Harvest with Hobo Wine Co.

mtmf-kenny

Last fall, Amy Dickerson and I took a top secret trip to Santa Rosa, where we hung out with winemaker Kenny Likitprakong for a day in the life of his harvest. The fruits of our labor (and his) are currently out—ours in print, his in bottles. What a thrill to spend a day with Kenny and his crew—his crew being comprised of a few hardworking wine folk including his wife Lynn and their two darling girls. Lynn is not only a big part of Hobo Wine Co., but has her own illustrious wine label as well—my kind of woman.
Fun fact: their school-aged girls pull their own weight in the warehouse winery, eagerly jumping into the vats to assist in the daily press downs- hands down my most favorite part of the day with the Likitprakongs.

Kenny is churning out some of the best juice in the country right now. He makes food friendly wine (fruit-driven, high acid wine) that speaks the language of its land at a price point that he says he feels comfortable personally buying wine at. He’s on the verge of what is a new-ish trend in the US, great somm-darling wine at a fair price. The Old World has of course been hip to this notion for centuries. Kenny did his due time apprenticing in France, learning the lay of that land before getting back to his own California roots to start up his own vision.

Sharp, quick-witted, and warm—Kenny’s the kind of guy you want to follow on adventures and then kick back with over a cold beer. He’s got that enviable combo of hearty work ethic and laid-back ease, he is a skater dude at heart, so maybe that explains it. His environs don’t hurt either, it’s easy to feel both inspired and relaxed in Santa Rosa. In his daily life, the guy is a maniac, traversing the Northern California coast from Santa Cruz to Mendocino in his dusty pickup, sourcing and hand-testing grapes from various vineyards. He logs a lot of time on grape-clustered country roads, returning each day to his winery, where the magic that began on the vines continues. Three Cheers and a Cin Cin for Hobo Wine Co., they are really on to something.

Meet the Modern Farmer Fall 2015:

Modern Farmer cover

Modern Farmer

A few favorites from Hobo’s current releases:

Folk Machine Potter Valley Pinot Noir- we happily drank this beauty during an al fresco home-cooked dinner in the Hobo Winery. Maybe it was the company or the romance of the wine churning all around us— no, actually, this is just a really killer bottle. $24.99

Camp Cabernet Sauvignon 2014- a Sonoma-centric, chompy and chewy red. Great at your next BBQ. $18.00

Folk Machine Valdiguie- my go-to dinner party wine, a great label (looks great on the table- I know, I can’t help it, aesthetics are key) and even better blend. The fruit sings and the minerals and dirt dance- for real. $18.99

Folk Machine Parts & Labor- a longtime favorite and another perfect Cali. red blend. I used to buy this wine for a local wine market, it still sells out. Enough said. $14.99

Photo: Amy Dickerson for Modern Farmer

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1 comment | Tags: travel, vino

Happy Weekending!

Press for Champagne
I need one of these next to my pillow. 

Happy Weekend folks. What are you up to this winter’s-still-holding-on-but-officially-spring weekend? We’ll be hanging with the kiddos and then venturing into DC to see the legendary Rebirth Brass Band with some pals (thanks for the invite Linz!). Sunday, we’ll drive up to a wedding at NYC’s Four Seasons Restaurant (cue Bauhaus geekout- I’m such a nerd for this place). Our friends’ nuptials will be officiated by the incomparable duo of one James Lipton and one Betty Fussell (cue Actors Studio and culinary geekout). I have been dying to meet the iconic Fussell since my friend Amy D. so beautifully profiled her here and here. I pretty much just want to be Betty when I grow up.

Let’s hope the snow and wintery mix weather subsides, this time of year is such a tease. What adventures are you all off to?


What I’m Drinking:

Meryl and Stuart’s Signature Cocktail: “Wedding in Springtime” which, in Meryl’s words, features “bubbly Prosecco, the Italian aperitif Aperol, club soda, and a splash of rhubarb amaro, rhubarb being a harbinger of much-longed for spring!” Sounds delicious. 
A Few Things:

An award winning app that allows us all to catalog the family story. This is cool.

Julia’s trick to poach the perfect egg.

These wedges are both gold and Dr. Scholl’s- that’s my kind of shoe. Win win.

The best and fastest way to make a delicious scrambled egg taco.

What is means to “hold space” for the ones we hold dear.

