. What a delicious crepe. Every minute of this me-time adventure was FABULOUS!

We provide top notch skincare services in an its-o.k.-if-youre-not-feeling-quite-so-zen environment.

Maybe you’re no angel, but we’re gonna make you look like one!


2010 Predator

An old vine Zin, the 2010 Predator has gorgeous deep ruby color (don’t know how many times I swirled my glass up to the light), very fruitty and strong aromas filled my noes and then lingered across my taste buds. Yum!

And the winemaker says: Our second vintage of Predator is a rich ruby color – an intense wine with juicy fruits, spice and silky smooth tannins.

Bright Aromas: Bing cherry, blackberry jam, French vanilla, and white pepper.

Big Flavors: Blackberry, spicy white pepper, French vanilla and spearmint.

Devour with bbq ribs or pasta with spicy sausage!


One of my favorite things about living in the beautiful Pacfic Northwest is that we generally have winter. Winter that can be driven to within an hour. Or viewed on a sunny day, enjoying the distant blanket of snow on the Olympics. Or the Cascades.

And about every five years, we deal with snow and ice for about a week. We must have been due this year.

So with less than six hours into our power outage, it was time to find a solution. My laptop battery had died. My iPad was at less than 50% battery. My smartphone only wanted to text. Emergency calls only. Enough is enough.

Rescue me!

We arrived at our “shelter” to a warm meal. Handmade sausage. Rich pasta sauce. Farella. YUM!

And Casa de Meyer didn’t stop with a meal. Hospitality galore. The evening wrapped up snuggled under blankets, watching Food Network. Sipping on a glass (bottle) of Saldo. Then, bring on dessert. Fresh raspberries. Chocolate sauce. Whipped cream. Chocolate pound cake.

Is it really winter outside? I forget. Thankfully, it doesn’t take a storm like this one to slow down, enjoy life with good company and good food. But this was FABULOUS company and FABULOUS food! Much appreciated!


Such a simple word. That’s a crock!

For years, my mother has collected stuff. Art supplies. Keepsakes. Chotskies. Scraps of fabric from sewing projects completed long ago. And so, so, so much more. Growing up there was always a room of it. Albeit a small room. Now, it has taken over any chance at a guest room in her house – and the garage.

After the holidays, I suggested that she may give some of it away. I told her that I’m reaching out to the organization that we worked through to sponsor a family at the holidays to donate some of my used items, including a bed. She asked for the bed instead, stating she was ready to simplify her room and have a bed for the Bai. (Yes, my jaw came off its hinge.) So I offered to help.

Mission accomplished. Took a month. And lots of energy. More deep breaths. Started with pre-clutter removal and planning. Moved onto removal of furniture and “stuff” that can be parted with. Then a trip to IKEA for shelf units and work table. Building IKEA pieces. A two week hiatus (for me) while she organized. Finally moving of the bed from my house (now I get to purge the treasures that I stored underneath).

The most fun: While quickly organizing the garage to make room for pieces of furniture that needed to vacate the bedroom, we found a crock. And I have been hunting through antique stores and goodwill to find one to complete my new kitchen. So, as Bill says, “What a crock.” But, I got a crock. (And it was my grandmothers, so I got a family heirloom. Now I just need to find a butter churn.

Follow-up Note: maybe the biggest benefit was the inspiration to dig deeper into my own simplification. That third bedroom ends up collecting and storing more than I realized! Two trips to the Goodwill down. More to go. And a better guest hideout for future visitors.


For the past six years, my daily job role has included cars. Although I don’t love cars like I do shoes, I appreciate lines of a beautifully designed automobile. I don’t get into the technical stuff, as gas mileage and interior comfort are my hot buttons. Didn’t even test drive anything that didn’t get 40 mpg when I bought my last car. So to attend the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, my excitement can be described as luke warm.

Now that I have arrived, two words come to mind: Circus. Testosterone.

Once I got beyond those two themes, I did enjoy analyzing the format of the booths, the vast size (many were five times the size of a dealership showroom), and the ability to check out so many dream cars within such a confined space. And it was fun to take a few photos of the madness. 

