Washington Prime :: SoNo's newest restaurant to grace the waterfront is a little bit surf and a little bit turf

At the corner of Washington and Water Streets, in the heart of South Norwalk, a new restaurant graces the waterfront with its presence. In an area that has been described as "hipster meets historic," Washington Prime is the collective vision of restaurateurs Rob Moss and Marco Siguenza. Steering the ship, Executive Chef Jared Falco, creates a menu that is collective, creative and inspirational. Don't let the name fool you, Washington Prime is as much surf as it is turf - offering something for every discernible palate. 

The interior has that industrial feel so often seen in the area that is combined with an element that is both warm and inviting. The high ceilings give the restaurant a spacious feel while the warm woods and moss covered walls and booths lend themselves to create a warm and nature-like ambiance which seems to echo the popular trend of bringing the outside in. A large U-shaped bar takes center stage and you are invited to try one of their specialty cocktails. From there meander over to the tables that are lined up along floor to ceiling windows, offering great natural lighting a panoramic view of the harbor. Outside, plenty of comfortable seating awaits those wishing for a more relaxed setting. 

I had the privilege of attending a special blogger/press dinner last week where I was able to sample a wide array of items on the menu. We started off with the Seafood Tower which consists of colossal shrimp, little necks, Alaskan king crab legs, and Maine lobster served with a spicy mustard sauce, house made cocktail sauce and a classic mignonette. The serving was generous - The seafood, sweet, tender and fresh. I had to pace myself and save room for all the food yet to come. I could have easily feasted on this and made it my dinner. 

Next we moved on to the Small Plates where we delighted in Falco's version of Poutine. Here oxtail ragu, cheese curds and green onion sit on top a generous serving of French Fries. This fun and hash-like creation - a twist of your basic meat and potatoes -  is comfort food at its best. This is like a grown up, hipper version of the chili cheese fries. The meat is saturated with intense flavor that seem to infiltrate the fries without overwhelming them. This is not a dieter's delight... but it certainly is delightful!

Next we moved on to the Wings. Fried chicken wings served with a kimchi sauce, scallions, soy and chili. Ordinarily wings are not something I would order, but I found the description to be intriguing and the presentation to be very palatable. I took a bite - These wings were different - so very different. Jared's twist, playfulness and creativity shines through here as well. The spice is just enough so as not to overwhelm. The heat is strong enough to be present but not so much as to overwhelm. The flavors marry beautifully. Both wings fans and non wings fan will enjoy this dish.

Next we had Jared's take on the deviled egg - These certainly ain't your grandma's deviled eggs. The intensely smooth and creamy yolk is topped off with a prime meatball, chicken fried bacon, pickled onions and the foie gras powder. The pickled onions added the perfect acidic contrast to the creamy yolk.

For the seafood lover, Knuckle and Claw is a decadent treat with sweet lobster meat over blue corn grits, lobster sauce and tobiko.

I've been on an octopus kick lately and if you happen to love Octopus this is a dish you simply must try. Share it with a friend - or keep it all to yourself.... that would be my choice! The perfectly charred octopus is tender and sweet. (If you equate octopus with something chewy and rubbery, you've not had it cooked properly.) Served with pickled peppers that give this dish the perfect amount of heat, duck fat marbled potatoes that simply melt in your mouth served over a pepper emulsion, this dish knocks it off the charts. I think we all felt the same way about this dish. I wonder if Chef Jared Falco would make this as an entrée for me?

From the octopus we dug right into the Burrata. Again, Jared defies the ordinary - no tomato, no olive oil, vinegar and basil with this burrata. Instead we have a creamy slaw, an aoili that is reminiscent of a traditional Russian Dressing that is topped with sesame seeds and served over a slice of toasted pretzel bread. The creaminess of the buratta lends itself perfectly to the slaw and the aioli - Again, a perfect example of creativity and innovation.

You've had one Chop Chop Salad, you've had them all, right? Here the finely chopped provolone and salami, together with the onion, carrot, red bell peppers, iceberg and romaine and creamy red wine vinaigrette have a very anti-pasta like quality. This salad is hearty and would make a perfect lunch eaten on its own. Dare I say it's a guy's kind of a salad?

The Iceberg Wedge has been given a mini modern twist. Served with pickled heirloom tomatoes, ewes blue cheese - creamy and mild - bacon, which is not really bacon at all, but an incredibly crispy, smoky pork belly. The house dressing is soft and mellow, without the acrid bite that so many blues tend to have. This version seems to have a lighter fresher feel to the iceberg wedges traditionally served at steak houses.

And now on to the entrees.We sampled filet mignon, ribeye and a porterhouse steak. Each was perfectly cooked - a well seasoned, seared crust sealed in all the flavors and juices. The steaks were tender to cut, completely eliminating the need for any steak knife. The meats were buttery and soft, each with a deep and intense flavor. Meat lovers and fussy meat eaters alike will delight in these steaks.

The scallops are served with corn relish, Nicoise olives and hunter's sauce over midlins. The flavors play beautifully together, and once again Chef Jared Falco adds a creative and modern twist to a classic dish, giving it a fresher feel. The scallops were perfectly seared on the outside and seemed almost butter-like as I bit into it.

