White Wine Sangria… Yes Please!

This weekend I was on the hunt to find a simple and refreshing cocktail recipe to celebrate the summertime! The weather here in D.C. was less than stellar on Friday and Saturday ( it rained for 48 hours straight essentially) so I wanted something to bring the sunshine inside. After some Pinterest digging, I landed on what looked like an amazing White Wine Sangria Recipe on The Lemon Bowl and tried it out…

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It was so so so SO tasty.


White Wine Sangria by Liz Della Croce
Ingredients
  • 2 bottles dry white wine i.e. sauvignon blanc or chardonnay
  • Ginger Simple Syrup see below
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 24 ounces ginger beer
  • slices orange lemon and lime – garnish
Ginger Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6- inch piece ginger root cut in large chunks
Instructions
  1. To make Ginger Simple Syrup, place water, sugar and ginger root in a small sauce pot and bring to a simmer. Stir for 60 seconds or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let ginger steep while syrup cools.
  2. Place white wine in a large pitcher and add in orange, lime and lemon juice. Add additional orange, lemon and lime slices to the pitcher for garnish and added flavor.
  3. Once ginger simple syrup has cooled, strain ginger root from the mixture and add the syrup to the pitcher of wine and citrus juice. Stir well and let mixture chill for 4 hours or up to overnight.
  4. To serve, pour mixture over ice until glass is 3/4 full. Top each glass with ginger beer before serving.
  5. Garnish with extra citrus slices if you wish.

 

Isn’t it beautiful? And it tastes as good as it looks! I highly recommend using Gosling’s Ginger Beer, it was just wonderful. I put mine in a stemless wine glass to feel a little fancy but I could also see this drink looking amazing in a mason jar for an indoor or outdoor party!

If you are a ginger fanatic like me, I recommend simmering it a tad longer than recommended to really get that flavor in the sangria. Also, more is MORE when it comes to the lemon, lime, and orange slices. Not only do the citrus slices make the beverage gorgeous, they also infuse the sangria with more flavor the longer they soak!

Try it, drink it, love it!

 

 

 

Super Simple Margarita Recipe

You know when you get an overwhelming craving for Mexican food and your body is like “QUESO. NOW.”? If you don’t you’ve probably never lived in a place where amazing Mexican food or Tex-Mex is available. If this is you I suggest you travel somewhere where you can experience the delights of melty cheese in a bowl served with chips ASAP.

For me, this Mexican food craving is accompanied 99.9% of the time by the need for a margarita. I run into an issue though every time I try to order one at a restaurant, most use some sort of margarita mix. This is a problem for me because each sip I take tastes like a sugar bomb mixed with a powdered lime sports drink. In other words, an insta-hangover. The flavor of the tequila is totally lost, my taste buds go into shock, and I’ve already consumed a day’s worth of calories before my tacos even arrive! Unacceptable.

Not to worry though, I have a solution to this problem that doesn’t take hardly any time at all!  Over this past weekend while my parents were visiting, we got a hankering for Mexican food and decided to do a taco bar at my apartment. To accompany this food fiesta, we chose a margarita recipe out of our Death & Co. Modern Classic Cocktails book and it was so simple and delicious I had to share!

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The Margarita Cocktail

  • 2oz Blanco Tequila (Siempre Azul)
  • 3/4oz Cointreau
  • 1oz Lime Juice
  • 1/4oz Agave Nectar

Shake all ingredients with ice and then strain into a rocks glass filled with ice cubes and rimmed with kosher salt.  Garnish with a lime wedge. 

We used the tequila that we had on our bar, Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila Silver, and it was absolutely delicious. I did not rim my glass with salt but most everyone else did! You do you, not everyone is into the salt.

So if you are like me and don’t care for margarita mixes (aside from Skinny Girl for when I’m at the lake), make your own! This super simple recipe is a great place to start.

