Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Off the Cuff: Ankle Strap Sandals for Summer

8. Cole Haan Minka Flat Sandal

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Candied Kumquats

I wasn't lying when I said my mom doesn't respond well to gift receiving. So, after much contemplation, my sister and I decided it would be best to give her something homemade, with time, love, and gratitude for decades of motherly goodness. We put together a menu that went something like this:

Prosciutto-wrapped melon
Polenta cake with mushroom ragout

Mixed greens with strawberries, candied walnuts, and gorgonzola crumbles with a citrus vinaigrette
Heirloom tomatoes with burrata, basil, and sea salt

Lamb chops with Moroccan spices

Vanilla bean panna cotta with candied kumquats (adapted from this recipe)

Besides the ripe, juicy, and fragrant heirloom tomatoes with the creamiest burrata you'll ever eat, my nose and taste buds fell madly and deeply in love with dessert. Just the combination of milk, cream, and vanilla bean wafting through the kitchen was enough for me to get sprung. In all honesty, it could have probably set more, but I was so desperate to try this dessert that took me forever and a day to make, that I didn't care about my panna cotta's floppier texture. It was damn good, that's for sure!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oy! The Pimm's Cup

A libation dubbed "quintessentially British," the Pimm's Cup is a palate pleaser and cleanser, with its crisp freshness and cool finish. While browsing what The Wellesbourne in Los Angeles calls the "Liquor Cabinet," I was a bit hesitant to order this cocktail at first, because I'm not the cucumber/ginger type. I like it when my drinks taste like flower fields and sunshine. Pimms' herbaceous, full-bodied flavor did the trick, however. This was one of the most successful drinks I've had in a while! It helped that I had a cucumber wedge as a party favor. I love eating my garnishes!


Pimm's Cup [adapted from Bon Appetit recipe]
serves 1


  • > 1 3-inch piece English cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch slices, plus 1 spear (for garnish)
  • > 3/4 cup Pimm's No. 1
  • > 3 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice
  • > 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • > Ice cubes
  • > 2 sprigs mint 
  • > 2 lemon slices
  • > Ginger beer, chilled 

  • Instructions

  • > Place 1/2-inch-thick cucumber slices in cocktail shaker. Using muddler or handle of wooden spoon, mash well. 
  • > Add Pimm's, lemon juice, and sugar. Fill 2 glasses with ice; set aside. 
  • > Add ice to Pimm's mixture, cover, and shake vigorously 20 times. Strain into glasses. 
  • > Push 1 mint sprig and 1 lemon slice down into each glass. Fill glasses with ginger beer. 
  • > Garnish with cucumber spears.
  • Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    Mother's Day Gift Guide: Under $100

    If you're like me, your mother has either rejected, returned, or refused every gift you've ever given her. It's not that she's super picky or spoiled or mean, but she truly does not like receiving gifts. One holiday, we surprised her with a housekeeping crew that promised to sweep, dust, and polish every detail of our home. The sheer terror on her face, the anger in her voice, and embarrassment that she caused me and my sister will forever remain in my mind. All I remember is two red-faced ladies running down my driveway, vacuums and mops in tow, with my mom not too far behind yelling at us that she doesn't need anyone to clean her space. Note to self: never hire a cleaning crew for a Type-A control freak like my mom. Another time, she gave back a (damn good) spa gift certificate, claiming that she didn't want a stranger touching her. This rejection we did not mind, as my sister and I gladly reaccepted a day of pampering. Ingrate! I kid.

    My point is, if your mother is the gift-refusing kind, stop reading this post. If, however, she belongs to 99% of the population who does, in fact, enjoy and appreciate gifts, then look no further than the above items to reward the woman who brought you into this world with something less than $100. You cheapo.

    Monday, May 7, 2012

    Dior: Secret Garden at Versailles

    Being the francophile that I am, I can't help but get giddy at the sight or mention of Versailles. Its glitz and grandeur never fail to impress me and I love when its grand corridors and ballrooms are used for modern purposes. Can you imagine witnessing the season's most coveted collections coming down a runway fashioned in the Hall of Mirrors?

    In this new Dior ad, the striking models are framed by marble columns, gilded mirrors, mirrors, mirrors, hedges, dramatic fountains, mirrors, and crystal. The fashion house does everything to convey the classic, dramatic, tragic beauty of what they are trying to sell. Using a 300-year-old mirrored wall (that reflected the likes of Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, and their various guests, no doubt) that has become weathered and tarnished over time to apply rich, red lipstick? Tres, tres chic.

