The literature: Kaui Hart Hemmings’ THE DESCENDANTS

The libation: Next week your humble sommelier will be lounging on a beach on the Big Island, reading extensively and drinking everything she can get her hands on that has a little umbrella sticking out of it. (She’s thinking of it as a research trip and wondering vaguely if she can write it off on her taxes next year.) But fear not - she’s planning a special Proof (Beach) Reading series for you based on said research. 

We’ll kick it off with Hemmings’ quintessential Hawaiian novel and a Lava Flow cocktail. In a blender, combine 2oz fresh stemmed strawberries, 1oz light rum, and 1oz Malibu rum. Blend until smooth and pour into a pitcher. Next, blend a banana, 3oz coconut cream, and 3oz pinapple juice. Blend until smooth and add slowly to the strawberry puree. Garnish with a pineapple slice and a strawberry, and sip deeply as you reapply your SPF 45.

Photo © Eric Chan

"Research." Yup.

(omg omg vacation so soon omg)



The literature: Andy Weir’s THE MARTIAN

The libation: Should Mark Watney ever make it home from being stranded on Mars after an near-catastrophic accident, he’ll certainly need a stiff drink. But serving him a cocktail called a Red Planet seems a bit cruel, so let’s just enjoy it ourselves while we’re waiting, and serve him maybe just a beer or something simple and inoffensive.

Add 1oz Campari, 3/4 oz Grand Marnier, and 1 oz grapefruit juice to a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with orange wheel. Keep both feet planted firmly on Earth, raise a toast to Mark, and enjoy.

Photo © FSE

I get really proud of myself when I can match the drink to the color scheme of the jacket design. (Say it with me now - nerrrrrrd.)



The literature: Helene Wecker's THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI

The libation: If Chava the golem and Ahmad the jinni were to meet on the streets of the Lower East Side today instead of in 1899, they might stumble into a speakeasy to talk philosophy and the immigrant experience over an Earth & Fire cocktail from Mr. Rain’s Fun House in Baltimore:

  • Add the following to a shaker with ice: 1.5 oz beet-infused mezcal, .5 oz Cointreau, .5 oz lime juice, .5 oz honey syrup, and several dashes of fennel bitters.
  • Shake & strain into a glass. Garnish with fennel.
Surely they’d find themselves among a host of other alien lifeforms, old and new, drowning their sorrows and loneliness and worries about the tiny tenement apartment they can’t afford. Everything changes and nothing does.

Photo © LDO

Hey Heleeeeeeene I got you a paperback birthday present.

Tonight my stepdad (who is an exceptional cook) gave my stepbrother and I a Skype cooking lesson resulting in the best meal I’ve ever made with my own two hands: sweet potato & caramelized onion flautas with pico de gallo, salsa verde, refried beans, roasted mushrooms, and guacamole. Darrell and Michelle came over with a six-pack of Sierra Nevada Summerfest and helped me test the results, and none of us were disappointed.

Let me get mushy for a second here: the food was amazing, but the real treat was to spend time with my mom and stepdad (in Rochester) and my stepbrother (in Sacramento) doing something we all love and feeling connected even though we’re all in different corners of the country. Technology is mindblowing and my family is wonderful and I don’t know, kids, go hug someone you love tonight, because I am in a damn good mood.

When you hung that sign by the entrance that says, WELCOME TO FLAVOR TOWN!, were you just messing with our heads?

Restaurant Review - Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square - (via rachelfershleiser)

Holy mother of god is this amazing. My favorite part:

Is the entire restaurant a very expensive piece of conceptual art? Is the shapeless, structureless baked alaska that droops and slumps and collapses while you eat it, or don’t eat it, supposed to be a representation in sugar and eggs of the experience of going insane?


Be a Better…Cook.


Cooking with Pumpkintown:

I really don’t tend to like mixing salty and sweet flavors and pumpkin is one of those veggies that I ALWAYS associate with a sugary taste, but alas…I wanted to make a low carb Fall soup and ventured into a savory new world armed with cans of organic pumpkin. 

This soup is a total mouthgasm. 

Autumnal Pumpkin-Sausage Soup:

1/2 Cup of Diced Onion

1 Clove of Minced Garlic

1 TSP Ground Sage

1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning

1 can (15 oz) canned pumpkin

12 Ounces of Breakfast Sausage (Jimmy Dean or the like…not links) or Hot Italian sausage (without the casing)

2 cups diced Fresh White Mushrooms

4 cups of Beef Broth

1/2 cup of Heavy Cream

1/2 cup of water

1 bay leaf

Step One: Cook the sausage in a large pot and drain off the grease (I left a little for additional flavor)

Step Two: Add onion, garlic, seasonings, and mushrooms to the pan and saute until onions are lightly browned

Step Three: Throw in your pumpkin and stir

Step Four: Add broth and bay leaf and mix well.

Step Five: Simmer for 30 minutes on low-medium heat

Step 6: Stir in your heavy cream and water and simmer 15 additional minutes.

Season with S&P and serve!

This is enough for 4-5 people and is the PERFECT dish for a chilly night in with friends…or you know…for a hurricane. 

I missed you guys.

xo Chinae

THIS RECIPE. I made this last night using hot Italian sausage and now I need to tell the world about how amazing it is. It’s creamy and filling and juuuust a little spicy and you should go make some right now.