The grouper, not pictured, was ternder and flaky, served over Carolina gold rice, tomatoes, asparagus and drizzled in a sweet carrot butter sauce. A nice lighter alternative.

If you have the room and can at all stand it, the desserts at Washington Prime are equally as fabulous. The key lime pie, not exactly, light does offer a refreshing mild key lime flavor a perfect palate tamer. 

This chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich is served up with a twist, a Fruity Pebbles milk reduction. Being the purist I am, I had to keep the Fruity Pebble concoction away from my chip-which.

Bombastic! Perhaps my favorite of all... the Ice cream bomb with chocolate and vanilla ice cream over a chocolate crust, buried beneath a deep chocolate and caramel coating. I may have to return just for dessert...

Cheesecake lovers will not be disappointed with this New York cheesecake. My suggestion, go to Washington Prime with a group of friends, order a lot and share it all - that includes, of course, all the desserts!

Pictured above: Chef Jared Falco and Marco Siguenza, co-Owner

Run (or swim) on over to Washington Prime. You'll not be disappointed. For more information, please visit their Website.

*All photos are property of Jessica Gordon Ryan and The Entertaining House. Re-use only with permission and proper attribution.

People who love to eat are always the best people :: Happy Birthday Julia!

Long before Giada, Ina, and Nigella there was Julia. She needed just one name, for people knew who Julia was. Her television career commenced before I was born, but it was a long career and I have vivid memories of watching her, tall, with her shrill voice, on television - Channel 13. I would watch her truss chickens, debone fish, and prepare these long and complicated meals. She told jokes that at the time were way over my head, but yet even I knew they were funny. She was master of the French Cuisine and authored numerous cookbooks that were almost all named after her shows. She scoffed at "healthy cuisine" and believed that fat (butter and cream) were essential to good cooking. She brought, among many other recipes, Boeuf Bourguignon, French Onion Soup and Coq au Vin to the American table. Her cooking was methodical, detailed and often arduous, with many steps involved. Even though I had never sampled any of her cuisine, I could tell, simply by watching, that every laborious second spent on a dish translated into an end product that was nothing short of exquisite. I seem always pressed for time - my present lifestyle is not exactly conducive to her precision, but perhaps I should make a point, if only on weekends, to try my own hand at mastering the art of French cooking.

Julia was parodied in both Saturday Night Live and on The Cosby Show in the 1980s. Her biography is pages and pages long. She was a great influence on society, our cuisine and to all women - proving that when you find your passion, no matter how old you are you can still succeed, something this late bloomer loves.

While Julia was not terribly fond of Julie Powell, her blog, or her book, Julie and Julia which would eventually become a book and then a movie of the same name, starring Merryl Streep, Stanley Tucci and Amy Adams, the book and the movie would introduce this female Master Chef to a whole new generation. I, for one, happened to love both! 

Want to try your hand at a couple of the recipes Julie made famous? Click on this PBS link to get some of Julia's most famous recipes. For more on Julia Child and her life, please visit the Julia Child Foundation.

Happy National Creamsicle Day!

August 14th is National Creamsicle Day. 
It's a kid's treat. It's a kid's treat served up on a hot day. On a stick. At least that's how we think of the Creamsicle. The soft vanilla center covered with a hard orange sherbet-like shell proved to be the perfect antidote to the hot summer sun. As a child growing up in the city, my friends and I would head over a few blocks, either on sneaker-skates (remember those?!) or our skateboards to where the Guggenheim Museum proudly stood. We weren't there in search of art or culture, but of ice cream. Parked next to the museum, on the side street was the Good Humor Man and his truck. I can't remember a day he was not there. I had my favorites. Generally I chose the Chocolate Eclair or the one that had the chocolate candy bar center. On the hotter days I opted for something more refreshing. The Creamsicle was it. It hit the spot. The flavors remind me of my childhood in the city, of the Good Humor Man all dressed in white and The Guggenheim. The orange and vanilla combination brings back happy memories, and the pleasant flavors are by no means childlike. Below I offer some Creamsicle ideas for even the most sophisticated palates. 

For those in need of a boozy treat, How Sweet it Is offers up a creamy Coconut Creamsicle Margarita (top left) that looks dangerously delicious. Savvy Eats has created a marmalade infused Creamsicle Margarita (top right). Pick your preference or try both... Who are we to judge?! However, if you're looking for something slightly healthier, stop by The Roasted Root for her Orange Creamsicle Kumbacha, pictured just below. 

If you're anything like we are, you'd probably prefer something a little more dangerous, a little more decadent. Why not turn your favorite flavors into a truffle? Cooking Classy has done just that with her Orange Creamsicle Truffle. (Oh man, would we ever like to kick these up a notch and dip them in dark chocolate!)

We can only imagine what our all time favorite (French toast) would be like when stuffed with an "orange kissed cream cheese filling." We think it might be a little slice of heaven on a fork. Will Cook for Smiles has such a recipe. (Pictured below) Our only problem would be deciding whether to have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert... or perhaps all four!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, beats a really good orange cake with a really good frosting. I'm requesting Baked Bree's Creamsicle cake for my next Birthday... if I can stand to wait that long!

Garnish with Lemon is a girl after our own hearts. Dark chocolate and Creamsicles? Swoon. And you will never believe that these are actually healthy to boot! Swing on over to her sight to see if you don't believe us!

We hope you'll take a moment to celebrate National Creamsicle Day. Let us know how you plan to celebrate!

Stylish notes on Fashion :: Inspiration, Chanel

I love pearls. I adore pearls. All sizes and shapes. I keep hoping one will miraculously show up in an oyster. I've eaten lots of oysters lately, but alas no pearls. I'm not really a single strand of pearls (as in necklace) kind of a girl, but I prefer to wear them in a more dramatic way. The bigger the better. Fortunately for my budget there are some great impostors out there. I'll pile necklace after necklace on - mixing both real and fake... I'll do the same with bracelets and wrap long strands of faux necklaces around my wrists to create a dramatic piling effect. I love pearl buttons, and with those as well, the bigger the better, I say. Those who know me best might say that my oversized pearl earrings are my signature style. I wear them with everything from ripped jeans to black tie. The pearl is sophisticated and polished. It's also a lot of fun - and I think jewelry and fashion should be fun. (Image to the right via Chanel)

I fantasize over the fabulous pieces that come out of the House of Chanel - the clothes and the jewels. But that's what it all is... it's a fantasy. I've been lucky in that I have inherited from my grandmother the ability to create the look for less. It's less the piece of jewelry or the article of clothing than how it is worn and paired. In that sense my grandmother was the master of deception. She may have looked as though she was entirely dressed in classic Chanel, but I assure you that she was not. It's actually easier to do nowadays with so many designers and brands drawing inspiration from the major design houses. I certainly like it and if I was one of those designers, I'd be extremely honored. Chanel, while very much my style is not my budget. (Above and below images via Athens Street Style.)

I adore everything from the above picture, from the bag - Hermes - to the coat with the over-sized pearl-like buttons, to the double pearl ring - Chanel. Can someone please tell me who makes this amazing vest/coat?!!

Last week I was out shopping with my daughter and stumbled across a fun pearl ring. I wasn't looking for it, but perhaps it was looking for me? With a big weekend ahead of me in New York I picked up the ring knowing it would be perfect for a couple of the dressier events I would be attending. It wasn't until I tried it on that I saw how similar it was to Chanel's when worn on a finger. Because the ring I got is adjustable I can wear it on several fingers.

I posted the below photo (taken with my iPhone 4S) on Instagram and Facebook and was deluged with likes and comments... One person even commented saying that she adored the Chanel ring! I simply shared the photograph with the thought that every cocktail ring should be accompanied by a cocktail. Don't you think?

I give away trade secrets all the time. And I suppose I shouldn't but I do. Now, you could have the said Chanel ring for a mere $1,000 USD, OR you could head over to Zara and pick up this beauty for $19.95!

Side by side do these rings look alike? Not exactly, but scroll back up and look at our fingers. Not bad, I say, especially at a savings of over $975!  

If Chanel is your thing, click here to see the ring and the rest of the collection. The rest of you should hop on over to Zara's website! 

New York Stories :: Sunday in the City, South of Houston

My fascination with my own city may never cease. There are so many things I adore, most of which is often overlooked. How many times have you wandered the city and looked up, or down, instead of straight ahead. New York boasts some of the world's most amazing architecture from bygone eras and yet most of it all too often goes unnoticed. As I walk through the streets I can't help but notice the details. It's as though my eye is perpetually looking through a lens, and I think it is - always has. Architecture, detail, color, patterns and people fascinate me. I slow down and capture a moment, a memory, a thought... I capture what most rush by. This is the real New York and these are the real New Yorkers. No one saw me taking their photograph. I leaned up against buildings or tried to bury myself in the crowd. Sometimes I shot from taxis. You'll see simple object - a skateboard leaning against a wall, a mailbox with grafiti, a fire hydrant and some bags of garbage... You'll see people - many of whom are on their phones, engaged in their devices, missing all of what I shot. I was enamored by the color of SOHO, patterns, textures and graffiti. I captured a piece of art, some flowers, and a man on his phone looking extremely frustrated... two friends talking in French on a stoop, another at a cafe, listening to music, writing... A tourist looking at a map, a child looking bored, dogs, a dwarf person - also on his phone... This is the city. This is my city. I hope that you too can see beauty in the mundane and simplicity in the details. 



All photos are property of Jessica Gordon Ryan/The Entertaining House and may only be used with proper attribution.

New York Stories :: Saturday in (and around) the Park...

I've always loved capturing people when they are most natural, when they are simply being themselves whether deep in thought, in conversation, enjoying a meal, or relaxing. The photo captures a split moment in time and yet can say and reveal so much more - a simple expression, a wrinkle, a twinkle in an eye, or even a tear. New York has this gruff edge. New Yorkers are considered to be rough, rude, rushed, edgy, harsh - the truth is that really these couldn't be further from the truth. Of course during the week people are in work mode. There are meetings, deadlines, mega-million dollar deals that can put people's livelihood and well-being at stake. New Yorkers can be a serious bunch - of that there's no question. But meander through the city on weekends, especially a summer weekend, and you'll see a side of the city that is not always seen, and not always portrayed. You'll see the softer side of New Yorkers. New Yorkers at ease and play.

