February 9, 2016

The Black Love Experience Curators Dinner Party @ Nubian Hueman

In my recent Simone Digital article I talked about challenging myself (read: more like doing the most). And this dinner was no different. It was really a pleasure to work with Anika, the owner of Nubian Hueman, and build the concept and menu for this event!

The Concept

Vibrant, elegant, and communal. The dinner was held in honor of all the artists and curators who helped to bring together the Black Love Experience at the Anacostia Art Center. Not only to thank them, but to bring them together. In my mind a family style dinner was the way to go. I wanted it to be dimly lit, bright in color, and sexy. Deciding how you want your guest to feel during and after your dinner is a great place to start. That will help you narrow down lighting options and color palette.

Table Decor
When I began concepting, I became obsessed with matte black plates for the table. I’m pretty obsessed with the matte black plate set that we ended up using from Ikea. They are super elegant and a deviation from most of the table decor that I’ve seen on the interwebs. They also felt like the right mix of formality and familiarity for this particular event. From there I brought in woven place mats also from Ikea to bring in a natural element to the table. Like layering flavor in food, it’s important to layer when it comes to table decor. I focused mostly on texture and color for this design.

For the table instead of flowers I used fresh fruit in vibrant colors to add an additional layer of color and texture. This is a great option if you do not have budget for fresh flowers. And I have to have some foliage on the table. Eucalyptus around the center of the table added the greenery that I needed and also hid the battery pack for the lights. I added the lights to bring a little more drama and add literal and figurative brightness.

I borrowed the serving dishes from a friend (thanks Avis!) who procured them from all over the world. Added a few tea lights, because everything looks better candle lit.

The Food
I had lots of ideas, but function was definitely something that I considered because I knew that what I cooked in my home needed to be transported to the venue, heated up there (without overcooking), and was going to be passed around the table family style. I went very rustic, herby, comforting, and bright. (Per the usual)

Dinner Menu
  • Herb Roasted Lemon Chicken
  • Slow Roasted Almond & Herb Crusted Salmon - recipe soon come 
  • Creamy Sweet Potato Rice 
  • Roasted Root Veggies w/ Balsamic Kale
  • Hazelnut Pear Winter Salad

Bourbon Pears & Vanilla Ice Cream - recipe soon come

The Drank! & Cocktail Hour Snacks
Recently I had a drink with gin that was infused with earl grey tea and it felt like it was good for me. It felt like I should be drinking more than one. That is the feeling that I was going for with this drink. Since the food was herby I wanted to carry that into the drink. You can always count on me for a number of things. At the top of the list is getting folk drunk! We also had red and white wine.

I pulled together fruit (apple, pear, grapes), nuts, almonds and cheese (brie and champagne cheddar) for the cocktail hour. Cocktail hour is a good look because it gives the host time to finish things up and gives late guests time arrive before dinner. I find that brie, some kind of cheddar, and goat or blue cheese are the best options for a larger group where you are unsure of everyones taste.

Signature Cocktail: Winter Love - Recipe Soon Come
  • Cranberry Purée
  • Thyme Simple Syrup
  • Fresh Ginger Juice
  • Bourbon
  • Tonic

Simone Digital Article: How To Find A Good Therapist And Get The Most Out Your Sessions

So I wrote an article about...(ahem) therapy.  More specifically why I decided to go and a few things that I've learned during the process. It's live now on Simone Digital, check it:
Right now I’m listening to my last session on my phone. I’m half smiling half frowning. It’s weird to hear my own voice and I feel slightly nervous or maybe embarrassed about the story that I’m telling my therapist. I start by running through all of the things that I signed myself up for in January, including writing this column. I start talking about a dream I had about someone who really hurt me. I’m chuckling as I read the notes the I wrote down when I was experiencing it all. 
It feels heavy and why am I laughing? In addition to my day job I have a slew of very time consuming projects that I’m working on executing in January. Who the fuck do I think I am? I ask myself this regularly, actually. But Let me back up. Why the hell am I here?
Read the rest on Simone Digital

November 27, 2015

Holiday & Dinner Wine Guide

Ian has ruined me! Feeding me all types of wine and champ that I can’t afford and now my bougie taste buds can’t enjoy the cheap stuff like I used to. Just for you I went through the ruling process of tasting all these delicious wines and discussing flavor profiles, food pairings, wine tips and much more with Ian.


Non-Vintage Trevisiol Extra Dry Prosecco
Veneto, Italy | $16

WINE TIP: Buy two bottles of this, one for before dinner one for a gift.

Non-Vintage A.R. Lenoble Grand Cru Rose Champagne
Champagne, France | $58

Ask for grower produced


2013 Chateau Bianca Riesling
Willamette Valley, Oregon | $17

WINE TIP: Off dry is more palatable

2012 Smith-Madrone Estate Riesling
Napa Valley, California | $36


Lone Birch Syrah
Washington State | $15-20

2012 Navarro Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, California | $38

WINE TIP: Spend AT LEAST $20 on Pinot

November 5, 2015

Chocolate Bourbon Hot Chocolate

I tried. I really did. I do not buy any junk food to keep in my house, because I will EAT IT ALL, most likely in one sitting. I know I’m a freak of nature. A few nights ago I had a very strong craving for something sweet. Me being who I am, I destroyed my cabinets searching for something to munch on. I had a half bag of semi sweet chocolate chips. Das it! I decided against eating them out the bag and this recipe was born!

Here’s what you'll need:
  • 12 ounces goats milk 
  • 4 ounces half and half or heavy cream 
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 shot of chocolate bourbon 
  • Marshmallows 
Heat the milk and cream, don't boil it! Add the cocoa powder and mix until combined. Add half the chocolate chips and stir until fully melted and incorporated. Taste for sweetness/chocolatetiness and add the rest of the chocolate chips. Stir until everything is combined. At this point add sugar if you want it to be sweeter. Pour it up, pour it up and you're done!

OR you can add a shot of bourbon or marshmallow rum. And of course you have to add marshmallows on top! So good.

Rosemary Tea Latte

When I saw this drink on a coffee shop menu when I was in Atlanta I was immediately excited. I’m actually pretty mad at myself for taking a year to recreate this tea. Fresh herbs make everything better.

I bought the milk frother from IKEA for really cheap. If you enjoy a latte it is worth it to get one, and it does not take too much time at all to froth milk. An even simpler way to heat and froth would be to use the microwave to heat the milk in a mug, if you don't want to go the stove top route.

Here is what you’ll need:
  • 1 Earl Grey Tea Bag
  • 2 Two Sprigs of Rosemary
  • Milk 
  • Honey
Slowly heat the milk, being careful not to let it boil. You do not want to change the consistency of the milk. Add boiled water and the tea bag to your favorite large mug. Massage two sprigs of rosemary and add to the cup. Sweeten tea with honey. Cover with a plate to steep for 3-5 minutes. Froth the milk until it doubles in volume. Add as much milk and froth as you like.

If you're fancy add a sprig of rosemary for garnish.
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