October 11, 2005

Latin Chic: Entertaining with Style and Sass captures the best pan-Latin flavors and the unique spirit of Latin entertaining. Picture high heels, sexy women, handsome hombres, salsa music, exotic cocktails and irresistible food. Playful and practical, Latin Chic follows effervescent journalists Carolina Buia (Venezuelan) and Isabel González (Cuban-American) as they host parties in fabulous locations across Latin America.

Each chapter offers cocktails, drinks, and tapas, or full-course menus. The recipes are simple to prepare and go beyond the familiar mojitos or chicken quesadillas. With more than 100 recipes, the authors’ pan-Latin approach incorporates traditional and Nuevo Latino fare, family recipes, and some of their own creations. Cocktails include a red-salt rimmed Szechwan Margarita and a Passion Fruit Tisana (the next mojito!). There are also plenty of non-alcoholic drinks like the Argentinean Mate and Agua de Sapo (toad water) and Latin winter drinks like Andean Milk and Puerto Rican Coquito. Hors d'oeuvres include Victor’s Ham Croquetas, Octopus Jewel Box Salad and Pink Guava Shells with Goat Cheese. There are recipes for traditional Chilean Pastel de Choclo, Ecuadorian Shrimp Ceviche, Mexican Pumpkin Blossom Chicken, Argentine Filet Mignon Kebabs with Chimichurri Sauce, Yucatan Cochinita Pibil, and a divine Venezuelan Bien Me Sabe dessert.

Latin Chic also delivers clever tips on décor— from colorful and inexpensive Loteria cards as placeholders, flea market candlesticks, glasses filled with seashells, paper lanterns, exotic fruit cornucopias, to decorating tables and rooms with dahlias, bougainvilleas, and nasturtiums.

The book is beautifully photographed by renowned Cuban-American photographer Jim Franco (Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Williams-Sonoma) in the home of art patrons Jacques and Natasha Gelman in Cuernavaca; the Hamptons cottage of Carmen Marc Valvo; and the Fanjul Estate in the Dominican Republic. Other locales include a sexy pool party in San Juan, a weekend-retreat filled with polo matches in Argentina’s Pampa, and an elegant 1950's Havana-style cocktail party in Miami's Vizcaya Mansion.

The fashions of top Latin designers from Dominican Oscar de la Renta, Venezuelan Carolina Herrera, Cuban-American Narciso Rodriguez, Brazilians Amir Slama for Rosa Cha and Carlos Miele, to Argentine Pablo Ramirez enhance the elegance of the men and women partying in these pages.

And since no party is complete without a good soundtrack, the Latin Chic gals suggest music ranging from La Lupe (Cuba's Billy Holiday) to the samba-jazzy tunes of Brazil's Bebel Gilberto, and the funkadelic Venezuelan group Amigos Invicibles.

So, slip on those Edmundo Castillo heels, nibble on a black bean crepe, raise your coconut martinis and get your groove on with some reggaeton. Let the LATIN CHIC celebrations begin!

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