Even though I have not lived in the city for well over 20 years, I still and forever will consider myself a New Yorker. I love the city. I love the energy - it always pulls me in. The city is and will forever feel like home to me. There's nothing like walking out into Grand Central Terminal or driving over the bridge as her tall and majestic buildings draw closer and closer. Flying into her airports after travelling locally or abroad. There are many wonderful, beautiful cities, but there is only 1 New York. Although I no longer live here, Manhattan is my home.

I had the privilege of spending the entire weekend here - a mix of business and pleasure. I will, over the course of the next few days, share my journey with you. But for now, as it's the weekend, I will show you what New York at ease is really about - New York through my eyes.

Central Park shuts down to all cars and trucks, and the only traffic is that that is generated by the bicycles, the runners, walkers, skateboarders... New Yorkers are a healthy lot. Wander through the park and you'll also see those doing yoga, and participating in boot camps. You'll see those relaxing on the grass with friends and loved ones, reading the New York Times, enjoying a picnic or cup of coffee. There's no better place to people watch in the world for we are such a mixed cast of characters!

New Yorkers love their pets, especially their dogs. Central Park turns into a dog park, perfect for our furry, four legged friends who, after a long week, get to run around and frolic in the grass too. You will see, from my images, that New Yorkers, especially on Saturday mornings in the park, are no different than anyone else. We may be luckier - we have, after all, some of the best, museums, hotels, restaurants, and events around...




All images are property of Jessica Gordon Ryan and The Entertaining House and may not be used or reproduced without proper attribution.

Slow + Simple :: The colors of the sun

How often do you take note of the "small stuff?" We are so busy rushing through our lives, trying to get to point B from point A, trying to make it to this meeting and that meeting... chasing the kids, pulling the kids, driving the kids, entertaining the kids, working, meeting deadlines, and trying to get done all that needs to get done by day's end that often we're speeding by with such speed and haste that we don't have a moment to look at the simple beauty around us.

I hate to run. I am not a runner. Sometimes I force myself  to run sprints when I'm out for my long morning walks. I feel as though I should - that somehow it's better for me. But I don't enjoy it and I'm so focused on getting to where I need to get that I don't pay attention to much else.

I live in a wonderful, beautiful, peaceful and tranquil part of the country. I am in a small, almost sleepy, coastal Connecticut town just outside of New York City. You might think that such a place doesn't exist. But it does and it's what drew me to this particular area. When I am able - when I have the time and when the weather cooperates - I get out of the gym and onto the street. I have a coastal route that takes me by the harbor and the beach. I can go all 7 miles, or if I haven't the time I can shorten it to 5 or even 2 miles. No matter how many times I travel these paths I notice something different. A new house, a new flower, a small ladybug grazing upon a large delicious leaf...

Last week as we were driving home from Newport along the terribly unromantic I-95, cluttered with many too many trucks, billboards, telephone poles, and the concrete malls and buildings that make up for most of the scenery, I noticed the most magnificent orange sun setting in the distance. I had to pay attention to the road and as much as I wanted to, I could not focus on the sun. My 13 year old son took my camera that was already fitted with my zoom lens and started clicking away.

The next day I came across his images while I was downloading them onto my laptop. I cropped them ever so slightly to remove a building, some telephone poles and wires and saw the incredible detail, bright and fiery colors and incredible textures. I couldn't possibly slow down, I couldn't possibly stop and focus on the incredible sight myself but I had the photograph. The photograph that reminded me just how important it is for us all to slow down and take notice - It's something I make a point of doing regularly. I hope you do too.

Recipe Roundup :: 13 mouth-watering, healthy corn recipes

Seasons and Supper's Grilled Corn Tomato and Arugula Salad

Corn is fresh and sweet and in abundance right now. It's also incredibly inexpensive. Unless you're having an afternoon barbecue, or have a large family you're probably enticed by the low prices yet wondering what you can do with all that corn. While there's nothing like eating it right off the cob, salted, peppered, hot butter running off the sides, perhaps paired with grilled fish, barbecued chicken or chimichurri steak. Don't fret about leftover corn that hasn't been eaten. There's plenty that can be done with it. Simply cut it off the cob using a large, sharp knife and toss it into salads, salsas, soups, corn bread, tacos and on top of bruschetta. Below we share with you 13 mouth watering recipes. 

This tomato and corn crostini with whipped roasted garlic goat cheese can be found at How Sweet it is.

Liven up your corn on the cob with pesto and lemon instead of traditional butter. Via The Lemon Bowl.

The Proud Italian cook has the beautiful, light salad made from corn, feta and ribbons of zucchini and summer squash. Looks so refreshing, doesn't it?

Once tomatoes start to turn red on the vine they are plump for the pickin'. I adore nothing more than a fresh tomato with just a little bit of salt - It makes for the perfect snack. Mixed it in with some of your fresh summer corn and you have a lovely summer side. This wonderful corn and tomato salad is from Green Valley Kitchen.

