Mustard Grilled Pork Chop // @2souschefs

“The unofficial start of summer has passed. Consequently, grills all over the nation have been fired up and ours was no exception. We wanted to take the traditional grilling of burgers and brats up a notch by upgrading to mustard marinated pork t-bone steaks. These steaks are revered by chefs and home cooks alike for having both tenderloin and a portion of the loin attached by a single ‘t’ shaped bone. Apples are not usually associated with late spring cooking but trust us, adding it to a spring cabbage (like a Napa cabbage) will take this dish to the next level. A bunch of fresh asparagus will offset the apples back into summer territory. This recipe will make enough for two for dinner.

You’ll hear us talk about organic olive oil often in our recipes. Aside from the heart benefits, the effects of hand-picked, cold pressed organic olive oil can be tasted in every dish you create. We love using it from everything from searing our salmon filets to using it in a dressing for a salad for lunch.” – Joe

Ingredients

For the Pork Chops:

  • 2 T-bone pork chops
  • 2 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon thyme – chopped
  • 2 tablespoon organic olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

For the Napa Cabbage:

  • 0.5 head Napa cabbage – thinly sliced
  • 0.5 each yellow onion – medium diced
  • 1 each Golden Delicious apple – cored and medium diced

For the Asparagus:

  • 1 bunch asparagus – woody stemmed removed, cut in half
  • 2 each shallots – sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat the grill to medium high.
  2. For the pork chops, mix the whole grain mustard, Dijon mustard, thyme salt, pepper and oil in a bowl. Spread evenly on the pork chops and set aside to grill.
  3. Grill on the first side for about four minutes or until grill marks start to show on the pork.
  4. Flip and continue to cook for another four to six minutes for until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit or desired doneness.
  5. In a skillet over medium high heat, place the bacon in the pan and start to render out the fat.
  6. Once a small amount of bacon fat starts to form at the bottom of the pan, add the apple and bacon and continue to cook for three to four more minutes.
  7. Add the sliced Napa to the pan and continue to cook for two minutes or until the cabbage is fully cooked and soft.
  8. In a second skillet on medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and combine the asparagus and shallots. Cook the asparagus until soft and tender, about five to seven minutes.
  9. Place the asparagus down first, the Napa cabbage mix on top of the asparagus, then the pork on top to plate.

Pack a Bag: The Monkey Tree Hotel, Part II

Jamie and I stayed at Monkey Tree Hotel in Palm Springs and I cannot wait to make the another trip back. As a preservationist, I can appreciate a storied history and the Monkey Tree Hotel has rich one. The property went through several iterations: the OG Monkey Tree Hotel phase ran from 1960 until 1988 when it switched hands and was rebranded to a men’s resort called The Legacy, the couples’ nudist resort as the Terra Cotta Hotel in 1995, and the reincarnation of the Monkey Tree Hotel in late 2015.

The Monkey Tree Hotel was kind enough to put us in the Presidential Suite. It is named for the rumored rendezvous that JFK and Marilyn Monroe had in the hotel circa 1962. Reportedly, the United States Secret Service was spotted on East Racquet Club Road outside of the private entrance to the suite, making it the ideal accommodations for a clandestine affair.

The same geographic location {away from downtown} that likely made it attractive to John and Marilyn, was one of the reasons that Jamie and I liked it. Rather than hiding an affair (only a friendship roadtrip here!), we loved the Monkey Tree Hotel for the lowkey ambiance; it is perfect for a solo or couples weekend getaway or a girls’ trip. At the same time, it was easy to get back and forth from downtown as the Lyfts are abundant and reasonably priced.

I packed my favorite vintage Lilly Pulitzer dresses for my long weekend at the midcentury gem on East Racquet Court Road. Not exactly fitting to wear the signature designer of Jackie Kennedy in the love shack of John and a mistress, but it is also the only 1960s designer I own. Dress for the decade of the accommodations you are inhabiting, amirite?

While I am in love with these two Lilly Pulitzer dresses, I have a downright obsession with shopping vintage Lilly. It is a sickness. I rounded up several 1960s-era Lilly Pulitzer shift dresses below. Note about shopping vintage: Pay attention to the measurements and if in doubt, go up a size in these frocks. The hemlines tend to be longer but the body tends to be smaller.

