Posts Tagged ‘Cocktail’

I’ve been actively watching what I eat. And by that I mean I eat whatever I want but track each morsel, with laser-like focus, as it makes its journey to my mouth.

I know what you’re thinking: “It’s not Food’s journey. Food isn’t trying to get into your mouth!” Really? Are you sure about that? Think about it this way: If Food doesn’t have a mind and influence of its own, they why can’t I stop eating the tasty bites?

My relationship with Food is by far the most complicated in my life. (That’s a bold statement for someone like me who’s made many questionable dating choices.)

Food is celebration, sorrow, entertainment, quality time and nourishment but it’s rarely just fuel. I get the concept of “calories in” and “calories out” and the impact of that delta on my waistline. I still find it’s easier to get the calories in. So this time of year, after the high of the holidays and as we slog through the last slow, grinding, snow-filled days of winter, my meager attempts at mindfulness are taxed to the max. That’s a problem.

About 2 years ago I lost weight and thankfully I haven’t found it again, though those pounds stalk me.

I didn’t have a weight loss plan. When my doctor asked how I lost the weight, I told her I was on the “close my mouth” diet – Food can’t jump in if you don’t give it an opening. I ate what I wanted. I just ate less and less often.

The cornerstone of my weight-loss plan was (and still is) my diet donut. Every morning, I have one old-fashioned donut. And here is where the mysterious and mythical power of Food peeks out from behind the curtain.

The diet donut isn’t about portion control. Food has always been a little standoffish with me in the mornings and I don’t pig out at breakfast. It isn’t a health choice. After all, donuts are fried and to the best of my knowledge, a kale, beet, chia seed flavor donut is yet to be invented. The diet donut is a bit funny and a bit of comfort. I remember going to an old-time cider mill as a kid and getting crisp and hot, real-deal donuts. My diet donut is not one of these. It is not the stuff of memories.

I think my daily, diet donut is all part of Food’s master plan. It’s just tasty enough to call me back again and again and just bad enough to prime me for even more deliciously bad things. Like last Sunday at brunch when I thought it was a good idea to have a margarita with my cinnamon strudel cake at Sonny’s (Portland, ME).

You should go to Sonny’s if you’re ever in Portland. The brunch was awesome (even the parts with protein and no tequila) and they take their drinks seriously. When you go, you should take me. Let’s do it before I give up donuts and pry loose Food’s grip on me.

I will quit them one day – donuts, that is. It is my intention to break up with them and keep up the diet. I’m just not ready. I’m not ready to take Food on and break its mysterious hold on me … maybe after one more great meal…?

Disclosure: I wrote a draft of this post back in January after an amazing dinner with margagogo correspondents at Meadowsweet (Brooklyn, NY). The Down East Bureau Chief, the Head of Borough Research and margagogo’s Medical Director all gathered for one of the best strategy sessions ever. The food and drink at Meadowsweet was so good, I’d go back there as fast as the subway will take me. After dinner, we moved the meeting over to Baby’s All Right. It was NOT all right (Ok, you probably saw coming and it was double cheap because I stole it from a Yelp review.) But the waitress promised us a pitcher of margaritas with “like 7,000” limes.

7,000 of anything plays perfectly into my notion of excess so even though there was live music in the back and different music blasting in the front and even though our pitcher of margs was “like” 6,995 limes short of the promise, the evening was great.

So tonight I will go home and have soup and an apple for dinner as a token step toward freedom from tasty treats. But as I slurp soup, I’ll be thinking of friends and margaritas and dinners and cake and all the great things I can do with 7,000 limes – like maybe make a donut.

Baby's All Right

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Another plug for eating and drinking … out.

Restaurants and bars, the small businesses that are our neighbors and make up our neighborhoods, struggle quietly to regain their footing.  And if the establishment struggles, so does the wait staff, kitchen staff, bartenders and hosts.  So if you’re able, please go out – eat, drink and be merry. With Thanksgiving around the corner, it might be a good idea to put some eating time in so your stomach is properly expanded for the big day.  Think of it as training.
You can also think of it as charity since some of the restaurants around the city and in effected areas are donating a portion of their profits to hurricane relief funds.  Neighbors helping neighbors.  It takes a village – so thank goodness NYC has a village or two.