7 Super Tuscan dishes that will take you right to the heart of Italia.

Just one of the reasons that Jimmy Fallon may be one of the greatest talk show hosts of all time. Love this guy- this is awesome.

The 5 things one woman learned when she said YES to her daughter for 24 hours.

A Lavender Eye for Spring? I like it.

18 Pinterest-staged photo fails- this is pretty funny.

These flowers! Spotted on The Yellow Table- I can’t stand it, so pretty I want to eat them.

I just ordered up this pretty floral skirt for spring. I never wear skirts- giving them the old college try again.

And just to send you off to the weekend the right way, here you go and… you’re welcome.

 

Cin Cin good people. Happy Weekend!

 

{Image: Elle Decor re: Lisa Golightly}

 

 

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Happy Weekending!

flip
We had a little taste of summer this past week in Charleston, this photo seemed apropos for the way it made me feel.

Hello good people of the world and Happy Weekend to you. We have just returned from a whirlwind week of Spring Breaking in glorious Charleston- what a gem of a city, I can’t wait to round up my favorite spots. We stayed at the beach so we had the best of both worlds- town and country- we got charming city, crazy good food (I mean, really kind of nuts- full report to come), and long empty beaches with summertime breezes. More on all of that later next week.

What are you all up to this weekend? Spring may finally be peeking its head around the corner for us here in the Mid-Atlantic. At least it’s raining these days and not snowing, it can’t come soon enough.

What I’m Drinking: 

This amazing Loire sparkling wine I discovered at the cuter-than-can-be Charleston coffee and wine shop, The Daily. It’s so crisp and delicious- tasting note to follow, this one’s worth seeking out.

In Other News: 

London opens a bar where you can pet owls- I’m there.

I love these photos of Japanese dancer, Mickael Jou.

Big sale at the Gap. Use code FFBEST for 40% off little numbers like this.

I’m attempting a paleo-esque diet for the next month starting tomorrow. After all of that Charleston goodness, something’s got to give. We’ll see how it goes. This book on baking with natural sugars seems like a step in the right direction.

And speaking of books, I just ordered this one to inspire me to dig a little deeper in my spring clean this year. Spotted on my pal Rashmi’s Insta.

And speaking of tidying up, this cleaning guru shares her secrets for a tidy home.

Green fondue for St. Paddy’s Day? Maybe. This white chocolate matcha mix doesn’t quite jive with my paleo ambitions, but it sure looks fun (and yummy).

This springy green floral cape just made it to my wish list.

Cafe Clover- on my NYC list. This little West Village spot looks fab.

“This is what happens when you put your phone away for a week.”

This raw kale caesar with beet microgreens and poached egg reminds me of a transcendent salad I just had at Charleston’s The Macintosh- except their’s had tiny little pieces of fried cauliflower- what the what!

This book looks fun. The difference between the Queen’s English and our English.

“The sulfites give me a headache.” Chances are this is probably not the reason you’re getting a headache, so pop the cork on the bottle of red. Thank you Lettie Teague.

These flared high-waisted jeans are rocking my world. Let’s hope this paleo thing works so I can get back to zippers post-bebes.

This documentary looks amazing- Sailing the Sinking Sea.

Bjork and The Secret to a Pop Tune Hit on this week’s Studio 360- I loved this episode.

Cin Cin ya’ll and Happy Weekending!

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Happy Weekending!

pink house
Pretty in Pink- Charleston

Happy Weekend dear readers. It has been a long week with my grandmother passing. I will head home today and try to get back to “normal” life. It’s been a wonderful week of celebrating our Meme and spending time with family and friends, a great reminder of what is most important in life. Our post-memorial reception turned into an all-night impromptu dance party and there’s not a whole lot in the world that a spontaneous dance party can’t cure- my grandmother would have loved it.

What are you all up to this weekend? We will be packing up the minivan and heading down to Charleston for some R&R, beach time with the kiddos and some serious eating and exploring. I’ll be sure to take copious notes and sketch out a great city guide based on our time there. We’re staying at a little beach house on the Isle of Palms, hopefully we’ll catch a few warm days. We’re looking forward to eating here and renting a bike to properly tour the charming city. We’re taking a Low Country cooking class here and taking the kids here. And if any of you all have any recommendations, please send them my way. I haven’t been in years so am really looking forward to some Southern hospitality.


