Articles

East Ender - Portland Maine

 

On a recent trip to Maine I decided to stop for a meal in Portland, having heard great things about their food culture.  The restaurant had a long wait, so after putting my name on the list I figured I would explore some of the nearby shops and bars.  I must first say that Portlander’s take their food and drink seriously.

I wandered into an Italian market that made me wonder what all those things people had been hawking as Italian all my life actually were.  Eventually, I found my way into this little bar-restaurant called the East Ender and I bellied up to the bar for a quick drink.  I was pleasantly surprised by their selection of spirits, I was still figuring out just how seriously Portlander’s took their food and drink, and was quickly handed a menu by the bartender and asked if there was anything they could get me. 

 

 

After glancing over the menu briefly a friend of mine, who really doesn’t read most of the time, asks them if they can make a Moscow Mule, they respond with a resounding “yes, in fact it’s listed on the menu as a Mule and we add a splash of blood orange.”  Being a fan of the Mule he orders one leaving me to continue studying the menu, I finally settle on a Bow Legged Cowboy, bourbon, beer syrup, stout, Luxardo cherry. 

 

Then just as I take the first sip of my drink and begin the relish the many wonderful layers of flavors, we are informed by the rest of our party that our table is ready so my friend, who got his drink first takes his last sip and is out the door, leaving me to finish my drink.  Not being the type of person who rushes something as wonderful as an expertly crafted cocktail I make the decision to enjoy the rest of my drink and strike up a conversation with the bartender.  As we talk we swap stories of favorite drinks and recipes, I start to discover firsthand how large a role food and drink plays in the lives of Portlanders. 

Soon I finish my drink a reluctantly rejoin the rest of my party at the Duckfat to enjoy our very late lunch, which was also incredibly delicious.  At the end of our meal a few of my friends decide that they are going to order dessert and not being much of a sweets person I excuse myself to return to the East Ender for another drink, I mean I couldn’t simply just try one of their creations what if it was just a fluke that it happened to be so tasty.  I walked back in and decided this time to try the East Ender Sazerac, Famous Grouse Bourbon, Absinthe, honey, bitters, and lemon, I was not disappointed and decided without a doubt that it was no fluke, this establishment truly makes fine cocktails. 

 

Overall, the bar was small but cozy, with lots of individual seating areas perfect for a small gathering of friends.  The staff was friendly and knowledgeable, willing to make you something not on the menu if you asked for it.  I wandered in on a Friday around 3:30 so it was a pretty quiet but the bartender told me that she would be getting her happy hour crowd in soon.  On the list to try would be the brunch Bloody Marys with smoked tomato juice and the tea infused grapefruit Vodka. If you happen to be in the Portland area, this place is worth a visit, if you happen to be in the New England area this place is worth a visit. 

East Ender

47 Middle Street

Portland, ME

207-879-7669

 

Armando Rosario - Make it fresh..Keep it simple

 

Armando Rosario has an impressive list of titles. President of the United States Bartenders' Guild: Las

Vegas Chapter. Director of Mixology for Southern Wine and Spirits, Florida. USBG State and National

Cocktail Competition Champion. Society of Wine Educators Certified Spirits Specialist. Certified

Cachaca Expert. He's the kind of guy you want as your bartender.

Armando's motto is, “Make it fresh, keep it simple.” His cocktails feature fresh ingredients crafted with

attention to balance and flavor pairings. As someone who holds the highest position in the U.S. IBA

Championships, he is a top-notch expert on the secrets to the perfect cocktail.

Armando answered a few of our questions to give us a look into what it takes to become a world-
renowned bartender.

What are some of your favorite classic cocktails and what do you like about them?

 

That’s like asking who my favorite child is. Three of my more favorite cocktails are The Negroni,

Caipirinha, and Pisco Sour.

 

I like them because they are classic, simple, have distinct flavor profiles

 

and give me the opportunity to use my favorite categories of spirits: gin, cachaça, and pisco, which

happens to be a road less traveled in the spirits world. I enjoy their uniqueness and heritage.

 

You were voted America's Best Bartender by Cheers Magazine. In your opinion, what makes a great

bartender?

The number one attribute is personality – you have to be able to connect with your customer and

entertain. Secondly is the knowledge of the craft and passion for the profession.

You are a cocktail competition champion. What are the secrets to a winning cocktail?

Taste is paramount – you receive the highest score for taste, followed by presentation so therefore

make sure your cocktail not only tastes exquisite, but is balanced. Practice makes perfect – when

preparing for the USBG World Cup in Berlin, I made The Real Dill (the winning cocktail) 300 times

before the completion to build muscle memory so when the moment came, it was second nature to me.

Last but not least is preparation because luck favors the prepared.