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Sincerest thanks to the Monkey Tree Hotel for sponsoring our stay.

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48 Hours In: Palm Springs

Perhaps it is the inevitable Coachella burnout but I get the sense that Palm Springs is underrated in the sense of cultural resources, art, and architecture. The desert town is not just flamingo floats and alcoholic beverages, although there is plenty of that, but I am so excited to share the rest of the best of Palm Springs.

No trip is complete without a trip on the aerial tramway. My initial reaction to the upwards transportation happened while Jamie and I were driving to the tram station. It blew our minds when we passed the signage to turn off the air conditioning. It did not feel as though our rental was working especially hard (especially in comparison to our days prior spent in the West Hollywood hills) but Jamie corrected me in that he felt our midsize SUV breaking a sweat.

The aerial tram holds about sixty people per car. Don’t load into one side, y’all, because the car rotates. Also there are five towers, each of which transfer the cars that run on the tracks. If you are afraid of heights, it can be uncomfortable to transfer because the car rocks back and forth. Cut to me holding onto the rail in the middle of the car.

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We enjoyed our visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Art and Architecture Design Center. 10/10 recommend stopping at both. They are the ideal respite from the afternoon heat.

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The built environment of Palm Springs is vastly underrated. Sure, people just looooooove midcentury modern architecture, but how many of those actually care enough to examine beyond the surface of what can be seen from the street?

I recommend taking at least one modern architecture tour. We ended up taking two: the Palm Springs Mod Squad Tour and the MidMod Design Tour. Both had their merits and as someone who has her Master’s degree in Historic Preservation, these tours were necessary. Kurt and Lyle were both authorities on the topic. Two approaches to one topic with little overlap made for exceptional learning experiences.

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There is only one hotel to stay at when in Palm Springs and that would be the Monkey Tree Hotel. It was designed by the father of desert modernism and one of the pioneers in midcentury modern architecture, Albert Frey. The owners of the hotel Kathy and Gary, pivoted from careers in architecture and finance respectively, to hospitality.

Amenities of the Monkey Tree Hotel include house made breakfast (vegan, gluten-free, and paleo options are available), sangria happy hour, all day snacks and soft drinks, parking, green charging stations for electric cars, salt water pool, tethered lap pool, hot tub, sauna, and Scandinavian spa. Kathy also has a comprehensive guide to activities, architecture, and tested restaurants that was beyond helpful in planning our trip.

Right now is the ideal time to book a trip at the Monkey Tree Hotel. There are several specials running from June until September for both weekends and weeknights.

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Sincerest thanks to the Monkey Tree Hotel and Visit Palm Springs for sponsoring our stay.

Pack a Bag: The Monkey Tree Hotel, Part I

Jamie and I took a friendship roadtrip from southern California destinations up to Napa. We went sideways, you could say. Our first stop on our friendship roadtrip?

A bucket list destination for both Jamie and I has always been Palm Springs. Fun fact: Jamie and I met in graduate school, where we were both at the Maryland School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. While he was in the architecture and I was in the preservation and real estate development programs, it took a second for our paths to cross but thanks to my social nature, it would not be soon before long.

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It was fate that brought us to the Monkey Tree Hotel, a sixteen guestroom boutique hotel established in 1960 and designed by the father of desert modernism, Albert Frey. After checking in I read about the hotel’s history, which included a brief bio of the owners. I was so jazzed to learn that the wife of the husband-wife ownership team also went to school for architecture and worked for Gensler. The grind and the monotony of the eight-to-five (but realistically twelve hour days) that are of the norm to the fields of architecture and finance, drove Kathy and her husband Gary to leave their New York City routines for a change of pace in Palm Springs, and purchased the Monkey Tree Hotel in 2015.