What I’m Drinking: 

Mint Juleps on our Charleston porch- rocking chairs required. Here’s a classic recipe from New Orleans bartender, Chris McMillian. And apparently Charleston’s The Gin Joint’s got one of the best Mint Juleps in the country. I might have to see for myself.
In Other News: 

This Geico ad is hilarious, I want to be in the room when these things are thought up.

How to get the most out of your cookbook collection- great tips from Lauren Salkeld.

A Secret Weapon Stir Fry Sauce- this is awesome.

The new meaning of luxury (read: why Instagram is flooded with so many photos of delicious cups of coffee).

Yay- a new Tina Fey sitcom.

I love this easy breezy long dress for summer.

Headed to South Beach but can’t spring for The Raleigh (my personal fave- that pool!)? Park it at this chic hostel- I promise this is not your momma’s hostel. There’s one coming to Chicago too.

My friend Anna wrote a Food & Wine piece on this mother daughter duo last year. Here they are again, their Burgundy Cook’s Atelier’s is on my list! I’d love to go with my mom.

Tom, Katie and Suri- a Scientology Story. I read the book that this new documentary is based on, it is unbelievable. Can’t wait to see what the filmmakers have done with it.

The Keurig cup inventor feels bad that he ever did it. :-(

Vince Vaughn and pals pose for cheesy stock photos that can be all yours for free- hilarious.

Andrew Knowlton spends 24 hours straight at the Waffle House working as a line cook.

Cin Cin ya’ll and Happy Weekending!

{photo by Doug Hickock}

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The Art of Creatively Retreating

Creatively Retreating
One Nest Project (photo by Rashmi Pappu)

There comes a time- and no better time than the middle of the deep-freezing winter- when your body and brain wish to simply retreat. Retreat- just what does that mean anyway? I don’t know, I guess it can really mean anything from retreating to your bedroom for a quick nap and a think, to going Hollywood and retreating to your Golden Door or Canyon Ranch, with lots of room for variation in between.

As defined by Merriam-Websters, a retreat is:  a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director.

So, yes- it’s pretty vague, although it does stipulate “group withdrawal”- Girl Trip! Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter what it is as long your retreat provides a little cleansing and refreshing of the body and mind, right? I’m a big fan of the daily long shower retreat myself. But as for a bit more of a commitment involving a group withdrawal, it’s nice to make the effort to travel outside your local geographical zone and get your retreat on with some like-minded peeps.

Recently, my pal Rashmi Pappu suggested that a few of us creatively-inclined folks get together for a creative retreat. I jumped at the chance, as a bit of simple time spent away in a quieter place with some good folks, food, and drink is always a welcome respite. And if you are the creative type, always dreaming up new ideas and full of old ones that you haven’t quite grasped how to turn into actual creations (I’ve got a boatload of those jumbled in my brain), I highly suggest the retreat of the creative kind with kindred spirits as it’s a great opportunity to bounce said ideas off of one another, and really just enjoy some space, scenery and laughs- because that’s kind of what life’s all about, right? Add in a sustainably designed home, a world class winery, a charming country village and a top rated restaurant and you’ve got the makings for one inspired weekend.

We stayed at the small footprint but big thinking One Nest Project in nearby Delaplane. And when I say nearby, I mean pretty darn nearby. For the record, it took me 47 minutes to get to the house (if you subtract the wrong turn I took up a country lane which just added to the mystique and fun of it all- you have to get lost at least once, right?), yet another point for DC area living- it’s got this vast vineyard/countryside directly to the left of it that sits pretty and beautifully unspoiled. Once I hit Delaplane, VA., my shoulders literally dropped and out came a lengthy exhale. Ahh- country life. Bring on the retreating.

one nest project
One Nest sits on stilts, eschewing a traditional foundation. 

