• ACC Travels: London and the Cotswolds

    Usually I post travel pieces right after I return from a trip but we went to, and ate at, so many incredible places it took me an age just to pour through all the photos and memories in order to … Continue reading

  • ACC Parties: Another St. Patricks Day

    Another year, another St. Patrick’s Day party at the Costello household.  This year I wanted to really kick it up a notch because my sister in law Sara is going to be in town.  We all know how much I … Continue reading

  • Sausage Stuffing

    Turkey day is fast approaching – I am actually hosting a friendsgiving (for 16!) this weekend so I needed to get my act together in way in advance but I know some of you are still working out your menus.  … Continue reading

  • ACC Travels: Venice, Italy

    Since my darling husband just returned from Italy this weekend it had me reminiscing about the last time he went there to give a speech and was smart enough to bring his wife along!  His speaking engagement was in Milan … Continue reading

  • Clementine Margarita

    It is #nationaltacoday so I figured it would be fitting to post a nice margarita to wash down those tacos.  My friend Naz came over this summer with a bag full of her own cocktail kit and shook up a … Continue reading

  • ACC Parties: Oktoberfest

    I kid you not – the German outfit koozies I got at World Market is 100% the reason why we had an Oktoberfest party.  How could I not???  Also the idea of a fall party with beer and pretzels was … Continue reading

  • ACC’s DC: The Salt Line

    The Salt Line – 79 Potomac Avenue SE Hands down this is my new favorite place to go in DC.  It checks every single one of my boxes – on the water, check; nautical theme, check; great cocktails, check; friendly … Continue reading

  • Palak Chaat

    We here in DC are lucky enough to have one of the most critically acclaimed Indian restaurants in the country, right here in our city.  Rasika, is an elegant and delicious journey through various Indian regional dishes.  Their most famous … Continue reading

  • ACC Travels: Nantucket

    As summer gets into its swing I know a lot of you have travel plans.  If I had it my way, I would spend the whole summer on Cape Cod, preferably Nantucket.  Unfortunately that is not in the cards, but … Continue reading

  • Summertime Strawberry Sangria

    One of the very first dinner parties my husband Patrick and I ever hosted was in the backyard of a house he shared with several roommates.  We invited a bunch of friends over and I attempted to be a hostess … Continue reading

ACC Travels: London and the Cotswolds

Usually I post travel pieces right after I return from a trip but we went to, and ate at, so many incredible places it took me an age just to pour through all the photos and memories in order to share the very best with you all.  This spring Patrick and I visited London and then headed out to the Cotswolds – we also hit Oxford and Dublin which will be subsequent posts.  The New York Times scooped me again with a 36 Hours in the Cotswolds and I was gratified to see my choices were mostly endorsed by the paper of record (included in their piece that I can also recommend are the towns of Burton on the Water, Stow on the Wod and a visit to Broadway Tower).  It was a trip of a lifetime visiting with amazing friends and traveling over the gorgeous British countryside – not to mention having amazing meals.

London 

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Patrick lived in London for several years and if he had his druthers we would probably spend every vacation there.  I must admit I have caught the bug as well, mostly because of the amazing friends we have there, but also because the city is so vibrant and alive – especially the food scene.  Below is more detailed info on some of my favorite places we ate in London but I would be remiss not to include a couple of other highlights.  Paxton and Whitfield is the world’s most incredible cheese shop, the Churchill Arms and the Lamb and Flag are our two favorite pubs, you can get terrific tapas at any of the Brindisa locations, and of course no visit to London would be complete without a stop at Borough Market.

Fortnum and Mason – 181 Piccadilly London W1A 1ER

Not only is this an incredibly beautiful 300 year old store with an awesome food hall in the basement but it also has the most charming wine bar.  I like to pop in to take a break from shopping on Jermyn Street.

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First a glass of sparkling rose in the bar, maybe a cheese plate, and then I can get lost in the food hall picking up tidbits to bring home.

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Santo Remedio – 152 Tooley Street SE1 2TU

Of course I found an Air B&B a block away from a Mexican restaurant!

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This place was so cute and instagrammable but it all comes down to the margarita.  Once I had my first one I knew this place would be alright!  Fresh and tart they were perfectly balanced and the chips are lighter than air.

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They have a great lunch menu where you can get several courses for a reasonable price – a great way to celebrate Fiesta Friday in London.