Damn Delicious has Sweet Corn Guacamole - 

Could anything be sweeter than quinoa, corn and scallions? Hop on over to Just a Taste if you want the recipe!

Quinoa and corn are reunited in these quinoa, black bean and corn tacos over at Cooking Classy.

Season with Spice has a refreshing looking Thai Corn Salad.

I adore soup, warm and chilled and eat it year round. The New York Times offers us this Cream Corn and Poblano Soup.

For those hot summer nights you might want to try What's Cooking Good Looking's Yellow Tomato and Corn Gazpacho.

This Roasted Corn and Zucchini Salad with Chili Lime Vinaigrette will also help with your garden's overflowing zucchini problems! 

I couldn't possibly have a corn recipe round up without including one of my all-time favorites, Ina Garten's Fresh Corn Salad. It's a favorite in our home!

We hope we've inspired you to find some different ways to cook and use up all your corn!

Stylish Warby Parker launches new Beacon Line of eyeglasses and sunglasses

Warber Parker has asked me to help announce the launch of their latest collection, the Beacon Collection which was inspired by "impromptu, can’t duplicate- them all-nighters, when having no plans brings endless possibilities. To set the scene, we called on photographer Petra Collins, whose snaps of unsupervised thrills and sweetly private moments reveal a lot of smarts and humor. Petra joined us one June evening on a detour
through downtown Manhattan’s Doyers Street, an elbowshaped alleyway dotted with preserved neighborhood remnants and modern businesses. The collection name is a hat-tip to the morning star, which you can catch just after sunset or just before sunrise, depending on the time of year. We designed our Beacon Collection frames to make a similarly fine companion to late night dates, rooftop sunrises, and everything in between. There’s something just as unexpected about each new frame: they’re repeat contenders, no matter the hour."

For those of you unfamiliar with this fun, philanthropic and stylish brand their story is short, simple and very sweet. And you absolutely should get to know about who they are and why they came to be.

It all started with a very basic notion. "Glasses are too expensive. We were students when one of us lost his glasses on a backpacking trip. The cost of replacing them was so high that he spent the first semester of grad school without them, squinting and complaining. (We don’t recommend this.) The rest of us had similar experiences, and we were amazed at how hard it was to find a pair of great frames that didn’t leave our wallets bare. Where were the options?"

It turns out there was a simple explanation. The eyewear industry is dominated by a single company that has been able to keep prices artificially high while reaping huge profits from consumers who have no other options.

"We started Warby Parker to create an alternative...
... We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket.

We also believe that everyone has the right to see.
Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15% of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.

There’s nothing complicated about it. Good eyewear, good outcome."

 Below, the in the Beacon Sunglasses you'll be brighter than the sun!

Nearsighted or farsighted with the Beacon eyeglass frames you'll be a sight for sore eyes!

Starting today, July 22, the Beacon Collection is available at www.WarbyParker.com/Beacon, in stores and
showrooms. For a greater selection of eyeglasses click here, and for a greater selection of sunglasses click here. You should also check out their wonderful blog.  

Amid Life: Writings, thoughts & observations on life

Amid Life

Follow me as I share, candidly, with you my journey through divorce and beyond...

Not long ago I launched a new blog, Amid Life. I started sharing some personal stories with my readers and the feedback was tremendous. But The Entertaining House was not the right platform for these stories. So I started Amid Life about my journey through divorce and after. This blog was created  for women looking to reinvent themselves or find themselves in today’s busy world.  It's not really a blog about divorce, but it is a blog about sharing life's challenging moments. I've chosen to share, honestly and candidly, my experiences with others so that other women can have the self confidence they deserve and find their true passions. I have learned a lot along the way. My experiences and lessons learned can help other women and mothers, both single and married. We’re mothers first and we must not let that title define who and what we are. We are so much more and my hope is to help others find their voices and talents, strength and independence so that they can live full and happy lives. We are beautiful and smart and we must remind ourselves daily. My struggles, both personal and professional, have been so very well received by so many of my readers. I am touched by your comments and your emails. I am glad to have inspired you, and please know that you all inspire me!



Haxby :: A new line of luxe fashion for the modern man

Hot New Menswear Brand: Haxby

The term “luxury” doesn’t simply mean a lot of money was spent on a product – luxury means top quality in a lasting, impressive product that comes with an additional sense of pride. Haxby is one of the few clothing brands that can back their claims of luxury with real info on their products and production methods, making their releases all the more impressive. There’s no question that this casual menswear is luxurious in the best sense of the word. Here’s a closer look at this new brand Haxby, which is quickly on the rise in the luxury men’s fashion realm.

The Birth of a Brand

Haxby was founded by Timothy White and Michael Dow. These style fanatics traveled for two years to numerous countries to find the perfect materials and artisans to create their products. Their L.A. based design team provided them with pointers in their Savile Row-inspired designs, which are understated while still leaving quite an impression. Dow and White capitalized on the highest quality denim and optical engineering found in Japan, as well as the most luxurious leather for belts and shoes from Italy. It is evident that their travels did not go to waste.

