Thursday, January 16, 2014

Best Freebie Ever

Every year I get a Christmas freebie from Maker's Mark. I guess I signed up for something from them once and it's the freebie that just keeps coming. They have some cute stuff--wrapping paper, personalized labels for bottles, and clothing for your bottles! This year it was a hat. A couple of years ago, they sent out a little Christmas sweater to put on your bottle. It just happens to fit a kitten. Check out Fleetwood in his "ugly Christmas sweater" glory:
That one was taken at Halloween right after we got him. It was his costume on Halloween night. Of course, he had to wear it again at Christmas. It almost didn't fit:
That picture is taken right after he tried to walk. If you've ever tried to put clothing on a cat, you know what happens: they go boneless. Their legs just don't work. Thanks, Maker's Mark!

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Current Favorite Drink

I was craving this drink, googled it, and discovered that Westword's Cafe Society recently wrote about it. Coincidence? Probably not, since it seems to be the "thing" in Denver and probably else where right now.

The drink is an Aperol Spritz. I actually wrote about it here, when I had it the first time at The Squeaky Bean.

An aperol spritz contains the Italian apertif Aperol. Some of its ingredients include bitter orange and rhubarb. It definitely gives the drink a subtle bitter taste that I crave.

To make the spritz, you combine the Aperol with prosecco, soda water, and what I feel may be the most important ingredient: a Castelvetrano olive garnish (although most websites say to use an orange slice as a garnish). According to the Aperol website, the recipe is 2 parts Aperol, 3 parts Prosecco, a splash of soda, and ice. The olive is so delicious after soaking in the drink, it's like the piece of chocolate at the end of a drumstick cone.

So far The Squeaky Bean has done it best, with Boulder's Pizzeria Locale a close second. I had one at Luca D'Italia too and it was decent.

I've been drinking this, when I could get it, this winter but you bet I'm going to be making it at home as the weather warms up. It's funny, because in my original post about it, I said I probably wouldn't try it at home. Never say never. I have a feeling it's going to be my go-to drink this summer.


Thursday, November 4, 2010


Ugh. I have neglected this blog. I've eaten some pretty fantastic stuff lately, but have not felt inspired to record it here. I write this blog for myself, so that I can remember some of these great meals, and I'm going to regret this laziness. But sometimes you can't force things...or maybe you can, and I should.

Off the top of my head, where have I eaten that I should have blogged about? Very briefly, there was

  • Fruition for my birthday: simply fantastic.
  • Mizuna for our anniversary: just as good as Fruition, maybe even better. Plus we got the special treatment.
  • There was a simply awful experience at Black Pearl (although the food was good). Done with them.
  • There have been fun Justice League of Street Food parties.
  • A so-so meal at The Corner Office.
  • Fantastic service and fun times at Cafe Brazil. Plus free tapas at Happy Hour! Book your reservation early. We did tapas and then a meal.
  • Awful service and blah food at The Lobby.
  • Possibly the best service of all at SmashBurger in Wheat Ridge, of all places.
  • Many great meals at Udi's Pizza Cafe Bar in Arvada. We like it because it's close, the kids like it, and we like the food and the cocktails/wine. So hard to find that combo.
  • I've reported on it before, but yesterday I treated myself to the chicken pho at Pho 95. Went all by myself and perhaps enjoyed the meal best that way, because I could really focus on the food. So good for a Fall day.
  • A wonderful warm, cozy, and incredibly tasty meal at Venue Bistro.
  • Great bar food and whiskey at Rackhouse Pub.
  • Culinary adventures in Columbus (!?!) and Vegas.
  • Romantic tapas and Spanish wine at 9th Door.

Tonight is girls' night out at TAG. Will it inspire me to jump back on the blogging bandwagon? If the above didn't, it'll be tough. But who knows...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chef Roy Yamaguchi Answers My Question About Hawaiian Cuisine

Check out this article by Gorging Global and The Mouthful at Denver Magazine. I got a chance to ask Hawaiian Chef Roy Yamaguchi a question of my choosing. I asked the following:

Because Hawaii is relatively small and composed of islands, I imagine that much of its food is flown in from other places. Has the local food movement gained popularity there like it has in many other states? If so, has this changed the typical Hawaiian cuisine in any significant ways?

Thanks for giving me the opportunity, Denver Magazine!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Grilling with Whiskey-Ginger Marinade

When it's hot out (like it is right now), we usually grill. We probably grill close to 75% of our meals during the summer. One of our favorite marinades/sauces is this Whiskey Ginger marinade. The recipe in the link is specifically for chicken, but I would think you could use it on just about anything. We've used it on pork chops and it was great. We've served it to guests a few times and they all practically licked their plates.

