Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I mean, 72 ain't bad

Steph: This guy at work is trying to eat 100 McNuggets in an hour. Everyone is betting against him. (an hour later) He got to 72 and threw up. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Lot of things happening and I promise to update sooner rather than later. 
Mostly good things, one very sad thing - life things in general.
Hope all is well, talk to you soon!  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

If you don't know me by now, Mint - you will never never never know me.

me: Mint is sending me “Unusual spending on Food & Dining” emails. I feel like Mint judges so hard.
Cooper: I once exceeded my restaurant budget by 2000%. Mint don't know me.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

vinstagram: turnip for what?

A few days late, but a most awesome birthday gift from my sister. 
Dave 1. Chromeo perfection at 9:30 Club.
“This was my inspiration, miss vina.” - Chef Larry Cage
Douglas Gordon's Play Dead, Real Time at Hirshhorn's After Hours
Uppercase, Bold, and double exclamation points. I like your enthusiasm, Plan9

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fall in Love

Happy Sunday! I finished a bunch of errands AND got a surprise ticket to tomorrow's Phantogram show at 9:30 Club! See y'all there! 

me: I may or may not hold your hand and cry when they play “Fall in Love.”
Naty: Uhhh I will most likely cry so no judgement.

Side note, awesome day in New York yesterday, photos soon. I'm trying to post photos in a timely fashion after events, then again I never posted about Jamaica and that was in April so...there's that. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

had to rack my 90s brain for these track titles

Nick: No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom still holds up. Sunday Morning
me: Excuse Me? Mister, I'm Just A Girl. Hey You, I'm going to End It On This: You Can Do It. Happy Now? 

Side note, cut to me spending a few minutes trying to decide between “rack my brain” or “wrack my brain” - it was nerve-(w)racking for sure. No Doubt. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

just barely Thursday morning

sounds like: American Horror Story/Freak Show (Scary clowns. No.). Could I Be coming home with Sylvan Esso? Current favorite driving song: Bang Bang by the Monophonics.  Will You, Daniel Wilson, will you? Supreme guilty pleasure song, though def can't blast this one down the streets of Old Town: Lil Dicky's Ex-Boyfriend

tastes like: Hot wasabi spiced peanuts. Black garlic from Union Market, though I don't know what to do with it yet. 

feels like: I turn 31 on Saturday. I'm throwing an ice cream social because I'm an adult and I make adult life decisions. In all realness, I'm excited to spend a nice (maybe rainy) afternoon eating ice cream—cough-photographing ice cream—with my best friends. I've also decided to design menus after shindigs such as this one - keep my personal design skills fresh, ya know? 

smells like: dried lavender and perfume on my pillowcase. It's time for bed. 

photo via Not Without Salt

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma? I DO.

The only time I won't use an Oxford comma is when Twitter's 140 character limit doesn't allow for it. Just know that I'm probably weeping on the inside if that is the case. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

make funk, not war

The funk lordz are in town!
If you're not doing anything tonight, put on your dancing shoes and join me at 9:30 Club!
(but not really since I believe they are sold out. Sorrz. Dance with me in spirit.)

me: Miss Sandy, hi. I just wanted to say have a wonderful tonight at your gala and I wish I had my best Chromeo dancing partner tonight! Have an awesome day!
Sandy: vina, my darling. I shall be there in spirit, and I have my vina-face cut-out sign ready to go with me tomorrow, worry not!!

I mean, if the skinny jeans fit.

Nick: I think I'm a hipster. I used a straight razor today while I waited for my pour-over coffee. And I smoked pipe tobacco last night. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Esso and Etto. Play it right.

Sylvan Esso at The Howard Theater. Phenom. 

Burrata and lemony kale salad at Etto on 14th. 
Some marvelous rye cocktail and pizza with anchovies, dandelion greens, and a runny egg. I mean, come on. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

and if there's anything good about me - I'm the only one who knows

I seem to have caught some kind of bug—perhaps developed a ragweed allergy, summer to fall season change malady, who knows—I've been sleeping on and off all day and, save for water I drink when I take cold meds, I haven't had anything to eat or drink today. I know I say this all the time (at least whenever I get sick which, thankfully, is rare) but I am all kinds of whiny and pathetic when I'm sick, like why isn't someone at my bedside mopping my brow with a cool washcloth? Who do I have to sweet eye to bring me soup and Florence Nightingale me into health? Come on, I make good pancakes. 

