Stories for: Food

Food, InternationalPrintemps! A Taste of France

maille-760x428The French countryside in the spring is one of my favorite places to visit in person or in my daydreams. Picturesque lavender fields set against a perfect blue sky are paradise on earth, and the beauty and romance are never quite fully captured in pictures and words. I treasure each and every delicacy from France, whether it is gorgeous chocolate or a gooey cheese. This spring, French mustard expert Maille’s garden-inspired trio of mustards captures the spirit of France- the focus on the most beautiful and aromatic herbs and high quality ingredients. Michelin-starred chef Bruno Loubet  collaborated with Maille to create each flavor, drawing inspiration from his childhood garden in rural France. Maille has been the expert on all things mustard since 1747, and I still have the clay pot which years ago held my first tastes of the exquisite Maille condiment. I recall savoring every bit of it, and spread it on anything I could find. Who knew mustard could be so addictive? The new trio comes gift-ready in a beautiful box fit for the treasures it holds, and the three varieties include Mustard with Carrot and a Hint of Shallot, Mustard with Olives and Herbes de Provence, and Mustard with White Wine, Beet, and a Hint of Honey.

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Food, Gift Guides, ObsessionsObsession of the Moment: Sugarfina Vice Collection Bento Box

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Food, Mom & Kids3 Treats That’ll Have You Cuddling Up for Valentine’s Day

 

daydream

If there’s one thing I want to do this polar winter more than anything else, it is to cuddle! Not only is cuddling good for stealing a little body heat, but it warms the soul. It’s no wonder that Valentine’s Day falls right amidst the coldest season, when there’s nothing more appealing than finding someone special to get close to. The absolute must-have for cuddling up this winter is the Daydream blanket by aden + anais which is something of an actual dream come true for me.

Since the days when I only trusted aden + anais blankets to swaddle my newborn with, I have been secretly wishing I had my own version of this beautiful baby blanket. As soon as I found out that their ultra-soft signature cotton muslin weave is now available in a generous size at 60″ x 72″, I was counting the minutes until I could curl up and get warm under it. I’m not ashamed to say, it’s almost like an adult security blanket for me since it follows me around the house whether it’s sitting under it with my morning coffee (ok, that only happens on Saturdays), or after a long day of work as I plop on the couch. Some chilly nights it even finds its way to bed, thrown over the comforter for some extra warmth. The Daydream blanket actually contains four layers of muslin, not a bit of filler here! As soon as my skin touches an inch of the fabric, it just can’t get enough of it. I can attest to the amazing quality- not only does it somehow get softer with every wash, but holds up under multiple launderings and tumbles through the dryer.

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Food, HomePerfect Pairing: Donna Karan New York Blend & Be The Light Czech Holiday Cookie Candle

Relax and unwind this season with a pairing that’s as cozy as it’s elegant.

Tea and a candle may not come to mind immediately as going hand-in-hand, but Harney & Son’s Donna Karan New York Blend tea and Petra Nemcova’s Be The Light Czech Holiday Cookie candle complement each other in just the right way. The gentle caffeine-free blend of chamomile, ginger root, and peppermint tea calms and balances while the candle notes of cedarwood, cinnamon, clove, and vanilla envelope your senses in warmth and sweetness. Each is lovely on its own, but best experienced together as an evening ritual to unwind after a chaotic day. The pairing also makes a thoughtful gift for the haute hostess or busy woman and is equally enjoyable whether shared around the table with family or alone during a singular moment of escapism.

Harney & Sons Donna Karan New York Blend tea ($10, DonnaKaran.com,Harney.com)
Be The Light Czech Holiday Cookie Candle ($98, BG.com, NeimanMarcus.com)

Food, Gift Guides, Los AngelesThe Sweetest Gift: Sugarfina Beverly Hills

sugarfina beverly hills

I don’t know about you but I seem to have outgrown the candy emporiums of my youth — where color-coded M&Ms graced the walls, waiting to be dispensed into a plastic bag for my movie-snacking pleasure. But what I haven’t outgrown is really good candy. And that’s where gourmet candy curators and founders of Sugarfina, Rosie O’Neill and Josh Resnick, found their sweet spot.

Recently engaged, Rosie and Josh met on Match.com four years ago and dreamed up the idea for Sugarfina, a gourmet candy haven for grown-ups, after watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on their third date. A combination of marketing savvy (she used to be a marketing director for Barbie) and entrepreneurial success (Josh sold the now-defunct Pandemic Studios, a video-game design firm, to Electronic Arts in a deal valued at $860 million), they had great potential for success.

Sugarfina launched in August 2012 online, and just this weekend, these lovebirds opened the first-ever Sugarfina candy boutique for grown-ups in Beverly Hills. I stopped by during their fourth hour of operation, got a tour from Rosie and sampled as much candy as I could. (Tough job, I know.) Here are the highlights: READ MORE

Food, Los AngelesThe Best American Wines for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving wines

Bird, check. Veggies, check. This year’s “It” pie, check. Wine … Marijke?

Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year or being a gracious guest, you may find yourself staring blankly at a wall of wines, trying to decide which (affordable) bottle will be most delicious with a turkey dinner. Well, stare no more. I’ve enlisted my dear friend and sommelier Marijke van Niekerk @lawinegal to provide her top recommendations for Thanksgiving.

The theme is “classic gourmet” with a deep Southern twist, based on the menu I curated from the growing stack of Bon Appétit magazines under my coffee table and a borderline obsessive recipe-search habit. Marijke has decided on an all-American wine selection because, “Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to explore the United States’ fantastic, world-class wines.” Very well, then! Here’s the lineup:

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Food, Gift Guides, Los AngelesGet in the Spirit with Twice the Vice

Twice the Vice Chocolates

Is it too early to talk about holiday gifts? My mind is already racing with ideas! It started at a truffle-making class I took recently at Caffe Luxxe, one of the best coffee shops in Los Angeles (well, Santa Monica, to be specific). There, Craig Boreth, founder of Twice the Vice chocolates and author of The Hemingway Cookbook, plied us with his amazing artisan spirited truffles.

Made with Callebaut Belgian chocolate, Twice the Vice chocolates are filled with top-shelf liquors such as The Glenlivet 15-year Scotch, crowd-pleasers such as Bombay Sapphire gin and cocktails such as the Woodford Reserve Mint Julep or The Big Lebowski lovers’ favorite, the White Russian. Each piece is packed with 1/8th to 1/10th of a shot, giving you a much richer, more sophisticated flavor than you’d get with those funny little bottle-shaped chocolates. Still, while select boxes are still illegal to ship in many states, the chocolates aren’t overwhelmingly potent — which is a good thing. Of course, if you choose to eat a whole box yourself, I can’t guarantee you won’t get a buzz!

Twice the Vice spirited chocolates are available online and totally worth the price. I highly recommend ordering them this year for the drinking men and women in your life — naughty and nice!

Fitness & Health, FoodRitual Wellness Seasonal Cleanse

product_list_seasonal_reset_berry_pineapple

Every once in a while, I get really fed up with my lifestyle of working a lot, eating far too much crappy food at the office (who can resist chips and fresh guacamole when it’s put right in front of you?) and just generally not getting nearly enough time to exercise as I would like. Most of the time, me getting fed up just involves me complaining about it to a friend, but this time I went all out and decided to do a cleanse. I’d previously done a juice cleanse with Ritual Wellness and really enjoyed the juices, so I decided to use them again since I’d had such a good experience. I opted for a three day cleanse – you can choose from either pre-set juices (the Classic Reset Cleanse, the Seasonal Reset Cleanse) or you can build your own cleanse and order whatever combination of juices you’d like.  I went with the three day Seasonal Reset Cleanse, which replaces one of the classic juices with one that uses the best seasonal fruit because as great as the green juices are, let’s face it, it’s nice to have another option during the day. There’s only so much green juice a girl can drink! READ MORE

Celebrities, Food, Gift Guides, Los AngelesPicture Perfect Gift: The Macallan Masters of Photography with Elliot Erwitt

The Macallan Elliot Erwitt
Remember the famous photo of Jackie Kennedy at JFK’s funeral? Or the ones of Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Seven Year Itch and The Misfits? Those were taken by Elliot Erwitt, the man responsible for some of the most iconic photographs of our time. Erwitt is the fourth photographer to team up with The Macallan, my favorite Scotch, for their award-winning Masters of Photography series. (Previous collaborations were with Annie Leibovitz last year, Albert Watson in 2010 and Rankin in 2008.) The result? About 2,030 limited-edition sets featuring unique single malt Scotch whiskies paired with Erwitt’s gorgeous autographed photos. READ MORE

Fitness & Health, FoodAll Aboard the Graze Craze

Graze

Every day around 3 p.m., I get the munchies. You know, right before the sleepies kick in. And almost every day, I’m totally unprepared. The jar of mixed nuts on my desk has been reduced to crumbs. I’m out of Maccha Green Tea Kit Kats. I have no change for the overpriced Doritos in the vending machine. Life is rough. 😉

But yesterday, life got smoother when Ping! My co-worker emailed me with a coveted Graze invitation code. Headquartered in London, Graze is a food-meets-tech startup that offers nutritious, delicious mail-order snacks. To use the service, members rate the snacks they want to try, specify where to ship them, and choose whether to receive them biweekly or monthly.

With help from a patented algorithm called DARWIN that customizes snack choices based on member preferences, Graze staff packs and ships snack boxes to members in the U.S. and the U.K. DARWIN also helps staff members ensure there are multiple tastes and textures are represented in each box, and that any user-selected dietary requirements are satisfied. And, get this, every box is just $6, including shipping!
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