You certainly don't have to use Stranahan's whiskey. In fact, you might want to save that one for sipping and use a lesser quality whiskey for cooking. It'll still be good. But since Stranahan's is a local obsession of mine, I wanted to post that picture.

Whiskey - Ginger Grill

4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (or equivalent amount of other meat)
1/3 cup bourbon
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.

Combine bourbon and next 9 ingredients (bourbon through garlic). Reserve 1/3 cup marinade. Pour remaining marinade into a zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.

Preheat grill to medium-hot using both burners.

Turn left burner off (leave right burner on). Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Place chicken on grill rack over right burner; grill 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Move chicken to grill rack over left burner. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until done. Slice each breast diagonally into thin strips; place chicken on a platter. Cover loosely with foil.

Combine water and cornstarch, stirring well with a whisk. Place reserved 1/3 cup marinade in a small saucepan; stir in cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil; cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Drizzle sauce over chicken; sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My New Favorite Zucchini Recipe

Photobucket Zucchini Latkes

The zucchini have started producing and it's going to be a bumper crop this year. Friends and family: you know they're comin' at ya! As always, I am on a never-ending search to use these fertile critters. I found a recipe for zucchini latkes that I'd clipped from who knows where, but didn't have most of the ingredients. Switched a ton of stuff out, made changes here and there, and voila! What turns out to be my favorite dish of the summer so far.

1 C shredded zucchini
1 large egg (2 if they're smaller, or batter seems dry), beaten slightly
~ 2 T minced shallots
3 T flour
1/2 C corn (I used frozen, but fresh would be better)
1/2 C bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

That's it! These were sweet and savory and all around delicous.

Just mix the ingredients. Coat your pan with olive oil and heat on medium. Form the latkes into patties about 1/2 inch thick and fry on both sides until golden brown, turning once.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Root Down Green Restaurant Tour

Not long ago a friend, L, and I attended the Green Route Restaurant Tour stop at Root Down. When we got there, we still weren't sure what to expect from the "tour." We thought there would be a tour of the kitchen (which is pretty laughable if you see the size of Root Down't kitchen--plus it's pretty open and you can see it when you walk by it to your table). It turned out to basically be free appetizers and drink specials. Woohoo!

Denver's Green Route, it turns out, is "a green map for the City of Denver, showcasing the cutting edge sustainable businesses and organizations that make Denver a global leader in sustainability." The "tour" was a series of evenings at green restaurants in Denver, featuring free apps and drink specials to encourage people to try a new green restaurant (or re-visit an old one). The tour is over for now, but the Green Route host told me there would be another one this summer, so watch their site for announcements. You do need to reserve a spot and have a pass. Definitely worth attending.

I love the retro decorations of the restaurant. It's in an old garage with doors that can be pulled up when the weather is nice. They have this wall of rotary phones in the bar area (photo courtesy here). They have a similar wall of retro scales in the ladies room, which I took a picture of, but can't seem to find now. Check out this slide show at Metromix for some good pictures of the decor and food.

Green Route served us a number of appetizers including sweet potato fries with a toasted curry-lime yogurt dipping sauce, smoked portobello wontons with leeks, shallots, mascarpone & soy-mint "dunk," and sweet potato samosa "spring rolls," my favorite. Some people were lucky enough to get oyster sliders (but sadly not me). We really liked all of the appetizers. L and I drank “42 Below” rosemary-lavender lemonades, which were refreshing and delicious.

We also had dinner reservations. Our server was super nice and wearing some great jewelry. I commented on one of her rings and it turns out they're her own designs. She takes old vinyl records and other materials and melts them down to make really cool designs. She doesn't have a website yet, but she does sell her items at Eve, Inc. boutique on Larimer. I'm pretty certain the black rings and cuffs here are hers. Just go there and ask for Junky Funk Designs jewelry.

Anyways, back to the food. We shared a nice cheese plate and seared diver scallops with plantain hash, lemon-habanero tartar Sauce & crispy leeks. The scallops were a bit underdone for my taste and the accompaniments were super salty. We each had a different slider plate. I had the hoisin duck confit slider with lemon creme fraiche, shoestring sweet potatoes, and arugula, served on an Udis challah bun. This dish was WAY too sweet for my taste (a common problem with duck dishes, I've found), and L had buffalo sliders with Mongolian BBQ, shitake mushroom relish, and arugula, also served on an Udi’s challah bun with burdock root chips, which she enjoyed.

While I didn't love all the dishes, I still had a great time and would definitely go back--especially for appetizers and cocktails.