A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘cocktails’

Puppy Love in PDX

In Drink, Food, Out of Town on October 15, 2013 at 10:01 am

Brittany spaniel

For those of you over on Instagram, it’s been indulgently documented that our family brought home a new Brittany spaniel puppy a couple weeks ago. Meet Aengus, featured here with his favorite Orvis antler chew toy! I’m so in love with this little guy! Britts are a hunting breed and are more pointer than spaniel, which means they’re active and need a lot of exercise. They are also spectacular family pets, and very loving and gentle with children. Our boys could not be more smitten.

photo 5

We found Aengus through a breeder near Portland, Oregon. When the time came to bring him home, I packed a bag and boarded a flight that arrived in PDX in the evening, just in time to dump my bags at the Ace, and head out to dinner at Pok Pok.

pok pok pdx

When I was wine and spirits editor at Bon Appétit, I found myself in Portland and the Willamette Valley pretty regularly for work. Perhaps what I miss most about Portland are the bartenders. I was reminded of just how much when I cozied up to the bar at Pok Pok and ordered a Tennessee Stud cocktail with bergamot-infused bourbon, fresh lemon and Peychaud’s Bitters.

tennessee stud cocktail

It was a perfect companion to the plate of Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce fiery wings, one of Pok Pok’s signature dishes. My mom grew up in Buffalo, NY, and so when I see wings on the menu, I feel it’s my filial duty to order them. These were outstanding, tossed in Phu Quoc fish sauce,  dipped in a rice flour and tempura flour batter and fried in rice bran oil.

ike's vietnamese fish sauce wings

If you thought things couldn’t get better, think again. Enter a plate of Muu Paa Kham Waan, which was wild boar collar meat with garlic, coriander root and black pepper in a spicy chili lime sauce. It comes with a side of sticky rice, and you take a pinch of rice and then pick up the boar meet. There are no words…

muu paa kham waan

Not shockingly, I woke up the next morning in need of coffee. And even though Stumptown is in the lobby of the Ace, I knew that a superior cup could be found a short drive away at the newest location of Ristretto Roasters. I’m in love with Ristretto’s new café on NE Couch Street and loaded up with several pounds of El Paraíso beans from Colombia. For the drive, I also pocketed a fig buckwheat scone baked by former Spago and Campanile pastry chef Kim Boyce. (When I got home, I discovered that the figgy scone recipe is included in Boyce’s awesome cookbook, Good to the Grain. Yeehaw!)

ristretto roasters

The drive out to Wind Mountain Kennels from Portland, Oregon, to Carson, Washington, was pure beauty. We snaked along the Columbia River, crossing the steel truss cantilevered Bridge of the Gods as we approached state lines.

bridge of the gods

Looking over at our new sleeping puppy on the drive back to the airport, I thought how lucky we are to live on the West Coast. There is so much beauty in the world, much of it a short road trip away, and I for one need to remember that life is about finding the time to stop and smell the coffee, savor the Northern Thai street food, and cuddle up with a new friend.

brittany spaniel

The Best Damn Margaritas You’ll Ever Taste

In Drink on May 4, 2013 at 11:57 am

Here at The Foodinista, we take our margaritas very seriously. We drink them made with limes, not strawberries, not mangoes, and absolutely not with pineapple juice (I’m talking to you, El Coyote Scratch Margarita). We also drink them year round. But if you’re just tuning in for Cinco de Mayo, here are our four of our favorites.

best damn margaritaThe all-time most popular recipe on TheFoodinista.com remains David Lansing‘s Perfect Margarita, pictured above. David knows his margs, and years ago I sent him down to Jalisco to research tequila for Bon Appétit magazine. Amazing that he ever came back, but when he did it was with this recipe. The man knows his stuff, and his margs. Get his recipe HERE.

LATC MargaritaI’m a believer that the best margarita is one somebody else makes for you, which is why this dandy little “skinny margarita” that Bruce stirs up at our local tennis club ranks right up there. I’ve watched him make it more times than I care to admit, and as best I can tell here are the basic proportions.

Los Angeles Tennis Club Margarita

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 ounces fresh lime juice, plus one lime wedge

2 ounces* silver tequila (Bruce uses Patron, I like Don Julio)

2 tablespoons triple sec

1/4 cup club soda

*2 ounces is a heavy pour, and believe me I’m not complaining, but you may want to start with 1 1/2 ounces. Or not.

