Summer is upon us, which means it’s time to break out chilled wines that pair well with heat and humidity. But uncorking at the park, the beach, and the café can add up in terms of calories, which is precisely what inspired always-active former fashion insider Jayla Siciliano to create Bon Affair, a brand of high-quality, low-calorie wine spritzers. (The best part? They’re loaded with electrolytes.) Here, Jayla talks about finding success with Bon Affair on the TV show Shark Tank and what’s next for her fledgling business.

Jayla Siciliano of Bon Affair Wines

Image via Jayla Siciliano

Rue La La: What’s special about Bon Affair?
Jayla Siciliano: What makes Bon Affair unique is its dry, crisp flavor profile. It’s not sticky-sweet (I try to steer clear of sugar bombs), and it’s great by itself or for making cocktails. I put a full FDA nutritional panel on the bottle so people can read exactly what’s in there.

RLL: What was it like being on Shark Tank?
JS: The exposure from the show has been incredible. And the support from [Shark Tank judge] Mark [Cuban] and his team has been amazing.
Continue reading “Say Cheers to Jayla Siciliano: The Brains Behind Bon Affair” »

June 4, 2014

Graduation soirees. Outdoor dinner parties. The summer season is packed with every type of get-together. And whether you’re the host of your social circle or just looking to test out your chef expertise, this beaming collection of Chasseur cast iron will put your feast center stage – even if you went off-recipe. Before your fire up the stovetop? See below for a little know-how from the president of this French brand, Michael Walt.

Cookware Tips from Chasseur

Continue reading “French Lessons: Cookware Tips from a Chasseur Pro” »

June 3, 2014

Whether you’re barbecuing for the whole block at home or taking your feast to the beach, here are your can’t-live-without essentials.

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Continue reading “Fire Up the Grill: Memorial Day Dining Must-Haves” »

May 23, 2014

Pamper your body, then feed it right. That’s the mantra behind Tennessee’s culinary resort Blackberry Farm, which beckons wellness seekers with a soon-to-open Wellhouse and not one, but two James Beard Awards. Here, we checked in with Corporate Chef Josh Feathers for a few words about the farm’s health-minded cuisine.

Blackberry Farm Chef

Rue La La: How would you describe the cooking at Blackberry Farm? 
Josh Feathers: It may sound like every other chef in the country today, but we cook with the very best local, seasonal ingredients we can find. Our dishes are Southern-inspired, meaning our chefs and cooks are inspired by their industry and everything that is happening in it.

RLL: What’s on the menu today?
JF: Our cheese and charcuterie plate features elements from our butcher, preservation kitchen, and cheese maker. Soppressata and Finocchiona salami, smoked onion jam, pickled ramps, Downer Brown cheese, and aged Singing Brook cheese. Just throw in the baker and candlestick maker and there’s your nursery rhyme.
Continue reading “Eat Well, Live Well: Behind the Food at Blackberry Farm” »

May 13, 2014

While Cinco de Mayo is always a cheat day in my book, it’s tough to swallow how many calories the holiday’s signature drink comes with. Until now. Say hello to the under-100-calorie margarita. Total game changer. I mean, do you know how many calories that frees up? Excuse me while I run to the store for another bag of tortilla chips. To make your own, check out the recipe below, courtesy of Women’s Health magazine.

Under-100-Calorie Margarita

Image via Women’s Health

Continue reading “Celebrate Cinco de Mayo: The Under-100-Calorie Margarita” »

May 5, 2014

The temptress that is spring is finally showing her face, which means post-office Pilates classes will quickly become post-office martini sessions. Or margaritas. Or sangria. (The options are endless.) Here to help us kick off the cocktailing season? Crystal Palecek, founder and editor-in-chief of Rue magazine. On the lawn, in the kitchen, and on the roof – Crystal shares three fail-safe ways to sip with friends this season.

Cocktail Tips from Rue Magazine

I admit, I thoroughly enjoy hibernating each winter. But even more than curling up with hot cocoa and a good movie, I love the arrival of warmer weather and the entertaining options that come with it. This summer, I’ll be playing hostess and inviting  friends over for happy hour every chance I get – from an alfresco picnic on the lawn to an urban rooftop retreat.

Continue reading “Cocktails with Rue Magazine: 3 Spots to Pop Bottles” »

May 2, 2014

Whether perfecting that hollandaise recipe or cooking pasta al dente, chefs – novice or pro – are only as good as their tools. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to empty your cabinet of every item. Simply stock up on a few key necessities.

Here with your must-have checklist? Chef Thomas Kaltenecker from the Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy. From his mother’s kitchen at age nine to pastry shops, family businesses, and hotel restaurants, this seasoned foodie knows his tools.

Must-Have Tools for Cooks of Every Skill Level

Continue reading “Chef’s Choice: Thomas Kaltenecker’s Essentials for All Skill Levels” »

April 25, 2014

Before I traveled to Italy, I was told: Understand how the food works. In Southern Italy, you’ll eat red sauce and olive oil. In the north? Butter. Parmesan cheese. Maybe some truffles. Despite the fact that the country is no bigger than half of Texas, there is no one way to cook Italian. Everything’s completely regional. And if you want to eat through Italy right, you have to know what to get where.

This can be tricky, considering Italy has 20 regions. Rome’s Lazio, Milan’s Lombardia, and Toscana (or Tuscany, as we know it) are some of the most familiar. So, let’s start small – with one of the country’s lesser-known, but no less picturesque, regions: Abruzzo.

What to Eat in Abruzzo, Italy

Tucked east of touristy Lazio, quieter Abruzzo seems to have it all. Rugged mountains. Forested national parks. The Adriatic Sea. And with its diverse landscape comes a huge range of cuisine.

Here are a few of the items Abruzzo does best:
Continue reading “How to Eat Your Way Through Abruzzo, Italy” »

April 24, 2014

We’ve all heard of Earth Day, which is celebrated every year on April 22, but other than the basic premise that it has to do with environmentalism, do we really know what it’s all about? Or what we can do to make this day different than any other? Here’s a quick breakdown.

All About Earth Day

It all started at the height of the whole hippie and flower-child movement. Protest was a big part of that era, but environmentalism? Not so much, at least initially. Rachel Carson’s bestseller, Silent Spring, brought the concept to the masses in 1962, and in 1970, Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day. As a result, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created, and the Clean AirClean Water, and Endangered Species Acts were all passed.

Here’s what you can do to commemorate the day.

Continue reading “All About Earth Day: 3 Ways to Make It Count” »

April 22, 2014

Maybe you’re catching up with old friends over cocktails, watching the play-off game, or recovering on the couch from the night before. Whatever you’re up to, Sundays were made for kicking back. Turn these classic culinary duos up a notch with made-for-each-other combinations.

Snacks for Casual Sundays

Cocktails & Tapas
Goat-cheese frittersFried plantains. Anything that’s bite-sized, add it to the spread. For refreshments? Homemade sangria.

Wine & Cheese
Invite your neighborhood connoisseurs for Chardonnay with soft Brie or for Gouda with a full-bodied Cabernet.

Beer & Bites
In addition to your cheesy nachos, try candied bacon. Then bring out those salty-sweet flavors with a lambic or fruit beer.

Our Sunday Supper: Beverages & Bites Three Ways Boutique opens Sunday, April 20, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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April 20, 2014