Lazy Hunter – 117 Kentish Town Road NW1 8PB

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When you are sitting in the back of this Kentish Town pub surrounded by hipsters and drinking craft beer you may think you were in Brooklyn but the menu has a serious British bent.  Patrick got the full English breakfast, made with homemade sausage and the traditional grilled tomato.

I opted for the venison burger with caramelized onions and incredible fries.  If its a nice day try to sit on their lovely back patio.

Passione Vino – 85 Leonard Street EC2A4QS

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If this place existed in Washington, instead of the Shoredich neighborhood of London, I would be there all the time.  Part shop, part wine bar, it’s the perfect afterwork spot.  Of course my incredibly fun and chic friend Coleman is the one who took us here.  I was glad to be with a regular because you feel quite odd walking through the shop to the hidden wine bar in the back but thats where all the fun is to be had.!

img_0820 We grabbed a perfectly chilled bottle of sparkling rose and caught up, I just hope he will forgive me for sharing this secret spot!

A.Wong –  70 Wilton Rd, Pimlico, London SW1V 1DE

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If you follow me on Instagram (@acapitolcontessa) then you have already seen some of the INCREDIBLE highlights of this meal.  One of the top ten of my life for sure.  It didn’t hurt that our friend Vernon is friends with the chef and owner, Andrew Wong, but trust me they treat everyone at this Michelin starred restaurant like family.  None of the stuffiness you would expect with this level of cooking – the chefs are having fun with the food but also hewing really closely to traditional Chinese dishes.

I could probably do an entire blog post on this meal alone but the highlights were definitely the “goldfish” dumplings that were both adorable and delicious.  We also loved the cantonese roasted pork, the 1000 chili chicken with snails and the Singapore noodles with scallop dressing.  The menu changes often so make sure to ask for suggestions from the impeccable staff.

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To finish off you cannot miss the amazing peach merengue.  Thank you A. Wong for an incredible evening.

The Cotswolds

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I had only ever been to London, so for this trip I really wanted to get out of the city and see more of the countryside of England.  We took the train out to Oxford (that one night is a whole post of its own, coming soon) and then rented a car to drive to the Cotswolds.  Huge love to my dear husband who drove ,which was pretty hair raising but totally worth it – there are so many incredible towns tucked away in far reaching corners it really is best to get lost and explore.

The Wild Rabbit –  Church St, Kingham, Chipping Norton OX7 6YA

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Unfortunately we didn’t have time to eat dinner at this beautiful restaurant when we were staying there.  However, the elegant breakfast spread is included in the room rate and is top notch so I have no doubt the rest of the menu is as well.  I couldn’t leave this off of the post because it was one of the best hotel experiences I have ever had (and part of the reason why we stayed in the Cotswolds in the first place).  Wellies for all the guests!

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The attention to detail was so charming but unpretentious and the bar area was a great place to relax and have a whiskey after a long day of driving on the “wrong” side of the road.

Huxleys – High Street, Chipping Campden

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Who knew some of the best Italian food I have had in a long time would be found in a 500 year old building smack in the middle of quint Chipping Campden?

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It was raining like crazy and Patrick and I just wanted some warming food.  What we got was terrific pastas, a serious Italian wine collection, sheepskin blankets for your lap and the perfect place to hide out in front of the fire during a hail storm.

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Daylesford Farm – Daylesford, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 0YG, UK

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Dream place – cooking school, home goods shop, delicious food market, incredible wine cellar, bucolic surroundings…I went to this place twice in 24 hours because I couldn’t get enough.

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Its almost like Chip and Joanna opened the Silos in England – this place also runs the Wild Rabbit so you get a discount if you stay there.  The only question is how much can you fit into your suitcase???  (Answer – 4 beautiful handblown glasses, 2 bergamot candles, a hand thrown pot and several jars of spices).

The Kingham Plough – The Green, Kingham, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire OX7 6YD

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Exactly what you want in a quaint neighborhood pub in the country.  Fireplace – check, low wooden beamed ceiling – check, friendly locals – check, delicious menu featuring locally grown ingredients – check.  Just down the street from the Wild Rabbit we quickly fell in love with this place and its vibe.  After a couple of pints by the fire we tucked into the rather sophisticated menu.

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Who doesn’t love pheasant wallpaper??