Kathy’s background in architecture informed their decision to procure the Monkey Tree Hotel but it was the location and history of the hotel that directed the renovation; as a preservationist with a pragmatic point of view, I appreciate the hospitality model to preservation but particularly their approach that bypassed purchasing sixteen sets of West Elm furniture in favor of curating pieces that are true to the OG era and salvaging and refurbishing pieces that are original to the property. For instance, the vivid yellow lounge furniture at the pool and courtyard are original Brown Jordan pieces circa the 1970s era of the hotel.

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Aside from authentically furnishing the hotel, the time constraints were the biggest challenge in renovating the hotel. The Monkey Tree Hotel has a storied timeline which includes rebranding in the 1980s and 1990s to the Legacy Hotel and the Terra Cotta respectively. The latter of which was a – are you sitting down? – nudist resort! Kathy and Gary officially purchased the property in December 2015, effectively establishing it as a clothing mandatory establishment, and concluded renovation in February 2016, just in time for a soft opening for Palm Springs Modernism Week.

Kathy and Gary acted as the general contractor on the project, but the majority of the renovation was cosmetic: paint, landscape, FF&E (furniture for the uninitiated to the built environment), commercial kitchen, and a Scandinavian spa. The FF&E included architecture books in the breakfast nook bookcase which largely came from that of Kathy’s collection from graduate school. I was confident that the Monkey Tree Hotel was the real deal upon check in, but it was when I spotted two books that were required reading for the History of Modern Architecture at the University of Maryland as taught by Dr. Richard Etlin, that cemented the Monkey Tree Hotel as my go-to as my Palm Springs accommodations going forward.

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Sincerest thanks to the Monkey Tree Hotel for sponsoring our stay.

Shopping Moratorium 2019 | 147/218

last…

Who else shopped the Target / Vineyard Vines collaboration? Admittedly, in addition to shopping for my mom, dad, nieces, and nephews, I shopped for myself. I knew that once it was gone, it was gone. And it was gone about twenty minutes after the collection hit the online store, midnight PST.

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I ordered another vintage Lilly Pulitzer circa 1960s and am beyond excited for it to arrive. I know this style runs small, as I already purchased it in another colorway in a size twelve, and it barely zips.

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Lastly, I decided to take advantage of my last month in Monterey and start running the beach again. My old norts no longer have the drawstrings, so I purchased three pairs of marked down Nike shorts to replace my old pairs.

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Sartorial Sustainability Sunday: The True Cost

last week…

A shift happened in apparel production that only looks after big business interest. One of the first documentaries exploring the epidemic of fast fashion following the tragedy at Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh, The True Cost explores this shift and opens the eyes of the viewer to the implications of the profits of the corporations and the western culture’s need for more.

Fast fashion is a new concept and one that has changed the clothing industry. Instead of two seasons a year, we have 52 seasons a year. How does a company manage producing that mass? One in six people in the world works in the global apparel industry and the majority are factory workers. The average wage for a current employee of a Dhaka factory is less than three dollars a day and that is how fast fashion can afford to be made lightning fast and and so cheaply.

As recently as the 1960s, America made 90 percent of our clothes. As of 2015, it was three percent. Why is the 97 percent outsourced? Corporations can get away with cutting corners and disregarding safety measures when they outsource to third world nations. (Where is OSHA when you need them?) Cutting corners and disregarding safety measures became de rigueur, at least until it was illuminated by the tragedy at Dhaka, Bangladesh. The death toll of the factory collapse was over one thousand. What is most sickening is that the building was called out as structurally unsafe before the collapse.

An interview with an industry expert gave me food for thought in regards to consumption. The next time you find yourself “needing” something, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will your needs feel satisfied by consumption?
  • Is the way to solve the problems in your life through consumption?

Then the documentary started to hit especially close to home and brought be back to my Q and A with Lindsey. Clips from YouTube channels of Bethany Mota, Meaghan Dowling, and Sadie XO each featured clothing hauls, specifically fast fashion brands H&M and Forever21. This part was cringeworthy, particularly the part when Sadie XO commented that she did not even know if she liked a sweater she bought, let alone if she was ever going to wear it.

Everyday I see outrage on my Twitter feed about the state of human’s rights in the United States. Can those who are as outraged by the lack of women’s and minorities’ rights in the states (and I am with you), be as indignant for those in third world countries who subject themselves to brutal conditions so that us westerners can shop an eight dollar top?

