ode boutique

November 2018

Artist Interview

Victoria Accardi: Ode’s Foodie Spirit Guide

November 2, 2018

                                                                                                                                     Chattman Photography

Victoria Accardi, like her eclairs, is full of wonderful-ness. Once a stylist at Ode, and now a working artist in New York, she traverses a map of creative paths, dancing along the way. But who knew she could also slay in the kitchen? Well, we did...that's why we invited her back to Ode for our Guide to Gatherings Workshop, where she talked (and fed us) charcuterie and chocolate. If you missed the event, don't worry, we'll find a reason to bring her back again soon. And we included her amazing Holiday Relish recipe at the end of this interview, in case you want to impress your Thanksgiving table. Meet Victoria, again:

Describe your perfect gathering:
My perfect gathering would involve food, dancing, and the people I love, in equal parts. 

                                                                                                                                     Chattman Photography

The most delicious bite you’ve ever taken:
The last time I was in Sicily I was in a food market in Palermo with my cousins and they convinced me to taste this traditional Sicilian sandwich called Pani ca Meusa, which is essentially stewed lung and spleen between two pieces of soft bread. Needless to say I was reluctant to put this soggy, gray substance in my mouth, but my cousins (who I might add do not eat this sandwich themselves) insisted that I try it because as a Sicilian I have to experience Pani Ca Meusa at least once. I cannot think of another time in my life when I have spit food out, certainly not in public, but there was no way I was swallowing that once I tasted it. After sprinting to the nearest trash can, I demanded that my cousin immediately go get me a bambolone (Italian brioche-donut) filled with nutella. Fearing my wrath, he dutifully obliged. This delicate bambolone was still warm inside. Soft and sweet, lightly dusted with powdered sugar, it was the antithesis of what I had just eaten and I had never tasted anything more sublime. 

What cheese most pleases you?
Fresh sheep’s milk ricotta drizzled with olive oil and cracked black pepper. In the late spring/early summer the sheep have been eating the fresh green grass and their milk is so sweet. It makes the ricotta taste like dessert.

You are a painter, among many things. What food do you most love to paint?
Desserts! So many different textures and reflective surfaces. Cannoli, donuts, cakes.

Who do you invite to your dinner table? What do you serve them?
I invite people who make me laugh. I serve them cheeses, pasta, always desserts (fruit tarts, or cannoli usually). Recently, I have been very into cooking Middle Eastern/Mediterranean style meals. My family is from a very Arab influenced part of Italy so I love to play with those two styles of cuisine. I also always serve Lambrusco or Sicilian red wine, like Nero D’Avola. 

                      Victoria, with Willa Van Nostrand, of Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails

Your spirit spice?

What do you wear to Thanksgiving dinner?
My Lacausa Santi jumpsuit, so chic, so much room for my pie-baby. 

Guilty culinary pleasure?

What flavor do you despise?

What’s on your party playlist?
So much Motown, Sam & Dave, The Crystals, The Ronnettes, Lee Moses. Recently I have been listening to Harumi’s self-titled album, the song Hurry Up Now has been on repeat.

Victoria served this vibrantly-hued relish with stinky cheese and seedy crackers, creating the perfect bite. We can't recommend it enough. Great on the Thanksgiving table, in your yogurt, or even on its own. Enjoy!

Artist Interview

Willa Van Nostrand of Little Bitte Cocktails

November 1, 2018

Chattman Photography

We want to have a drink with Willa Van Nostrand, especially if she's the one making it. Mixologist, owner of Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails, singer/ songwriter, art curator, and infusively charming company, Willa is the total package. Okay, the total dream. We Insta-stalked her beautifully curated and delicious photos (not to mention that topknot of hers) for about a year before calling her up and asking her to host a workshop at Ode. We met up in Quonquont orchard, where we got to play dress up and traipse around with Willa, eating apples whilst sipping her mango margarita. Even listening to her describe a drink will make your mouth water. Here's a little sneak "sip" of what's in store for our "Guide to Gatherings" workshop at Ode, this Thursday, Nov. 8, from 6-8pm, featuring Willa Van Nostrand, with foodie-guru Victoria Accardi. There are a few spots still open, so give us a call or stop by the boutique to sign up! Cheers!

How did you get your start in bartending and mixology?
I grew up on a small herb farm in Massachusetts with my mom, a midwife & herbalist—and my dad, a minister & bartender. I’ve always been pretty obsessed with food, so beverage was a natural extension.  I worked in a bunch of bars through my late teens and early 20s, but really found my niche living in Italy for a year when I was working with cordials and Amari like Campari, Aperol, and Fernet Branca. Even when I was working at the family dive bar, I’d bring in my own edible blossom bouquets to garnish cocktails. Folks would start requesting the drinks I made for them, and that’s how the business was born.  Before I knew it, I was doing a bunch of parties and weddings and shopping for insurance. Business, how romantic!