They have a nice mix of casual pies and sandwiches that you can eat in the pub section (full menu is available out there as well) and then the back dining rooms have a more formal dinner menu.

I cannot wait to get back and explore more of both of these places – I hope some of you are able to get out there this year.  If you find more gems leave them in the comments.  Cheers!

ACC Parties: Another St. Patricks Day

Another year, another St. Patrick’s Day party at the Costello household.  This year I wanted to really kick it up a notch because my sister in law Sara is going to be in town.  We all know how much I love to give party favors and when I saw a set of glass decanters on Everything But The House (that site is dangerous – you have been warned) I knew they would make epic take home gifts.  They worked out to only be a couple of dollars each and now all of my friends remember this party when they look at their bar cart.

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This is a party I have thrown many times before (9 years with my husband Patrick so at least that many times!) so I have collected a good amount of green gear and a menu that I don’t play with too much.  People get pretty wedded to the dishes I make but I try to mix it up a little to keep people on their toes.  I made Ina’s herb dip that is a must at all of my parties but presented it as the Irish flag.

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Then of course a massive cheese board with lots of yummy Irish cheeses and personalized napkins with Patrick’s favorite Irish toast.  Lots of folks ask where I order my napkins from – For Your Party is hands down the best site I have found.  The quality is so good, the prices are totally reasonable and they have tons of options to pick from.

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I swear even the most casual party instantly feels more classy with special touches like those.  The other dinner size napkins are from Caspari and the cute flatware buckets are a Target dollar section find.

 

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As you may know from my previous St. Patrick’s post this Brown Butter Soda Bread with rosemary is a must have.  I had to make 4 loaves to accommodate the crowd!

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Apologies about the pictures of the food – Irish food may be satisfying but it’s not all that pretty!  I went with Beef and Guinness Short Ribs that worked beautifully in my slow cooker to stay warm all party long.  Your could of course do my Patrick’s Irish Stew instead.

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I actually make Ina’s Sauteed Cabbage a lot in the winter when there are not may fun options in the produce section.  It’s incredible what a little bit of butter will do to make this hated vegetable a winning side dish!

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And of course you can’t have St. Patrick’s Day without potatoes – for a twist on your usual mashed potatoes try this Smashed Red Potatoes recipe.  I love how the creme fraiche gives them a little tang to cut through the rich meat on the side.

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This Chocolate Whiskey Cake from the New York Times is RICH!  Make sure to have coffee and some ice cream or whipped cream with it on the side – I didn’t and it was a bit much.  The leftovers make for a great morning after breakfast though!

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After all that food, Jameson and Guinness you are definitely going to need a cat nap….Happy St. Patricks Day!

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ACC’s 2017 Gift Guide

Somehow this year December just sort of snuck up on me so I was a bit behind the ball on gifts.  Usually I purchase them throughout the year when I find something just right, but on Thanksgiving I realized I had no gift pile started!  If you are in the same boat as me never fear – I have picked out a bunch of fun items at all price levels for friends and family that like eating, drinking and entertaining.  Happy holidays!

For your city dwelling cook – Food 52’s Grow-Anywhere Herb Grow Bar

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This genius bar can be added right under your kitchen cabinets so you can have a thriving herb garden right in your own kitchen, no backyard or window required.

For your preppy entertainer – CB2’s Franklin Double Old Fashioned Glass

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I love anything tortoise and these glasses have that great Ralph Lauren look to them (at a much more reasonable price).  They would be a great way to punch up your table as water glasses or as aptly named – for a delicious old fashioned.  I would love to see these under the tree (hint, hint).

For someone who has everything – William’s Sonoma Outdoor Pizza Oven

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It’s pricey (around $300) but think how much you would save on delivery!  Also a great gift to go in on with other family members.  Our neighbors have a wood fired one and it’s really terrific but this one is even easier as you can hook it up to a propane tank just like a grill.

For the Scandal (or wine) fan – Crate and Barrel’s Camille Red Wine Glasses

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Yes these are the exact glasses that Olivia Pope comes home and swirls red wine in on her pristine cream colored couch (which may be the most unrealistic thing about the show).  I love how delicate they are with the large globe – these have been on my list for years but Patrick knows me well enough to know I would probably break them in a minute…

For the cocktail lover – Mouth’s Mini Gin Gift Pack

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There are so many great craft small batch spirits being made now and Mouth.com has a great selection.  I love the pretty bottles on a bar cart especially these gins made in Chicago.

