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Archive for the ‘Drink’ Category

Artisanal Jello Shots

In Drink, Recipes on December 8, 2013 at 8:18 am

Whiskey Sour Jello Shot

I never thought I’d be the kind of girl to be posting about jello shots, but here we are. A couple weeks ago the topic of jello shots came up with my friend Kristi, who had never tried one. I hadn’t thought about those green jello and vodka shooters served up in Dixie cups at frat parties in years, and for good reason. They’re vile. But it got me thinking, what would a Whiskey Sour version with Luxardo cherries bring to the game? So when Kristi and some friends were over the other night at a holiday party, I gave it a go and not only did they give us all a good laugh, but they were fantastic! I might need to experiment with a Pimms Cup shot next…

Whiskey Sour Jello Shots

3 ounces Makers Mark

2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 ounce agave syrup

1/4 cup cold water

2 envelopes of Knox unflavored gelatin (5 1/2 teaspoons)

1 cup boiling water

Whisk together whiskey, lemon juice, agave syrup and cold water. Set aside.

whiskey sour mix

In a separate bowl, pour boiling water over gelatin and stir until dissolved. Add whiskey mixture. Mix well and pour into silicone ice cube trays. Add a Luxardo cherry to each. Refrigerate for several hours.

jello shot luxardo cherry

Use a butter knife to edge around each cube to help release from tray.

Puppy Love in PDX

In Drink, Food, Out of Town on October 15, 2013 at 10:01 am

Brittany spaniel

For those of you over on Instagram, it’s been indulgently documented that our family brought home a new Brittany spaniel puppy a couple weeks ago. Meet Aengus, featured here with his favorite Orvis antler chew toy! I’m so in love with this little guy! Britts are a hunting breed and are more pointer than spaniel, which means they’re active and need a lot of exercise. They are also spectacular family pets, and very loving and gentle with children. Our boys could not be more smitten.

photo 5

We found Aengus through a breeder near Portland, Oregon. When the time came to bring him home, I packed a bag and boarded a flight that arrived in PDX in the evening, just in time to dump my bags at the Ace, and head out to dinner at Pok Pok.

pok pok pdx

When I was wine and spirits editor at Bon Appétit, I found myself in Portland and the Willamette Valley pretty regularly for work. Perhaps what I miss most about Portland are the bartenders. I was reminded of just how much when I cozied up to the bar at Pok Pok and ordered a Tennessee Stud cocktail with bergamot-infused bourbon, fresh lemon and Peychaud’s Bitters.

tennessee stud cocktail

It was a perfect companion to the plate of Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce fiery wings, one of Pok Pok’s signature dishes. My mom grew up in Buffalo, NY, and so when I see wings on the menu, I feel it’s my filial duty to order them. These were outstanding, tossed in Phu Quoc fish sauce,  dipped in a rice flour and tempura flour batter and fried in rice bran oil.

ike's vietnamese fish sauce wings

If you thought things couldn’t get better, think again. Enter a plate of Muu Paa Kham Waan, which was wild boar collar meat with garlic, coriander root and black pepper in a spicy chili lime sauce. It comes with a side of sticky rice, and you take a pinch of rice and then pick up the boar meet. There are no words…

muu paa kham waan

Not shockingly, I woke up the next morning in need of coffee. And even though Stumptown is in the lobby of the Ace, I knew that a superior cup could be found a short drive away at the newest location of Ristretto Roasters. I’m in love with Ristretto’s new café on NE Couch Street and loaded up with several pounds of El Paraíso beans from Colombia. For the drive, I also pocketed a fig buckwheat scone baked by former Spago and Campanile pastry chef Kim Boyce. (When I got home, I discovered that the figgy scone recipe is included in Boyce’s awesome cookbook, Good to the Grain. Yeehaw!)

ristretto roasters

The drive out to Wind Mountain Kennels from Portland, Oregon, to Carson, Washington, was pure beauty. We snaked along the Columbia River, crossing the steel truss cantilevered Bridge of the Gods as we approached state lines.

bridge of the gods

Looking over at our new sleeping puppy on the drive back to the airport, I thought how lucky we are to live on the West Coast. There is so much beauty in the world, much of it a short road trip away, and I for one need to remember that life is about finding the time to stop and smell the coffee, savor the Northern Thai street food, and cuddle up with a new friend.

brittany spaniel

Super Sonic Birthday

In Baby Love, Drink, Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on August 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm

sonic birthday

Last month George (my baby!) turned five. I quickly found myself in a little over my head when he requested a Sonic the Hedgehog birthday party, and there were no easy cheats available for purchase because at this writing Sonic has not yet hit critical mass. I’m learning that five seems to be the age when kids gravitate toward single-sex parties, and since all of his girl pals from school were at a girls-only party, we decided to keep it boys and their siblings from his class, which I have to be honest, seemed a little daunting especially with water balloons involved (more on that later), but turned out to be a super sonic good time.

