We have a lot to be thankful for this year. Family. Friends. Rag & Bone models. Most importantly, though: pumpkin pie. Continue reading for a euphoria-inducing dessert recipe, perfect sweaters to wear to Thanksgiving—and a vision of just how happy the holidays can be.
food & drink
Broncos versus Colts. Bengals versus Lions. Patriots versus Jets. You versus your girlfriend for control of the nacho plate.
Are you ready for a weekend filled with intense match-ups? Get your snack strategy locked down with Bon Appetit magazine’s Five Keys to Nacho Nirvana, and launch a dual-pronged attack of team spirit and coziness with one of the Mitchell & Ness NFL hoodies pictured above.
[An excerpt from Bon Appetit's article on nacho architecture.
Photo by Christina Holmes.]
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And now for a moment of hometown pride: Aka bragging. Our local-hero Seattle Seahawks beat Arizona last night through feats of sheer strength and zen-like focus. Although it aired on a non-basic station, those of us cutting back on cable bills were still able to enjoy the game via animated GIFs, posted in real time on killer sports site the Bleacher Report.
Click below to see the best ones—and watch an impressive trick throw by Seattle QB Russell Wilson in the short video above.
Style Profiles. In honor of our twice-a-year Men’s Shop Catalog dropping this month, we decided to profile 6 real men of style and substance. Here, cool-under-pressure chef Shaun McCrain.
Every man should know his way around the kitchen: how to take over the tongs at a friend’s barbecue, pull off your grandma’s family-secret marinara, whip up a chivalrous morning-after omelette…you know—the basics.
Professional chefs like Shaun McCrain, on the other hand, can turn the simple act of eating food into a mind-altering experience. Visit McCrain’s Seattle restaurant, Book Bindery, and although the humble maestro insists his MO is simplicity, the five-way flavor combinations in his modern twists on comfort food are enough to induce a quadruple take—and general feelings of astonished well-being.
We spoke to chef McCrain about paying dues in Paris and New York, design principles as applied to plating, and real-life kitchen tips that every man can use.
FARM TO TABLE. “I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. We lived on a small farm, raised our own meat, had a lot of vegetables. I was always around food without realizing it. My dad doesn’t cook. He was like, ‘I’ll just let Shaun do it, and if he messes up, we have more we can go pick.’”
TRIAL & ERROR. “Book smarts help you understand what you’re doing. Street smarts get your hands and body moving in the right direction. It’s hard to be able to physically do what you’ve read. You’ve gotta burn some things before you figure out how to cook them right.”
AMERICAN IN PARIS. “I sent my résumé to what I thought were the top 20 restaurants in Paris and got four responses. Three of them being, ‘Sorry, we don’t have room,’ and one being, ‘Sure, show up, work for free.’ That was my foot in the door.”
LIVE AND LEARN. “I left Seattle thinking I knew everything. I was 19 or 20 years old. I went to a bigger city, a nicer restaurant, and realized how much I didn’t know. It was very humbling…but I decided that if I really want to progress and learn, that I need to constantly be humbled—so I can learn from the best.”
FIRST IMPRESSIONS. “Plating and presentation are important, because they’re the first thing a person sees. I like to do bright colors, clean lines, something that’s very appealing to the eye. And then, when you do take that first bite—it should taste even better than it looks.”
CONTRAST AND COMPLEMENT. “I think items should complement each other. It’s a lot about textures, so if you have one thing that’s soft, then I want something else that’s gonna bring some crunch…a little burst of pickled onion, or a crispy crouton.”
WHY I LOVE MY JOB. “The craziness of it. Every day is different. You don’t know if the truck carrying your lamb up from Oregon broke down, and you’re scrambling to find a replacement, or your dishwasher breaks, or you have a high-profile guest coming in who you know likes to eat certain things. So it sparks that fuel, that drive of always keeping busy, always trying to stay on top. It’s easy to fall behind in the kitchen unless you have that ‘stay on top of it’ kind of attitude.”
THE BEST THING I EVER ATE. “It was at a Japanese restaurant in New York, called Masa. Simple sushi rice, rolled in shaved Italian white truffle, with just a pinch of fresh-grated yuzu and a little salt. Just simplicity at its best, but the ingredients were prepared perfectly.”