For the book lover – l’appart or Rasika

 

I love getting cookbooks as I usually don’t buy them for myself – the Rasika Flavors of India book is an exception because I just had to run out and get the book from one of my favorite restaurants.  The book is beautiful and the recipes are a lot less complex than you would think.  David Lebovitz is a terrific American writer who lives in Paris and his new book is a funny and yummy look at his life there.  It also has some great recipes as well.

For your silly friend – Tukernuck’s Buzzed Cocktail Napkins

 

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My friend Hilary LOVES entertaining gifts with funny sayings on them and I have been the lucky recipient of many (some of you may remember the “When I dip you dip we dip” dip bowl I have featured).  These cocktail napkins are a great stocking stuffer.

For pankcake lovers – Stonewall Kitchen’s New England Breakfast Gift

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My Aunt Janice got me this one year and it’s the perfect gift – we all end up feeling like we don’t need more “stuff” but who wouldn’t want yummy breakfast food?  Especially at a time of the year when you are bound to have more guests, this is a great gift from a delicious Maine based company.  Best of all it comes in a great Nantucket style basket you can keep and reuse.

Sausage Stuffing

Turkey day is fast approaching – I am actually hosting a friendsgiving (for 16!) this weekend so I needed to get my act together in way in advance but I know some of you are still working out your menus.  The best thing about my friendsgiving is that lots of people are bringing their family’s must have Thanksgiving dish so we will have a really fun mix of friends and memories around the table.  My family has several traditions, one being my grandmother’s stuffing with sausage.  My Aunt Carol gave me the recipe years ago and you can see its pretty simple but oh so good.  I have to say I had to tweak it a little as I think a nice hearty bakery loaf is better than Wonder bread and I used homemade chicken stock instead of the boullion but I would NEVER consider not using Jimmy Dean sausage like she did!

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This year I am going to change it up again and mix in some cornbread to reflect our southern home but making it will still make me smile and think of my Nana and that is what Thanksgiving is all about.  If you need more thanksgiving ideas here is a post that compiles all the recipes.  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sausage Stuffing (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration: my nana’s stuffing
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 loaf of bread, preferably a rustic farmhouse style
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped sage
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 pound Jimmy Dean sausage roll
  • 1 cup turkey or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Calvados (apple brandy) or another 1/2 cup stock

Cut the bread into bite size pieces and leave out on a cookie sheet overnight to dry out.

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Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a large skillet heat the butter over medium high heat.  Add the onions, fennel, and celery and cook for about 10 minutes until softened.  Add the sage, thyme, fennel seeds and salt and pepper.  Cook for another minute then add to a large bowl.  Add the sausage to the pan breaking it up as you add it to the pan.

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Cook over medium high heat until no pink remains, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Add to the bowl with the veggies.  Add the bread cubes to the bowl and toss all together.  Pour over the broth and brandy (if using) and stir to combine again.

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Pile the stuffing into a 9 by 13 baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is crusty.

Sausage Stuffing

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 loaf of bread, preferably a rustic farmhouse style
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped sage
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 pound Jimmy Dean sausage roll
  • 1 cup turkey or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Calvados (apple brandy) or another 1/2 cup stock

Cut the bread into bite size pieces and leave out on a cookie sheet overnight to dry out.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a large skillet heat the butter over medium high heat.  Add the onions, fennel, and celery and cook for about 10 minutes until softened.  Add the sage, thyme, fennel seeds and salt and pepper.  Cook for another minute then add to a large bowl.  Add the sausage to the pan breaking it up as you add it to the pan.  Cook over medium high heat until no pink remains, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Add to the bowl with the veggies.  Add the bread cubes to the bowl and toss all together.  Pour over the broth and brandy (if using) and stir to combine again.  Pile the stuffing into a 9 by 13 baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is crusty.

ACC Travels: Venice, Italy

Since my darling husband just returned from Italy this weekend it had me reminiscing about the last time he went there to give a speech and was smart enough to bring his wife along!  His speaking engagement was in Milan but since Patrick had never been to Venice before and I am still haunted by my visit from years ago, I decided that is where we should meet up.  Could there be anything more romantic than meeting your love on the Grand Canal???  The fall is a great time to visit Venice as it is MUCH less crowded than in the summer.  You have to be careful for the “Acqua Alta,” ie when the water levels get so high that the canals flood the city (ick) but if you look online there are great resources for estimating when that will happen.  We went mid November and it was perfect.