Describe the perfect sip:
The perfect sip is clean, sumptuously tart
and leaves you wanting another sip.
The perfect sip is insatiable.
The perfect sip is usually Champagne,
generally a very dry margarita,
and most often: a flute of sparkling rosé.
On friday nights, it’s a dirty martini with fancy queen olives,
in Italy, a spritz,
a voluptuous red wine.
Cognac, forever– aged off the vine.

What’s your spirit cocktail?
If mezcal is my spirit “spirit, ” then The Division Bell is my spirit cocktail (Mezcal, fresh lime, Aperol, maraschino cherry liqueur) for its astringency, appetizing pop of color, light bitterness, and smoke. It reminds me that I’m alive and every breath, sip and bite matters.

On top of being a business owner and expert mixologist, you are a singer in a band. What’s the music/style? Who’s in your band? Where can we see you perform?
Ah, Singing! My first love. I make my own music as Willa Van Nostrand and I’m in a band “The Van Nostrand Sisters” with my Sister Glenna and her partner, Ken Linehan, who’s fabulous. There’s an ever-evolving cast of characters, but it’s most minimally the 3 of us on stage. We make folk music, I write most of the songs and the band gives them life! Lots of harmonies, and our voices do that magic sister thing that sisters can do: very sweet, goofy, upbeat, folky? Dare I say, country? We dance around a lot and wear vintage dresses and costumes. We are working on recording our album and we don’t have any shows booked currently because we’re not letting ourselves play out until we finish the album. We usually play small clubs & venues, folk festivals, friends house shows in the woods, art spaces…. You get the idea. We love playing so if you have something in mind, don’t be a stranger. Record’s almost done!

Hold on, you have an art gallery? Explain!
Yes! I own a small storefront gallery called World’s Fair Gallery at 268 Broadway in Providence. We opened in 2010 as a site-specific gallery, and now we’re at home on Broadway. We curate shows inspired by taste, gustatory and aesthetic. For each show, we pair 2D & 3D artists with folks who make ceramics or handblown glass vessels. For the opening reception of each show, we pop-up and make cocktails that were designed for the artwork and the glassware. This business model works in a way that I can travel and install art pop-ups and bars in galleries and art fairs. I am really excited about World’s Fair and can’t wait to share more artwork, beautiful vessels and beverages with the world.

Best moment from a wedding:
Last summer we worked this insanely gorgeous wedding out near the beach in Tiverton, Rhode Island. The whole thing was romantic and candlelit with colorful lanterns hanging from the trees. After we broke down the bar, we were standing around having a shift drink and we all let our hair down (you know, the ‘Bitte bun’ up-do has to come down sometime). We looked like a group of mermaids on the lawn. The groomsmen called to us from the dance floor á la Romeo up to Juliet’s window: “Angels, sweet women, where have you been? It’s time to dance!”
I melted a little, we giggled a lot, and then got out of there as quickly as we could because we knew better! We had to bail before the midsummer night’s dream enchanted us all.  

I also cried last week at a cranberry bog during the bride and groom’s first dance at sunset. Does that count? I end up crying at a lot of the weddings that I work because they’re so beautiful and touching. Once you work with a couple on their wedding for a year, you can get pretty emotionally attached.

Shaken or stirred?
Stirred! It’s traditional to stir a martini. “Stir spirits with vermouth, shake juice!”
But I say, if you’re the one drinking it — do whatever you want!
If you ask me to make you a cosmo, I’ll make you a damn good cosmo.
If you ask me to shake your martini, I’ll shake the living daylights out of it.
That’s what hospitality is about.

If you could have a drink anywhere with any one person, where and with whom would that be?
I’d have a cigar and a glass of Cognac with Gertrude Stein in Paris during her Expat salon years.

What’s the “garden” element of your tagline “craft cocktails from garden to glass in New England”?
All of our edible blossoms and fresh botanicals are organically grown, local or sustainably sourced. For the first 5 years of Little Bitte, my mom and I grew all of our botanicals. Now, we source our blossoms, fruit, and herbs from about 25 local growers.

Favorite toast?
To high winds and mermaids!

What’s essential for the perfect gathering?
Making your guests feel comfortable. Good lighting, enough food and drink for your guests, and their friends you didn’t know they were bringing along.
And ice! 2-3 pounds per guest to be specific.