You've served as a master mixologist all over the country. Could you tell us about the diversity of food

and beverage culture you've found in the different regions you've bartended?

I was exposed to a culinary experience around the world when I worked for the cruise lines for 7 years,

however my greatest beverage and culinary experience was the time I spent in Le Cirque in NY, where

I could utilize the finest and freshest ingredients in the world. Also a great experience was at The

Wynn Resort in Las Vegas due to the diversity of clientele and venues. After 9 years in Las Vegas, the

transition to Orlando presents a welcomed shift in culture to a more family-oriented environment.

What would you say is the most important thing you've learned in all your years of mastering the art of

mixology?

Always keep stretching yourself, searching for those experiences that fuel your passion for this

profession and industry. And always remember..”make it fresh..keep it simple” (Armando’s tag line)

 Lauren Eggert-Crowe

Classy Ladies: Cooking Channel!

There are plenty of cooking shows out there. Few actually teach you where your food comes from. Even fewer feature charming wise-cracking hosts in vintage dresses.  Lauren Eggert-Crowe

Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark are the duo before the camera in The Cooking Channel's “Classy Ladies.” On the show, Alie and Georgia, Los Angeles best girl buddies, travel to bee farms, oyster restaurants, butcher shops, chocalatiers, and learn the tricks of the trade from all manner of culinary experts. They then take their lessons back to the studio, where they devise homemade cocktails and appetizers inspired by that day's discoveries.

 

Alie and Georgia are delightful on camera, a pastiche mix of high class retro femininity and millennial snark. Picture Tina Fey and Amy Poehler operating a beef jerky press. It's clear that the pair are genuinely fascinated by the culinary techniques they learn from the various experts they consult in the field, whether it be a British tea host or a beekeeper, but they never let the tone of the show veer too far into earnestness, always bringing back the sass with a tongue-in-cheek self-deprecating jab or an innuendo. The result is a welcoming confection of a show that will make viewers excited about the art of food and beverage, and eager to experiment with their own cocktails. “Don't Try This At Home” are words you'll never hear in Alie and Georgia's studio.

 

How do you come up with your amazingly crazy ideas for cocktails? I'm thinking your Beefy Tomato, Sesame Bonbon, and Oyster Shooter.


Excellent question. We usually start with a craving and a sense of foolish thrillseeking and go from there. We like to bend the limits on cocktails and approach them from kind of a Willy Wonka perspective: with whimsy and fun and both of us wearing top hats and cravats.

 

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/alie-ward-and-georgia-hardstark/the-beefy-tomato-cocktail.html

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/alie-ward-and-georgia-hardstark/sesame-bonbon.html

Could you tell us a bit about your experiences learning the art of mixology?

We both had stints working in restaurants and behind bars (that came out wrong) -- and had mixed drinks for a living. Later, Georgia was a food blogger and Alie worked as a writer for the LA Times, covering trends and attending events that involved mixology. So with our video for the McNuggetini, we were making a cocktail that was insane and should not have existed just for our own amusement and horror but we also were gently satirizing how uptight the craft cocktail movement was becoming.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned since starting your Classy Ladies TV show?

We have definitely learned to loosen up on camera. We used to make scripted, memorized videos and we just approach things much more organically and casually now. And also, our recipes have become a little more refined and less daredevil: we want there to be a "what the ??" factor but we also want viewers to be excited about making these drinks and serving them at their own cocktail parties. So, more interesting infusions and less barbecue sauce.

How many fancy vintage dresses do you own????

We try to keep count based on the number of episodes we've done for the web and TV and it's probably upwards of 80 each. Georgia's closet is organized by era; Alie's is organized chromatically. Not that we're obsessed.

Do you have a favorite spirit or liquor to mix with?

We'd both probably have to say bourbon, because it's oaky and and smokey and goes well with sweet flavors as well as bright, sour citrus flavors. It's great for both stirred cocktails and shaken ones. And if you don't want to make any more cocktails for your friends, you can advise that they drink it straight and let you keep lounging.

What's in your fridge that we would be surprised to find?

Alie's got several jars of simple syrups on hand: ginger, lavender, Sriracha honey, and Chinese 5-Spice. She also has a baggie of dried ghost peppers, the oil of which is used as a weapon in some countries. Georgia has a jar of her homemade apricot bourbon mustard that she keeps on hand for long days/emergencies.

In your opinion, what's the key to a perfect cocktail?

The best advice we ever got was from our dear friends and ace barman, Dave Kupchinksy from Eveleigh, who one time sat down with us and gave us some great tips and secrets. (We love him.) And he gave us a loose formula we still use: roughly 2 oz spirit, 3/4 oz citrus and 3/4 oz simple syrup (or a liqueur) plus bitters. It's basic and foolproof and we start off a lot of our recipe tinkering with those ratios and tweak from there. Unless we're liquefying an entire slice of pie in a blender. There are no roads for that kind of territory.