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Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world with incredible art, architecture and natural beauty, but unlike most of the rest of Italy, it is not known for its food.  They have seafood in abundance but many of the restaurants are super touristy and overpriced.  Because things essentially need to be “imported” the quality of some produce isn’t as good as say Florence.  But do not despair!  Do enough research and you can find great food.  I won’t lie – there were a bunch of duds on this trip.  Even the best laid plans can be ruined by closed restaurants, exorbitant prices or a maze of canals.  However, there were several gems.  Here are our favorite stops – I also recommend checking out Chowhound boards before you do any international travel and search the city you are visiting.  I found a lot of these places on there – its basically crowd sourcing from foodies at its best.  Ciao!

Vineria all’Amarone

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How can you not like a place named after some of the best wine made in Italy?  Vineria all’ Amarone is a sweet spot that specializes in wine (duh) and food that goes well with it.  Unlike most places it takes reservations online so perfect for a day when you know you are not going to want to mess around figuring out where to eat.  I highly recommend anything that comes out of their oven, from roasted meats to the lasagna.  We of course ordered a bottle of Amarone, which was so much more reasonable than anywhere you would get it in the States.  Best of all the whole restaurant is decorated with empty bottles from customers who tag it with memories of their meals there.  They have tags in every language and some of the sweetest stories!  Definitely a must try.

Venissa

I highly recommend getting out to some of the islands of Venice during your stay there.  Each has its own character and unique specialty like the glass blowing on Murano.

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Much less known is the tiny island of Mazzorbo, that has Venice’s only vineyard on it, Venissa.  Unfortunately when we were there it was closed for a special event but just walking grounds was pretty incredible.  Venissa is not just a vineyard but also a restaurant and hotel which win rave reviews.

Ristorante Ai Cesendeli

Just a short walk over a tiny bridge from Mazzorbo you get Burano, the island known for its lace makers.  The colors of the homes on the island are a huge draw but as soon as we got there we realized we were starving.  The only restaurant that I could find recommended was of course closed with no reason given but such is the joy of travelling in Europe.

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Luckily we stumbled across this amazing family run spot that served great pizzas and Aperol spritzes for lunch.  I ordered an eggplant calzone type thing and it came with about $15 worth of prosciutto di parma on top!  Absolutely delicious.

CoVino

This place is tucked away – like really tucked away.  The more time you find yourself in Venice the more you will find that you are lost.  That is a good thing!  Just keep walking and eventually you will find it.  I had read about this place a ton and was totally going to give up but Patrick knew I really wanted to go and when we finally found CoVino it was like an oasis (especially since it was pouring out!).  Once inside you feel like you are in someone’s kitchen, and you basically are in the postage stamp of a restaurant.

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Don’t let that scare you off as they churn out awesome food.  It is a 3 course menu and very inexpensive so well worth the hunt.

Vinaria

Almost 100% of the places that line the Grand Canal are tourist traps and are not worth looking at.  Basically if they offer the menu in more than 2 languages with pictures you should keep moving.

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However, the gracious patio overlooking the canal at Vinaria is a lovely place to sit after a long day of exploring and grabbing a glass (or three!) of wine.  Cannot speak to the food but the view cannot be beat.

Al Timon

Patrick doesn’t eat seafood which on an island can be pretty challenging.  I kept reading about Al Timon before we left as one of the few places that does meat right.  We tracked it down in the old Jewish quarter and man am I glad we did.

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As with a lot of places in Venice it is a little confusing once you get in as the menu is all in Italian and everyone seems to know what they are doing.  However, the waiters are really lovely and helped us order this amazing beef tenderloin (not the horse that we were accidentally going to order!!!).  They serve it up family style on a big wooden board with rosemary roasted potatoes, white beans, arugula and loads of other accompaniments.  Some crusty bread and red wine and we were in heaven.

