Even though summer months are beginning to wane, most of the tale-tell signs of a shift in seasons – namely schoolgoing back in session – doesn’t look to be happening any time soon. I don’t know about you, but I’ve decided to keep my summer cocktail game strong.

A Simply Delicious Summer Drink on Apartment 34

Thankfully I snagged a Skagerak Trolley to serve as our outdoor bar cart during our yard makeover and I’m definitely putting this pretty little baby to good use. I love the bar cart’s classic modern design, the use of warm (and durable!) teak mixed with powder-coated steel. This version is in this dark forest green but it also comes in white.

But my current go-to summer drink is crazy easy, refreshing, not overly strong. Most importantly it comes together in the few seconds you have before you have to chase a child around your house. If, like me, you need some fresh shelter in place inspiration I hope this helps. I’ll be diving into recipes in the next couple of weeks as well because no matter how much I love crispy rice and carmelized shallot pasta, it’s time to have some new tricks in the bag.

A Simply Delicious Summer Drink on Apartment 34A Simply Delicious Summer Drink on Apartment 34

RECIPE: Simple Summer G&T

Ingredients:
85ml tonic
35 ml gin
raspberries
lemon slices
ice

Directions: Fill a double old fashioned or coupe glass with ice. Pour in the tonic. Top with gin, stir in 3-5 raspberries, and squeeze in a lemon slice to two. Enjoy!

Here are a few of my other go-to summer cocktails. Do you have a summer drink you’d add to the list? Share recipes in comments, please!

The Aperol Spritz

Cucumber Gin Fizz

Apartment 34 Fizz

Grapefruit Margarita 

Pineapple Mint Agua Fresca (virgin)

 

photography by seth smoot / styling kendra smoot

I have never been much of a baker – sorry no sourdough or banana bread is happening around here right now – and I wouldn’t even say I have much of a sweet tooth, but quartine starts to get to you after a while.

When I saw this cake by my friend and wonderful chef Amanda Frederickson, I knew I had to give it a go. She’s just come out with a fantastic cookbook called Simple Beautiful Food filled with gorgeous but most importantly easy-to-make dishes that you can whip up quickly.

This beauty of a cake’s primary ingredient is olive oil, but the addition of orange adds a lovely subtle flavor. This is the kind of cake you can eat for breakfast. Trust me, I tried it and I think you should too. Continue to scroll for the complete recipe.

orange cake recipe on apartment 34

Orange Olive Oil Cake with Mascarpone Whipped Cream
adapted from Food 52 recipe 

For the cake:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 3/4 cups sugar
• 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 large eggs, separated
• 1 1/2 Tbs. orange zest
• 1 1/4 cups whole milk
• 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
• 1/4 cup Grand Marnier

For the topping:
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 2 Tbs. sugar
• 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, cold

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
In another bowl, combine the olive oil and egg yolks. Whisk well until creamy and emulsified, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg whites, milk, orange zest, orange juice and Grand Marnier and whisk to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle. (Cover the top of the cake if it starts to become too brown).
Let the cake cool to room temperature.

When ready to serve the cake, make the mascarpone whipped cream by whipping the cream and sugar (either by hand or using a mixer) until soft peaks form. Add the mascarpone cheese and whip until just combined. Place a couple of large dollops of the whipped cream on the center of the cake and garnish with orange zest.
Serve immediately.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

For our entire recipe archive, CLICK HERE. You can see everything I’ve been cooking in quarantine right here.

cake image and recipe courtesy of amanda frederickson, cake slice by moi

If, like me, you’re feeling a little behind the Easter eight ball, (yeah it’s coming up this weekend – I forgot too), you still have time to whip up a fun bunny-fest.

While I wasn’t really planning on doing much for Easter, my girl Cassandra’s Easter tabletop has me inspired to get my act together. This lovely little roasted carrot recipe also looks like it could be a real crowd pleaser.