MY MORNING ROUTINE. “A cup of coffee…and maybe a Pop-Tart. Strawberry. Frosted. I spend all day walking around tasting things; it kind of curbs your appetite. [The staff and I] don’t sit down and eat a family meal until about 4:00. So in the morning, I just need to put something in me, whether it’s sugar or coffee or whatnot.”
WHAT TO PACK FOR LUNCH. “When I think of lunch, I always think of sandwiches. They don’t need to be boring. Go to the store, and buy some great charcuterie and good bread. Most of the time, those items are sold in portions that are more than one sandwich worth, so you’ll have enough for a couple days—or a very large sandwich.”
THE SECRET TO A GOOD SANDWICH. “The bread. The crust…whether it’s more of a rustic style with pieces of grain, or if it’s just a nice, crisp baguette that kind of snaps in your mouth when you eat it.”
HOW TO IMPRESS A DINNER DATE. “First, find out what they like. Nowadays, there are so many dietary restrictions, food allergies. Subtly figure out. Ask questions. Have an idea, rather than going in like, ‘Hey, I like steak, so I’m gonna cook steak’—and then finding out she’s pescatarian. That’s a date that’s not gonna end well.”
AND IF YOU BLOW IT… “Part of learning and growing with someone is making those mistakes. It could be the best meal they’ve ever had, or it could be terrible—but the whole experience of going through the process of doing something for someone is what it should be about.”
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[Food photos courtesy of bookbinderyrestaurant.com.]
Just in time for tomorrow’s Fourth of July festivities, our very own Nordstrom Restaurant team came through with some sophisticated flavor sensations—both of which can be prepped with ease on your trusty backyard grill. (For more amazing recipes by our own in-house chefs, pick up a copy of the Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook.)
As far as beverages go, our friends at GQ have a backyard BBQ article of their own out currently (with some great recipes—grilled banana split? yes please), in which they recommend Jarritos and Tecate as beverages of choice. We can certainly appreciate south-of-the-border refreshments on a hot day—especially with killer salsa, see past recipe here—but we asked our resident brew expert, Rail buyer Dan Drewes, for his favorite Fourth of July thirst quenchers:
“I always appreciate Budweiser’s flag-emblazoned holiday boxes and cans—but I think that in Seattle [home of Nordstrom HQ], Rainier seems like the all-American thing to drink. (On days that start with a mimosa or two, it’s all low-gravity beers for the rest of the day. Save the strong stuff for days you’re having less than three or four.)”
And remember—unless you’re the ‘designated detonator’ (aka, sticking to tamarind Jarritos), keep the DIY explosives low-key. Case in point, the only firework that’s legal inside Seattle city limits:
Better safe than sorry, right? No? Well, there’s always Boom City.
Happy Fourth, from Men’s Shop Daily.
[Food photos by Noel Barnhurst. Beer photos via #budweiser and #rainierbeer on Instagram.]
Here’s another great recipe from our friends on the Nordstrom Restaurant team. For the long weekend ahead, we wanted a next-level flavor sensation for all you outdoor grillers out there, whose sophisticated palates are ready to transcend standard-issue frozen dogs and hockey-puck patties. Introducing Char Siu Pork Chops.
So stock up on oyster sauce, five-spice and fresh chops on the way home from work—and prepare to knock your friends’ star-spangled Vans off with your BBQ prowess this weekend. (Oh, and don’t forget ice for your Igloo and plenty of thirst-quenching beverages. We’re thinking this meal would go equally well with Bud Light, Tsingtao, or your favorite high-brow canned brew.)
Nordstrom cookbooks are available
upon request at Nordstrom Restaurant locations.
[Excerpted from the Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook. Photo by Noel Barnhurst.]
Husbands, sons, and devoted baby-dads: You’ve already got your Mother’s Day gifts in the bag, right? RIGHT?!? The big day is this Sunday, but don’t worry if you’re behind schedule. Get an idea of last-minute gifts you can pick up at your nearest Nordstrom store here: Gifts for Mom; and you can always have a Nordstrom e-Gift Card zapped to your inbox in a matter of hours. (Within four hours, to be exact. Keep that one in mind for birthday and anniversary emergencies, too.)
