Monday, June 29, 2015

A Much-Delayed Housewarming

For pretty much always, I've been preparing to host my own parties in my own house. From when my Nana would make me pass hors d'oeuvres at her parties to when I was throwing my first parties in high school, I was thinking about hosting my first house party and it finally happened this weekend!

We've been so busy that when we finally looked at a calendar, we realized this past weekend was truly one of the only weekends all summer that we would be free! As a kid, I thought grown-ups had parties all the time (that's how it looked on TV!) but now I see why they don't; life is too damn busy! We were excited to have a great group of friends come over, and I got to pull out some of my favorite recipes and party supplies. Here's some pictures of the evening:

Summer means Pimm's, a popular liqueur in Britain that is typically served with cucumber and is super refreshing.

I made a Peach Pimm's Punch (recipe adapted from this one) with 2 bottles of Bombay Sapphire Gin, 2 bottles of Pimm's, a LOT of peach-flavored soda and sliced cucumbers and peaches. It was delicious and refreshing, like a spin on spiked iced tea.

We set up a fully stocked bar...although I think most folks stuck to punch, Melissa's sangria or beer.

I did make myself a rainier cherry caipiroska, though.

We dined on burgers and hot dogs, cocktail shrimp and lots of delicious fruit!

I also made a twist on caprese salad with peaches instead of tomatoes, and it was predictably tasty.

 But the best part was seeing our house full of revelers!

 Yay for friends and housewarming parties!

The piece de resistance was our dessert (definitely an idea from Pinterest...I can't take credit): S'mores Strawberries. My sister in law Katie and friends Laura and Jody helped make my dream a reality! They dipped the strawberries in melting chocolate, then in graham cracker crumbs and finally in marshmallow fluff. We used my little kitchen butane torch (a wedding gift to make creme brulee) to toast the marshmallow and it was definitely just dangerous/safe enough to be fun!

They were a pretty big hit.

At the end of the night, a few of us raided my collection of leftover wedding sparklers and danced on the deck, singing Ariana Grande songs. It was a wonderful night and a great first house party, of which I hope there will be many!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer in Savannah 2015 Edition

For the third year in a row, I've been blessed to spend a long weekend in Savannah with my besties Bret and Ashleigh. We journeyed down to Low Country this past weekend and enjoyed many a cocktail, sniffed many a $60 candle and generally annoyed and delighted the populace with our joie de vivre. Clearly we were missed; Tybee Island greeted us with a rainbow!

We kicked off the festivities with a return to the Tybee Island Social Club, where we treated ourselves to a round of the Summer Socialite cocktail and a pitcher of White Sangria that had us giggling like little kids. We love the atmosphere there; it's definitely a place to kick back and stay a while. I especially love the steak tacos and the ceviche appetizer.

On Saturday, we started our day in Savannah with a trip to J. Christopher's, where I couldn't resist the siren's call of the day's special: Oreo Pancakes. So simple, yet so perfect.

 Ashleigh tried the Huevos Avocados, with scrambled eggs instead of poached.

From there, we hit Broughton Street, a main drag mix of both thoughtful locally owned boutiques and big name stores, like LOFT and Urban Outfitters and Marc by Marc Jacobs. My favorite of all time forever will be The Paris Market, an impeccably curated shop of curiosities, decor items, jewelry, edibles and generally things you don't need but have to have. This shell and coral display gets. me. every. time.

 It also has delightful oddities, like this "wood pile" of quartz. Thanks for bringing in the kindling from The Neverending Story, Bret!

All that shopping left us thirsty, so we were delighted to take advantage of Savannah's wonderfully lax open container laws to get Cucumber Basil and The Red Clover cocktails from Chive Lounge, one of our favorite spots. It's weirdly fun to take cocktails into the Gap and not hear a word about it from anyone.

Later Saturday night, we met up with Ashleigh's dad, who happened to be nearby, for a delicious dinner at The Public Kitchen and Bar; Bret and I visited last year and thought its short-but-sweet menu of creative burgers, steaks and fish dishes would be a good fit. We started with a round of cocktails, natch.

Our favorite: the Trois Baies, made with Hendricks Gin, St. Germain, strawberries and the key ingredient of reduced fig balsamic vinegar. It was so good!

Ash and I ordered separate burgers and shared halves. I ordered the Savannah Philly, with provolone cheese, caramelized onions and sriracha mayo; she got the Roma burger, a twist on caprese with pesto aioli. Both were good to the last bite!

 We'd decided to go on our first-ever ghost tour and geared up for the possible frights with Wet Willies frozen alcoholic concoctions. By some crazy coincidence, Ashleigh and I ordered the same combo of mango and peach, despite being on opposite ends of the bar.

It was brutally hot and sticky, so much so that Bret had to create an improvised headband out of an undershirt. Necessity is the mother of invention! We went on the Beyond Good and Evil Tour, a fun and snarky take on a walking ghost tour. We saw some spooky houses, learned a bunch about voodoo and since it was adults only, snickered at a few blue jokes. All in all, a super fun night!

On Sunday, we roasted on the beach on Tybee and had a chill evening, laughing and crying through a screening of Pixar's "Inside Out," before heading to the Flying Monk Noodle Bar.

 We sampled edamame dumplings, a combo I haven't seen before and really enjoyed.

 Bret got pho, Ashleigh got a Thai Curry noodle bowl that was delicious, and I ordered the Five Spice BBQ Pork with rice.

It was very filling! I also tried a peach sake-tini that was subtle and refreshing.

 Tradition dictates that we hit the road with bellies full of delicious Southern food from Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, a family-style eatery that has people lining up well before its first lunch seating at 11 a.m. Imagine a Southern food and it's probably on that table when you sit down, from collard greens to jambalaya to stew to fried chicken.

 My first helping! The succotash was surprisingly delish!

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, so we bid adieu and have to return to the real world. Until 2016, Savannah!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Best v.247

These two slay me.

After a busy, busy week I realized I haven't blogged even once. I suppose I could have written about my utter failure to eat at home even one night this past week, or the exciting panel discussion I attended on Thursday. But all my spare time was spent finishing up my second round of Mad Men, and now I suppose I have to move on with my life. But in the meantime, here's some links I meant to share when I was busy watching Don Draper wreck his own life!