A Tasty Easter Carrot Dish for Your Little Bunnies on apartment 34

RECIPE: BURNT CARROTS
(recipe from Simple Fare by Karen Mordechai)

Ingredients
2.5T olive oil
2.5T maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
6 bunches of baby carrots (about 30 small), scrubbed
25g parsley leaves
Labneh
Pistachio dukkah

Directions
Preheat the oven to 260C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, maple syrup and salt. 
Add the carrots and toss to coat. Spread the carrots in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, top with half of the parsley and bake for 10-12 minutes, watching to ensure that the carrots char but do not burn too much.

Spread the labneh on a platter using the back of a spoon. Rest the carrots atop the labneh and top with dukkah and remaining parsley. Sprinkle with pinch of black salt.

Labneh
2 ts fine salt
900ml full fat plain goats milk yogurt

Set super fine strainer over a bowl and line with double layer of cheesecloth. Stir the salt into the yogurt and scrap it to prepared strainer. Cover and refrigerate for 24h or until the labneh has reached the desired consistency.

Add a good spring cocktail,a classic deviled egg and maybe our most popular dessert of all time and I’ll call that a good party!

imagery and recipe adaptation by sanda vuckovic

Has the thought of hosting a holiday party ever left you stressing? Same. It can be hard to figure out a good menu, a theme or have something to entertain guests.

Enter fondue! While it might feel like a 70’s throwback, fondue is actually a really fun party activity – and bonus for being ridiculously delicious. But the best part about fondue is its ease. All you need is that tasty cheese, accompanying nibbles, a glass (or two!) of wine and all your friends.

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

But let’s start at the beginning. The makings of a stunning holiday fondue party are in fact, incredibly simple.

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

It all begins with ready-made fondue from Emmi USA. I used their classic original fondue. Everything to make the perfect fondue is in the box – traditional Swiss cheeses, white wine and Kirsch brandy. Just open the pouch inside, heat and serve!

You can even save and reheat any leftover fondue, but if your party is anything like mine, there won’t be a drop to spare. In fact, ours went so quickly we didn’t even have to use our fondue burner, but if you plan to linger, you definitely want to keep the cheese warmed.

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

Next let’s talk about your dippers. Creating dipping boards was almost more fun than my usual cheese and charcuterie boards.

You can get really creative with what dippers you offer. From classic fruits like apples and pears to all kinds of veggies; carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, radishes (with the greens left on for natural dipping handle!), even some frisée. It all tastes great coated in gooey cheese.

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

I also like to offer a variety of breads. A good country rustic loaf, pretzel rolls and breadsticks are all fun and offer different textures. To up the protein factor, I also mixed in prosciutto and salami – they both go great with cheese so why not just dip it in some!

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

Some fresh citrus, grapes and herbed nuts are good additional nibbles. Their light and bright notes counter the richness of the cheese. Similarly, a good white wine (I love a vermentino or a dry riesling) but any light white or even a rosé’s acids, will help cut through the yummy cheese.

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

There are a few pieces of key fondue etiquette. Your dipper of choice should go into the pot and then actually onto your plate before eating. Your skewer is not your fork. Double dipping is a big no no. And apparently if you lose something in the fondue pot you’ve got to kiss your neighbor!

A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34A Holiday Party Made Easy with Fondue on apartment 34

But really, the best part about a fondue party is how interactive and joyful it can be. The holiday season brings enough stress. It’s good to have a night for pure, delicious fun. Emmi Fondu can be found in the deli cheese area at your local grocer or specialty cheese shop. Find it near you at emmiusa.com/locator.

For more holiday recipes & party ideas, CLICK HERE.

 

original photography for apartment 34 by leslie santarina

This post is in partnership with Emmi USA. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations we’re excited about and that have kept apartment 34’s doors open.

I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year (which I won’t lie, is a bit of a relief), but just because you’re not in charge of the turkey doesn’t mean you’re entirely off the hook. You certainly don’t want to show up to your friends’ or family’s home empty-handed.

Perhaps you’ll bring a side dish to contribute to the meal. And you certainly want to come with a hostess gift. But let’s talk about hostess gifts. Being hostess on the regular, I’ve received a lot of them – some quite better than others! Let’s start with a couple very clear don’ts. No one needs another scented candle. Ever. Same goes for themed tea towels or really any towel for that matter.