Happy Shaking- let me know what you think! 🙂

 

Hamilton & Willard: Dynamic Decor Duo

I have absolutely LOVED going out to eat ever since I was little girl. While exploring different types of food is a huge part of this love (duh), I am also drawn to the ambiance of a restaurant. The same holds true for my favorite bars!

When I go somewhere to eat or drink, I am looking for a “vibe”. What are they trying to communicate to me, as a patron, with lighting and decor? This vibe may speak to me, in which case I will remember that feeling and want to come back to re-immerse myself, OR it won’t and I won’t. I will say though, that as long as there is a good vibe created with thoughtfulness (even if that reads as “chaos”), I will respect it! For me, the dining experience is as much about this feeling as anything else.

I tend to favor restaurants on the cozier side and there is no shortage of those in D.C. The Hamilton is one of my favorites! Despite the fact that the restaurant is enormous, they still manage to make each dining area feel private using well placed booths/partitions, ornate lighting, and colorful decor. I would describe my favorite room as Tropical Traditional…

SEE! Tropical Traditional. I’m making that a thing if it’s not already. The food is wonderful and if you’ve never been you should definitely pop in! MAKE A RES though if you are going for dinner, they are always slammed because the restaurant is so close to the White House.

Another wonderfully cozy place to go on occasion* (it’s a tad pricy) that is right across the street from The Hamilton is the Round Robin Bar in The Willard Intercontinental. The hotel is a perfect place to take out-of-town guests which is exactly what I did this weekend! The Willard common areas, like The Hamilton, are huge but feel cozy all the same. It is ornate but warm…

The Willard is an amazing place that is quintessential D.C. in my eyes. Both of these establishments, The Hamilton and The Willard are perfect examples of places that inspire feelings of warmth and comfort that draw me back again and again. I think you will find this common thread in many of the restaurants and bars I feature on my blog! I’d love to know what you look for in a bar or restaurant aside from wonderful food…what vibe draws you in?

Weekend Wine Recap!

I’ll be honest, I drink quite a bit of wine on the weekend. This past weekend (including Wednesday and Thursday) was particularly wine-filled as my parents were in town visiting and let’s just say my love for this beverage runs in the family.

I did not meet a wine this weekend that I didn’t truly enjoy so I though I’d share them with you!


Wine Wednesday…

2015 Pinot Noir – The Divining Rod – Oregon

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blackberry, rose-petal, slight earthiness

2014 Pinot Noir – Educated Guess – California

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Rich, fruity, earthy

A Thirsty Thursday Indeed…

2015 Chardonnay – Simi Winery – California

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Pineapple, white peach, hints of butter and Smoke

2016 Altitudes Rosé – Ixsir – Lebanon

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Strawberry, almond blosson, nutmeg

Friday Frivolity…

Chateau de Sancerre Cuvee du Connetable 2010 – France 

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apricot, quince, vanilla

2015 Sauvignon Blanc – Ten Sisters – New Zealand

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dry, pineapple, grapefruit

SATURYAY… no wine here remarkably! We made the tastiest Margaritas from a brand new cocktail book we bought. Stay tuned for a post including that recipe and more fun cocktails later in the week.


Sunday Sparkles… for Mimosas OBVI.

Sonoma Brut Sparkling Wine – Gloria Ferrar- California

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black cherry, vanilla, ginger

So when you are standing in the wine section of your fave grocery or liquor store this week, trying your best not to zero in on your go-to and feeling the burden of beverage choice that our amazing nation bestows upon us, grab one of these bad boys and let me know what you think!

 

 

Instapets to the Rescue!

Let’s face it, if you work in an office there comes a time for everyone on Friday afternoon when you get antsy. Whether your antsy-ness comes from a place of exhaustion from the week behind you or anticipation for the weekend ahead, a shockingly persuasive part of your brain is urging “I CAN’T SIT ANY MORE, GTFO OF HERE!”. But alas, you cannot. It is probably only about 2 or 3 o’clock (that is my peak fidgeting hour) and you are stuck daydreaming about what is calling to you post-work (your couch, drinks with friends, your couch, a friend’s couch, Fridays are hard sometimes and couches are soft…).

