Farewell Cocktail Hour: Blackberry & Thyme Sparkler

A Feteful Life: Blackberry Thyme Sparkler

If you’ve been a regular reader of A Feteful Life, I’m sure you’ve noticed that we love a good cocktail. So, we couldn’t think of a better final send-off than a killer champagne cocktail to toast all of the possibilities the future holds. Champagne (or any sparkling wine for that matter) is a must for any celebration whether it be for a new beginning or for the close of a chapter in your life. We’ll definitely miss A Feteful Life but we’re sure you’ll be hearing more from us in the future. In the meantime, Fete on!

Blackberry & Thyme Sparkler (from A Feteful Life)

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup blackberries (extras for garnish – 2 per glass)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (extra for garnish – 1 sprig per glass)
Chilled sparkling wine

Directions

Place the sugar, water, blackberries, and thyme into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let the mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the berries and thyme release their flavor. Strain the mixture into a glass bowl and let cool completely.

Pour 1/2 ounce of the blackberry mixture into the bottom of a champagne flute. Then top off with sparkling wine. Garnish with the remaining blackberries and thyme.

Date Night In: Grand Budapest Hotel

I know they aren’t for everyone but I really love Wes Anderson’s movies (and so does Jim). I fall head over heals in love with the visual worlds that he creates, the quirky & flawed characters and his amazing detail of design which brings it all together. And, his newest movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is no exception. We had hoped to get to the theater to watch it while it was on the big screen but it just didn’t work out. Luckily, it lends itself to a perfect date-night in and that is exactly what we did. Here’s what you need…

A Feteful Life: Date Night In - Grand Budapest Hotel 1. Grand Budapest Hotel – currently on OnDemand so no need to wait for it to come to Netflix!

2. Mendl’s Pastry Box – Get a downloadable template by Chamelle Designs to make your very own Mendl’s pastry box! It might not gracefully fall open upon untying the ribbon like the movie version but it’s still pretty awesome

3. Courtesan au Chocolat – Use Buzzfeed’s tutorial video to make your very own courtesan au chocolat. Yes please!

4. Society of the Crossed Keys Necklace – Inspired by the necklace that M. Gustave gives Agatha in the movie, you can become part of the Society of the Crossed Keys thanks to this lovely necklace made by The State’s Line.

5. Coupe Glass – Sip some sparkling wine out of a vintage inspired coupe glass and you’ll be instantly transported back to the 1930s.

6. Champagne or Sparkling Wine – Get a bottle of some fancy french champagne or try a bottle of Hungarian sparkling wine, like Torley.

7. Wes Anderson Bingo – While I’m perfectly happy to just sit back and watch a movie, these Bingo cards created by Slate would be a fun way to add a little competition to the evening.

 

Date Night In: At the Bar Dining

My husband and I love to sit at the bar when we go out to eat. I think the fact that we get to sit next to each other (without the smirks that same-side table sitting draws) makes for an intimate dining experience. We like to share small plates with each other and that’s easier to do at the bar. Plus it’s something you absolutely can’t do when dining with kids, which is exactly what we’re trying to accomplish when out for an evening by ourselves. So I’d love to recreate that set-up at home for a date night in. We already have a bar in our kitchen, but here’s what else I’d pull together for a nice evening ….

A Feteful Life: Date Night In At Bar Dining

1. While we have a breakfast/wine bar in our kitchen, we haven’t invested in any bar stools yet. I love these CB2 acrylic ones — they’ll keep it nice and open (and I hate when bar stools don’t have a foot rest for us not tall people!)

2. Bar snacks are a must and this mix of smoky popcorn and Japanese rice crackers looks fabulous.

3. My husband and I both love Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown — it’s a great mix of culture, food, politics, and travel. And booze. I think it would be fun to put this on an iPad on the bar as background while we eat. Just like a bar.

4. We almost always order oysters on the half shell when eating at a bar (as long as it’s the right place to order such things). I haven’t dared try to do these myself, but I think I might have to. Plus, crushed ice.

5. I’m normally not much of a champs girl (it gives me a headache), but lately I’ve been drinking a lot of French 75s when we go out. They pair perfectly with oysters and include my other favorite spirit: gin. (I’m seeing a Green Hat Gin French 75 in my near future).

6. I still have a stack of monogrammed paper cocktail napkins from when I set up my husband’s bar tray for him. They’d be a fun addition to date night.

 

Date Night In: French Fondue Night

Thirteen years ago this month, Jim and I were a couple of kids in college headed on our first big trip together – Paris, France. We were poor college students, so we mostly stuck to eating French street food rather than at fancy 5-star restaurants, but we did make a few dining splurges during the trip. One evening we happened upon a little hole-in-the-wall fondue restaurant as we were strolling through the Saint-Germain-des-Pres District. I don’t even remember what it was called and I doubt I’ll ever be able to find it again but it will remain one of my favorite meals with my husband.

Ever since we had kids, we don’t get to go out as much as we used to but we still like to have a special date night in every once in a while. In honor of our trip to Paris so many years ago, here’s my inspiration for this month’s date night in. Fete on!

A Feteful Life: Date Night In - Fondue

  1. I love this vintage yellow fondue pot from Haus1215 and here’s a recipe for a classic french fondue.
  2. Sip a classic Saint-Germain and champagne cocktail.
  3. Whip up some of these easy french pastry puffs filled with ice-cream and covered in chocolate for dessert.
  4. There’s no need to get overly dressed up for a date-night-in but that doesn’t mean you should be wearing your sweats either! Stay comfortable but looked polished with this French-style sailor shirt from J.Crew.
  5. I got a pair of these white jeans from J.Crew last spring and I love, love, love them! They are comfortable, hold their shape and they go with EVERYTHING!
  6. Amelie is one of my favorite quirky romantic comedies. It’s funny, sweet, romantic and very French!
  7. Lighting a candle (or more) instantly adds romance to an evening. Especially a candle that smells as amazing as these candles by diptyque.
  8. I love these Pointed D’Orsay Flats from Old Navy. So cute and currently on sale for $23!