Wine & Felines

Baker, cat-lover, Mrs. Weasley wannabe, traveler, complainer about weather and traffic, lover of good conversation, good coffee, and good wine.
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I had a couple of different ideas about what to make that would coordinate with Her. I’ll talk about a really destinctive production design in a minute and that could have lended itself to an interesting creation. Then, it came to me: what could better accompany a movie about a man falling in love with a computer than my ‘You’re Going to Die Alone’ cupcakes? 

It’s technically just Better Than Sex cake with Kahlua. But lets face it, if you’re devouring this cake it’s probably because you’ve internalized an existential crisis centering around the fact that we are all going to die alone. Enjoy. 

Her

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Ultimate Verdict: 4/5

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Summary: In a not-so-distant futuristic Los Angeles a recently divorced man falls in love with an operating system. The dynamics and essential elements of relationships are explored in a quirky but slightly tragic study of love and loss.  
Written & Directed by: Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Where the Wild Things Are)
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator, Walk the Line, The Master), Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Amy Adams (The Fighter, The Master)

The concept for this movie is so wild that when I first heard about it I couldn’t decide if it was brilliant or painfully pretentious. It turns out that it was a quirky, surprisingly amusing look at the building blocks of relationships and human connection. 

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The film opens by immersing you into this futuristic setting. So often depictions of the future are completely detached from our current reality, to a point where it’s difficult to find any resemblance of contemporary culture in their projection of the future: that is not the case for Her and I think that is where its strength lies. Spike Lee has created this truly remarkable and completely conceivable world.

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Like much of the rest of the country, Wisconsin is a frozen tundra at the moment. Currently the windchill is -16 degrees and that is significantly warmer than it was this morning. It seems that this months’ earlier Polar Vortex has returned, so naturally, there are coordinating cupcakes. 

There are two things that warm me up when I’m uncontrollably cold: hot chocolate and booze. I made a chocolate cupcake with a brandy ganache and a marshmallow buttercream frosting. 

Polar Vortex Cupcakes

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What you’ll need: 

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For the cake:
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups flour

For the ganache: 
8 oz chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp brandy OR half dram brandy flavoring

For the frosting: 
1 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup marshmallow cream
2-3 tbsp milk 
2-3 cups powdered sugar

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Cat Cake Pops to go with my review of the Coen brothers’ latest Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis

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Ultimate Verdict: 4.5/5 Cupcakes
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Summary: Llewyn Davis is a struggling folk singer crashing from couch to couch in early 1960’s Greenwich Village. This slice-of-life story follows Llewyn and his unlikely feline companion as he desperately tries to fulfill himself as a musician.
Written & Directed by: Joel & Ethan Coen (O Brother Where Art Thou?, No Country For Old Men, A Serious Man) 
Starring: Oscar Isaac (Drive, Sucker Punch, Robin Hood), Carey Mulligan (An Education, Never Let Me Go, The Great Gatsby)

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I have this weird hang up about movies with animals in them. Maybe I was an overly sensitive child who took Bambi or The Fox & the Hound too seriously. I think I’m just overly empathetic, and no matter the storyline, I will feel bad for the animal. I saw the first images from Inside Llewyn Davis in the fall: a totally-my-type Jewish-looking sad musician with a cat that looks nearly identical to mine—I knew I’d connect with this story on some kind of emotional level that I am in no way stable enough to handle.

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The Golden Globes officially kick off the awards season tonight on NBC (you can catch me live tweeting HERE). This is probably my least favorite awards show between now and the Oscars- the Hollywood Foreign Press is generally a poor indicator of how the rest of the industry votes on the best films of the year. 

ln any case, below are my picks of what should win for tonights awards:

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Oh, and here’s a golden cupcake:

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I enjoyed American Hustle so much I wanted to stand up and clap when the credits rolled.

Classic vanilla cupcakes with a fish decor are also featured in this review. The fish are a reference to an ice-fishing story told throughout the film…it’s lame and I’m reaching, I know. Whatever, everything about this movie and these cupcakes is delicious—enjoy. 

American Hustle

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Ultimate Verdict: 5/5 cupcakes

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Summary: Irving and Sydney are well-seasoned in the art of conning people out of thousands of dollars. After they are forced to work with the FBI, relationships are thrown into chaos, lives intersect in ways they never did before, and lines blur between who is good and bad. The depths of each character in this ensemble cast are intricately explored while still putting a smile on your face. 
Directed by: David O. Russell (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook)
Written by: Eric Singer, David O. Russell
Starring: Christian Bale (American Psycho, The Prestige), Amy Adams (Doubt, Julie & Julia), Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, Silver Linings Playbook), Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, The Place Beyond the Pines), and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town)

American Hustle is so. much. fun. This has to be David O. Russell’s finest film and features what is easily the best ensemble cast that I have ever seen. If you’re a cinephile who has lost your faith in modern movies, American Hustle is for you. If you’re a movie snob with very high expectations for every film, American Hustle is for you. If you are a fan of retro fashion and seamless art direction, American Hustle is for you. I can hardly think of a group of movie goers that would not enjoy this movie!

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On the first day God said “Let there be tequila!” 
Or maybe salt came first…yes, that’s right. We take tequila shots in the order of salt, tequila, then lime to honor the creation of heaven and earth…and tequila -book of Jose Cuervo, verses 12-15. 

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Do you see how this holy drink illuminates my most attractive qualities? 

My little Mexican friend isn’t everyone’s favorite drink to shoot

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but for the bulk of my undergraduate, my mantra was the following:

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I especially can’t say no to tequila when it’s blended with triple sec, lime juice, and crushed ice. Margaritas are my favorite- so naturally I needed to explore the possibility of a margarita cupcake. 

Margarita Cupcakes
Tequila cake with lime curd filing and tequila-lime buttercream frosting

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I have been anticipating The Wolf of Wall Street for over a year, so I’m thrilled to finally be able to post a review.

There is so much cocaine in this movie that it seemed that a powdered sugar dusted treat was my only option: lemon drop truffles with a powdered sugar (‘cocaine’) crust.

The Wolf of Wall Street

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Ultimate Verdict: 4/5 cupcakes

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Summary: This is the true story of Jordan Belfort’s rise to the top of the stock business, his unbelievable story of material excess, greed, and crime which ultimately leads to a government investigation threatening his organization.
Directed by: Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Gangs of New York, The Departed…I can just keep naming excellent movies all day)
Written by: Terence Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire), based on the memoir written by Jordan Belfort
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio (Romeo + Juliet, Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York, The Departed, The Aviator…I might as well just give you a list of my top 10 favorite movies) & Jonah Hill (Superbad, Moneyball).

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Celebrating The Twilight Zone marathon on the Syfy channel

Started off the New Year right with mimosas at Bluephie’s.

New Year’s Eve champagne cookie truffles!