Sonic birthday cake

Okay, the cake was nuts. Can you believe this multi-tiered, fondant, piped-icing, chocolate insanity that my sister, Claire, produced? From scratch! She made the race track out of fondant, as well as the “golden rings,” which she then dusted with edible gold glitter. (Sonic and Tails action figures via Amazon.com.)

sonic cake topper

The day before, I ran by Blick Art on Beverly to grab a giant piece of cardboard and some tempera paints to make a five-foot-tall Dr. Eggman (old-school Sonic villain circa 1990) target for water balloons. Turns out water balloons are a HUGE hit with everyone except for the unsuspecting spouse who has to fill them up.

Dr EggmanThere was Sonic face-painting by the one and only Zayda, and a Sonic piñata from the outstanding Tony of Out Of This World Piñata on Etsy. (He was also responsible for last year’s Spiderman piñata.)

sonic piñata I also found on Etsy these adorable hedgehog party favors (filled with a single serving of hot cocoa), which I put in muslin treat bags along with Sonic tattoos, and little Sega-style race cars.

sonic gift bagsSince Sonic’s favorite food is a chili dog—and I wasn’t overly excited about the prospect of chili, water balloons and five-year-old boys—we played it safe with no-mess hot dogs, Sonic golden rings (organic onion ring chips), and hedgehog fruit salad served in a carved watermelon impaled with blueberries on toothpicks for eyes and nose.

hedgehog fruit salad

sonic golden ringsAnd just because they are the birthday boy’s favorite, there was mac n’ cheese and chocolate milk. Etsy was also the source for these mini plastic milk bottles, which I wrapped with rafia and then tied with butcher’s twine. They are reusable so I’m looking forward to serving blackberry margaritas in them at our next grown-up barbecue.

mac cheese

chocolate milk

Thanks to James Rosales and Char Langos for photos!

Nights of Wine and Roses

In Design, Drink, Fashion, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on May 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

Lily Lodge Veuve Clicquot Rosé

A few weeks ago I received an invitation from Veuve Clicquot to join for an evening floral arranging class with my friend Ariana Lambert Smeraldo at her ultra-chic floral boutique, Lily Lodge. I knew it would be fun and that I’d learn a thing or two because Ariana has exquisite taste and her floral arrangements are second to none (psst—if you are wondering what we moms really want for Mother’s Day, a big green box from Lily Lodge is a good start). If you’ve ever wondered who does the drop-dead gorgeous arrangements at Bouchon, it’s this girl:

Ariana Lambert Smeraldo

At some point we’ll want to devote another post to Ariana’s hair, but in the meantime back to the flowers. Buckets of orange and pink petals on tables as Ariana instructed us how to arrange, starting with our biggest blooms first and playing around with height and color.

Lily Lodge Veuve Clicquot

flowers

lily lodge floral class

There were trays of gorgeous little lobster rolls and ahi on cucumbers. Even the food was pink and orange!

mini lobster roll

I love the idea of using cupcake wrappers for popcorn or crab salad. Wouldn’t they be great for a birthday party?

popcorn

And there was champagne, lots of it—pretty little coupes of Veuve Clicquot Rosé with candied rose petals were on offer from young gents, also with good hair.

ZIah6uI1RqiOeNqiHMghY8j7gZ-IjsgRyUI1aXtKPn0

If I can ask you to refocus your attention for just one moment, check out the gorgeous array of vintage vases over his shoulder in the background. Oh, that’s what you were looking at all along? Good. Because one of Ariana’s exquisite arrangements sent in a vintage vase for Mother’s Day would really knock it out of the park.

Christine Natalie Nina

At the end of the evening we got to take home our creations. I love Natalie Martin‘s arrangement, above, but she is a fashion designer after all so of course hers is going to look fabulous! Ditto for the stylings of STYLOOT co-founder, Carlota Espinsoa, below.

carlota espinosa

Even if my own arrangement was, in Ariana’s words “wild and crazy,” I am absolutely wild and crazy about it! Here it is on our kitchen table.

heathers flowers

Cheers and thanks to you, Ariana, for an absolutely beautiful evening.