The Products

Haxby’s premiere collection is comprised of casual menswear that bridges the gap between contemporary and classic style. The innovative blend of current looks and custom methods of craftsmanship make for some of the most impressive accessories and clothing of the season. Here are some of the highlights of this limited edition collection.


Haxby intends to redefine contemporary casual footwear with their leather sneakers, handmade and buffed in Italy. Available as high, mid, or low top sneakers, each with rich Spanish cordovan leather, these shoes transcend the concept of “casual shoe” and make for a great-looking accessory to any outfit, whether for work or for play.


Materials for their jeans have been sourced from Japan and Italy, home to the world’s greatest denim mills. With their in-house design team overseeing the assembly of each pair of jeans, the quality of any pair is guaranteed. If that wasn’t enough, the rivets, zippers, and buttons are plated in 24-karat gold.


Their sunglasses also feature 24-karat yellow or white gold, but their manufacturing pedigree is even more impressive. The Masunaga Optical factory in Japan employs the top optical engineers in the world, and with sunglasses that take 200 manual steps for creation, it’s not hard to see why having the best is crucial to crafting luxury eyewear.


The hand-cast precious metals and precision-cut and polished sapphire crystal used in these belts must be handled with care in production. That’s why the designers rely on craftsmen in Switzerland and Italy, who work with only the finest leathers and materials, to craft these amazing and unique belts. Best of all, the wide range of available colors makes accessorizing easier than ever.

The Haxby team promises a full range of outerwear, knitwear, bags and watches are also on their way, and if their current products are any indication, they will continue to revolutionize casual wear with unique luxury that can be worn every day. After all, it seems that these innovators understand that clothing doesn’t have to be loud to make a statement.

For more information please visit their website.

Slow + Simple :: Homemade Strawberry Jam - It's so easy to make!

The other day I shared with you my desire to make homemade bread not from a bread machine. I love homemade bread but the idea of it terrified me. It seemed so daunting! In my quest to try something new and to try my hand at those things that scare me I made the bread, with my daughter, and we couldn't believe how easy and delicious it was. A couple of weeks ago my children and I went strawberry picking. It was the the height of strawberry season in Connecticut and with the 10 pounds of fruit we brought home not only did we need strawberry recipes, but we needed recipes that would use lots of berries at once! And so it seemed that the time to try my hand at making homemade strawberry jam had come. I researched the recipes which looked easy and simple enough. I chose to use The Pioneer Woman's recipe. She had 2 very in depth, detailed and picture-heavy posts. I felt fairly safe that I could not go wrong. Well, we did! We forgot the lemon juice and I don't think we let the mixture boil quite long enough as our jam was still a tad bit liquidy - but it was fantastic nonetheless. They say that practice makes perfect and blueberry season is now upon us... Can you guess what we will be doing next week?!

What you will need:

Strawberries, 5-6 cups
Powdered Fruit Pectin (this is sold in the canning aisle of supermarkets), 6 TBS
Sugar, 7 cups
Lemon juice, 1/4 cup - We forgot the lemon juice and many recipes don't even require this
Small mason jars with lids, 8
Large canning pot
Large pot to make the jam

The Pioneer Woman suggests to get a rack to fit inside pot but we didn't have one and we were find. She also suggested to get a jar lifter. We didn't have that as well and used long tongs to pull the jars from the hot water.

Making jam is child's play! Here my 15 year old helps me can the hot jam.


I think this is what scared me the most... the boiling process. I thought if this was not done properly the result would be automatic botulism. I was wrong. If the jars don't seal shut it simply means they need to be refrigerated. I felt a lot better knowing I was not going to accidentally poison anyone... though, I've been considering Botox recently ;)

It is important that the jars are hot so that they do not crack when pouring the hot jam mixture into them, hence the reason for needing two large pans. Don't have 2? Don't spend a fortune. We made a quick run out to Home Goods and got a large and gorgeous pan for practically nothing at all. 


1. In a large pot that is large enough to hold 8-10 jam jars, bring water to a rolling boil, then turn down to simmer. Heat jars and lids until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

2. Smash strawberries in a large bowl or on rimmed cookie sheets, then combine strawberries and lemon juice in a 6- or 8-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that can not be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.

3. Next add the entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, at minimum, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.

4. Carefully spoon or ladle hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head-space. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.

5. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
6. When cooled and refrigerated, several hours at least, spread on to some homemade bread, or do as my kids did and make your favorite sandwich!

Looking back :: The Entertaining House's Humble Beginnings

I'm feeling nostalgic... A lot has happened in the past couple of weeks and so I find myself looking back - at memories, photographs and things. I was looking for a specific photograph that I thought was buried someplace in this blog. It was a photograph of the home we just sold. I never came across the picture, but I did come across my very first blog entry on June 20th, 7 years ago. I read it and smiled. The Entertaining House has come a long way and has morphed into something very different. But I like my attitude and my snarkiness and reliving some of those good ol' days has been a good thing. Boy my kids were little... and pretty cute back then too! ;)

The blog, back then, was called Our Crazy Crowded Home... because it was crazy and it was crowded and we were in the midst of selling it and about to move into the "new" home - The "new" home was the house we sold last week. After the move, and because our home was so much larger, I thought I needed a new name... it was my friend Lorraine who came up with The Entertaining House. And, well, as they say, the rest is history.

