Ellen Swandiak, Author at HOBNOB Magazine

Author Archive

Summer Entertaining Musts: Great Outdoor Accessories

Posted on: August 5th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Summer brings with it a different set of needs when hosting guests. Here is our summer roundup of exciting products that will add to your sense of style and provide you with super tools to enhance your next barbecue, beach time, or picnic.

Solar Lounger​

(photo at the top of this post) For the modern lovers comes a wooden slatted bench whose adjustable backrest houses a photovoltaic panel, creating a striking lighting effect for nighttime soirees. The strength of the PV technology can produce energy in low light and shaded conditions. Roll-up mattress available in a range of colors and fabrics. Designed by Nina Edwards Anker of nea studio. neastudio.com

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining2

Latitude Light

Latitude light is a translucent 3D printed indoor/outdoor solar-powered lamp that emits a subtle ambient glow. The design can be customized depending on location or color preference. By tilting the panel at different angles, the light’s capacity for electric power generation is optimized. Lights illuminate automatically at dusk. Designed by Nina Edwards Anker of nea studio. $244. neastudio.com

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

TABLE ‘T’  Illumination Series

No need for candles! Give your table setting a soft glow, care of a rechargable battery or via electic source. The table is constructed of easy-care Corian with handsome wood legs and metal structure. Table design by dsignedby. Can be customized. Approx 94”l x 36”w x 28” h. $3,300 to $5,000. dsignedby.com

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

Hestan Grill

When you are ready to invest in the grill conceived and designed by engineers who are culinarily-inclined make sure to investigate this brand. I met up with the company at this year’s Architectural Digest Design Show and was educated on the finer points of fine-cooking outdoors. The 42-inch built in grill makes a fantastic base for an outdoor kitchen. Some of their advantages: The hood is easy to lift and can remain in any position. Lighting is incorporated into the hood and comes on automatically when you open it.

The grill features different types of burners for different tasks. The variable sear burner allows you to sear, then continue cooking at a lower temp without having to move the food around. The radiant briquette trays are removable and easy to clean—just flip them over and the burner takes care of the mess.

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

Adding a side burner gives you the opportunity to extend your cooking options, so you can work on sautés, boil water, or get out your wok. Hestan burners are rated 25,000 BTUs, the same rating used in professional kitchens, which means your pot of water for lobsters will come to a boil faster, and if you like wok cooking, you’ll get the heat required for quick stir fries.

The warming shelf at the rear of the grill can be moved up and down, and like the other grates, it is easily removed for cleaning, or can be stored vertically when not in use. Above the shelf is a built-in ceramic infrared burner perfect for searing/finishing or for added heat when using the rotisserie.

Riding the trend of color in appliances, Hestan offers the grill in 12 fantastic color finishes (including Stainless Steel for those not ready to make the color commitment!). The 42 inch starts at $7,099, 36 inch $6,399, 30-inch $5,049. Side burner, starts at $1,619. home.hestan.com

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

Garden Glory

Garden Glory is a collection of extravagantly designed gardening accessories with a big dose of whimsy. These could come in handy for cooling down a crowd! And while they may look cute, Garden Glory’s products are manufactured according to rigorous sustainability standards. Garden hoses are completely free of lead, cadmium and phthalates to keep the water clean, and knitting reinforcement makes them pliable to prevent kinking. Wall mounts in brass or chrome finishes, or lightweight cast aluminum, are built to withstand harsh weather. See the entire collection at Macy’s in Story NYC. STORY is an ongoing themed exhibit/shop whose products change with every few months. gardenglory.com

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

Gosun Solar Cooler

Here’s a genius idea for those who socialize on the go. Next time you hit the beach, boat, campground, or park keep all your edibles cold with solar power, no need for ice. Bonus: the PowerBank+ has three USB ports for charging phones. Lasts for 14 hours in 80°F temps. Chill Portable Solar Fridge, $579. Also available from this company, a solar panel designed just for phone charging, SolarFlex 10 Foldable 10W Solar Panel, $59. gosun.co

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

Portable AC and Clear Ice Maker

With temperatures soaring the need for extra cooling comes into play, especially when you have a gathering with a room full of people spreading their body heat! Turn to the Frigidaire Portable Evaporative Cooler. It is compact, but does the job and sets up in an instant. $119.95

For extra ice needs made perfectly clear, get the NewAir Countertop Clear Ice Maker which produces up to 40 pounds of ice per day. Great to situate near your outdoor bar. $104.99 Available at NewAir, who specialize in affordable compact appliances like wine fridges, heating & cooling products, and cigar humidors. newair.com

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

Wonderbag

Here’s a low-tech item that could come in handy on the beach, boat, picnic, or campground. It’s a slow cooker that uses heat-retention only. Here’s how it works: bring food to a boil on a conventional stove, then let it simmer a bit. Transfer the covered pot into the Wonderbag and cinch bag tightly. It will continue to slow cook for up to 12 hours.

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

This product was invented in South African where power outages are common, and comes in a variety of cool patterns to choose from.

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

What can you make in this? Try chili, eggplant parmesan, biriyani, korma, poached salmon, fall off the bone lamb curry, puddings, french toast. You can get even more ideas from their cookbook.

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

Also great for keeping things cold. Handmade in South Africa, this bag allows a family’s income to rise from 20 cents a day to 2 dollars. $34. wonderbagworld.com Wonderbag is currently re-working the US sales link on its site, but you can purchase a bag here.

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

Fire Features

There’s nothing more cozy than an open fire pit under starry skies, especially when the nighttime temperatures have dropped a bit. It’s a wonderful way to end a night of entertaining. Designer Elena Colombo puts a lot of imagination into her fire sculptures. She flies across North America designing and installing special designs for each client, and works in bronze, steel, stone, concrete and bone depending on the scene.

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

Her environmental sculptures, fire, water, and wind features will really create a unique place to settle around. Prices vary based on materials, size, technical options, and installation, starting at $3,800 for a 45” steel Burn Bowl. firefeatures.com

hobnobmag Outdoor Accessories for Entertaining

Hipcamp

For those who like to take their time off off-the-grid here’s a website that shows you where to go. It’s like the airbnb of glamping. Find campsites all around the US, even ones with dark skies, so you can admire the stars. hipcamp.com

Stock Your Bar: Best Luxury Wines and Spirits

Posted on: August 2nd, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

I love getting invited to a good wine and spirits tasting, but sometimes the venue can be a trifle overwhelming. Not this time. Here, as my duty to Hobnob, I ventured to sample a selection of fantastic wines, plus sipped a lilac gin cocktail, and had a wee taste of some extraordinary spirits meant to be savored neat. I share with you the crème de la crème, which should be stocked in your bar asap, in case of a surprise guest drop in. A good host is always prepared!

photo at the top of this post: I’m holding a glass of the Partida Elegante, a tequila worth investing in. (see more details below) Right, the tasting took place in Il Gattopardo’s private party room, which was situated between two buildings, with light streaming in from a wall of windows and skylight. Genius idea, to take over a space in the middle and create something special.

hobnobmag Best Luxury Wines and Spirits

SPAIN Started with a lively Spanish white, 2017 Viña Pomal Blanco, a blend of 70% Viura, 30% Malvasia from the Rioja Alta region. My tasting notes: Unusual, light, oaky. A little strange but good for summer with grilled white meats or fish. Great served nice and cold. About $16. vinapomal.com

CALIFORNIA From California’s Long Meadow Ranch, 2018 Anderson Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir. This is a wonderful sip for the pure-hearted-pinot noir lovers out there. 2018 was a colder and slower season in Anderson Valley, producing wines with an elegant delicacy. The slow maturation and perfect conditions for Pinot Noir allowed it to retain a freshness while developing a complexity of flavors. Feels like a true rosé with lots of body and depth, a little on the heavy side. About $25. longmeadowranch.com

hobnobmag Best Luxury Wines and Spirits

FRANCE Onto France, Chateau Malescasse 2014, produced the perfect red wine for summer. It was light and round, but still retained a wonderful complexity and was a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 54% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. This table was my favorite for wine, especially due to the charms and in-depth knowledge provided by Brian Aladesuyi (seen in photo above). Tasting notes: Ruby red with an intense nose of blackcurrant, blackberry and raspberry. Subtle undertones of roasted mocha give it great elegance and added complexity. chateau-malescasse.com

FRANCE One of the best rosés I have ever experienced, Commanderie de Peyrassol’s 2018 Chateau Peyrassol Rosé was perfection in a bottle. The grapes (Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache, Ugni Blanc and Rolle) are picked when the temperature is coolest then vinified at the peak of their freshness. Tasting notes: It has a beautiful, dense palate, delicate and lively, and is notable for its balance and full body, punctuated by a long, fruity finish. It radiates freshness with subtle nose of citrus, peach, apricot and fine floral notes. About $26. www.peyrassol.com

hobnobmag Best Luxury Wines and Spirits

ITALY Some bubbly from Italy. From Wilson Daniels, Bisol Cortizze Prosecco Superiore DOCG was very round and full-bodied with slightly sweet strawberry notes. Tasting notes: an elegant bouquet, scents of wildflowers, pleasantly fruity with notes of apples, pears and peaches. Flavor is savory, full and balanced; its sweetness is contained and accompanied by an intense and elegant fruitiness. About $40. wilsondaniels.com