As I drove up the steep and winding road to One Nest, I was immediately impressed by how it is both perched and somehow nestled into its landscape. I was simultaneously wowed by its design and impressed by its respectfulness to its surrounds- it made me want to, I don’t know, bow my head and whisper “Namaste” to it or something. I didn’t do that, but still… One Nest is a residence and project by developer Mark Turner- a thoughtfully and beautifully designed home on a hillside with bucolic views of grazing cattle, horses and sheep, boasting a modern design that embraces its terrain. With soaring ceilings and drool-worthy iron-framed windows, this property is an experimental one- built in under 100 days for $150,000, it feels like a generous sized home but is actually a mere 1,000 square feet. One Nest is Mark’s attempt at a new style of living, one that is more conscious of space, sustainability and community. Read the feature on his One Nest Project in the Washington Post here.

one nest at dusk
One Nest Project 

After a beautiful pesto pasta lunch made by my pal Amy Rutherford of Alexandria’s immaculately edited Red Barn Mercantile, we set off to RDV Vineyards to take in a glorious sunset and a bottle of their ’09 RDV Rendezvous. I don’t normally share the penchant for Points or opinions of critic Robert Parker, but in this case I have to agree with his spirited tweets about this particular vintage and bottle- this is some seriously good stuff. Sold out, you can still buy yourself a bottle at the vineyard. The Bordeaux of Virginia right here in our backyard (well, at least One Nest Project’s backyard and ours for a day).

RDV
Pink skies at RDV

silo
Interior of the Silo- RDV (Photo by Rashmi Pappu)

And as for that sunset, I imagine that the city folks saw an impressive sunset that evening as well, but somehow I think ours wins by virtue of the countryside and the creative retreating and all.

Sunset
Photographer Rashmi Pappu capturing and enjoying the moment. 

Off we went, happily plied with a bit of Bordeaux-esque vino, to the top notch Ashby Inn- an impossibly cozy and charming combination of local haunt meets destination restaurant nestled in tiny Paris, VA. (I had to love that we ventured to Paris, VA. for dinner- that alone just made me happy.) Great food and drink ensued. My favorite dish of the night- a dashi custard seafood small plate, but honestly everything was delicious from the perfectly roasted quail to the house-made ricotta. After some conversation with our friendly sommelier, Stuart Brennen, I knew immediately what our bottle of wine would be. His eyes positively lit up while his hands theatrically gestured as he described the German Pinot he had recently acquired. Sold. The ’11 Baden Huber Pinot was a vino to love- vinified candy, juicy yet refined and light to medium-bodied, it proved a perfect pairing to the array of dishes on the table.

baden pinot
Baden Huber ’11 Pinot at The Ashby Inn. If you can get your hands on a bottle of this- please do so. 

With happy tummies, we headed home to enjoy a bit more conversation and a slice (or two) of Sucré’s delicious King Cake courtesy of one King Cake afficionado, Lindsay Boudreaux. A satisfying end to our first day of retreat.

breakfast and baby king cake
The breakfast of champions- avocado toast, a perfectly fried egg, and a bit of King Cake (not seen here because already ingested). P.S.: Rashmi got the baby! (Photo by Rashmi Pappu)

morning retreating

Paper and pencils in hand- the spitballing session begins.

The next morning provided a perfect opportunity for brainstorming, spitballing, and of course, lounging. Lindsay made fried egg and avocado toasts with a bevy of fixins and we noshed and enjoyed our environs. Hungry from all that brainstorming, we made our way into Middleburg for a cozy lunch at The French Hound. Chef’d and owned by John Gustin Birkitt, a Virginia local who made his mark at Napa’s Brix and Domaine Chandon, later making the culinary rounds in Provence, his menu is just the one you want to choose from on a chilly Sunday in February. We sat next to a roaring fire and dined on salted radishes, pommes frites, burgers and BLT’s. Yum, I highly recommend.

the french hound
Lunch at The French Hound= happy-making

A brisk walk around town and a cup of coffee later, I headed home. Another added bonus of retreating- it’s always nice to return.

I don’t know why we don’t do this creative retreating thing more often. I walked away from this brief moment away full of inspiration and ideas and more importantly, good memories and a bit more space in my usually cluttered brain. It’s always a good idea to gather- both the gathering of one’s thoughts and the gathering of one’s good people- throw in a beautiful backdrop (cue super cool house, countryside and awe-inspiring sunset), add in some good food and drink- and bam- you’ve got yourself a retreat to write home (or on le blog) about.

countryside
I wonder if these sheep are creatively retreating? (Photo by Rashmi Pappu)


The Makings of the Perfect Virginia Countryside Retreat:

THE HOUSE:
One Nest Project- 3 bedrooms (plus loft) from $399/night

THE WINE:
RDV Vineyards- call to book a tour and tasting, $50/pp

THE FOOD:
The Ashby Inn- fine dining in the chic little country town of Paris with new(ish) chef to the Ashby Inn, David Dunlap.
Market Salamander- get your gourmet on here, a terrific little market stocked with lots of yummies.
Home Farm Store- a grand food hall in a stunning old bank building packed with foodstuffs galore.
The French Hound- beautiful French country cuisine in the heart of Middleburg.

