Archive for the ‘Food & Drinks’ Category

Vintage Bicycle Bar in Bucharest. Design made by Alina Turdean using parts from old Pegas bicycles.

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It all began when Panagiotis Fountas (NineDesign), Konstantina Panagiotou (INK Architecture) and Marilena Spanoudaki-Bakopoulou were drawn to the eerie beauty of a neoclassical building in the affluent northern suburb of Kifisia. Located far away from the centre of Athens, wealthy Athenians flocked to the cool, leafy area from their houses in the centre to escape the oppressive heat in the summer months during the late 19th and early 20th century, and many luxurious villas still exist. Built around the 1890s to house a bourgeois family, the house, now known as The Dalliance House, later become a commercial space, even housing a strawberry drying operation for a while. The building has now returned to its proud original roots and intended use, once again, it is a House housing an all day restaurant, café/bar for all to enjoy.

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If there is one thing that defines The Dalliance House, it would be the passing of time. Located on the same spot for almost 120 years, everything around it however, has evolved and changed. The house too has suffered major changes as its use shifted from one function to another leaving a multitude of scars behind. Instead of erasing these scars, the creative team’s approach was to preserve them – in an attempt to remember as well as revive every form of life and function that existed within its walls.

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On the outside, the building has been brought back to its intended magnificent splendor. From the color palette and special lighting design through to the perennial trees that occupy its outside spaces, the glory of another era reigns supreme. Upon entering, a full 180 degree view opens up making the visitor feel right at home – leading to the bar space on the left hand side, a stairway leading to the 1st floor in the middle and the teal room on the right. Here, neoclassical elements, such as the rosettes on the ceiling and the elaborate decorations on the walls, have been used to excess. In the bar area, the Brazilian wood bar blends in perfectly with several vintage decorative metal plates. Other late 19th century design elements include the lanterns that bathe the bar in a soft light and the cabinet behind it custom designed by Panagiotis Foundas, inspired by the delicate woodwork of the era.

Konstantina Panagiotou was in charge of restoring the house’s walls and murals from which the actual idea for the teal room then emerged. Here, several aging techniques were used to give the new paint an old, worn out look which together with the contemporary mural of an old school geisha tattoo reigning over the entire space, bring the present and the past very much together.

As they climb the staircase up to the 1st floor, visitors are drawn to the comic-covered wall and ceiling and the Ingo Maurer lights. Comforting and homely with its yellow, red and brown hues, huge Baxter sofa and long, monastery type dining table, the overall design on the 1st floor brings together everything that The Dalliance House stands for: in reviving the old, a contemporary meeting point has been created. Merging antique elements, clashing materials and an all day lounge attitude, the design team has created a whimsical space that heightens the senses and absolutely begs for some old fashioned flirting.

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photos by Costas Mitropoulos, Courtesy of The Dalliance House, Athens, Greece.

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Santa hat brownies.

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Christmas trees.

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Santa strawberries.

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Reindeer doughnuts.

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Snowman.

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Strawberries Santa Cupcakes.

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Nutter butter christmas cookies.

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Gingerbread christmas tree.

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Mini Ghost Cupcakes.

Ingredients

1 (12 oz.) container Cool Whip
3 doz. mini chocolate cupcakes
72 mini chocolate chips
36 regular chocolate chips
Preparation

Fit a pastry bag with a plain round tip (or use a plastic bag with a corner snipped off). Fill bag with Cool Whip. Pipe cream into peaks on each cupcake.
Position two mini chocolate chips as eyes and one regular chocolate chip as a mouth on each ghost, flat ends facing out. (Cupcakes may be refrigerated for up to 3 hours. Bring to room temperature before decorating.)

Ingredients for mini chocolate cupcakes.

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk egg, water, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients; mix batter until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Fill each cup about 2/3 of the way. Bake, rotating pan halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes for regular cupcakes and about 10 minutes for mini cupcakes. Let cool on wire rack.