While a bottle of wine is always appreciated, it’s not really a gift. It usually just gets thrown into the mix during the holiday meal. I’m rounded up a few hostess gifts below that are meant for your hosts to truly enjoy long after their duties are complete. Some are things they might actually look back at and think of you year after year. Bonus!

So let’s take a look shall we? I hope this might give you a new idea that your hosts will truly appreciate.

If you have a cocktail loving host, a set of really chic whiskey rocks will come in handy – and certainly look cool.

Every host deserves some things to treat themselves – the foodie box from Simone LeBlanc features gourmet olive oil, chocolate, spices and some gorgeous serving utensils – something every good host covets.

Why not bring something for your hosts to enjoy long after guests leave. This chai lovers set will be a tasty treat to enjoy while setting up their tree.

I know I know, I said don’t gift wine, but Franciacorta is different. This special bottle of bubbles is little known & will be highly appreciated.

Even though you can overload on treats this time of year, Daily Harvest’s new plant-based gluten free ready to bake cookie dough is a sweet idea. I’m loving the coconut lemon option!

Flowers are often a typical gift, but trust me, a hostess already has her floral plan in place well before you arrive. Instead, why not show up with a beautiful bud vase with a bloom or two that could be added to an unexpected location like the bathroom?

While I shun a scented candle, stunning candlesticks are always a good idea.

Serve in style with beautifully crafted salad tongs.

Bring something truly unique and unexpected like a set of glass tumblers in a lovely autumnal color. I particularly love the olive or smoke options.

 

 

image via here

While I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year (both relieved and slightly disappointed by that), I’m always banking ideas for beautiful Thanksgiving tables. I often vacillate between two distinct table setting styles; simple and minimal or an over the top maximal look. So this year I thought I’d see which style you’re feeling.

Thanksgiving Table Debate: Minimal or Maximal? Thanksgiving Table Debate: Minimal or Maximal? Thanksgiving Table Debate: Minimal or Maximal?

Let’s take our minimalist look first. A minimal Thanksgiving table does often attract me. I love the simplicity of a good linen tablecloth. A mix of vintage candlesticks, mix & match glassware and antique silver offer a timeless look. Maybe you’ll use some hearty ceramic dishware. The complete look can feel both collected but also rather modern.

When you keep your table simple your food will actually become the star of the show!

An added bonus of the minimal look? No need for a major centerpiece. Think simple branches, a collection of greenery or a small bundle of herbs set atop each plate. The name of the game here is sophsiticated ease.

 

 

Conversely, can also take your Thanksgiving table rather big. Think layers upon layer, large floral arrangements, and a cacophony of color, texture, and accessories. From candles galore to serving boards, chargers and salad plates – the more you pile in the marrier. This is also the opportunity to play with color. Whether you do dramatic black and gold tones or embrace blues, pinks, even aubergines, the maximal look certainly ups the initial wow factor.

I will admit that the maximalist Thanksgiving table feels more exuberant. But it can also be less refined. I particularly love this style for Friendsgiving or a large family gathering that you want to feel more relaxed, laissez-faire, but energized.

So what say you? Do you find yourself on Team Minimalist or Team Maximalist for this year’s Thanksgiving? Looking at all these options is making want to set a table just so I can share in the fun. Can you guess which style I’m leaning toward??

PS: Be sure to back tomorrow because I have a very fun Thanksgiving decor tutorial for you! I think it’ll help you off the style fence if you remain undecided.

Need more Thanksgiving decorating ideas? CLICK HERE.

images 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Temps are dropping (slowly, but surely…), and the season of fall gatherings is officially upon us! I firmly believe that the whole point of having friends over for dinner is to make everyone feel at ease – yourself included. That’s why I was so excited when one of my fave home collections,The Citizenry, asked me to create a fall inspired table with their newly launched table linens collection. All of their linens are so lovely I actually couldn’t just set one table – I had to set two.