THE COFFEE:
Middleburg Common Grounds
- for a great cup of countryside joe.

THE PAPER GOODS:
Creme de la Creme- a busy little shop, stock up on your paper and pens here for your spitballing session or stop in at Amy’s shop on the way out to the country.

THE PEOPLE:
your adventurous, fun and creative pals
Do you make a habit of retreating? What do you do, where do you go? Do tell.

Cin Cin Ya’ll and Happy Retreating!

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On Location: Roxanne

roxanne

It’s probably been over 25 years since I’ve seen Steve Martin’s Roxanne, I don’t think I’ve seen it since it was first released. I remember seeing it with my parents and little brother at our local AMC, we went to the movies together as a family a lot which I always loved. More recently, I caught this clever comedy on a snowy day last week during my kiddos’ naptime, it was playing on the Retro channel or something, I’m really dating myself here- just all around. A genius idea to rework Cyrano de Bergerac, Martin’s modern day Rostandian characters are living full out in 1987 and as a creature of nostalgia, it really makes me smile. It’s also pretty great. Daryl Hannah has never been better, the script is terrific, tight, funny, and makes me wish Steve Martin would write more adaptations. “I’m afraid of worms, Roxanne, WORMS…”- anyone?

Shot in the small ski town of Nelson, B.C., watching this movie really kicks up my quixotic tendencies. I have this thing about small towns. I probably need to wind up in one at some point. Maybe it’s because I’ve never lived in one but they always make me swoon, those darling little Main Streets, the Cheers effect-what with everyone knowing your name and such, the volunteer fire departments, the community bingo- I’m in for it, all of it. On the reality side of my brain (appropriately nicknamed Sancho), I know these darling small towns cannot possibly be so perfectly picturesque and quaint and are sure to be riddled with the same problems that my big cities boast, but a gal can dream. Quiet down Sancho, I’m waxing poetic here.

The forest green pines that fill the screen and serve as Roxane’s nature-made backdrop are so beautiful, I feel like I can almost smell the fresh mountain air- or maybe it’s just Steve Martin’s giant nostrils in the movie that are igniting my olfactories to an inanimate image. Oh Steve Martin, why are you so awesome? The Insults to a Nose scene at the local bar- genius. I always wish I had that kind of a comeback.

In case you’re like me and you’re pining (no pun intended) for a small mountain town escape, here are a few to chew on. Bend, Oregon- I’m looking at you.

But back to this inspiration. Imagining myself in this quaint little mountain town in the midst of this old love story turned anew (well 80′s anew anyway), we go on location, here’s what we may look like in pretty Nelson:

On location- Roxanne

Crossbody Leather Bag- just like the one Daryl effortlessly sports throughout town. Not dated, just cool.

Boyfriend Jeans- just like in the 80s without those awful pleats.

Rib-Collar Cardigan- Daryl wears it around town and in her house, wear this little number year-round and it goes with everything.

Couple Hiking in an Alpine Meadow atop Whistler Mountian, B.C.- by Chris Cheadle at Getty Images- it’s nice to look at and a little retro too, goes quite nicely with our theme.

Red Plaid Rancher Cap- remember when Chris shows up on Roxanne’s porch wearing this hat while C.D. feeds him his lines through a wire? I  had to include it, plus it’s cute.

All Weather Booties- stylish and warm to boot because we’re not trying to wear platform heels in our dreamy mountain town.

If you haven’t seen this movie in a while (or ever), do yourself a favor and give it a watch. I think it might make you happy too.

P.S.: Do you remember Damon Wayans and a tanned Fred Willard being in this movie? I love the 80s.

Here’s the original trailer.

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Happy Weekend

The Crooked House of Windsor

Happy Weekend dear readers. Don’t you love this tea shop? The Crooked House of Windsor, one of the oldest still-standing tea houses in England, and that’s old. It’s on the list. I hope you are off to a tea-sipping, enjoyable weekend. As of Sunday, January 2015 will be forever over and done with- it’s so crazy how fast time flies. I’m not necessarily sad to say goodbye to January as a month but I am unnerved but how quickly this time thing operates. (take a breath, enjoy the moment- these are the mantras on continuous loop in my head). I never felt this way, at least not so intensely before I had children, now I am all too aware. What do you all do to combat the flying of our time?

