Ghosts, ghouls and goblins bring with them a host of exciting cocktail possibilities to usher in the spookiest of holidays. And with Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, those opportunities for celebrating are all the more plentiful.
Here are Miss Mojito’s thoughts on some festive cocktails that might help get you in the Halloween spirit.
- Go Orange and Black: Mix orange curacao liqueur, white rum and lime; garnish with a licorice stick
- Go Creepy: Take a nod from Yumsugar.com and mix up a terrifying batch of Eyeball Highballs.
- Go Spooky: Mix espresso, orange vodka and coffee liqueur for a brooding, macabre and delicious martini.
Shoe-wise, I think something equally black and brooding is in order. Luckily, I came across these fantastic sandals at Nine West. The hardware toughens up the feminine shape. I’ve been eyeing this particular pair for a while now and am delighted to add them to my collection!
Posted by Miss Mojito.
Milla Jovovich was the bright spot in last week’s Project Runway. She was insightful and smart, thoughtful and funny. She had a great rapport with Michael Kors. She even shed a tear over Nicolas. I want more Milla.
“Nothing says Greece like gray menswear fabric.”
-Milla Jovovich and Michael Kors sarcastically
commenting on Nicolas’ design
Otherwise, it was a rather dull episode. The designers were challenged to create a look inspired by a famous locale. Only seven designers remain. Christopher took on Santa Fe. Irina used Aspen for inspiration. Nicolas chose Greece. Gordana designed for Park Avenue New York. Carol Hannah picked Palm Beach. Logan turned Hollywood into young Hollywood, and Althea was enthusiastic over her St. Tropez pick.
“If this was project-I-didn’t-mind-it, he would win.”
– Milla Jovovich on Logan’s very average design
Irina’s Aspen inspired luxe snow bunny look
Irina’s Aspen design won. Yes, there was a little too much camel color, but it was definitely the most complete look. The ski-inspired pants, the open-back cowl neck sweater, the faux fur vest — all very sophisticated. Too bad her personality isn’t as warm as these clothes. But, no doubt she’ll be a finalist at Bryant Park.
For the shoe pairing, I love the Frye ‘Deborah’ Studded Ankle Boot. The distressed leather, embellished with sparkly beads and studs — the boots are Western yet urban. Considering Irina’s snow bunny would likely be drinking champagne at the lodge instead of on the slopes, it is reasonable to chose style over function in this circumstance.
posted Ms. S&C
The Restaurant Wars episode is easily the most anticipated challenge of Top Chef. The judges said that this season was the best they’ve seen in TC history. I don’t think the caliber of the cheftestants has ever been higher. And, having said that, I was so glad they didn’t have to bother with the whole decor planning part this go round.
Here’s a much too lengthy recap (but it was such a good ep):
- The Quickfire Challenge was a tag-team relay/cook-off (which may become the most anticipated Quickfire Challenge). It was super fun. The chefs were separated in teams of two, blindfolded, and had to cook one dish total — with each of them cooking for 10 minutes, one right after the other, not allowed to talk, and obviously not able to see what the chef ahead of them was doing. Yes, this is confusingly written, I know — let’s just say, it was much better watched.
- The Blue Team (with Jennifer, Kevin, Mike Isabella and Laurine) won with Sablefish, Sauteed Mushrooms, Shitake Broth and Radish Salad. I thought the Read Team (with the Voltaggio Brothers, Eli and Robin) made a tactical error in having the two weakest chefs (Eli and Robin) start off. As opposed to the Blue Team, where perfect-planner-Jennifer started and perfect-closer-Kevin finished.
- The Blue Team’s tactical mistakes came when their overconfidence let their $10,000 prize ride, and they chose not to make a dessert for the Restaurant Wars (RW) Elimination Challenge.
- For the RW, the cheftestants took over guest judge, Chef Rick Moonen‘s restaurant, rm Seafood. The Blue Team became “Mission,” (think clean, San Francisco-style), and took over the white tablecloth section of rm. The Read Team became “REVolt,” (think rebellious and play on initials, rather than revolting and disgusting), and took over the more rustic-looking section.