This was my day: ughhhhhhhhhh, ok ok ok work times, what should I wear today? Should I go to work? I feel absolutely weary. Maybe I'll stay home. If I stay home then I can take it easy. Ok, I'll let them know I'm not going in. Maybe I should do laundry and clean. Sleep for three hours. Oh, goody, 15 text messages. Sleep for an hour. Oh, Todd Thrasher calling me now. Hiiii, Todd! No, I'm not at the Fair, I'm sick today. What? You need a cocktail sign for that benefit at Volt? I gotchu! Design sign, sleep for next three hours. Oh, Castle's playing, I've never seen Castle, maybe I'll watch Castle. Fall asleep during Castle. You had dinner with Lynne, Justin? I miss Lynne! No, I haven't eaten anything all day. Ugh, because I don't feel like it. Let me hop on a computer, I haven't really checked the things all day. Jack White singing in a French ch√Ęteau? Done. 

On the upside, the "sick times" tag on Lemonade Lists can be quite hilarious after the fact. I should retitle it, “the ramblings of a madwoman on cold meds she probably doesn't need to be taking.”

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ta-Da! Society Fair's new Demo Kitchen flyer!

I'm a fairly decent designer when I want to be. 

While I can't speak for most graphic designers, I tend to toggle between “HEY YO BOO, I DID THAT! I DID THAT!!” and “ughhhhhhhh I'm the worst designer in the worldddd”. 

It's a vicious cycle for sure. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Be a citizen of the world, and at least attempt to know a little something about life outside of your own InDesign files. Be aware that, in the end, when all is said and done, this thing we do, design, is a kind of joyous little game, and we are lucky to be paid to play it. Meanwhile, others watch stock tickers or change bedpans for a living. Have some perspective and be grateful. Engage in something that matters to you more than your latest project. Some perspective and a modicum of circumspection will improve your mood, expand your horizons, and improve your design work.

sunday dinner menu

  • honey/thyme/lemon chicken and oyster mushroom gravy
  • goat cheese mashed baby red potatoes
  • roasted green beans with balsamic glaze
  • corn on the cob

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hello (Kitty), President Obama

me: I just sent you this great piece by a Canadian writer about America's disrespect for President Obama.
Justin: Thanks! I just posted on Facebook about Marvel superheroes dressed in Hello Kitty gear and therein lies the difference in our lives.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chef Larry: This weekend I’m going to pull my pork and jerk my chicken. Those are barbecue terms, Miss vina.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fried green tomato & shrimp sliders. Time to throw in the towel because this is as good as it gets.

Seriously, this may be the best thing I've ever cooked, as in I might as well pack up and never cook again because it's not going to get better than this slider. Hot fried green tomatoes, spicy seared shrimp, sweet bread & butter pickles, tangy remoulade, and vinegar-y Crystal hot sauce on buttery mini Kaiser rolls. 

Y'all. Don't. Even. Know. 

I'm in a slight slider haze, but I'll try to pull it together and share some highlights of my day: 

The Dale City Farmers Market was a complete cluster this morning. I've never seen it that busy in all my years in the area. Apparently eleven in the morning is the golden hour of the farmers market. 

There was a Celtic violinist playing classical and contemporary music next to the big peach stand. She started playing “Let It Go” from Frozen and a lady with two young children rushed past me saying, “Oh dear lord, I need to get out of here before these two start singing.” I laughed so hard I knocked over a pile of peaches. 

Fried green tomatoes

The older gentleman from whom I bought the green/heirloom tomatoes asked what I was going to do with them. I told him I was going to fry them up. He said he missed fried green tomatoes, that his mother used to make them, and that he hadn't had any in such a long time because his wife didn't like fried green tomatoes. 

“My grandmother, she lived in southern Virginia, she had eleven children. Eleven children! Times was tough back then, especially when you had to feed eleven children. She baked a mess of biscuits three times a day. Four of them never moved away, probably because of those biscuits.” 

I could have stayed there and talked to him for ages—he probably would have been just fine with that—but the lady standing behind me looked harried and grumpy. What kind of crazy lady gets grumpy at eleven in the morning holding a pint of baby eggplant, I'll never know. 

Green tea with mint and seared Carolina shrimp

me: I'm at the farmers market. I'm going to make fried green tomato and shrimp sliders. 
Justin: That sounds very southern. 
me: I love me some southern food, y'all. 
Justin: Ok, Paula Deen. 
me: AND I'm wearing my big sun hat. 
Justin: Ok, JLo Paula. 

Damn. Just, damn. I'm going to marry myself and cook this on my wedding night.

