Thursday, April 30, 2015

Taste Testing Trader Joe's Three Buck Chuck

Orlando got our first Trader Joe's last year. As a fan of many of their products, I was excited about the opening and braved the crowds to do some shopping. And do you know what I saw? People stocking up on bottles (and in many instances cases) of Charles Shaw Wine. Previously known as 2-buck chuck, the price had gone up a whole dollar per bottle. But people were ravenous, the 50% increase did nothing to slow the fervor.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

2012 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Hallberg Vineyard Dijon Clones and Clone 777

I could go on and on about Gary Farrell wines. I've never had a bottle disappoint - EVER. There is something about the intensity of flavor matched with exquisite balance that makes Gary Farrell one of my favorite producers.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Black Manhattan

Classic cocktails are classic for a reason. A well made Manhattan is a thing of beauty, balanced and complex, slightly sweet and boozy, and perfectly highlighting your whiskey of choice. Like most things though, variety is the spice of life and always has me interested in trying something new.

Recently, I've been playing with Amari.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


What a breakfast! Fried eggs and a buttermilk biscuit,  topped with fried chicken and gravy.

The Orlando food scene is growing steadily. When I first moved to the area more than a decade ago, most of my favorite places to eat (The Ravenous Pig, Prato, Cask & Larder, East End Market, Kabooki Sushi and so many more) weren't even in existence. My choices were mainly to eat at home or a chain restaurant. That is, until I found Dexters.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Bee's Knees Cocktail

My love of cocktails comes from the same place as my love of cooking. I find the idea of taking ingredients and creating something special, something personalized, to be fun, exciting, and extremely rewarding.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Easy Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

Mixed greens, pears, blue cheese dressing and candied pecan crumbles.
I don't know why, but until recently I never ate blue cheese salad dressing. Vinaigrettes, Caesar, Ranch were all common options for me, but I never ordered blue cheese. Odder still because I love blue cheese in general, would use it in a loads of salads and top with vinaigrettes, but never ate or made creamy blue cheese dressing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Australian Shiraz: 2011 Footbolt and 2010 Elderton

A little less than a year ago, I joined a wine tasting group. We get together every couple of weeks and blind taste, building our palates and our knowledge base. Blind tasting and drinking wine for pleasure are very different things, but the process of going through a wine systematically and categorizing its fruit, structure, body, acidity, tannins and more has increased my pleasure when drinking more than I can say. So when I am drinking for fun, I enjoy drinking two bottles side-by-side to help me build those sense memories. Tonight I wanted to focus on Shiraz, Australian Shiraz.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chocolate Bouchons

Playing in the kitchen today.

I was craving chocolate and thought it would be fun to make Chocolate Bouchons. The recipe doesn't look hard and I've been planning on trying it for a while, but as I scoured my pantry for ingredients, I spied some almond flour left over from macaron making as well as coffee liqueur from last summer's obsession with mocha ice cream. Now, I usually don't play with recipes until I've made them as written, but I couldn't help myself. I broke the rules and what I came up with turned out so delicious, I might never make the Chocolate Bouchon recipe from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook I've been holding onto for the past few years.

Ivan Ramen

It's no surprise that I love ramen. So when I heard that Ivan Orkin was setting up shop in New York City, I was eager to try his food.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bits 'O Brickle Cookies

I wish I could claim this recipe was mine. To be honest, I'm not even particularly fond of these cookies, but they are my husband's absolute favorite. So when he asks really nicely, or it's his birthday, or I just want to do something nice for him, this is what I bake. Technically, Hershey's calls them Brickle Drop Cookies, and even publishes the recipe on the back of the Heath Bits 'O Brickle bag, but my hubby asks for Bits 'O Brickle, so that's what we call them at our house.