PlayCHIC A Night of Play and Fashion That Took Over Chicago

The stunningly beautiful Alhambra Palace in Chicago set the scene for an exotic night of play and fashion, as the third annual PlayCHIC commenced last Thursday night. The sponsors, ever-present Mayfair Games, Rainbow Loom, Women in Toys and Celebrity Name Game set in motion one of the most entertaining fashion shows I’ve ever been to…okay fine. All the fashion shows I’ve been to have been PlayCHIC. One of my favorite annual events.

PlayCHIC 2014

 

 

Michelle Tan – Mayfair Games Villainy

Michelle Tan has been designing the Mayfair styles since PlayCHIC’s inception three years ago, and with Villainy, she really made a splash. Her creations are whimsical, wicked and wonderful and looked great on both the lady and dude models.

Mayfair Games Michelle Tan

On another Mayfair Games note, I got to take a selfie with Mayfair president, Larry Roznai, who was a really cool dude to chat with.

 

Elda Delarosa – Celebrity Name Game

The elegant designs by Elda Delarosa were the start of this celeb-adorned gown. I’m not going to lie, this was probably my least favorite of the designs. It felt uninspired, as if the game was merely sewn onto the dress. I’m no designer, but I like to think that there are other ways to incorporate themes into clothing than sewing photographs to a dress. Sorry guys, you lost me on this one.

Elda Delarosa Celebrity Name Game

Peach Carr – Rainbow Loom

Made with the actual toy, this  Peach Carr original represents Rainbow Loom with a fun two-piece set. The creator of Rainbow Loom was even there wearing the jacket that Jimmy Kimmel wore! Brian would have been impressed. Probably.  My favorite part? The Rainbow Loom poodle. Who wants to make me one of those?

Rainbow Loom - Peach Carr Rainbow Loom

Gibeon Tolbert – Women in Toys

Representing a fantastic group in the toy and game industry, Gibeon Tolbert’s power suit represents everything I want to be in this world. Pink, powerful, stylish and fun. I seriously LOVED this design. Which shouldn’t be a surprise. If we all remember from PlayCHIC 2012, he created my favorite design, the Word Winder tie.

Gibeon Tolbert Women in Toys

 Which design is your favorite? What games or toys would you like to see mashed with fashion?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Wine-Paired Dinner at Seared Petaluma

I’ve been dreaming of wine and cheese lately. I’m not sure why, since I happen to have a pretty decent stockpile of both wine and cheese in my fridge. But it happens.

#PetalumaMade Wine Paired Dinner

 

Remember back in July when I was all over social media with some of my new blogging buddies telling you how fantastic Petaluma, California is? Well, I absolutely HAD to tell you about the wine-paired dinner that we had at Seared. It definitely hit the level of meal-amazingness that our Disney dinner at Cat Cora’s restaurant had.

After a day of boozing and wining through the Petaluma countryside, we made our way back to Seared, a fine dining establishment in downtown Petaluma for dinner. We were greeted by a lovely collection of Petaluma business owners, wine growers and farmers.

Seared Wine Paired Dinner

While the 5-course dinner itself was exquisite, the experience was what truly made this meal magnificent. Brian couldn’t stop bragging about how awesome it was that the chef came out and described each course in detail, followed by a short description of the wines by the wine owners and growers, and in one case, the farmer who raised the quail. It was the ultimate in dining style.

Grilled stone fruit soup

The first course was a stone fruit soup garnished with baby greens, creme fraiche made of Purple Haze (a lavender and fennel pollen chevre goat cheese from Cypress Grove), preserved lemon and black pepper. The flavors melded together perfectly for a phenomenal soup.

Grilled Stone Fruit Soup with Purple Haze Chevre Creme Fraiche

Paired with the soup was Lelarge-Pugeot Champagne, which was represented by the lovely Clémence Lelarge, whose family vineyard produces this delicious Champagne in France.

Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

This course was absolutely delightful and refreshing. Have I told you how much I love arugula? The cucumber was sliced thin, the tomatoes were amazing and the burrata complemented the salad perfectly.

Heirloom tomato and cucumber salad with arugula, burrata and basil vinaigrette

This was my favorite course of liquid joy, featuring the Fogline Vineyards 2013 Chardonnay with a lovely introduction presented by winemaker, Evan Pontoriero. This wine was sunshine in a bottle. Brian and I came home with a few bottles of this brightly flavored wine.

Crudo

This delicious raw dish featured a flavorful albacore and a unique combination of accouterments to create a delicate balance of complementary flavors. Brian (who, as you may remember, despises seafood) and the vegetarians all received a similar dish with a trumpet mushroom instead of the albacore. The culinary geniuses in the kitchen made every effort to accommodate our entire group and all their dietary restrictions.

Crudo with albacore, avocado puree, grapefruit, pickled fennel, breakfast radish and Fresno chili

 

This dish was paired with the La Cruz Vineyard Pinot Noir from Keller Estate, as introduced by the delightful Anna Keller, who I had the pleasure of sitting next to during dinner. I love a good pinot, and this wine was decadent and delicious.