ITALY For prosecco created in a more champagne style, the Empson Ferghettina Brut DOGC has a wheaty, more astringent feel. A blend of 95% Chardonnay and  5% Pinot Noir, great for those hot days when you want something light. About $40. empsonusa.com

hobnobmag Best Luxury Wines and Spirits

CANADA I couldn’t help but be curious eyeing this bottle of gin with extraordinary hue. Empress 1908 gin’s story begins with inspiration in Victoria, British Columbia’s iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel, whose tea service was something of a marvel. In creating the mix of botanicals, it was discovered that pea blossom used in the hotel’s tea blends, resulted in adding the eye-catching purple hue. The gin’s other seven botanicals blend to create a balanced mix: tea, juniper, rose, coriander seed, grapefruit peel, ginger root, and cinnamon bark. So next time you want to serve a G & T, surprise your guests with something as beautiful as it is delicious. At the tasting they used Fevertree tonic, giving the drink a more lilac tone, and garnished with a grapefruit wedge.  About $40. empressgin.com

hobnobmag Best Luxury Wines and Spirits

KENTUCKY Moving into the category of neat sipping are three remarkable spirits, a rye, rum, and tequila—a trifecta of sipping pleasure. I started with the 2-year old Kentucky Peerless Straight Rye which was smoooooth, with tones of maple, brown sugar and light citrus notes. The rye is non-chill filtered—meaning it sustains elements that add to it’s complexity and is made with only sweet mash, which definitely captures a wonderful sweetness. This rye has been family-produced since 1897, so they know what they’re doing. About $125. kentuckypeerless.com

VENEZUELA This rum is at the top of my list of the tasting, and should be cherished and savored among only your best and favorite friends. Diplomático Single Vintage 2004 is the result of that year’s finest production, chosen by the maestros roneros for its distinction and separated. Tasting notes: the nose has vanilla, coffee and chocolate aromas. The taste is quite rich, balanced, and on the sweet side. If you like to support companies who like to be ecologically sound, this distillery has implemented programs to turn their residual water into organic fertilizer, they recycle 100% of their solid waste, and contribute to the eco-system by helping to clean beaches and plant trees. Now don’t you feel good about your decision to buy this extraordinary rum? Worth every penny, sells for about $250 a bottle. rondiplomatico.com

hobnobmag Best Luxury Wines and Spirits

MEXICO The third sipper extraordinaire is a tequila made with the finest blue agave situated on the edges of a volcano. Partida Elegante is an extra añejo which has aged for at least 40 months. I am a tequila aficianado, and this one really does stand out from the others with its smoothness and elegance. Tasting notes: aromas of toasted oak, dark chocolate, coffee and ripe banana. The palate entry is slightly toasty, peppery and spicy and morphs into different flavors of agave, vanilla, caramel, bourbon, butter, maple, almonds, hazelnuts, black pepper, citrus flowers and more. A truly wonderful experience. About $375. partidatequila.com

hobnobmag Best Luxury Wines and Spirits

To cherish this excellent tequila, Partida recommends drinking it from a wine glass, as shown here with the reposado.

Summer BBQ: Best Goodies to Serve at Your Next Grill Party

Posted on: August 2nd, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Summer barbecues, you know the drill: hot dogs, hamburgers—that’s what everyone expects. Here’s a way to surprise and delight guests with something new, a few twists on the usual. Plus, hostess gift ideas that will be welcomed with open arms.

[1] True Made Foods Better Ketchup

(photo at the top of this post) Start a revolution in your condiment offerings:  True Made Foods Better Ketchup replaces the 1/4 lb of refined sugar (typically found in just one bottle of ketchup) with the same amount of vegetables while maintaining the same taste. Bonus: Woo hoo. This product is made with pureed “ugly” fruits and vegetables, which means it’s sustainable too. 3-pack of 17 oz. bottles about $18.95 truemadefoods.com

hobnobmag SUMMER bbq

[2] A & H Hot Dogs

OK, now you can feel like a great host serving hot dogs. Forget the store-bought brands that are loaded with preservatives and saturated fats. A & H Hot Dogs, voted “Top Dog” in the U.S., offers gluten-free franks, knockwurst and more using exclusively top-shelf ingredients and 100% beef. It’s the real deal, with no fillers, no added nitrates or nitrites, their selection includes regular, mini, plus reduced fat and sodium options. Starting from $10.49 for 12 oz. package. Kosher. abeles-heymann.com

hobnobmag SUMMER bbq

[3] Laura Chenel Marinated Goat Cheese

When it comes to laying out a winning cheese board, it’s all about taste and variety. In the goat cheese category, you could not do better than Laura Chenel’s award-winning marinated goat cheese in three tantalizing flavors: Thyme & Rosemary, Jalapeño Chili, and Black Truffle. Serve them with a side of sliced baguette with a small knife for spreading. Also great in salads. Bonus, they go amazingly well with wine—you are serving some, right? Thyme & Rosemary and Jalapeño Chili are Kosher. 6.2 oz about 8.99  laurachenel.com

hobnobmag SUMMER bbq

[4] Laudemio Frescobaldi Olive Oil

A beautiful bottle of olive oil (or “liquid gold” according to Homer) can be a delicious yet elegant touch for a summer party. Try Laudemio Frescobaldi, a premier olive oil maker—loved by Prince Charles—that pours expert precision into each step of production. The makers describe it as “perfumes of mown grass and artichoke, and a very intense and typically spicy flavor.” Arrive at your friend’s weekend house with a bottle of this, and you will be invited back! $42 for 500 ml bottle. en.frescobaldi.com

hobnobmag SUMMER bbq

[5] Bona Furtuna Gifts

This is a great box to bring to a party, or to send as a thank-you gift to an exceptional host—a selection of 100% organic Sicilian products. Think: salt and herb blends, extra virgin olive oil, organic wild oregano flowers, and tomato sauces made with heirloom Corleonese tomatoes. Bona Furtuna packs a great assortment, so you don’t have to think. They even have an in-house watercolor artist to decorate their gift boxes! Starting at $95. bonafurtuna.com

hobnobmag SUMMER bbq

[6] The Foraging Fox Beetroot Ketchup

We all love ketchup, that great American staple—here’s yet another way to get that sweet fix but with more natural sugars. This ketchup is jam-packed with flavor and plant-based nutrition. Made with beets and apples instead of tomatoes, it comes in a naturally bright purple color to add more intrigue to your condiment bar and in any sauces you choose to add it to. The Foraging Fox comes in sweetly delicious Original flavor, a Hot version for those who can’t get enough spice, and a Smoked variety for those who dig bbq flavors. 9 oz bottle $6.98, 6-pack $29.99. foragingfox.com

hobnobmag SUMMER bbq

hobnobmag SUMMER bbq

[7] Runamok Coffee-Infused Organic Maple Syrup

Looking for a unique twist for your next summer party? Runamok Maple’s newest coffee-infused all-natural, organic maple syrup could be the key. Infused with decadent flavors of Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea Company’s organic coffee beans, this syrup can sit on the bar and make an appearance in a White Russian, be served as a classic Rhode Island-style Coffee Milk, or poured over vanilla ice cream. 8.45 fl oz bottle $16.95 runamokmaple.com

hobnobmag SUMMER bbq

[8] Good Dee Baking Mix

You won’t find any of your health-conscious guests saying NO to these brownies, cookies, cakes, pancakes, muffins, and cornbread. Good Dee’s baking mixes have a tasty treat for every dietary concern. Hobnob baked up some Good Dee’s Still Sweet Sugar-Free Cookies, and added some sprinkles we had on hand for a kick of color. They are soft and cake-like, less chewy than a typical cookie and use Stevia as its sweetener. 7.5 oz. bag $11.99 gooddees.com

Putting on the Spritz: Venetian Night in Modern Brooklyn With Select Aperitivo

Posted on: June 25th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Italy’s beloved taste for Aperol seems to have taken over summer rooftops and it just happens to be the talk of the town. To serve this bitter sweet drink at your next party, go with Select Aperitivo. The unique flavors and colorful drinks can easily translate as a theme party, where guests wear red.

hobnobmag Select Apertivo Venetian Spritz

What is this wondrous drink and why should you care? Getting a taste of Venetian culture means drinking and eating like a real Italian. Italy is known to be the birth place of slow food and to Venice locals, Select Aperitivo is just the thing to be enjoyed with pre-dinner bites. Made since the 1920s, this drink is no trend, but a delicious way to launch your night. To get the full experience, Hobnob joined some well-heeled guests at The Hoxton Hotel for an exclusive event. The decor reflected the divine style of Venice, with statues and fountains in the center of itall. We sipped on the refreshing Select Aperitivo cocktail, ate healthy finger foods and reveled in the dreamlike atmosphere.

hobnobmag Select Apertivo Venetian Spritz

To make the night special, Select Aperitivo teamed up with a well-known designer and DJ, Harley Viera-Newton, producing a night of fun performances and tastemaker mingling. The all night event epitomized beautiful nights in Venice, launching New York’s rooftop season.

hobnobmag Select Apertivo Venetian Spritz

Select Spritz is served in a tall goblet style glass. The bottles were displayed among food for photo ops. See the recipe included with this post.

Ireland: Drinking At Dromoland Castle Cocktail Bar

Posted on: June 16th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

We stayed in this place for only one night, but I will always cherish our time here with a great fondness. Hospitality was over the top, delivered with a friendly and helpful attitude. Dromoland Castle is surrounded by a golf course, of which the Irish PGA were having a tournament when we arrived.

The entry featured a long drive, at the front of which we were greeted and our names checked off the list. The castle has 2 parts, one from the 1700s one from the 1800s and featured a maze of hallways and doors opening onto courtyards and gardens. The rooms were outfitted handsomely, with full mini fridge, snacks, and souvenirs to purchase. (I did bring home a khaki baseball cap.)