Clementine Margarita

It is #nationaltacoday so I figured it would be fitting to post a nice margarita to wash down those tacos.  My friend Naz came over this summer with a bag full of her own cocktail kit and shook up a bunch of terrific margaritas for us.  Who doesn’t want a friend like that??  She used tangerine juice but that can be hard to find so I used clementine – they are both delicious.  The sweet tang of the clementine juice is the perfect base for the tequila and she introduced me to Patron Lime Liquor which has a more limey taste then triple sec.   These margaritas would go great with my carnitas tacos or maybe some carne asada tacos.  Don’t forget jalapeno chips (I am making these tonight) or my tex mex quinoa salad.  I also used my favorite pequin pepper salt for the rim as the heat makes a nice contrast with the sweetness of the drink but you could use regular salt or skip it all together.  Happy National Taco Day!

 

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Clementine Margarita (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:   my friend Naz’s delicious drink on the go
Special Equipment:  cocktail shaker

  • 2 ounces silver tequila
  • 1 ounce Patron Lime Liqour
  • 4 ounces clementine juice
  • ice, salt and lime wedge

Shake the tequila, lime liquor and clementine juice in a cocktail shaker with ice until cold.  Pour over ice, in a salt rimmed glass if you prefer (I like to use spicy salt).

Clementine Margarita

  • Servings: 1
  • Print

Special Equipment:  cocktail shaker

  • 2 ounces silver tequila
  • 1 ounce Patron Lime Liqour
  • 4 ounces clementine juice
  • ice, salt and lime wedge

Shake the tequila, lime liquor and clementine juice in a cocktail shaker with ice until cold.  Pour over ice, in a salt rimmed glass if you prefer (I like to use spicy salt).

ACC Parties: Oktoberfest

I kid you not – the German outfit koozies I got at World Market is 100% the reason why we had an Oktoberfest party.  How could I not???  Also the idea of a fall party with beer and pretzels was too good to pass up.  This is definitely the kind of party that is perfect for folks that don’t love to cook, as most of the food on this menu is already prepared.  So take your time with displaying the food and enjoying time with friends.  To get people in the mood at my party they were greeted with a mini pumpkin and beer coaster display that I had seen on Pinterest.  I basically stole a whole bunch of random cardboard coasters from bars leading up to the party – shhhh!

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I lit lots of candles and set out flowers in fall colors.  Ideally we would have been outside but it was a grey and yucky day.  Sometimes I think that is more fun because people really hunker in to have a good time.  A couple of my friends have been to beer fests were they give you pretzel necklaces to clean your palate between beer tastings (also presumably to help keep you sober!).  I bought a bag of mini pretzels and just strung them on grosgrain ribbon long enough to put over everyone’s heads.  It was a great favor and helped keep the party going.

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German food can be pretty heavy so I wanted to have a mix of snacky type things as well as a full meal if my guests were so inclined.  On my kitchen island I set out Ina’s famous Green Herb Dip along with endive spears and celery.  Make two batches of this dip – it goes fast!

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It’s not a party without cheese, so I set a whole bunch out on my epic cutting board.  A mix of gouda, cheddar and blue cheese along side some sliced salamis, hearty crackers and grapes give this cheese board a rustic fall vibe.

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You cant have Oktoberfest without beer and once September hits there will be plenty of options in the stores.  I went with a bunch of mixed cases, some actually German and some just fall craft beers.  Make sure to have plenty of water as well (I did a large container so people could serve themselves) and a couple of bottles of wine in case you have some non beer drinkers (!!!).

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Pretzel necklaces was not going to be enough, especially when I live near The Pretzel Bakery (OMG OMG OMG).  So I ordered up a whole mess of them and kept them warm in the oven.  To display them I used a pasta drying rack that has dried exactly zero strands of pasta but was PERFECT for this!

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Stock up on lot of mustard, preferably in a couple of flavors.  Normally I would have put the mustard in ramekins but lets be honest,  it is way more satisfying to squeeze mustard on a pretzel for some reason.

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Oktoberfest means bratwurst so I bought a ton of them and simmered them in beer first – then just throw them on the grill when you are ready.  Set out buns and store bought sauerkraut (because no one ever has needed their house to smell like sauerkraut)  and you are in business.

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I also made a fantastic German potato salad from the New York Times and set out good old potato chips to round out the meal.  But wait – no dessert?  Of course not and what better than German Chocolate Cupcakes.  Or cut out a step and just buy some delicious cupcakes.  That would mean all you have to make is dip, potato salad and grill some bratwurst.  Easy right?  Throw this party to usher in fall or just to justify lederhosen for a beer!

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