Friday, December 30, 2011

Hey Pretty Thing 2011 recap

Holidays are super busy, but being engaged during the holidays has multiplied the festivities and that's been a lot of fun. I always believe that every new year will be the best year of my life, and 2011 has definitely been the best thus far. In the past year, I traveled to over 13 cities around the world, wrote for Seattle Magazine, was maid-of-honor for my sister in Hong Kong, made it on the front page of the Seattle Times, in my best friend's wedding, was accepted into grad school, and got engaged to the love of my life! Thank you all for your support, I look forward to the next best one with you guys. :) Here are some photos from the blog to remember the past year:

2/14 Life is too short to not experience the madness of love | My bf, and now fiancé, and me at the Palace of Fine Arts when we went down to San Francisco and Napa for Valentine's Day weekend.

3/17 Photojournal of New York City | In the Ace Hotel where we stayed in NY.

9/27 Bo.lan - Bangkok, Thailand | One of my favorite dining experiences from our Southeast Asia trip over the summer.

10/10 Hey Pretty Thing x Michael Kors part 1 | The first of five photoshoots for Michael Kors in Bellevue Square.

10/31 White Swan x Halloween | Handmade feather headset.

11/30 Italy through Instagram part 1 | Scooters in Rome. More photos from Italy to come!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

I'm engaged!


Those who follow me on Instagram (@carolynyuen) or Twitter might have heard the news.. My boyfriend proposed on Friday! The night was completely perfect and after, he had planned a surprise engagement party in the private room of a wine bar. It was such a fun celebration with family and friends, people gave speeches, one of my best friends and her musician husband sang and performed a few songs on their guitars, and there was a constant flow of wine and food all night. Then, Christmas weekend was filled with laughter, good food, and loved ones.. happiest weekend ever! Most of all because I so can't wait to marry my best friend. :) Anyway, I wrote a bit more about how it all happened in response to a question on Formspring.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday dinner 2011: The Herbfarm - Seattle

Every year, my bf and I have a tradition of having a holiday dinner with just the two of us. The season can get busy - in the best way - with friends and family, so I love the idea of setting aside a night to dine somewhere special and celebrate together. Bf made reservations months in advance for The Herbfarm, an AAA 5-Diamond restaurant that grows its produce/herbs in the backyard farm and sources everything else around the Pacific Northwest. The menu changes frequently and is always 9-courses paired with 5-6 wines. It was an entire experience of lavish decor, delicious and thoughtful food, perfectly matched wines with unlimited pours, and live music. The dinner lasted 4.5 hours! We had so much fun. I'll let the photos speak for this.

An almost overwhelming number of silverware and glasses, but the excitement of the foreshadowed feasting and drinking helped me look past that. The interior was decorated so festively for Christmas!

Patricio Contreras on guitar. They also had carolers come to each table to sing a couple Christmas songs of our choice, which was a cute touch.

The 1st course paired with the aforementioned brut. The following photos go into more detail about each of the three.

Poached scallop with Yellowstone River Paddlefish caviar, dill, and scallop crema. The light preparation didn't manipulate the scallop much so it just melted in my mouth, and its natural creaminess was enhanced by the savory caviar.

Chilled poached oyster on salsify panna cotta, pickled wild Chicken of the Woods mushroom, and fried leek. Having just come back from Italy, I was stoked to see panna cotta, but I've never had it in this savory way. It added a smoothness that drew out the briny flavor of the ocean from the juicy oyster.

Alaska Spot prawn in Jerusalem artichokes and local saffron.

Seeded rye loaf and sweet milk buns with house-churned Holstein cow butter. And our pet rock bulldog.

2nd course: Albacore tuna confit from the St. Jude fishing vessel on Washington coast, tuna tartar with crushed celery root, fresh radish, fennel bulb, and Klipsun Vineyard Verjus vinaigrette. Wine paired: 2010 Efeste Sauvignon Blanc, "Feral" Wild Yeast, Evergreen Vineyard, Washington. I'm not usually a big fan of white but this went so well with the tuna, and aren't the colors presented so beautifully?

3rd course: Oregon hazelnut-fed pork belly, schnitzel, and hazelnut-smoked loin with mustard-braised turnips, lemon thyme spaetzle, vinegar-red cabbage puree, and live mustard greens. Wine: 2010 Dowsett Gewürztraminer, Celilo Vineyard, 1982 Old Vines Block. Considering the wine is older than I am, I had to have another glass.. and frying pork belly is genius.

 A shot of the open kitchen with the staff working under Chef Chris Weber (not pictured).

4th course: Rotisserie Moulard duck breast with pumpkin-farro risotto, seared local foie gras with caramelized onion and lavender-quince jam and Oregon winter black truffle duck jus. Wine: 2008 Westrey Pinot Noir, Oracle Vineyard, Dundee Hills, Oregon. To experience the duck and foie gras together was sensational.. plus, I'm obsessed with truffle.

