Monthly Archives: September 2009

Ups and Downs

Well, you win some and you lose some. Miss Mojito spent the long weekend with friends, with plenty of snacking and imbibing along the way. Of course, there were highs and lows in our drink and cocktail agenda for the weekend. Here’s a quick recap – maybe we can all learn from my failures (and successes)!

Starting to Wine at Keswick
Miss Mojito and pals brought some snacks to Keswick Vineyards, outside of Charlottesville, for a sunny afternoon ofIMG_0209 Viognier-sipping. The wine was sublime, the company delightful and the setting perfect.

Time for  a Drunken Mule
Post-wine sipping, we gathered back at a friend’s house for even more good eats and cocktails. I was truly excited to prepare the Peach Donkey. Somehow, though, I convinced myself that the name of the drink was actually the Drunken IMG_0214Mule. Although neither makes much sense, I prefer the latter. It’s a mixture of peach purée, vodka, Domaine de Canton (a ginger liqueur) and ginger beer. I subbed club soda for the ginger beer and was less than pleased with the end result. Maybe the peaches weren’t peachy enough, or maybe the ginger beer is crucial to the success of this drink. I think it’s a recipe that’s worthy of some more experimentation, particularly now that I’m left with a practically full bottle of Canton (check back for more cocktail recipes inspired by this ginger liqueur).

Drunken Mule
serves one

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur)
  • 3 ounces peach puree (Miss Menu peeled peaches and whizzed them about in a food processor with some lime juice to prevent discoloration)
  • 1 ounce chilled ginger beer

Combine the vodka, Canton and puree in a glass. Stir. Top with ginger beer and serve.

Taking a Trip South
Miss Mojito was excited to hear about the Southside, billed as the gin-lover’s mojito. It combines mint, simple syrup, IMG_0231club soda, lime and gin. So on Sunday evening, we enjoyed a pre-dinner version of the cocktail, subbing agave nectar for simple syrup with delightful results.

Southside
serves one

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 handful mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Club soda

In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint with the simple syrup or agave. Add gin and lime juice and shake thoroughly. Pour over ice and top with club soda. Garnish with more mint leaves.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Surf’s up

The Project Runway designers head to the beach for episode three. They are in California, after all. Their challenge — to create a surf-inspired look, and to work in teams of two. One would think experienced designers shouldn’t have too much trouble designing a bikini top and a sarong, so halfway through the show, Tim surprises the teams by asking them to create an additional piece — an avant-garde look to complement their surf wear design. Working in teams, a surprise challenge, and Mitchell still in that workroom — naturally, conditions are perfect for drama.

PR-surfpicThe big kahuna, Tim Gunn, on the beach in sunglasses, flip flops and a blazer.

A few comments/highlights:

  • Ra’mon is  paired with Mitchell, and he looks like he is going to have a meltdown every three minutes. Mitchell, on-the-other-hand, is oddly carefree and seems to be amused that:  (a) he has been in the bottom two each week, and (b) he can’t really sew.
  • Ra’mon’s neoprene hand-dyed dress wins. I like Ra’mon, I really do. But, I can’t believe he won. Was it a sympathy win for pairing him with the worthless Mitchell? I guess he should be given some credit for creating it in an hour, but I thought there were better avant-garde looks on the runway (Althea and Johnny in particular).
  • Epperson and Qristyl‘s collaboration was painful to watch, and even worse to listen to.
  • Um, not sure what Rachel Bilson added as guest judge. She basically just restated everything Heidi said. Where’s Michael Kors? We need him back stat!
  • Mitchell (“I picked Ra’mon to carry me in this challenge”) becomes the first winning team member to get kicked off. Aloha, dude.

ramon-avantgardeRa’mon’s surf-inspired, hand-dyed, avant-garde look was the winning design.

burberry-sandalFor the shoe pairing, I like these metallic sandals from Burberry. Ra’mon’s dress has some edge to it, and these extreme strappy sandals, with the cool spiked heel, should pair well with his tie-dyed look. Love the platform, the straps, the dark nickel color. Hate the price.