 

Blue Grit

If denim is the basis of all wardrobes, long denim (meaning skinny styles of 34 inch inseams or longer and all other cuts of 36 inch inseams or longer) is the holy grail for any lady topping six feet.

The first pair of long denim that I ever scored was from Abercrombie & Fitch at the New Orleans Riverwalk before Hurricane Katrina hit and before the Riverwalk was converted to an outlet mall. So clearly I remember going back-to-school shopping with my mom, her friend, and her friend’s daughter. Her friend’s daughter insisted in stopping at Abercrombie and Fitch to which I was neutral about, until I found the slouchy bootcut style jeans of my dreams that came in a 36 inch inseam. Initially I saw the darker wash but became especially jazzed when I found the faded blue. At the time, the sticker price of $59.50 seemed expensive, to which my mom’s friend remarked that I should look at Eddie Bauer again regardless of the fact that we had just been there and I noted that the denim did not come longer than with a 34 inch inseam.

I now realize that my mom buying me a pair of pricey denim probably put her friend on the spot to buy her daughter the same or comparable pair, despite the fact that she was not in need of jeans to accommodate her six foot stature. Because you know, she was like 5′-5″ tall.

My mom bought me the jeans and I got every cent worth of that $59.50 plus tax. I do not think I retired them until four years later, but in those four years I wore them no less than twice a week. A little bit of math: 4 years * 52 weeks * twice a week wear = 416 wears. $59.50 / 416 wears = fourteen cents per wear!

It is my firm belief that well-fitting denim should not be contingent on one’s height or one’s wallet. I included denim that is no shorter than 34 inch inseams for the skinny cuts and 36 inch inseams for all other styles with price points starting in the $45 range to the $200 range and everywhere in between.

skinny denim

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free your calves

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black, wine, and colors

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Thai Sweet Chili, Citrus, and Shrimp Lettuce Wraps // @2souschefs

“Last year Andi perfected a recipe for chicken taco lettuce cups. It is a dinner that has become so desired by myself that I ask for it at least once a week when we do our weekly dinner menu planning. After my latest attempt to get this into our weekly dinner menu was denied, I thought aloud, “What else can we wrap into lettuce cups?”

To which Andi replied, “Well, we have shrimp in the cooler.” That was the lightbulb moment.

We wanted to make the dish fresher and lighter to correspond with the warmer weather in the mountains, so we added fresh orange juice, cucumber, and avocado to the crisp iceberg lettuce cups. I would have to say, this dish will absolutely be making its way into our weekly dinner menu.

When working with iceberg lettuce and trying to make cups, the easiest way to make the perfect cup is to remove the core of the lettuce from the bottom then remove the leaves from the bottom. Some of the leaves will be larger, but you can tear them in half to make a perfect cup.

This recipe will make enough for two for dinner

We were given our first AllClad twelve inch sauté pan with a matching lid by a close friend when we were just but interns living in central California. It has served us well over the years and has cooked everything from braised chicken to seared shrimp. We love it and with a little care, it will last us an entire lifetime.” – Joe

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces shrimp – shell removed, de-veined

  • 6 leaves iceberg lettuce

  • 1 shallot – small diced

  • 1 green pepper – small diced

  • 0.5 cup Thai sweet chili sauce

  • 0.5 orange – juiced

  • 1 lime juiced

  • 0.5 cucumber – medium diced

  • 1 Roma tomato – medium diced

  • 1 avocado – medium diced

  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds – toasted (optional)

Directions

  1. In a twelve inch skillet on medium high heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the shallots, pepper and shrimp.