Veuve Clicquot Champagne Reception at Lily Lodge photos courtesy of Veuve Clicquot.

The Best Damn Margaritas You’ll Ever Taste

In Drink on May 4, 2013 at 11:57 am

Here at The Foodinista, we take our margaritas very seriously. We drink them made with limes, not strawberries, not mangoes, and absolutely not with pineapple juice (I’m talking to you, El Coyote Scratch Margarita). We also drink them year round. But if you’re just tuning in for Cinco de Mayo, here are our four of our favorites.

best damn margaritaThe all-time most popular recipe on TheFoodinista.com remains David Lansing‘s Perfect Margarita, pictured above. David knows his margs, and years ago I sent him down to Jalisco to research tequila for Bon Appétit magazine. Amazing that he ever came back, but when he did it was with this recipe. The man knows his stuff, and his margs. Get his recipe HERE.

LATC MargaritaI’m a believer that the best margarita is one somebody else makes for you, which is why this dandy little “skinny margarita” that Bruce stirs up at our local tennis club ranks right up there. I’ve watched him make it more times than I care to admit, and as best I can tell here are the basic proportions.

Los Angeles Tennis Club Margarita

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 ounces fresh lime juice, plus one lime wedge

2 ounces* silver tequila (Bruce uses Patron, I like Don Julio)

2 tablespoons triple sec

1/4 cup club soda

*2 ounces is a heavy pour, and believe me I’m not complaining, but you may want to start with 1 1/2 ounces. Or not.

Sprinkle salt on a small plate. Rub lime wedge around rim of a rocks glass and dip in salt to coat rim. Fill rocks glass with ice. Add lime juice, tequila and triple sec. Stir, and then top with club soda.

sohohousemargaritaThe Soho House Picante de la Casa Margarita is my favorite new discovery for spicing things up in the marg department. This one gets its kick from red jalapeños and cilantro. My friend Vanessa recreated the recipe for home consumption and says feel free to play around with proportions depending on how spicy you like it.

classic margaritaAnd then it’s hard to improve on perfection, which is why this is my go-to classic margarita recipe. Simple and sublime.

Foodinista’s Go-to Marg

Makes 4 stiff drinks

Kosher salt

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

1 cup Don Julio blanco tequila

1/2 cup triple sec

Sprinkle salt onto a small plate. Take a juiced lime peel and rub around rims of glasses, dip glass rims in salt. Pour lime juice, tequila, and triple sec into a shaker full of ice. Shake and strain into salt-rimmed glasses.

Minty Fresh, Mint Julep Cups

In Design, Drink on May 3, 2013 at 11:50 am

churchill downs

Whenever my friend Lulu Powers sees silver mint julep cups at a thrift store or flea market, she grabs them. As a result she has an awesome assortment of mismatched cups that looks so effortlessly chic when she serves up cocktails, or “sneekys” as she calls them. I was inspired to do the same, and picked up this silver-plate engraved julep cup from Churchill Downs—home of the Kentucky Derby—on eBay. I surprised my husband with it just in time for Derby Day, and think it makes a wonderful cup for his toothbrush, razor, and comb and such in our new bathroom.

How to Spice Things Up

In Drink, Recipes on February 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm

sohohousemargarita

If not in the bedroom, then let’s start by heating things up in the kitchen tonight. Last night at cooking club, the theme was recreating your favorite restaurant dish. The evening requires a separate post—Mozza meatballs, tagliata and Brussels sprouts with prosciutto breadcrumbs, Akasha kale salad, Ammo lentil salad, Café des Artiste mac n cheese, Hungry Cat ceviche and chocolate bread pudding, all SO good. (And apparently a lot of us like Mozza and Hungry Cat.)

But for the purposes of romance, for igniting that flame tonight, might I suggest my friend Vanessa’s recreation of the Soho House Picante de la Casa Margarita? Vanessa notes, “There are no real directions for how much pepper/cilantro to add so you just have to experiment and see how spicy and cilantro-y you like it.”

If you know what I mean.

SOHO HOUSE PICANTE DE LA CASA MARGARITA

Makes 2 cocktails

Red jalapeño, chopped, to taste

Fresh cilantro leaves, to taste

4 ounces Cazadores tequila

1 ounce agave nectar

2 ounce fresh lime juice, squeezed

In a mixing glass, muddle together chopped red chilies and cilantro leaves. Add tequila, agave and lime juice. Shake hard. Strain into two ice-filled rocks glasses.