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Extra Spooky Chocolate Halloween Cupcakes.
Ingredients
Cupcakes
One box Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake Mix, Gluten Free
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3 whole large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz. milk
Frosting
1 can Betty Crocker Fluffy White Frosting
1 tube Betty Crocker Black Writing Icing
1 tube Betty Crocker Orange Writing Icing
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips, melted (optional)
Decorations
Edible (or non edible) spiders
Sprinkles (optional)
Instructions
Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350. Place festive greaseproof liners in cupcake tin (about 16 or so). You can also use a mix of mini and regular cupcake tins. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add together the cake mix, the cocoa, espresso and whisk well. Add the butter, eggs, vanilla and milk. Using a whisk or a hand-held mixer, beat the mixture together for 2-4 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape up any stuff from the bottom of the bowl. The mixture should be smooth and be kind of thick.
Using an ice cream scoop, place one scoop in each cupcake liner. Rap pan on counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake about 15 minutes and rotate. They should be almost finished at that point. Bake only until a tooth pick comes out without crumbs – about 3-5 minutes more. Cool on a rack as soon as you can pop them out of the pan.
Frosting
For the white frosting with spider webs: Stir the frosting like crazy to give it a little fluff (think of it as a down pillow smashed into a small bag – you want to fluff it up once it is free). Place a layer of white frosting on the cupcake using an offset spatula or a piping bag. Keep the surface kind of flat. But be generous.
Knead the writing containers with the lid on. Otherwise only icky liquid comes out. With both writing icing colors or just one, starting in the center and without stopping,create a spiral – center out and three turns will do it – wide spaced. If using two colors on one cupcake, make sure the spirals are lined up next to each other and not touching as much as you can help it. Once all the spirals are piped, take a toothpick or two (or several) and from the center out without lifting the toothpick and with a gentle touch to avoid digging into the white frosting, drag the toothpick from the center out to create a web. Do the opposite side. Then do it again and then opposite that spot – keep going until you’ve created a web for the spider. Neat is not important because spider webs are rather random.
Place your plastic or edible spider on the web anywhere you like. If it is a non edible spider – make sure everyone (especially children) know it!
Optional – add some Halloween colored sprinkles on top of the web.
Chocolate topped cupcakes: Dip the tops of the cupcakes in the melted chocolate chips and add eyeballs or sprinkles, or other decorations of your choosing.

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Witch Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
1 1/4 cup(s) (2 1/2 sticks) plus 6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup(s) granulated sugar
2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
cup(s) milk
12 sugar ice cream cones
12 chocolate wafer cookies (such as Famous Chocolate Wafers)
1 cup(s) bittersweet chocolate chips
2 cup(s) confectioners’ sugar
Green gel or paste food color (such as Americolor or Wilton Electric Green and Avocado)
12 mini chocolate frosted doughnuts (such as Entenmann’s)
12 white jelly beans, halved crosswise
3 snack-size sour apple taffy
Brown and red decorating frosting
4 large shredded-wheat biscuits

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with black paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. Using an electric mixer, beat 6 Tbsp butter, the granulated sugar and 1 tsp vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour mixture and the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Divide the batter among the muffin cups (about 1/4 cup each) and bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the hats: Place a wire rack over a baking sheet. Using a serrated knife, carefully cut 3 in. from the point of the sugar cones. Place the chocolate wafers on the rack. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave according to package directions. With one cone at a time, working over the bowl of melted chocolate, spoon the chocolate over the cone to evenly cover and place on a chocolate wafer. With a spatula, spread the chocolate to cover the wafer, adding more chocolate if necessary;
Meanwhile, make the frosting: Using the electric mixer, beat the confectioners’ sugar and remaining 1 1/4 cups butter, tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl until smooth and fluffy, 3 minutes; tint green.
Make the witches: Spread a small amount of frosting onto each cupcake, top with a doughnut, and frost the sides and top of the doughnut (about 3 Tbsp total). Place the jelly beans, cut-side down, into the frosting for eyes. Cut each taffy into 4 pieces, shape each into a nose and place under the eyes. Pipe the brown frosting onto the jelly beans for pupils and over the jelly beans for eyebrows. Pipe a mouth with the red frosting.

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Mini Pumpkin Cakes
To make this luscious dessert, use our simple Classic Chocolate Cake recipe. You can also try substituting your favorite cake recipe, or if you’re short on time, a boxed mix — one box yields 12 Mini Pumpkin Cakes, 24 Filled Chocolate Cakes, or two 8-inch-round layers.

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SPIDER CUPCAKES
To decorate: Apply icing and orange sprinkles. Cut inch long strips of black licorice laces and place them on the mini cupcake for spider legs. Top with a black raspberry. To make eyes add 2 spots of red icing using a decorating icing pen.

D’ Amalfi Limoncello Supreme Liquor.

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Price: $44 million.

The flawless design of the bottle that is adorned with three single cut diamonds (13 carats) on the neck has made it one of the most expensive wines in the world. One of the rarest diamonds is set on the body of the bottle that alone weighs 18.5 carats and the bottle costs whooping $ 44 million.

Isabella’s Islay.

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Price: $6,2 million.

The company behind the world’s most expensive non- alcoholic drink Ruwa has come up with Isabella’s Islay, is one of the world’s most luxurious whisky that is available in two editions. Each bottle of the drink is handcrafted and is encrusted with beautiful and dazzling 8500 diamonds, almost 300 rubies. The bottle is completely covered with very old single malt cask strength Islay whisky inside and English Crystal decanter.

Chambord dy Donald Edge.

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Price: $3 million.

Designed by renowned jeweler Donald Edge, the bottle is one of the most expensive sprits containers that was unveiled by the prominent fashion designer Betsey Johnson at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. The bottle is bejeweled with 1,100 brilliant, princess and pear cut diamonds as well as a single emerald cut diamond. the proceedings from this brilliant bottle will help in raising funds and awareness of breast cancer.

Master of malt.

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Price: $1.4 million.

The wine is produced by the well known company Malt whiskey and was discovered by Scottish historian. The hard fetched whiskey was distilled on February 17, 1906 at the Aisla T’Orten distillery in the Highlands. The cask that was used was a sherry butt and was kept in the basement for about a century by Aberdeen-based historian, Allie Sisell.

