How To Host A Summer Cookout

Buffet - 600pxl width_ CapellaBBH

Summertime is finally here and nothing says summer like meat on the grill and refreshing drinks enjoyed with wonderful company.  If you’ve ever hosted a cookout,  you know there is a lot to plan and this is especially true when it comes to the menu.  Fortunately, the team at Breidenbacher Hof,  A Capella Hotel has a lot of experience hosting and catering these events, so I am happy to share some of our secrets.Buffet - 600pxl width_ CapellaBBHOn the Grill:

The chefs here recommend always having at least 3 options for a crowd.  People have different preferences, especially when it comes to proteins, so make sure you have something for everyone!
My top 3:
-Marinated Chicken Breast (classic)
-Pork Neck (a German favorite)
-Salmon Steaks (don’t forget a squeeze of fresh lemon!)
Make sure to use tongs when flipping the proteins and not a fork.  That way you keep the juices in, enhancing the flavors.

On the Side:

I would argue that the side dishes served at a cookout are as important as the proteins.  Make your life easy by prepping these dishes ahead, leaving more time for entertaining and socializing.
My favorites:
-German Potato Salad (another classic!)
-Spicy Noodle Salad (offers a balance to the sweetness of the marinades)
-Grilled Vegetables (This is a great way to add color to your meal. I love corn, aspargus and eggplant, but choose your favorite!)

On The Sweeter Side:

No meal, and for that matter, no cookout is complete without something sweet!  Whether the dishes are served as a side or a dessert these options offer a balance to the meal.
Try:
-Fruit Salad (refreshing with a bit of lime and mint)
-Sorbet/Ice Cream (because nothing says summer like a frozen treat)
-Coffee cake (can be made ahead and always a favorite)

Don’t Forget:

-Serve some crusty bread with dips for guests to munch on either with their meal or as it is cooking.
-Summer cocktails! Elevate this from a regular dinner by serving a signature cocktail. Might I recommend the Thyme Silver Fizz from the Capella Bar?
-Relax! A summer cookout is meant to be fun, so don’t take things too seriously. And remember, if you feel overwhelmed by the process you can always reach out to Breidenbacher Hof to cater the event!

Meet Capella Washington D.C.’s General Manager, Marco Bustamante

Marco Bustamante Headshot

I would like to introduce you to the Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown General Manager, Marco Bustamante.  Marco, a 10 year veteran of the Capella family,  took D.C. by storm, bringing with him a wealth of experience and charisma.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Marco to get a better idea of why he loves being part of the Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown team.

Marco Bustamante HeadshotWhat do you love most about Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown?

The people.  We have an amazing team with people from all different backgrounds and experiences.  We have a lot of local Washingtonians as part of our staff and I think it brings great soul to the property.

What makes our property unique in D.C.?

The design of our hotel gives guests an intimate, sophisticated, modern, and high tech feel. From relaxing in the Living Room to enjoying a cocktail in The Rye Bar, our guests have the option of feeling like they are in an urban oasis.

You’ve been part of the Capella team for over 10 years, what is your favorite memory?

When I was working in Los Cabos, we had a couple buy-out the entire hotel for their wedding.  We really wanted to make their experience special and unique, so we built a 120-foot long table to host 150 of their wedding guests in an underground tunnel.  The tunnel started from the entrance of the resort and opened up to the front of property.  We strung chandeliers from the ceiling accompanied with drapery all around; it was really beautiful and different.

What new and exciting events can guests expect this summer at Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown?

We recently held Negroni Week, where $1 of each Negroni cocktail sold will be donated to helping aid the victims in Nepal.  We have an employee who is Nepalese and she started a charity fund to help out her homeland, so proceeds will be sent to support relief efforts.  Summer in D.C. is a great time, we are looking forward to our Father’s Day special package, our annual 4th of July Rooftop party, cocktail specials in The Rye Bar, and Chef Ruta has some amazing new brunch items to be enjoyed on our terrace.

What is your favorite thing to do in D.C.?

I love spending time with my two sons and taking them kayaking on the Potomac River.

We are so happy to have you leading the team here at Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown, Marco!  Here’s to another year of creating more True Capella memories!

Images via MoMo Photography

Summer Skin – Ready, Set, Glow!

Capella Singapore_Auriga spa suite Mid Res

One of the most beautiful ‘souvenirs’ of a beach vacation is a rich golden tan. However, having read extensively about the ageing effects of prolonged sun exposure, I have my reservations about soaking in the sun.

