Monthly Archives: November 2008



Skip the lines.  Beat the crowds.  Take care of your holiday shopping at lunch! and are holding the third annual Shop@Lunch event on Monday, December 1.  Washington, DC locals are invited to shop online and enjoy a free lunch at the Hard Rock Café.  Make plans to attend, and just tell your boss that you’ll be out helping the economy for an hour or two.  Here are the dets:

WHO: Shop@Lunch is presented by and, a one-stop shop for holiday shopping

WHAT: Shop@Lunch is a celebration of Cyber Monday, the ceremonial kick-off of the online holiday shopping season

WHEN: Monday, December 1, 11:00 am until 2:00 pm (the Monday after Thanksgiving)

WHERE: Hard Rock Café, 999 E. Street, NW, Washington, DC – the entire top level is reserved

WHY: The event includes:

  • FREE lunch (a pasta station, a salad station, and lots of other “real” food)
  • A chance to WIN one of 89 $50 gift cards that will be raffled off from, Borders, eBags, and many other e-tailers
  • Merchandise raffles of jewelry, sporting goods, and electronics
  • FREE wi-fi
  • 50 laptops for online shopping use
  • A chance to be interviewed for local TV news (though you can always refuse)

RSVP: RSVPs are NOT required.  However, you can see who else is planning to attend and RSVP at Facebook.  Ms. S&C will be there in an official work capacity, not in a Shoes & Cocktail alter ego capacity, but she’d love for you to stop by and say hi nonetheless.

CAN’T ATTEND? You can still take advantage of Cyber Monday deals!  And, when you shop through, proceeds go to the Ray M. Greenly Scholarship Fund.  Here are a few shoe and cocktail-related items we’ve scouted out:

  • For the athlete – check out deals from Nike Store and Finish Line
  • For the outdoorsy – browse special offers from North Face, Cabela’s and Land’s End
  • For the wine lover – shop My Wines Direct, or glassware from Williams Sonoma and Crate & Barrel
  • Plus, other bargains from Zappos, Overstock, Target and Saks

Hot dawg

The second episode of Top Chef had the chef’testants making hot dogs and serving lunch at Tom Colicchio’s NYC restaurant Craft.

The writing was on the wall for Baltimorean Jill who lost the hot dog Quickfire Challenge.  She was the only one who didn’t make her own hot dog.  She prepared a store bought thing in a spring roll, and it.did.not.look.good.  The cute Indian girl, who wants people to think she can cook stuff other than Indian cuisine, won with an Indian-style dog, nonetheless.

The Elimination Challenge separated the chefs into three groups (appetizer, entrée, dessert), and had them prepare a “New American” lunch menu.  I don’t really know what constitutes “New American cuisine,” and apparently the chef’testants don’t either.  The judge were underwhelmed, including the woman-with-an-amazing-resume, Donatella Arpaia, who was guest judge.

The Losers:

Jill used an ostrich egg for quiche, and Gail said it tasted like glue.  The ever emotional Ariane made some kind-of super sweet cherry dessert that Padma spat it in her napkin.  Gross on both accounts.

The Winners:

Looks like desserts are our hometown girl Carla’s specialty.  Her apple turnover with a slice of cheddar isn’t particularly “new,” but Padma loved the crust.  Jamie of “Team Rainbow” impressed with her chilled corn soup with chili oil and mint.  But it was, Fabio of “Team Europe,” (or “Euro Duo” as I’ve also heard them cleverly referred to), who won with his beef carpaccio and gastronomical olives.


The Drink:

Red wine is the inevitable choice for the beef carpaccio pairing.  For delicate beef dishes such as carpaccio and steak tartare, a young Bordeaux is the best match.  A Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend will compliment, not overpower. Bon Appétit!

