Monthly Archives: September 2010

Salute Italia

Dear Italy,

I miss you. I miss my morning cappuccino. I miss my afternoon caffe (and those well-dressed baristas with their cute hats). I miss the grazies and the pregos. I miss al dente pasta. I miss fresh seafood. I miss your vino rosso. I miss saying vino rosso, per favore. Of course I miss your pizza. I even miss your graffiti and the crowded streets in Naples. I miss taking the train to Pompeii, to Sorrento, to Rome. I miss that nocciotella gelato I had in Amalfi.

I miss the sea view from my hotel room in Positano (I miss all the views!). I miss the sound of the waves crashing on Fornillo beach. I miss the Mediterranean air. I even miss those grueling stairs and steep climbs.

Other things I miss:

Lunch in Positano: prosecco, birra, misto di verdure (mixed vegetable platter), and usually al fresco.

This view of the Amalfi Coast. Is there anything more beautiful?

Visiting musuems like the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, in Naples.

Gelato. Did I mention the daily gelato?

I’m not sure when I’ll see you again (but, I plan on seeing you again!).

Amore,

Ms. S&C

[Update: For those of you keeping track of such things — you’re not crazy — this post *has* been updated with new pictures and slightly modified text. Nothing major (and not that we’re close), but we strive for perfection at S&C.]

Campari Safari

In honor of Ms. S&C’s Italian voyage, Miss Mojito is paying tribute with an Italian-inspired cocktail. Miss Mojito’s sister introduced this particular cocktail to the fam over the summer, and it was such a hit that we decided to revisit it on our recent beach vacation. It’s the perfect mix of tart yet sweet, easy yet sophisticated.

What’s this intoxicating drink, you may ask? The Sparkling Campari Cocktail. Campari is an aperitif that we’ve sampled on S&C before. From Italian origins, Campari is perhaps most well-known for its use in the classic Negroni (which combines the aperitif with gin and vermouth). Campari is a member of a family of beverage called bitters which – you guessed it – are known for their bitter and slightly biting flavor, often derived from herbal infusions. Bitters are a great way to tone down a too-sweet-beverage-treat.

In keeping with our Italian inspiration, there’s no better partner for an Italian aperitif than an Italian sparkling wine. Prosecco plus Campari plus plenty of citrus equals a winning combo.

Sparkling Campari Cocktail
Serves 6.

  • 1 large orange, sliced, plus additional slices for garnish
  • 1 large lemon, sliced
  • 1 cup Campari
  • 1 bottle Prosecco or sparkling wine
  • Ice

Muddle Campari and sliced fruit in a small bowl for several minutes to release juices. Divide juice and Campari mixture between six glasses filled with ice (about an ounce of Campari per glass, or slightly more if you prefer more of a bitter bite in your cocktail). Top with Prosecco and garnish with additional orange slices.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Tell me

Herbal spirits like Chartreuse, Bénédictine, Pimm’s, and Lillet are all the rage these days. Why are these liqueurs appearing on just about every cocktail menu put in front of you? They aren’t new spirits. In fact, most are quite old (Pimm’s was created in 1859, Bénédictine in the late 1860’s). Maybe that’s why? What’s old is new?

Ms. S&C isn’t complaining. She likes herbal aromatic additions in a cocktail. They add a layer of complexity, and without any danger of making the drink too sweet. Ms. S&C has come across a few other, lesser know, botanical spirits that she’s fallen for:  Dimmi and Aperol. Both of which happen to be Italian herbal liqueurs, and that’s particularly apropo since Ms. S&C is traveling to Italy (for the first time ever!) today!!!

Dimmi translates to “tell me,” a phrase used frequently between friends in Italy, especially on the telephone. Dimmi includes a secret blend of herbs and fruit essences such as liquorice, vanilla, rhubarb, ginseng and bitter orange. It is great with citrus and strawberries. Ms. S&C first experimented with Dimmi by pureeing *very* ripe strawberries, adding the liquor, ice, and topping it with seltzer. She also garnished with rosemary from her garden, for extra aroma. It was an intensely refreshing cocktail — one that she needs a name for.

Ms. S&C tries out a few herbal Italian liqueurs, like Dimmi, in preparation for her first visit to Italy.

Ms. S&C also tried the “Herbal Sour” cocktail recipe from the Dimmi website. This drink includes one of Ms. S&C favorite cocktail techniques: infused simple syrup (using  thyme and rosemary from her garden). Infusing simple syrup takes a little bit of work (so does fresh-squeezing grapefruits, lemons, and limes), but it is all worth it for this cocktail.

Ms. S&C’s colorful concoction of Aperol and Prosecco match the colorful concoction of her Nanette Lapore pants.

Aperol has been mentioned on the S&C blog before. Miss Mojito came across it last fall at a restaurant in Richmond. Ms. S&C found herself at the same restaurant not too long ago and tried Aperol for the first time. It was like love at first site. The spirit is bitter, colorful, and a lot like Campari. Ms S&C’s drink at Acacia was called the Mid-town Spritz and ingredients included:  Aperol, gin, orange juice, housemade fennel syrup, Prosecco. However, when at home, she can also recommend a simple mix of Prosecco with a few splashes of Aperol.