The Project Runway Shoe Pairing is a reoccurring feature on the S&C blog, where we recap the previous week’s episode, and pair spectacular shoes with the winning design.

posted by Ms. S&C

Reporting for duty

Michael Voltaggio is on fire. Every week he is vying for a win on Top Chef. In episode two, Michael’s Golden Delicious inspired dessert was second best, losing only to his brother. In the most recent episode, he wins the Air Force Challenge, convincingly.

michael_vLet’s hope Michael Voltaggio isn’t burning too bright after
a red hot start in the competition.

A few highlights from last week’s Air Force Challenge episode:

  • The Quickfire competition challenges the cheftestants to create an “out of this world” potato dish. Guest judge is Mark Peel, who landed his first culinary job peeling vegetables for Wolfgang Puck. The challenge involves potatoes; his last name is peel — get the connection? I didn’t at first, but it’s clever all right.
  • Jennifer, who is also on fire, kicks ass and wins the Quickfire (with steamed mussels with lemongrass potato sauce), giving her immunity — and more importantly, total respect in the kitchen.
  • The Elimination Challenge has the cheftestants working as a team to prepare a meal for 300 airmen at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. The menu includes hearty classics such as clam chowder, braised pork shoulder and potato salad, and chocolate bread pudding with peanut butter sauce.
  • Michael V stands out, making a more contemporary dish of braised pork belly with soy mustard, wrapped in lettuce and served with a peanut garnish.
  • Preeti is the chef sent home, because she was inexplicable in her defense of her and Laurine’s hodgepodge, yet unflavorful, pasta salad. I  felt bad for Preeti. The dish was as much Laurine’s fault as her own. But someone’s gotta go.

porkbellyMichael Voltaggio’s pork belly lettuce wrap is on the right.
Ignore Michael Isabella’s greek salad on the left.

For the drink pairing — over the weekend, I made my own version of Michael V’s pork belly lettuce wraps and served the dish with sake, a rice wine from Japan. Whole Foods has a good selection of inexpensive sakes, so Mr. S&C picked us up a 375 ml bottle of Fudo Myoo, for less than $6.00. The Fudo Myoo brand is fairly sweet (hints of banana and anise), and is best served chilled. The chilled sweet beverage is a nice counter balance to the richness (and absolute deliciousness) of the pork belly. Kanpai!

The Top Chef Drink Pairing is a reoccurring feature on the S&C blog, where we recap the previous week’s episode, and pair the winning dish with a cocktail, or other suitable alcoholic beverage.

posted by Ms. S&C

Dress boldly

The goal for Ms. S&C’s fall wardrobe? To dress boldly. That means wearing color. And prints. Ms. S&C plans to brighten up her fall look with richly colored tights, footwear, and lipstick (in red, please). She’ll also add a dash of paisley and polka dots here and there. Read on for what has inspired Ms. S&C this season.

JCrew-fall09

JCrew-fallshoes

J.Crew’s fall collection has some of my favorite looks, including lots of vibrant-colored hosiery and footwear. Verdict is still out on the short neon socks though. Actually, no it is not, I don’t like them.

But, what fall trends are catching Ms. S&C’s eye?

  • Tights — the brighter, the bolder, the better. I have a few pairs leftover from last year: gray, black, and red (purchased originally for a holiday party), but I would like to add another bright color (maybe orange) and a textured or printed pair (like herringbone).
  • Shorter-length skirt — otherwise, what will you wear your tights with? This piece is primarily for weekend wear and travel, so get something that’s versatile, like this wool one I picked up at J.Crew. It goes without saying, it is easier on the wallet to buy one skirt and a few pair of tights, rather than vice versa.
  • Boyfriend/tomboy look — slouchy jeans, blazers, vests, long cardigans, and oxfords are still in. I already have a long, black cardigan and a gray vest (understand why I need color?), so I think I’ll invest in a new blazer. It will be good for work, good for the weekend, good for forever. It’s a classic piece. Now, only thing left to decide: corduroy or wool?
  • Biker chic accessories — this means studs and zippers. You’ll find them on outerwear, bags, belts, and footwear (like the awesome Jessica Simpson pumps shown below).