Fried Green Tomatoes and Carolina Shrimp Sliders

for the tomatoes:
3-4 green tomatoes, sliced in half-inch slices
1 cup of panko bread crumbs
1 cup of all-purpose flour, or Korean frying mix
2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk
S & P
vegetable oil for frying

1. Heat about an inch of vegetable oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat. 
2. Blot tomato slices with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, or Korean frying mix (which is basically flour + cornstarch) and shake off excess flour. Dip in egg mixture and then roll in panko bread crumbs with paprika. 
3. Fry in batches, about two-three minutes each side, until brown and crispy. 
4. Let drain/dry on wire rack until all tomatoes are fried. 

for the remoulade:
1/2 cup of mayonnaise. I use Duke's, it's the best. 
1/4 cup of spicy whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 Tbsp. pickle juice - I used bread & butter pickle juice, but I imagine a spicy dill pickle juice would also be tasty. 
1 clove of garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1 Tbsp hot sauce. I used Crystal hot sauce. Tabasco would be good. 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside for flavors to come together, like a Beatles' song. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge until needed. 

for the shrimp: 
1/2 lb of large shrimp. Mine were South Carolina shrimp. I don't really have a preference of shrimp origin, that's just where they were from. 
1 Tbsp olive oil
S & P 
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1. Peel & devein shrimp and place in bowl. Add other ingredients and use hands to mix until shrimp are well seasoned. 
2. Heat a stove-top grill pan over medium heat. Grease with oil or butter. Once hot, sear shrimp on each side until just cooked. Try not to overcook the shrimp. They're like eggs, they'll cook a little bit more once you remove them from the heat, so it's ok if they're slightly translucent when you take them off the heat. Set aside until slider time. 

for the sliders: 
mini Kaiser rolls, buttered and toasted in oven
bread & butter pickle slices
lettuce (which I forgot to get, but would be good shredded on slider)
all above components

To assemble, starting from bottom: Bun. Remoulade sauce. Fried green tomato. Shrimp. Pickle. Lettuce. More remoulade. Finish with hot sauce and top bun. 

Enjoy with mint tea, cider, or a cold beer. Weep a little bit because it's so delicious. Text everyone in the inner circle proclaiming that you'll never cook again because it's never going to be as good as this. 

Contemplate afternoon nap. 

fried green tomato sliders playlist

Brenda Lee | Sweet Nothings
Julian Lennon | Too Late for Goodbyes
Sylvan Esso | H.S.K.T.
Eagles | Witchy Woman
Ray Charles | Unchain My Heart
Phantogram | Fall in Love
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles | The Tears of a Clown (Hotsnax remix)

buttermilk pie and pimento for all!

Justin and Gap brought back a little Charleston for me! They're the sweetest. Thanks, boys! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

things I can't say on the internet

Todd Thrasher: I have a new cocktail at Restaurant Eve tomorrow. It has figs.
me: What are we calling it?
Todd Thrasher: I don't know, “What Up, My Figga”?


That time Steph and I went to RVA and had amazing pimento cheese, cocktails, and good ol' Appalachian-southern fare at Comfort in Jackson Ward. The struggle was real walking back to the hotel, I can tell you that much. I also think that was the day I was running on two-three hours of sleep so combined with all the comfort food—yeah I went there—I basically passed out before eleven pm. It was the best. Much thanks to Chef Travis Milton, especially for them pickles and that vinegar pie the next day. Trip was back in June. I'm incredibly behind on my photo editing/uploading. 

Baby steps. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

...holy hell, he DOES.

me: [random text about whatever was happening at the time]
Nick: Daniel Craig looks like a mad baby.

but right now I like it this way, kind of quiet.

Charles Bukowski. Uncensored. from Quoted on Vimeo.
In 1993, candid conversations between Charles Bukowski, his wife, and his producer took place in Bukowski’s home during the recording session for his classic Run With the Hunted.

We brought the outtakes to life for HarperCollins.

Animation by Drew Christie http://www.drewchristie.com/


Thursday, August 14, 2014

me: It's been three weeks since we had breakfast at the Fair? Gaddd, time flies.
Joy: I know. I can tell you I've considered coming into the fair at least three times since but it's always been at like 8:30 so I knew you weren't in. Gah the heart breaks!
me: I mean, don't let me not being here stop you from croissants and cakes.
Joy: But you are my joy and half of my excuse for living.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

whistlin' (Mason) Dixie

So happy to support the biscuit cause - bring Mason Dixie Biscuit Shoppe to DC! 
I'm trying wild out on biscuits, fried chicken, and yo - is that honey? 

sananikone sounds like ice cream cone so BAM I think I've just developed my personal logo.

