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Holiday Parties

While we can’t condone this gentleman’s banana suit, we fully endorse his spirit of revelry—and what can bolster one’s holiday morale more than a spot-on soundtrack? (Well, maybe a stiff drink and sharp attire, but the power of song is definitely up there.) If the New Year’s Eve party is at your place tonight—or you simply intend to hijack your inept friend’s stereo with your own well-equipped iPod—we hope the following 21 artists help fill any gaps in your existing library. Take a listen, nab your favorites on iTunes, and let the good times roll.

(To compile this list, we cross-referenced the Top Albums of 2013 from Seattle station KEXP, as voted by fans not only here in music-savvy Seattle, but worldwide—as the meticulously curated DJ sets can be streamed globally at KEXP.org. We especially recommend the station’s Saturday-morning reggae show, Sunday evening hip-hop, and midnight metal on Saturdays.)


1. The Walkmen. The first entrants on our NYE playlist had a new album out in 2013—but the older song above, entitled “In The New Year” and delivered with anthemic grandeur in this live performance—seemed to best fit tonight’s occasion.

Keep reading to hear the rest of our New Year’s Eve playlist.

Read More >

Two of our favorite Seattle chefs—Brian McCracken (right) and Dana Tough of Spur Gastropub, Tavern Law, and The Coterie Room—were kind enough to share a recipe that will serve you well at holiday meals during the festive week ahead.

These culinary artisans are perpetually devising new ways to update classic food and drink with a modernist twist (last time we collaborated with them, one of their signature cocktails called for DIY Earl Grey-infused gin)—so it’s no surprise that their signature holiday dessert comes complete with an element of the unexpected: You bake it in the microwave.

“Here’s a fun recipe that makes individual portions of chocolate cake using a whipped-cream siphon and the microwave. You artfully crumble the cake out of its paper cup, and it looks amazing on the plate.”

Read on, gather some ingredients (and N2O cartridges) this weekend, and prepare to wow your holiday guests come Christmas dinner.

 

CHEFS McCRACKEN AND TOUGH’S
MICROWAVED CHOCOLATE SPONGE CAKE

3 Egg Whites
1 Egg Yolk
1 oz. Milk Chocolate
2 0z. Dark Chocolate
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1/2 cup Cake or Pastry Flour
Pinch of Salt

1. Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl. Melt chocolate in microwave for a 90 seconds, or until fully melted.

2. Meanwhile, place eggs, sugar, oil, and salt into a blender, and blend for 30 seconds. Add melted chocolate, and blend for another 30 seconds.

3. Pour into mixing bowl, and then whisk sifted flour into mixture.

4. Immediately pour into a 1-pint whipped-cream siphon. Screw on lid, add one N2O cartridge. Shake and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

5. Fill an 8-ounce paper cup half-full with batter, and microwave on high for 40 seconds.

6. Let sit for one minute, crumble cake out of paper cup onto a plate, and serve immediately with vanilla or caramel ice cream and your favorite caramel sauce.

 
 

[Chefs Brian McCracken and Dana Tough have been recognized by Food & Wine Magazine, GQ, Gayot and more. Please visit their official website for more information.]

With New Year’s Eve parties approaching, we took a minute to locate some inspiration for perhaps the most quintessentially masculine garment known to man: a Tuxedo. For a garment whose smashing success or massive failure hinges almost entirely on a razor-sharp fit, customized precisely to your body, sack-like rentals are not a realistic option—even if you only need your tux once a year, a modest investment is worth looking like a million bucks once in a while.


1. Peak Lapel. The classic choice. Broader lapels are swinging back into favor, lending modern suits a throwback, menswear-machismo vibe. Combined with the elegantly aggressive peak lapel, this style of tux creates a universally flattering V-shaped torso.


Hickey Freeman Classic-Fit, Peak-Lapel Tuxedo.
Eligible for Free Next-Business-Day Shipping. Shop Now

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2. Shawl Collar. Whereas a peak lapel is boldly assertive, a shawl-collar tux is silky smooth. Put one on, and you’re equally apt to channel a 1962 Sean Connery in the original Bond flick, Dr. No, or a hip vintage revivalist like Albert Hammond Jr., depending on your haircut and facial expression.


BOSS Black Trim-Fit Shawl-Collar Tuxedo.
Eligible for Free Next-Business-Day Shipping. Shop Now

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3. Midnight Blue. Daniel Craig’s Bond is rougher around the edges than his predecessors—and his choices in evening wear are just as unapologetic. Opting for inky blue instead of the classic black is a subtle tweak on the color spectrum, but speaks volumes. Amp it up further with a creative shirt, or keep it classically subversive as Craig does above.


BOSS Black Trim-Fit Navy Tuxedo. Shop Now

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Whichever style you choose, get thee to a skilled Nordstrom Tailor for a fully personalized fit. Here’s a graphic of Mr. Jake Gyllenhaal, a red-carpet pro, with a comprehensive play-by-play on how a classic tux ought to fit, courtesy of the NY Times. Click to enlarge:


 

Shop: Our Party Essentials Guide | All Tuxedos & Formalwear
 
 

[Images: James Cagney, Paul Newman and John Wayne via The Impossible Cool; Sean Connery via Gentleman's Gazette and The Suits of James Bond; Daniel Craig via Fashionising; Jake Gyllenhaal by Steve Granitz/WireImage, © NY Times. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]