Friday, June 23, 2017

Forget Happy Hour, It's Lillet Aperitif Hour at Isabel Marant.

By Laura Medina

Spring has sprung at Isabel Marant in the discreet Melrose Place, shopping district, not the fictional apartment complex.

The inventor/innovator of the ultra-comfortable and hip wedge sneaker, this scribe is happy that she finally has a shop of her own.  Currently at her shop, it's red and white prints for Summer then a retro-Nineties Grunge and cozy wool, white sweaters with flannel and plaid, and a "Think" pullover sweater.

Her and Lillet Aperitif celebrate Summer with a "Sip & Shop," perfect timing to get a fresh, new Summer wardrobe, get a jump leap on Fall/Winter preview before anyone else, and enjoy Lillet Aperitif with fresh, ripe strawberries.

Lillet Rosé
Lillet Roseberry
In the serving glass, place
  • 5cl of Lillet Rosé
  • 10 cl of Schweppes Wild Berry
Glass: Highball
Decoration: Strawberry slices
Preparation: Pour 5cl of Lillet Rosé into a glass full of ice. Add 10 cl of Schweppes Wild Berry and decorate with a few strawberry slices.

Real model food, bite-sized, portion-controlled, but pack full of protein and flavor.
Mini avocado toasts, fresh fig on crackers, and a dollop of salad in lettuce leaves.  Easy to serve and easy to save calories but collagen and antioxidant rich.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cointreau's Original Margarita with The Art of La Soirée 2017 Gets Cozy Yet Chic with Ali Larter.

By Laura Medina

Cointreau Soiree's The Art of La Soirée highlights the official start of Summer with celebrating Original Margarita, pure and simple with their shot of their orange liqueur.

The party got started early with a primer...a mixologist class for newbies, dummies, and how to shake a real Margarita. It's Cointreau taking the Mexican cocktail back to it's roots, away from the frozen delights oozing out of alcoholic slushie machines in tacky singles bars.

Cointreau's Master Mixologist, an humble Texan now based in Manhattan, noted that the Mexican/American border/ Tijuana drink is part of Texan pride and heritage that she grew up with, one of the earliest Tex-Mex culinary creation.

The mixologist is happy to note that, out of all the orange liquors out there, Cointreau has the lowest amount of sugar while being 80% proof.  It's always been that way when it was invented by a bunch of confectioners who wanted to make the most exotic liquor in the 1800s, orange essence.  Diabetics rejoice.  You all got the gourmet quality, culinary heritage, and lowest sugar amount without skipping out on the quality and legacy.

There have been many a muses but according to Cointreau, of course, The Original Margarita was the result of a chic socialite, Margarita Sames, mixing her favorite spirits together until she made the perfect drink while entertaining at home. 

It was pretty and simple, pre-dating the slushie machine.

The Margarita class was outfitted with the necessary ingredients and equipment in concocting the true Margarita...

2 oz Blanco Tequila

  • 1 oz Cointreau

  • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice.
    Shake and strain into a margarita glass.
    Garnish with salt and a lime wheel.

    First, scoop ice cubes into the cocktail shaker.

    Pour tequila into the larger half of the jigger then into the shaker.

    Pour Cointreau into the smaller half of the jigger then into the shaker.

    Squeeze a halved lime into the shaker then shake the ingredients all together, strain and pour into a simple glass.

    There you got it, the Original Margarita.

    Like anything successful, the Margarita permutated then evolved with California fresh strawberries and sugar.  As it spreads through America, it meet its match in peach and sugar.  Blending it with ice in slushie machines only made it more popular and more accessible, especially in hot, humid states.  Essentially, any fruit can be used with the addition of some sugar for a sweeter, fruitier margarita.

    Cointreau has evolved beyond getting smashed on cocktails.

    Thanks to cooking gourmet, organic, and healthy, the orange liqueur or any liqueur for that matter, is now added as a flavor booster or as a sugar substitute or returning it as an olde fashion preservative. 

    This is why Cointreau's new spokeperson is actress Ali Larter.

    No longer a starving, struggling actress but an homebody who can cook with liquor without setting the house on fire.  A celebrity who can cook with liquor, this is the direction Cointreau wants to go, reaching a greater audience who want to stay home and entertain while impressing or making folks jealous with quality ingredients and fancy meals with that extra kick.

    Cointreau's dessert bar showcased with what you can do with a dash of Cointreau as a sugar and flavor substitute.

    Horchata Ginger Cakes

    Coconut Lime Meringue Tarts with...

    Passionfruit Tartlettes with Lime Meringue...

    There tons of these Mexican Doughnuts, dusted in cinnamon sugar and drizzled in passionfruit glaze.  Plenty for the taking for breakfast hangover or as an afternoon tea souvenir.