Tomboy Style Q & A

In Design, Drink, Fashion, Food, Media on December 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm

lizzie garrett mettlerYou know how awesome it is when great things happen to great people? Meet the extraordinarily talented Lizzie Garrett Mettler, creator of the ultra-chic Tomboy Style blog and the smashing book of the same name, and—according this year’s September Vogue—inspiration for J. Crew’s fall collection. For reals. She is also one of my favorite people and mixer of mean cocktails, maker of perfect salads with shallots two ways and, of course, always the best accessorized girl in the room. I hope you enjoy this end-of-year peek into Lizzie’s closet and fridge… See you all in 2013!

What was the inspiration for Tomboy Style?

I felt like there wasn’t a blog out there that really spoke to my style, so I decided to start it myself. I remember realizing that there was a shift in the word “tomboy,” its meaning seemed to be in a transitional phase; growing up I thought of it as a pejorative word, now it’s come to mean something entirely different, especially when paired with the word chic or style.

Can you describe your design aesthetic? 

Not well. I definitely like a mixture of periods. I hate this word, but I guess I’d have to say it’s “eclectic.”

Your girliest moment?

I can get REALLY into table settings.

What piece of clothing or accessory in your wardrobe is in heaviest rotation right now?

My new Mrs. P Hicks canoe boots.

mrsphicks

What five things will we always find in your closet?

Striped t-shirts
light weight scarves
Tretorn Nylites
I think I just counted that I have nine chambray shirts (yikes).
a photo of my husband

madewell

What five things will we always find in your refrigerator?

Lillet
capers
ginger
beer
baking soda

kina-lillet-vintage-poster-europe

First song played at your wedding? 

With a Girl Like You by The Troggs (wait, Heather, you don’t recall that from memory!?)

[EDITOR'S NOTE: After the fireworks, things got a little hazy...]

the-troggs-with-a-girl-like-you-hansa

Favorite movie?

Hard to pick one. I’ve seen Casino Royale and The Graduate a lot of times.

Last book you read…

Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem (essays), a gift from Julia Leach the designer and creative director of Chance

Slouching-Towards-Bethlehem

Favorite drink?

Michelada

Five things you always bring on vacation…

Foldable Ray-Ban wayfarers
an L.L.Bean tote with zip-top
Swatch Watch
The latest issue of
The Gentlewoman magazine
Lavender essential oil—it calms, treats minor cuts or bites, helps induce sleep, and can act as a room fragrance. Plus, the bottles are always TSA-friendly.

Favorite piece of luggage?

T. Anothony 1-suiter

lizzieluggage

Photo of Lizzie, top, by John Konkal.

The Elf on the Shelf

In Drink on December 23, 2012 at 9:46 am

elfcocktail

This year, there was something missing from our annual holiday. More than one guest remarked on it. One even got a little upset. WHERE ARE THE CRABBIES???? I’ve had them on the brain ever since their noticeable absence earlier this month. And so, Lizzie—the creator of these little bites of crabby crack—brought over a tray of Crabbies last night and we broke out the bourbon. I was really in the mood for a good bourbon champagne punch, and inspired by my favorite brown liquor cocktail, the Manhattan, I accidentally created my new favorite cocktail, which Lizzie christened the Elf on a Shelf. Careful, these go down a little too easy if you know what I mean, and I kind of feel like this guy might have tattled on me to Santa last night.

elfontheshelf

Elf on a Shelf Cocktail

Makes 8 drinks

1/2 cup bourbon

3 tablespoons agave nectar

1 teaspoon Fee Brothers orange bitters

1 bottle champagne or sparkling wine

8 Luxardo cherries

Mix bourbon, agave nectar and bitters in a glass measuring cup. Fill 8 wine glasses with ice, and pour one ounce (or two tablespoons) of the bourbon mixture in each glass. Top with champagne and add a Luxardo cherry.

fees orange bitters

Sisters of Los Angeles

In Design, Drink, Fashion, Food on December 15, 2012 at 11:22 am

SOLApencilsHere’s a smart idea. If you want something done, ask someone who’s busy. If you want something done well, ask three working women with kids. Such is the story of SoLA—Sisters of Los Angeles—founded by architect Barbara Bestor, designer Karen Alweil, and fashion publicist Sara Stein, all of whom are moms. This summer, the trio launched their colorful SoLA collection of groovy goods, which highlight those places most sacred to Angelenos—neighborhoods, canyons, beaches and, yes, our freeways—and L.A. design at its best, or what Bestor describes as “Southern California nature and street culture, kustom kars, Ed Ruscha sunsets, Griffith Park flora, printed materials blown up.”