    Friday, May 4, 2012

    Inside Hermès Atelier Sacs, Paris

    Appreciating fashion has always been a sensual experience for me. As superficial as some think it is to want to surround yourself with beautiful things, I, a member of the "artist" category, not only look at the aesthetic beauty of my surroundings, but also their smell, touch and sometimes aural properties (I have yet to taste a leather purse). To me Hermès has always been an untouchable brand, the attainment of which requires the breaking of a wishbone, counting on the stars and blowing off the petals of a dandelion. Sure, I could save and save, but how long could I possibly wait for such a coveted piece of fashion history on the dreaded "list?" Hermès is something you not only yearn for, but earn. For now, it helps to know the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into constructing just one handbag. The precise leather-cutting techniques, the hand-perforated edges, the artisanally stitched seams...the appreciation for the craft and finished product shines through these photos. Fashion is not just a statement, it's the creation of art. 

    {credit: Park & Cube}

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Celebrating Cinco de Mayo - Classic Margarita

    I have mentioned in the past how much I love margaritas. It's true: as much as I try to explore exotic flavors, I am still a minimalist when it comes to my cocktails. Though I will never give up on experimenting with and fine-tuning my palate, I still appreciate and enjoy the simplest pleasures in life, like liquor accented by a fresh squeeze of citrus and peppered with a complementary garnish. On the rocks. Never blended. Never flavored.

    With Cinco de Mayo (commemorating the Day of the Battle of Puebla--NOT Mexican Independence Day) approaching, I have been scouring the interwebs for taco festivals, tequila tastings, or any other festive activity or event taking place in Los Angeles. I thought, "Why not throw my own mini fiesta and get the festivities started with a classic Mexican cocktail?" I did find that one ounce of simple syrup made my margarita a bit too sweet, but you be the judge. That's the beauty of preparing your favorite drinks and dishes at home: you can customize them as you wish while still enjoying its intended flavors. That deserves an "Olé!"


    Classic Margarita
    serves 1

    > 1.5 oz Patron Citronage tequila
    > 1/2 oz Grand Marnier orange liqueur (you may also use Cointreau)
    > 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
    > 1 oz simple syrup
    > Ice

    > Moisten rim of glass and dip into margarita salt.
    > In another glass, combine tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup and ice.
    > Stir ingredients to combine.
    > Strain over fresh ice into salt-rimmed glass and garnish with sliced lime.

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Trend Throwback: Clubmaster Sunglasses

    1. Icon Eyewear "Gloria," $12
    2. Roberto Cavalli Cat's Eye, $430
    3. Icon Eyewear Wire Half Rim, $12
    4. Michael Kors "Griffin," $105
    5. ASOS Tortoiseshell Clubmaster, $14.50
    6. Ray-Ban "Classic Clubmaster," $145

    Remember when this used to be a style blog? Just because I haven't been posting about fashion and trends doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking about them! Take the clubmaster sunglasses that have, of late, pervaded the hipster scene (blarg). Its roots lie in the 1960s and 70s, when they were called "browline" glasses for the way they mimicked the straight-across style. And with trend pioneers like Malcolm X and Colonel Sanders repping their style, it's hard to discount their influence on modern society. Ray-Ban added to its wayfarer frame fame and brought the design back in the late 80s and renamed them "clubmaster." They're retro, classic and perfect for a California summer. How would you style your clubmasters?

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    Broccolini and Goat Cheese Pizza

    Sunny weekends call for light and fresh fare that doesn't overpower the warmth of the weather, yet still provides bursts of flavor complementary to the season. This recipe has been sitting in my imaginary recipe box and the ingredients have been gathered for two weeks, waiting for the perfect opportunity to enjoy al fresco. With highs in the 80s for the past few days, I decided to spend some time cooking up an early Sunday evening dinner that satisfied my every craving. And, it was semi-homemade (hold the cocktail, Sandra Lee)! This is the perfect recipe for last-minute guests, a great addition to a Sunday brunch, or when you just feel like digging into a warm, creamy, gooey, and healthy (Broccoli! Healthy!) treat.


    Broccolini and Goat Cheese Pizza
    Serves 1-2

    > 1 8" mini pizza crust (I used Boboli)
    > 1 bunch broccolini (baby broccoli, generically), stems trimmed
    > As much or as little goat cheese as you prefer, crumbled
    > Lemon zest
    > Olive oil to drizzle

    > Arrange broccolini heads to cover pizza crust.
    > Crumble desired amount of goat cheese to cover and disperse throughout.
    > Sprinkle as much or as little lemon zest as desired onto entire pizza.
    > Drizzle with desired amount of olive oil.
    > Cook pizza under broiler for 6-8 minutes.

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