Go to Empellon.  I’ve written a post on Empellon before (check it out) and I’m a fan.  Now I’m an even bigger fan since they’ve mixed up a special margarita, the FU Sandy and through November 15, are donating $2 from each ordered to the Red Cross.  So please run there.  Order the FU Sandy and treat yourself to the Fish Tempura, Cabbage and Lime Mayo taco.  You won’t be sorry.

Go to Entwine. Entwine was “pummelled” by the storm and they’re back in action –  food, drinks every night and great music Wednesdays.  And all month-long you can try a Cocktail for the Cause! Enjoy a lovingly mixed drink and Entwine will give $2 to relief efforts. And, they’re having a number of fundraisers throughout the month so check out their blog here for details.

Buy Robicelli’s products.  The owners make cupcakes and other sweet treats and have been actively involved in relief efforts by organizing volunteers and getting good food (and not just baked pasta) out to effected areas. They’re  nourishing body and soul of relief workers and dazed residents in some of the hardest hit areas. They are doing amazing work.  So if you have a sweet tooth, check out locations where you can buy their amazing treats.  You can also give supplies, or if you’re a chef your time, to their effort.  Check out details here.

There are of course many other places doing great things to help in the recovery and fill our stomachs.  Check out Eater or Grub Street for more restaurant info as it comes up or just check in on your local to see what’s up.
Remember, SoPo (South of Power for those not in the NYC neighborhood know) is all lit up and open for business.

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English: Ice cubes

Ice cubes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does ice have in common with women’s shoes, you ask?

Amazing! That’s been on your mind too?

In their basic form, both serve a purpose and serve it well. Shoes make feet happier; ice cubes make drinks colder. Perfect.

But both stray to the extreme.  Sure a pair of platform, sling-back, strappy, open toe, 5-inch heels make legs look awesome.  But those shoes aren’t made for walking and the only way my feet are happy in that style is if propped up in admirable repose.  Yet these shoes are on feet everywhere.

Designer ice is everywhere too.

The first time I saw perfectly cubed ice, I thought it was unique to that bar – their special cocktail accent for their cool designer drink.  But the cubes fell like dominos and bar after bar clinked artistic ice into their drinks.

I bumped into the height of ice, for both the cube and artifice, at H2 in Healdsburg, CA. They served my margarita with a single cube frozen to fit, cube edges scraping the inside curve of the glass. This was not a cube casually thrown. It was placed. No scooping. A precision maneuver involving tongs and a steady hand was necessary.

The cube rose above the rim making a normal sipping stance impossible. Could it have been a test of mouth agility or maybe sobriety? I put the glass to my lips but couldn’t get a lock on it. Acrobatics were required; lower lip on the glass outer edge, upper lip planted on the giant cube, mouth agape. The cube was too big to shift and make a margarita tidal wave, but it could spin. I was afraid to tilt the glass should cube twirl and squirt the margarita like a sprinkler from one of the four gullies where the liquid collected along the giant cube’s sides. H2 must have hoped I’d be so impressed with presentation that I’d want to keep it and not drink.

Fedora in NYC, served a margarita with three or four outsized cubes stacked in the glass so that the top cube stood over the glass by half. When I tried to sip, the cube fell into the tip of my nose.  Unless you’re a seal, it’s hard to look sophisticated with an ice-cube leaning against your nose while you drink.

The same thing happened at Nobu (NYC). And what do these places have in common besides ice aesthetic? They don’t believe cocktail straws. This conundrum gave the Nobu bartender a chance to shine. He took out a pocket knife and cut a tall straw in half.

I’m left thinking artistic ice is the frozen equivalent of high heels – It looks great, it’s a statement, it’s memorable. And I know there’s more than looks behind it. Someone can probably explain how ice surface area, melt point and glass size work together to cool a drink while avoiding dilution. (And if anyone does know that, feel free to weigh in!)

But I’m pretty sure that if I have to hold an ice-cube in the glass with my nose while I drink, that ice wasn’t made for drink sipping.

Wow. Sharing really lifts a burden, doesn’t it? I think I might go shoe shopping and grab a drink.


Coming Soon: Guacamole and Margagogo’s new look.

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