- REVolt won convincingly, and Michael Voltaggio won $10,000, for his Pressed Chicken with Calamari Noodles, Tomato Confit and Fennel Salad. He shared his earnings with his teammates.
- I was shaking in my boots, thinking Jennifer would be sent home for her fish dishes. Instead, Laurine was given the boot, for her poor front-of-the-house performance, and not stepping in when Kevin didn’t properly cook her lamb.
Robin’s Pear Pithivier with Vanilla Ice Cream and Elderflower Syrup
For the drink pairing, it was hard not to use Robin’s pear pithivier dessert for inspiration, particularly because of the elderberry syrup. I found the Gigi, a pear elderberry cocktail over on Chow.com, which sounds just about perfect (and slightly reminiscent of the S&C celebratory Elderberry Spritz). According to Chow, Jackie Patterson, former mixologist at Le Colonial in San Francisco, created this stiff cocktail, combining three French spirits. When I try at home, I will likely cut back on the liquor portions, and possibly substitute the pear vodka for pear simple syrup. Or, just find a way to add more pear.
Courtesy of Jackie Patterson, from Chow.com
- 2 parts Lillet Blanc
- 1 1/2 parts St-Germain elderflower liqueur
- 1 part Grey Goose La Poire vodka (or other pear-flavored vodka, if available)
- 1 part brut rosé champagne
- 1 pear slice, for garnish
Combine Lillet, St-Germain, and Grey Goose in a cocktail shaker and top with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Float champagne on top of Lillet mixture. Garnish with pear slice and serve.
posted by Ms. S&C
A year ago, we welcomed Fashion Washington, DC’s new luxury fashion magazine from the Washington Post.
Earlier this week, Ms. S&C attended FW’s one year anniversary party at Masa 14, the new hot spot in Logan Circle. She was thrilled and totally flattered by the invitation. She was slightly underwhelmed by the cocktails (Strawberry Lemonade was waaayyy too sweet), but the people-watching opportunity was first-rate.
In addition to being in the company of DC’s most fashionable crowd, Ms. S&C met the famous fashion photographer blogger (and now author), The Sartorialist. One of Ms. S&C’s greatest dreams in life is to be considered worthy of one of his photographs. His people-on-the-streets photos are a constant inspiration. They are really, really amazing.
The Sartorialist signs a copy of his book for Ms. S&C
at FW’s one year anniversary party
You can check out a recap of the anniversary event on FW’s blog, Fashion District. And, the Style Setter column in the FW magazine, has a great article on Scott Schuman (aka The Sartorialist).
So, how did DC do, style-wise? On The Sartorialist blog, Mr. Schuman said, “I expected great things in cities like London and Paris, but DC was a total surprise. What a great-looking and diverse crowd.”
posted by Ms. S&C
Thank goodness for Christina Aguilera – as the client and guest judge for last week’s Project Runway episode, she inspired plenty of creativity in the PR contestants in the form of sequins, feathers and fun. And with designer Bob Mackie on board as a guest judge, we knew we were in for a runway that would be anything but boring.
- I must admit that I’m happy to see Shirin go. Her whiny ways seemed to get on everybody’s nerves, and her Halloween-inspired costume for Christina received a big thumbs-down.
- CHRISTOPHER – WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??? Hot pants? Bustier? No, thank you!
- Althea was a hit with her grey sequined gown, but the huge feathered shrug she paired with the lovely dress ruined the look for me.
- My favorite pick won top honors. Carol Hannah’s gown–a black floor-length number with tons of feathers and texture–was a stunner.
- While Carol Hannah won with a beautiful design, Nina Garcia truly stole the show. Did anyone catch a glimpse of that enormous turquoise necklace she was wearing? Too fun!
These feathered sandles from Gwen Stefani’s line, L.A.M.B., hit the nail on the head with their sequin-feather combo, and I think they’d make a terrific shoe pairing for Carol Hannah’s fun and fanciful design.
Posted by Miss Mojito.