Sprinkle salt on a small plate. Rub lime wedge around rim of a rocks glass and dip in salt to coat rim. Fill rocks glass with ice. Add lime juice, tequila and triple sec. Stir, and then top with club soda.

sohohousemargaritaThe Soho House Picante de la Casa Margarita is my favorite new discovery for spicing things up in the marg department. This one gets its kick from red jalapeños and cilantro. My friend Vanessa recreated the recipe for home consumption and says feel free to play around with proportions depending on how spicy you like it.

classic margaritaAnd then it’s hard to improve on perfection, which is why this is my go-to classic margarita recipe. Simple and sublime.

Foodinista’s Go-to Marg

Makes 4 stiff drinks

Kosher salt

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

1 cup Don Julio blanco tequila

1/2 cup triple sec

Sprinkle salt onto a small plate. Take a juiced lime peel and rub around rims of glasses, dip glass rims in salt. Pour lime juice, tequila, and triple sec into a shaker full of ice. Shake and strain into salt-rimmed glasses.

How to Spice Things Up

In Drink, Recipes on February 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm

sohohousemargarita

If not in the bedroom, then let’s start by heating things up in the kitchen tonight. Last night at cooking club, the theme was recreating your favorite restaurant dish. The evening requires a separate post—Mozza meatballs, tagliata and Brussels sprouts with prosciutto breadcrumbs, Akasha kale salad, Ammo lentil salad, Café des Artiste mac n cheese, Hungry Cat ceviche and chocolate bread pudding, all SO good. (And apparently a lot of us like Mozza and Hungry Cat.)

But for the purposes of romance, for igniting that flame tonight, might I suggest my friend Vanessa’s recreation of the Soho House Picante de la Casa Margarita? Vanessa notes, “There are no real directions for how much pepper/cilantro to add so you just have to experiment and see how spicy and cilantro-y you like it.”

If you know what I mean.

SOHO HOUSE PICANTE DE LA CASA MARGARITA

Makes 2 cocktails

Red jalapeño, chopped, to taste

Fresh cilantro leaves, to taste

4 ounces Cazadores tequila

1 ounce agave nectar

2 ounce fresh lime juice, squeezed

In a mixing glass, muddle together chopped red chilies and cilantro leaves. Add tequila, agave and lime juice. Shake hard. Strain into two ice-filled rocks glasses.

The Elf on the Shelf

In Drink on December 23, 2012 at 9:46 am

elfcocktail

This year, there was something missing from our annual holiday. More than one guest remarked on it. One even got a little upset. WHERE ARE THE CRABBIES???? I’ve had them on the brain ever since their noticeable absence earlier this month. And so, Lizzie—the creator of these little bites of crabby crack—brought over a tray of Crabbies last night and we broke out the bourbon. I was really in the mood for a good bourbon champagne punch, and inspired by my favorite brown liquor cocktail, the Manhattan, I accidentally created my new favorite cocktail, which Lizzie christened the Elf on a Shelf. Careful, these go down a little too easy if you know what I mean, and I kind of feel like this guy might have tattled on me to Santa last night.

elfontheshelf

Elf on a Shelf Cocktail

Makes 8 drinks

1/2 cup bourbon

3 tablespoons agave nectar

1 teaspoon Fee Brothers orange bitters

1 bottle champagne or sparkling wine

8 Luxardo cherries

Mix bourbon, agave nectar and bitters in a glass measuring cup. Fill 8 wine glasses with ice, and pour one ounce (or two tablespoons) of the bourbon mixture in each glass. Top with champagne and add a Luxardo cherry.

fees orange bitters

Ginvent Calendar

In Drink on December 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Ginvent2

It’s 12.12.12, which means that we are halfway through our advent calendars. For many of us, like my four-year-old son, advent calendars look a lot like this faux chalet, below, that I got at Barneys years ago, hiding See’s foil-wrapped milk chocolates (I’m a California girl, after all) behind each door.

advent calendar barneys

 

If you’re like me, your advent calendar looks a little more exciting. It looks like the most GENIUS present you may have ever received in your life. A GINVENT CALENDAR! Last month, my friend Missy Suicide bestowed me with this inspired and splashy gift of 24 3cl bottles of top-shelf gin. Each evening after the boys have gone to bed, I’ve opened up the day’s door to discover a little splash of gin for a nightcap gin & tonic. Day One started off with a familiar favorite:

GinventHendricks

But best of all, I’ve made some fun new artisanal discoveries, as well as revisiting a couple of forgotten stalwarts. Here are Days 6-12:

ginvent6thru12

 

Can’t wait to unlock the remaining 12 as we countdown to Christmas. And for those of you still searching for that perfect gift for the gin loving lady (or gent) in your life, you can thank me—and Missy Suicide—later. First, gin up.

