the whaling club VI

menu danfrank menuSince April is the beginning of Spring, Dan chose cocktails that highlighted floral and fresh notes for The Whaling Club this month. The Croquet Cup was the perfect easy drinking cocktail to start the night with mint, cucumber, and Pimm’s No. 1. Plus, it’s gorgeous to look at. The Royal Daiquiri featured creme de violette, which is floral in taste and color. And the grapefruit and Peychaud’s bitters in an otherwise classic gin rickey added just the right about of bitterness and rounded out the drink. It was my favorite blush color and looked beautiful over Dan’s hand cut ice spears.IMG_6755IMG_6767IMG_6778IMG_6782Chef Frank Anderson killed it again by shucking oysters, and brought it to the next level with chilled mussels, aioli, and breadcrumbs. Addictive! I love how Frank prepped three mussels (and oysters) for us to cheers to before everyone arrived (he also saved me a few oysters for the end–what a guy). IMG_6740IMG_6783IMG_6761IMG_6759Such a fun a night! We loved having a bunch of new guests, and celebrating the simple but perfect things we love about The Whaling Club. How awesome is that whale? We found it at New Stone Age and knew we had it to have it for the bar! It lives on our mantel in between. And did you catch us on Eater LA? So cool! Special thanks to Kat Odell for that! IMG_6770IMG_6772IMG_6775-2IMG_6776IMG_6765IMG_6786IMG_6787To join our mailing list and receive invites for future events, email reservations@thewhalingclub.com.

The Whaling Club on Instagram.

(Menu logo and artwork by Sarah Mullin.)

meatballs

When we lived in New York City, The Meatball Shop was one of our favorite restaurants. Dan and I ate there together for the first time at Stanton Street, and I have a very fond memory of dinner there with my friends and brother before the Astoria Boulevard (Dan’s band) album release party. Dan met friends (including my brother) at the Williamsburg location the night before he moved to Los Angeles almost a year ago. So, needless to say, it’s a special place. The Meatball Shop serves all different kinds of meatballs, in all different ways. They give you a laminated menu and dry erase marker, and you fill out what kind of meatball you want and how you want them served. My favorite is “Everything But the Kitchen Sink” – three balls served over veggies and your choice of sauce. They don’t take reservations and there is usually wait, but aren’t those usually the places worth waiting for? And if you’re waiting at the Brooklyn location, scoot down the street to Maison Premiere for pre-dinner oysters and cocktails.7e5f4cc88f9101f2986aaf3b67609f4b For Christmas, we received The Meatball Shop Cookbook, and meatballs have become a staple in our kitchen (thanks to chef Dan). The book looks good. The photography by John Kernick reflects how yummy this food tastes, and the overall design and writing is comforting and cool. Dan picked me up from the airport in Los Angeles after I’d been home to Chicago for Christmas. When we got back to our apartment, there was a meatball feast waiting for me! Recently, Dan was inspired to make taco meatballs by adding taco seasoning and cheddar cheese. Soooo good!IMG_0210IMG_4151IMG_3210(Second photo from Pinterest and third photo from The Meatball Shop)

chili

chili blockI know chili is supposed to be one of those comforting dishes on a cold winter night, but truth be told, Dan and I are pretty much always in the mood for chili. Dan gets so happy when he walks in and the apartment smells like chili. I hear the door open, and in the exact same surprised inflection he goes, “Mmmmm! It smells good in here.” It’s a special happy tone reserved only for chili. It doesn’t matter if there is a candle burning, chili smell trumps ALL smells. My mom made this same recipe for my family when I was growing up, and the best part about it is that it’s easy and doesn’t have to be super precise. So feel free to be a little inventive and throw in some beer, horseradish, jalapeno or cocoa. Or if you’re like me, stick to the basics which you’ll quickly be able to cook from memory. I always add a little extra chili powder, cumin, and salt. I also usually find that two cans of beans is enough. Dan tops his with a lot of cheddar cheese, and I throw in slices or diced up avocado if we have it.

1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 green peppers, or a mix of red and green.  Hot peppers can be used.
2 minced cloves garlic
1 pound lean ground beef
1 28 oz. can diced or chopped tomatoes (fire roasted tomatoes can be used).
1 T. chili powder, or more to taste
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. salt
1 T. worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder or square of unsweeted baking chocolate (optional)
2-3 cans of beans–I use a mix of black beans, garbanzos/chick peas, or kidney beans–drained of liquid

1. In a deep pot, brown the ground beef and pour off any juices/fat. Set the meat aside.

2. In the same pot, brown the onion, garlic until they are softened. Add the peppers and continue to cook until they wilt slightly but still have some crispness. As they cook, add the chili powder, cumin, and salt.

