Ink. + Top Chef

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InkDrinks

As I wrote on Tuesday’s post (here), I had an amazing birthday dinner in LA at Ink.  The restaurant is simple, splashed with gray walls and decorated with eclectic light fixtures and old world lines.  While the décor was understated, the menu was a blend of contemporary cooking with a bit of an Italian and Asian flair. It has been named one of America’s Ten Best New Restaurants as seen in GQ. The restaurant’s main chef is Michael Voltaggio, winner of the sixth season of Top Chef, Bravo‘s cooking competition reality show.

Let’s get to the food…we were able to try a bunch of different dishes such as the hamachi (with asparagus, buttermilk curds, tangerine), egg yolk gnocchi with mushroom brown butter, suckling pig and octopus with fennel and pimenton, to name a few.  Of course, it’s hard to have a great dinner without great cocktails and the ones we had did not disappoint (shown above are the mescal, with celery, lemon, cucumber and a scotch cocktail with crystallized ginger).

I highly recommend a visit to Ink. if you ever find yourself down in Southern California!

Restaurant Details:

Ink.

8360 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Leaving on a jet plane…

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Let wedding season begin!  I am leaving for NYC tonight for my best friend’s bachelorette party and this marks the start of many wedding celebrations for friends this year.  I have been waiting for this weekend for ages and really can’t wait to celebrate with all my close friends!  It will be a reunion of sorts…almost all my childhood friends from grade school (and onwards) will be in attendance.  And we will be in the Big Apple of all places.  I remember when I had my bachelorette in NYC two years ago.  It was so great to be back to the east coast and see all the familiar places and faces.  It’s time to bring sexy back for an unforgettable weekend!

Hmm, what to wear, what to wear…

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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I went out to grab cocktails and dinner earlier this week and decided to do a quick change after work into this black and white horizontal striped skirt.  I’ve had the 3/4 sleeve black jacket for a while now and just love the adorable style.  It’s a keeper in my closet!  Can’t go wrong with black and white this season…two timeless colors and so easy to wear.

Aqua skirt (love this version, on sale!) / Vince t-shirt (would love to get one from Alexander Wang) / Black jacket (from Asia, different version here) / Zara Patent Pumps (loving this version) / Baublebar necklace / Prada sunglasses

 

Essentials of Throwing a Holiday Party

Having thrown several holiday parties this season, I thought I would share my essentials for holiday entertaining.  Depending on how much (or little) you want to do, you can certainly jazz up (or tone down) any of the five elements.  Have you hosted any parties this month?  Let me know your party essentials in the comments section!

1. Decor: Decorating your apartment or house in a festive way sets the tone for the party.  There’s no need to go all out and turn your house into a winter wonderland.  A little DIY with items you already have in the house will sure to add some sparkle.

  • Place some ornaments (can pick a particular theme/color or just throw in different sizes and shapes) in a bowl and place on your dining table or coffee table:

  • Wrap a garland along your stairs:

  • Use gold accents (the perfect holiday color) in your table setting:

  • Place some wrapped gifts and lights some candles on your shelves or mantle:

2. Food & Drinks: If you’re throwing a cocktail party, have small party bites on hand that span from salty to sweet.  Think crudites, spiced nut mix, sliced meat and cheese selection, chicken skewers in a dipping sauce, dips, crostini, and bar bites.  For dessert, let your guests have some fun with a chocolate fondue.  Use pound cake, strawberries, pretzels, and marshmallows for dipping.  Make one signature cocktail for the night and let plenty of wine and champagne flow.  You can also kick up spiced apple cider to make a hot toddy for your guests.  I love perusing Food & Wine for their delicious and easy holiday and drink recipes.

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3. Friends: Invite the whole bunch!  Include the fashionista, the diva, the funny one, the home-baker, the karaoke singer…you get the idea!

4. Music: Have music playing in the background throughout the night and change as the party moves on.  Mix in jazz, Christmas classics, and some modern holiday jingles.

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5. Fun: End the night with some at-home karaoke or story-telling around the fire.  It’s all about having fun at your party with your dearest friends and family.

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Gift Guide: For the Wine Lover and Cocktail Enthusiast

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Since I am a wine lover and cocktail enthusiast myself, I thought it would only be appropriate to have a separate gift guide for those who love…wine and cocktails!  I do have a knack for collecting stemware (can’t have too many) and gift barware items to my husband all the time (he’s the resident bartender at home) so creating this list was super fun for me.  These are truly gifts that keep on giving.  Without further ado…

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Food & Wine’s 2013 Wine Guide (I own this book and refer to it quite often!)

Iittala stemware

Chic and modern stemware from Iittala

william_sonoma_iceKing Cube silicone ice cube trays (perfectly chills your drink while melting slowly)

amazon_bitters_setFee Brothers cocktail bitters set

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How about a monthly subscription to a favorite winery?

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Electric wine opener (cordless and re-chargeable)

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Vacuum wine saver

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Blind tasting stemware