Andy arrives at The Table Set this week with broken shoes and sweaty feet. What’s the etiquette there? Do you have a rule about shoes in the house? Andy’s more comfortable in his socks, but Nathan worries about dirty floors. Greg doesn’t care what you do at his house– just don’t make him walk around in mismatched socks at yours.
Especially at a Tea Party. Or should we say a Twee Party? Andy’s party was made for the movies this week. Wes Anderson movies. The director’s latest effort, The Grand Budapest Hotel is beautiful, quirky, and, best of all– involves food. Naturally Andy set his sights on one of the “stars” of the film and put together the whimsical dessert Courtesan au Chocolat. More simply referred to as Herr Mendl Cake. So grab some Darjeeling and dress like your favorite character, because Andy believes everything about a Wes Anderson movie is twee.
Including the Herr Mendl Cake. Which, thanks to the The Grand Budapest Hotel’s status as an Oscar nominee, would make a terrific addition to an Academy Awards party this year. Granted the dessert itself is quite a feat, but here’s a video to get you started.
Nathan’s party was work. All work. He attended the Golden State of Cocktails. Which is a boozy convention for cocktail professionals. From bitters tastings to the history of vermouth, there’s is a lot of drinking going on at this convention and it’s all world-class. But the big question remains. Did Nathan spit?
Speaking of vermouth Nathan has decided that his “favorite flavor on the planet” is wormwood. But has he tasted Malört?
Malört, says Andy, is a bitter wormwood-based spirit that is both reviled and celebrated by Chicagoans. Evidently it smells like “wet garbage” and it often causes facial contortions that have become known as “malört face.”
Sounds dubious, but it’s got to be better than distilled ginseng, right?
Greg spent three weeks partying in another hemisphere. Peru, Argentina and Uruguay. Fantastic food, ancient civilization, and the life of a beach bum. It was like three vacations in one. But did Greg really get #BoredInUruguay?
Who knows? However, despite his South American culinary adventures he did arrive home hungry. Hungry for other parts of the world.
Which brings us to dinner. Well, dinner and a movie. When the entertainment includes a classic film like The Sound Of Music naturally your thoughts turn to Spaetzle, Schnitzel, and Strudel. Of course “whiskers on kittens” and “warm woolen mittens” might be on your list of favorite things too.
Either way, as promised, the guys put together a dinner party featuring the foods of Austria. As you might expect this meal consists of more than just Vienna sausage, and it’s just in time for your favorite holiday. No, not Valentines Day. Though the chocolate torts and tarts of old Vienna certainly taste like romance. This Austrian party was inspired by Andy’s childhood dates with his dad, listening to Mozart concertos as a tribute to the composer’s birthday.
The guys had no orchestra at their Austrian dinner, but they did set a table by the fireplace. However, it’s been 80 degrees in Los Angeles, so sitting by the fireplace was as close as they got to a fireside dinner. No matter, there’s a party to discuss.
As Nathan said, he’s had his fill of cocktails in the short run. So for this party he’s sticking to beer and wine. Austrian beer and wine of course. Well, Austrian and German beer. Let’s call it Bavarian and be done with it.
The wine however is another story. Choosing a purely Austrian wines is easy. Grüner Veltliner is a versatile Austrian white wine that’s very food friendly. It’s being discovered around the tables of many people these days because it’s easy to drink. However, it can be less easy to pronounce (it’s Velt-LEEN-er).
The Austrians may love their beer and wine but this is a dinner party. Greg and Andy rounded out Nathan’s liquid diet with a few traditional dishes like Spaetzle, Schnitzel, and Strudel. Make that Spaetzle, Schnitzel, and Strudel with a distinctly Table Set vibe.
Andy made Chicken Schnitzel with Rye Pretzel Crust.
Greg took on the side dishes: Cheesy Spaetzle Casserole with Ham, Pan-Fried Greens Bean with Speck (shinkenspeck), and a simple to make Austrian Potato Salad (click HERE for the printable recipe).
Of course there was Strudel. Andy made Apple Rosemary Strudel with a homemade crust that puts phyllo to shame.