Go on location with these Classy Ladies over at The Cooking Channel: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/classy-ladies.html

Journeyman Distillery

Lauren Eggert-Crowe

If you're traveling through Three Oaks, Michigan, you will see an old Corset and Buggy Whip Factory built in the 1880s. Step inside and find Journeyman Distillery, where handcrafted small batch whiskey is made every day. I spoke to Daniel Milsk about Journeyman's mission and uniqueness.

What is your role at Journeyman?

My role at Journeyman Distillery varies from day to day. One day I may be handling promotional materials, to barrel management, to bartending, to licensing. As a small company we have an “all hands on deck” mentality. If something needs to get done, whom ever is available to do it does.

What is a typical day like at Journeyman Distillery?

During the less crowded weekdays patrons can spend the time with our knowledgeable staff and learn about our products. During the weekends the distillery looks like it belongs in Chicago as a hopping bar. We offer tours on the weekends, and invite guests to learn about our process at Journeyman Distillery.

What is the process like for creating the highest quality batch of your fine spirits?

Starting from the highest quality organic grains we insure a delicious product right from the start. Our distillers practice a hands on approach while producing our spirits, resulting in a handcrafted, and delicately handled process batch by batch.

As a grain to glass distillery we start from crushing whole grains direct from the farmer, all the way through fermentation, distillation, and finally bottling and enjoying our labors. This all occurs on site in our Historic Featherbone Factory in, Three Oaks, Michigan.

What are the qualities you look for to make sure you've made a great batch?

Every batch of Journeyman Distillery spirits is monitored by our artisan distillery by taste, and experience through out every step of the process. We practice taste tests straight from the still, and also as our spirits are aging in barrels.

What sets Journeyman apart from other distilleries? What makes your products unique?

Journeyman Distillery is one of few organic and kosher distilleries operating in the United States. Currently distributing in 9 states in the union, as well as parts of Europe.

How did you learn about distilling spirits? What have you learned since starting at Journeyman?

I have learned while working at Journeyman Distillery that whiskey is not just about the alcohol. Any distillery encompasses a wide variety of skill sets including chemistry, mathematics, food production, artistry, and patience. Then, on the flip side of production comes the branding aspect, which includes promotion, customer service, sales, and of course finally enjoying the final product.

Journeyman's facility is absolutely gorgeous and full of character. It seems like design was equally important to  you as the quality of the spirits.

Having stumbled upon The Historic Featherbone Factory, Journeyman Distillery is very fortunate to be housed in Three Oaks. Originally built as a Corsets and Buggy Whip factory in 1899, we chose to leave as much history intact as possible. Leaving the untouched brick walls with peeling paint, exposed piping, original factory floors, and ceiling give the distillery an unmatched charm perfectly equated for drinking fine spirits.

Journeyman's three year anniversary is coming up this fall. Where do you see the distillery going in the future?

As we approach our 3rd anniversary we will be releasing our 2nd Batch of the Three Oaks Single Malt. Our 1st batch sold out within 1 month.

In the future we will continue to focus on small batch, high quality spirits, while releasing an evolution of our line up. Come back 10 years from now to try our 10-year Ravenswood Rye, Buggy Whip Wheat, and the entire line up. With experimental whiskeys aging look our for unusual flavors that only a true small batch distillery can make.

Want to try some of Journeyman's Spirits?

 

 

Los Angeles Brewery Tours

Los Angeles Brewery Tours

 

One of the things I love about living in L.A. is the hundreds of great date ideas. Meeting up for drinks is ho-hum. But what if instead you took a tour of a local L.A. Brewery, and then enjoyed an ice cold beer that you just learned all about? What if there were also taco trucks outside? And maybe a trivia game?

 

Los Angeles has many of its own local craft breweries that specialize in small batch craft beers. Though you can find their bottles in stores, several also have a public house where you can enjoy the latest on tap, and take a free tour of their breweries. If you've always wanted to know all about how beer is made, here are a few places to start.

 

 

 

 

Golden Road Brewing

5410 W San Fernando Rd, Los Angeles, CA

Right off the L.A. River, in between Glendale and Griffith Park, sits Golden Road Brewing, serving up their own IPAs, Hefeweizens, Lagers, Stouts, Porters, and Brown Ales. They're also a gastropub, so you can enjoy pub fare with your pint, perhaps on a Tuesday trivia night. If you come on a weekend afternoon, you can get a complimentary guided tour of the brewing facility, barrel aging room, and production floor. $10 gets you a tasting session  as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Angel City

216 S. Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA

Part of the “Downtown Renaissance” wedged in between the old industrial districts and Little Tokyo, Angel City is pulling out all the stops to become Downtown L.A.'s hottest brewery. Their public house is a big open warehouse building, with concrete floors, staircases that lead up to catwalks, and an old grain chute stretching from floor to vaulted ceiling. Patrons sit at picnic tables with street food from trucks in the lot outside (outside food is always welcome) or play games of pool.