    Pleasantly surprising, the interior of the doughnuts themselves aren't sweet at all.  All the sugar is on the outside, the cinnamon sugar coating and the passionfruit glaze syrup.

    Cointreau's chefs might had splash a dash of Cointreau in the Salted Caramel Brittle Flan.  Flan is Spanish/Latin custard, usually with a runny syrup dollop on top.  Not with Cointreau's chefs.  They make it nice.  The orange flan was resting on a bed of blood orange and toffee bits topping the Spanish custard.  This was Spanish Crème Brulee. 

    This came directly from Ali Larter's "Kitchen Revelry."  Her recipe for Tequila -Marinated Grilled Pineapple, with a dash of Cointreau of course.  Easy and perfect for July the 4th BBQ.  This one is from



    1. Cut the pineapple lengthwise into 8 wedges. Place the wedges into a sealable plastic container or sealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, stir together the cilantro, tequila and chipotle. Pour into the container with the pineapple. Cut lemon and lime in half, squeeze out some juice and put the juice and fruit into the container. Season with salt and pepper. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour, turning pineapple once.
    2. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. When the coals are hot, brush a light coating of oil on the grate.
    3. Grill wedges for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. If you like you can make a sauce by cooking the marinade in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the sauce is thick and syrupy. It will be very spicy!

    Iced Orange Cointreau Cake

    Unlike the other "showcase" cakes tempting the guests crazy, Cointreau was kind enough to share slices of their timeless, classic, plain and simple yet elegant Iced Orange Cointreau Cake.  This scribe swear this was the fluffiest cake ever far....

    Orange Cointreau Cake


    1. For genoise: Preheat oven to 375°F.
    2. Lightly butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan.
    3. Beat eggs and sugar in large, heatproof bowl until well-blended.
    4. Place bowl over low heat and whisk mixture by hand 40 times (about 1 minute).
    5. Return bowl to mixer and beat until cool and quadrupled in volume.
    6. Gently fold in flour, then butter, do not overmix.
    7. Pour into prepared pan.
    8. Bake until cake begins to pull away from side of pan and top feels springy to the touch, 20-25 minutes.
    9. Invert onto rack and let cool.
    10. For custard: Finely grate zest off the 2 oranges; reserve oranges.
    11. Blend yolks, sugar, cornstarch and flour in medium bowl of mixer until smooth and lemon-coloured.
    12. Scald milk.
    13. Whisk thin stream of hot milk into yolk mixture and pour custard back into saucepan.
    14. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth, about 10 minutes.
    15. Add peel.
    16. Place plastic wrap directly onto surface and cool completely.
    17. To assemble: Cut cake into 3 even layers using a long, serrated knife.
    18. Brush each layer with some of the Cointreau.
    19. Set 1 layer on a cake plate and spread with half of custard.
    20. Repeat with second layer.
    21. Add third layer.
    22. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    23. Decorate top of cake with these if desired.
    24. Try to make attractive pieces.
    25. Thinly slice and remove membranes from sections of reserved oranges.
    26. Frost top and sides with whipped cream.

    Too bad, this Cointreau Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake wasn't never sampled.  They just displayed it then took it away.  Darnit!

    Blood orange and Cointreau upside-down cake
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
    This easy blood orange and Cointreau upside-down cake has a dense and moist crumb, topped with zingy booze-soaked orange slices
    Recipe type: cake
    Serves: 6-8
    • 2-3 blood oranges (or other citrus of your choice), sliced very thinly
    • 225g caster sugar
    • 60ml orange liqueur (I used Cointreau)
    • 60ml water
    • 200g butter
    • 200g caster sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 200g almond flour
    • 62.5g plain flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 125ml Greek yoghurt
    1. Preheat oven to 160C/320F. Grease a 25cm springform cake tin and then line it with baking paper. Cut a piece big enough to cover the base and sides, then scrunch it up in a ball and flatten it out again to make it more manageable. Cover the base and then fold pleats into the sides to make it fit as well as possible.
    2. Put the water, Cointreau and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium high and add the blood orange slices. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pith and rind starts to become translucent. Carefully remove the orange slices with tongs or a slotted spoon, then boil the syrup for a few minutes so that it becomes thickens slightly. Allow the orange slices to cool until you can pick them up with your bare hands.
    3. Brush a little of the syrup on the the baking paper lining the cake tin to make it sticky, then cover the base and sides of the tin with the orange slices. It's up to you whether you want to overlap them or continue them up the sides of the tin or not - get creative! Reserve the rest of the syrup to brush over cake before serving.
    4. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time. Stir in almond flour, plain flour, baking powder and yogurt and mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the lined cake tin but be careful not to dislodge the orange slices. Bake for 60 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
    5. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes. Cover the springform tin with an upturned serving plate, get a firm grip on the tin and the plate and quickly invert the cake onto the plate. Peel off any parchment paper, then brush the top and sides of the cake with the reserved glaze. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt.
    Don't you all savory-tongueds and sugar fear-mongers worry.  There was real food served at the Cointreau Soiree...