1992 Screaming Eagle Wine.

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Price: $ 500,000

1992 Screaming Eagle Wine that has a beautiful opaque purple color with elegant fruity flavors that linger in the mouth for hours.

Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck.

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The Shipwrecked 1907 wine is 100 year old wine obtained from the Heidsieck vineyard and took over eighty years to reach its destination. Over 200 bottles were shipped to Russian Imperial family in 1916 and got lost in the sea and was discovered in 1997 by a ship driver.
Price: $275,000

Chateau Lafite – Rothschild 1869.

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Price: $232,692

Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong ballroom witnessed a new record for auction of wine when three bottles of 1869 Chateau Lafite Rothschild went for sale and set a record of most expensive bottle of wine sold at auction.

Chateau Lafite 1787.

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Price: $160,000

Originally bought by Thomas Jefferson in France, the 1787 Chateau Lafite is amongst the finest wine that is turned into vinegar which is a natural happening.

1945 Romanee Conti.

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Price: $ 123,900

1945 Romanée Conti got a special place in the Christie’s fine-wine auction in Geneva and this exclusive wine was sold in a record breaking amount. This rare wine was produced during the World War II before the outbreak of phylloxera and only 600 bottles were created.

1865 Vintage Chateau Lafite.

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Price: $111,625

1865 vintage Château Lafite, the vintage wine originally belonged to Massachusetts and Florida-based businessman Russell H.

Chateau d’Yquem 1787.

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Price: $100,000

The special vintage wine is purchased by a US based collector of fine wines is the one of the world’s most expensive white wine bottle ever sold. Antique wine company that is based in London has sold 1787 vintage Sauternes from Chateau Yquem. The sweet wine that takes centuries to mature is made in Bordeaux from completely shriveled up and was collected by US based collector of fine wines.

Petrus Vintage 1961.

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Price: $144,00

The 1961 Pétrus that was expected to fetch $50,000 to $90,000 finally went up for sale at $144,000. This Pétrus lot has set a world record for being the most expensive Petrus wine4s ever sold at auction.

Friday Cocktail Time…

So as usual it is friday and I need a cocktail. I thought I would switch it up a bit and make a cocktail from my “The Savoy Cocktail Book”.

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The authentic vintage cocktail has made a comeback. This book does not repeat the timeworn cocktails of old. While old-fashioneds, martinis, rusty nails, margaritas, and negronis are all great drinksùand this book includes the most authentic recipesùyou can find them anywhere.
Here, historian, expert, and drink aficionado Dr. Cocktail has hand-picked 80 drinks rarely made today, and all of them deserve revival. Some are from the nineteenth century, some from the Prohibition era, and some from just after World War II, as the golden age of the cocktail was waning. All are retrieved from extremely uncommon sources. In fact, some of these drinks were found carefully penned into old cocktail manuals or on scraps of paper and may never have been published. They are true treasures, indeed.

Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails pays homage to the great bartenders of the past and the beverages they created, lost in time, but still grand and full of potential. If you have half the fun looking at this book and trying these recipes as the author did putting them together, a great party is sure to ensue.

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In this expanded and updated edition of Forgotten Cocktails and Vintage Spirits, historian, expert, and drink aficionado Dr. Cocktail adds another 20 fine recipes to his hand-picked collection of 80 rare-and-worth-rediscovered drink recipes, shares revelations about the latest cocktail trends, provides new resources for uncommon ingredients, and profiles of many of the cocktail world’s movers and shakers. Historic facts, expanded anecdotes, and full-color vintage images from extremely uncommon sources round out this must-have volume. For anyone who enjoys an icy drink and an unforgettable tale.

20121121-112325.jpgRobert Vermeire
As a London barman in the 1920s, Robert Vermeire compiled a recipe book that has stood the test of time. Cocktails: How To Mix Them, published in 1922, includes the original recipe for the Sidecar, among other drinks that offer a snapshot of the times. What makes the book even more notable is how it catalogs the inventors of the drinks, preserving this historical information for posterity.

20121121-112858.jpgAmanda Hallay
Anything you can mix and pour into a glass is now termed a “cocktail,” but those drinks usually pale in comparison with the truly classic cocktails. Vintage Cocktails returns drinkers to an age of Manhattans, Pink Ladies, Gin Fizzes, and Whisky Sours. Included with the recipes are quirky cultural facts as well as serving suggestions, what to have stocked at your bar at all times, and how to cure the inevitable hangover.

20121121-115029.jpgThere are those who love to entertain and those who aspire to entertain, luckily this cocktail guide is for both types. Both a helpful guide and a beautiful coffee table book, Vintage Cocktails is sure to inspire the mixologist within you. It’s time to retire the cosmos and vodka tonics and embrace the Singapore Slings, Pisco Sours and Sidecars.
Unlike most cocktail guides, this book is large enough to flip open and display like an album, with easy to follow instructions and charming photos.