 

 

Let’s Drink to Mother’s Day

In Drink on May 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Flowers, spa treatments, breakfast in bed—it’s all good. But after the kids are in bed, what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with a well-deserved drink? One of my favorites is The Lulu (above)—a delicious muddle of basil and strawberries topped with Prosecco, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and Aperol, created by friend and celebrity caterer Lulu Powers.

Also in the fruity family is the beloved Pimms Cup cocktail. Grab some blueberries, strawberries, oranges and fresh mint at the farmers market in the morning and make a pitcher in the afternoon. These taste even better when enjoyed with friends.

For something that packs a little more punch, try a refreshing Vodka Rosemary Lemon Fizz. The nonalcoholic version of this sophisticated drink is equally delicious for moms-to-be. Just skip the vodka and add more club soda.

Or, if we can’t wait until the kids are in bed, why not start the day with my friend Laurie’s perfect Bloody Mary?

Another entry in the morning cocktail category, a favorite riff on the bellini: Peach Tarragon Bellini, a recipe I developed for Bon Appétit magazine. Or just skip the peaches and tarragon and go directly to champagne. Cheers!

Ice, Ice Baby

In Drink, Recipes on December 5, 2011 at 9:10 am

We are officially in the holiday season having logged two parties this past weekend with four on the docket this week. The highlight of my own holiday party is a Champagne Pomegranate Punch (the most requested recipe in my arsenal). We serve it in a big punch bowl with a sliver punch ladle from my mother, and the night before I make an ice mold. What goes into the ice changes based on mood, so get creative! First you’ll need a bundt pan. Place lemon slices, pomegranate seeds and fresh mint leaves—or really, whatever fruit and herbs suit your fancy—in bottom of pan.

Fill with water about 2/3 full as the water will expand when it freezes. Freeze overnight, and remove about 1/2 hour before serving so that it slightly melts to loosen sides.

Turn into punch bowl. The ice will slowly melt, which is a good thing considering how much white rum I sneak into that punch. Happy holidays!

A Girl’s Guide to Whisk(e)y

In Drink, Media on November 16, 2011 at 9:39 pm

A great honor to guest post today on my friend Lizzie’s awesome blog TOMBOY STYLE (her book by the same name is being published by Rizzoli this spring)—and on one of my favorite topics, whisk(e)y! Pour yourself a stiff glass of Ardbeg Supernova and head on over to TOMBOY STYLE for a Girl’s Guide to Whisk(e)y, and say “hi” to Lizzie while you’re there!

Dark ‘n Stormy

In Drink on July 16, 2011 at 5:11 pm

And what kind of pirate party would it have been without Dark ‘n Stormies for the grown-ups? When I was at the ACE in Palm Springs last summer, I had a great one made with Bundaberg Ginger Beer and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s Australian and super spicy, which is excellent in a dark and stormy. (Bonus: Bundaberg also offers a diet version that is pretty delish in a cocktail.)

Important to remember in a Dark ‘n Stormy, in addition to a spicy ginger beer, use a dark rum like Goslings Black Seal. And that’s it. Just two ingredients. Three, if you count a lime wedge swashbuckled with a sword.

 

 

Your New Summer Cocktail: The Lulu

In Drink, Recipes on July 6, 2011 at 9:32 am

We’re back in the land of WiFi! And before I relive the past two dreamy, cellphone-free weeks at my in-law’s summer place in Vermont, I thought I’d share what is destined to become your new summer cocktail. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you THE LULU! The night before we left for Vermont, I was over at my friend (and celebrity caterer) Lulu Power’s for a girls dinner, and upon walking in the door, Lulu handed me a mason jar filled with muddled strawberries, fresh basil, with a splash of Aperol and St. Germain and topped up with Prosecco. Immediately I knew I would be drinking it all summer. It’s pretty, and pretty delicious.

Look for the juiciest strawberries you can find, like this pretty basket that we picked one afternoon at Dutton Farms in Newfane, Vermont.

Muddle a few strawberries and basil leaves in the bottom of a glass.

Add a splash each of Aperol and St Germain Elderflower Liqueur. I do about 1/2 ounce of Aperol and 1 ounce of St Germain. Throw in a few ice cubes, and then top with Prosecco.

Then settle into an adirondack and enjoy. For more entertaining and recipe ideas from Lulu (below), check out her fantastic book, Lulu Powers: Food to Flowers, and blog which currently features a sublime recipe for Chile & Cilantro Margaritas.

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