 

Angel City Brewery Tours are available seven days a week, and won't cost you a thing. Learn about how they make their Belgian White Eureka! Wit beer, or their signature Angeleno IPA. They also have a full lineup of weekly events. On Sunday mornings, show up at 9:30am for a 2 mile run around downtown, followed by a vinyasa yoga class, followed by beer. All for $10. Mondays are Industry Nights, featuring unbeatable $20 10 oz pints of a beer style that rotates every week. Show up Tuesdays for tacos and trivia, or Wednesdays for Pints & Puns, a weekly comedy show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eagle Rock Brewery

3056 Roswell St, Los Angeles, CA

This eastside family-owned brewery's tagline is “Beer for the People,” so at the public tap-room attached to their brewing facility, you can get drafts named “Solidarity,” “Manifesto,” “Revolution” and “Populist.” If you needed any other clue that this is beer for the 99%, how about prices of $2 - $5? Eagle Rock Brewery also hosts the Women Beer Forum every third Wednesday, where women can gather to learn about beer and taste flights of various styles. Grab some sandwiches or tacos from the food trucks on Fridays and Saturdays, or bring your own meal any day. Show off your Jeopardy talents at trivia nights every second and fourth Wednesday. Or get a free brewery tour on Sunday afternoons.

 

As summer approaches, beer is calling our names. Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than pouring a cold one on a hot, dry afternoon. These three Los Angeles breweries offer new things to try and learn while you imbibe. 

Tropical Delights

We have fun food and cocktails for to make your pool or outdoor party the best yet. Bring on the grass skirts and tiki torches and kick back with a Mai Tai or Blue Hawaiian! Just click on the pictures to see the recipes.  

 

Blue Hawaiian gets its name from the beautiful blue of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii. Created by Harry Yee at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in 1957 when a sales rep asked him to make a drink using Blue Curaçao liqueur. Curacao is an orange based liqueur that is often colored blue or orange and used extensively in tropical themed drinks. It does have a tie to the Elvis movie “Blue Hawaii” but it is fairly loose in nature. This drink, and like many like it, were an off shoot of the 60’s love of all things Hawaiian and tiki. Having sat at the pool bar at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and looked out over Waikiki Beach, I can see where they got the name..  It is the quintessential Hawaiian cocktail, oh pool boy - 

 

 

Mango Daiquiri - Nothing says summer like a Daiquiri!  This Mango Daiquiri is not only fun but it has a wonderful taste that is light and fruity without being coy.   The fresh key lime juice helps enhance the flavor of the mango and give it a nice tart back taste.

 

 

 

Rum Runner:

Legend has it, Rum Runners were invented in the late 1950's at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida. Supposedly, the bar had an excess of rum and certain liqueurs, hence all the somewhat bizarre number of liqueurs that are included in almost any recipe out there for a Rum Runner, that needed to be gotten rid of to make room in the liquor closet.  They named the drink after the real "Rum Runners" that inhabited the Florida Keys in the early days running Rum in from Cuba and the islands.  Many changes are made as the Rum Runner passed through time. Most recipes are altered by using different amounts of the same ingredients. Sometimes an ingredient may be substituted or changed and the recipe will remain intact.  The only ingredient that remains sacred is of course the Rum.

 

Mai Tai comes with multiple recipes depending on which version you like, the Trader Vic’s (1940’s) or Don the Beachcomber (1930’s).  Either way both capitalized on the Polynesian trends of the 50’s and 60’s.  A great fruit and rum based drink; no Tiki party would be complete without with a Mai Tai with an umbrella!  Featured in the Elvis movie “Blue Hawaii” the drink has remained popular since then as a beach side have to have.   So whatever recipe you use this is a wonderful fun drink that will be the hit of any pool party.

 

 

The Hawaiian Mimosa is a tropical cocktail made with sparkling wine.  Malibu Rum, Pineapple Juice and Sparkling Wine and you're all done.

 

 

 

The Island Swizzle is a great around the pool drink.  A step up from your regular rum based drinks the bitters and almond syrup are stepping in the direction of mixology where you play flavors against each other to make something truly unique.  The mint gives this drink a clean sharp edge that melds well with the Spiced Rum.  So this is for your more adventurous friends that are into something different than your normal rum punches.

 

 

Love this drink, Fun in the Sun!  Sweet and fun it hits all the flavor marks for a summer cocktail.  We love the Raw Vanilla Liqueur, not the Schnapps, by Dr. McGillicuddy.  It brings a great smoothness and rich flavor to the drink.  Did we say we love it!

