Union Biltmore, Julia Baker chocolates and immigration reform

2 Feb

Is anyone else out there excited that we might actually have immigration reform soon? I am living vicariously through the 11 million (I think that is the correct figure) undocumented people living in the U.S. who may see some relief in the near future.

Today being payday, the kitchen wench went a-celebrating. One of my favorite places to walk around when the weather is nice like it is now, is Biltmore Fashion Park. Back in the day it was only for the “haves”, but now…the frugal kitchen wench can hang out there and spend an pleasant afternoon, but not break the bank.

I started at Julia Baker chocolates. A glass of port and a “dark chocolate experience” later, I was feeling no pain. In truth I still have a bit of a sugar high. After all, the dark chocolate experience is 4 truffles (count ’em) which consist of a dark ganache hand-cut chocolate, a dark chocolate French caramel truffle, a dark chocolate hazelnut truffle and a dark chocolate ancient truffle. The hand-cut, which was square and dense, with a dot of gold on top (this is Biltmore Fashion Park, folks) was my favorite – not pictured.

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The rest were great in their own way, very chocolaty, smooth, creamy and oh so delicious. You must go and eat some of Julia Baker’s chocolates. She makes them in Scottsdale, by the way. She studied chocolate making at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, no less, so you know that she knows how to make ’em. I finished off my stay there with a capuccino. And the nice hostesses there didn’t mind that I was reading the newspaper, all casual, in my jeans and t-shirt. The best $25 I ever spent.

People, it is okay to treat yourselves once in awhile. This is a great place to do so.

http://www.juliabakerconfections.com/

Union Biltmore is a conglomerate of stores which is located on the East end of the mall. I have been reading about it for 6 months now on various food blogs, finally I made it there today. When you go, expect to find candles, clothes, furniture, artisan olive oils, cupcakes, breads, the list goes on and on. I found a new dress today. Lookie lookie.

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This is from Lilly Boutique at Union Biltmore. If you look closely you will see that there are little birdies all over it. Neat, yes? I think it is very Jonathan Livingston Seagull. And only $65. Still within the kitchen wench’s budget. It will be cute with boots I think.

Next door there is a clothing/shoes store (sadly I don’t remember the name) but they have fabulous retro platform shoes in many bright colors (think royal blue, red, green, purple). At $225 a pop, I didn’t get a pair, but if I hit commission at work, hopefully during tax season, well…a girl can hope.

Also I found a candle for Jack for Valentine’s Day. It is from White House Flowers, also at Union Biltmore. It is beeswax and it was explained to me that this is one of cleanest burning candles (least carcinogenic of them all), so that is a great relief. It is “Sampaguita” scented, which is a flower from Thailand. The nice man who sold it to me told me that it will burn for 40 hours, and for $25 it seemed like a good price.

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How appropriate that Jack gets a candle from his homeland for V-Day.

http://shopbiltmore.com/union

Lastly, a blast from the past. My friend Kellee in Greenville, SC. is having her wedding anniversary today. I’m unable to be there in person, but thanks to her brother Rob, I am participating in spirit with this retro picture of me and him from 25 years ago today.

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Wow, and wow.

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