The Pigs & Pinot episode of Top Chef made things easy for Ms. S&C’s recap and drink pairing. During this show, the cheftestants drew knives to select a part of a pig to use for a dish, then paired it with a pinot noir — all for a Charlie Palmer (who also was guest judge) and Food & Wine charity event.I was pleased as punch that my favorite four chefs created the four best dishes. You know who they are by now: Jennifer, Bryan Voltaggio, Michael Voltaggio and Kevin. If these are not the last four chefs standing when this season comes to an end, then there’s something wrong in the world. (Ash was the chef sent home, but how cat-food-pork-rillette Laurine survived, I don’t know.)
Kevin, (who loves pork so much that he has a pig tattoo), won the challenge with his pork leg pate. The wine he chose to pair with the dish was the 2006 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, from the Willamette Valley, in Oregon.
Kevin Gillespie’s Pork Leg Pate with Mushroom Salad
and Pickled Cherries
I’ve personally always loved pinot noir (even before watching the movie Sideways). It is often my go-to red wine, mostly because I think you can abandon the age-old tradition of pairing red wine with red meat, and drink it with fish and poultry dishes. When researching the Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, I was happy to discover that the wine was $36.99. While that is still quite a bit more than I typically pay for a bottle that I’m drinking at home (usually I go for something in the $12, or less, range), it is an acceptable price point for a special occasion dinner at home. Wine.com highlights the wine’s black cherry, raspberry, truffles and cola/mocha components. Considering Kevin’s pork dish includes cherries and mushrooms, it appears he made a smart and tasty decision. But, that’s the kind-of chef he is.
posted by Ms. S&C
I do love a chance to sample a new cocktail menu, and last evening I did just that at a friend’s birthday celebration. Lemaire, the restaurant in the historic Jefferson Hotel, is something of a Richmond institution. But that institution recently received a facelift, complete with a posh new bar. Plenty of marble fills the space, along with modern glass chandeliers that look more like sleek lucite. It’s a chic and comfy spot for some post-work imbibing.
While I haven’t sampled the eats at Lemaire, I did partake in their delectable and creative cocktail menu. My pick was the new-to-me Lady Astor, which combines Patron Tequila, Woodford Reserve Bourbon, house-made grenadine, lime juice and agave. I was intrigued by the combo of tequila and bourbon, and the results were fairly delightful and even fruity. It takes its name from Nancy Langhorne Astor, who was the first lady elected to British parliament. According to the cocktail menu, “she was a complex lady, and we think this drink represents her well.” The mix of tequila and bourbon was certainly complex, but I might have a lighter hand on the sweet agave when I remake this cocktail at home.
I wore a pair of basic black booties for the evening’s festivities, but when I return I’ll go with something a bit more festive. And since the Lady Astor is an unexpected mix of bourbon and tequila, my pick is an unexpected mix, too. This fun print from Nine West does it for me: from a distance, the heel resembles a cheetah pattern while the toe looks a bit more floral. Call it complex or call it crazy, but I call it too cute.
Posted by Miss Mojito.
Last week’s Project Runway took an interesting spin on the wedding dress. Instead of creating a dress for a new bride, designers were challenged to transform an old wedding dress into a new fashionable post-divorce look.
Many of the designers spoke about this challenge being a “fresh start” for the divorcees — out with the old and in with the new, so to speak. Those moments were thoughtful and considerate. But, what I really enjoyed was Michael Kors. Miss Mojito recapped an episode last week, and she thanked the fashion gods for bringing him back on the show. I, too, want to thank the fashion gods. He is responsible for such fierce and fabulous quotes — but, the whole episode was chock-full of them. Here are some of my faves:
- “Looks like tinfoil…a metallic garbage bag.” – Michael Kors on Christopher’s ultra shiny and baggy dress
- “So, you specifically did not ask for Octoberfest?”– Heidi Klum on Epperson’s beer maid/pirate’s wench design
- “Where are the beer signs?” – Michael Kors on Logan’s look, after Heidi said she was having another Octoberfest moment
- “You don’t want her to look like a cougar.” – Tim Gunn on Christopher’s dress
Irina was still on the top of her game. She was a close second with her “age appropriate, sleek and expensive-looking” dress. It was quite lovely and sophisticated, and something I could see Helen Mirren wearing. But, it was Gordana, a divorcee herself, who won. And, it was Epperson who was sent home.
