Thursday, October 08, 2015

Trendy: Honey Gin

Just a quick post to note that of late, I have seen honey + gin, or honey gin, on cocktail menus evvvvverywhere. And not just in Bee's Knees form, either. (In fact, while I used to see them all over the place, I haven't seen many Bee's Knees since 2013ish.)

That's all. Just an observation. A sweet, junipery observation.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

This (Past) Week: DRP Turns Nine

It's been a big week at our house. A big, long, exhausting week full of celebrating Dixon turning nine. Nine! Those years have flown by.

His actual birthday was on Tuesday. At his request, we headed down to Fells to have dinner at Papi's Tacos. It's his favorite queso in the city. It was raining, but Papi's little back patio is covered, so we could sit out there anyway. It was kind of a steamy hotbox, but none of us really minded. The queso and tacos and - for me - boozy jalapeno limeade made it easy to forget about the humidity.

Wednesday and Thursday were standard-busy with work and work dinners - and birthday party prep. Dixon's party was on Friday afternoon and the theme this year was Sharks and Zombies. He didn't want to have any set games, so instead we (I) created two photo booth type areas - one shark-related and one zombie, related. 

I found a lot of pretty sweet zombie and shark attack accessories - and I was especially pleased with the blood spattered shower curtain I got from Amazon. Seven dollars seriously well spent.

For the sixth year in a row, Dixon and Alicia collaborated on his birthday cake. This year, unfortunately, I made the wrong size cake, so the decorations were a little oversized. But they were still pretty pleased with their work.

What the picture can't show: how insanely good Alicia's buttercream is.

We have had Dixon's parties at our house every year since he was born. There is, frequently, a chance of rain during the party. But the weather always comes through for us, so the kids can run around the yard. 

Always, that is, until this year. Instead, we had a couple dozen nearly-tween boys wreaking havoc on our basement while they beat each other with Nerf weapons. It was...loud. Fortunately, in the end, no one required stitches or a trip to the hospital or anything. 

Still, I have learned my lesson. That was the last year for that kind of party. Dixon agrees. Cooper really agrees.

When they had cake to focus on, though, they almost look angelic.

And then the night ended.

Just kidding. I really didn't close it out with wine coolers. I closed it out with red wine. But Bill brought me this awesome four-pack of Black Cherry Fizz as a "good luck with the party" gift. He's a good friend like that. I will be saving these for a rainy day.

So now Dixon is nine - and my basement is still a wreck. But he's happy. (Until tomorrow, when I make him start writing his thank you notes.)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Wear This, Eat That

Fall is upon us, which means it's time to think about...spring clothes. New York Fashion Week just ended, London is underway, and I can't stop looking at clothes I will never buy.

As I was flipping through Vogue runway slideshows yesterday, I also started getting oddly hungry. I've written before (almost a decade ago!) about the intersection between fashion and food, and what one has to do with the other. But yesterday, my thinking was more literal. Sometimes, clothes just look like food, and vice versa.

Here are a few of my favorite examples of that, from this season's shows so far:

First up: it's all about the texture. I love it in my food and I love it on my clothes.

Wear Carolina Herrara, eat coconut cake:

 coconut layer cake (via Martha Stewart)

I love this dress, which you can see, if you look closely, is covered in fabric flowers that pop off the surface.
It's so fun and summery. 

So...wear Michael Kors, drink blueberry margaritas:

blueberry margarita (via Food and Wine)

Dixon loves - loves - black and white cookies. A couple years ago, he confessed to our friend Audrey that he thinks of them as "rich people" cookies, which obviously cracked me up. 

So if you're feeling flush...wear Zac Posen, eat black and white cookies. 

(Really, if was feeling flush, I really would wear Zac Posen. I love his clothes so much.)

 black and white cookie (via Epicurious)

Look at that cape! It's as regal and serious and awesomely sophisticated as the darkest chocolate mousse, right? 

Wear Sophie Theallet, eat chocolate mousse.

gianduja mousse (via Food and Wine)

How fun are seahorses? Very fun. You know what else is fun? Parties that serve shrimp that you don't have to peel yourself. 

Wear Holly Fulton, eat shrimp cocktail.

 shrimp cocktail (via Martha Stewart)

Kate Spade is kind of my spirit animal. I struggle to not buy all the things, all the time, and by the time next spring rolls around, I will probably have lost the battle vs. my willpower when it comes to the brand's new rockstud knockoffs (even though I work in my kitchen). You know what else I love and indulge in too frequently? Pasta. 