Ms. S&C wants to know: Ms. S&C wants you to tell her you would like to see more of (or less of). She’s going to be on vacay for a little more than a week, but during this time, she’d love for readers to tell her what they want on this blog. More pictures? More style tips? More menswear (any menswear?) More food and drink pairings? More bar recommendations? More shoes? More outfits? More party planning? Tell me!

posted by Ms. S&C

Sometimes

Sometimes, under very special circumstances . . .


bare feet . . .

and cheap beer . . .

are all the shoes and cocktails this girl needs.

Miss Mojito is preparing to bid adieu to summer with a week-long family beach vacation. I plan on coming back fully rejuvenated for some fall-worthy blogging: boots, knits and cold-weather bevvies, here I come!

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Biz Cas (and so much more)

Fall wardrobe planning continues! Last week, Ms. S&C highlighted a few favorite items from Anthropologie. This week, she’s sharing items from another one of her favorite retailers: Banana Republic.

With the help of the Give & Get 30% off special, Ms. S&C was able to *get* the below items (and *give* a percentage of the sale to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society). I know what you’re thinking: everything is gray and black. Where is the color, Ms. S&C? Where is the boldness? Where is the glamour, you speak of? Why is everything so…so business casual?

Biz Cas

Ms. S&C’s fall wardrobe picks: items that are versatile
and so much more.

While Ms. S&C does want to infuse some glamour in her wardrobe, another important element is versatility: the ability to mix and match (and the ability to wear the items to work). Accessories are, of course, another major element: shoes, bags, belts, statement jewelry, fun scarfs, gloves, and tights. (Good lord, don’t forget the tights!) Textured or printed tights can transform the ruffle skirt (though, it is silk and pretty fabulous on its own) into something spectacular. A studded belt can help give the herringbone jacket some edge. And, a bold printed scarf up top, those leggings (and the chic suede booties) on bottom — you can put together a kick ass outfit.

Ms. S&C wants to know: What do you like for this fall? What items do you want in your closet this season?

posted by Ms. S&C

Grown-up glamour

Last fall, Ms. S&C aspired to dress boldly. She wanted bright, rich colors and prints (paisley and polka dots were favorites). This year, she still wants color and prints — and a certain level of boldness — but also glamour.

Ms. S&C wants glamour in a grown-up way. She wants style that is charming, a little mysterious, a little adventurous, a little sexy, but also smart.

A good example: this floral dress from Anthropologie. When trying it on, Ms. S&C knew she was in love with this dress before she even headed to the full length mirror for a glimpse. The brilliant floral print, the ultra feminine neckline, the sculptural cap sleeves, the striking waistband: it is glamorous, it is flattering, it is work appropriate, and it is a great transition dress. Ms. S&C can wear it now with nude slingbacks (she already has!), and she can wear it in the fall with black tights and some simple black pumps.

Another favorite from Anthropologie is this Tracy Reese print dress. With a price tag slightly under $300, this is an aspirational buy. Again, we’ve got a funky print, combined with a great collar and delicate silver buttons. The classic design makes it feel grown-up, but the whimsical print and silk fabric makes it feel glamorous.

As for shoes, Ms. S&C already has shoes in her closet that work well with both dresses (her black platform peep-toes from last fall are certainly an option).

Anthropologie also has an incredibly unique footwear selection. You don’t need a great dress when wearing Anthropologie shoes — they are showstoppers unto themselves. Here are a few of Ms. S&C’s early favorites. Love the thicker-heel trend this season. Love that curry color on the peep-toes, that rose detail on the black pumps, and a pair of oxfords will be in my closet stat!

Ms. S&C wants to know: What fall trends do you like? What new items do you plan on having in your closet this season?

posted by Ms. S&C

Drinks at the lake

Here’s the final installment of Ms. S&C’s Seneca Lake recap. Over the course of three fun-filled days, here’s what you could find friends imbibing by the water, on a sailboat, by the grill, on the porch, on a swing, playing games, by the bonfire (did I miss anything?): Grapefruit Crush, Bloody Mary, Mai Tai (for the luau-themed dinner), Gin & Tonic, Dark ‘n’ Stormy, Pimm’s Cup (and variations of), Beer, Wine, Champagne.

One specialty cocktail (that was planned in advance): Five Island Punch.

The Five Island Punch was made with Banks Rum, a new rum on the market that is a blend of aged rums from five island distilleries. Ms. S&C doesn’t know a whole heck of a lot about rum (not like this guy), but she certainly loved it in this cocktail. And naturally, fresh watermelon this time of the year is a perfect mixer for cocktails.

The Banks Five Island Punch

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Banks rum
  • 1 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 4 oz watermelon puree

Directions:

Shake all ingredients together, serve over ice, and garnish with mint sprig and lime wheel.

————————————————

Another specialty cocktail (that was totally random and totally awesome): Iced Double Espresso.

Coffee is probably the one beverage Ms. S&C can’t live without (actually, coffee may have to fight it out with Champagne). So, when another friend came with a surprise bottle of Van Gogh Double Espresso vodka, she couldn’t have been happier to make iced coffee drinks. Then, the drinks were paired with these amazing orange glazed cookies. The lake is like a culinary wonderland.

Iced Double Espresso

Directions:

Pretty simple stuff: fill glass with ice, pour a few ounces of coffee-flavored vodka, add a dash of cream, milk or half-and-half, and stir.

Ms. S&C’s has a three-part series covering her favorite weekend of the year. Part one: Sights of the lake. Part two: Overheard at the lake. Part three: Drinks at the lake.

posted by Ms. S&C