Hidden Gems: Cape Cod Travel Guide

Hidden Gems: Cape Cod Travel Guide // Feast + West

So thrilled that Emily of A Little Gathering is here to tell us all about her favorite spots in this Cape Cod travel guide!

I have visited Cape Cod almost every summer since I was a baby. It is my family’s summer escape from work and school, so every chance I get to go back I do so eagerly.

Cape Cod, or “The Cape” as it is more affectionately referred to, is the arm-like peninsula off of Eastern Massachusetts. While there are many towns on The Cape, most of the places I would recommend are located in the central part of that peninsula. My favorite towns are Orleans, Chatham, Brewster and Wellfleet, especially for those who are visiting The Cape for the first time.

Hidden Gems: Cape Cod Travel Guide // Feast + West

The Cape is a place to rewind and experience old-school Americana, New England-style. Steamed lobsters, fried clams and buttery steamers are always on the menu. Every town has an old-fashioned fudge shop as well as a few antique stores. It’s the perfect place for those that love sandy beaches and great seafood.

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Open-Faced Margherita Sandwiches with La Brea Bakery

Pizza is the answer to so many of life’s problems. Need people to help you move across the city? Order some pizza. Want a fun and inexpensive date night? Make pizza together at home. Craving the perfect hangover breakfast? Pizza works.

These Open-Faced Margherita Sandwiches are cheater-pizzas. You don’t need a fancy dough recipe or have to worry about the science of cooking with yeast. All you need is a loaf of fresh, artisan bread. I’m a huge fan of La Brea Bakery breads because they make amazing sandwiches and pizzas.

Open-Faced Margherita Sandwiches with @labreabakery // Feast + West

I also love La Brea Bakery because they are just a really cool company. Right now, their food truck is traveling around the country with their Breaking Bread Tour. They were just here in Charlotte over the weekend, and now it’s headed north along the East Coast through September. If you’re in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York or Boston, you do not want to miss this one, foodies! There might be fresh, hearth-baked, handcrafted bread in it for you!

Open-Faced Margherita Sandwiches with @labreabakery // Feast + West

OK, back to these Open-Faced Margherita Sandwiches. You’re going to start with slices of either the La Brea Bakery round loaf or the rosemary olive oil round. I tried both, and they are soft in texture and loaded with flavor, perfect for toasting with fresh mozzarella, basil, roast chicken and cherry tomatoes. (I like to add a drizzle of honey for a bit of sweetness to combat the rich Italian flavors!)

You do not want to miss this recipe, my friends. La Brea Bakery’s breads really make these quick and easy pizza sandwiches a great choice for mealtime. // susannah 

This post is sponsored by La Brea Bakery. As always, all opinions are my own. I am so grateful for opportunities like this that allow me to continue sharing my adventures in food and travel with you. Thank you for supporting me and the brands I love.

Click through to see the recipe for Open-Faced Margherita Sandwiches!
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Dream Jobs: Q&A with Sara McNally of Constellation & Co.

Dream Jobs: A Q&A with Sara McNally of Constellation Co. // Feast + West

When I visited Seattle earlier this summer, I dragged my host-friend to visit Constellation & Co. with me on my very first day in town. It was so much fun to see where the magic happens of a company I’ve long admired — a gorgeous letterpress that reminded me of long nights in the design school basement, drawers on drawers of wooden and lead type and a sweet, singing parakeet.

Owner and boss lady Sara McNally is the creative mind behind Constellation & Co.’s letterpress stationery line. I was so excited that she agreed to tell her story on Feast + West. Actually, her story reminds me very much of my own. If you like letterpress stationery or are considering running a creative business, I recommend reading this one. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. // susannah

Dream Jobs: A Q&A with Sara McNally of Constellation Co. // Feast + West Dream Jobs: A Q&A with Sara McNally of Constellation Co. // Feast + West

1. Sara, how would you describe Constellation & Co.?

Constellation & Co. is a letterpress stationery company and retail gift shop. We make hand printed typographic greeting cards that range from sincere to sarcastic, but are all very honest. We have storefront studio space and retail stationery/gift shop that supports other small businesses, artists, and makers. I also teach letterpress workshops, am an aspiring writer, and a full time mom. I’m always looking ahead to dream up what we can make or do next. I’d love to continue to build Constellation & Co. as a lifestyle business, sharing encouraging words and beautiful products that bring people together.

