to continue my bridesmaid weekend in the oc, i was delighted to receive an invite to my euro friend’s house for a designer shrimp party down in huntington beach. “designer shrimp” you ask? i first heard of these little buggers about five years ago, when my then manager was telling me about how he missed the shrimp he grew up eating in brussels and had finally found a distributor that could ship these north sea shrimp all the way from amsterdam to cali. when i get to his house with bottles of fernet and coke in hand, not only do i fall in love again with the ligne roset togo set, i also get scoffed at for bringing american coke (faux pas, for there is euro coke in the fridge). and the best part? he’s already got fernet stocked at the bar, though it’s a different brand than the branca im used to. luxardo is best known for their maraschino liqueur (distilled from the marasca, a sour cherry variety exclusively cultivated for luxardo), but evidently, they’ve also managed to dabble in the fernet market. i have to admit that knowing i was drinking something un-branca felt wrong, but in a pinch, it’ll do (with tomates crevettes, of course).