3. Return the meat to the pot, stirring it into the softened vegetables.  Add the canned tomatoes, and worcestershire sauce if using.  Allow the mixture to cook for at least half an hour, or up to an hour.  Toward the end of the cooking time, add the optional chocolate or cocoa.  This will lend a deeper color and texture to the chili. If the chili seems too thick as it is cooking, small amount of water can be added as it simmers.

4. At least ten minutes before serving, add the beans to the meat mixture, stir well, and allow the beans to heat through. You don’t want to cook canned beans for too long or they will become mushy.

(Photos from Bev CooksGimme Some OvenKayln’s Kitchen, the Kitchn via Pinterest)

the whaling club V

three cocktailslogomenuGin! Oysters! Yum! Chef Frank Anderson joined us at The Whaling Club this month, shucking Buckley Bay oysters alongside Dan’s gin cocktails. We set Frank up in the kitchen with Dan, and guests could pass by and kick back an oyster while watching the two in action. They work together at Son of a Gun restaurant, Dan in the front of house and Frank running the back of house, so it was fun seeing them side by side doing their thing. It’s so interesting to observe how everyone eats their oysters! I love just mignonette on mine, Frank recommends lemon and little horseradish, and our friend Noah likes a little bit of everything. Our friend, Mesch, tried his very first oyster and loved it! How do you like yours?IMG_6094double fruitIMG_6108IMG_6112IMG_6113IMG_6129Dan’s drinks were spot on. The Southside Royale served in a coupe felt like a celebratory way to kick off the evening. The Nagami Swizzle was such a gorgeous looking drink with layers of color and the pop of kumquat on the top. But the White Negroni was definitely a (surprise) favorite of the night. If you’re not familiar with Suze, it’s a French, bitter apertif that’s a little bit sweet and herbal. Dan hand cut all the ice used for serving and shaking.IMG_6123IMG_6135IMG_6179guests verticalIMG_6137friends horizontalIMG_6160As always, guests were given their own copy of the menu to take home, with Sarah Mullin’s perfect drawings and logo design. I wanted to reach through my computer and squeeze that oyster drawing it was so adorably accurate. Thank you to all our stylish and festive guests who joined us! If you’d like to be added to our mailing and invite list, comment below or shoot us an email at reservations@thewhalingclub.com.IMG_6145IMG_6147IMG_6150Special thanks to Pour Vous for the crushed ice!

the whaling club IV

three-cocktailslogomenuThis was possibly my favorite Whaling Club yet (although I’m sure I say that every time)! We had a really special mix of people who’ve joined us before (thank you!!), as well as new faces. Dan and I were talking about the night a few days later, and he said this thing that I’ve been thinking about ever since: he analyzes and rethinks the cocktail menu over and over, so that the people drinking the cocktails don’t have to. I thought that was such a perfect way of describing what we hope to create with The Whaling Club; an evening with cocktails that are simple, delicious, but executed as perfectly as possible. And, hey, I certainly don’t complain about being a taste tester along the way.dan-bar-doubleIMG_3145IMG_3141IMG_3157fizz-matt-doubleThere was a touch of romance in the air, and we tried to embrace a little bit of that in our photo booth, flowers, and cocktail selection. Sarah Mullin’s drawings for the menu were incredible and detailed as always, and my two best friends flew in Manhattan for the weekend and got to experience their very first Whaling Club.IMG_3113IMG_3146frank-kitchen-doubleIMG_3168IMG_3202manhattan-doubleIMG_3198girls-group-doubleNext month is sure to be extra special (hint: oysters…Frank Anderson…), so if you’re not on our mailing list and would like to receive invites, comment below or send an email to reservations@thewhalingclub.com.girls-three-pbIMG_1513brian-jackie-doubletiy