Devil’s Gulch Quail

Our main course was this amazing quail, stuffed with a rib eye chorizo boudin surrounded by a smoked tomato broth and topped with spinach, pine nuts, and golden raisins. After the chef discussed the course, we were treated with a short presentation about the quail and Devil’s Gulch Ranch from owner, Mark Pasternak. As I gently tried not to make an ass of myself, eating the quail with a fork and knife, both Anna and Mark were found teasing me for not just picking it up and going to town like everyone else. I was pretty proud of myself and the fact that not once during this meal did I dribble, spill, spit or splash!

quail, stuffed with a rib eye chorizo boudin surrounded by a smoked tomato broth, spinach, pine nuts, and golden raisins

The quail was paired with that tasty Luma-Rouge from Corkscrew Wines that we sampled earlier in the day at Azari Vineyards. A perfect pairing for a fine meal!

Black Pepper Panna Cotta

I had never consumed panna cotta until this event. I didn’t even know what it was. Cake? Pie? Pastry? Jello? Pudding? It was its own magical sweet dish that made me want to pick up the plate and put tongue to remnants. But I refrained. Because I’m respectable.

Black pepper panna cotta with aztec chocolate and red wine-blackberry compote

 

The panna cotta was finished with Enriquez Vineyards Tempranillo, which was the happy ending of an amazing meal. Cecilia Enriquez, wine owner and maker briefly spoke about the wine, which we had the joy of tasting earlier in the day, and she thanked everyone for their participation in this wonderful trip that was her brain child.

One of the most amazing aspects of this meal was the introductions from the winemakers and owners (and the rancher who supplied the quail!) describing their wines and their stories. This was an experience that could not have been matched, and I can’t wait to visit my friends in Petaluma again soon.

Blog Friends, what’s the best meal you’ve ever had? Have you experienced a wine paired meal? Tell me about it!

 

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Sit at the Bad Girls’ Table and What I Learned About Hot Tea

Not that this should surprise you or anything. I’ve always had a penchant for troublemakers. Even when I was 12-year-old misfit, I knew how to find the most entertaining kids.

So last weekend, when I went to a bridal shower, it was no surprise that I found myself at a table of instigators.

Instigators

And this is how y’all responded

You’ll note that even the bride commented on “guiding us” to a table in the back (near the cupcakes, so we weren’t disappointed or anything).

We were tasked with writing notes to the bride on rocks. I love it when people get all Pinteresty. Of course, we had to steal all of the paint pens from all of the tables, so that we could write simultaneously. This was important business.

It was also important business to steal an extra rock off the only empty seat at our table…and write an additional note. “I wasn’t invited, but thanks for the food!” I truly have fantastic, brilliant and hilarious friends.

This was especially true when someone sat down at the empty seat at our table…and we needed to find a rock for her. The bride’s sister was less than impressed with our mad skill. She was also unwilling to let us sneak the bonus rock onto a different table. I can’t say that I blame her. We weren’t very sneaky.

After a few fart jokes…and a story about peeing…(Remind me to tell you guys that one, because of course, the pee story was MY story.) we got to the nitty gritty of troublemaking.

Because the present-opening part can get…well you know how the present-opening is at showers. We needed to be entertained. And DELICIOUS cupcakes can only hold a table of gals for so long. Especially when there are like…10 more cupcakes without tummies to find a home in. That we couldn’t possibly eat.

I, in an attempt to be sophisticated, ordered tea instead of coffee. They had a great selection of options, but I went with black tea so I could be super fancy and enjoy it Irish-style with milk and sugar.

Another girl at the table ordered an herbal tea, chamomile, I think, so we could be fancy together.

At the arrival of our hot beverages, the other girl thought it would be an excellent idea to also add milk to her tea. Because we were being fancy.

Unfortunately, after adding lemon and sugar and milk to her tea, we discovered that chamomile tea was not so good with milk. In fact…it curdled.

Instead of just…fessing up or ignoring it…we needed to fix the problem. Or at least hide it. Because that shit was nasty. So another girl at the table (the same one who showed up to a place setting without a rock–she was a real sport!) ordered another hot tea to replace the curdled one.

Once it arrived, we played a little game of bait and switch in which we poured the curdled tea into my empty tea pot (I had already refilled my cup), closed the lid and moved the curdled mug to the center of the table. And no one was ever the wiser. Until the teapot got to the dishwasher, I’m sure. Because that shit really was nasty.

2014-02-16 13.40.37 2014-02-16 13.40.10
Of course, we all thought that we had just learned something about tea and milk. Black tea with milk good. White tea with milk bad.

Except that we were wrong.

After some Google research, I learned that the LEMON was the curdling culprit. Not the tea.

Live and learn blog friends!

Are you a troublemaker? Do you find yourself giggling more than anyone else at a bridal shower or baby shower? Tell me about a time you did silly things when you were supposed to be a grown up!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!