The following post was my very first.

"Nothing to Do."

Meet the youngest members of our crazy crowded home

I have nothing to do... nothing whatsoever to do, so I thought I would kill a little time and start my own blog. Why not, everyone's doing it, right? I have no laudry to sort, wash, fold and put away? I have no kids who need and deserve my attention? I have no house I am desperately trying to put on the market? Nope not me -- I have nothing to do!

My cute little button nose (ok crooked and not so little) will magically twinkle and everything in this crazy crowded house will miraculously fall into place!

Instead of actually getting things done I will sit and wish they were done. I will watch my 21 month old son sleep soundly on the couch next to me. This is the (THE) only place he will nap so therefore the world around us must stop so he can get his much needed nap and I can get my much needed break. My two other children have been banished. My 8 year old daughter is in the (gasp) living room watching (gasp) TV... Well, it's not all that bad... she's listening to Radio Disney on TV and dancing. So yes, technically the TV is baby sitting, but she is up and dancing and not sitting and being a couch potato. So all's not completely lost. Now my other son, 6, is upstairs and he probably is being a couch potato and he is probably (gasp) lying on my bed watching some stupid cartoon and most likely he has not taken off his pajamas as I have asked him to do... many times!

It's Wednesday and my older two are on summer vacation. (Why they are calling this a vacation is beyond me. Maybe because it makes me, more than ever, want to vacate the premises!) It's raining and I am delighted. I had promised them we'd go to the beach today, but I am just too lazy and now I do not have to disappoint them nor do I have to go to all the effort that going to the beach with three kids entails. I got off the hook today... wahoo! Instead I shall pay the price with constant bickering and bantering over toys and who gets what and where and when.... Ugh, don't get me started on those danmed things called toys...

My lovely husband and I bought this house before we had any children. It was a charming New England Colonial with a little fence and 4 BR so we could plan for kids and entertain guests for overnight, or longer. Nine years later the antiques have found a new home in the attic and these brightly colored plastic items of all shapes and sizes have invaded our turf! We have been taken over by toys. Our family room used to be a haven of sorts -- big comfy couches, a large wide screen television set, a nice stereo system ... what else could you ask for? The couches are no longer comfy or cozy or overstuffed. To our chagrin they have become bouncy castles, playgrounds and trampolines. Ah yes, the children are so imaginative and their creativity will get them far in life... my ass... my children are disruptive noisy beasts, albeit cute disruptive, noisy beasts. My hi def TV is not for viewing movies, it's been taken over by Sponges and Dinosaurs and red muppets and egads, Bob Saget. Yes, that's right... my older two have recently discovered the tall skinny geek I had hoped to leave behind with my paisley prints, shoulder pads and stirrup pants. How many episodes of Full House will I have to endure? None without a nice alcoholic beverage in hand!

So here we are all cooped up in my crazy crowded lounge. I have a 2200 sq ft house and they all want to be in here, on top of me 24/7... add Bob Saget to that and now I am really desperate to move!

My dreamhouse would have a secret, hidden room with four padded walls.... I will, if I must, settle for a finished basement where Mr. Saget and the kids can play, scream, shout, jump, run, kick and bite and never ever pick up their toys!

Slow + Simple :: How to make delicious homemade bread without a breadmaker

For years I've wanted to make homemade bread - not a quick bread and not a bread-machine bread, but a good old fashioned loaf that's made of simple, basic ingredients - flour, yeast, water, salt... A loaf that has substance and crunch and chew. My problem was two-fold: I was afraid and I am surrounded by some incredible boulangeries, some of the best around.

But in my own mission to try all those things I have wanted to try, take chances and conquer my fears, I decided I ought to try my hand at bread baking. I searched around for a recipe that seemed easy and fairly straightforward. The Kitchn seemed to have just the recipe was just what I was looking for. And so with the aid of my 15 year old daughter, we set out on an adventure!

We did what we were told... and then we botched it up and forgot a step... We continued on nonetheless...Our dough seemed a little sticky and I knew enough to slowly add flour to my mixture. Eventually it seemed perfectly pliable and less like glue... We tossed it into a bowl, covered it up and set it aside. I was amazed and thrilled when, a couple of hours later, I saw how much it had risen. I continued along, and decided that instead of a large loaf we would make large dinner rolls... We placed the roundish balls into the oven for about a half an hour... What emerged were little round bits of perfection... crusty, chew, airy, perfect!

We let the bread cool but too impatient to wait until dinner, we brought out our home-made butter and had a perfectly slow + simple home made snack.

Here is the recipe via The Kitchn - I've incorporated my own notes.