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And outside of the show, the January Detroit weather was amazing. It was nice enough for walks through Greektown (and discovery of the Astoria bakery) and to venture to a few evening events…including Maroon 5 (which made the double digit girl want to hitch a ride in my suitcase).

Roast, Part Duex

When I am 2,000 miles from home, it isn’t often that I choose to re-visit a restaurant (to be honest I didn’t choose this time, but I didn’t turn down the invite either). Plus, the one makes Bailie JEALOUS!

I return to Michael Symon’s Roast.


2008 Victor Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon Intense aromas of black cherry and chocolate with wisps of spice are complimented by a background of subtle oak. Rich flavors with layers of large, soft tannins interlocking with complex oak tannins for a long, elegant finish.


Scallops cauliflower, almonds, raisin brown butter – Light and refreshing way to start knowing the heavier food was coming!
Beef Tartare cold poached egg, avocado, lime & crostini – Of course, I had to try to bite (or two).
Beef Cheek Pierogie horseradish & mushrooms – Worthy of a good plate licking, this pierogie will make my mouth water for days!!!


Although I was surrounded by roast beast of the day and large steaks, I choose to dine on something more unique. Something that I wouldn’t get just anywhere.

Seared Duck Breast farro, swiss chard, golden raisins

It took a bit of decision making to decide on this plate. But the staff confirmed my pick. The best bite was the one that I could get all four components in one mouthful. The combination of flavors and textures – DEVINE.


Rosemary Fries – If I had more time in town, I would come back for a beer and an order of these fries!
Whipped Potatoes – Only a small scoop was needed. So creamy, I think the potato to butter ratio is 2:1.
Fried Brussels Sprouts – The only way I want to eat brussels sprouts from here until I die. ONLY time I have ever wanted more. 

Dessert Selections

Beer & Pretzels Guiness ice cream, chocolate pretzels, caramel foam

Covered with a pile of caramel foam, I think I took three bites from the beer mug before I got to the ice cream layer. I thought it was good until I hit the ice cream. It is a whole new level of good when you get a bite with all three textures and flavors. The crunch of the chocolate covered pretzel, the cool and very creamy guiness ice cream and then the sweet caramel. YUM!

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Of course, each course was accompanied by red wine. I could have skipped eating for two (or three) days. Although I didn’t.

The location:

Roast | 1128 Washington Blvd. | Detroit, Michigan 48226 | 313.961.2500 | Website


The New Year’s in Mercedes-speak. Or German. You choose.

The evening was an affair to celebrate the 2011 success and to Preview of the new generation of the Mercedez-Benz SL. What a way to open my media adventures @ NAIAS (or the North American International Auto Show)…FABULOUS.


Free flowing cocktails. Tray after tray of bite-sized goodness. Steak tartar. Beef wellington. Apple almond tartlet. Shrimp in lemon chipotle sauce. Am I on the set of Mad Men? I didn’t follow the Mad Men tradition, instead enjoying the house red wine (a Cab from Ste. Michelle) and champagne.


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A stage. Live music. {{What an amazing voice!}} Is this a concert? Oh, wait! I hear an engine reving up. First, the original SL drove onto the stage. Then heads turn for the new SL. Red, of course!

Post- announcement

My weakness were in full form at this point in the night! We were served a “strolling” dinner. The courses just kept coming and coming…and I kept eating…and eating. There must have been 10 dinner choices before the dessert round started! I restrained myself, trying:

My Fabulous Favorite
  • Gnocchi with roasted chicken and pesto mousse
  • Beet salad on a bed of candied walnuts
  • Decadent hand-rolled tortellini filled with cheese covered with cream and truffles (hands down my favorite)
  • A trio of sushi
  • A yummy creamy risotto
  • And for dessert…a cake ball (but filled with raspberry mousse), an amazing trio of cheese with honeycomb and creme brulee

Editor’s Note: Later in the week, we learned about the ramp that is build each year inside the hotel to get the showcase cars to the fourth floor of the conference areas. It was way to expensive for me to fathom. That is all I am saying.

The Location:

The Westin Book Cadillac |  1114 Washington Boulevard  | Detroit, MI | 313.442-1600 | Website