Summer is officially here. That means our minds have turned to keeping all things light and fun and stocking up on hostess gifts for all those summer get togethers. Click on for a round up of what we're into this week: from pineapple tumblers to monogrammed decanters and everything in between.
Amanda's Favorite Things: Harry & David City-Inspired Foodie Gift Baskets
My fave foodie gift company has launched another new stellar product. Harry & David’s limited edition, regionally-inspired baskets feature foods that represent the personalities and cuisines of the top US food towns. Among them are Austin, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York. They’re the perfect gift to bring to a barbecue or a housewarming or the hostess who has invited you to her cottage on the beach for a much-needed long weekend. Better still, 20 percent of net proceeds will be donated to local food banks.
Amanda's Favorite Things: Fries!
This awesome book dedicated to all things fries is just in time for National Fry Day, July 13. There aren’t any recipes in the book, but really… who needs recipes? Just throw some cheese or adobo or chili or mustard or whatever on them and dig in. What there is plenty of is French fry trivia, which will make you the rey de las papas at your next cookout, steakhouse dinner, or happy hour.
Amanda's Picks: Custom Engraved Glass Decanter
Another great summer hostess gift: this engraved glass decanter is ideal for the spirits connoisseur. Made of glass with a beveled stopper and fit for holding up to 34 ounces of you or your host’s favorite sip, it’s a tasteful way to ensure they invite you back to the beach house next summer.
Cristina's Favorite Things: Hurom HZ Slow Juicer
Ok, so I don’t own this. But it’s definitely on my wish list! I love fresh fruit juices and always start my day with one (especially in the summer when delicious produce abounds). And this is way better than what I have: it’s stainless steel; is made to mimic the motion of hand squeezing juice (so juice stays in most natural state); allows you to control the amount of pulp you want; has an ultra-quiet motor; and is easy to disassemble and clean. Please, can I have one?
Laying out, hosting a fiesta on my courtyard, just handing out at home, whatever I’m doing, I grab one of these fun pineapple to-go cups. Fill it with your fave libation (mine is agua de jamaica and tequila; you do you), cover, and slurp up the goodness with a twisty straw. These are also great party favors: fill them with mini bottles of booze for an extra treat!
For a quick summer lunch, I’m all about Empanadas Café, which just opened in my hood. They serve up Argentinean-style empanadas: flakier crusts with many more fillings. I love the traditional beef followed up by a membrillo y queso. Light enough to fill me up but not so hearty I can’t throw on my bathing suit and lay out on the pier after lunch.
Nichole's Favorite Things: Black Box Wines
Tastemade's Jen Phanomrat is a Youtuber to watch out for! This quirky master of food puns can make a French omelette in under 60 seconds and braid dough into a loaf of garlic bread that would put nonnas to shame. Also she made a slow-mo clip of her making ceviche to the tune of Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Shimmy, Shimmy Ya", so obviously she has my heart forever.
You know all those random vegetables in your fridge that are leftover from different recipes you made throughout the week? Yeah, those veggies. They will never again go to waste. Bake those miscellaneous veggies with serrano peppers, mash them, serve with chips and beer. Really, I'm reducing food waste one Netflix and snack binge at a time.
Sorry (not sorry) Bacardi, I will go to my grave asserting that Don Q is the one real Puerto Rican rum (even if it is from Ponce *scoff*). I recently rewarded myself with a bottle of their Gran Añejo and I just know I'll be sipping this on the rocks or with a splash of ginger beer through the hot July nights.