Upon arrival we walked down to the golf center and picked up two bicycles to explore the grounds which wove around the golf course through wooded areas and through the green pampered lawns past the golfers. We did not opt for helmets, which might have saved us from a golf ball meant to go elsewhere!

We made a reservation for dinner at the Earl of Thomond, whose name seems straight out of a Game of Thrones episode. [Aside: as told to me by the manicurist there who grew up in the area, lots of her friends were extras on the show. She looked just like Sophie Tucker, who plays Sanza].

(photo at the top of this post) Fireplace in the bar. Right, our pre-dinner champagne. Let the evening begin.

Before heading to dinner we stopped in the cocktail bar, and met Alex Beyou, a Frenchman who created the unique cocktail menu. He and his staff based the menu on the Major Arcana cards from a Tarot deck. Twenty-two in all. To come, an actual tarot deck which feature drawings of all the special areas in and around the castle. I cannot say enough about how lovely this castle was, and do hope one day to return.  dromoland.ie

As luck would have it, we had front-row seats to a mixologist with passion and flair. What a find and bonus to add to our already exemplary experience. I had to capture these beauties we eyed before our dinner and vowed to return for a nightcap (or two). Alex Beyou had the perfect audience. Right, the whimsical lamp which sat on the bar.

Here I am, happy, pre-dinner at the gorgeous bar. Right, we got a sip of Ireland’s own vodka made from a local tree fruit, known as sausages. It was quite good. The bottle was red, and I was hoping the liquid would be as well, but it was clear.

A traditional espresso martini. Right, Alex Beyou in action.

Another view of the bar with its whimsical touches. Right, an extra special garnish on I believe the cocktail called Judgement made with Dingle Gin infused with lemon and green tea, Grand Marnier, quince jelly, lemon, pink peppercorn, and bitter lemon.

I’ve never seen a drink made this way, a glass within a glass. See more in next photos.

Alex Beyou built the drink around the overturned glass, and as a final flourish, pulled up the glass to let it mix in fully. Bravo!

hobnobmag Dromoland Castle Cocktail Bar8

When Alex Beyou called it a night, a fresh bartender took his place and continued the spectacle. We had so much fun here, we did not want to leave and wondered how long the bar would stay open—but it seemed as long as we were there, it would remain open. I think we made our exit around 1:30.

More posts on Ireland:

Ireland: Drinking Around Dublin

Ireland Road Trip From Killkenny to County Clare: Driving and Dining

Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 1

Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 2

Ireland: Dublin Hot Spots for Lunch

A Rare Steak Treat: Luscious Stuffed Skirt Steak Pinwheels

Posted on: June 16th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Part of Hobnob’s red and white menu for Independence Day, skirt steak pinwheels look absolutely irresistible. One small bite packs a lot of punch—and marries a rich steak with a flavorful, jalapeño cheese. Choose to serve these at your 4th of July outing, and your guests will appreciate your creativity and good taste.

The stuffed skirt steak pinwheels make a graphic statement of red and white, which is why we included this recipe in our 4th of July menu for a buffet. Good skirt steak can be a little pricey, but pounding them thinly allows you to stretch your dollar. Make sure to start with it butterflied from the butcher, unless you have good knife skills.

Skirt steak has nice marbled fat, which is why I chose it over flank steak, for its extra richness of flavor. Two important tips: When rolling the steaks into logs, make sure the grain is parallel to the length of the roll. That way when you cut the spirals you will be cutting against the grain. Two: Do not overcook it—you want all those juices intact.

Another very important point, choose a cheese that does not melt easily, like a halloumi or paneer, or the Yanni Grilling Cheese with  jalapeño as I did here.  That way the cheese will stay inside the steak (not melt out and make a mess of your pan. I tried this recipe with three other cheeses until I got it right!).

MAKES 16 SKEWERED BITES OR 32 HALF SLICES

PREPARE THE STEAK

1 1/2 LB skirt steak, butterflied
grapeseed oil
s + p
grilling cheese, cut into 1/8” slices

Cut steak into 6-inch lengths. Pound till about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. Trim odd sections (throw in pan as a snack while cooking!) Spread oil on both sides of steak, sprinkle salt and pepper inside. Line cheese slices inside the fatty side of the meat, leaving a little free space at the top. Roll tightly. Tie at 2” intervals. Trim ragged ends.

HOBNOBMAG steps to make skirt steak pinwheels

SEAR THE STEAK

1/2 TB grape seed oil

In a large skillet heat oil on medium-high heat. Sear steak for one minute each on all 4 sides, until nice and brown. Remove from pan and let sit for a few minutes. (At this point you could put aside and cook when you are ready to serve.)

HOBNOBMAG steps to make skirt steak pinwheels

FINISH COOKING STEAK

seared steak rolls
thyme, broken into snippets
EV olive oil

When slightly cooled, insert 4 large bamboo skewers into each roll through the top fold, in order to secure. Cut in between each, so you end up with 4 spirals. Push skewer completely through.

Cook each piece with spiral facing up about 2 minutes on each side using the skewer to flip. Remove from pan, discard twine. Serve as is with skewer, or remove skewer and cut in half to reveal the cheese spiral design. Sprinkle thyme snippets, and drizzle EV olive oil to decorate the plate.

Ireland: Drinking Around Dublin

Posted on: June 16th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Dublin was an absolute haven for imbibing, and the locals did take advantage of the scene. No longer is there an early cut-of time, these pubs and bars stayed open fairly late. There was only one night where we encountered one bar after the other at closing time, but that’s because it was a Sunday night. This friendly city is made for walking, exploring, and stopping in for a nip whenever the mood arises.

The Shelbourne

AHHH… The Shelbourne. I believe we visited every single day we were in Dublin—we just could not get enough. The space exuded class, but not in a pompous or showy way. The hotel features two bars, plus a restaurant for formal dining, and a room reserved for afternoon tea, which starts serving at 1pm. Next time I go to Dublin, I will stay at this hotel for sure. Its location is prime, right across the street from St Stephens Green, on a street with lots of high-end places to enjoy.  theshelbourne.com

(photo at the top of this post) This gentleman says it all with his beaming smile. Right, wine at The Horseshoe Bar at which we luckily snagged a table just as a group was leaving.

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

View of The Horseshoe Bar. Right, I like when soda is served in a dainty bottle, feels so fresh.

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

On another visit to the hotel, at the main bar, we enjoyed watching the bartenders mix a few concoctions. This bartender kind of poo-pooed the idea of making an Irish coffee, but made it beautiful nonetheless. Right, proudly representing the bar’s signature Old Fashioneds.

Kehoes

Since this was our first drink foray in Dublin, I thought it would be appropriate to visit one of the city’s oldest pubs to soak up the vibe. Since 1803, this place has been serving the locals done-up in traditional Victorian style. It was friendly, and seemed to house a civilized crowd just out to chat and sip. Nothing rowdy (at least at that hour, 7ish). kehoesdublin.ie

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

Note: along the bar were dividers, known as snugs, which created more private spaces, and a support to lean against. This was seen in many of the older pubs, and I felt it was a thoughtful touch. Right, straight out of central casting, the Irish barman!

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

I’m so excited to get the night started, and that we found the perfect spot to kick-off Dublin night life. Right, the bar from the outside. Note barrels in the front of the bar which act as tables. That was a standard pub fixture.

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

There were little rooms for those who wanted to set off in a quieter, more intimate setting. Right, an original copper spigot on the wall amongst memorabilia.

The Lower Depths

This place was quite a find. Located in the basement of Fallon & Byrne, the local gourmet shop, it offered a selection of hundreds of bottles of wine, any of which you could choose to drink for just a 10 euro corkage fee. We stopped in to enjoy only a single glass of wine before dinner, but when I return to Dublin, I should like to try the menu of bar bites and charcuterie. They also offer a full menu. Sweet spot. fallonandbyrne.com

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

A small sampling of their wine selection which covered a 20 foot wall on both sides of the space. Right, our charming server posing by the no-corkage selection of bottles.

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

High-tops were barrels with fitted tabletop surfaces. Right, a collection of vintage posters graces all the structural columns in the space.

Peruke & Periwig

This space caught our eye as we walked down Dawson Street, which had a collection of restaurants, bars, wine bars, and nightclubs. You could just spend your whole vacation visiting each venue on this street. Peruke & Periwig is a cocktail bar supreme, along the lines of The Dead Rabbit in NYC. Similarly, the ground floor is for walk-ins, but the floors upstairs are reserved for those who want to experience a myriad of creative cocktails. This place’s drinks were named and inspired by musical genres: Pop, Soul, Blues, Rock & Roll, Alternative, Ballads, Trad, Jazz, and Golden Oldies. Names of drinks are super clever: Hit The Road Jack, a daiquiri with pineapple rum, lime, pineapple cordial, maraschino. And, Born To Rum made with Pampero Especial, Bénédictine, apricot brandy, Punt e Mes, plum shrub, and Peychaud’s. I felt we hit the jackpot coming across this spot and we did enjoy a couple of cocktails, and came back the following night to try some more. peruke.ie

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

The bar from the outside shows a quaint style with mysterious vibe. Right, upstairs awaiting our drinks. The space was chock-full of portraits and other antique touches.

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

I believe this was Bellini Bottom Blues with Pampero Especial, Mango Cordial, Orange, Lemon, Peach & Bubbles. Drink garnish in Ireland was a focused art and lovingly done. Right, James took great care of us, thank you for all the tips!

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

Tequila Me Softly made with Talisker, Altos Bianco, Aperol, Honey, Lemon, Pineapple, Peychaud’s bitters, Strawberry. Right, portraits galore on the stairway.

