Romantic Home: Tea Time

Tea Timing!

Spring time is around the corner and it might be fun to have some ideas in your arsenal for a romantic rainy afternoon idea! Here’s mine!  The lost art of the

“Easy High Tea with Sherry”.

For a full and ultimate “HIGH TEA”, you should have tea sandwiches, scones with jam  and devon cream, and tiny petit four. Your beverages should include tea, and sherry or champagne. But fear not readers, I am not suggesting that you prepare all of this yourself! So here are my ideas from the minimum to maximum experience for you to woo your significant other. And nothing sets the tone for a romantic afternoon indoors, like a spot {or three glasses} of sherry!

You need to make sure that you have tea! Along with sugar, milk or lemon, depending on how you both take your tea.

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Next priority is an Alcoholic Beverage! I recommend Cream Sherry. You can sub with Champagne but Cream Sherry is more authentic, super delicious and much less expensive. And it offers a happy, relaxing, warm blanket feeling over the let’s party feeling of Champagne!

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If you are serving this after you have had lunch, I would focus soley on scones and pastries. That said, if you have not had lunch, tea sandwiches are a super treat.

I recommend, olive and cream cheese, or cream cheese and cucumber, ham and cheese, thinly sliced of course, and maybe a thinly sliced chicken or turkey with a little mayo. They should be simple and flat on any squishy bread you like, including the white bread which we have all banished from our kitchens.

Here are some examples of High Tea set-ups!

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High-Tea-Experience

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Scones are easy to find, and devon cream is available at most any gourmet store like Citerella’s, Dean and Deluca, etc. Have it in house for that rainy day. And little macarons or tiny petit four, are also available at most any gourmet store or bakery.

If you are thinking “ Sure Marisa, it’s raining outside, and I am going to run, all over picking up this stuff!

Well, I would pick up devon cream and tea and Sherry at your convenience, to store and have on hand for that rainy day. And on the day of, I would run out to a specialty store and pick up the bread (sliced) a couple of sandwich fillers in the deli area, scones and petit four in the bakery section, and go home and set it up!  If you can’t find petits fours, you can purchase an individual lemon tart and raspberry tart and cut them in squares with a sharp knife!

If you want to be extravagant, you can make a run to La Duree for Macarons!

And after his first glass of sherry, he will not be thinking that High Tea is only for girly parties!!  xoxo, Marisa

P.S. Here is my totes adorbs niece Amanda and I at The Plaza for Tea Time!

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Proposing with Grace

Jim and Grace are engaged!!!
Over this past Thanksgiving, Jim took Grace to his family’s house outside of Chicago.
Little did she know what was in store for her!
Jim first took her to the Aviary Cocktail Lounge for cocktails.
He then surprised her with a hotel room at the Peninsula so that they would not have to drive home that evening. Of course like every girl, she said, “I didn’t pack anything!”
No need – Jim sneakily packed a suitcase for her! Good thinking Jim!
He guided her to the hotel to check in before dinner. Once they were in the room, he got down on one knee, and said, “I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
 Grace was wondering if he was just being very romantic, or actually proposing. Then he took out the ring – and what a ring it is!!
She started to cry and was so overwhelmed, she was literally speechless!  Any of you who have every been proposed to know exactly how she felt! Then he proceeded to put on her hand, a gorgeous Marisa Perry cushion cut diamond ring, set in a platinum with pink micro-pave diamonds! Yay!!
Jim whisked her away to the James Beard award winning restaurant North Pond , where they had a romantic dinner by the fireplace!  He then proceeded to tell her the stories of how he created her ring with Bob, and how he chose the light fancy pink diamonds around the setting.  Designing an engagement ring  is a novel experience for most anyone, but especially for Jim who, I have been told, usually does all of his shopping online!
Grace told me that Jim said “Bob and I are now buddies”!
The following day, Jim and Grace went back to celebrate their engagement with Jim’s family, and hopefully to showed off the ring a little bit!!!
Much love to you both for an endless number of years….

Romantic Home: Breakfast in Bed

Now that some people have power restored in NYC, I think it’s fitting to do a post about creating a cozy, romantic home.  One extremely romantic way to take a morning at home to the next level, is to serve your loved one breakfast in bed.

Breakfast in bed isn’t really a new thing, so why is it always so special?  Is it that your partner wants to pamper you?  Is it that it’s really nice not having to get out of bed and prepare your own meal? Is it that it comes with flowers and you would never add that to your own meal?  Maybe it’s all of  the above.

Well, loving to serve it and loving to receive it, I wanted to inspire you with a few ideas to make breakfast extra special!

Let me start by sharing my breakfast inspiration with you: monogrammed trays from Designdarling.com.  These truly darling trays usually feature three initials each, but my husband, Douglas Elliott (designer) and I prefer our everyday initials. Leave it to the designer to opt for customization! 😉  Design Darling has many fantastic home accessories that are exceptionally priced. They’re great for hostess gifts, but so stylish that you’ll want to keep them for yourself.

As far as breakfast is concerned, Douglas and I like to eat gluten-free as much as possible, and he also prefers sugar-free.  In an effort to please both our waistlines and taste buds, I’ve learned how to make healthy meals taste yummy.  I start with Pamela’s wheat-free/gluten-free pancake mix. The mix is a rice-based flour, consisting of both brown and white rice. I find it comes out tasting closer to a French crepe.  I follow the recipe for pancakes exactly but I use low fat milk, instead of water.  Once everything’s mixed, I take out my fabulous Presto electric griddle, (the secret to all great pancakes), and just heat and pour!  While the pancakes are cooking, I chop up strawberries and mix them with a tablespoon of sugar-free, vanilla syrup.  It makes them taste like strawberries and cream, without having to use cream! Next, I heat up sugar-free maple syrup for him and maple agave for me. I love the agave because it tastes just like really good maple syrup, but it doesn’t raise the glycemic index and it’s totally natural.

