breathtaking Recipes


Alex and I want to thank all of you from the bottom of our grill-obsessed and barbeque-longing gullets for helping us win first-place in Culinate’s GrillMe contest. Yes, you heard it right: We’re going to Napa! And we can’t wait.

I haven’t been to Napa since 1997, and even then it was just for one day. To get to go again, stay for two nights and take in twelve hours of grilling tutelage from published pros is beyond our wildest hopes, and is seriously going to be the best vacation. People, you’re spoiling us rotten.

Next task: Um, buying a grill. Or begging the use of yours.

never happened

And now, a wee break from grilling, or at least until mid-August, to get back to this nacro and nens thing I have been not-so-subtly hinting about. Not only did Alex get me an avalanche of awesome from the Martha Stewart Crafts store for my birthday last week, he teamed up with my parents (crowdsourcing being all the rage, anyhow) to get me something I’ve been coveting obsessively for years–years!–and that is a real, live, Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG macro lens.

macro love

Do you see that? The tiny filaments coming off the flowers on my oxalis plant? The inner-weavings of my straw bag? The texture of the freaking seeds lightly embedded in the farmers market strawberries? Oh, man. I am such a detail junkie and with this lens, you can see everything. So if pictures from here on out make you jump back a little more, or give you a little more vertigo from the whole in-your-face thing, well, I’m not really sorry. I did it on purpose.

And seriously, those grill marks against the Napa skyline are going to be fierce. So thank you again and again.


See more: Photo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

57 comments on breathtaking

  1. ohiogirl

    Hooray! I voted for you twice and kept looking back at the website today “She placed top – why don’t they announce it? How about now? NOW?!”

    Have the best time and know that you earned it with your fabulous blog!

  2. Congratulations on your win! That’s awesome!! Congrats on your new lens too. It is the macro that I have and you will absolutely love it. I’ve had mine only a few months and I don’t know what I ever did without it. Can’t wait to see all your new macro shots.

  3. Congratulations! I voted for you. You should know, in case you feel like throwing a grilling soiree when you return from Napa. Because I’d totally come.

  4. Joann

    Hey Deb Nice lense hope you enjoy
    Anyway you & Alex can come by anytime we are only about
    45 mins. from NY. with a yard & pool & also not to mention a GRILL
    always in use @ that note have to go ( making) Grilling right now back to
    my Veggies & also have to but the steakes on soon.
    Well have fun & keep in touch
    Congrats again.
    Also I quess you will be having a Blog siter after all

  5. Cupcakes

    not sure if you read this from last entry (or im freaking you out and you want me to go away)

    ahhh Napa ! Comin to my turf… Since we will get acquainted at Jocelyns BSB 4th of July extravganzza perhaps I can play tour guide for a few hours and we can do some wine tasting and I can infact show you that not all cupcakes are created equal (i saw that knock you made on cupcakes a few posts back.. *ahem*)

    Maybe since you won, Alex will take you to French Laundry (

    You’re going to love love love it In Napa.. I have a list of “must’do’s”… time providing, of course.

  6. Sincere congratulations from a fellow nominee, I was rooting for you and am really happy that you’ve won. I know you’re going to come back with awesome photos (especially now with the new lens) and awesome stories. I still think you should put a donate thing-a-ma-jig on here so we can contribute to tuition for Alex to take the class with you. And you gotta get yourself a grill, girl. Put it on your rooftop if you have to or hang it out your window, have you seen the one that looks like a flower box?

  7. Congratulations on both counts. I’m sure all your readers will benefit from the intense focus on grilling. As for the other intense focus…wow! What great photos. One of these days I’ll have to learn how to use one of those *real* cameras. Enjoy!

  8. Congrats!! On the lens AND the trip to Napa – that’s awesome – I am so so in love with that place! Oh and you can grill anytime on our porch and our grill. And maybe we’ll send you home with some herbs :)

  9. Shelly

    Yay Deb and Alex! Congrats and all that. You can borrow our grill anytime you want, we have a nice big one… although, you’ll have to hop a 6 hour flight to LA, then a 15 hour flight to Sydney, then a 2 hour drive to our house… but we do have an extra bed we can loan you as well!

    So when can we expect to see a cookbook by you? Seems to me that you have enough recipes and now a new lens. I would certanily want a copy!

  10. Congratulations on winning the contest! Napa is a great place to visit.
    I just scrolled down your blog. Even without the new lens, your photos are excellent. With the new lens you will blow everyone away for sure.

  11. ann

    Hey Congrats!
    we’re going to be there at the same time, at my stepbrother’s wedding. Maybe we’ll pass each other in town and feel like real food dorks. That would be totally cool!

  12. I am so proud. I am so glad I just bought a brand new pro-grill forthe skybar. I can’t wait for you to teach me your napa-grill tricks! YAY!

    And congrats on the lense. AMAZing!

  13. I am so jealous in every way possible. The lens. The trip. The grilling school. The amazing picturs you are taking. Wow, you are one lucky lady, Deb! But it’s not really “luck” is it? You’re an awesome blogger and deserve all the great things that come your way!

  14. Wow! Those macro shots are incredible. If that doesn’t whet our appetities, I dunno what will! Congrats on your win ~ & your NAPA trip. Enjoy every second! In the short time since I was sent your blog address, it’s obvious to me (& no doubt, the masses), that you could win a contest of any kind related to food! Have a ball, & thanks for your incredible edibles!

  15. hurray for napa! though as a sonoma county girl, i must entreat you to stay a few days longer and go check it out! hope you have time for wine tasting in either place, regardless. have so much fun and definitely try to see the culinary institute campus as greystone – it’s beautiful.

  16. Coralie


    I’m so stoked for you both, and can’t wait to see the pictures.

    (I’m drooling over your lens, by the way. I would trade grill time for lens time in a heartbeat.)

  17. Congrats on the contest win! Well-deserved. But is there any chance that you would be persuaded to post that cookie recipe? They look DIVINE (especially with the new lens)! Thanks–Gina

  18. Congrats Deb! (And Alex!)

    If you get a chance try to hit Cosentino’s tasting room. I think its the best in Napa. Or Chandon if you’re feeling bubbly.

  19. Jen

    This is the first time I’ve stumbled onto your site and wow, I’m seriously hungry (not to mention it’s near dinnertime heh). Congratulations on your trip to Napa! Sounds like you’re a true expert in your field. :)

  20. Zach G.

    Congratulations, you deserved it; the site is superb. Keep the great posts and photos coming! Have a blast in Napa!

  21. Congrats Deb! I know we’re in for a treat when you write about Napa, I know we’re all so excited to hear about it. But now, well, with that lens? Now I can’t wait to SEE all about Napa!

  22. Congrats! Napa is quite a fabulous place, if you know what you’re doing (and having a boyfriend who lives there makes it all the easier) — I’m sure your two days are full already, but let me know if you need tips and tricks!

  23. Ooh yay! I also love love love macro, detailed photography and I’m sure that lens will make your site even prettier. As though it’s possible.
    Congrats on your GrillMe winning, and enjoy California! It’s the greatest state ever, and Napa is beeeyootiful. I’m jealous…

  24. I just bought a Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro in the Nikon mount and have been looking around to see what other photographers are doing with it. So far I’m very impressed. It certainly looks OK from what you are doing with it. Got to check your site out further as well as the food sure looks good!

    I’ve put some of my images on my site.
    Would love to hear what you think.

  25. So, what was in the two boxes? I’ve been clicking through posts from that “box one of two” entry to this one, looking for the answer. I’m getting to hungry to continue, though, as you haven’t told us yet!