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

Trend: flame-throwing is a common sport among the Irish mixologists, and definitely an attention-getter. Many drinks added flame as a final touch. Right, the final drink, which had been ordered by a neighboring table.

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

On our second visit, we hung out at the downstairs bar and witnessed a series of spectacular drinks by Oisín. This one, as yet unnamed, featured a fresh taste of ginger in the mix. We tried to contribute to the naming but could not come up with anything clever enough with a musical reference!

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

The downstairs room, cozy and fun. Right, putting the final touches on The Key Lime Pie drinks ordered by two lovely young ladies behind us.

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

Torching fruit and cream to great effect.

Peploes

We stopped in here for one round on our walk down St Stephens Green, one of our favorite streets to walk down. It was another subterranean spot, which seems to be common. The design gave the appearance of an old supper club. peploes.com

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

Shaking up a drink. Right, the finished cocktail: made with a rhubarb vodka was quite sweet, putting it in the category of a dessert drink. Note the painstaking garnish.

hobnobmag Drinking Around Dublin

The rhubarb vodka, which I think added the extra sweetness. Right, Bob at seated at the petite bar, with comfy stools.

More posts on Ireland:

Drinking At Dromoland Castle Cocktail Bar

Ireland Road Trip From Killkenny to County Clare: Driving and Dining

Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 1

Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 2

Ireland: Dublin Hot Spots for Lunch

First Blush: Celebrating Rosé in a Summer Cocktail

Posted on: June 16th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

This summer cocktail features an unusual mix of sweet, bitter, and fruity flavors that play with bouncing blueberries. See the cocktail recipe and the exceptional ingredients used in the mix.

A light sipper accompanies red and white bites on the buffet. Garnish with blue or white straws if you have them.

DETAILS ON THE INGREDIENTS:

[1] Hangar One Handcrafted Vodka

Since launching in an airplane hangar in 2002, HANGAR ONE’s handcrafted vodkas have won fans around the world, so rest assured you will be tasting an exemplary spirit here. The creators were not happy with the “straight” vodkas that were in the market, so they decided to take matters into their own hands and create something new. Known for distilling brandies, Ansley Coale and Jorg Rupf started with wheat from the midwest, then combined that with a California Viognier grape eau de vie. The Viognier grapes are distilled using the whole fruit—including the stem, leaves, skin and blossoms, thus capturing its full flavor profile. Then, by distilling the same day it’s picked, flavor is captured at its peak. The vodka is known for its smoothness. Besides “straight” there are three infusions to choose from: Mandarin, Citron, and Kaffir Lime, all lovingly created. Available online at reservebar.com (check your state’s shipping details). About $35. hangarone.com

hobobmag summer cocktail

[2] Lillet’s Rosé Wine

Can you think of anything more suitable for a hot summer night than a nice glass of rosé? The debut of Lillet’s Rosé wine is the first time in over 50 years that the renowned French company has launched a new product, and it was well worth the wait. Consisting of a blend Grand Cru Bordeaux used in Lillet’s Rouge and Blanc, plus light aromas of berries, orange blossom and grapefruit, its flavor is a delight. Lillet Rosé is best served chilled. About $18. lillet.com

[3] Mathilde Framboise Liqueur

This formula comes from an old French family recipe. Only the best raspberries are hand picked from various parts of Scotland and the Hautes Côtes de Bourgogne, to give the liqueur it’s delicacy and sweetness. Just a spoonful is all you need. Berry nice. About $14. liqueurmathilde.com

[4] DRY Rhubarb Soda

Forget about traditional tonic, or generic soda—instead, add sophisticated flavor with this soda. The tartness of rhubarb in a refreshing bubbly drink, what’s not to love? And at only 60 calories, it is a perfectly guilt free option. Great to offer those not consuming alcohol as a elegant sip. Try all their amazing flavors like blood orange, vanilla bean, apple, cherry, lavender, juniper berry, wild lime, pear and cucumber. Available online at store.drysoda.com. $32 for a 24-pack of 12 oz bottles.

[5] Blueberries for garnish

Line the bar with blueberries in white bowls so guests can nibble and play with them in their cocktails.

Ireland Road Trip From Killkenny to County Clare: Driving and Dining

Posted on: June 16th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

It’s absolutely amazing what you can do in 4 days on a vacation. Thanks to the stellar driving skills of Dan, we were able to see a lot of the countryside, a ruin or two, and sample the small towns. Each drive included a stop for lunch on the way to our destination hotel. I have posted the trip in order, so you can experience the drive just as we had. Will be doing another post on scenic Ireland with more details on hotels, so stay tuned for that.

Day 1: Dublin through Kilkenny to Castlemartyr/Garryvoe

LUNCH Just across the street from the Kilkenny Castle are their former stables and a garden, and just beyond the garden is a charming Georgian hotel called Butler House. We couldn’t have picked a more sedate and delightful place to lunch. butler.ie

(photo at the top of this post) We took over the center table in The Lady Eleanor dining room, which had a grand bay window and a decorative, original plastered ceiling. Right, locally-sourced food made the experience that much better. This was the buratta salad with heirloom tomatoes.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

The menu has a cool, minimalist design. Right, there was a huge selection of teas to choose from, probably over 20 brands.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

The smoked salmon salad had a lot of Irish staples. First of all the lox were absolute heaven. They were topped with a nice assortment of pickled vegetables, including baby carrots. Right, the best part of this dish was the brown flour scone packed with a lively horseradish cream. This was my best lunch in Ireland, so fresh.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

Back in the car: we had been on the main road most of the trip so far, but when we took a detour to our next destination, Garryvoe, the roads became very narrow, with high foliage on both sides. It was a little precarious! Right, the cool thing was we passed by ruins and an old cemetery on the way.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

The lobby of the Garryvoe Hotel was grand. Right, we were just a minute’s walk from the shore.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

DINNER Castlemartyr was a beautiful resort with its very own castle ruin right on the property. [Our plan was to stay the night at Castlemartyr, where our friends Dan and Allison were staying, about a 12 minute drive away from Garryvoe, but there were no rooms available when we booked. Weird, because it was a Monday night and the hotel had rooms available Sunday and Tuesday.] We stopped into this grand room for a drink before dinner. Right, the table setting set the tone for our fine dinner at The Bell Tower. castlemartyrresort.ie

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

Let the feasting begin! I so enjoyed the bread selection in Ireland, especially the brown bread. Right, my starter: Pressed Terrine of Rabbit, Ham Hock and Foie Gras with truffle gribiche, pear, toasted brioche.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

The Roscoff Onion Tart, saffron potatoes, st. tola goats curd, pumpkin seeds. Right, feeling content and enjoying the pampered state we were in.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

A vegetarian risotto was Dan’s choice.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

Bob claimed this was the best Sea Bass ever. Pan Fried Sea Bass, carrot escabeche, carrot purée, aubergine caviar. Right, for the second time that day, we overtook the center table in the room. Our dinner reservation was at 7pm, but notice how bright is still is out. I would say, it would not get totally dark until after 9:30.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

The sommelier did a neat trick by perfectly removing the foil from our wine bottle, then positioning the cork for our perusal. Nice touch. Right, Skeaghanor Duck Breast, parsnip purée, cabbage, blackberry, port jus. As delicious as it looks.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

The castle ruins right outside the restaurant just as the sun was lowering in the sky. Right, there was a tour group of people who owned vintage Jaguars from all eras who were staying at the hotel, and they parked along the back of the hotel on the lawn. Must have been 25 or more. Now I know why there were no rooms available!

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

It was the day after the finale of Game of Thrones, and we were determined to view it. How appropriate to be watching in a grand space with a castle just a few feet away! We streamed it onto the TV thanks to Dan’s tech abilities. Finally, we could discuss the ending and read all the reviews and feedback.

Day 2: Garryvoe through Kinsale to Killarney

LUNCH We continued down the coast to Kinsale, which was an adorable fishing village with brightly colored houses and shops only about an hours drive away. Each town that we stopped in usually had a self-pay parking lot, so we felt somewhat safe leaving all our suitcases in the car. kinsale.ie

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

Of course we came across some castle ruins and a cathedral with accompanying cemetery. Here is pose at the top of the stairs that once led somewhere, but now fell short of their purpose. Right, some of the pretty colors painted throughout town. This was a particularly nice combo, in my opinion.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

This blue house also had the benefit of a climbing floral vine. Right, I skipped lunch this day, but Bob, Allison and Dan did enjoy sandwiches at this deli sort of spot with quaint relics.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

Our next destination: The Europe Hotel and Resort, where we had already booked a 5:30 massage. Located just outside Killarney, this place was all about the spa. As soon as we checked in, we went to investigate the spa, and when we saw the swimming pool and whirlpool heated pool outside facing the mountains, we immediately purchased 2 bathing suits and indulged in the hot water with a view of the lake and mountains before said massage. (see the hotel post for more details on Ireland’s grand resorts) theeurope.com

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

DINNER I started with the Three Bird Roast a terrine of duck, chicken and turkey, pistachio, wrapped in bacon with crispy kale, and spiced tomato chutney. Loved this. Right, the massage over and done with, we were now hungry and were having our dinner at the hotel, so we did not have to drive anywhere. Here we sit outside the restaurant with pre-dinner glass of wine where we watched the crows watching us. We did feed them some nuts.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

Dining room at The Bell Tower restaurant.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

Bob watches the sunset. Right, soup of the day was cauliflower and parsnip.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

Allison ordered the Caesar Salad topped with crispy bacon and parmesan cheese. Right, Beetroot Cured Salmon with horseradish cream, caviar, truffle oil, crostini.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

Another order of the sea bass, which was the catch of the day. Right, I got a special seafood roundup, and it was my favorite dinner of the trip. Each piece was simply grilled to perfection, and started with the best ingredients: The Europe Seafood Platter Grilled fish, Spillane’s smoked salmon, oyster, prawn cocktail, langoustine, and seared scallop.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

This is one night we did not skip dessert. The Bailey’s Cheesecake came with a scoop of brown bread gelato, in which the crumbs of the bread were toasted, so added a crunchy, savory texture to the ice cream. A perfect end to a perfect day. Right, the cappucino.