    This no-cook snack should be a new 4th of July tradition on a sweltering, sweaty Summer day, Ceviche.  Don't worry, the acids from the marinade will kill the germs.


    • 1 pound fresh, skinless snapper, bass, halibut, or other ocean fish fillets, cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
    • 1 medium white onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 2 medium-large tomatoes (about 1 pound), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
    • Fresh hot green chiles (2 to 3 serranos or 1 to 2 jalapeños), stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
    • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, plus a few leaves for garnish
    • 1/3 cup chopped pitted green olives (manzanillos for a typical Mexican flavor)
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
    • Salt
    • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice or 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 large or 2 small ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
    • Tostadas, tortilla chips or saltine crackers, for serving

    How to make this recipe

    1. In a 1 1/2-quart glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the fish, lime juice and onion. Use enough juice to cover the fish and allow it to float freely; too little juice means unevenly "cooked" fish. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours, until a cube of fish no longer looks raw when broken open. Drain in a colander.
    2. Make Ahead

      Working ahead: The fish may be marinated a day in advance; after about 4 hours, when the fish is "cooked," drain it so that it won't become too tangy. For the freshest flavor, add the flavorings to the fish no more than a couple of hours before serving.


      There are many ways to serve ceviche. Here are some of our favorites: Place the ceviche in a large bowl and let people spoon it onto individual plates to eat with chips or saltines; spoon the ceviche into small bowls and serve tostadas, chips or saltines alongside; or pile the ceviche onto chips or tostadas and pass around for guests to consume on these edible little plates. Garnish the ceviche with cilantro leaves before serving.

      Suggested Pairing

      Chile tends to be known for inexpensive reds, but the real secret is the country’s terrific Sauvignon Blancs. The cold winds off the Pacific give Sauvignon Blancs like this one a finely-tuned citrus zestiness, perfect for ceviche (something else they do extremely well in Chile).

    But the biggest hit that will make you the most popular at your party...


    1 cup cornmeal

    2 tsp baking powder

    1/2 tsp salt

    1/4 tsp black pepper

    1/8 tsp white pepper

    1/3 cup minced onion

    1 egg, beaten

    1/4 cup milk

    vegetable oil, for deep frying

    Mix the cornmeal with the baking powder, salt, black and white pepper, and onion.
    Mix the egg with the milk and whisk into the cormeal mixture.
    Preheat oil to 350 degrees in a deep fryer.
    Drop spoonfuls of the batter carefully into the hot oil and deep fry the hush puppies until golden brown. Remove and put on a paper towel covered plate to absorb oil and to cool. Serve with a favorite dip.

    Then stick the lobster hush puppies on lollipop sticks to make it "chic."

    Cointreau Soiree's was also a "social cocktail mixer," a delightful place to mix and mingle to a live Latin Jazz band, doing their Spanish spin on Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly."

    Cointreau Soiree's homage to the Original Margarita was like the cocktail itself, light and refreshing, no pressure. Just relax.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Three Days Rules Rule the Summer.

    By Laura Medina

    Matchmaking service, Three Days Rule set off the Summer early, in late Spring of this past May.

    They were the first to set it off with a seasonally set White Party, attracting droves of Angelenos dying to dress up or learning how to dress for their first White Party, such as...

    arriving to the afternoon soiree in white bathroom, red swim trunks, and white swan feathers hat.  There's always a first time in everything.

    In training Angelenos in how to socialize, Three Days Rule offered a massive salsa dancing class.  The games people play but Three Days Rule teach them which games to play and the rules to those games.

    Their White Party was the first in their three-part series of mingling, networking, and dating.

    A month later, Three Days Rule gave folks a do-over.  This time they were kind enough to offer grooming and polish stations for three hours between 5pm to 8pm, just in time when busy working women just got off their jobs and companies.

    The right timing before the real 8pm mingle when the guys come in.

    The ladies were spoiled rotten enough to boost their confidence to meet men, thanks to:

    BEGLAMMED on demand makeup artists will transform your look from day to night.
    Get a polish change from luxe nail artists of NAIL GARDEN. 

    Try a side braid for the night or have your scalp analyzed from the experts at CRISTOPHE SALON OF BEVERLY HILLS. 

    It's fitness that flexes! Try a few moves on CLUB PILATES studio reformer, and get a glimpse at how this workout method could improve your daily life. 

    Designed to make you feel beautiful from the inside out, REVOLUCION'S fashionable workout gear is perfect for the gym or afternoon wine on your favorite patio. Bonus: every piece includes a donation to a nonprofit! 

    Let the pro-stylists of TRUNK CLUB get you outfitted for summer date nights. 