It's still rough of course, but yes, these are the things you discover at one in the morning.

monday evening, technically tuesday morning

sounds like: having No Rest for the Wicked with Lykke Li, bang bang - being shot down by Nico Vega, Witchy Woman, and finding the modern Wolf with Sylvan Esso. After a few months' hiatus, I've jumpstarted via vina again. I've missed it and have fallen out of habit of remembering my dreams. 

tastes like: Fried green tomatoes straight from the garden. The tomatoes, not the frying, though game over if someone invents a fried tomato plant. Do you remember the hot dog tree in Big Top Pee-Wee? Shoot, that just might be my favorite part of that movie, second to when Winnie threw the egg salad sandwiches into the creek when she caught Pee Wee macking on Gina. Figures my favorite scenes would involve food. 

feels like: I need to move (oh, that might be a thing, hopefully no more of this hour commute nonsense - we'll see what happens), I need to start a website (remember when I was talking about that last year? Me too.), and I just need to get shit done. 

smells like: summer rain. 

photo via somewhere in the tumblrsphere. I want a flatfile in my studio!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

restaurant life, two years in

I recently passed the two year mark of being with Eat Good Food Group. It's been a crazy couple of years, let me tell you. On second thought, let me not tell you. We've gone through the making of Chef's cookbook, to losing a restaurant and what about that time I carried a salmon around the streets of Alexandria for a photo shoot? It's been a total blast, even when the chefs are angry, and I've said the same phrase for three hours - Good evening! Tonight you're having a sashimi of tuna with a soy-yuzu vinaigrette and pickled daikon! - and my phone is a veritable motherboard, constantly lighting up with tweets and notifications. 

Things I've said repeatedly: Can I borrow you for a photograph? Can you make me that cocktail? Chef, where do the quince come from? What's in that dish? Is that from Path Valley Farms? How do you spell that farmer's name? What do you want on the flyer - when do you need that flyer? Did you change your password? DID YOU GOOGLE IT? Oh man, that one.

Big thanks to my restaurant family, past and present, I love and appreciate you all. Thanks for tolerating me and allowing me to show the world your work. 

Here's to a few more years at EGFG, before I take over the world, Pinky. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

pursuit of perfection

There are plenty of people that want to cook out there, very few of them become chefs. The difference between the people that do and don’t is work ethic, plain and simple. If you’re going to go ahead and make a career out of this, you gotta be willing to sacrifice. You have to be able to be the best person at what you’re doing in the kitchen at all times. Take pride in everything you do, don’t leave any stone unturned. If you leave a messy station or cut corners, this isn’t the right career for you. Pursuit of perfection. 
Chef Greg Daniels, Life & Thyme

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Maybe if you were Saul Bass and writing the rules

Shirey: my boss: "My design teacher in school always told me 'there are no rules [about design]!!!' I love that and have always stuck by that!!" - Um. There are rules. Don't stretch your type. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

vinstagram: don't you just love the people?

Strong hat game with Peter Lee at Amphora Diner

Bates, downtown Del Ray


Kat, Guajillo Cocina
Baker Nathan, Tokyo Black Porter
Trav & Rach. Wedding's in nine days! 

friday evening: today we celebrate our independence day

sounds like: one of the best: Dolly Parton's Jolene. Fall(ing) In Love with Phantogram. I don't want to fight it - The Feeling with The Knocks. Having Good Day(s) with Nappy Roots. Hearing it through the Kaiser Chiefs' Grapevine. Going to be the type of night...you hope it never ends - BST FRNDS with Spirit Animal. 

tastes like: Great burger at Amphora Diner with Peter Lee. The fries were on point, as were the kid's meal pancakes we ordered when we saw them on a neighboring table. Hand-shaken iced coffee at Coffe Amouri. Peter Lee cracks me up. Remind me to tell you about his trip back from Denver. Even better, he should create a blog and tell you himself. I didn't grow up with brothers and, aside from my older male cousins, Peter Lee would be the closest I've come to having a brother. 

feels like: a. ohhhhhh, suddenly it all makes sense. Ah well, c'est la vie. b. This is fun and I'm going to see where it goes. c. I think I'm going to make mixtapes for people. d. It's the Fourth of July and fireworks are going off outside my window and I didn't do anything patriotic save for wearing red, white, and blue. Truth of the matter is, today was a chill Friday and I don't have enough of those. 

smells like: Summer peach lotion. I'm trying to live, breathe, and feel that summer peach scent. Summer is here. 

Photo via 6senseshawty

Friday, June 27, 2014

Steph: My friend was telling me how he made seafood stock and I thought, “hmm, I wonder if I can make fruit stock,” but then I was like, “I think that's just punch.”