5th course: Whole-roasted prime rib of wagyu beef, confit of Ozette Native potatoes, wild winter mushrooms, Brussels sprouts in horseradish cream, woodoven-roasted carrots, roasted garlic clove, and bone marrow sauce bordelaise. Wine: 2007 DeLille Cellars Chaleur "D2," Meritage Red, Yakima Valley. We later chatted with Chef Weber who explained the process of this dish. They roast the entire prime rib starting at 10am for 8-minute segments so the juices flow to the edge, then pull it out for 8-minutes so the juices run back in, and on and on. All that meticulous labor paid off in the most juicy, tender, and flavorful slab of prime rib.

6th course: Fried wrapped parcel of Larkhaven Farmstead blue sheep cheese, roasted chestnuts, sheep cheese dust, sitka spruce syrup, and spicy cress to transition from savory foods to desserts.

7th course: Douglas Fir and Szechuan peppercorn sorbet with cranberry espuma.

8th course: Terrine of chocolate, marbled chocolate-brioche bread pudding with sugar plum jam, parsnip ice cream, salted chocolate tuille, and bay leaf eggnog sauce.

Finally, the last course, I ended the spectacular meal with a wild native brew of Madrone bark. The calming earthy hot liquid felt so good after the feast. Can't wait to come back!

Herbfarm on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rome through Instagram


Sorry for the lack of posts, midway through my trip to Italy the Internet became totally unreliable. While in Perugia, wi-fi didn't reach to our room so we had to huddle by the door to get like one bar.. not worth it. Anyway, I got back home to Seattle last night, so now I'll be posting regularly. I took thousands of photos on my DSLR so watch for those, but for now here are some good ole' shots in Rome via Instagram.

1. Colosseum.
2. Italy is so festive during Christmas time. This is the street leading to the Spanish Steps lined with lights.
3. An antique bookstore I stumbled upon somewhere in Rome. Dream come true.
4. Pistachio, hazelnut, and stracciatella gelato.
5. So many cute little cars in Italy! This one seriously looks like a toy. I was so big next to it.
6. The gorgeous Trevi Fountain. Tossed three coins in, I have a good feeling all three wishes will come true. :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oxblood jeans

Rag & Bone leather jacket (similar), Helmut Lang cutout tank top (similar) and cutout paneled knit (similar), Twenty8Twelve jeans (similar), Topshop boots, Marc by Marc Jacobs spiral ring

This sweater is so loosely knit it, well first, should probably not even be called a sweater, and second, the knit almost looks like white wires. It's a cool aesthetic, but I always get it hooked on stuff like zippers, and obviously it provides no warmth. I see the latter as a good thing come springtime when thin breezy knits are ample coverage. Anyway, I have three of those spiral rings in gold, silver, and black. I used to just have a silver one but while on a date with my bf last year, I took it off to wash my hands and left it in the restroom (embarrassingly happens more times than I'd like to admit, even though I just did). A few weeks later, my bf surprised me with a gift and had ordered all of them for me. So sweet!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mom Tri's Kitchen - Phuket, Thailand

One of my favorite dining experiences was when we were in Phuket, Thailand a few months ago. Mom Tri's, a modern Thai fusion restaurant, is located on the edge of a cliff overlooking Kata Noi beach and the sun setting into the horizon throughout the evening. It was surreal to dine somewhere so beautiful, immersed in the ocean air with waves crashing into the rocks below.

My bf got Singha beer and I had a fresh Thai coconut. This drink order was consistent in every Asian country we traveled to, the boy was loyal to local brews and I was crazed about fresh coconut juice and scraping the meat off the insides.

The view from our table. I wish I could enjoy the entire process of the sun setting more often but usually in the busy day to day I only can catch glimpses. On vacation, free time is abundant, and I loved having a meal long enough to notice every change in the light.

A little cup of potato soup to start.. I think. They gave these out in the beginning of the meal so I don't remember what else was in it.

Som Tum Pu-Nim, which was a fried soft-shell crab green papaya salad with Tobasco and coriander. I like the preservation of the form of the crabs in the presentation even though it made eating them feel more personal.. like hey, I can see you..

Phuket Rock lobster poached in butter with horseradish, sautéed leek, spring onion, and semi-dry tomatoes served with beetroot risotto. Being so close to the ocean, I had to try their seafood. The risotto was a creamy complement and the beetroot stained it with a pretty purple pink shade.

Roasted duck in mango and ginger sauce served with roasted root vegetables. Thailand mangoes are my favorite because they're so juicy and sweet, and the sauce was essentially pureed fresh mangoes with some spice from the ginger.

Tempura Phuket bananas with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream for dessert.

The view by the time we were almost finished with dinner.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Days of perfect tunes, the colors red and blue

Shipley & Halmos trench coat, T by Alexander Wang jersey blazer, PRPS drop crotch jeans, Alaïa cutout booties, striped top and envelope clutch from Hong Kong boutiques

I've always loved the classic combination of a trench coat with a striped top, jeans, and heels. I layered a jersey blazer inside for warmth, and added some colorful accessories to spruce up the basic look. I've been into clutches this season, but they're horrible for multitasking.. it pretty much occupies one hand/armpit elbow region at all times. Anyway, so finally, this is the debut of the Alaïa booties that I posted about here. I probably have more black boots in my shoe collection than any other style, but the cutouts set these apart.