Day 3: Killarney through Adare to County Clare’s Dromoland Castle

After a leisurely morning, taking advantage of The Europe’s gym and whirlpool again, we did not take many detours on this ride, as we were really looking forward to getting to Dromoland Castle, the crown in the jewel of our bookings. We did stop for lunch in Adare, which is known for its quaint thatched-roof houses.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

A typical view from the car. If you are looking for green pastures, Ireland is the country for you.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

LUNCH We could not have chosen a more charming place to lunch. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and we took advantage of the tables outside. Right, as espresso for energy. bluedooradare.com

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

Bob got the crab salad, which came styled nicely. Right, poppies at the store next door.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

The rest of us ordered this beet salad, which was scrumptious. It was wonderful to sit outside, and enjoy a fresh meal. The servers at The Blue Door were particularly sweet, two young ladies. Right, we kept seeing this tree all over Ireland, which had the most astounding yellow flowers.

DINNER The pièce de ré·sis·tance of our stay: Dromoland Castle. This place struck me to the soul of my heart. It was grand, and had the most positive energy—it really felt like love was in the air. The staff at this hotel were exceptionally cordial, and beyond helpful and friendly. Shea, who was one of the servers at dinner was the bomb. I wish we had stayed more than one night here, but I vow to return. dromoland.ie

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

The Earl of Thomond dining room took tradition seriously in its grand design. Right, the place setting, a classic, timeless beauty.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

The amuse did involve some whipped butter. How appropriate! Right, each dish arrived under its own shiny dome.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

I ordered the Foie Gras du jour and was rewarded with more delicious hazel nuts in the mix. Right, the silverware showed a gracious patina.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

Dan ordered this dish from the vegetarian menu: tortellini and mushrooms.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

The Salad Panache with local salad leaves, pickled vegetables & smoked almonds, rapeseed oil & balsamic was not loved at the table, mostly because the local leave were frisee. Right, I believe this was the Pan-Fried Wild Fillet of Hake with herb gnocchi, seasonal vegetables, crab mayonnaise, bouillabaisse sauce.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

This was also from the vegetarian menu, not sure what it was… (I’ll have to see if Dan remembers).

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

I ordered the local meat favorite: the lamb, which I think was a special of the day. Right, the dessert bites that ended the meal.

hobnobmag Ireland Road Trip

Scene in the dining room, a neighboring table gets their wine.

On Day 4 of the drive we headed back to Dublin, a 2.5 hour drive from Dromoland Castle. See our dinners in Dublin, for more spectacular restaurants.

More posts on Ireland:

Drinking At Dromoland Castle Cocktail Bar

Ireland: Drinking Around Dublin

Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 1

Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 2

Ireland: Dublin Hot Spots for Lunch

4th of July Party Decor: Blue Accessories

Posted on: June 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

You know the drill when it comes to summer’s most popular American holiday. Here are some suggestions for your 4th of July party decor, to tie into my festive red and white food display.

Your red and white menu is about to get patriotic. Add these cool, blue designer items to complete the full red, white and blue statement. This is essential if you are following my plan for creating a bold, sophisticated, and natural rendering for the celebration of the 4th of July. (Also wonderful whenever!)

Here are your key components: an outdoor speaker, designer cooling-off fan, an oversized tray, and paper napkins with presence.

[1] Libratone Speakers This is the way to take your music outdoors. LIBRATONE’s Zipp AirPlay speaker for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac/PC and Android devices offers absolute audio freedom wrapped in fine changeable Italian wool. It’s almost like a chic handbag, but does much more. The speaker plays for 4 to 6 hours on batteries. You can plug in to play music without the need for wi-fi. Indoor and outdoor speakers can be sync’d with iTunes with the app Whaale AirPlay Multiroom Speaker App. Comes in 7 exceptional colors, in addition to the true blue. $400. libratone.com

[2] Dyson Cool Tower Fan I am such a FAN of this idea. To keep mosquitoes at bay, plus provide a cool element to your gathering, set up a fan outside. Forget chemicals, this really works. In this case, miraculously, this model will deliver a powerful breeze without whirling blades—so no worries about children (or tipsy adults) interfering with fan’s occupation. You must see it to believe it. I was challenged to stick my hand into the mechanism, and survived! Tower Fan in Iron/Blue $400. dyson.com

hobnobmag 4th of July Party Decor Blue tray and napkins

[3] Golden Rabbit Enamelware are artisan-made spatterware trays with tough carbon-steel at their core and edges reinforced in stainless steel. The result is scratch-resistant and dishwasher-safe. The 20” tray comes in five colors. $60. Table Base, 26” high $242. Available on the website. goldenrabbit.com

[4] Caskata Blue Lucy cocktail napkins are almost too pretty to use. Showcasing Lucy, the big blue octopus, they elicit a nautical, whimsical vibe. They’re made of triple-ply tissue, are 100% biodegradable $5.29 for a pack of 20. They also have dishes in the same pattern. Available online at caskata.com

Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 2

Posted on: June 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Bastible

My number one vote for best of, Dublin! We almost didn’t make it to this reservation. It was a Friday night and we had made an excursion to Howth, a sweet seafood-oriented short train trip away (see scenic photos here). Upon returning to Dublin, we unknowingly encountered an encumbrance. It was the night of the Spice Girls reunion concert and thousands of people were coming in to indulge—and there were no taxis to be had outside of the Heuston train station—plus the restaurant was a 25-minute walk away. OY! What to do…. Frantic, we were on the verge of canceling the reservation—a 6:30 to 8:30 only—when a taxi appeared. Yesss… Not only did he get us there on time, but he honed in on my friend Bob’s renovation contractor woes, after eavesdropping on his phone conversation.

Happy that we made it only a few minutes late. Upon viewing the tight space, we asked to be seated at the high top bar, and were accommodated after a consult. Sweet. This is a kind of boutique experience where you allow yourself to be treated by a talented chef and team with a set menu. I always feel so lucky when I come across this type of venue, as it usually becomes a unique and special evening celebrating the local environs. Not to mention, the 4-courses were priced at 55 euros!

(photo at the top of this post) The space was minimally outfitted, with solid deep-green walls, and raw wood. All the more better to have less distractions for the food, which were the absolute stars. Chef Barry FitzGerald, was a master of sensuous textures. Every single item that appeared had a remarkable and delightful mouth appeal. The set menu consisted of 4 courses of which there was a choice of entree: fish or meat. All was delectable, see details below.  bastible.com

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

I love oysters, and my first taste experience in Ireland was of the utmost. In addition to the set menu, these appeared as an amuse bouche to great aplomb. Right, it was easy to photograph the chef,  Barry FitzGerald, who performed in the open kitchen, with associates in a genuinely humble way.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

Not the most photogenic, but nonetheless, extraordinary. Smoked beets arrived with the oysters, unexpectedly. Right, a repeat of a wonderful bottle of wine from the day before at Wilde. (Did we get another?… lol)

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

Ireland loves their pickled vegetables. Here is a one-bite sensation with deep-fried chicken. Right, feeling content.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

First Course: The sea bream crudo featured candied beet and grapefruit and a beautiful presentation with a flurry of flora. Right, along the windows that lined the front of the space was a table that could seat a party of at least 10.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

The back bar. Right, Second Course: Knockalara cheese dumpling. Again, textures ruled. When you bite into this everything stops as you savor its lightness and richness combined.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

Main Course: This pretty dish housed cod with Lissadell dockles, bay leaf sabayon and the most stunning young asparagus. Bob agrees.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

The open kitchen at work. Right, alternate Main Course, Spring Lamb neck and chop with baked kohlrabi and nettles. Need I say the neck, buried under greens, was melt-in-your-mouth heaven. Not to mention, I am not usually a lamb aficianado. Local lamb did not have a game-y taste in the least.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

Dessert: Woodruff cream with blackcurrants and shortbread, a perfect blend of freshness and a little cookie. Right, saying good night to Chef…

Mr Fox

This restaurant was north of the Liffey River, about a 10-minute walk from there (thankfully we did not have to worry about a finding a taxi). Located in the lower level of a brownstone, this Michelin spot was graced with friendly servers and humorous depictions of foxes throughout. As in other Dublin hotspots, there were quite a few tables of 6 or more, it seems the Irish like to go around in groups! The menu offered quite an assortment of goodies, and it was hard to decide, but in the end I think we picked some exceptional dishes. mrfox.ie

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

Love the simple logo of the fox head. Right, Buffalo mozzarella, smoked beetroot, Jerusalem artichoke and hazelnut. Hazelnut was definitely the nut of choice in Ireland, which delighted me, as it is my absolute favorite nut. This dish was quite delectable.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

Watch out for the fox with vintage arm. I guess he is retaliating! Right, the other starter we chose: Crab, kohlrabi, avocado and smoked eel. Another winner.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

What? No brown bread? OK, this was perfectly soft and tasty, nonetheless. Right, this wine choice turned out to be excellent. Nice pick, Bob!