Paint it black

Black.patent.leather.  When I’m wearing it, I feel like my style rating doubles automatically.  You can be sleek and sophisticated one minute, yet urban chic another.  I’m not sure I would have sought out black patent leather riding boots if I had not seen my friend Ana with a very cool pair from Zara.  I went on a mission and found my own pair at Piperlime.  After several wears, I’m still swooning over them.  They are quite possibly my favorite purchase of the season.  They are perfect for my metro commute (before switching to heels at work).  They are waterproof.  They are warm (microfur lining).  They are comfortable.  They are perfect for skinny jeans on the weekend.  They are perfect for a football game.  Perfect.  Perfect.  Perfect. 


Under the weather

Ms. S&C has not adjusted well to the bitter cold climate afflicting the Washington, DC area.  Thus, she has been moaning and groaning (and sniffling) her way through this week.  She has not had a cocktail in several days.  Instead, she’s consumed buckets and buckets of hot tea.  And, her only thought of shoes has been what can carry her from point A to point B with as little effort as possible.

But, she’s a glass half full kind-of a girl, so things are looking up.  She’s got a new episode of Top Chef and some black patent leather boots on the horizon.  And yes, she’s broken out those leg warmers, kids.

Knives down, hands up

Top Chef has begun!  Season 5 brings the culinary contestants to New York City, which should make for some awesome challenges.  The first episode starts with 17 contestants, so I can hardly remember who’s who.  I know there’s a group of three two that call themselves “Team Rainbow.”  I think I’ll start calling the German and Italian dudes “Team Europe;” its clear they’ve bonded pretty well.  Then, there’s a faceboy I’ve named “Mr. Hair.”  And, other than our Washington, DC gal, I think everyone else is pretty much from New York or California.

The Quick Fire Challenge has the contestants peeling apples, chopping apples, and cooking with apples.  And then, just like that, we’re down to 16.  Lauren-with-the-overbearing-personality has to hop right back on the boat and head home.  Now, its time for the Elimination Challenge.  The remaining 16 go head-to-head and chose one of eight New York City ethnic neighborhoods to find inspiration for their next dish.  The neighborhoods include:

  • Astoria (Greek)
  • Brighton Beach (Russian)
  • Chinatown
  • Little Italy
  • Little India
  • Long Island City (Middle Eastern)
  • Queens (Jamaican)
  • Ozone Park (Latin)

stefan_dish2Stefan of “Team Europe” wins with his classic Middle Eastern fare, and Patrick of “Team Rainbow” loses with his clichéd Chinese dish.  Stefan served up a lamb chop with tabouli and beef skewers with caramelized onions and hummus.  Guest judge, Jean George Vongerichten, kept commenting on the great lemon flavor found in the dish.  While I would likely be drinking red wine with this meal, here’s a cocktail that may complement nicely.  Given that I love Lillet and lemon these days, and thyme being a natural accompaniment, I think it would pair well, or at least serve as a pretty good aperitif.

This drink is a Shoes & Cocktails exclusive!


  • 1 part Gin
  • 1 part Lillet blanc
  • 1 part Lemon Juice
  • 1 part Thyme-Infused Simple Syrup

For the simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup sugar, and a teaspoon of thyme in a saucepan.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Strain spices from syrup.  Combine all ingredients and shake well.  Serve over ice.   Garnish with lemon twist and sprig of fresh thyme.

Decisions, decisions

S&C brings you more sales alerts.  This time from J.Crew.  I cannot – repeat – cannot, buy more than one pair of shoes from this sale. But, I soooo want a pair of floral pumps for the spring.  And those metallic flats, also with a bow!  You know how much we LOVE bows over here.  Alas, I think I have to be a bit practical and go with the patent flats in navy.  I literally wore out my navy peep-toes from Nine West, so I need a replacement pair.  That’s my excuse anyway. jcrew_floral2


F&F discounts

It’s time for the “friends and family” rewards at some of our favorite retailers.  The holiday season will be here before you know it, and given the tough economy, we all need to save where we can.  S&C will post coupons, discounts, and other bargains as we find ’em!  Happy shopping!