 

This is the drink that started it all.  A group of friends vacationing on the Big Island of Hawaii decided to start this website.  It was our love of cocktails or maybe just a few too many Mauna Kea Punches!

 

 

 

The Hibiscus Margarita is a smooth slightly sweet margarita that starts off your party with a high class taste and unique point of view.  More on the mixology side it takes the basic margarita to a whole new level.

 

 

Planters Punch is today considered not a specific cocktail, but rather has grown as the generic name for a set of rum-based punches. Recipes vary, containing some combination of lemon juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, orange juice, grenadine, soda water, curaçao, Angostura bitters, and cayenne pepper.  Another one of the drinks popularized by Trader Vic’s as part of the Tiki bar explosion.  The first mention of the drink is in the late 1800’s and again in 1905.  It gained popularity in the 50’s and 60’s as the tropical drink craze swept the US.  Our recipe has all the standard ingredients but there are many variations on this theme.  This is a drink you can play around with, more pineapple or less…  It really is a matter of taste.

 

 

 

The creation the Hurricane, a passion fruit-colored relative of a Daiquiri, is credited to New Orleans tavern owner Pat O'Brien. In the 1940s, he needed to create a new drink to help him get rid of all of the less popular rum that local distributors forced him to buy before he could get a few cases of more popular liquors such as scotch and whiskey.  He poured the drink into hurricane-lamp-shaped glasses and gave it away. The drink caught on, and it has been a trademark in the French Quarter ever since.  It is a great drink that has enough flavor that you can use a less expensive run and it still tastes great.  Great as a party drink for the start of Hurricane season on June 1st or mixes easily into batches.

 

 

Sipping Tequila

 

Tequila can be almost as overwhelming as Vodka when it comes to trying to find the right one.  Most of us have a bad Tequila story to tell from our college days.  Demystifying Tequila is just pointing you in the right direction.  Real Tequila is distilled from the blue agave plant and is the national drink of Mexico.  There are 3 common varieties:  Blanco, or white, Reposado, "rested" which is aged between 2 - 12 months in oak barrels and Anejo or "vintage" which is aged between 1- 3 years is small oak barrels.  The best tequilas are made from 100% agave.  There are tequilas that are mixtos that are mostly 51% agave and a lot of sugar.  Pretty much ensures a hangover and they don't taste all that great.  There are lots of smaller distilleries and family owned business that produce tequila.  Find the ones that you like the best.  We were even able to find an organic tequila made in Mexico that is 100% agave and triple distilled, Tres Generacions Reposado.  It is wonderful.

Tequila is generally made from an area surrounding the city of Tequila and in the highlands of Los Altos, Jalisco.  More than 300 million Blue Agave plants are harvested each year and the areas where the plants are harvested are different enough in tempature and soil to influence the taste of the resulting tequila.  Mexican laws govern that tequila can be producted only in the state of Jalisco and certain regions in the states of Guanajuato, Miscoacan, Nayarit and Tamaulipas.  US laws state that only spirits that are produced in Mexico can be called tequila.  Below is a link to a great film on how they actually make tequila produced by Patron.

Sixty Hands - Patron short film on the making of tequila.

There are a lot of family owned distilleries making tequila in Mexico today and more than 2,000 brand names.  So there are a lot of choices out there.  A few of the brands that you know quite well like Herradura and Sauza are held by large international holding companies.  Others are still family owned businesses.  

If you are sipping tequila then buy up.  Tequila is no different than any other spirit, the closer you get to drinking it in its natural state the better the quality should be for sipping.  Quality doesn't have to mean a lot of money there are quality Anejo tequilas out there for less than $50.

We went to a Tequila bar in Mexico and the Tequila was served room temperature with 2 chasers.  A tomato based drink called Sangrita, (little blood) and some lime juice.  It tasted a little like Gatorade so I think it was lime juice with a touch of salt.

 

 

 

Here is a recipe that we use for Sangrita:

1 cup fresh orange juice

1 cup tomato juice, we used an organic tomato juice since it can be hard to find anything except V8.

1 oz fresh lime juice

12 dashes of hot sauce.  We used Cholula, we liked it much better than Tabasco.

 

You can still fall back to the salt tequila lime chant but we found that after a while all you taste is the salt.  It's the difference between sipping and shooting! 