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thursday morning

sounds like: Hearing it through the grapevine with the Kaiser Chiefs and rockin' The Feeling with The Knocks (nonstop dance party ftw on Monday). You See Me, babe?

tastes like: Toothpaste. I just brushed my teeth. I wish I had time to bake a mess of biscuits.

feels like: So much to do before this weekend's Mid-Atlantic Food Writer's Symposium. It would figure that I have double managers' meetings today too. Ah well, looks like I'm going in early and leaving late. Life is pretty sweet otherwise. No complaints, other than bedroom being messy - but let's be honest, I complain about that any chance I get. That's what happens when you constantly have projects on your brain (and on your desk).

smells like: Lemon perfume. Feeling fresh.

Monday, June 16, 2014

me: Holy hell, it's so hot outside.
Nick the UPS Guy: Try working in a big brown oven.

Tonight! ASTR + The Knocks

9:30 Club, doors open at 7. You should be there, because I'm going to be there.

'cause I'm a good girl and you know it. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

yes, hugging

me: What time do you want me to come over (for dinner)?
Miemo: I have to leave for my dad's house that evening but I'd say we could have a good five or six hours just to hang out, eat, maybe watch something...lots of hugging.

Getting thanked/paid for engagement photos with a good ol' Southern meal. Good food should be a requirement in future photo contracts.

Monday, June 9, 2014

the baker and the chef


Eat Good Food Group alums:

Chef Margaret Long of Grape + Bean
& Baker Nathan Hatfield of Le Diplomate

Great afternoon strolling around Old Town photographing the baker and the chef. Love these two.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

but that's just how I feel

Discovered this song on Spotify's Mood Booster playlist and haven't looked back since. Such a great song to listen to while I design all the things and tweet all the tweets. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

vinstagram: dinosaur baby snatcher, stickers, and spoon doodles

I asked Caleb for a spoon doodle. He did not disappoint. 

Restaurant Eve family reunion! 
 Velvet Lounge on U Street. Man, I love stickers.

Chromeo at Sweetlife Festival. Totally worth all the teenyboppers, clusterfucks, and contact highs. 

Dinosaur baby snatcher!!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

blogger's guilt and ice cream

I haven't forgotten about you, dear sweet blog that only I read.
Talk to you soon. In the meantime, here's a photo of some toffee ice cream.
I love ice cream.

K, bye!

Ok, ok, ok. Here's what's going on:
- I shot a couple of engagements. Photos soon.
- Chef Red and I will be at Hail to the V tonight. I don't know who named it, but I'm slightly embarrassed whenever I have to say it.
- TT is heading to the ATL Food & Wine Festival today. I couldn't make it so I will be tweeting on his behalf from headquarters. Next year, next year. Maybe Aspen F&WF in the future. I wish.
- I'm campaigning hard to get us into this year's Garden & Gun Jubilee in Charleston. I. love. Charleston.
- Justin's in town, it's been great to see him on a semi-regular basis, though I never went more than a month without seeing him while he was at Rutgers.
- Chef movie is good. I wanted a Cuban sandwich for most of the movie.
- At the end of June, Steph and I are heading to RVA for the Mid-Atlantic Food Writers Symposium. Our hotel was built in the 1800s and is haunted. I'm not about that life.
- The other night I went to sleep at normal people time, woke up early, and decided to bake strawberry scones. Photos and recipe soon.

Ok, bye for reals.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

MCA grab the mic before the mic goes stale

Unconventional promotion for MCA-DAY-an annual tribute to musician & humanitarian, Adam "MCA" Yauch of the Beastie Boys. MCA was a devout Buddhist who fought for Tibetan independence.

Friday, May 9, 2014

this girl

Steph: Can I just say, I hate anyone posting pictures of apples right now. They are not in season.
me: I was just looking at your pineapple!
Steph: Girl you nasty.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I'm back from Mo Bay, mon.

I'll tell you about my short-lived trip to paradise soon. Right now it's time to get back in the grind. Rum Creams and sandy beaches, I'll be thinking of you.

No problem, mon, evry'ting gon' be al'rii.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

me: Have you ever seen the Canadian Chopped?
Pa: No. Why, is everyone really nice?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Record Store Day 2014: Oberhofer, Doc Martens, and Nicholas Cage

1. Canal Square, Georgetown
2. Cowboy boots in the Dr. Martens store
3. “Don't distract me, vina. I have to concentrate.” Steph digging at Hill & Dale Records
4. I'll be taking these Huggies and whatever cash ya got. 

today's playlist