Tasty Tuesday: {Punch Drunk Love}

Well, it’s July 22nd, people. We hate to break it to ya, the month is basically…over. August is just a stone’s throw away and you know that means. The dog days of summer are here! The hottest heat, sultry nights and the laziest weekend {or weekday!} afternoons. Thankfully, we have a few more chances to hit the beach, host a BBQ…or have good friends over and well, get drunk. Punch drunk, that is!

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Punch isn’t a drink that we often turn to and we’re trying to figure out why?! Sure, it still reminds us of bad college parties, but punch really gets an undeserved bad rap. It’s actually THE ideal drink to serve at a summer event. It looks gorgeous with just a few garnishes and it’s the least high maintenance option ever! No funny balancing acts with martini glasses or mixing fancy-schmancy signature cocktails one by one. But punches also shouldn’t resemble the bright pink options of our past. We decided there had to be a better option! So the team sat down and concocted the perfect recipe which includes two of our bar staples: St. Germain + Champs!

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The French Tropics Summer Punch

Ingredients:
- 1 cup vodka
- ¾ cup st germain
- 2 cups champagne
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup orange juice
- ¼ simple syrup

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a punch bowl except for the champagne. Mix until all ingredients are combined. Pour champagne into punch bowl. Add ice cubes to glasses and ladle punch in.

Ice cubes:

Zest 1 grapefruit and 1 lemon. Place water in ice cube tray {we used 1″x1″} and sprinkle citrus zest evenly among the tray.

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The most brilliant part of punch; you simply put a huge chunk of ice in it right before the party and fahgetaboudit! If you want to get fancy, make pretty ice cubes with citrus zest or even flower petals for guests to put in their glasses. We threw a dahlia from the garden into our punch bowl for garnish too! Soooo easy and pretty, right?

We also stuck with the theme of simple when it came to our appetizer idea: a classic charcuterie plate provides a beautiful variety of things to munch on. We went with a top notch prosciutto, salami and crackers, then mixed things up with crisp veggie chips, spicy dried peas and some salty {and deliciously green!} castelvetrano olives. Save cooking up a crazy gourmet spread for cooler times. In the thick of summer heat there’s really not much more you need.

With this punch and a great mix of light bites, you’re set to invite a few, or five, girlfriends over for a bit of summer fun! But please remember, always drink responsibly!!

 

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick // art direction by Bianca Sotelo // styling by Apartment 34

Tasty Tuesday: {Our Signature Summer Cocktail!}

Whether you like cocktails, mocktails, cotton-tails or Peter Rabbit {Beatrix Potter reference, anyone? clearly summer nostalgia has hit the office…hard!}, you’re going to love this Tasty Tuesday! After all, it’s our official Apartment 34 signature drink- made exclusivley for us! That’s right, we now have a namesake cocktail, created by Seattle-based mixologist, Erik Carlson – Seattle Magazine’s “Superstar Bartender” of the year {let’s hear it for Erin’s hometown!}.

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We were so tired of going into bars and not knowing what to order- drink ingredients can get so fancy these days. It’s easy to order something you THINK sounds delish and ends up being totally not your thing. There goes $12….plus tip…for a dud. So we jumped at the chance to have a no-fail drink up our sleeves, a drink that our team loves and ties us together like the illumanti. Since we’re all for sharing, you must try this recipe {and/or gush over this image- we’re calling it our homage to summer and it’s now our computer wallpaper}!

Apartment 34 Fizz!

Ingredients:

1 ounce Plymouth gin
.5 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
.5 ounce Small Hand Food’s raspberry gum syrup
.25 ounce Suze
1 ounce sparkling wine

Method:

Measures all ingredients except the sparkling wine into a mixing tin, add ice, and shake. Double strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass {or stemless champagne flute as we did here!} and top with sparkling wine. Add a twist a of lemon rind for a little pop of color & consider yourself refreshed!

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While Erik may have been named Superstar Bartender of the year, we sure feel like the superstars here. Having a drink named after you is basically like getting a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and we’re clearly on our way!

If you’re in Seattle, you can visit Erik at Stoneburner and Bastille Cafe & Bar…and ask for the Apartment 34 Fizz {eeep, how cool is that?!!}. It should cool you off in the 85+ degree weathr you’re enjoying. PS – could also please send some of that heat our way!!

Cheers! —Bianca

 

original photography for Apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick // art direction by Erin Hiemstra & Bianca Sotelo // styling by Apartment 34 // original recipe created by Erik Carlson 

Tasty Tuesday: The Top Chef Treatment

You may remember a couple of weeks ago when we packed the station wagon {yes that’s what I drive!} with the whole Team Apartment crew and headed to wine country. Not only did we hang at one of our favorite Sonoma wineries, Scribe, we also took the not so frequent opportunity to visit Healdsburg, a small town north of Sonoma- that just so happens to be quite the emerging culinary hotspot. It’s home base to the fan-favorite, Bravo TV Top Chef hottie contestant, Louis Maldonado!

We met Chef Louis on his turf where he gave us the Top Chef treatment. He threw down a mean {and almost too pretty to eat!} 3 course meal at his restaurant Spoonbar.

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Naturally, we were pretty giddy about meeting a T.V. celebrity- you just can’t surpress the Bravo fan in a girl! But we played it super cool {for the most part} and desperately held back the urges to role play Top Chef judges Padma and Tom as we tasted Chef Louis’ out of this world food combinations.

From trout roe + granola + mustard seeds with deviled egg, to charred asparagus + buttermilk + radishes + abalone mushrooms, topped off by a pistachio dulce de leche cake with Prosecco and froster raspberries, each dish was just as good as the last. And we carry no shame when we say we licked those beautiful plates clean!

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The fish flight was the first course and definitely a team favorite. Trout, trout roe, Kanpachi- all of the ingredients tasted fresh and clean, complimented by unfamiliar pairings like fermented chili and salsa verde. The Trout roe with granola and mustard seeds was so good we all ended up fork fighting for the last bite!

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The second course, the “meat” dish, comprised of the meaty abalone mushrooms {we still have no idea what those are!} was by far the prettiest thing we’ve ever had the opportunity to eat. Criss crossed with charred asparagus and dotted with flashes of pink radishes, we “ooooed” and “awwed” at the dish for a good couple of minutes before we dove in!

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The dish that certainly had no chance of surviving was the dessert: pistachio dulce de leche cake. It’s just not right to make five people share something like this. All the rules we learned in kindergarten went right out the window and we were such hogs that our poor photographer, Aubrie, almost missed her chance at a bite!

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And just when we were beginning to feel like Top Chef royalty {being wined and dined is quite the life!}, the meal came to a close. Although we never wanted to leave, Chef Louis definitely made us feel like stars while we were there. And luckily for us, great food isn’t the only thing Spoonbar offers! Guess again – we’re not talking about the chef…

You’ll have to wait for the big culinary insight. Hint: it involves a secret menu! Oh yea.

original photography for Apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick