September may technically be the end of summer in other parts of the country, but it kinda feels like we’re still right in the middle of it here in Los Angeles! Dan’s cocktail menu featured seasonal ingredients, starting off with a simple and refreshing gin cocktail called the Pipe Dream with watermelon and mint. Next was the Sinker, which always tends to convert people who think they don’t like Scotch into loving Scotch. And lastly, the Grand Canal, a stirred drink with rye, cardamaro, cucumber, and an absinthe rinse. Cardamaro is an amaro flavored with cardoon, a thistle like plant in the same family as an artichoke. Chef Frank Anderson (and Rebecca Ambrosi!) joined us again and really pulled out all the stops. The beef tartare with quail egg was my favorite. Hello. Also, how pretty are those little quail egg shells? Next month will be our one year anniversary of The Whaling Club! We love hosting and sharing cocktails–it always feels celebratory! Dan and I were just talking about when we sent out the first invite–we were so worried no one would come! Thank you to all who have supported this adventure over the last year and attended TWC.
I was thrilled (like really really pumped!!) to have my photo on Bon Appetit last week! You may remember this shoot I did for Allumette a while back? Special thanks to my friend, Hannah, for referring me. And congrats to all the nominees!
p.s. You may remember another restaurant near and dear to my heart who made the top ten list a few years ago.
When Dan and I were in Mexico last month we picked up a few bottles of Havana Club rum for a very special Whaling Club. Havana Club is an awesome Cuban rum that you can’t buy in the United States. Chef Frank Anderson joined us again with adorable and delicious Cuban sandwiches (I had three, no big deal) and Dan’s cocktails were the perfect way to celebrate the last month of summer. He started everyone off with a classic shaken Pineapple Daiquiri followed by a gorgeous Queen’s Park Swizzle over crushed iced. He finished with an Old Havana, which I think was many guest’s first stirred rum cocktail. We had all new-to-whaling-club guests, and it was such a pleasure meeting everyone and enjoying cocktails together! I have a feeling they won’t be first timers for long.
Dan and I spent a week of July in the Riviera Maya (south of Cancun) celebrating his parents’ 30th wedding anniversary! We all stayed at a massive resort with multiple pools, beach access, and a ton of restaurants. His parents renewed their vows on the beach on their actual anniversary in a very intimate and touching ceremony. Dan wrote and played a song about his parents’ last 30 years, including memories of when he and his brothers were little. Needless to say I think we all shed a tear! One of my favorite days of the trip was spent in Tulum. We visited the Tulum Ruins, and then walked down to the most gorgeous beach–such rich blue water and soft white sand.Dan and I stayed the rest of the day, and made our way down to Hartwood for dinner, which had been highly recommended by friends. It’s located on a beach road on what they call the “jungle side” (meaning not the beach side). Tulum definitely has an eclectic bohemian vibe going on, and we stopped for a cocktail at Casa Jaguar while we waited for Hartwood to open. We were blown away by the food and atmosphere at Hartwood! If you ever find yourself in Tulum, it’s a must. Their only source of cooking is a wood burning oven and open grill, and the dining is completely open air. We had a whole roasted snapper and pork ribs to die for. After dinner we sat in a couple of chairs on the perimeter and enjoyed a few more daiquiris while watching the restaurant fill up with people and the sun go down. I know I’ll always remember that evening with Dan, and it’s fun that we can look back and know it was during our engagement, which is its own special time in life. We were sweaty and salty from the day (we stealthily had changed out of our bathing suits on the side of the road just a few hours earlier), but we were full and very happy.
Three of my best gfs are getting married over the next three months, and June was the month of bachelorette celebrations! We kicked if off in Vegas for Sally and Amy‘s joint party at the Cosmopolitan, and finished it off at the Trump Soho for Kristi in NYC. What can I say? We fancy. I grew up with these girls, and it was such a treat to have our big group of friends from across the country all together TWICE in one month. I didn’t bring my camera to Vegas, but I did snap this amazing view of the strip from our balcony on my iphone. Then I fly to NYC a week later, and this is the view from our room at the Trump Soho! I couldn’t get over it. I was obsessed with spotting all the secret rooftop gardens. Staying in Soho felt like such a luxury–obviously a favorite neighborhood, and so wonderful to be able to walk everywhere from our hotel. ^The bachelorette, Kristi, her sister-in-law, and sister. ^Fun to see citi bikes all over! ^Brunch on the roof of Hotel Chantelle was so festive. They had 92 cent cocktails and half way through our meal an amazing jazz band started up! I loved the vibe (and the food) there. ^They had bocce ball by the pool. Why are things on rooftops more fun than on the ground? Congrats to all my brides-to-be! I love you girls.