2. What were you doing before Constellation & Co.? What inspired you to change paths?

I started Constellation & Co. about 6 months after graduating from art school. I majored in graphic design and graduated in 2009, the middle of the recession. I briefly held a job with an ad agency that was quickly killing my soul. I quit, and found a local printer who would let me apprentice to learn the craft of letterpress printing. I took off running from there. I rented a studio space, bought a press, started designing stationery, and kept putting one foot in front of the other.

Dream Jobs: A Q&A with Sara McNally of Constellation Co. // Feast + West Dream Jobs: A Q&A with Sara McNally of Constellation Co. // Feast + West

3. When ideas are scarce, where do you turn for creative inspiration?

I’m an “external processor.” My ideas don’t form until I’ve been able to talk through them or write them out. I love conversation, and I’m not afraid to talk things through out loud by myself if I’m in a pinch. I’m lost without a good notebook and pen. I like to take walks, take in beautiful scenery, and spend time with my family and friends. My relationships really fuel what I write about and create. I also love reading books, and have at least a few going at a time. I try to avoid looking at other people’s work when I’m stuck, because I don’t want to soak up what I see and then put out work that’s not original.

Dream Jobs: A Q&A with Sara McNally of Constellation Co. // Feast + West

Click through to read the rest of the Q&A with Sara McNally of Constellation & Co.!

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Wine 101: Intro to White Wine

Friends, I am so excited to introduce this month’s Kindred Spirit — wine! Who doesn’t love a good glass of vino?

I don’t know about you but, despite my love for cocktails, I always feel a little unsure about wine. So, I enlisted the help of wine expert Rachel Von Sturmer to help me this month. Rachel’s entire website is dedicated to helping ladies become wine foxes. If you want to find new wines to try and wineries to visit, as well as learn more about wine and wine etiquette, you must check out Rachel’s site. You can even go to her (virtual) wine camp! Finally, a camp for grown-ups!

This month, Rachel will be here on Mondays to tell us the basics of white, red, rosé and sparkling wine and I will chime in on Fridays with a wine cocktail! There’s plenty of vino to go around and much to learn, so grab a bottle and a corkscrew and read on. Here’s Rachel. // susannah

Wine 101: An introduction to drinking white wine by wine expert Rachel Von Sturmer. // Feast + West

There’s nothing like a crisp glass of white wine on a sunny day in Summertime. Every wine region in the world makes its own version, but today we’ll cover some of the classic grapes and regions to look out for, along with serving suggestions.

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Summer Supper + Watermelon Orange Margarita Punch

Watermelon Orange Margarita Punch // Feast + West

Why oh why is summer almost over? The last couple days have been deceivingly autumnal in temperature, but I know we have a few hot days left. Somehow, Labor Day weekend is around the corner, and we are left to cherish the last few drops of summer.

Earlier this month, I met up with three local blog friends to plan an epic end-of-summer dinner party. Katie of Twin Stripe, Julia of Tag & Tibby and Asharae of This Wild Season (who took all the gorgeous pics in this post) met me at my aunt’s house and we cooked and staged this sweet summer supper using produce we found at local farmers markets. Check out this dreamy lighting right before we ate!

End-of-Summer Supper table setting // Feast + WestEnd-of-Summer Supper table setting // Feast + West

It was so much fun to cook and get to know these three ladies better, especially because our friendships blossomed on the Internet first. Each of us brought two recipes to the party, and it was cool to see our different strengths come through. Katie and Julia set the table with a mixture of modern and vintage tableware. Asharae took photos, hand-lettered our menu and art directed our shoot. And I mainly stayed in the kitchen, overseeing recipes, like this Watermelon Orange Punch.