What I’m Drinking:

Those of you who read my blog know I enjoy a glass of rosé throughout the year and especially in the winter, so I’m back on the pink juice. I’m currently sipping a rosé of grenache made by Elizabeth Spencer from the prettiest little town of Mendocino and it is killer. It’s juicy and chock full of bright cherry and strawberry fruit flavors- like a luscious strawberry jolly rancher without the sugar rush with a dry and finessed finish. If you don’t spot this one in your local shop, look for anything from Provence, rosés from Tavel and Bandol (my all-time favorite rosé region) will not disappoint. A little pink pickup is just what the dr. ordered during the dog days of winter.

A Few Things:

Ha.

These little scrapbooky photo journal books are awesome and can all be made via apps on your phone. I never print photos anymore and I certainly don’t make any albums, much less from our traveling adventures. I love this- so easy.

Mindy Kaling on Happiness- always happy to read or hear anything that comes out of her mouth.

For the love of Goop- steam your hoo-ha? Oh Gwyneth…

For all the Super Non-Fans: “How to Act During the Super Bowl”.

According to Gabrielle Hamilton, author and chef of NYC’s famed Prune, and all around badass, we should all be sipping savory teas. If she recommends it, I’m doing it. Have you read her book, Blood, Bones, and Butter?- so good.

Ha. A great follow up to The New Yorker’s How To Fall In Love with Anyone- this is funny.

Hilarious. A mom of two boys moonlights on Pinterest as a hipster mom with a sickeningly hip daughter named Quinoa basically making fun of people who dress their kids in jeans like this.

The awkward moment when Rashida Jones had to remind a reporter that she is black. Oy.

How Bogdanovich shot The Last Picture Show- one of my favorite movies. P.S.: Larry McMurtry was my dad’s college English professor- how awesome is that.

This will brighten your day. Take a minute and watch Ashley Bouder kick the shit out of Jerome Robbins’ “Fall” Four Seasons solo.

This escape to the Ojai Valley Inn is pretty swoonful. Girls trip?

The Blueprint for the best basic and go-to Viniagrette recipes. Never buy salad dressing again.

Good stuff for all of you 40ish year-olds- thanks for posting, Rashmi.

10 Foods to Boost Your Brainpower. I feel like there’s nothing new on this list , but it’s always ajeze good reminder.

Cocktails with DeNiro. I like how he rolls.

This pretty little fringe necklace is on my wish list.

Reno floor plans, if you’re into this sort of thing.

Fancy cheese plates for kids.

How to book a flight on the WAY cheap- because seriously, we can never have enough of these tips, right?

Drinking coffee before you work out? You may be on to something.

What Lies Beneath? Rare shots of a flipped iceberg.

Gold Cash Gold- the name of this new restaurant in Detroit is reason enough to make me want to plan a trip to the Motor City.

Making the most out of your Rotisserie Roast.

Alright Buzzfeed, you win- I’ll bite. If Disney princesses had realistic hair.

Paleo Schmaleo, I’m liking this a whole (grain) lot- ha.

Cin Cin ya’ll and enjoy your weekend! Bring on February, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, The Academy Awards and all that jazz.

(Photo by: Phil Wiley)

 

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8 Groovy Things

8 Groovy Things

Just a few things that are floatin’ my boat these days:

1. An outdoor canvas painting free for all. Maybe the cold weather is making me love this but it does looks so fun, doesn’t it?

2. Julia’s always on my groovy list, her preserved Cambridge kitchen at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum is one of my official Happy Places. This article from The New Yorker archives, passed along by my friend Rashmi (follow her Insta- so fun and inspiring), made me smile. Have you read “My Life in France“? -one of my favorites.  I vow to get to Le Pitchoune one of these days for cooking classes in Julia’s Provencal home.

3. My new favorite bauble. I can’t justify the splurge but I’d like to. The designer, Moorea Seal, designed ye olde blog as well, with yours truly. I’m a fan.

