Thursday, July 17, 2014

Crabby Birthday


Alicia and Maggie returned from their six-week Keuka Lake sojourn just in time to celebrate her birthday...then get ready to go on vacation again (this is known among our friends as "Alicia's vacation preparing for vacation").

She came back on the 5th and on the 6th - her actual birthday - we celebrated with crabs (from Conrad's) and LBLLs and a pretty cake from Graul's.

We ended up with about eight leftover crabs, which I found in our refrigerator the next morning. I picked them (so slowly - I am the slowest crab-picker but I am very thorough) and turned them into a lovely crab and corn chowder.

I used this recipe to start, though I amped it up with fresh corn, more crab and way more salt. And it was good!

Crabs - they're the best.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Must Throw This Party


A French-themed birthday party, held outside a lovely Charleston home. Long table? Check. Tiny lights, strung high? Check. Blue and white table? Check. Inside furniture repurposed as a cheese cart? CHECK CHECK CHECK!

Seriously, this party - hosted by Eric and Christine Jablon, planned by Tara Guerard and featured in Lonny - absolutely kills me. It's so gorgeous but the elements are each simple enough to actually recreate on a budget.

I am dying over that cheese display. Dying.

Photo credit: Nickle Cutrona.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

La Dolce Vita

Can we talk about this: 


It's the setting for the Dolce and Gabbana couture show, which took place on Capri. Guests were ferried to the location on sailboats. The show was filled with fabulous dresses that, yes, look a little like tablecloths but they are very, very beautiful tablecloths. Afterwards, guests had a fabulous, locally sourced dinner of zucchini blossoms and spaghetti alla vongole, followed by fireworks and a late-night stop at a salon, via sailboat again, where they could purchase the clothes they'd just seen.

The clothes are fabulous and the dinner sounds simple but amazing. But it's the setting that kills me. Those fabrics! The pillows! The waves! Looks like the sweet life, indeed.

Photo credit: Hamish Bowles for Vogue

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Bitter Truth

Earlier this week, I asked my Facebook friends if they prefer orange or grapefruit crushes. As I explained, I like orange better but in my own life, I'm in the minority. (I mostly feel that way because Cooper and Alicia are both vocal proponents of the grapefruit variety.)

As it turns out, I'm in the minority among my crush-loving Facebook friends, too: they preferred grapefruit over orange by 16 votes to 11. The grapefruit group was also more vocal - they took an early lead with the orangeys only slightly catching up hours after I originally posted.

The preference for grapefruit seems to be part of a larger trend towards bitter flavors. Campari, amaro, cocchi - bitter or vaguely bitter Italian liqueurs, not to mention bitters, have been riding the trendy wave for several years now. (Apparently I have been writing about this for years.)

To me, bitter flavors seem more sophisticated than sweet flavors - even more real. Unfortunately, that might be because I am overly sensitive to bitter, so I don't really like things that rely on it as a predominant flavor. Negronis? No thank you. Broccoli rabe? Absolutely not. Grapefruit? Well, it's OK but I'd like it more if it was sweeter. (Just  a little sweeter - while I can drink one sticky-sweet drink, I rarely drink two.)


At any rate, the love of the bitter doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. Which is fine. If everybody in the restaurant is drinking grapefruit, that just leaves more orange for me.

As an aside, on Facebook, I also got to do a little educating - I still don't understand why crushes aren't yet embraced nationwide. Over Memorial Day, Cail saw the drink on a menu in the Outer Banks but for the most part, it's still a Chesapeake Bay area treat. Everyplace else - especially beach towns! - really needs to get on the ball.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Fourth of July!

We are up at Alicia's family's house for the Fourth of July - it's our fifth Keuka fourth!

As usual, we are celebrating with a throwdown (wings!), boat rides, swimming and lots of snacks. Here's a quick and very incomplete glimpse:

After hearing about this beer's brilliance, I bought some. It really is pretty good. And definitely not too watermelony.


Alicia, Cooper and I went to happy hour at Heron Hill winery on Wednesday night. There was music and wine and snacks - like this locally sourced meat and cheese plate.

We've been busy here, in the best way. Friends, food, drinks...if that isn't the pursuit of happiness, I don't know what is.

[Note: This was also the first blog post I've ever written from my phone. It was...an OK experience. I couldn't easily figure out how to link to things, though. Sorry!]

Friday, June 27, 2014

Anniversary Celebrating

Last week, Cooper and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary.

My parents marked the occasion by going to Chart House in Annapolis, where our reception was. We, on the other hand, kept it in Baltimore, going out to dinner for the fourth night in a row.

We started with drinks and a shucker's choice dozen at Dylan's Oyster Cellar, the pop-up oyster bar in Mount Vernon. I've been dying to get there - and I wasn't disappointed. Cooper had a beer (we got to take home the sweet koozy) and I had a vodka and lavender cocktail that was so well-balanced. Our oysters - all from Virginia - were gorgeously shucked and both the cocktail and mignonette were seasoned just right.

It's a cute space and I'm sorry that they're not staying forever.

After oysters, we rolled over to Fells for our first trip to Peter's Inn. We've heard a million good things about the restaurant - our friend Dr. R has been trying to get us to go there for years. It's charmingly divey and the food was very good (especially the cauliflower fritters with harissa dipping sauce and my risotto carbonara with a duck egg on top).

I think, though, that our expectations might have been too high. We liked it a lot - there was nothing wrong with anything we ate - but I might have been expecting something transcendental. It's also possible that we were experiencing the tiniest bit of restaurant fatigue. (We'd been going out a lot...but we mostly took this week off from restaurants.)

After dinner, we tried to go to Vaccaro's for dessert but the line was out the door. Instead, we ended up back in Towson, hitting Royal Farms for Berger cookies, which we brought home ("What?" you ask. "You didn't enjoy them in the RoFo parking lot?").

With the cookies, we drank (some of) the bottle of Calem port we bought on our honeymoon, in Portugal. When we bought it, our plan was to drink it on our tenth anniversary. And it worked! Though neither of us is an enormous fan of port, we both very much enjoyed the way this bottle had mellowed over the years. It was sweet, yes, but in a good way.

And that was it. Ten years on the books. It's kind of crazy - when I look back, the two or three years before I met Cooper seem like to have stretched out forever, but the (almost) thirteen years since we started dating have gone by in the blink of an eye.

It's been a good ten years, though (a good thirteen years, really) - and so full of good food.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Things I Would Like to Drink Right Now

It is, by all accounts, summertime - though this week I have been working away like the busiest of bees. (We've been dining out a lot, too, but more on that later. Some of it counts as work.)

But do you know what I wish I was doing right this second? Enjoying a cocktail or two. Summer drinks are simply the best. I'd start with these:

Bobby Flay's watermelon-tequila cocktails from Food and Wine. Watermelon 
is such a good way to hydrate, after all.



Fruit is healthy, punch is easy, and rose is...rose. Perfect.



A simple daiquiri, courtesy of Epicurious.
I am currently reading A Moveable Feast for the trillionth time - so a 
little extra Hemingway just feels right.


How long until cocktail hour?

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