Below are some of our Margaritas and some of our favorite tequilas that we test drinks with.  Just click on the picture to see the recipe.   And yes they love it when we walk into the liquor store but that is half the fun!  It is always good to try something new.  So if you are ready to take your tequila to the next step try one of the ones at the top of the page.  Or go to smaller family owed Wine and Spirit stores and let them help you.  Tell them what your price points are and then try something new.  The best way to learn about any spirit is to taste them.  I know hard work right!  But you will quickly find out the best tequila for your taste.  We do tasting parties where we ask our friends to bring a bottle of a spirit that they have never tried before and then we all taste each bottle with some food and conversation in between each type.  It is amazing how much taste profiles differ from person to person.  It doesn't matter if it's the most expensive bottle if you hate the taste, drink what you enjoy.

 

 

The Blood Orange Margarita is one of the best looking of our new margaritas.  We juiced about 15 blood oranges added them to tequila, organic blood orange liqueur and more for an amazing margarita.  The blood orange wheel really sets off the color!

 

The Elderflower Margarita is very calm, the elderflower makes the tequila take a back seat making this a smooth and slightly sweet cocktail.  If you like a margarita that is a little on the mellower side with a refined taste this is the one for you.  We made our's with a silver tequila but it could be even better with a high end tequila.

 

 

Now this is fun, a chocolate margarita, the Mole Margarita uses a chocolate chili liqueur along with tequila as a base of a very interesting margarita.  Rimmed with chocolate it is both tasty and visually interesting.

 

 

It wouldn't be Midnight Mixologist unless we had something tropical.  The Mai Tai Margarita is fun and playful with lots of fruit notes. 

 

 

 

Blue Curacao and Blackberry Liqueur gives this margarita it's unique look.  The Black and Blue Margarita is Blackberry Liqueur on the bottom topped with a Margarita made with Blue Curacao instead of Grand Marnier.  Garnished with a strawberry for even more color it is a very cool looking drink. 

 

 

We like a combination of sweet and tart.  If you do as well try the Lemoncello Margarita.  It's fun like a lemon slushie with a bite, well maybe a strong bite!  If you are a lemoncello fan you'll be a huge fan of this drink.

 

 

 

We juiced some key limes for this drink.  While they are small they have a very distinct flavor.  More sophisicated than your run of the mill margarita this may turn into one of our favorite ones this summer.

 

 

Cinco de Mayo in LA

 

Cinco De Mayo gets a bad rap sometimes. Often referred to with some kind of pun along the lines of “Cinco de Drunko” or “Drinko de Mayo,” just naming the holiday can call to mind inebriated and irresponsible throngs of college kids appropriating Mexican culture without even knowing what the holiday is about. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and there are many ways to take part in Cinco De Mayo festivities without getting hammered and doing something stupid. As you can imagine, Los Angeles has many Cinco De Mayo celebrations to take advantage of. Events that showcase the history of the holiday, and the cuisines, spirits, songs and dances from the country it celebrates.

First, a little background. Cinco De Mayo celebrates the victory of the Battle of Puebla, when the Mexican Army defeated the larger, more heavily armed French Army on May 5, 1862. Commonly mistaken as Mexican Independence Day, Cinco De Mayo is actually a smaller holiday, relatively. But that is no reason to ignore it!

 

Here are some places you can go in Los Angeles to celebrate Cinco De Mayo:

 

Fiesta Broadway Los Angeles April 27, 2014:

 

 

If what you’re looking for is a large street festival, this is the place to go. Stretching a mile across downtown Los Angeles, the Fiesta Broadway expands through 24 square blocks, including Grand Park, and attracts over half a million people. It claims to be the largest Cinco De Mayo event in the world, and the largest Latino event in the United States. There will be performers of traditional and modern pop Latino music, food, drinks, and family activities. Expect bouncy castles, folklorico dances, mariachis, corridos, and lots of fresh cerveza. This is the festival’s 25th anniversary.

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, May 3-5, 2014

 

Olvera Street is a charming little marketplace right across from Union Station at the site of the founding of the city of Los Angeles. The plaza sits next to the old adobe mission, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, and includes little touristy postcard shops and Mexican restaurants. Throughout the year, Olvera Street hosts a variety of Latino-centric events, like the Festa de Mole, Dia de Los Muertos, and even Mardi Gras. This year, on the weekend of Cinco De Mayo, every day from 10am to 10pm, Angelenos can come to Olvera Street to sample traditional Mexican cuisine, listen to Mexican music, and watch the colorful Baile Folklorico dancers.


The 8th Annual Cinco De Mayo Tequila Festival, May 3, 2014

 

 

The Village at Ed Gould Plaza in Hollywood is serving up samples of their favorite tequilas. $30 and a valid i.d. gets you a pass to stroll through the tequila garden as you learn everything you wanted to know about tequila: how it’s made, where it comes from, the history of this evocative spirit, and how good it tastes. Wait, you already knew that!  Visit the Tasting Labs for small group tastings and rich flavor pairings.

 

Or you can go to any of the places I suggested when I wrote about National Margarita Day, to enjoy a delicious margarita on May 5th.

