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Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Bloggess Homage Dinner

This week we got our first ever “Featured Spot” and we are super excited.  We are now featured on The Bloggess.  (She rocks and everybody should be reading her blog.)

Anyway, in the place where all featured blogs appear, it reads “I fucking love these people & not just because they support my wine-slushee habit.” So what better way to commemorate the occasion than by stepping a little out of our normal format and forgo the reviews for a week?

Yes, you guessed it, you clever monkeys … we drank wine slushees.  They’re kind of like margaritas, only less gross, no salt, and they make you drunk.  (Wait … )

As an homage to one of the internet’s most prolific, funniest, and inspiring bloggers, we got smashed on what would sell millions if 7-11 would stop being such pussies and start selling booze to minors.  I mean, come on, Big Alcohol: the tobacco industry does it all the time!  God … watch an episode of “Mad Men” or something …

Plus … they are super easy to make.

Pour a bottle of red or white wine in a blender.  (We recommend that you use a sweet wine, like Pinot Grigio, Grenache, or a Rosé.)
Fill with ice to the.
Blend until blended.
Pour into a wine glass.
Top with Sprite, 7Up, or soda water, to taste.
Get drunk.

Megan and I giggled a lot Sunday.  There was a lot of “My god, I just found my summer drink,” and “I’ll tell you when I’ve had enough,” and “I know, RIGHT??” going on.  Megan tried to pick a fight with a miniature dachshund puppy, but we talked her down when we saw the puppy was packin’ heat.  (Funny end to this story: the puppy and Megan ended up closing out the night playing cards and singing show tunes.  We thought about asking them to keep it down because the baby was sleeping, but they were having such a good time, we just let them wear themselves out.)

We were all a little rundown this week.  There has been a terrible cold going around, and so we didn’t want to spend a tonne of time in the kitchen this week either.  So I made stew.  And salad.  It rocked.

On the Menu: Spring Salad with Mustard Olive Oil Dressing, Farmhouse Beef Stew, Store Bought Apple Pie with Store Bought Ice Cream

(Yeah, that’s right: Store.  Bought.  Bring it.)

Making stew kind of hit me when I was shopping with Caia and she desperately wanted out of the buggy but she was too crazy for that.  As a joke on Daddy, she tried to run in front of a truck earlier in the day.  I know: hilarious.  So I thought: what is the easiest dish that I could make that would still allow me to deal with Princess Crazypants.

Stew.

This is a slow-cooked version of stew.  Also, I used way more beef than is generally called for, and I used a bottle of beer, which none of the recipes I’ve seen call for.

Listen: if you are not using beer on your beef, you’re a damn fool.  It works.  I don’t know the chemistry behind it, it just does.  Stop judging me.

My recipe takes about four to five hours to make, so it is perfect for days when you want to make an awesome dinner and read Dr. Seuss books over, and over, and over again to a hyper two-year-old.

The salad was an easy one.  You make the dressing first, in the bowl, dump your veggies in on top, and toss.

The store bought apple pie came about because Megan had a baking disaster earlier in the day.  I’ve always said baking is hard.  So finicky.  She impresses me every time she pulls something out of the oven and it doesn’t look like an abomination brought forth from Satan’s anus.  This week she tried a little improvisation.

Satan, one; The Sunday Bottles, zero.

We’d like to thank Jenny (The Bloggess) for featuring our little blog.  Also, we’d like to thank Jenny’s Fairy Godmother, Mary, for helping us make this happen, too.  In our correspondence with her, we came to realise that the moniker “Fairy Godmother” was earned.

We exchanged a tonne of emails and at one point, she was trying to think of the exact fairy character that she most resembles.  She couldn’t think of it, so I dubbed her, “Drinkerbell.”

Thanks, Jenny!

Thanks, Drinkerbell.

Cheers!

 

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day … Sort of …

Okay, gang, I have the flu, so don’t expect Pulitzer-worthy material from me today.

Here’s the rundown: St. Patrick’s Day came and went with a whinny and a whimper.  Rene came over in the afternoon to hang out, I bought the last four Guinness in Playa del Carmen, we drank none of the Jameson’s that I bought (well … I did after he went home …), we called it a night at about seven in the evening.

Yes, I know, my Irish ancestors are calling me a pussy from their graves, but what can you do?

The next day, I ignored the tell-tale flu-like symptoms that were wracking my body.  I went to the grocery store, bought some supplies for the night, and hightailed it home.  I skipped my Sunday haircut, since my favourite stylist moved back to Guadalajara and I don’t trust people with scissors easily.

So far so crap, right?

Megan and I had decided to make a St. Patrick’s Day-themed dinner.  So, not necessarily lamb stew and soda bread, but something along those lines.  (Okay, nothing along those lines, but those ingredients are really hard to find down here, so bite me.  I’m sorry guys, I’m just grumpy.  Friends?  Nice.)

I bought cake mix and food colouring.  My idea was to make a green cake that Megan would supply with green icing.  I got home, made the batter, put it in the oven … Taking into account all of the failed attempts I’ve made at baking, I was really happy with myself.  So far, no problems.  I even improvised a bit and added Jameson’s to the batter to give it a more Irish taste.

What’s that, you ask?  How did it turn out?  Actually, really well.  Except that I forgot the food colouring.  Oh well.  Next year.

