Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Greta is Bride to Be!

We celebrated her last couple weeks of being single in Napa wine tasting, eating good food and playing hilarious bridal games.

We began the "wine tasting tour" (by limo, I might add :) at Mumm Napa, one of my old stomping grounds. I used to be able to taste for free being a student at the CIA and I have to say it remains one of my favorite spots! The outside seating is beautiful and looks out to an amazing valley of vines, which are perfect right now being it's right before harvest.

You should swing by Mumm Napa if you're in the area and if you do, take a chance and try their Cuvee Red, it's quite unique and vibrant.

Oh! and don't forget to stop and grab a few out of this world, cheap and delicious carnitas tacos at La Luna Market and Taqueria right down the street!

(diligently filling out our cute little wine tasting booklets)

I couldn't have said it better myself...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quite the Fall Mixer

My Dad knows how to throw a party; He and Andrea truly outdid themselves this time.
A live jazz band, catered dinner, fresh flowers, perfect weather, wonderful friends and family (70+ came!) and lots of delicious red wine...and other beverages, of course -- Have I ever mentioned how big of a wine connoisseur my dad is?

The DD's of the night...I think "cool cats" fits them much better.

I was the first to request champagne...

Check out how HUGE this bottle is!! It was even more crazy how fast it disappeared!

My dad's old high school buddies-- one hilarious group of fellas.

They held a raffle towards the end of the night giving away a great Napa Wine book, a beautiful wooden wine opener and two amazing bottles of wine. I was slightly disappointed I didn't get to snag any tickets!

Cheers to my Dad for making it through one of the hardest years ever. We most definitely will be celebrating this time next year with another fabulous party!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fairwell to Summer of Color

Manhattan Beach...and other Southern California beaches (?) painted their lifeguard towers in funky 80's colors for the summer. It was a pleasant surprise as I stepped onto the lukewarm/turning into fall feeling sand to put my feet in the cool water. My favorite is the bright green one you can hardly see. Will they have a fall painting party soon to make them normal again?

I hope they continue the painting trend into every season :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Eating Crabs like a Marylander

Have you ever eaten soft shell crabs in Maryland?
This is far from your Alaskan king crab leg event out in sunny ole California...this is an experience to be had...

First things first, tables are covered with boards to protect the wood during hammering and layers of newspapers and cut up paper bags are placed on top.

Crabs are then placed in a big pile in the middle of the table for all to grab.

Well hello there, Mr. Crab. These crabs are seasoned heavily with a mixture including lots and lots of Old Bay Spice. In case you were wondering, celery salt is one of the first ingredients. This stuff is seriously intense, making your mouth feel on fire throughout the whole dining experience, which is why you have a beer there to keep you company.

Everyone has their own method of how they choose a crab out of the pile. Annie, Matt's sister, tries to get the heaviest ones since "they are usually denser and more moist." I just tried to pick the ones with the biggest claws...I think I'm forever in the "larger claws=better crabs" mindset from eating all that Dungeoness.

Matt went step by step through how he takes apart his crabs; very methodical and precise. He couldn't figure out why I kept getting shells in my mouth but I think I must have not been following the rules well enough...woops!

It's just common sense that you will drink National Bohemian Beer or "Natty Boh" (originally brewed in Baltimore, MD) with these beauties...

Tearing apart crabs with this much seasoning is a messy experience. Matt's mom was kind enough to lend me one of her work-out shirts so I wouldn't get this stuff all over my white blouse. I know, I know, who wears a white blouse to a crab eating party, right? It won't happen again, cross my heart.

It's a real social event, which is why I think I quite enjoy it. You chat, bang on crab legs, drink beer and have a merry time!

Maddie couldn't exactly join the party, though she probably would have been a fine crab eater.

Thank you Metzbowers for making my first Maryland crab eating experience one of a kind!

For the record, I ate 5 whole crabs! Yowza!

Monday, September 6, 2010

"What! You've never eaten Five Guys?!..."

I'd be lying if I said Five Guys hadn't been built up to the extreme measure before I ate there. After going to culinary school with many east coasters and being friends with one of the most opinionated east coaster EVER, I'd heard about the burger joint that Matt claims, "doesn't compare to In-n-Out." He also states that "In-n-Out is weak and a perfect example of how Californians don't know what real food is." Strong words, right?

I thought so and also knew I had to try it and compare it to my favorite burger place in the entire world.

There is a logical reason I love In-n-Out and that's my obsession with ratios. Not ratios a male would necessarily like, but ones that I do. I enjoy the petite patty, thick piece of lettuce and small, slightly crispy bun sitting atop the perfect amount of secret sauce. I like that the toppings are simple and perfect and their "weird" fries are delightfully crisp if eaten in a reasonable amount of time.

Five Guys is good, real good, but it's different. So different I don't think I want to compare it at all to In-n-Out. Don't get me wrong, Five Guys is definitely "in a class by itself," but I can't say it is better.
The fries are thicker, the normal burger comes with two patties instead of one, there are tons of topping to choose from including sauteed mushrooms and hot sauce and they have peanuts for you to munch on while you wait to remind you about the fries being fried in nothing else but peanut oil. Very manly.

The staff was friendly and the service was prompt at the one we went to in D.C. but after biting into the ginormous burger I did have one small complaint. It was just a tad bit dry and in need of more sauce. Not a huge deal, but something to note. The burger Matt ordered was perfectly sauced but I think it was because it also had cheese and bacon to fill in the gaps where sauce didn't hit...

Matt, the In-n-Out dis-liker in all his glory. Quite the host, I might add.