We haven’t posted in a bit. But not because we’re lazy. It’s because we are working on something cool and amazing. Stay tuned…

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When my friend Jennifer handed me a beautiful gold-wrapped package at Christmas I was intrigued. She told me that she bought me some goodies from Emporio Rulli which is an Italian bakery in the Bay Area. I had never heard of Rulli but Jennifer raved about it and made a special trip to Larkspur with her mom to buy Christmas gifts from the shop so I was really excited to try these cookies.

You would expect that I tore open that package as soon as I had an opportunity, right? No. You see, I was the child whose Halloween candy lasted for months. I don’t eat or drink quickly because I like to savor everything. So I waited and waited to open these cookies. Finally, nearly three weeks later, I cracked it open. I figured since the cookies have been wrapped they probably weren’t stale. And they weren’t!

The cookies looked beautiful and delicious and I didn’t know which one to try first. Well, that’s not true. I immediately went for the one covered in pistachios. Yum! I’ve eaten four now and they are all so tasty. And they’re all different which is even better because I’ll get to try about 20 different types of cookies.

So, after I dug into the cookies I actually searched for the Emporio Rulli website and guess what? The owners, Gary and Jeannie Rulli, also own Ristobar, a restaurant in SF’s Marina district which I visited and wrote about almost a year ago. It’s a full-circle moment 🙂

Apparently, Gary Rulli is known for his panettone but I would be happy going back again and again for the cookies.

Locations:

Emporio Rulli

464 Magnolia Avenue

Larkspur, California 94939

(415) 924-7478

larkspur@rulli.com

Ristobar

2300 Chestnut St. at Scott Street in the Marina District

San Francisco, CA 94123

(415)923-6464

WWW.RISTOBARSF.COM

Emporio Rulli il Caffe (in Union Square, San Francisco)

Located On top of the Square in the Stockton & Powell Street Pavilions
At the corner of Stockton & Post & At the corner of Powell & Geary
unionsq@rulli.com
Emporio-Rulli SFO
International Terminal and Domestic Terminal 3
~Christina

This year I made a resolution to take better care of my skin. I work for a beauty company, get free products, and really have no excuse to not have flawless skin. Yet I still go to bed with makeup on and refuse to exfoliate. But this year, my kitchen is getting a facelift for sure. Not that it needs updating (it’s brand new), but it needs designing. I’m doing a few simple things to make it look more stylish, whether my husband likes it or not.

1. Adding Backsplash: I love mosaic tile backsplash. There’s something about the little squares that can be mirrored and matte and metallic that add dimension to backsplash. No chunky tiles in my house.

2. Updating Pendulum Lighting: I have pendulum lights over my kitchen island. Cool, if only they weren’t the crappy ones the builder installed. I want to modernize them and make them a talking point — and maybe coordinate with my backsplash.
3. Add some color: Any way I can. While I’d love to get multi-colored cabinets like the ones below, I could always paint a wall, add countertop decor or get some cool accent chairs for my dining room table. Either way, there’s going to be some pops of color coming up.
4. Glass cabinets: My neighbors, instead of buying new cabinets, took their existing ones and had holes cut into them, and had glass cut and set into the doors. Love this idea. Now mind, you, the dishes on display have to be somewhat presentable. I somehow have to get rid of my husband’s football mugs before this happens.

Here are some beautiful kitchens, for inspiration:

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Enjoy!

~ Dana

This year I am making some resolutions to really push myself in terms of entertaining and dining. I need to get my act together and make 2012 amazing. And I need to figure out a way to trick my husband into helping me clean for the parties, but that’s another story. (When I figure out how to make that happen, I’ll post it, ladies…) Here are some things I want to do:

1. Learn to Arrange Flowers:

And I mean for real, not just putting some flowers in a vase. My friend Kirti does this crazy thing where she almost peels open roses so they’re big and beautiful. She talks to them, spritzes them with water and puts them in a vase full of water and a capful of Clorox bleach. She sticks them in the fridge until they’re ready to go.

I figure if you don’t have a Kirti, you can take a class.

DC:

San Francisco:

New York:

2. Eat at a restaurant with a Tasting Menu

I always order the same sort of food when I go out — pasta, cheese, pasta…So I think this year, I am going to do something different. Eating at a restaurant with a tasting menu allows the chef to select the food for you. It’s a surprise and it doesn’t allow you to be so picky. It expands your palette a little bit. True, it’s more expensive than your typical burger joint, but oh so delightful. And the cherry on top is that they typically have a wine pairing with each course.

Some places to check out:

DC:

San Francisco:

New York:

3. Create a specialty cocktail as part of a menu

A true hostess supplies one specialty drink for her guests. Well, for the ladies at least. My husband drinks Hennessy only, and wouldn’t be caught dead with mint or fruit in his glass. But regardless… Get the book Artisanal Cocktails by Scott Beattie. You won’t regret it. It gives all sorts of ideas for condiments, simple syrups and garnishes. Here’s a link to the recipe for an Autumn Apple Cocktail if you’re still doubting specialty cocktails. Amazing.

4. Make a hostess gift and bring it to someone

While it’s appreciated when a guest shows up with a bottle of wine, as a host, we know that all you’re going to do is drink it. Let’s be real. I would love more thoughtful gifts when I slave over a stove. So I decided, I’m going to bring one when I go to my next dinner party.

Here are some ideas:

  • Gourmet Food: Non perishable, please. Don’t bring something and force me to have to eat it right there. Olives, crackers, spreads. Try crackers from Gilt Taste and pestos from Bella Cucina.
  • Wine Accessories: Not wine, but coasters, napkins and wine stoppers are always great. For those of us who drink wine, we can never get enough. Try napkins with cool prints from Caspari, and coasters from Spit Bucket.
  • Candies/Sweets: Vosges. Done.
  • Candles: Love, love, love. Try ones from Voluspa. Delish.

More resolutions? Let us know!!

~ Dana

I love my oatmeal. I usually cook McCann’s on the stove and add mashed banana, walnuts, raisins and almond milk. But sometimes I’m lazy and just want something super quick and easy to make. Like instant oatmeal! I recently came across a cereal brand called Three Sisters. The packaging caught my eye at Whole Foods (where it is sold exclusively) and so did the flavors. Besides the typical cinnamon and apples and brown sugar and maple flavors, Three Sisters instant oatmeal is also made in dark chocolate, chai spiced and cinnamon plum spiced. So far I’ve tried the cinnamon and apples and the chai spiced. They are both so good! Three Sisters uses the thicker, heartier type of oatmeal (which my dad couldn’t couldn’t stand because he likes his oatmeal finer and mushier) and touts their products as “natural, sensible, sustainable cereals” which I totally support.

I was a little surprised to see that Three Sisters is a Malt-O-Meal brand because it has the appearance of a small start-up (very clever, Malt-O-Meal…). But of course, almost everything sold at Whole Foods has that mom-and-pop look about it.

Perhaps the best thing about this oatmeal is the fact that the pouch the cereal comes in doubles as a measuring cup. There’s a fill line on the wrapper so you know exactly how much water to use and it couldn’t be handier. I love the fact that I don’t have to guess whether I’ve added enough water to the bowl. All the work is done for me.

And I can’t wait to try the other flavors. Except plain. Yuck.

~Christina

Casa is participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

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