Of course, breakfast in bed is not complete without coffee and a rose.  Our Keurig machine takes care of the coffee element with ease,  and I just step out into my garden for the rose. That stated, if you are a Manhattanite without a rose garden, nothing does the trick like a dozen roses from your convenient local deli – one of the wonderful perks of living in NYC.

Want to mix it up a little?

Try out different flavored syrups, like vanilla or caramel.

Try making a heart shape with your whipped cream.

Try grilling bananas – they’re fantastic!

Add other fruits to the mix like blueberries for a splash of color.

You can always add eggs or bacon if your love has a savory-tooth.

Have fun experimenting! I hope it ends up being a very romantic morning.

Love – Marisa

Romantic Weekend: North Fork Table and Inn

Ahh, fall is upon us!  Aren’t you ready to spend some time in the country with leaves changing color?  Maybe picking a pumpkin or two and sipping some late fall harvest wines?
Then take some time to visit our friends at The North Fork Table and Inn! Who says fun weekending, and the North Fork are for summertime?
I recently discovered that one of my favorite NY pastry chefs, Claudia Fleming, opened up an Inn on the North Fork, in Southhold, to be exact. I met Claudia years back when she was the executive pastry chef for Gramercy Tavern. When I heard of her most recent venture, I could not get there fast enough! She has always been wonderful, gracious and charming – not to mention, a fabulous baker of all things sweet and irresistible!
Douglas and I took a wonderful, mid-week getaway trip to check out The North Fork Table and Inn just a couple weeks ago and it was SO romantic! We pulled up to a gorgeous, stately, white colonial house which was built in 1790. The front door opens up to the restaurant and bar area – nothing is quite as welcoming as entering into the bar for an aperitif!
We were given a quick tour of the restaurant and ropes before being escorted to our room. The rooms are moderately sized, but large considering the age of the house. We had a private bath with a tub, and the mattress was great. Chic, Hampton-esque decor with peaceful neutrals lined the Inn through and through.
 The best part about the trip for me was spending time with my husband (of course), but breakfast was a close second!  Claudia baked us fresh scones – the best I’ve ever had.  She made Douglas his first ever ricotta cheese pie, with truffle and a light, flaky crust.  We also had spectacular muffins, quiche, and other breakfast staples you’d expect. I could hardly get past the scones to indulge in much else though – they were incredible!
 We had a lovely dinner our first night at the Inn (photos above).  In the afternoon, we indulged in their fabulous Lunch Truck, which is their casual, outside eatery.  We enjoyed our lunch picnic-style and went back for seconds of the Chicken Pasole.  It was super delish!
The following night we decided to go to Greenport to dine at a recommended restaurant, The Frisky Oyster. Despite its “pub like” name, it was so luxurious. With padded fabric walls and sophisticated fare, it turned out to be quite a romantic dinner. We enjoyed a sweet stroll through the shops in Greenport afterward, which only added to our experience.
Douglas and I are looking forward to going back soon.  I can’t wait to see the leaves change colors in the country side, and to visit the cute farm stands. I love seeing tables of fresh farm fruits and vegetables left out in front of  houses in the North Fork.  The stands still have little money boxes, with  signs reading, “Put a dollar in the box and take a quart of ….” still left out after all these years! The  environment out there is so relaxing in contrast to our bustling city.
My dear friend’s mom, Mrs. Gallop, always says, ” For a long and healthy marriage, go away and take vacations!” She has been married over 52 years, so I think we will gladly take her advice!  Here’s wishing you many romantic, weekend getaways!
Best, Marisa

Romantic City: Mihoko’s 21 Grams

For a Romantic evening out, Mihoko’s 21 Grams cannot be topped!

* all images taken from their website *
While most NYC restaurants are designed with their business lunch/dinner clients in mind, I cannot tell you the absolute delight I felt walking into Mihoko’s 21 Grams.  The atmosphere screams, “Forget about work and let’s party in the most exclusive way!”  The decor sets the stage entirely for romance with pastel damask, white tablecloths, and flirtatious Louis XVI accents placed all over the rooms in unique ways.
When describing this room, I say that from the waist down it screams formal, three star french dining.  The tables are sectioned off by wooden screens, paneled with various colors of pastel damask.  The white table cloths are adorned with perfectly placed settings, beautiful cutlery, and elegant china.
 The walls tell a different story, though!  This large, Flatiron loft space is divided into three sections by a large bar in the center.  The walls are embellished with staggered heights of  Rococo paintings, mixed with wooden-framed, garland motif mirrors. The mirrors are consistent with those removed from old Parisian apartments.  They’re all featured whimsically, at playful, staggering heights.
I have to mention the basement bar – OMG!!!  It is papered with life size, black and white photo wallpaper of the walls of Versailles!  The furnishings encourage cozy talks and intimate conversation… so romantic!
The cocktail list is over the moon in uniqueness, featuring inspired combinations of the most delicious ingredients.  Both the food and cocktails are reflective of Mihoko’s (a well known Ballerina in Japan) love of all things French and Japanese.  Therefore, cocktail, dinner and dessert menus are enhanced with Japanese ingredients prepared in modern French ways.
That said, aside from the sushi menu they offer, the food appeared to be mostly modern French to me.
Unless you are coming here for drinks (which I highly recommend) or  dining here for just cocktails and sushi, I think this is more of a special occasion restaurant.  That said, hurry!  Find a special occasion to celebrate and make this your first, most romantic destination!  It’s gorgeous, playful and completely cool all at the same time.
Did I mention the interior designer is Bruno Borrione, a Philippe Stark prodigy?
Love, Marisa