Fortunately, Shanti Krisna, Director of Auriga Spa here at Capella Singapore, introduced me to a safe and effortless way to get my glow on and achieve the perfect summer skin. Using top-quality organic products, Auriga Spa’s Healthy Glow Self Tan treatment replicates the resplendent glow of sun-kissed skin, minus the skin damage from ultraviolet rays!

Capella Singapore_Auriga spa suite Mid Res

This fuss-free 60-minute treatment began with an uplifting citrusy body scrub. Formulated with aloe, sage and naturals oils, it gently sloughed off dead skin cell for satin smooth skin. It also subtly tightened my skin, revved up microcirculation and reduced the appearance of cellulite!

After my skin had been polished to perfection, my therapist slathered on an even layer of premium plant-based self-tan cream. Featuring a unique DHA derived from organic sugar beet, this light cream gave my skin an instant tan that lasted for a week. Its nourishing cocktail of aloe, coconut oil, sesame oil, jojoba and shea butter also left my skin feeling soft, supple and dewy – just as if I’d just stepped off a round-the-world luxury yacht!

To get me perfectly summer-prepped, Shanti also generously shared five tips for tress-to-toe skincare and rescue! Here they are:

Auriga Spa (Products)-36

#1 Get Under Cover

The sun is the No. 1 culprit of premature ageing. So never leave home without a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. You should look for a sunscreen with at least SPF30 PA+++, and apply it at least 20 minutes before sun exposure to allow the product to penetrate and protect your skin optimally.

#2 Scalp Help

Ultraviolet rays can also harm your scalp and hair. This causes sunburned scalp, dehydrated tresses, as well as hair loss. So invest in a sunscreen formulated for your hair and scalp, or wear a sunhat.

#3 Sunburn SOS

If you are suffering from sunburn, an aloe vera gel can help to calm and rehydrate your skin for accelerated recovery. In the meantime, keep your skincare and makeup regime simple. Avoid exfoliating products that will injure sunburned skin, as well as products with synthetic fragrances that may cause irritation.

#4 Hair Tip

Seawater and chlorinated swimming pool water strips hair of its moisture. So before diving in, wet your hair and apply a leave-in conditioner or olive oil to protect it from damage.

#5 Balancing Act

We all love summer. However, hot and humid weather can increase sebum protection while dehydrating your skin. Switch from a heavy moisturising cream to a lightweight gel-based moisturiser to prevent T-zone shine, clogged pores and acne. A facial blotter and hydrating mist can also help to keep skin matte and dewy during the day!

For more summer-perfect spa indulgences, refer to the Capella Singapore Auriga Spa’s treatment menu here.

Lavender Ice Cream With Peaches And Pine Nuts at Brasserie “1806”

rsz_peach

I love the warm season and its special qualities.  The best thing to do after a busy day is to enjoy the warm evening in the garden by eating ice cream.  This week I couldn’t even wait for closing time and went to Breidenbacher Hof’s Executive Chef Philipp Ferber to ask him for a fruity refreshment.  I was lucky because he had just created a new dessert, that was waiting to be tasted.  The dessert he served a few minutes later was very exotic and delightful:  Lavender Ice Cream paired perfectly with a White Peach and Pine Nut topping.  This was the perfect way to cap off a long day and to enjoy a warm summer evening.  I knew that I couldn’t deny you this enjoyment.

Here is the recipe to sweeten your closing time:

rsz_peach

Lavender Ice Cream with Roasted White Peach And Honey Pine Nut Vinaigrette

For 6 people

Lavender ice cream:

Ingredients
200ml cream
200ml milk
1 vanilla bean
2Tbsp lavender blossom
5 egg yolks
60g sugar

Preparation:
Mix the cream together with the milk, the core of the vanilla bean and the bean itself in a pan. Heating it for five minutes.  Next add the lavender blossom.  At the same time, stir in the sugar and the egg yolk until the mass turns white.  When done, add sugar and eggs to the cream mixture and put everything into an ice cream machine.  Complete it as described in the directions for use of the ice cream maker.