the whaling club III

logomenuthree-cocktailsThank you to all who came out for the third installment of The Whaling Club over the weekend! I was having such a chatty time with everyone I forgot to take any candid photos. Luckily we had another photo booth set up to look over the day after and remember all the fun we had. Dan’s “sparkling” menu was a nod to the New Year, so we started off with the Saint Hilaire. The Silver Barbados Fizz was shaken with an egg white (I thought Dan’s arms were going to fall off!). Dan told me that people used to go to their local pharmacy and drink a fizz as a medicinal breakfast cocktail–pretty sure the only healthy part of that drink is the egg white! Once again, Dan hand cut the ice for the Northside Special in spears from a 25 pound block of ice, and we sipped through metal straws that keep your drink cold until it touches your tongue. We’re already brainstorming for next month… If you’d like to be added to the invite list, please email reservations@thewhalingclub.com.IMG_0957IMG_0951IMG_0941Kaelin+MeschdoubleBaily+MichaelthreeBrian+JackieAllison+MiguelIMG_1016IMG_1076Jacob+BrianIMG_1040natalie+emily+carlyIMG_1109Jackie+MattIMG_1084Matt+EmilyIMG_1100IMG_1088Thanks again to Sarah Mullin for her perfect artwork on the menu! You can see previous posts about The Whaling Club here and here.

merry merry!

merrymerryI’m on the plane headed back to Los Angeles after a luxurious trip back to Chicago. I’m always emotional saying goodbye to my family, but I am really excited to see Dan, and my Grandmom is sitting next to me! She’s coming out to stay with my Aunt Amy and Uncle Peter who live in LA too. The week home was very relaxing. I slept in every day, wore my pajamas until the afternoon, and ate my parent’s amazing cooking. I meant to take even more pictures, but I was having so much fun I just wanted to be there enjoying the moment. You can see more on my Instagram.IMG_0151^traditional English trifle with homemade custard and sherryIMG_0157IMG_0164IMG_0162IMG_0161IMG_0169^we managed to use this twice this season!IMG_0172^I got this cheese slate for my parents last ChristmasIMG_0175^Bouche de Noel (Yule Log)

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

the whaling club II

logomenuDan and I hosted a second round of The Whaling Club last weekend, and had such a wonderful time! Thank you so much to everyone who joined us. It was on a rainy Sunday this time, and felt very intimate and cozy. Dan’s mulled wine was a favorite for sure. All the artwork was created by Sarah Mullin for the The Whaling Club (she’s amazing, right!?). I created a backdrop of streamers and set up a photo booth. Dan and I loved looking through these photos the next morning! IMG_9695IMG_9698IMG_9699double-photoIMG_9730whitneyandandyIMG_9710dancocktailIf you’d like to be added to our email list, please send an email to reservations@thewhalingclub.com, and look out for our January date!

thanksgiving

IMG_9437IMG_9449My parents and brother came to LA this year for Thanksgiving. My mom did an amazing job of trying to recreate our traditional Thanksgiving at home in Lake Bluff at our apartment in Los Angeles. And I think we were pretty successful! Some things were perfectly the same; my dad’s homemade pies, my mom’s cooking, the “kids” watching the parade on TV. And some things were new; Dan’s awesome Thanksgiving cocktail menu, Dan and I doing the dishes, Willy falling asleep before pie (that jet lag will get ya). I did all the shopping before they arrived, including some cookware we didn’t have, and my parents brought a few key things like pie weights and a turkey thermometer. The day was so fun and cozy. IMG_9463IMG_9479IMG_9443IMG_9480dancocktailIMG_9471IMG_9487IMG_9497How cute are those turkey tea lights?? I loved having everyone in our apartment and eating on our new dining room table. On Friday we went to LACMA and saw the Stanley Kubrick exhibit among others, and they came to see my play. That weekend flew by! Thank goodness Christmas is right around the corner, and I’ll get to see everyone again. I’m also happy Dan and I spent Thanksgiving together, since we’re each going home for Christmas.IMG_9503IMG_9506IMG_9520IMG_9522family

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food? Mine is a perfect bite of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. We still have an extra bag of stuffing in the cabinet…I’m afraid to make it because I know I’ll eat it all in one day!

wood & vine

I had the pleasure of shooting some delicious photos for Wood & Vine a few weeks ago. I had never been there before, and was so surprised to find a big, open air patio in the back! From the street it looks like a smaller, dimly lit space. Once you step inside there’s a long bar, a second level of seating that looks out over the restaurant, and that lovely patio. The patio is incased by tall buildings (feels very NYC) so it feels both cozy and spacious. I can’t wait to go back asap and feast! That gnocchi doesn’t stand a chance!Right across the street is the Pantages Theatre, where Book of Mormon is currently running for a couple more weeks. Our friend Doug is in the show, and we scored lottery tickets. I definitely recommend trying for the lottery (the run is sold out). Even if you don’t win, you can have dinner at Wood & Vine! And if you DO win–both!