If you are like me, to get through the afternoon slump you try desperately to focus on work, start responding to emails, and then BOOM come out of an Instagram blackout having liked no less than 50 photos of different adorable animals! I follow so. many. animals. it’s unreal. My Moosebear (the name inspiration for this blog) is far away in Arkansas being his Goldendoodley self with my family so I fill the void by looking at other people’s precious pets, mostly puppins! To share the joy of these precious angels, I’ve put together a list of a few of my favorites:

  1. @thewilburglar -How could ANYONE deny that sweet face? Careful though, Wilbur tends to say inappropriate things for such a precious pup!
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Photo from Instagram – @thewilburglar 

 

 


2. @deanthebasset -THOSE EARSSSSSS and wrinkly little legs! I can’t deal.

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Photo from deanthebasset.com

 

 


3. @walterthewolfhound -Look at the eyes on this gentle giant, he’ll surely help you get through the afternoon!

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Photo from Instagram – @walterthewolfhound

 


4. @nelsonthegoldendoodle -Walter’s brother Nelson, the cutest pair around! If that doesn’t make you smile I can’t help you…

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Photo from Instagram – @nelsonthegoldedoodle

 


5. @charlietheonemanparty -Look at those flowing locks, such a handsome good boy!

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Photo from Instagram by @caitlinlisaphotography

 


6. @wally_and_molly– If this Angora Bunny isn’t THE purest I don’t know what is! Thought I would throw in a bunny curveball here at the end.

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Photo from EMGN.com 

 

This is only the very tip of the iceberg that is my love for animals on Instagram but I don’t want to overwhelm you! These are a great starting point for turning your Friday into FriYAY and, in my mind, is a productive way to spend your Instagram work blackout. Plus, it is WAY better than looking at photos of all your friends traveling while your stuck at a desk, am I right? Enjoy!!

Sunday Stretches for Game of Thrones Nerves

Tonight Game of Thrones starts up again and I am LOSING MY MIND! I’m so excited/nervous its nuts. To protect my delicate emotions I’ve made a habit of going into each episode with the mindset that everyone I love in the show will die a horrible death in the first five minutes. THEN, when they don’t die, I’m super excited! This is the game I must play with my mind so I don’t have to look away every time there is a prolonged silence or they zoom in on one persons face for too long (at which time I am always convinced an arrow or an axe will come out of nowhere and crush my dreams)! We all have our ways of riding the emotional roller coaster that is GOT.

You, like me, may need a way to manage this wild GOT anticipation. I’ve got your answer!  In addition to being a design junkie, a professional eater and drinker of tasty foods and beverages, and  writing about such things on the interwebs for fun, I am also a certified yoga instructor! I’ve already run through my yoga routine this morning to ward off the V unwelcome Sunday scaries and the V welcome GOT nerves so I thought I’d share some of my more relaxing stretches with you…

Child’s Pose

  • Find a comfy spot on the floor (or a mat if you have one) and sit your tush on your heels.
  • Bring your toes to touch beneath you and spread your knees out as wide as is comfortable (you can also leave your thighs and knees together if that is more comfortable).
  • Hinge forward at the waist to fold your belly over your thighs and touch your forehead to the floor or mat.
  • Reach your fingertips out long in front of you.
  • With every inhale reach your fingertips further forward, with every exhale lengthen your tailbone back and feel that wonderful stretch!
  • If you chose to keep your thighs and knees sealed together with your forehead on the mat, you can either extend your arms out long in front of you or send them back, palms up, to rest alongside your legs.
  • You should feel this in your hips, ankles, and thighs.

Supine Pidgeon Pose 

  • Lie down on the floor with your arms long by your sides.
  • Bend your knees and walk your feet in towards your tush.
  • Now bring your right ankle on top of your left thigh and open up your knee towards the right side, flex your right foot to protect your knee.
  • If you feel a deep stretch in this position stay right there.
  • If you are not feeling much and want to take it a bit further, interlace your hands behind your left thigh and lift your left leg up so that your left knee is stacked over your left hip and your left shin is parallel with the floor.
  • Take the same shape you did on the opposite side to balance out.
  • You should feel this in your hips.

