Monthly Archives: October 2008

Halloween part II–pumpkins galore

Your Halloween drinks continue with beer, and specifically Pumpkin Ales!

We like pumpkin beers over here at S&C.  It’s like the fall season in a bottle.  They are typically mild, with an equal balance of bitterness and malt.  Some are made with actual pumpkins and some are made with flavors and spices akin to a pumpkin pie, such as nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, all spice.  The Beer Advocate says despite the incredible time consumption, the best ales use real pumpkin.  And, the folks over at Drink Craft Beer have rated their top ten faves.  S&C has had a few on the list, and we don’t think you can go wrong with the ones mentioned below.

So, if you don’t have time to whip up the Autumn Spiced Punch or the Corpse Reviver, No. 2, before the trick-or-treaters arrive, pick up a six pack!

  • Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale – Coors Brewing Company
    Medium body with hints pumpkin.  Easy to drink. Good choice for those that don’t typically drink “dark” beers.
  • Post Road Pumpkin Ale – Brooklyn Brewery
    Malt, hops, pumpkin, spices – it has it all.  This brewery does no wrong.

Not pictured, but also a very good beer — Punkin’ Ale, from our friends over at Dogfish Head.  It is a good beer when you’re heading into a cooler season.

Halloween part I–reviving a corpse

Your Halloween Cocktails are here!

After drinking Lillet during my NYC bar hop, I picked up a bottle at Whole Foods.  Then, I ran across the Corpse Reviver, No. 2 recipe – just in time for Halloween.  Other than a fitting name, the cocktail itself has no association with the holiday.

Lillet is a wine, blended with a secret recipe of herbs and fruits.  It pairs perfectly with citrus.  So, the combination of the sweet orange liqueur with the sour lemon juice is scary good.  You can hardly taste the gin, and the dash of Pernod gives a hint of star anise flavoring that really makes the cocktail.  Don’t let the unusual spirits discourage you, this is a very good cocktail.  My new book, The Savoy Cocktail Book, has a funny quote which reads, “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”  Trick or treat!

Corpse Reviver, No. 2
(makes about two cocktails)

  • 1 part Gin
  • 1 part Lillet
  • 1 part Cointreau (or another orange liqueur)
  • 1 part Lemon Juice
  • Dash Absinthe (or Pernod)

Combine all ingredients and shake well with ice.  Strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with lemon peel.

Recession chic

Out: the free-spending fashionista.  In: the thrifty recessionista.

Recessionista is the newly coined term for a style maven on a budget.  As a recessionista, you can justify your spending habits because discount brands are not only smart, they’re trendy.  The New York Times’ article summed it up, by saying it “spins the economic downturn as an attractive retail trend.”  I don’t know who’s responsible, but it is brilliant PR for retail, if you ask me.

Sigerson Morrison, Target, $39.99

I’m looking to exercise my inner recessionista.  I think I’m going to cave and get a pair of booties.  I’ve been utterly against them, thinking they’re too trendy, and won’t last after this season.  Well, after seeing Gwyneth’s, and this pair of Sigerson Morrison’s my co-worker friend, Ana, picked up at Target, I want a pair.  But, I don’t want to spend a lot of money (because, I won’t wear them a lot, and I still think the trend will only last one season, two tops).

Here are a few possibilities – any thoughts?

Nine West, Endless, $69.95

Aerosoles, Piperlime, $69.99

Aerosoles, Piperlime, $69.99

Jessica Simpson, DSW, $59.95

Jessica Simpson, DSW, $59.95

Worthington, JCPenney, $53.99

Worthington, JCPenney, $53.99

Twist, Payless, $34.99

Twist, Payless, $34.99

S&C diversion–having it all

Gwyneth Paltrow, by the looks of it, has it all.  Gorgeous, glamorous, wealthy, married to a rock star.  She wants to add lifestyle advisor to the list, so she has recently launched GOOP, a website/newsletter/soon-to-be media empire, where she can share her collection of experiences, thoughts, and ideas about what makes life good.  Some people have big problems with this.  Google it and you’ll find a trillion hits, along with too many ridiculous comments.  I guess people think she is trying to rub our noses in her good fortune.  Cynical people.  I’m personally not offended.  I like her style and think she has good taste.  And, I like hearing about new stuff, so I signed up.

We’re assuming the name, GOOP, is a combination of Ms. Paltrow’s initials and the word good.  The website seems to be a work-in-progress, but is organized into six categories: Make, Go, Get, Do, Be, See.  We’re also assuming that each of these categories will eventually be filled with content from her newsletters?  So far, the emails have covered London hotels, restaurants, and pubs (Go), buckwheat and banana pancakes (Make), and my fave so far, an article about fashion and personal style (Get).  Here’s a snippet:

“Ah, fashion… the fun frivolity that can really cheer a girl up… The key to it is realizing what works on you personally. At some point I figured out that following trends is not always the way to go, you have to know what works on your body and have confidence (not always easy) that what is flattering is fashionable.”

Not hard to figure out what I like so much — the boots are awesome.  She even makes me want a pair of booties.

You can sign up for the newsletters online, but it doesn’t look like you can view old issues.  If anyone is interested, I’ve saved three or four, so send me a note and I’ll forward them along.