Watermelon Orange Margarita Punch // Feast + West

This fruity, tangy tequila pitcher drink was such a hit. After a long day of cooking and decorating, we all indulged in a few glasses of this summer sip. Made from pureed watermelon, lime and orange juices and a bit of tequila, you know this punch would go over well at any end-of-summer gathering. (You’re totally welcome to skip the tequila, too!

Click through to see more of our Summer Supper and to get the Watermelon Orange Punch recipe!

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Hidden Gems: Orlando Travel Guide

Hidden Gems: Orlando Travel Guide // Feast + West

I’m excited to welcome Erica of The Crumby Cupcake with an Orlando travel guide. I’m headed to the Orlando area in a few weeks and I cannot wait to visit a few of these spots!

When you think of Orlando, Florida, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Yep, that’s right: Walt Disney World! Orlando, smack in the middle of Central Florida, is one of the top family vacation destinations in the world, and for good reason. Genius Walt Disney may have built his biggest theme park resort on swampland, but his great idea drew some stiff competition to the area — Universal Studios, Sea World, and Legoland popped up over the years, to attempt to dethrone the Mouse. Their rivalry works out well for vacationers and locals, who have so many choices on where to spend their vacations and money!

Hidden Gems: Orlando Travel Guide // Feast + West
California Grill

I’m a native Floridian, actually having grown up along the east coast, but am a frequent visitor to Orlando. With the help of a few local friends, I’ve put together a pretty dynamic list of places to dine, drink, and have fun in town that don’t involve $100+ dollar tickets to wait in a 2-hour line in the blistering Florida heat to ride the newest, fastest theme park coaster. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — I own annual passes to Disney and Universal myself, and highly recommend visiting both!

Click through to see Erica’s Orlando travel guide!

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Flourless Chocolate Cake with Mocha Ganache

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Mocha Ganache is the best gluten-free birthday cake — so rich and chocolatey! // Feast + West

Last week, a friend asked me to bring a cake to a surprise birthday party for another friend. I agreed — no problem. And then she said, “Don’t forget she’s gluten-free!”

And then I balked.

Gluten-free baking is not something I do a lot. Sure, there are plenty of cookie recipes I’ve made that I love but also happen to be gluten-free, like these gingerbread cookies and these avalanche cookies. I’ve made other gluten-free desserts, too, like my favorite berry cobblers. But the thought of making an entire cake without flour was scary. Baking is all chemistry, and let’s just say I majored in graphic design for a reason!

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Mocha Ganache is the best gluten-free birthday cake — so rich and chocolatey! // Feast + West

Then my mom reminded me of a flourless chocolate cake she made a while back. It was so good — fudgy and silky and rich. If you like chocolate, this cake has all of the chocolate ever. If you don’t like chocolate: 1) Who are you? 2) Don’t eat this cake.

I topped mine with a surprisingly easy mocha ganache and fresh berries, and I served it with homemade whipped cream. You could also skip the ganache and top yours with powdered sugar or serve it with a big scoop of ice cream. Because it is so dense, it is best served with a side of fruit, whipped cream or ice cream to diversify the flavors.

I’m sharing this recipe with you so that the next time you’re asked to make a gluten-free birthday cake, you won’t balk. This Flourless Chocolate Cake with Mocha Ganache is easy and the cake is amazing! It would be a perfect dessert for the upcoming holiday season, too. (Yes, I’m already thinking about that!) // susannah

Click through to see the Flourless Chocolate Cake with Mocha Ganache recipe!

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A major announcement!

Friends, I am so excited to be writing this blog post today! All summer long I have been working on a major new project — my new website, Garnishing Co.!

As many of you know, I am a graphic designer by day, and this site is all about graphic design. It’s geared toward bloggers and creative business owners, who are just starting out with their businesses.

