TRAVEL MORE. That was my main 2019 resolution. It was a wise one, it turns out, as this has been one miserable winter in Chicago! Though we’ve barely entered March, I’ve been out of town more than I’ve been home. In the last four weeks alone I’ve spent long stretches in Colorado, the Keys, and Washington D.C. All regular haunts for me, but OH MY is that about to change.
Next on my dance card is an eight-day trip to Paris! With reservations from fine three-Michelin starred restaurants (Ledoyen, Pré Catelan, Epicure) to cozy tables (Cherche Midi, Septime, Poule au Pot) and a private tour of Versaille, I will no doubt return home with my belly (and suitcase) full and a heart and mind swollen with inspiration. And I can’t wait to share it all with you here!
May will bring an incredibly special and intimate trip to the Netherlands where tours of private art and rare 17th and 18th-century porcelain collections with curators will fill my days, and dinners with collectors and fellow art lovers, my nights. I promise there will be much, much more on this trip to come…
Since I’ve last written here (ages, it feels like), I’ve journaled most every day, recording dishes made, flavor profiles experimented with, and details of dinners out that have blown my mind (Little Serow, I’ll never forget you!). I’ve even picked up my colored pencils and watercolors, sketching favorite ingredients. Sometimes one needs to pull back in order to move forward, and honestly I’ve needed this time of reflection and reassessment.
My most recent trip was to Washington D.C., spending the week with my sister Julia and her two spirited young boys, ages three and almost one. A favorite daytime solo excursion was to the National Gallery where they, it so happens, have an extraordinary collection of 17th century Dutch paintings, including the still life seen above. Every evening Julia and I would enjoy cocktails (she makes a memorable Rye Manhattan) or a great bottle of wine, and on my last night when I returned from the museum, she mixed THE BEST martini I had ever had. Her secret, it turns out, is a much more generous pour of vermouth. No whisper here – the ratio is essentially three parts gin to two parts dry vermouth with a twist of zingy lemon. Rather than being hit over the head with a single spirit, the gin is boosted by the vermouth allowing for a softer, more lush mouth feel.
Julia double strains her martinis. This prevents fine ice shards from falling through the shaker’s holes and into your glass, diluting your cocktail.
- 1-inch strip lemon peel
- 1 3/4 ounces London dry gin
- 1 1/4 ounces dry vermouth
Run strip of lemon zest along rim of a chilled coupe then drop it into glass. Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add gin and vermouth and shake for at least 10 seconds or until shaker feels extremely cold in your hand. Strain through a small, fine sieve into coupe.