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

The small bar area in front had a little lounge seating. Right, the bread came with two spreads: a mushroom butter and a parmesan cream. It was tough to decide which was the favorite.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

If there’s peas on the menu, Bob will order it. Cod with peas, Alsace bacon, lettuce, mussels, and bisque. Right, the room had a subdued style, very simple.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

My entree: Guinea hen, parmesan ravioli, tenderstem broccoli, brown beech and almond. I’d like to know how they got that fowl in the shape of a perfect log. Hit the spot. Right, the front entry with a view of the bar lounge area. We ate at the first table at the top of the stairs.

Isabelle’s

The finale dinner in Dublin, and as they say, last but not least! Our server said it was perfect that we saved the best for last, because otherwise we would have been disappointed wherever else we went. As per the norm now, we really enjoyed all our wait staff. They could not be friendlier or more attentive. The menu had a fantastic selection of healthy choices. isabelles.ie

Here was another case of entering what appeared to be a small restaurant, but it, in fact, was quite expansive. We were seated in a generous booth and there were only a handful of people in the place (Sunday night). However, there was one table that caught our attention all the way in the back. Seems there was a birthday celebration going on.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

The cool neon sign outside. Right, the halibut came with tapenade, and asparagus. Was a perfectly light and healthy choice.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

The bar area in front. Right, a starter: Yellow Tail, Crispy Rice Cake, Avocado , Ponzu. Excellent.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

The other starter: Chargrilled Courgette (zucchini), Tzatziki, Feta, Hazelnuts, Cucumber. Nice. Right, the back of the restaurant and birthday revelers.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

Bob went with the pasta: Penne Primaverde, Rocket Pesto, Pine Nuts. Right, another lovely French number.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

The middle area of the restaurant housed a bar. Right, since we ate so healthily, we decided to splurge on dessert. I like cake-y things, not overly sweet and this fit the bill. Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Ganache, Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Chocolate Crunch.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

On our way out, we had to stop and check in with the celebrators, and they kindly welcomed us in and ordered a round of shots! This was called a Baby Guiness, because of its resemblance to the real thing, but was a dessert drink—a mix of Irish cream and Kahlua coffee liqueur.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

Here’s an action shot…next thing you know a hand was thrown up in the air with a request for two bottles of of Prosecco, as another couple on their honeymoon joined the table. Only in Ireland!!

Union Square Cafe

Upon returning to NYC from a trip, I like to honor the destination as a way of extending the vacation vibe. We returned on Memorial Day and snagged an early seat at the bar at Union Square Cafe.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

What better way to honor the Irish cuisine than to order the potato ravioli with cream, lox, and caviar. This was a wonderfully unique and tasty combination. Right, to wash it all down, we chose the restaurant’s signature bubbly, which is as complex and nuanced as a fine wine.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part Two

More brown bread with creamy, room temp butter, please!

More posts on Ireland:

Drinking At Dromoland Castle Cocktail Bar

Ireland: Drinking Around Dublin

Ireland Road Trip From Killkenny to County Clare: Driving and Dining

Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 1

Ireland: Dublin Hot Spots for Lunch

Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 1

Posted on: June 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Only Hobnob’s first trip to Ireland! I say that because we experienced such a fantastic assortment of experiences that there is a return trip already on the mind’s agenda. I cannot say enough about Irish hospitality—a genuine sense of generosity and humor encircled all we did. I felt nostalgic all week after coming back to NYC, a lingering sense of longing for those one-on-one exchanges that still bring a smile to my lips. Irish humor stands out as a predominating factor. ……(see other posts from our 10-day trip…. dinnerslunchthe drive…)

Bang

My friend Bob had eaten at Bang 19 years ago, his last time in Dublin, so that is a testament to their reputation. This was our first foray for dinner in Dublin, so we were fresh, anticipatory, yet duly disoriented by the time-change from New York-to-Ireland. Bang turned out to be bang-on, and delivered comfort food specialties that helped us get on track in a hurry.

Our reservation was at 7:30, and because there was a  bachelorette  party taking over the downstairs space, we could not do an early drink at the bar, as our friends Allison and Dan informed us. No problem, we had already stationed ourselves at nearby Kehoes, one of Dublin’s oldest pubs, soaking up the vibe (see our drink post) and loving it. Dublin, much like Nashville, was a haven for the just-pre-married—gay and straight—who headed to the environs for a fun-filled, let-loose time. We witnessed them time and again. bangrestaurant.com

(photo top of this post) Bang was a dual-level restaurant, the bare table in front (left) shows where the bachelorette party had been stationed. Photo, right, freeze dried foie gras being spooned over my gnocchi appetizer.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part One

Carrots were definitely on every menu in mid-May, and these were a joy to ingest. Another trend in Ireland: lots of nuts, especially hazelnuts, which reigned. Right, showing the duo-level.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part One

These look like scallops but NO, it’s actually the Spring gnocchi with crème fraiche, peas, broad beans & wild garlic, which was wildly applauded by our table. Right, our lovely server who’s outfit I admired.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part One

The banister that separates the top floor from the bottom filled with foliage. Right, actual scallops accompanied with black pudding.

Wilde

After three days of driving we welcomed coming back into town. Wilde, inside the Westbury Hotel was our welcome back to Dublin. A Thursday night, it was ripe with upscale mischief and mayhem.  Noticed: Ireland’s restaurants are very accommodating to large groups (8 or more) and there was a group here that was already primed and vocal. Gorgeous environs, including flora and fauna strewed about, got us back into city mode. wilde.ie

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part One

I admired the logo. Right, a perfectly cut and cooked piece of salmon, one of Ireland’s foodie gems, served with tenderstem broccoli, soy, and toasted sesame seeds.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part One

Bob ordered the soft-shelled crabs appetizer, a crunchy delight. Right, love the mod-minimalist interior approach, right up my alley.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part One

Risotto, a recurring theme on menus throughout the trip, due to the fact that 3 out of 4 diners in our group leaned vegetarian. This one a lovely butternut squash risotto with truffle ricotta. Right, the center of the restaurant.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part One

Loved this bottle of wine (also ordered the exact bottle at our dinner the next night at Bastible). Right, heirloom beet salad, figs, truffle honey, candied pecans, goats cheese. Beets graced many menus.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part One

Sweet and innocent flora. I like when a table accessory is low-key and admirable. Right, Allison loves onion rings and was delighted to see them on the menu as a side. We all enjoyed a crunch or two.

Fade Street Social

Locals recommended this spot, and it turned out to be the perfect Sunday dinner. We dined in a vaulted subterranean industrial space with a sophisticated crowd. There was a choice of atmospheres: full menus or tapas section. The pizzas, or flatbreads, here were most satisflying. fadestreetsocial.com

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part One

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part One

Lots of entrances to restaurants in Dublin defied the ultimate reveal. Right, an ample dose: Tuna, Mozzarella and Rocket flatbread with thinly sliced raw tuna, truffle bechamel, mozzarella cheese, arugula and fennel.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part One

The space left room to breathe. Right, Dan claimed more than one time, these ravioli to be the best ever. Mushroom Open Ravioli: open mushroom ravioli with truffle, parmesan and gremolata.

hobnobmag Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part One

I always tend to be attracted to the meat options: Veal, Onion and Truffle Flatbread came with truffle béchamel, onion puree, veal mince, parmesan, onion lyonnaise, parsley, brie, truffle and langoustine mayonnaise. Rich and wonderful. Right, we ordered the Seasonal Cabbage to share. Personally, I like to eat rich foods cut by fresh and zingy accompaniments. this seasonal cabbage glazed with a layer of apple purée, celeriac and truffle felt too heavy as a side, but could work as a veggie entree.

See Dublin’s Ultra Fine Dining, Part Two for more fabulous meals.

Drinking At Dromoland Castle Cocktail Bar

Ireland: Drinking Around Dublin

Ireland Road Trip From Killkenny to County Clare: Driving and Dining

Ireland: Dublin Hot Spots for Lunch

Ireland: Dublin Hot Spots for Lunch

Posted on: June 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

These places provided a healthy and sensible way to start the day, and all were located within a short walking distance from the center of town.

Two Pups

What a find! Located a block or so east of St Patrick’s Cathedral was this little gem. It reminded me of the many coffee shops in NYC’s Greenwich Village, quaint and subdued, with friendly service. It’s the type of place where you order at the counter and your food is brought to you. Since it was another lovely day, we opted to sit in the back near the open door and slowly move into the day. twopupscoffee

(photo at the top of this post)Outside Two Pups, we could already feel its charms.

hobnobmag Dublin's Hot Spots for Lunch

There were healthy baked goods to be had, as seen in these whole wheat scones near the counter. Right, the beet salad was excellent, refreshing. Love the thin strips of radish.

hobnobmag Dublin's Hot Spots for Lunch

Our lovely server, whose outfit I admired. Right, a grilled cheese sandwich with pickles and lots of greens on the side. After a night of frivolity and running around, this truly hit the spot. We shared this dish with the salad.

hobnobmag Dublin's Hot Spots for Lunch

Seen in the front of the cafe across from the counter. Right, we ordered this out of curiosity: Cod croquettes served with a rich cream. A taste sensation!

No. 27 at The Shelbourne

Back to our favorite spot, this time for lunch. It was Saturday, and kind of quiet, and we planted ourselves on a long high-top table and awaited our order while I entered thoughts into my trip diary. (My best friend’s mom advised me long ago that keeping a trip diary is a great discipline. They are really fun to read years later when all those little foibles and triumphs that depicted the trip are brought back). theshelbourne.com

hobnobmag Dublin's Hot Spots for Lunch

This was our first foray into The Shelbourne, was probably around 5pm on a Sunday, so pretty filled up with those brunching and early cocktailing. We ended up at the table in front of the window, which gave up a view of people-watching on St Stephens Green.

hobnobmag Dublin's Hot Spots for Lunch

I thought this would be a good spot to get a burger. I am guessing, since the server did not ask me how I wanted it cooked that there is a law against rare beef. Perhaps since the Mad Cow scare? So, it was a bit overcooked and disappointing. Alas! Fries were wonderfully topped with a truffle cheese sauce. Right, the flowers in the lobby changed frequently.

hobnobmag Dublin's Hot Spots for Lunch

Bob ordered the club sandwich. Right, coffee was simply divine, and served on proper china.

The Ivy

A luxurious and colorful spot housed the trip’s final lunch. Located on a Dawson Street corner, this place is part of an upscale chain of establishments located all over the UK. theivydublin.com

hobnobmag Dublin's Hot Spots for Lunch

The front entrance enticed many passers by to take their picture amongst the flora. Right: Crab linguine: Pasta and courgette linguine, chilli, smoked garlic, lemon and rocket. I had asked for the chilis to be removed, as I was afraid of a spicy dish the day before flying back home. Unfortunately, they forgot, and the dish was on the spicy side. I had to send it back, and got an order of the eggs royale instead. They were very accommodating!

hobnobmag Dublin's Hot Spots for Lunch

Eggs Royale and chips was a combination of organic smoked salmon, two poached hen’s eggs, soda farls (the bread), in a hollandaise sauce, with a side of watercress and chips. This was very rich. The salmon was superb, so I focused on eating that. Right, the brunch scene on a Sunday.

hobnobmag Dublin's Hot Spots for Lunch

They had a styilsh place setting, with fine linen napkins and coffee accoutrement. Right, the room around the other side. Having the corner and all those windows made for a charming atmosphere.

The Shack

In Temple Bar area, The Shack was located right across the street from that area’s most popular destination: the actual Temple Bar. The Shack proved to be a haven with a traditional vibe and a menu that offered everyone at the table something to enjoy. shackrestaurant.ie

hobnobmag Dublin's Hot Spots for Lunch

Allison’s cappucino came properly adorned. Right, the space was as comfortable as sitting in an old friend’s home. Perhaps someone with a small manor.

hobnobmag Dublin's Hot Spots for Lunch

I got the salad, which came topped with a variety of nuts and seeds. Turns out, throughout the trip, the Irish tend to add nuts or seeds into almost every salad, a practice I can support! Right, Bob ordered a hearty soup, since it was a little rainy out while we ate, but cleared up by the time we finished. Efficient scheduling to make the most of this vacation.

More posts on Ireland:

Drinking At Dromoland Castle Cocktail Bar

Ireland: Drinking Around Dublin

Ireland Road Trip From Killkenny to County Clare: Driving and Dining

Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 1

Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 2

Pretty Vegetable Party Dips: Naturally Spectacular

Posted on: May 2nd, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

I am always looking for simple, yet impressive things to serve as a first course, or for party snacking. These two dips fit the bill and only require a food processor to make it all happen. See the recipes for Green Pea Hummus and Beet Cream Cheese Dip below. I liked serving them together for a eye-catching contrast, with baby carrots, zucchini sticks, and a baguette cut into small rounds. In addition to the two dips, I served a prosecco cocktail with rhubarb syrup, to tie in with the springtime theme. (see recipe at this link)

hobnobmag Pretty Vegetable Party Dips

Green Pea Hummus: A Spring Party Dip with Fresh Color

This is a simple early spring recipe, which echoes the pretty green that’s blooming all around. Adding the cooked peas adds not only a sweet green tone, but freshens up the flavor a bit. It’s a sweet twist to ordinary hummus. To simplify the process, get already cooked peas from a salad bar, like I did. Otherwise, thaw frozen peas. The cilantro gives it a nice herbal kick and a little bit more green hue. Make this at least 4 hours ahead of serving so the flavors meld. It’s even better the next day.

MAKES 1 1/2 CUPS

PREPARE THE GARLIC

5 cloves garlic, cut in half

Sauté garlic in a little olive oil over a low flame to remove the raw taste, about 3 min until lightly browned.

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… MAKE THE DIP

1 bag (15 oz) Fig Food Organic Chickpeas, drained and rinsed, extra skins removed
1/2 CUP cooked peas
2 TB tahini
sautéed garlic halves
1/2 CUP cilantro, coarsely chopped
3 TB fresh lemon juice
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/3 CUP water

Garnish: sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, poppy seeds (or reserve a few peas to sprinkle on top to indicate what’s inside)

Serve with: zucchini sticks, carrot sticks, or small rounds of bread

Combine all the ingredients until completely smooth. If it seems dry, add a little bit more water. Transfer to small bowls and put out with your veggie and bread accompaniments.

hobnobmag Pretty Vegetable Party Dips

Beet Cream Cheese Dip: Sweet and Spice Unite

Opposites attract, and placing this dip with the pea hummus on your party table certainly adds a splash of color and will pique your guests’ curiosity. The sweetness of the beets pairs wonderfully with the luscious texture of the cream cheese, but the additions of the feta, dill and cumin take it up a few notches in the flavor category. To make it extra rich, use only the block cream cheese, to keep light, use only the whipped cream cheese. Make this at least 4 hours ahead of serving so the flavors meld. It’s even better the next day. I made double this recipe for my party, so had some leftover. It was spectacular the next day topping a grilled pork chop or as a dip with carrots for a light lunch.

MAKES 1 1/2 CUPS

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… MAKE THE DIP

1 bag (8.8 oz) Love Beets Organic Cooked Beets, roughly chopped
1 TB EV olive oil
4 oz whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 packet Philadelphia Cream Cheese, at room temperature
4 TB feta
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Garnish: sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, poppy seeds

Serve with: zucchini sticks, carrot sticks, or small rounds of bread

Place all ingredients, in a food processor and blend until smooth. Top with seeds and serve alongside your preferred dipping accompaniments.

Mother’s Day Gift: For the Mom with the Sweet Tooth

Posted on: May 2nd, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Vienna Cookie Company, the Austrian bakery located on Long Island, NY offers special gift baskets for Mother’s Day. Make your mom’s day with these gorgeous selections. (and if it happens to be your favorite cookie too, as it is mine, then all the better!) The Linzer Basket includes a Linzer cake, Austria’s classic coffee cake filled with raspberry jam, a Linzer cookie box with three variations of tarts, (raspberry, apricot, and lemon curd) and two cookie bags: crispy butter cookies and Viennese Vanilla cookies.

hobnobmag Mother’s Day Gift Sweet Tooth

For chocolate lovers, there’s also a Chocolate Deluxe gift basket which includes a delicious chocolate cake based on Vienna’s famous Sachertorte made with almonds, flour and filled with a layer of apricot jam. The cake is topped with a rich chocolate ganache. The basket also includes ganache truffles with cherry liqueur and a box of flourless Viennese chocolate kisses, a crunchy chocolate hazelnut cookie.

Available online at viennacookiecompany.com and ship nation-wide. Orders will ship the week of May 6 unless otherwise requested.

The photo of the basket: Courtesy Vienna Cookie Company. Linzer tart photos: Tiffany Loria/NYC Food Photo.

Spring Cocktails: All Pretty in Pink

Posted on: May 2nd, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

It’s time to trade in your warm and cozy cocktails for something bright and fresh. Hobnob has done of roundup of some beauteous libations in tones of pink.

hobnobmag Spring Cocktails Pretty in Pink

Prosecco Cocktail with Rhubarb Syrup

Lightly sweet, this cocktail adds a touch of sweetness to prosecco and incorporates my favorite Spring ingredient: rhubarb. Adding the beet to the rhubarb syrup gives it a little extra color and flavor. Eliminate the vodka if you want to offer something with less alcohol.

MAKE THE RHUBARB SYRUP

2 CUPS rhubarb, chopped (about 2 stalks)
1 small cooked beet, diced
2/3 CUP organic cane sugar
1 CUP water
zest and juice from 1 lemon

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan, allow to simmer. Lower the heat, then cook till rhubarb is soft, about 20 min. Allow to cool a little. Run through a sieve to get just the liquid. (You can reserve the rhubarb to top ice cream for dessert). Transfer the syrup to a squirt bottle and refrigerate.

MAKE THE COCKTAIL

1 oz vodka
2 oz rhubarb syrup
prosecco

Mix the vodka and syrup together with a spoon in a champagne glass, then top with prosecco.

hobnobmag Spring Cocktails Pretty in Pink

Ravo Lavender Rose

2 oz Ravo Vodka
1 oz rose simple syrup
.75 oz Chase Elderflower Liqueur
.5 lemon, juiced
Zonin Sparkling Rose Wine, to top
Lavender sprigs, for garnish

Edible flowers, for garnish

Combine ice, Ravo Vodka, rose simple syrup, Chase Elderflower and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into a coup glass and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a Lavender sprig and edible flowers.

hobnobmag Spring Cocktails Pretty in Pink

Rose Tea Collins

MAKE THE ROSE TEA SYRUP

3 rose tea bags
6.5 oz. hot water
3.5 oz. sugar

Steep tea in hot water and sugar for 10 min. Remove tea bags and let cool.

MAKE THE COCKTAIL

2 oz Chase Vodka
.5 oz rose tea syrup
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
soda

dried rose petals for garnish

In a Collins glass filled with ice mix all ingredients and top with soda. Garnish with petals.

Pink Paloma Punch

Makes 20 (for those boozy brunches) See photo above, right.