Garnishing Co.

I’ll be honest. When I started  Feast + West, I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. Sure, the recipes and writing came easily. And because of my design background, I knew I could handle the visual part of the site — but I had to Google anything technical and bug my developer friends with (what I thought were) dumb questions. For a long time, I felt like I was stuck at square one, wishing I could afford a custom-built site.

I learned a lot in my first year and a half, but what I didn’t know at the beginning was that I wasn’t alone. There are tons of bloggers and biz owners out there who don’t know where to begin either, or perhaps their brand just needs a facelift or a makeover. We all want gorgeous logos and websites, but the reality is that our pockets aren’t always quite big enough to hire a designer. (And as a designer, I can tell you those pockets have to be pretty big sometimes!)

Garnishing Co.

If you’re a blogger or creative biz owner struggling with graphic design, I hope you’ll join me at Garnishing Co.! There are some blog posts with your name on them, plus a massive resource library and my free ‘Perfect Pairings’ guide to fonts! You can sign up for the Garnishing Co. newsletter right here. I’ll be updating the blog weekly as well as offering e-books, e-courses and a design coaching program soon.

I want to assure you that Feast + West is definitely not going away! You can still expect to find cocktail and food recipes, travel guides, cooking tips, interviews and more. I hope you know you can leave comments on my blog posts or send me an email anytime! I’m here for you if you want to talk graphic design or cocktails. Or both! // susannah


How to Cook with Vermouth

How to Cook with Vermouth, a comprehensive guide // feastandwest.com

After you’re done making a big batch of martinis, you might be left with a little leftover vermouth. Vermouth can go bad after 2-3 months, so you’ll want to be sure to refrigerate it ASAP lest it turn to vinegar.

Luckily for you, vermouth can be used well beyond the martini. You can use it in lieu of wine in savory recipes, or you can use it to add a little flavor in soups, sauces and desserts. In fact, because vermouth is a fortified wine, it is actually stronger than wine — like we talked about in my vermouth guide earlier this month. It is infused with herbs, and thus is more flavorful than wine. It can add a lot of punch to your dishes, but you do have to be careful that it doesn’t overpower lighter ones.

I’ve got a few tips for cooking with vermouth for you, and I also rounded up a bunch of food recipes — savory and sweet — that contain vermouth too. Whether you’re a vermouth fan or not, there’s something here for you! Cheers! // susannah

Click through to learn how to cook with vermouth!

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Ginger & Lime Sparkler

Lick up every last drop of summer with this Ginger & Lime Sparkler mocktail. // Feast

I was making myself a mocktail the other night (because you don’t have to have a cocktail every night — I promise) and I remembered this amazing mocktail I shared on Pretty Providence earlier this summer. The Ginger & Lime Sparkler is a stunning and simple combination of ginger beer and lime juice. It is best served in a copper mule mug (because even if you’re having a mocktail, you can still pretend it’s a mocktail. And it keeps your drink COLD).

Now if you want to take this mocktail to the next level, let me suggest finding a local brewery that makes ginger beer. It’s non-alcoholic, but some beer breweries brew it in-house and would probably sell you a growler to take home. Fresh-squeezed lime juice goes a long way too.

Lick up every last drop of summer with this Ginger & Lime Sparkler mocktail. // Feast

And, if you want to make this mocktail a cocktail, you should. You have lots of options. This is the base for the very popular Moscow Mule with vodka, as well as my very favorite Dark + Stormy with rum. There’s also the Gin-Gin Mule with gin and the Mexican Mule with tequila.

You can’t go wrong here, friends. If you want a mocktail, this one is amazing. If you’re hankering for a cocktail, you’ve got options. Have some friends over and make it a party — there’s literally something for everyone. Recipe’s at Pretty Providence. Cheers! // susannah

This post contains an affiliate link for the mule mug, simply because I think everyone needs one. Way better than a koozie! 

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