Roasted Peach with honey-pine nut-vinaigrette:

Ingredients:
4 white peaches (ripe, but not too soft)
30g powder sugar
40g butter
40ml peach liqueur
½ vanilla bean
50g pine honey
50g pine nuts

Preparation:
Halve the unpeeled peaches and remove the core carefully.  Dice to halves of the peaches and put them aside.
Dust the cut faces of the remaining peaches with the powder sugar and roast them in a laminated pan over medium heat.  When the sugar turns into caramel, turn the peaches, add the butter and go on sautéing.
Afterwards, decant the butter and deglaze the peaches with the liqueur.  Now, add the vanilla bean into the pan and cover it.  Leave it for 3 or 4 minutes and remove the lid.  At this point, the skin of the peach can be peeled very easily.
Take the peaches out of the pan and reduce the liquid.  It is time to add the pine honey and pine nuts and finally the peaches again, to glaze everything with the brew.

Garnish:
Fresh raspberries
12 lavender blossoms

Plating:
Put one tablespoon of the diced peach in the middle of a plate.  Then, set the peach on it and combine everything with the brew.  If you like you can decorate the dish with raspberries and lavender blossoms.  Finally, set a scoop of the wonderful lavender ice cream on top and serve your delicious dessert.

Enjoy!

Screen On The Green At The National Mall

Screen On The Green

Summer has finally arrived and there’s no better place to be than the Nation’s Capital!  Every year I count down the days until summer along with all of the activities it brings.  One of the most popular summer happenings among the locals and visitors alike is Screen on the Green, a chance to watch classic films hosted by HBO and Comcast on a gigantic movie screen on the National Mall overlooking the United State Capitol Building.

Screen On The Green

This complimentary outdoor event goes a little something like this: Gather a few of your friends on Monday night and head to the Mall around 5 or 6 pm to get a good seat.  Bring a blanket (no chairs) and a picnic basket for dinner and some dessert. Next, watch the sunset over the Capitol Building as you anxiously wait for the movie to begin.  My favorite moments are gazing up at the stars while the movie is rolling and seeing all the happy faces surrounding me.  This event makes for a fantastic summer evening and perfect way to enjoy this beautiful landmark, attracting over 15,000 people to each showing since 1999.

The schedule is out for this summer; take a look at the lineup:

July 21 – The Karate Kid (1984)

July 28 – Lover Come Back (1961)

August 4 – Key Largo (1948)

August 11 – A Soldier’s Story (1984)

Screen On The Green 2

The best way to get to the National Mall is by Metro.  The closest stations are Archives/Navy Memorial, Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza.  Public parking is very limited in this part of the city.  On-street parking in Washington, DC is restricted during the evening rush hour.

Of course, if you are a guest at Capella Washington, D.C. you Personal Assistant can arrange both the picnic supplies and the ride.  For more information contact your Personal Assistant at 202-617-2400 or e-mail pa.dc@capellahotels.com.

I will be sure to share my visits to Screen On The Green on Twitter, but you can also follow the hashtag #SOTG2014 for updates.

 

Summer Cocktails: Thyme Silver Fizz

summer cocktails

Summer is the best season if you ask me. There are so many things to experience in Dusseldorf when the sun is shining and I really love being outside and enjoying action.  Do you know what the best part is?  The evening!  It is still warm and you can sit outside with some friends barbecuing, playing games and, of course, enjoying summer cocktails.

As you may already know, our bar team at the Breidenbacher Hof is famous for its extraordinary and delicious cocktail creations.  Of course, they also create special drinks for every season.  Yesterday, I tried their latest creation for summer: the Thyme Silver Fizz.  Believe me, it is the perfect start into a wonderful barbecue night with friends.  It is refreshing, a bit fruity and because of the thyme, it has a Mediterranean flair and reminds me of being on vacation!  You will know what I mean, when you try it for yourself.  So I asked our Assistant Bar Manager Philipp for the recipe to share the good taste and vacation dreams with you:

summer  cocktailsThyme Silver Fizz

5 cl Botanist Gin

2 cl lemon juice

2 cl sugar syrup

Soda to fill up

Ice cubes

1 sprig of thyme

 

Preparation

Take a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice cubes. Then, one after another measure the Gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup and mix everything in the shaker. When you are done, fill the drink into a nice glass through a sieve and fill it up with the soda. Use the sprig of thyme for garnish – and voilà!

At our Capella Bar, the drink is served with thyme salt, which gives the cocktail a special touch. It depends on what you prefer, but whether with or without the salt it is definitely my new favorite cocktail and I am sure it will be yours too.

 

Enjoy shaking and the great refreshment afterwards!