 

Or to make your own check out our Margaritas here

laureneggertcrowe.com
twitter.com/laureggertcrowe

Cuchi Cuchi

Old Hollywood Style with New World Flavors

 

Sitting at the end of a 40ft solid wood bar intimately lit with painted, glass-shaded lamps, I can’t help but stare as the lips of the lady beside me kiss the edge of her vintage, French 75 cocktail. Fortunately, she’s my date; unmistakably, I’ve found myself at Cuchi Cuchi this evening. As I take in the classic Hollywood glamour around me, the bartender bedecked in jewels, feathers, and fishnets fashions me a frisky old-fashioned, with just a hint of fruit and a classic maraschino cherry, from behind the glittered-flaked bar.  This describes what you can expect from an evening spent at Cuchi Cuchi.  Glamour, romance, and wonderful handcrafted cocktails that are their expertise. Whether you are looking for a place to take a date, a place to meet up with friends, or just a place to get a bite to eat, look no further.  While the ambiance is certainly romantic, groups will find this establishment equally comfortable with its intimate lighting, cozy surroundings, and perfectly portioned small plates excellent for inspiring conversation.  No matter what your reasons for visiting Cuchi Cuchi neither the staff nor the atmosphere will disappoint.

 

 

From vintage to groundbreaking their cocktails are absolutely divine.  All of their drinks are made to order with the utmost of care.  When I got a drink that called for crushed ice I was surprised when they actually crushed the ice by hand in a glass with a muddler.  My date enjoyed her French 75 champagne with gin, champagne, fresh lemon juice, and powdered sugar, while I went with an Old Fashioned made with Bulleit Bourbon, bitters, and a real maraschino cherry.  After we had our first round of classic cocktails, we decided to venture to the other side of their menu to sample their original creations.  We had a hard time stopping ourselves once we tried their original cocktails, we had quite a few, and even ended up going back a second night for more.  The ones we tried included, but were not limited to the delicious and refreshing “Beet of My Heart” with Zubrowka organic vodka, ginger brandy, ginger-beet syrup, ginger beer, and lemon. The combination of the ginger and the beet flavors made the drink light and easy to drink without feeling like you were drinking just beet juice or just alcohol. 

 

 

Next was the “Gin Before Breakfast” a mix of muddled kiwi, powdered sugar, gin, elderflower liqueur and lemon juice, with a champagne float. This combination was easily just the right amount of sweetness from the elderflower and sugar offsetting the tartness of the lemon and the dryness of the champagne.  The “Gin Before Breakfast” is perfectly suited to any point during the day, but you wont be able to get it at Cuchi Cuchi until they open at 5:30pm. “Salome’s Potion” was another evening favorite with muddled blackberries, basil and Hendricks gin. This straightforward and simple drink is perfect the way it is. Balanced to perfection, you get all of the flavors melding together in harmony, but as smooth as they taste, they are pretty much pure gin and will catch you quite off guard if you have too many.  Finally we have the French Tickler, St. Germain, Bombay, Lillet, lemon, and a cava float. Listed on a tab stuck in the corner, this drink was barely on the menu but it is anything but an afterthought. A fairly new recipe created by one of their expert mixologists, it was quite divine. The St. Germain and Lillet, give this drink a great herbal quality with a unique flavor that is difficult to describe, but not to be missed.  Honestly all of the drinks we sampled were wonderful and if you cannot find something on the menu that suits your tastes, the bar staff will happily make you whatever you want. I provided them with recipe for a new-to-them drink called the Yellow Parrrot, and they made it right away. Their cocktail list is impressive to say the least, with everything from sweet and spicy to pure classics. Generally, I think anyone would be hard pressed not to find at least one drink that sounds irresistible.

