Oh JoyOh Joy

{oh joy eats dessert with} tara o'brady...

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Who Tara O'Brady, freelance food writer, mother of two young lads, and the one behind Seven Spoons

Where Niagara, Ontario

Time 2:21 p.m

What's a typical dessert for you? I'll admit a particular fondness for ice cream. Strawberry Swirl with lots of vanilla bean in spring, Raspberry Ripple with lemon curd and crushed meringue in summer, Espresso Caramel studded with cookies in winter, and this chocolate one pretty much any time of the year. Give me a bowl and a spoon, and I'm happy. Our 6-year-old named these {above} Sugar Buns, so that's the name that's stuck—he believes the sugar crust is the best part, and I won't argue. But sugar is just the beginning, and then that swirl is made up of lots of good stuff including browned butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, crystallized ginger for some zing, and fresh orange zest to set it all off. The dough is flaky and a texture in-between a traditional sweet roll and a danish. And these aren't for after meals only. They're the sort of sweet to keep around to have with tea or coffee at any time of day {as a bonus, they look pretty out on the counter}

What's your dream dessert? A plate of galettes cancalaises or the mille-feuille from Olivier Roellinger's Grain de Vanille in Cancale, France. Either would embody the very definition of dreamy.

How often do you treat yourself to dessert? As often as possible.

Thanks Tara!
— Joanna

{photo of dessert by Tara, photo of Tara by her husband Sean}

currently snacking on...

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Mint and chocolate is one of my favorite dessert combos ever. I always loved Andes Mints and Peppermint Patties as a kid, so it's no wonder I devoured these melt-in-your-mouth minty chocolates called "Pigmints" by Los Angeles-based chocolatiers Petite Pig in a matter of seconds. They're like like bite-sized minty truffle squares...so, so good... — Joy

{photo by Oh Joy}

{oh joy eats} bäco mercat in downtown la...

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I'm a big fan of Lazy Ox Canteen and was excited to try Josef Centeno's newest endeavor, Bäco Mercat in the Old Bank district of Downtown LA. The dishes were inspired by off-menu late night snacks he'd create for family and friends.

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Because I love grown-up sodas so much {especially because I craved them so much during pregnancy}, I was delighted to see that they make their very own version. Bäco Pop is an orange ginger juniper soda, and it's so good! Paired with their house made corn nuts, it was a perfect snack to start off with while waiting for our meal to arrive.

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The signature dish at Bäco Mercat is the "Bäco"—a signature flatbread sandwich that was developed by the chef. Here, the bäco bread takes center stage and works as a vessel to hold pork, beef, poultry, seafood and vegetables. We had the Oxtail Hash with pickles, cheddar, and a crispy perfect tator tot smashed in the middle along with some super pretty roasted green tomatoes.

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For a light interlude, I loved the Hamachi Crudo with bits of bacon and topped on a pile of avocado. We finished off our lunch with the Coco Flatbread pizza. This one, The Salty Jowel, included guanciale, tomato, ricotta, and a fried egg right on top. There's something about the addition of a slightly runny egg on things that always makes it even better to me.

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Afterwards, the light rain had finally passed, and it was nice to sit outside and people watch after a delicious and filling meal. — Joy

Bäco Mercat / 408 S. Main St. / Los Angeles, CA 90013 / 213.687.8808

{Photos by Bonnie Tsang for Oh Joy. My outfit: Heart sweater by ASOS, dress from past season of Roxy (similar), polka dot sandals c/o Loeffler Randall, bag is vintage, nail polish by Essie.}

love this...

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...a crocheted mandarin orange bag by Leninka... — Joy

this & that...

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...wear this Ariel Gordon bracelet, decorate with that chair from Design Within Reach...

Bekka

you guys...

...this seriously melts me. We're heading to Philly today for Ruby's first trip home to visit all of her grandparents, meet her Uncle {my little brother} for the first time, and see a bunch of our close family and friends. Fingers crossed for a not-so-bad 5 hour flight with a 7 month old! — Joy

oh joy for microsoft...

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I've always wanted to bring some of my patterns into the tech world and soften up gadgets with a little pattern and prettiness. So, I'm excited to share my first foray into the tech world with this Artist Series mouse I designed for Microsoft.

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In true Oh Joy style, a flutter of florals sprinkle onto the top in matte metallics of silver and gold. I've been using this mouse with my laptop and love how it stores flat when not in use...which is perfect for traveling. You can see more details about my Oh Joy mouse right here! — Joy

{photos by Oh Joy}

{flavor stories} strawberry & cream popovers...

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Perfect for a summer afternoon, these strawberry & cream popovers might just be my new favorite thing! They're a non-traditional take on the classic strawberry shortcake—think cream puff meets popover meets first of the season strawberries...yum!

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Plus, they're super simple {and quick!} to make. Not only do they have a delightfully moist center and a perfectly crisp exterior, the mixture of vanilla pudding and fresh whipped cream is pretty darn delicious!

You'll need:
1 recipe for vanilla pudding, chilled
1 recipe for popovers, baked + cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened whipped cream
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced {smaller berries will work best}
confectioners sugar to garnish

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Here's how:
1. Make a batch of vanilla pudding and refrigerate. 
2. Make one recipe of popovers, but omit the thyme leaves and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and an additional teaspoon of sugar. Plus, replace the regular muffin tin {optional} with one meant for mini muffins {you'll have to bake three times which will yield between 32-36 popovers}. Let popovers cool on a wire rack.
3. Wash and slice a pint of fresh strawberries and set aside.
4. Whip about a cup of whipping cream with a touch of confectioner's sugar until it forms soft peaks.
5. Fold together equal parts whipped cream and vanilla pudding {you'll probably have leftover pudding}
6. Lay a couple sliced berries on each popover, add a spoonful of the cream mixture, then place a few more sliced strawberries on top and dust with confectioner's sugar.
7. Serve immediately and enjoy!

While I think they'd be great with just about any fruit, I'd love to try them with fresh raspberries and toasted sliced almonds! 

Nikole

{photos by Michael Graydon, styling by Nikole Herriott for Oh Joy}

chin, chin...

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I have to admit, I'm not a huge drinker. Drinking was probably the only thing during pregnancy that I did not miss at all. But, that doesn't mean I won't entertain a cocktail or two every so often over dinner or at the end of a long day. So when I do take a sip of a little something, it's got to be full of flavor. Known for her colorful and glamorous blog full of the best rhymes, Mrs. Lilien has her very first book coming out later this month—Mrs. Lilien's Cocktail Swatchbook. It's full of the tastiest recipes that make even this cheap date want to throw back one or two.

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Not only is the swatchbook format pretty genius, but the design of the book is full of color, pattern, and very visual directions for her one-of-a-kind cocktail concoctions. And, you'll find little tips threaded throughout for a seriously fun, must-have addition to your bar cart. You can pre-order the book right here, and stay tuned for her book tour this summer! — Joy

{photos by Oh Joy}

happy friday + hello 33...

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Happy Friday friends! Today I woke up a year older and {maybe?} a year wiser. Ever since turning 30 a few years ago, I've actually enjoyed getting older. Life just gets better...friendships are fewer {but stronger}, your family grows in so many new ways, and you just become more confident in who you are and who you'll become. Even though so many things are still unknown and there's so much more to learn about, every year really just gets better. Thanks so much to all of you for being part of my journey through this site and through my work. Getting to do this job and reaching out to you every day really means so much to me. Okay, so enough of my sappiness...go out and have a great weekend guys! — Joy

{iPhone photo above from a birthday dinner last night with some of my dearest friends at Son of a Gun.}