Scroll below to see how you can create two different fall entertaining vibes by simply swapping out your napkins (and a few other choice details) along with some of my best entertaining tips.

Simple Steps for a Stunning Fall Table on apartment 34

Setting a lovely table makes a meal feel a little special, but creating it shouldn’t have be complicated. A simple white linen tablecloth is my go-to foundation. It offers a nice blank slate. A few wrinkles – or even a big fold or two are no big deal. I love how it gives everything a more Euro-rustic vibe.

Simple Steps for a Stunning Fall Table on apartment 34

There’s no need to have a collection of fancy china. Simply create layers with your daily dishware. I love to mix and match dishes in different colorways to add extra dimension. And I will always approve of gold flatware for everyday use – there’s no reason to make them wait for a special occasion. It quickly makes any table feel a bit more festive.

Simple Steps for a Stunning Fall Table on apartment 34

Adding flowers to your setting also doesn’t have be stressful. You can let your creative juices flow, combining whatever fits into your color palette. A fall arrangement can mix all kinds of greenery – everything from lambs ear and grasses, to cuts of leaves. A few dahlias give you that plucked straight from your garden look. But if creating your own centerpiece feels overwhelming, head to your local flower mart or corner florist. The talented ladies at Marigold SF put together these stunners. There’s no shame in putting a pretty arrangement into your own vase. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Simple Steps for a Stunning Fall Table on apartment 34Simple Steps for a Stunning Fall Table on apartment 34

I created two different fall tables by only swapping out a few simple things. I like to stick to 2-3 colors on the table to keep things from getting overwhelming. This first table features a set of The Citizenry’s subtle Onam napkins and tablerunner in blush. You can fold the the napkins to highly their mustard gold threading or camouflage it to keep the look really light, neutral and airy. The Citizenry’s set of Dasar bronze trays make the perfect serving dishes. I added white oak candle sticks and warm golden taperd offer a light, feminine touch.

Simple Steps for a Stunning Fall Table on apartment 34Simple Steps for a Stunning Fall Table on apartment 34

To quickly and easily change this tables look, I simply swapped in pops of indigo and chambray to create a slightly bolder, high contrast look. The Citizenry’s Chera napkins feature hand stitching, but are made from durable cotton – meaning they’re machine washable! Hits of black – candlesticks, the Citizenry’s black marble cheeseboard and our dining chairs elevate the look. I’m also obsessed with The Citizenry’s new Ba Lai glassware. Matte gray on the outside, with a high gloss glazed interior, they’re seriously so good.

Simple Steps for a Stunning Fall Table on apartment 34Simple Steps for a Stunning Fall Table on apartment 34Simple Steps for a Stunning Fall Table on apartment 34Simple Steps for a Stunning Fall Table on apartment 34

I’m struggling to pick a favorite between these two looks so I’m thinking I just have to throw two parties to put both to the test. Do you you have a favorite??

See the rest of my favorite fall entertaining tips on The Citizenry blog here.

florals by marigold studio / photography by andrea posoadas

This post in partnership with The Citizenry. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations we’re excited about and that keep our doors open!

My appreciation for wine and my love of wine country has been well documented. But it’s rare to find a winery where you not only love the vino, but also get to meet and befriend the people who both grow the grapes & make the wine. It’s even rarer that their winery happens to sit atop one of the most beautiful vistas in all of Northern California wine country.

When those three things combine, you get what I call a little slice of wine country heaven otherwise known as Sophie James.

wine wednesday: meet sophie james on apartment 34wine wednesday: meet sophie james on apartment 34

Sophie James started as a dream in 2011 when founders Sophie & her husband James (pre-marriage and babes) stumbled upon an amazing piece of property atop Sonoma Mountain. While Sophie had long day-dreamed of making wine while she worked as a biochemist, she didn’t necessarily think their dream would become a reality. But after painstakingly organically farming five acres of Pinot Noir grapes over the last six years, Sophie and James released their first vintage of rosé and pinot noir this year.

wine wednesday: meet sophie james on apartment 34wine wednesday: meet sophie james on apartment 34