  • GAP, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime
    November 13 – 16, 2008
    30% off, plus 5% of the amount you spend goes to charity
    S&C recommended! The “Get and Give” program means you get huge savings, plus you give 5%, of the amount you spend, to a good cause.  Piperlime has cool search categories for shoes, such as:  Rachel Zoe’s picks, reviewer favorites, and real steals.  They also do the free shipping and free returns deal.
  • DSW
    November 10 – 12, 2008
    $10 off any $50 purchase, plus free shipping
  • Bloomingdales
    Online Only: November 10 – 11, 2008
    Online and In-Store: November 12 – 16, 2008
    20% off all regular and sale-priced purchases
  • Endless
    Save 20% when ordering two pairs of boots, plus free overnight shipping
    S&C recommended! Order a pair of boots for yourself and gift a pair.  And, the no-hassle shipping policy means you get your items immediately and returns are e-a-s-y.

Palaces of hospitality


Back in October, Ms. S&C attended a seminar on Great Hotel Bar Cocktails, organized by The Museum of the American Cocktail.  The event was held at the Hotel Tabard Inn, a cozy little place in DC.  The seminar covered the history of some of the world’s great hotels, the origin of their cocktails, and we got to taste them all!  It was a great event.


They’re hosting another seminar on Holiday Cocktails on December 9.  Drinks will be prepared by a few of DC’s best mixologists, who’ll serve up Tom and Jerry, Baltimore Egg Nog, and Hot Buttered Rum.  Let me know if you’re planning to attend.


Back to the Great Hotel Bar Cocktails.  The Singapore Sling is from the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.  Modern versions of this cocktail are overdone and a thousand percent too sweet.  Do not, I repeat, do not order this drink if it contains pineapple juice.  The recipe below is awesome, and it was my favorite of the night.  It was also excellently paired with a pot sticker with cherry jam.

Singapore Sling

  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ oz Benedictine
  • ½ oz dry Cherry Brandy
  • 2 oz Gin

Pour into a tumbler and fill with cold soda water.

The Side Car was my second favorite cocktail served.  It is from the Ritz Hotel in Paris, where the hotel still serves the world’s most expensive version at $515.  The ingredients of this cocktail make up the holy trinity of cocktail ingredients: spirit, sweet, sour.  It was served with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Side Car

  • ½ oz Cognac
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice

Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, with sugar crusted rim.


Other cocktails included:

Vieux Carre, Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans

  • ¾ oz Rye Whiskey
  • ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
  • ¾ oz Cognac
  • 1/8 oz Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Build drink in rocks glass with ice, garnish with lemon peel.

Bloody Mary, Saint Regis, New York

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 4 oz Tomato Juice
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 dashes Tabasco Sauce
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • ¼ oz fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and mix.  Strain into glass with ice.  Garnish with wedge lemon and lime.

Rob Roy, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York

  • 2 ½ oz Blended Scotch Whiskey (such as Chivas)
  • ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1-2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters

Ice glass beforehand.  Add ice and stir until chilled.  Strain in martini glass.  Garnish with orange peel.

Tabard Cocktail, Hotel Tabard Inn, Washington, DC

  • 1 ½ oz Milagro Reposado Tequila
  • ½ oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
  • ½ oz Drambuie
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters

Stir, garnish with orange twist and sprig of fresh thyme.

Recipe Source: Chantal Tseng, mixologist, Hotel Tabard Inn in Washington, DC

posted by Ms. S&C

Coming soon

Ms. S&C has been swamped.  And, in a constant state of euphoria from the presidential election.  But don’t you worry, we’ve been out and about collecting ideas for the blog, so stay tuned for:

• Notes from a seminar on Hotel Bar Cocktails
• Cocktails from Wolfgang Puck’s The Source
• More budget-friendly shoes

In the meantime, here are a few of our most recent and most popular posts – in case you missed them.

  • It’s cool to be cheap – read about the recession chic movement.  And, check out these boots, with a stunning price tag, from Target.
  • Fall is in full swing.  If you’re looking for ideas on what to drink during my favorite season, check out our Fall Cocktails: an autumnal punch, pumpkin beer, and more.

Vote, drink, and be merry