What You Need:

Water - 3 cups total
Yeast - 1 teaspoon total
Flour - 6-7 cups total
Salt - 1 Tablespoon

Large Mixing Bowl - We mixed the dough in our KitchenAid mixer, with paddle for bread on slow.
Baking Pans (optional) - We used 2 parchment lined cookie sheets
Baking Stone (optional)


1. Make a Poolish (Optional) - In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon of yeast, and 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour. Mix it for a few minutes, until it forms an elastic and smooth batter. Cover and let this sit for 2-10 hours. It will look like the picture above when it's ready. - We did NOT make the poolish.
Skip this step if you don't have time, but it's an easy way to add flavor and good texture to your bread. It's also a little insurance to make sure the dough rises! If you skip it, just add the ingredients into the main dough.

2. Measure the Water - Measure 2 1/2 cups (or 20 ounces) of water into a large bowl.

3. Measure the Yeast - Add a half teaspoon of yeast to the water.

4. Let the yeast sit in the water until it has dissolved. Don't be concerned if you don't see any bubbles at this point.

5. Add the Poolish - If you made a poolish, add it into the bowl now. - We skipped this step.

6. Stir the water, yeast, and poolish together until the poolish is dissolved into the water. You might see some bubbles and foam, but don't be concerned if you don't. - We did see the bubbles
7. Add the Flour Add 1 cup of flour.

8. Stir until a thick batter is formed.

9. Stir in 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Salt can inhibit the growth of the yeast, so it's good to add a cup of flour first to give the yeast a little protection and then add the salt. We used sea salt

10. Add 4 more cups of flour and stir until the dough is too stiff to stir anymore. It's ok if there's still some loose flour left in the bowl that hasn't been incorporated into the batter.

11. At this point the dough will look shaggy and be very sticky.

12. Knead the Dough Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface and scrape your dough on top. Begin kneading, adding up to another cup of flour if the dough is very sticky. - We had to add more flour, small bits at a time until the consistency was right.

13. The dough is finished kneading and ready to rise when it springs back when you poke it, if it holds its shape in your hands, or if you can form a "window pane" without it breaking (as in the picture above)

14. Put it in a large oiled bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours. We forgot to add oil to the bowl!

15. Shape the Loaves - Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface and turn the risen dough out on top. Divide the dough into two pieces and shape the dough into round loaves or sandwich loaves as desired. Let these loaves rise until they've nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour. We forgot this step and placed our dough right into the oven!!
16. Bake the Loaves - Preheat the oven to 450°. Quickly cut a few slashes 1/2-inch deep into the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife and place them in the oven. Round loaves should be baked on a baking stone while sandwich loaves in baking tins can be baked right on the oven rack.

17. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the loaves have developed some color on the crust, sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, and the inside registers 190° on an instant-read thermometer. Let the loaves cool before slicing into them. We baked our smaller rolls for about 20 minutes and even without letting the dough rise before placing it in the oven, the bread came out perfectly!

Slow + Simple :: How to Make Homemade Butter in 3 Easy Steps

In advance I would like to apologize for the quality - or lack thereof - of the photos. The following started as fun projects to entertain myself and the children... they turned out to be so much more. Over the past couple of weeks my children and I have been enjoying a perfectly quintessential summer... swims in the pool, afternoons at the beach with friends, gardening, strawberry picking, making homemade jam, bread and butter... 

The latter three happened almost by accident. I have always wanted to make jam but the process always terrified me. After hearing from so many how easy it is to make I decided to give it a try. With about 10 pounds of freshly picked berries we needed a means to use them all up. The jam was such a success that we then decided to try our hand at bread. Something else I have always wanted to do - sans bread machine - and yet too scared to... and logically what goes best with homemade bread? Butter, naturally. Oh it wasn't that we had no butter in the house. Butter is a staple that we almost never run out of but I thought that while we were making our own bread and jam which we ought to make our own butter. And really, there's absolutely nothing in the world that is easier to make. All you need is some heavy whipping cream and some sea salt... and maybe some herbs... 

Today I will tell you how to make butter, tomorrow the jam and Thursday the bread and by the weekend you will have everything for a perfectly slow + simple homemade petite dejeuner!

1 pint of heavy whipping cream
3/4 tsp sea salt - optional
1/2-3/4 tsp Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasonings - optional

What you will need:
2 - 3 airtight jars (We used canning jars. Baby food jars work well too.)
Ceramic dishes or ramekins

How to make butter:

1. Pour cream into jars, distributing evenly, filling about 3/4 to the top. Securely add lid to the top of the jars.

2. Shake jars with vigor for 7 - 15 minutes depending on the size of the jars. (Less time for smaller jars and more for the larger jars.) 
As you shake you can feel and hear the cream start to solidify. When the jar feels as though nothing is shaking inside any longer, open it up and take a look. You should see a light, pale yellow mixture to the sides of the jar with a hollow center. (See photo below)

3. When the mixture is no longer runny, but semi firm and airy, you can transfer the butter to a ceramic bowl and add your sea salt. Then, if desired, remove some of the salted butter and place it into another bowl adding the herbs, even garlic or garlic powder if you like. Season to taste.

1. How butter will look in the jar when it's done

2. Transfer butter to a bowl and add sea salt, if desired

3. Then add other seasonings such as Herbes de Provence, if desired.

And then, voila et bon appetit!

Note: This butter is great on bread, but not great for cooking.