Seven good years

Mr. and Ms. S&C have been married seven years now.  It has become a tradition to celebrate the occasion with a super fancy dinner – one of those dinners you can only afford once a year.  After year one, we went to Marcels, and we’re still talking about the duck confit and chesnut soup we had.  Last year, we visited the tasting room at Restaurant Eve, and it was a marathon of 12 courses.  On Saturday night, we headed to CityZen, at the Mandarin Oriental, with high expectations.

We opted for the amazing six course tasting menu and the sommelier’s wine pairing.  Before I get to the food and wine, let me say that they do everything right over at CityZen.  They anticipate your every need, and no detail is too small.

The gentleman started the evening off with a Chivas and soda.  He appreciated that the soda was served on the side, so you can add as much, or as little, as you want.  The lady began with one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails, the Peachy Keen, made with a peach-ginger flavored vodka, iced tea, and peach puree.  It tasted like peach iced tea and was a little too sweet for my liking.  That’s okay, she knew she had six rounds ahead of her.

The complete tasting menu and sommelier’s pairing is below.  The first course of tuna was paired with an excellent, light Reisling that wasn’t too sweet.  The sweet Semillon, however, was a perfect match for the rich foie gras.  The branzino may have been my favorite course, and it was paired with one of my favorite types of wine, Pinot Noir.  An earthy Grenache/Mourvedre accompanied the succulent veal shortribs.  A trio of micro-brewed beers was a surprise pairing for the plentiful cheese cart that was wheeled over.  And lastly, Port was served with dessert, which was probably my least favorite course.  While a fun idea, I just didn’t love the warm peanut butter and jelly concoction.

CityZen’s Tasting Menu and Pairing

CONFIT OF BLUEFIN TUNA AND TORO SASHIMI WITH HEIRLOOM POTATO SALAD AND PEPPER AOLI
2005 Schloss Gobelsburg, Urgestein
Reisling
Kremstal, Austria

SAUTEED MOULARD DUCK FOIE GRAS WITH MISSION FIGS AND CELERY BRANCH
2005 Margan Family
Botrytis Semillon
Hunter Valley, Australia

CRISPY SKIN FILET OF MEDITERRANEAN BRANZINO WITH ROAST GARLIC CAVATELLI, DRIED SAUSAGE, ITALIAN PARSLEY AND BOTTARGA DE MULLET
1999 Lignier-Michelot
Pinot Noir
Chambolle-Musigny, France

BRAISED MARCHO FARMS VEAL SHORTRIBS WITH SAVOY CABBAGE, CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS AND BEURRE COLBERT
2005 Domaine de Font Sane, Terrasses des Dentelles
Grenache/Mourvedre
Gigondas, France

ASSORTED ARTISANAL CHEESES
Trio of Micro Brews
Hofbrau Munche Hefe Weizen
Brooklyn Brown Ale
North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

PEANUT BUTTER AND VALRHONA CHOCOLATE CHIBOUST WITH TERRAPIN STATION CONCORD GRAPE SAUCE
1995 Smith Woodhouse Late Bottle Vintage
Touriga Nacional/Tinta Cao
Duoro, Portugal

Assorted artisanal cheeses paired with a trio of micro-brewed beers at CityZen

All in all, I can’t imagine a better dining experience, or a better way to spend my last seven years.

posted by Ms. S&C

Wallet-friendly

This economic crisis is making everyone more budget conscious, including Shoes & Cocktails.  While we were totally coveting those riding boots we shared from Anthropologie, and we were pining for the Tory Burch Jackson boots, we couldn’t justify the extravagant purchases.  Gone are the days of gleeful over-spending!  But, that doesn’t mean we won’t shop at all.  We’ve exercised prudence and settled on these very cool Mossimo boots from Target, at a jaw-dropping price of $35!

Happy valley

S&C went tailgating over the weekend.  Headed to State College, PA,  to see friends JD and Bob, and see Penn State take on clobber Michigan.  It was super-fun being in a college town, and one that is crazy about football.  Tailgating is, of course, awesome.  S&C really likes hanging out with friends during the day, eating, and drinking.  Not to mention, the fall foliage was gorgeous up there.

To celebrate the festivities, we prepared an autumnal punch, recipe courtesy of Ms. RB, our friend out of Texas.  This punch is very mellow, so it is definitely appropriate for an afternoon of drinking.  If you’re planning a Halloween party, or attending some other fall-related shindig, serve this punch.  It is a winner.

Autumn Spiced Punch
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 12 cinnamon sticks, broken
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 4 cups cold apple juice
  • 1 12 oz can apricot nectar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 bottles white wine, preferably Sauvignon Blanc

Directions:
In a saucepan combine water, sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves.  Bring to boil, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Cover and chill for 12-24 hours.  Strain spices from syrup.  Combine syrup with fruit juices.  Pour into punch bowl (or plastic pitcher, if you’re tailgating) and add wine.

And, in case you’re interested, our tailgating menu included: chicken wings, pork barbeque, coleslaw, and baked beans.  Perfect for the back of a pick-up truck.

After the game, we headed to The Tavern Restaurant, a town favorite, and famous for a drink called the “Original Sin.”  The Original Sin recipe is top-secret, but apparently is 50% alcohol (including brandy), mixed with club soda, a secret fruity mixture (definitely includes maraschino in some form), and topped off with champagne.  It reminds you of a spiked punch you may have had in high school.  If you’re there, you have to try it.

Thanks for the great weekend State College friends!  Reserve a tailgating spot for us next year – we’ll be there, ready to party Nittany Lions style.