  2. Continue to cook for two to three minutes or until the shrimp are almost completely cooked.

  3. Sprinkle with toasted white sesame seeds (optional).

  4. Add the juice of the orange and lime and add the chili sauce to the pan and bring to a boil.

  5. Remove the pan from the heat.

  6. Split the six lettuce cups between two plates.

  7. Split the shrimp in between the six lettuce cups.

  8. Layer the remaining ingredients among the cups and serve.

Lucindervention Loves Lucite Accessories

I distinctly recall the first time I noticed lucite accessories within the pages of a glossy. The November of 2001 I had gotten my little paws on an issue of Cosmopolitan. The cover tag line, “is stress making you bitchy” really sold me on the issue that I procured at the local KMart. (Spoiler alert: I have been stressed out about something since the sixth grade; at that time, at the time I was stressed about college early admissions and it was indeed likely making me bitchy.) Granted that these days I have a general distaste for the magazine, but back then along with Lucky and Glamour, the risque magazine seemed aspirational back then.

One of the monthly two page style spreads in the front half of the magazine featured articles of clothing in the brightest of shades. The magazine directed readers to style the colors with lucite heels and accessories to avoid the heaviness than basic black would bring. I would never wear a pair of lucite heels, as I associate those with Pamela Anderson. Not on-brand for me.

Lucite accessories, though? Count me in. While the concept of dressing high-low does not particularly have symbiosis with my style, that being classic / traditional. I think it does work with accessories. Pairing a lucite bangle with a pearl bracelet? Oh, hell yes.

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Tapping Into my Inner Trustafarian

Concert festivals are not a new thing. There was Woodstock, Altamont (looking at you, Hell’s Angels), Live Aid, Lollapalooza, Lillith Fair (#tbt amirite?), Warped Tour, and my favorites: Bonnaroo and Jazz Fest.

Jazz Fest walked so Coachella could run.

My upper years of undergrad I ran with a rather trustafarian crowd. A friend and I were discussing upcoming plans for the spring of my senior year and along with Mardi Gras and Spring Break, the conversation turned to Jazz Fest which our social circle had plans to go. I replied that I had to miss it that year so I could wrap up my senior thesis. I was working in an archaeology lab that last semester, so editing during the week did not fit in my schedule. I still regret not better managing my time and missing it that year.

OG festival style was nothing like the peacocking that happens nowadays. The thought of a flower crown or a Native American headdress or any of the other thirst traps (is that what the kids are calling it?) would not have even crossed my 2005 mind. The last thing I wore was a turquoise camisole layered over a bright white camisole, distressed to the point they had holes-in-the-knees gray Lucky Brand jeans, and a scarf tied around my head, 1960s-style. I distinctly remember watching the Better Than Ezra set and less clearly, Widespread Panic. Holy shit, that was nearly fifteen years ago. What a reality check.

What would I wear today for any music festival or even just brunch? I think I would make the reference to the original of music festivals, Woodstock, and sport some tie dye. The pattern really has stood the test of time (fifty years) and while it used to be trendy, these days it is a classic.

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Buzzed

Color me jazzed when I found that this certain American brand carried not only tall pants and dresses and sweaters, but also tall torso swim and button down shirts. I initially found a fantastic color block cocktail shirt last month but upon finding out that there was a collaboration with Sophie Allport, I turned my attention to this bee-utiful printed button down care of the brand.

For those who do not know, Sophie Allport is a Great Britain-based homeware designer. Per the Sophie Allport website…

Based in rural Lincolnshire, country inspired homewares brand Sophie Allport, was founded in 2007 by designer Sophie and her brother Jem. The quintessentially British brand is famous for its fine bone china and kitchen fabrics, but you will also find a wide range of products for pets and children and a lovely collection of home fragrance, bags, accessories and picnicware. There are now over forty different designs to choose from in the Sophie Allport, range. The charming and unique designs are all inspired by Sophie’s love of nature and the countryside. Plenty of gifts for country loving friends and family that offer a quirky twist on classic country design. 

I tend to think that along with tall sweaters, tall button downs are the holy grail of the tall wardrobe. (Longer hemlines are easy to find among classic brands. God bless you, Brooks Brothers.) Extra long sleeves are a nonnegotiable; along with the Sophie Allport print (check out the mug) and color block shirt, striped, embroidered, and solid options are also available in tall.

Let us discuss the fit; it is a boyfriend fit. This may be one of the only shirts I own that end up in the dryer. I was gifted a medium and could have gone down to a small. Real talk: if (realistically, when) I procure the color block version, I will be going down to a size small.

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