But I swear their wines taste even better when enjoyed upon the land from which they came. Sophie James has recently offered private vineyard dinners atop their mountain, catered by Michelin-star chefs, complete with the option to glamp overnight in tricked out Shelter Co tents. You can stroll their rolling hilltop property, rosé in hand, enjoying 360 degree views of the Bay Area. On a good day you can see the Pacific Ocean and all the way to San Francisco!

wine wednesday: meet sophie james on apartment 34wine wednesday: meet sophie james on apartment 34wine wednesday: meet sophie james on apartment 34wine wednesday: meet sophie james on apartment 34wine wednesday: meet sophie james on apartment 34wine wednesday: meet sophie james on apartment 34wine wednesday: meet sophie james on apartment 34

But what really sets Sophie James apart is the opportunity to watch a young family realize their dreams (and not just because I might harbor a similar one!). Sophie and James have not only produced delicious wines but also cultivated an amazing community – their Tribe – of passionate wine lovers, but also just really cool people that you actually want to hang out with. Bonus. Every time you visit Sophie James you can see the passion and the joy Sophie and her entire family have poured into making this place come to life.

While the Tribe is currently at capacity, Sophie James will be accepting new members soon so I strongly recommend you get your name on their waitlist right here. Perhaps I’ll see you up on the mountaintop sometime soon!

For more of my wine country favorites, CLICK HERE.

The summer entertaining season is winding down, but that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze one last get together. I’ll take any excuse to get girlfriends together for much needed mama time. You know it’s going to get sparse as we get into fall. So I recently gathered some of my fave bloggers for a little rosé tasting party! It combined all of my loves – designing a gorgeous table, trading blogger (and mama!) tips and sipping on lots of yummy wine of course.

rosé tasting party on apartment 34

To set a stunning scene, I created a relaxed, slightly boho vibe. A simple linen tablecloth, stemless wine glasses and charcuterie boards a plenty.

rosé tasting party on apartment 34rosé tasting party on apartment 34rosé tasting party on apartment 34rosé tasting party on apartment 34

I decided to set this gathering up as a blind rosé tasting. That means you don’t know anything about what you’re drinking. Being a long-time wine geek, I love the process of tasting wine, describing it, comparing one to another and really thinking about what you like or don’t like. It’s a really fun exercise and quite educational if you’re a wine novice. While rosé is often referred to as the pink water of summer, there are actually very good rosés out there. You just have to know what you’re looking for.

rosé tasting party on apartment 34rosé tasting party on apartment 34rosé tasting party on apartment 34rosé tasting party on apartment 34 rosé tasting party on apartment 34  rosé tasting party on apartment 34  rosé tasting party on apartment 34 rosé tasting party on apartment 34  rosé tasting party on apartment 34rosé tasting party on apartment 34 rosé tasting party on apartment 34rosé tasting party on apartment 34 rosé tasting party on apartment 34rosé tasting party on apartment 34   rosé tasting party on apartment 34 rosé tasting party on apartment 34

shop the post: glass plates / notebooks / wine glasses / marble cheese boards / wood cutting boards / glass wine decanter / table throw

Throughout lunch, we sipped on each wine, talking about the flavor profile (fruity or earthy?), how heavy or light the mouth feel felt, how it paired with the food, and debated which wine we thought was the cheapest and which the most expensive. Conversation may have also frequently wandered to toddler tantrums and what the heck is up with the dang Instagram algorithm these days, but we tried to stay focused on the task at hand! Upon the final reveal, we discovered everyone actually liked the mid-tier, $16 bottle of rosé from California best.

All in all, the party was a total success. I was able to design a unique, personally meaningful way to bring friends together. The setting and the fun little activity made what would have otherwise been just any old lunch, feel a little more extraordinary. But in the end, the afternoon wasn’t really about the wine.  It was about the company, the conversation – the bringing together of friends that we’ll all remember.

for more end of summer entertaining ideas, CLICK HERE.

original photography for apartment 34 by stephanie russo, florals by lambert studio 

 

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