5 CUPS Partida Blanco Tequila
3 CUPS Ruby Red Grapefruit juice
2 CUPS fresh lime juice
4 CUPS simple syrup
5 CUPS grapefruit soda

garnish: wedges of pink grapefruit

Mix ingredients in a large punch bowl. To serve, fill a glass with ice, pour in punch and garnish with grapefruit wedge.

hobnobmag Spring Cocktails Pretty in Pink

Fresh Pick Planas Punch

1 CUP fresh raspberries
fresh mint leaves
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz fresh lime juice
2 CUPS Diplomático Planas Rum
32 oz soda water

Lime wheels, mint, raspberries, for garnish

Muddle raspberries with mint, simple syrup and lime. Add the rum. Mix thoroughly, then strain through a sieve over fresh ice in a punch bowl. Top with soda water and garnish.

An Instant Margarita Just in Time for Cinco de Mayo

Posted on: May 2nd, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

If this isn’t the perfect bar accessory, I don’t know what is. This beautifully bottled cocktail comes ready to pour. You won’t be getting an overly-sweet, syrupy concoction.—the flavors here are absolutely sophisticated, like something from your local mixologist. Owned by women, Austin Cocktails uses only natural ingredients, and a elevated palate to create their pre-mixed cocktails.

hobnobmag Instant Margarita Cinco de Mayo

They have a whole range to choose from: The Cucumber Vodka Mojito, Ruby Red Cocktail, Peppered Maple Blood Orange Bourbon Cocktail, New School Gin Mule in addition to the Perfect Bergamot Orange Margarita.

hobnobmag Instant Margarita Cinco de Mayo

Available in two sizes, the larger is 750 ml, (which is the same size as a bottle of wine) and offers 6.3 cocktails. The 200 ml  (the equivalent of 1.5 cocktails) makes for the idea flask for outdoor imbibing. At only 30 proof, it won’t slow you down, and makes for a lovely summer sipper.

hobnobmag Instant Margarita Cinco de Mayo

Sold in stores in Texas, California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Georgia, or online, see the sources at this link.  They can be shipped nationally and served in various four and five-star hotels, arenas and venues across the country. austincocktails.com

Kentucky Derby Cocktails With a Twist

Posted on: May 2nd, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Even though the Mint Julep takes first place as the cocktail of choice, we thought we’d suggest two other Kentucky Derby themed-cocktails that all come with a twist. Get ready, it’s just a few days away: Saturday May 4, 2019 6:50pm. For more traditional ideas, see Hobnob’s other posts for throwing a stylish Kentucky Derby party, and more drink recipes here.

The Glenrothes Julep

Try a Scottish spin on the classic Mint Julep. Switch your bourbon for The Glenrothes 12 Year Old Scotch Whiskey for a smoky bent. (see photo at the top of this post)

4 fresh mint leaves (additional for garnish) 2 oz The Glenrothes 1 tsp powdered sugar
2 tsp water
12 Year Old Scotch Whiskey

In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle the mint, sugar and water. Add Glenrothes 12 Year Old. Stir to combine. Fill remainder of glass with pebbled ice until a mound of ice forms. Garnish with additional mint.

The Golden Dram

A celebratory cocktail to toast with when your horse wins. (see photo at the top of this post)

1 sugar cube
3 dashes bitters
1 oz The Glenrothes 12 Year Old Scotch Whiskey
Prosecco

In a champagne flute, soak sugar cube with 3 dashes of bitters. Add 12 Year Old and top with Prosecco.

hobnobmag Kentucky Derby cocktails3

The Glenrothes Punch

If you are entertaining for a crowd make things easier for serving with a potent punch. Fruity but not too sweet.

serves 8

1  2/3 CUPS The Glenrothes 10 Year Old Scotch Whiskey
1/ 2/3 CUPS strong black tea
1/2 CUP fresh orange juice
1/2 CUP fresh lemon juice
1/2 CUP Oleo-Saccharum
7 dashes bitters

To serve: Orange and lemon wheels for garnish
1  1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine ingredients in a large bowl or pitcher; cover and chill for 3-8 hours. To serve, add 4 cups of ice and garnish with lemon and orange wheels. Serve in cups over ice with a dash of nutmeg.

2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

Posted on: May 2nd, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Dining by Design takes place every year along side the Architectural Digest Design Show and showcases the imaginations of top designers. It’s presented by DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) and stages an amazing set of rooms every year. We saw lots of brights with pink as a main accent color, some tricky illuminations, and bold choices.

(photo at the top of this post) Stonehill Taylor provided a super-graphic design for Ultrafabrics, who provided the supple material for the abstract mobile. This fabric, which looks and feels like leather, is actually more durable, scratch-proof and comes in an astonishing range of colors. It really got me re-thinking leather.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

Patrick Mele provided a fanciful design for Benjamin Moore in shades of coral and pops of chartreuse.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

Inc Architecture and Design went with a rainbow of jewel tones and lit the table from below, to dramatic effect.

The Rockwell Group went nuts with a peacock theme. The table covering was made with actual feathers.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

Gensler, Knoll, and Evensonbest projected the message “You Are Beautiful,” a celebratory reminder to all those individuals living with HIV/AIDS that they are beautiful both inside and out, that they deserve enduring happiness, and most importantly that they are not alone in their fight. The lighting featured colorful globes creating a party effect.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

David Scott produced a bold and invigorating room with a video as the center star for Roche Bobois, meant to mimic a luxury liner cruising the Atlantic, which focused on a slow-mo gigantic iceberg.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

Studio TK + Tarkett + Huntsman collaborated on a minimalist, stark display mixing natural elements in a black on black setting.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

McKenzie Liautaud, a jewelry designer, + Robert Verdi tastemaker and TV personality, were inspired by a nautical theme: where the river meets the sea. They want you to marvel at the beauty of pearls and the creatures that create them. Pearl stools perch at a table set with silver and crystal beneath twinkling stars.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

The School of Visual Arts went floral in this sweet display.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

The show’s main sponsor, Interior Design Magazine, chose  to use bold graphics and the inspiring message: “Together in Unity!”They want people to see the good in others and help those in need.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

Black Artists + Designers Guild’s booth featured a super-blown-up face to represent: She, who carries the love and ruin of man in the belly of her eyes. If she is diminished the whole is compromised. The theme represents the silent hope binding us together.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

Felderman Keatinge + Associates celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing symbolizin the human ability to dream infinitely and achieve greatly. “No Dream Is Too High,” —Buzz Aldrin, Astronaut.

Stacy Garcia mixes the soft, subdued tones of winter with the explosion of color that is spring. Designed in collaboration with Crypton Home Fabric & Calico. Florals in collaboration with Sahola Flower Fashion Boutique.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

New York School of Interior Design uses infinity mirrors to enforce the abstract idea of perception and point of view, sculptures are mirrored endlessly.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers

Lucinda Loya planted an opera singer in her booth to greet us as our group approached. The stunning kitchen expresses her passion for dining and entertaining with lush fur-lined seating in her collaboration with German Kitchen Center.

hobnobmag 2019 Dining by Design—Creative Dining Rooms by Top Designers14

Brunch NYC: Legacy Records is a West Side Foodie Treat

Posted on: May 2nd, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Brunch is a favorite pastime in NYC. It’s an opportunity to while away the afternoon with some of your most fun friends. Legacy Records delivers an unusual assortment of dishes to choose from in a tranquil setting—with room to breathe.

WHO TO TAKE: A BUNCH OF FRIENDS YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IN A WHILE AND SIT AT THE LONG TABLE OR A DATE

Finally—something amazing to visit near the Javits Center. Legacy Records, and accompanying cocktail bar Ada’s Place is such a welcome addition to the NOW hottest area in the city, due to the rise of Hudson Yards nearby. The space provides a lovely respite for the mostly industrial surrounding streets with its super high ceilings and loads of natural light streaming through their tall windows. The owners are the people behind Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones, so if you’ve eaten at either of those two spots, you know the drill.

It was such a relief to sit down after attending the Vision Show, and we were ready to eat. Here you can eat well, with their beautifully styled dishes made with stellar ingredients. Cocktails and wine were nice, too. We lingered and drank wine late into the afternoon and left sated. See the details below…

(photo at the top of this post) I love the design of this area in bright green, which provided almost a private dining area within the space. Right, the Hamachi Crudo, with young ginger, lime, cilantro. The sauce was wonderfully citrus-y and the crunchy noodles on top made the dish.

hobnobmag Brunch NYC at Legacy Records

Booths are ample and cozy. Right, the Legacy Spritz is made with seasonal fruit, in this case passion fruit, Aperol and prosecco.

hobnobmag Brunch NYC at Legacy Records

A sweet floral arrangement graced the table. Right, outside the window, what would have been a blank wall, was painted in shades of green and studded with evergreens. They turned an otherwise grim view into something with appeal and presence.

hobnobmag Brunch NYC at Legacy Records

My friend who loves truffles ordered the Soft Scrambled Eggs, which arrived topped with chanterelles and black truffles. She’s not a meat eater, so I benefited with a side of guanciale that was supposed the come with it and enjoyed it with my crudo. It came as paper-thin super-salty strips of bacon which melted on the tongue. Right, the bar in the front entrance looks like a great spot for a quick foodie pitstop for singles or couples.

hobnobmag Brunch NYC at Legacy Records

A salad of Chicories came with charcoal-roasted Japanese yams in a buttermilk dressing, topped with cheese, for the healthy eaters out there. Right, another view of the booths and art.

Legacy Records, 517 W 38th St (betw 10th/11th Aves)