Material gestures aside, that thing they say is true: It’s the thought that counts. With that in mind, we tapped our very own Nordstrom Restaurant team for a breakfast-in-bed recipe guaranteed to impress.
Bonus tips: Sneak out of bed early (set that alarm, sir), accentuate your gourmet griddle-action with black coffee and stiff mimosas, add a sappy card hand-made by you and the kiddos—and you’re sure to be remembered as the best husband in history.
For more great recipes, shop: Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook
Our Nordstrom Flavors Cookbook, which includes the recipe above,
is also available upon request at Nordstrom Restaurant locations.
[Photo by Noel Barnhurst.]
The only idea worse than bacon-flavored mouthwash to come out of this year’s online April-Fool’s-Day antics? Borrowing your girlfriend’s jeans:
You can thank the merry pranksters—and in reality, certified pants experts—at Bonobos for that one. Luckily it was, in fact, a joke. (Letting your girlfriend borrow your clothes, on the other hand, is a whole different story.)
We dug up the vintage pub signs above on Ye Olde Internette, but whether you’re here in our hometown of Seattle or residing in the Mother Country, we’re betting your plans include a favorite Irish pub for this Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Avoid getting pinched by winsome lasses at the bar (or don’t—whatever you’re into) with our favorite green gear from the Nordstrom Men’s Shop. Click each item to shop:
One of our Men’s buyers, Dan Drewes, took a moment to suggest some recreational activities for the holiday. Here’s how to branch out from the standard-issue stout, if you’re so inclined:
4. Across the Pond. “Boddingtons is a good English ‘pub ale’ or pale ale to sip on if you’re not looking for something as dark as a Guinness—and is popular for the holiday despite its non-Irish roots.”
5. Irish Americans. “Plenty of American craft-brewers have tried their hands at Irish beers, too—like Victory ‘Donnybrook Stout’ out East and Moylan’s ‘Danny’s Irish Style Red Ale’ for us West-Coasters.”
Our social-media team was in Austin, Texas, this week for the ‘Interactive Festival’ that precedes the boozy, bluesy music-fest portion of SXSW you’re probably more familiar with. Featuring “five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology” (yes, the nerds are officially taking over), our team clearly had to stay satiated with brain-friendly dietary fats. And you’ll need to, too, if you plan to fully absorb the high levels of audio goodness set to occur at SXSW in the days to come. Below are a few finger-licking highlights from our own Lily Wyckoff.
1. Torchy’s Tacos — “Breakfast tacos are an Austin staple, and Torchy’s is unreal. I’m very pro any institution that encourages the consumption of tortilla chips before 10am. I think they should have a satellite truck in Seattle.”
2. The Salt Lick — “This place is the holy grail of BBQ. Cash only, byob, and about 20 miles outside of town—you gotta want it. I went for The Rancher: A sample platter of brisket, pork ribs, sausage and turkey, with a side of potato salad, coleslaw, beans, bread, and pickles. I left The Salt Lick in a meat-filled state of Levi’s-stretched-to-the-max euphoria.”
3. Banger’s — “If a country-music lovin’, exotic-meat aficionado and a beer snob had a baby, that baby would LOVE Banger’s. I had a BBQ shrimp sausage. A SHRIMP sausage! On a bed of white cheddar grits. Unreal. Unfortunately, I ate it before I had a chance to take a photo (bad guest blogger!)…But here are the delicious cheese fries.”
4. 24 Diner — “I reached a point in the trip where I needed veggies. Bad. At 24 Diner, I went for the veggie/egg-white frittata, and my coworker balanced my health concerns with chicken and waffles, which he described as a ‘total delight.’ I caved and ended up eating about half of his. Whatever.”
5. Gourdough’s — “I missed this excursion, but pictured are the ‘Sin-A-Bomb’ and the ‘Hipster’ (granola and banana on top of a warm Gourdough classic doughnut. The banana makes it a health food, right?).”
Lily, our eyes (and taste buds) in Austin, has purportedly sworn off meat for a
month following the trip. Do bacon-garnished Bloody Marys count?
[Photos by Lily and other members of our social media team, some via our women's @Nordstrom Instagram feed, except trailer shot via the Austin Chronicle.]