    Shop the latest eyewear from TOMS, and feel good knowing your purchase helps give sight to those in need. 

    Find your perfect fragrance by going through a custom fragrance journey with SARAH HOROWITZ PARFUMS.

    Apprenticed by Jimmy Choo and trained by Tiffany & Co., DURRAH JEWELLERY will have something you'll want to treat yourself to. 

    Have a mini massage from SOOTHE, massage on demand. 

    Let the Santa Monica SOULCYCLE instructors help you change your body and find your soul. 

    Learn how to have it all! Find him, keep him, and become a dream team while having your career skyrocket, from the authors and dating coaches of BOYS BEFORE BUSINESS. 

    Let TRUNK CLUB stylists get you outfitted for 1st dates & summer weddings. 

    SUJA JUICE will be sampling their delicious, organic, non-GMO, cold pressured juices and smoothies. 

    Enjoy delicious SPRINKLES cupcakes and cookies AND SO MUCH MORE!

    I believe there will other Three Days Rule mixers and get-togethers in other cities.

    Keep your eyes peeled.

    Monday, June 19, 2017

    The New Trends: Shay Mitchell & Lacey Stone at SHAPE Magazine's Body Shop, Get Moving for the Movement Foundation.

    By Laura Medina

    This scribe's trend and market-research instructor in fashion design school, said a trend is born when you spot it three times.

    During last Saturday's all-day SHAPE Magazine's Body Shop, all-day fitness lifestyle expo with very cheap fitness classes taught by celebrity fitness trainers, such as Lacey Stone.  This scribe has profiled her thrice already and also took two of her classes in the past year.  She's a trend to watch out for.

    The second trend is Shay Mitchell.  She opened the one-month only, limited edition "Pretty Little Liars" Warner Brothers' studio tour museum exhibit this past Wednesday.  Then two days later, she was SHAPE Magazine's celebrity du jour at their fund-raising all-day Body Shop fitness expo.  

    She came in thrice, three-times when she became Smashbox's Cover Shot Eye Palette spokesperson this past Fall...

    That qualifies her as a trend.

    SHAPE Magazine and the foundation they support, Movement Foundation are trends that will continue in the long haul.

    Don't dismiss SHAPE Magazine, they morphed and expanded into new horizons to change with the times.  Isn't this the point of trendiness?

    At their Body Shop expo, SHAPE Magazine proved that they're now a fitness lifestyle brand, not a mere magazine publication.

    Don't you know that SHAPE Magazine sells its own brand of activeware, selling 40% cheaper at their Body Shop expo than full-price online retail price?  Plying directly to their readers' needs.

    Being Los Angeles, actually a spacious Downtown Los Angeles loft, it ain't an event, unless there are glam services to make you feel good and become a loyal brand fan.

    Remember, healthiness comes in all different and various forms and types.

    One of the sponsors, Olly, debut their new Vibrant Skin and Goodbye Stress chewy, vitamin gummies to clear the complexion when toning down the stress, that causes break-outs in the first place.

    Since this is an event where everybody is expected to break out a sweat and burn some serious calories, the sponsors are considerate enough to supply the new Burt's Bees Gentle Foam Cleanser and Secret Fresh Clear Gel's new Luxe Lavender scent  All for the taking by the grateful sweaty femme fitness fans.

    The thankful fitness femmes were so relieved that there are haircare and styling services to get their fitness braids and updos then refreshing blow-outs by Maui Haircare and Dyson's ground-breaking blow-dryers.

    There's a snack bar, stocked on the minute-by-the minute, with Sparkling Ice Juices, Blue Diamonds and Lune Protein Bars, ready to grab in-between classes.

    Speaking of classes and refueling and refreshing, Shay Mitchell gave some of her healthy hints.

    Shay's favorite healthy snack, Vegetable platter and pita chips with hummus dip.  Her favorite healthy drink to chug, water with lemon wedges frozen in ice cubes.

    Shay always washes her face clean, after working out.

    After the quick interview, Shay joined in Jenny Gaither's hip-hop dance class for lunch.  Jenny is the founder of the foundation that SHAPE Magazine Body Shop is raising funds for, Movemeant Foundation, empowering young women to feel confident about their bodies by using fitness and physical movement as a platform for building self-worth and positive body image.  Through donations and with the work of Ambassadors, the foundation helps enable teenagers to form positive, healthy habits that will further their physical and emotional well-being.  Jenny got her groove on, training with world-renowned choreographers including Emmy-award nominated Sonya Tayeh from So You Think You Can Dance.

    But, don't forget about Lacey Stone, creator of The Stone Method and star of Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian.  She's a rising star on her right.

    SHAPE Magazine's Body Shop was a fertile ground for rising stars and brands' new items; and even SHAPE Magazine itself is a rising lifestyle brand, outgrowing and progressing beyond the publication cubby hole.