4. A Loch Ness Ladle. Just because. (not available until Feb. but you bet I’ll have that little Nessie swimming in my soup pot)

5. A Cheese shirt. Because it’s awesome.

6. An oversized wool blend stripey car coat. Just like a Pendleton only minus the primary colors and pricey price tag.

7. Ahh yes, the Nike Pre Montreal. Why are you not in my closet?

8. Stowe, Vt.  Maybe because the VonTrapp Family has their own lodge there or White Christmas was inspired by the pretty Vermont town and I’m always a sucker for Rosemary Clooney and that silly ass song, “Snow”- I don’t know, I just want to go.

What’s on your groovy list?

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Happy Weekend!

Henry Miller

Happy Weekend dear readers. I hope you are all of to some fun adventuring. We are playing it low key this weekend. In fact, I cannot even think of what we have planned which is pretty great. The hubs and I are going to get out for a minute to a geeky wine tasting to test our blind tasting skills. A friend in the wine industry is hosting and it will be a $15/$50 party- attempting to guess which wine is worth what. It should prove a challenge because the host himself has some seriously refined tastebuds so the $15 vinos are sure to be tasty. Anyway, should be fun and it’s a good idea for a gathering.

What I’m Drinking:

Lately, in additon to my Orange crush, I’ve been sipping Italian reds. ‘Tis the season for a hearty red and not much floats my boat (or palate) more in the dead of winter than a few sips of some dirt & cherries (aka Tuscan reds). I opt for a Rosso di Montalcino as I’ve written about many a time before on le blog, the baby sister of its older and more refined sibling, Brunello. You can get a lot of bang for your buck here with the Rosso, it still ain’t cheap but it is delicioso.

A Few Stellar Bottles:

Altesino Rosso di Montalcino ’12- a steal for $23 from a wonderful Tuscan house run by a female (gotta love that). Their wines are all stupendo. Dirt and cherries finessed with a bit of wild herb perfume. So good.

Le Chiuse Rosso di Montalcino ’11- killer bottle. $26

Fonterenza Rosso di Montalcino ’11- this one you’ll want to put on your dining table at your next dinner party. The label’s so pretty, you have to show it off and maybe use it as a vase after that. Imported by the legendary Louis/Dressner, it’s simply awesome. Biodynamic, organic, natural and drinking like the land- it’ll put you right under that Tuscan sun and in Jan., that sounds pretty good. $36

Tenuta di Sesta Rosso di Montalcino ’12- not quite as complex as the bottles above but chewy and chock full of dark berries and dirt in the best way, it’s delicious and it’s $16.

A Few Things:

Let’s “cut to the chase”- a look at just what those old expressions really mean.

Need a breath of fresh air, pop over to Anna Watson Carl’s Instagram. She’s been in Sicily for 3 weeks, talk about swoonful.

7 things that will help you stop worrying, says Fast Company. Well, I’ve got #4 down pat. I don’t think I’ll be adopting #7 anytime soon. Tried it, hated it, but the others sound pretty good.

To fall in love with anyone- do this.

A hotel inspired by an amethyst. Interesting and pretty.

I made these Buttery Braised Leeks at the recommendation of my good pal Rashmi and they were a HUGE hit. She made them sans topping and was a fan. I could not resist the crispy, cheesy panko topping and it went over big time. I highly recommend.

Another friend recommends this NY Times Bok Choy recipe. I don’t have enough Bok Choy in my life in general, looking forward to trying this.

Mind your own, err- Make your own beeswax. So easy, even I can do this and makes a great present.

How to make homemade extra flaky crescent rolls.

And while we’re talking homemade, how’s about some homemade Twix? Yes please.

Funny. I love Emily McDowell’s illustrations, just looking at this makes me happy. What do you consider exercise that’s probably not? I’ve personally always done butt crunches while waiting in line. Ha.

I don’t myself used LinkedIn, but for those of you that do, this looks helpful. A little zhush for your LinkedIn profile, why not?

I love these socks and who doesn’t always need a few more pairs of socks especially when they’re comfy, cute, the company gives back and there’s a discount code. Check it.

My pal Rashmi also turned me on to The Points Guy and by the by- you can hook yourself up with a ticket to Milan right about now for $399. Say What!

I will be honest, when noontime hits, I never know what the hell to make. Kitchen scraps for lunch? Ok, I’ll bite.

How to hang your gallery wall like a pro.