S&C Style Tip: When you’re talking about trends — less is more. Don’t go all biker or all boyfriend (i.e. don’t pair the studded shoes with the studded belt and the zippered pants.). Wear these things separately. I think you know this, but just in case. Trends, in my opinion, are best utilized sparingly, and when paired with classic pieces.

KS-fall1KS-fall2

Kate Spade’s fall clothing line is funky and fun, but falls in the category of “aspirational-and-quite-possibly-unattainable buy.” However, I may be willing to trade my first born for the polka dot shirt and the quirky owl bag. I feel like I could channel my girl crush, Zooey Deschanel, with those pieces.

As for fall footwear, boots are still e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. Ankle boots, suede boots, western boots (I’ve loved red cowboy boots ever since I saw them on Katie Holmes in Wonder BoysLucky Brand are pictured below), biker boots (these tall, and affordable, ones in black from Nine West are great), over-the-knee boots (a trend I plan to ignore by the way). However, we cannot live on boots alone, so  other footwear can be embellished with ruffles and bows, studs, and straps (the Miz Mooz pair below have it all–color, interesting criss-cross straps, perfect rounded toe).

lucky-bootsninewest-boots


JS-studdedmizmooz

Ms. S&C wants to know: What do you think of these fall trends? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Never wear ‘em? Would love to hear what new items you plan on having in your closet this season.

posted by Ms. S&C

Bun in the Oven

The first few episodes of Project Runway are always a bit hard for me to jump right in to. There are so many designers, and we only get to hear the critique of about half of them. It isn’t until episode four or five, at least, that I start to develop favorites. So one thing that I like about this season is that, at MyLifetime.com, you can view videos of the extended judging, as well as more footage of Tim Gunn’s critiques! So far, this is one benefit that Lifetime has over Bravo. Now, on with the show.

Here’s a quick recap of highlights (and spoilers!) from last week’s episode, the Pregnancy Challenge, with guest host Rebecca Romijn.

  • I love a good pregnancy challenge as much as anybody, but can we address the prosthetic baby bumps for a moment? To my eye, they didn’t seem to create an entirely accurate representation of a pregnant woman’s body. To start with, you’re putting a huge bump on an otherwise stick-thin model, who hasn’t gained baby-poundage in any other area. More often then not, this resulted in the creation of a bowling-ball-tummy.
  • Leggings seemed to be the easy answer for most of the designers, who were new to pregnancy wear.  Four out of the 15 designers opted for the legging route.
  • One designer who strayed away from the leggings – in a most unfortunate manner – was Mitchell. While I liked the styling of his outfit (check out these boots!), his ridiculous, balloon-meets-diaper shorts should have sent him home, but instead . . .
  • Malvin goes home. And who can say it’s a surprise? This is the same designer who mentioned, in Episode 1, that a vocabulary has not yet been invented that can describe his clothing. In my opinion, that says it all. Malvin’s bird-egg-inspired get-up sent him packing.
  • In the end, I was rooting for the first-runner-up. I thought Althea’s navy gown with the detailed neckline was classy and fun and a little bit sexy. But Shirin’s red-wine-shaded gown seem to have an excellent fit, PLUS she made a (lined) coat to go with it. She had it in the bag.

pr6-ep2-rr-shrin-f2

Shirin’s winning design in Project Runway’s Pregnancy Challenge episode

Clearly, the shoe pairing for the winning outfit should be one that values comfort asmuch as fashion, keeping _5762479mom-to-be in mind. I’ve heard a lot about Cole Haan‘s collaboration with Nike for a shoe line that marries comfort and fashion – at a price. These peep-toe pumps, with a Mary Jane styling and cushioning in the heel and forefront, would be the perfect partner for Shirin’s gown – but at $275, they’re definitely an investment piece!

Posted by Miss Mojito.