Wear Kate Spade, eat cacio e pepe - with lemon, because it's brighter that way.

 cacio e pepe with meyer lemon (via Martha Stewart)

And finally. Sometimes Tory Burch's clothes skew slightly too bohemian for me. That is not the case with her spring 2016 line, though. I love it all, including this shimmery dress, which has "elegant June poolside cocktail party" written all over it. And what do you drink at that party? Champers, bien sur.

Wear Tory Burch, drink champagne with a twist of lemon.

champagne with a twist (via Food and Wine)

(All runway images from Vogue.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Trendy Trendiness

This article, from Eater, is fabulous. It caught my eye on Facebook today, when Richard Gorelick shared it as part of his "Crontinuing Croverage of the Cronut Crisis." (He's posts a lot about cronuts...or at least he did, back when they were in the news every five minutes. Now it's only ever seven minutes.)

The article is so good that I don't even really have much to add, except to note that it hits all my sweet spots: food + trends + that annoying tension that exists when companies try to use research to simply create trends, without realizing that you can't make fetch happen.

Another reason I love it: use of the "can't make fetch happen" phrase, which is one of my favorites, in reference to Peruvian food, which I have written about here like every other year...and also for the Sun - because it really is a thing here in Maryland.

Peruvian cuisine aside, the article is full of good observations and valid points about how food trends emerge, explaining that to understand what might be the next trend, you have to look beyond the tangible characteristics of the last trend to understand the need it filled. People lined up for cupcakes, then they lined up for cronuts. That does not mean that they will, next, line up for Croissan'wiches, even if Burger King starts making them with artisanal butter, in a converted factory in Queens or whatever. I know how those conversations sometimes go within marketing departments. It might look like pastries that start with "C" are consistent winners - but they are not.

My takeaway, of course, is not that you can't predict or identify trends. It's just that you need better research.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Ten Years

Today is the tenth anniversary of my very first post here on Mango and Ginger - just a couple short, tentatively phrased paragraphs. I obviously had no idea what I was getting into, and no real expectations associated with the blog. That was so smart of 2005 me!

Over the course of the past decade, I've written nearly 1,900 posts, been to Paris twice, had a kid who hates vegetables but loves meat, learned to cook (mostly), lived through a complete kitchen renovation, hosted about a hundred parties (for real) - and turned blogging into an actual food writing career. 

I feel very much like I've been in the right place, at the right time. My interest in food blossomed just as food blogs became a thing, and I've been in the perfect place to watch Baltimore's food scene explode. 

Along the way, I've met so many great people through blogging and had a ton of incredible meals. In 2005, I never would have guessed that ten years after starting this blog, I'd be reviewing restaurants for the Sun, or that I'd have my own food column in Baltimore's Child. I probably wouldn't even have guessed that I'd still be blogging.

I do wish I had time to blog more than I do right now - these days, instead of blogging about things, I often share them on Facebook. But hopefully one day, more frequent blogging will in the cards again. I miss writing here several times a week.

Blogging makes you curious, and helps you look at everything through inquisitive eyes. Thanks to this blog, I've had my eyes trained outward, on the food world as a whole and Baltimore, and inward, on the role food plays in my own life and relationships. It's a fascinating lens. 

So thank you, everyone who reads what I write here. I love writing it. And now on to the next ten!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

So Many Aprons. So Little Time

I am powerless in the face of a slideshow like this one. Twenty seconds after I started clicking through, I'd already gotten myself to the West Elm site, where I bought the arrow apron in the picture. Even if the apron alone hadn't gotten me, the arrows would have. (I am a sorority girl at heart.)

But back to aprons. I love them. As anyone who has been to my house near dinnertime knows, I wear one every day. I am wearing one right now.

But here is something I don't understand: who wears half aprons? Why would you even do that? I mean, this one is adorable...but it's also $88 and I would still end up with crap all over my shirt. Who are these people who are able to cook and only  mess themselves up below the waist? I do not understand how they operate.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Passe Rose

As usual, I find that, when it comes to booze, I'm right on trend. Rose is so yesterday. When Bon Appetit - a wonderful magazine, but not crazy edgy - says so, you know it's true. (Like BA, I am also not crazy edgy...which is why I am not ahead of this curve.)

This is not to say that I have not been drinking any rose this summer. Oh, I have. But between the grapefruit beer and the specialty cocktails, my pink wine consumption has slipped a bit. Honestly, it's been good for my head. As in, fewer headaches.

In the linked article, BA editor Adam Rappaport makes a few suggestions for what to drink instead of rose. My favorite pick? Vinho Verde. On this, I am trendsetting! (Not that VV is all that new of a US drinking trend - but it never did explode the way rose did.)

Rappaport describes it as "the Sierra Mist of Portugal." It's funny because it's true.

And that has summer written all over it.


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