Seated Forward Fold with Bent Knees (Super creative, I know)

  • Sit upright with your legs outstretched in front of you.
  • Put a generous bend in your knees.
  • Flex your feet back towards your face.
  • Reach your hands high overhead on a big inhale.
  • Exhale, hinge forward to drape your belly over your thighs and release your hands to wherever is accessible for you (feet, shins, resting alongside your legs).
  • We bend our knees here to feel this in our lower back as opposed the traditional seated forward-fold with straightened legs which is a hamstring stretch.
  • You should feel this in your lower back but if you are particularly tight you may feel  this from the base of your spine all the way up to your neck.

Happy Baby Pose

  • Lie down on your back and pull your knees into your chest.
  • Pull your right knee towards you right armpit and your left knee towards your left armpit.
  • Flex your feet and stack them over your knees like you are going to stamp the ceiling with the soles of your feet.
  • Keep your knees bent and reach for the insides or outsides of your feet, your calves, or the backs of your thighs, wherever is comfortable for you.
  • Seal your entire spine and shoulders down to the mat, so if your tailbone and shoulders are up off the mat, consider grabbing behind your thighs instead of reaching for your feet or calves.
  • You should feel this in your inner groin and along your spine!

These are some of my favorites for releasing tension so let me know what you think! Ready or not WINTER IS HERE (even though it feels like it is 1 million degrees here in D.C.) so you might as well do everything you can to prepare for the GOT whirlwind tonight and start the week of right.

Spicing Things Up

When asked where I wanted to go for my birthday dinner, it came down to a choice between two D.C. heavy-hitters: Le Diplomate and Rasika. I’ve been wanting to go to both forever and this was my chance to check one off my list! Did I want to fulfill my dreams of diving into a giant seafood tower, OR did I want to spice things up with what some have said is the best indian cuisine in the city? Life’s big questions.

I decided on Rasika in West End and our experience was amazing. A little bird tipped off the restaurant that it was the day of my birth and VIOLA!, complementary champagne! I am all about complementary items of any kind, it makes me feel fancy. We then ordered a couple of appetizers that I highly recommend:

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Fish Chili Garlic
Sea bass / burnt garlic / banana leaf / jeera aloo

The fish was perfectly cooked with a delicious layer of garlic mash on top and the jeera aloo (potatoes, cumin seeds, and indian spices) was a tasty spicy accompaniment!

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Mango Shrimp
Fresh mango / cashew nuts / ginger / coriander

This shrimp was so flavorful that, had the sauce not been there, I would have been content without it. But add the shrimp to the spicy green sauce and BOOM, flavor bonanza.

For my main dish I ordered my go-to, Chicken Tikka Masala, but I TRIED to branch out. Really, I did! Before I ordered, I asked the waitress what she recommended and she basically told me to order it because they do it so well. My efforts to be adventurous were thwarted. At the end of the day though, the dish was some of the best I’ve had!

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Chicken Tikka Masala

My boyfriend ordered a lamb dish with rice and a cool yogurt dressing that was also to die for. His had a completely different flavor profile that mine, almost a lebanese vibe. He was V content!

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Hyderabadi Lamb Biryani
Aromatic lamb / basmati rice / saffron / raita

I cannot overlook that we orderd both garlic naan AND truffle naan (so excessive) with our meals! Whatever, it was my birthYAY.

Following this amazing meal, our waitress brought out a small plate of cardamom ice cream with a candle in it, and two tiny pastry like bites on either side. More complementary luxe things with a birthday candle! Needless to say, our experience at Rasika West End was truly wonderful, and a great way to spend my birthday. I highly recommend visiting if you haven’t already!

I am always on the lookout for delightful indian food so please share if you have a favorite spot so I can try it out!