I’m thrilled to share these photos! I had such a wonderful time shooting some of Allumette‘s gorgeous dishes and drinks. Chef Miles Thompson’s plating is such a treat to photograph, as is capturing Serena in action behind the bar. These images really speak for themselves.Allumette | Echo Park Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Thank you to all who joined us in May for The Whaling Club! Dan’s tequila cocktails were, once again, a total hit. The Cherry Caipirita was refreshing and beautiful. I loved photographing it on our porch as much as I loved drinking it. A classic La Paloma followed, and Dan revealed that rather than salt the rim, he took the advice of a well known bartender and threw a pinch of salt right in the drink. The final drink was the Rio Bravo which, as one of our guests wrote to us, was “a real eye-opener in terms of the range of such a spirit in more ‘classic’ cocktails that are typically associated with different liquors.” Special thanks to Free Range for helping us celebrate the beginning of summer at The Whaling Club!Follow us on instagram @thewhalingclub, and check out some recent features on InsideHook, Details Style Network, and Rundown LA!
Logo and artwork by Sarah Mullin for The Whaling Club.
After a a few days in NYC, my parents and I drove out to New Canaan, CT to spend time with my Grandmom and see my aunt and uncle. I’ve always loved my Grandmom’s house. I remember swinging in the yellow plastic swing that used to be in the backyard, and feeling a little crushed when I returned and it had been taken down. I traveled and flew by myself on a plane for the first time going to visit my Grandmom. It was around Easter, and she left candy under my pillow every night before I went to bed–like the chocolate coconut nests with candy eggs in the middle? And we took the train to NYC and went on a tour of Radio City Hall, and I was soooo excited to meet a real Rockette! I got my first and only lava lamp for Christmas in that house, and broke a ceramic duck by accident and sobbed in that house, and got ready with my Aunt Amy in that house before her wedding. Basically, it’s a really special place. And so is the lady who lives there 🙂 I love all the ’60s style–like that green carpet! After a few days of relaxing and shopping at the New Canaan J.Crew (major sale and way better selection than most), I went back to the city for a night out with friends. Dinner at The Meatball Shop was followed by dive drinks with some of the most special people EVER, and the night ended with a giant slice of Artichoke pizza in the East Village. It was perfect. Literally my heart swells for all my friends who came out that night. Reunited and it FELT SO GOOD. Really just the most delightful and loving people. Also, fake eyelashes happened (thank you, Danny). The next morning, Dan’s parents, my parents, and Willyman all met us at Walter Foods for a big family brunch to celebrate our engagement! I was exhausted when I got back to LA, but so so happy. AND I was upgraded to business class on the flight home. So, yeah, that didn’t suck. See you soon, New York!
I hadn’t been to NYC in a year and it felt so good! That may not seem like a long time, but I used to visit pretty much every other month when Dan and I were long distance, so I got used to seeing all my east coast friends more regularly. The trip was planned to see my brother’s grad school showcase. He’s a composer in NYU Tisch’s Musical Theatre Writing grad program, and he’s spent the last year working on a musical with his writing partner. I had heard bits and pieces of the process from my brother and via my mom, and I’m so thrilled I was there with my parents to see his gorgeous work. Communicating how people feel and love with humor through music is so mature and wise. AND he’s only 25!! The audience was clearly moved by his show, and I couldn’t have been more proud to be his sister. I’m always in awe.I dragged my family all over downtown for dinner and cocktails. Freemans is a favorite spot that Dan and I fell in love with on an impromptu date years ago in NYC. I love how each room is different, and it always feels comforting and hip. Mission Chinese totally lived up to all the awesome things I had heard! The front looks like a classic, hole in the wall, Chinese joint, but in the back is a full restaurant. Flavor explosion! My friend Aubrey (we worked together at Son of a Gun in LA) is the manager there. It was such a delight to see him, and we tried so many yummy dishes including the thrice cooked bacon with rice cakes, and super spicy chonqing chicken wings. I was so full, but I couldn’t stop eating. Then we all walked down to Painkiller, a tiki bar on the LES. My mom was ready to kill me when we showed up to an unmarked door with only a bouncer. Sorry, Mom!How gorgeous are all those blooming trees? I had the most delightful coffee catch up with my dear friend, Jeremy, in the West Village before heading back up to see a matinee of Matilda. I adored the show! The kids in the show were incredible, so committed and strong. Super funny. Amazing, so far, right? And that’s only half way through! Part 2 coming up.
As someone who often reminisces about being a kid and the ease of childhood, there are a few great things (besides discovering wine and coffee) about being an adult. One of those things is dinner parties. Especially when it’s a Decadent Dinner hosted by our friends Jay and Hannah in their gorgeous new home, and Hannah is killing it with dishes like scallop and foie gras carpaccio, bone marrow risotto, and crack pie. Yup, CRACK PIE. Did I mention one my favorite desserts of all time is Momofuku’s Crack Pie? Okay, now you know. I always accept payment in the form of crack pie. K, thanks, bye. Also, there are no pictures of the crack pie because I ate mine before I remembered to take a photo. The Whaling Club joined in the fun, and Dan put together a delicious bourbon and rum punch with a hand cut ice block to get the party started as guests arrived and sat down to dinner. It’s always a delight to be surrounded by new and old friends who appreciate cooking, food, and cocktails. You know you’ve really hit the jackpot when someone pulls out a bottle of Fernet Branca at the end. Props to Will for that one!Thank you so much to Jay and Hannah for having us! And now that summer has hit LA, I’m looking forward to BBQs, beach lounging, and shaken mint daquiris. What are you most looking forward to this summer?