In late 2005, I spent a month visiting my sister in Argentina. She and her best friends were studying abroad in Buenos Aries for the year and I had recently returned to America heart broken after ending a relationship with a Spaniard. I was depressed and unemployed and my parents didn’t really know what to do with me, so they sent me to South America for some sisterly love, sun, steak, and Malbec. It was just what the doctor ordered!
My dad, best friend, and I in my sister’s apartment in Argentina, circa December 2005.
One can’t visit Argentina without falling in love with the flaky and delicious empanada. The hand-held pastries are everywhere and made in so many different variations that they can suit virtually any tastebud. They can be baked and filled with ham and cheese or deep fried and stuffed with cinnamon, apples, and sugar. Continue reading
Lately I’ve been day dreaming about living in a house. Not just any old house, but a lovely three bedroom house all for myself! It would be the ideal house for entertaining. One bedroom (with a glorious walk-in closet) would be for myself, another room would serve as a creative studio where I would have a large comfortable desk and lots of organized crafting supplies, and the final room would be a guest bedroom for me to host my friends and family. Of course, there would also be a dining room with a table big enough to seat twelve adults, a garden with plenty of cutting flowers and a Meyer lemon tree, a pool with several lounges for tanning in the sun, and a big kitchen with an island, tons of cabinets, granite countertops, and bar stools. Continue reading
Lately I’ve been nostalgic for my life in Spain — for the people, the places, and the slowness of life. It’s been four years since I last visited and it feels like an eternity. It’s horribly sad, but I can’t even remember the name of my favorite cafe. The place where I went every morning for two years for a cortado and toast (whole wheat with tomatoes, oil, and salt if I was being healthy and white with whipped butter if I was not). It was like the Starbucks of Cordoba and for some reason going there always felt like going home.
When I miss something, I like to make food that takes me back to that time. One of the things that I made a lot in Cordoba was crab toast. It’s sort of a funny thing to make considering that Cordoba is the only place I’ve ever lived that’s completely and totally landlocked with the nearest ocean hours away. The nearby seas aren’t even really home to the type of crab I grew up with, but what Spain is good at, and internationally known for, is canned seafood. Continue reading
One of my dearest friends, the amazing Julia Walsh, gifted me a wonderful surprise for Valentine’s Day. It’s a beautiful book: Dinner Diaries Reviving the Art of the Hostess Book by Daniel Cappello. The book is filled with tips and inspiration from haute hostesses in the fashion world like Patricia Herrera Lansing and Cynthia Rowley. I love it because it’s encouraging the modern dinner party thrower to keep a diary of all her parties. I’ve kept a hostess diary for as long as I can remember — mine dates back to Thanksgiving Dinner 2006. The Dinner Diaries has several sections. The first features Cappello’s outlook and experience of the dinner party and the second part has helpful hints and a fun questionnaire filled out by the aforementioned fashion and art people. The final portion is the diary part that I get to fill with guest lists, menus, seating charts, and little notes like the wines poured and the flowers used in the table arrangements. There’s also pages and pages of blank questionnaires for me and my company to fill out. Since it’s such a fun survey, I thought I would share the questions and my answers here. What is the perfect number of guests? 10. Chic dinner in the kitchen or formal in the dining room? It depends on the occasion. Continue reading