We’ve all seen the wood bead chandeliers like this one that might make you feel like you were living in ABC Home (if you had 15 foot ceilings and mammoth Broadway-facing windows) but alas, these babies are pricey. Enter the World Market’s version. It’s not nearly as fancy but for $269, it’s a pretty good compromise.

Speaking of chandeliers, I’ll take one of these please.

I should do this. What a great (and old school) way to keep track of memories together.

What’s IN and OUT this Spring according to Ms. Wintour. I don’t think anyone needs to worry about me sporting a single earring anytime soon, so I guess I’m in the clear.

The top 20 places to buy art online. I have to go with The Tappan Collective, they hail from my alma mater and my best friend Amy and I wish we had thought of this. Well, we sort of did back in the day, but we didn’t do it. Sigh. These ladies did though and I love their style.

Cin Cin ya’ll and Enjoy! Happy Weekending. Stay Warm.

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Happy New Year Good People

 

Happy New Year1

It’s a brand new year and I’m really a lot less upset about the end of the holiday season than usual. I’m jazzed for a clean, bright and fresh new start. Of course when I’m in the humdrum of my daily routine I don’t feel so fresh and so clean but still- it’s a new year and with a new year brings new ideas, new opportunities, new friends, new bites, new sips and new experiences. Bring it. I’m pretty much psyched for every moment I can get.

I’m not making a big resolution this year mostly because I never really see it through- lose 5 pounds- whatevs. I’ll do it if I do it. No, mostly I’m all about the fun this year. I just want to be present and have a blast with my kiddos, my family and friends. I’m inviting the fun people, let’s make some memories.

The first day of the year proved to be pretty predictable for me as I set to my calendar to start planning parties, getaways and full blown vacations. Sound trite? Maybe but all this planning business around food, friends and family is my happy maker. My 40th is this year and I’m taking a much awaited trip with my best girls. 7 of us from college, we are all turning forty within the year so we’ll celebrate together though we are geographically far apart. We span the globe living in Hong Kong, San Fran, Vail, New Jersey, Connecticut, Indiana and DC. We try to get together at least once a year but it’s rare that we can all gather together in the same place, this will be special. We cannot decide on where to go. It will be late July and we all have kids, so we can’t get away for too long (that means staying in country) and we probably don’t want to go anywhere south of the the Mason-Dixon line to avoid the heat factor. We are going back and forth- if you have any big ideas, please post them below. We’re thinking Northern Cali. or Nantucket…

What I’m Drinking:

This is E11even Wine. An awesome Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir for under $20. My new favorite from badass winemaker Andrew Murray. I had a glass of this last week at the famed Rose’s Luxury here in DC- by the way, we waited a whopping 3 hours for our table and I have to say, it was well worth it. The wine list is so good, I wanted to crumble it up into a ball and eat it. This was a great addition to our meal and a new fave plus it’s named after a line in This is Spinal Tap. My hubs and I modeled our 11 day rule after that very scene (we try not to be away from each other for more than 11 days at a time- we’ve kept to it in our 6 years of marriage). But I digress, this stuff is great.

A Few Fun Things:

These Leopard Flats. I know it’s winter but a girl can dream.

This Coq Au Riesling. I love a good chicken and I love a good Riesling. Win. Win.

This Poutine. French Fries and Gravy with Cheese to boot? Come on now.

This Blood Orange Shrub. I’m making this for my next dinner party- the better to awaken my guests’ palates with, my dear.

This Movie. I’m a big Rob Marshall fan- the guy is masterly in his musical theater ways. I think his Into the Woods is aces, plus I just love listening to those Sondheim lyrics. Talk about masterly. Die hard Sondheim fans have their panties in a twist about the changes made, but guys- it’s the film adaptation not another stage production. I think he done good. I laughed, I cried- it’s good stuff.

This Food Passport. I’m stealing this idea pronto. I love lists. The only thing I like more than a list is a Passport- so this is a duh.

This Wine Gifting Idea. Who doesn’t want a cute tea towel with their bottle of vino? Not just for any old host, this one’s for the one with the most.

This City. Because it’s always a good idea. My good pal Alana Stone just put out her Analogue Guide to the great city and she knows the deal. You bet I’ll be looking for some last minute deals to the City of Lights- winter is a good and cheap(er) time to visit.
Cin Cin and a very good start of the year to you!

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