Gordana transformed an old wedding dress into
an edgy and chic design
What shoes to wear with Gordana’s edgy and chic design? I thought the dress was pretty awesome, probably the best item she’s made all season. It was hip, wearable, flattering, and a great color. We need something equally edgy and chic for the shoe pairing. I know I pair booties with a lot of PR designs, but I just bought a pair myself, and I have to admit, I’m a fan. Those of you who are skeptical, trust me, they look much better on. So, I’m going with these Dior Cannage Bow Ankle Booties. They have edgy cross-stitching, but also a delicate bow above the peep-toe.
posted by Ms. S&C
During last week’s Top Chef episode, the cheftestants played a slot machine to choose three keywords, which they used as inspiration for a dish. The keywords were words like –> Stressed, Hot N’ Spicy, Asian. Those happen to be the ones Kevin selected for his winning Quickfire dish. Here’s another keyword for you –> Unbearable. And, that happens to be Mike Isabella.
After the slot-machine-keyword challenge, the chefs partnered up for a family-style-dinner-party challenge. Their dinner party guests were members of Macy’s Culinary Council: Tyler Florence (also guest judge), Tom Douglas, Nancy Silverton, Govind Armstrong, and Takashi Yagihashi. –> Strategic Marketing
Here’s how it went down:
- Mike Isabella was partnered with Robin. –> Sweet retribution
- Micheal Voltaggio was almost sent home because he overcooked halibut. –> Whew
- Ash compared Michael V to Picasso, and said he’d be willing to wash his brushes. –> Embarassing and Uncomfortable
- Ashley undercooked precious prawns and had a role in oversalted gnocchi. –> Eliminated
- Jennifer and Kevin served the best dish of the night: Korean style barbeque, and Jennifer was crowned the overall winner. –> Dream Team
Jennifer and Kevin’s BBQ Kobe Beef with Cardamom, Tomato
and Ginger Broth
When I’m dining on Asian food, I usually drink a lager style beer or white wine. I’m afraid to experiment, as I don’t want anything to conflict with the flavors in my often-spicy food. When considering the drink pairing for Jennifer and Kevin’s dish, I checked out Takashi Yagihashi’s drink menu at his Chicago restaurant, and ran across the Hitachino Nest White Ale. Hitachino, from a Japanese brewery (Shuzou), is a white ale, similar to many Belgian whites, with hints of coriander, nutmeg, and orange peel. Jennifer and Kevin’s dish includes flavors and ingredients such as: orange zest, ginger, fennel, and I think the Hitachino would compliment nicely. Not to mention –> Refreshing.
Ms. S&C wants to know: What keywords would you use to describe the Top Chef contestants and their dishes?
posted by Ms. S&C
In case there are S&C readers out there, who are on the up-and-up in regards to social media, blogging, advertising, and the like, Shoes & Cocktails would like you to know that we are not paid to blog. The FTC recently released new guidelines related to bloggers and advertisers, so we wanted to let you know that no products, brands or stores mentioned in our content are advertisements or paid promotions. We are (unfortunately) not paid to drink cocktails. We are (sadly) not paid to buy shoes online. And, therefore, we are certainly not paid to write glowing reviews of crappy drinks and ugly shoes. Nor, will we ever (write things that are misleading).
In full disclosure, we have, however, received free booze. In further disclosure, we’ve received a lot more booze than we’ve ever written about (much of the stuff they send us isn’t that good, and we’ve got standards, people). There have been two occasions in which we highlighted a specific brand of liquor that we received for free. One of those instances we disclosed (more or less); one we did not (but, in that instance, the booze was vodka, so it hardly counts).
There may be one glorious day when our shoes and cocktails budgets will be financed by advertisers, but we can promise you that we’ll never be at their mercy. If we are, we’ll tell you. Until then, please know that Ms. S&C and Miss Mojito do what we do because we love shoes, we love cocktails, and we think blogging is fun. Thanks for reading!
posted by Ms. S&C and Miss Mojito