Since we were sampling all of these drinks, we definitely needed something to go with them. Naturally, the food at Cuchi Cuchi is just as tempting as their cocktails.  Their small-plate specialties, inspired by flavors from around the world, are perfect for sharing.  After tasting only two of their menu items, we immediately decided that we would be returning before the end of our trip. We particularly enjoyed the savory cornets with tuna tartar and avocado mousse. These petite cones with lightly seasoned fresh tuna and avocado had just the right amount of flavor but allowed the fish to remain the main attraction.  Next up we had the Russian inspired Bliny, a thin pancake filled with mushrooms accompanied by sour cream and salmon caviar.  These were hearty without being heavy and filling enough to leave you satisfied but craving the taste. The refreshing sour cream and the slight crunch of the caviar made the dish come alive.  The Duck a l’Orange Crepes of France paired roasted duck with a fennel and citrus vingarette.  Cooked perfectly and accented well by the dressing, these fresh warm crepes were part of yet another flawless dish. The Fried Artichoke Hearts of Italy, filled with gorgonzola, pistachios, and basil with a lemon, wine, and black olive sauce followed suit.  Honestly, I cannot think of any way to stuff something with cheese, deep fry it, and have it be anything but delicious, but these were exceptional. The gorgonzola made for a rich compliment to the light flavor of the artichoke.   Also we had the Brie en Croute with brie, bacon, onion and garlic jam wrapped in puff pastry served with honeyed walnuts and green apple.  I love brie, and bacon, so really there was no way I could resist ordering this dish. It was rich, but perfectly proportioned; I would have eaten this all night long if I had been allowed.  Finally, we had the Bracioletta Ripiena di Maiale of Italy, grilled pork rolls filled with Pecorino Romano cheese, sauteed garlic, and arugula wrapped in pancetta.  While I will admit these were the most difficult to eat, they were worth it, the cheese and garlic gave the dish a savory quality that was perfectly paired with the slight bitterness of the arugula. The pancetta added a perfect level of saltiness to the overall flavor.  Even if the drinks were average (which was not at all the case!), the food would make Cuchi Cuchi worth a visit.

Whenever I am in Boston, Cuchi Cuchi will be on my list of places to visit even if I only have time for one drink. Although it is highly likely that one will most always turn into two accompanied by just one small plate which will probably be followed by many more.  The ambiance is welcoming and simultaneously private, making for a comfortable place to take that someone special or a group of your best friends.  The drinks and food will make you fall in love with the menu while the staff makes you feel at home. That is, if your home was constantly decked out in old Hollywood glamour.

795 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 864-2929(617) 864-2929

Mother's Day

We have fun food and cocktails for to make the day special for Mom.  We don't often do food but hey anything for Mom!  Just click on the pictures to see the recipes.  We bought scones, croissants, pretzel rolls and challah bread and made an applewood smoked bacon, sharp cheddar cheese and basil quiche.  We used some of the challah bread to make french toast topped with confectioners sugar and paired with surrey sausage.  We halved a Hawaiian papaya and filled it with fresh blackberries and cubed watermelon for fruit.  We used the Ginger Blush and Hawaiian Mimosa to set the stage!  The dessert was our own take on Tiramisu, a Tiramisu Martini.  Crazy good.  Enjoy and make Mom's day special.

 

Setting a beautiful table is part of the fun.  Flowers and pretty dishes make this a special occasion.

 

 

Makes 2 9" quiche:

1/2 Cups of half and half

6 eggs

1/2 lb of applewood smoked bacon, cooked drained and chopped

2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 large onion chopped and cooked in a little of the bacon fat until soft

2 stems of fresh basil chopped

2 store bought 9" deep dish pie shell

Salt and pepper to taste. 

Mix eggs, half and half and seasoning together.

In a deep dish pie shell crumple bacon, layer cheese and then onions

Put the basil on top

Fill each pie shell with the egg mixture

Cook at 375 for 45 - 50 minutes

 

 

Ginger Blush:

A very simple drink that uses ginger vodka, fresh strawberries a little lemonade and a blender with ice.  Great drink to start a wonderful afternoon!

 

 

 

 

The Tiramisu Martini is very amazing.  Who wouldn't like dessert in a glass!  This is one to try and then maybe try again.

 

 

 

 

The Hawaiian Mimosa is a tropical cocktail made with sparkling wine.  Malibu Rum, Pineapple Juice and Sparkling Wine and you're all done.

 

 

 

The Devil's Food Chocolate Martini is not only amazing but we topped it with a little editable gold.  That will let Mom know you'll be as good as gold, well at least for today.

 

 

 

Love this drink, Fun in the Sun!  Sweet and fun it hits all the flavor marks for a summer cocktail.  We love the Raw Vanilla Liqueur, not the Schnapps, by Dr. McGillicuddy.  It brings a great smoothness and rich flavor to the drink.  Did we say we love it!

 

 

Spa Martini: Even if you can't afford to send Mom to the spa you can make it seem like she has a spa like day.  So do the chores, feed the animals, bring her flowers and let her put her feet up with one of these cocktails in her hand and she'll be queen for the day.

 

 

 

The Hibiscus Margarita is a smooth slightly sweet margarita that starts off your party with a high class taste and unique point of view.  More on the mixology side it takes the basic margarita to a whole new level.

 

 

Fun to look at this Kiwi Spring Lemonade has citrus Vodka and Chartreuse for a herbal twist on the classic lemonade.  Not only does it make it more interesting but it keeps it from becoming too sweet!

 

 

 

French Toast:

Made with Challah Bread sliced thick dipped in a mixture of egg and half and half with a little salt.  Brown slowly on both sides in a skillet with real butter.  Sprinkle on some confectioners sugar and voile you're a chef!

 

 

Pages