It’s all so, so good! Scroll down for a Q&A with the stylish sisters, but first my picks for any last-minute holiday shopping on your list. You can find SoLA’s goods at Kitson, Ron Robinson – Fred Segal, The Getty, MOCA, The Downtown Library, Venokado, Firefly in Venice, and Yolk.

SOLAcanyon glassesI love these Canyon Rocks Glasses, handmade in Los Angeles using organic ink. Or how about Santa using one of these oversized Hollywood totes to deliver presents this year?

SOLAbagIf I were Santa, I’d skip the milk and cookies and hope that a plateful of SoLA’s gorgeous Valerie Confections Chocolate Candy Bars (particularly the dark cherry and chocolate, available at Venokado in Santa Monica and West Hollywood) had been left by the mantle with a wee dram of Talisker…

SOLAchocolate

How did SoLA begin?

Barbara: I had lunch with Sara and Karen at Little Dom’s and we had a lot of iced tea and got very excited and that was that!

Favorite Los Angeles canyon?

Sara: I love Runyon Canyon—it is a place for people and their dogs (I have two rescues LUKE & LEIA). And just like all the best places in LA., you never know who you might see. But Beachwood is near & dear to my heart. I escaped there after a bad breakup—it is a place to disappear and redefine yourself.

Barbara: Elysian Park

Karen: Too hard to pick just one. Mailbu for the beach. Laurel reminds me of my childhood. Benedict because it is so much fun to drive and explore.

What piece of clothing or accessory is in heaviest rotation right now?

Sara: Saltwater Sandals & Superga Sneakers & Rachel Loren earrings my husband gave me.

earrings-large-disc-stud

Barbara: Roman Kremer for Camper wedges, Isabel Marant zipper jacket

camper wedges

Karen: Grey Blazer from Uniqlo, Rachel Comey wedges and an FFS necklace

ffs vulcanite necklace

What five things will we always find in your closet?

Sara: Muji Striped Sweater, Odd Molly tops, Matta dresses, Madewell t-shirts & white denim (I never met a white jean I did not like)

madewell t-shirt

Barbara: fancy tshirts black, fancy tshirts navy blue, black jeans, leather bracelet, dark jackets

Karen: dark denim jeans, Matta dresses, blazers, always in search of the perfect t-shirt and always a pair of platforms

mattadress

What five things will we always find in your refrigerator?

Sara: Manchego cheese, 1% organic milk, red grapes, my mom’s salad dressing, Fage yogurt with honey

Barbara: sharp cheddar, avocados, 2%milk, iced decaf coffee—homemade, apples

Karen: Salami, salami, cheese, more cheese—stinkier the better, and iced tea

Favorite piece of luggage?

Sara: my husband is the traveler so I steal from him whatever I can

Barbara: Clare Vivier leather travel bag (actually I don’t have one yet but I ASPIRE to have one, in navy blue, and then I can be fabulous).

clare vivier duffle

Karen: Flight 001 Spacepaks

spacepak

Five things you always bring on vacation…

Sara: My children Noah & Maggie, the game Apples to Apples, my iPad, Dr. Robin Sun Screen (for the kids and me), my running shoes

sunscreen_for_children_thumb_large

Barbara: Bea and Charlotte—my teen queens, books, tennis stuff, too much weight in my suitcase

Karen: My husband Daniel, my son Gabriel, music, ipad, magazines and of course too many shoes

SoLA iPad cases, image via apartmenttherapy.com

SoLA iPad cases at YOLK, image via apartmenttherapy.com

Favorite cocktail?

Sara: Hitching Post “Cork Dancer” Pinot Noir

Barbara: vodka soda or maybe a dark and stormy if I am on Block Island

Karen: Kettel one straight up with a twist

i love l.a. because…

Sara: I can BBQ my Thanksgiving turkey in shorts and a t-shirt! (and I do it every year as you know with my dad’s Red River BBQ Sauce)

Barbara: it is the funnest place to live and the most creative place I know.

Karen: It’s home and the most beautiful and inspiring place all year long

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