Another year gone by! Hard to believe. Here on The Table Set, it’s time to look back on the year to assess where the party was.

Highlights may not include Vegas all-you-can-eat Buffet in Hollywood or their chocolate fountain (Men VS Food), but the guys have plenty of other delicious 2013 times to reflect on.

raclette

Nathan remembers fondly that rowdy winter warmer back in February with the ladies of the Because Show podcast (It’s a Hot Mess), melting raclette by the fireplace, sipping Bols Genever, and writing haikus from the heart in pajamas. Does it get any better than that??

Greg says it does! The creative foods birthed for the summer patio picnic (Heat) – spicy mini corndogs, watermelon wedge salad, cherry shandy, chili-melon ice pops – are stand-outs in his book.

picnic

And of course the epic menu for Thanksgivingukkah (Holiday Cocktail Shtik) would tie any competition… Thanks to our clever and talented friends Elana (Stir and Strain), Jackie (The Beeroness), and Joy (duh).

thanks

Andy’s vote is for the guys’ old school Italian dinner party (Cin-Cin in Italian), featuring the best lasagna ever baked, tiramisu affogato and a palate-cleansing mid-meal cocktail named in honor of a motorway median, Spartitraffico.

cincin

What new year’s celebration is complete without lucky new year’s foods? Of course, the most common here in the states is the Southern soul food tradition of black-eyed peas (prosperity!) and collard greens (cash!), which Greg gussied up with African spices in his flavorful Cowpeas recipe here.

cowpeas

Greg’s new year’s cultural research unearthed other lucky lore, like the prominence of pomegranates in Turkey, coins baked into cakes in Greece, and the grouping of 13 round fruits in the Philippines (punch, anyone?).

china1

In China, the Lunar or “Chinese” New Year (January 31) is rich with customary foods and tradition. Nathan just so happened to be in China to witness the excitement ramping up for the coming holiday. He even got to sample some traditional new year’s treats such as the delicious Jing Sha Tang Yuan (Golden Sand dumpling) – a glutinous rice dumpling filled with hot egg yolk custard, rolled in oat and milk powder. And Hot Pot, of course!

china2

The most beautiful winter street food treat Nathan witnessed, and finally tried on his last night in Beijing, is Tanghulu – skewered and candied ripe Chinese hawthorn fruit. The small fruits -not unlike little sour red apples- are coated in hard sugar, and sometimes stuffed with red bean or covered in sesame seeds. Fun AND delicious!

WWA

Winter also means delightful winter cocktails! Nathan was tasked with contributing a vintage winter warmer circa 1934 for the collaborative cookbook The Way We Ate: 100 Chefs Celebrate a Century at the American Table by Noah Fecks and Paul Wagtouicz (of The Way We Ate blog fame). Odd as it may sound, a hot gin sling (not the Singapore kind) fit the post-prohibition bill. Check it out, you might just like it…

WinterSpiceLS

Greg had a task of his own – Properly bittering his Spiced Winter Punch with Bourbon and Pears! He employed Andy and Nathan to help decide, but you’ll have to scope the recipe to catch the verdict.

To a happy and healthy 2014, from your friends at The Table Set!

Na zdorovje!

Leave a Reply

3 comments on “Year of the Spice

  1. Lovely round-up! Can’t wait to see where you guys are headed in 2014!!

  2. sippitysup Jan 8, 2014

    Same to you. XOGREG

  3. Alisha B Jan 17, 2014

    The Italian dinner party was definitely my favorite. It sounded so home and inviting, much like the Christmas dinners we had at my grandmother’s.Long before our families were too busy to see each other anymore.

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