Archive for Aug 2014

 

Choosing A Bottle of Rose 2 Choosing The Perfect Bottle of Rose

(Domaine Saint Mitre, Chateau La Galiniere Cuvee Le Cengle, Commanderie de la Bargemone)

When it’s really hot outside, and I feel too lazy to make a cocktail, all I want is a bottle of rosé.  From May through September, there is always at least one bottle in the fridge, waiting for me.  Sitting in the front yard with a pretty pink bottle on ice, chatting with my neighbors as they take the evening (or afternoon) walks… well, there’s nothing better.

I want rosé to be simple, and unassuming.  I don’t want to taste too much of it, it should be pretty quiet.  While I don’t necessarily have a favorite vineyard, or a favorite bottle (ah, there are so many out there!), I do have two simple rules when I head to my favorite wine shop.

 

1. It should be from Provence, France.  Now, I’m sure there are other places that make a pretty good bottle of wine, but Provence has never let me down and other areas seem to be a little more hit and miss.  Mostly, too sweet for my taste.

2. It should be the lightest, faintest, just-a-hint-of-color pink.   That middle bottle up there, that’s almost too dark, but it’s delicious, so I let it slide.  Anything darker and it just misses the mark for me.

 

The hardest part about rosé is that I haven’t found a grocery store bottle that works, so you do have to make an extra stop at a wine shop or liquor store.  But, I promise it will be worth it!

And one other favorites… Chateau de Campuget Costieres de Nimes.

yaaah!  It’s been a while since we did a Flipping Pages feature, but Jess has been hard at work flipping through so many pages to pick only the best for recommendations!   And there are a LOT of them this time around.  I just finished California myself and absolutely loved it!  Perfect for the last bit of summer!
Summer Travel Reading 0001 Flipping Pages: Traveling Without Leaving Home
Hey, There! It’s been ages! I’m transitioning into a semi-new job and was lucky enough to have the summer (well, July) off. Though I yearned to travel, I thought it better to stay home and get myself organized and rested after a really busy spring. But without realizing it, I actually traveled the world this summer and I’ve put together a list of my favorite spots (and the books that transported me there this summer), just for you! xoxo, Jessica
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Post-Apocalyptic USA
California by Eden Lepucki and The Stand by Stephen King.
I’m crazy about both of these books. California got a ton of press, mainly because Colbert recommended it on his show and it’s next in my book club’s lineup. So, I was basically forced to read it. But I’m so glad I did. Lepucki paints a very realistic (and terrifying) portrait of America after a series of ecological and financial disasters and one couple who tries to survive in the wilderness, in complete isolation. The story, and the various characters’ secrets, unfolds slowly, but steadily, with bits of information cleverly and gradually imparted to the reader. I could not stop reading and read it over two sittings. Yay, vacation!
The Stand is a book I’ve been meaning to pick up after discovering King’s later work. I used to turn my nose up at him. It’s true. But I’m trying not to be a jerk and have to admit he’s a top-notch storyteller. The best, really. And The Stand is one long (1,200-pages!), adventurous ride across America as a military-engineered virus kills most of the population. It’s so much fun. Plus, one of the survivors is from Ogunquit, Maine, one of my favorite small towns!
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Post-Apocalyptic London and the Surrounding Countryside
I didn’t know a whole lot about this book going in and I’m so glad. (I joked that M.R. Carey is actually Mariah Carey, but no such luck.) Since I don’t want to ruin the surprise, I won’t say a whole lot about this book, except that it’s about a little girl who is locked in prison. At first, we’re not sure why, or why she’s treated with as much caution as Hannibal Lecter. Finding out was a real treat, and this is my favorite novel within the genre…and I don’t even want to say which genre it belongs in!
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New York and Florida
This is sort of a memoir about Schwalbe and his mother and their informal “book club”, after his mother is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. They use the last years of her life to discuss books they’re reading (often at the same time). Their discussions about books turn into deeper conversations, allowing them to also talk about their lives in general. It’s just the sweetest thing…to see how much literature has meant to Schwalbe’s family and how they make connections to their lives through certain books. His mother is also incredibly inspiring.
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New Hampshire
The Last Policeman by Ben Winters.
How could I not read a mystery novel (the first in a trilogy) SET IN MY HOME STATE?! Aside that I had to believe a murder could take place in Concord, NH, TLP also takes place in the months before an asteroid will collide with Earth. I mean, that’s a lot of crazy, but Winters somehow grounds the novel and the characters in reality and I ate it up. I’m looking forward to reading the next two installments…before the world ends.
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Vermont
Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore.
Oh, Vermont, I just love you. And I ate up this book, about a scholarship co-ed (Mabel…even her name says “I’m poor”) who is invited to spend the summer at her uber-wealthy roommate’s family summer compound. The family has a lot of secrets. I mean, so many. And our gal Mabel wants to know all of them. So did I. And boy, were those secrets juicy. This was such a great summer read.
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1980’s London
Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe.
This is a collection of Stibbe’s letters to her sister while she was a nanny for a family in London in the 80’s. In the letters, she describes her life and conversations with the family and I found myself laughing through the whole thing.
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Tokyo, London, New York, Cape Town
The Three by Sarah Lotz.
This book creeped me out. Majorly. (I have a soft spot for genuinely creepy thrillers. They’re hard to find.) There are a series of plane crashes on the same day, and three children are the sole survivors from three of the crashes. But when they return home, the children aren’t the same as they used to be. And I cannot sleep anymore.
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Ontario/Muskoka Lakes District
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki.
A sweet starting-to-come-of-age tale about a little girl whose family spends every summer at their lake house. She has a Summertime BFF and her parents fight a lot. She likes horror movies, which she probably shouldn’t be allowed to watch. It’s just darling. The Tamaki sisters perfectly capture that awkward slice of time right when childhood ends, but the teenage years have yet to begin.
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Brooklyn
This graphic novel by the famed New Yorker cartoonist is just perfect. With a dose of depressing. But not really. It’s about her aging parents and their last years of decline. Does that sound depressing? No! It’s really funny and touching and even thought-provoking. I particularly love Chast’s drawings and descriptions of her parents’ Brooklyn apartment, which they lived in for something like 50 years.
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Mallorca
The Vacationers by Emma Straub.
This is the perfect summer vacation book…about a summer vacation. It’s not too heavy, not too serious, just the right amount of mystery and humor. You’ll finish it by the pool and feel accomplished, but you’ll find you’d much rather be by the pool in Mallorca. Can’t have it all.
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Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and beyond
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.
This is the fluffiest, guiltiest thing I read all summer and it hit the spot. Though it’s long, you’ll sail through it. A NYU professor’s boyfriend invites her to visit his family in Singapore…and when she arrives, she finds out he’s from one of the richest families on…the planet? And his family is not pleased to meet her. Scandal! It made me want to fly to Singapore and gorge myself on the famously delicious street food, which apparently you don’t have to be a Crazy Rich Asian to afford. Score.
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It’s really summertime, and for me, that means lots of fruit and lots of cocktails.  But I really can’t stand drinks that are too sweet.  So, all of our requirements are met here, without too much sweet and not too much sugar.  All around, delicious.
Whiskey Watermelon Cocktail 0001 Whiskey Watermelon Cocktails

Watermelon Whiskey Cocktails

Ingredients

2 oz rye whiskey

2 oz watermelon juice

1 oz Chambord

.5 oz lemon juice

3 sprigs of rosemary (2 for shaking, 1 for garnish)

Instructions

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake well and then strain into a glass.  Garnish with the last sprig of rosemary.  Enjoy!