On the Menu: Angel Hair Pasta with Veggies and Pesto, Angel Hair Pasta with Grilled Chicken and Jameson’s Butter Reduction, Fried Green Tomatoes, Artisanal Bread, Jameson’s Irish Vanilla Cake with Bailey’s Icing

Yep.  Bailey’s Icing.  Jameson’s in the cake, Bailey’s in the icing.  (I’m pretty sure that’s an actual Irish drinking song.)

The chicken with the Jameson’s Butter Reduction was for Rene.  He doesn’t care for pesto, or vegetables, so we made a dish especially for him.  He loved it.  We were chuffed.

Did we overdo it on the Jameson’s this week?  Well, we didn’t drink any, so I don’t think so.  Also, what did your St. Patrick’s Day look like, Judgy Judgerson?

(Skip ahead … skip ahead … skip ahead …)

So the cake … it turned out looking like a giant doughnut, since we shaved chocolate on the top and ate it and it was awesome and you could totally taste the Jameson’s and my baking didn’t ruin Christmas!

Plus, the wine we picked was perfect for this meal.

Wine: Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Pinot Grigio, California, $77 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

This is one of the easiest wines you will ever have the pleasure of drinking.  Perfect for warm summer nights, pasta, chicken, or even Mexican dishes.  The lightness and subtle acidity goes really nicely with spicier foods.

Green apples and hints of peaches leave your palette feeling refreshed.  Not too sweet, but definitely not dry, this wine would make and absolutely smashing spritzer.  Or white wine slushy.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got.  Me head is pounding and I canna feel me hands!

Until next week,

Cheers!

Chilli Con Carne? What Are Ya’, Chicken?

After what seems like a fortnight, I got back in the kitchen this week and it felt so right.  For those of who you have missed the action, I fell off a scooter a few weeks ago and it fell on top of me and then I had an owie in my thorax.  Well, in my thoraxal area.

I wanted something that would be like comfort food, but not too unhealthy, since it has been two weeks since I’ve been able to hit the gym.  (That’s right: when I go to the gym, I hit it!  Booyah!)

None of that worked out, of course, since I got an idea to make chilli in bread bowls and then realised that eating healthy is something I do every day that isn’t Sunday.  So I compromised and substituted chicken for beef.

On the Menu: Chilli Con Pollo In Sourdough Bowls, Three Fruit Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

The secret to a good chilli, as any chilli cook will tell you, is the secret ingredients.

Just what the doctor ordered, I could feel all my injuries healing like Wolverine after a fight with Sabretooth.  (Oh yeah: I went there.  What?  I’m Canadian – it’s valid.)

And everybody else seemed to enjoy it as well.  There were a lot of silent moments around the table.  Long, contemplative moments, until Cara started talking about circuses and animal cruelty, and the moment was shattered like so much carnivore guilt.

Whatever … it was delicious while it lasted.

The dessert was incredible, as usual, and we were all so full by the end of it, we could hardly finish seconds.

Thank god we didn’t overdo it on the wine …

Wine: Santa Ana, Torrontés, Argentina, 2011, $73 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

Super light and citrusy, this white is refreshing and easy to drink.  If you like a wine with a lot of stuff going on, this might be a good contender.  Grapefruit, limes, oranges, peaches, and apples dance around your mouth like so many monkeys, trained to do so by their human masters.

(Dammit, Cara!)

This bottle was mostly consumed before dinner, along with a couple of Guinness I found at Chedraui, so it wasn’t long before we were decanting the red selection of the night.

Wine: Quattrocchi, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2009, $178 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

Four eyes?  Shut up your face!

Everyone liked this wine.  Chocolaty and beautiful aroma, with, as Susan put it, “nice curtains,” which means the same thing as legs.  Strawberries and lilacs play on the nose, while cranberries roar across your tongue, like the lions are spurned to do by their tamer under the big top.

Big thanks to all of you who sent us your words of congratulations and encouragement this week.  We really appreciate hearing from you.  We love you guys!

Until next week, may all your days be filled with creepy calliope music.

Cheers!

Happy Wine-iversary!! It’s Been A Good Year

Greetings and welcome!  And Happy Wine-iversary to us!  A year ago, we began our journey of drinkery and we’ve relished every minute.  Except for the times that we hated.  Those sucked.

To help us celebrate, Rene and Cara teamed up, as siblings so often do (ppfffbbt!), and made a dinner to commemorate the occasion.  We were supremely grateful and well-fed by the end of it all.

One the Menu: Pan-Fried Green Beans, Asparagus in a Red Wine Reduction, Pan Fries, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Avocado Pie

That’s right: Avocado Pie, y’all.  It’s a recipe that Cara stumbled onto years ago, and we’ve begged her to make it ever since on a near monthly basis.  She breaks it out for special occasions.  This one made the cut.

Rene handled the dinner part.  The chicken was awesome.  I’m always impressed when someone can put together a layered anything, bread it, pop it in the oven, and it comes out looking and tasting perfect.  Mine never do that.  They usually look like a Dali painting when I’m done with them.  Sometimes they also taste like one.

Not having to do any of the cooking, this gave Megan and I plenty of time to reminisce about the past year and to plan for the next one.  We’re thinking “Cook Book.”  A book filled with recipes from the hits and misses of the year before.  You know, for posterity.  You know, a cook book. (Idiot …)

We also filled an entire notebook of tasting notes.  In total we made  57 posts, and we’ve been visited over 6,000 times.  We’ve had reservations made at restaurants we’ve mentioned by people going on vacation who’ve read our blog and thought they’d like to try what we wrote about.  We’ve been referenced by other sites, we’ve been re-posted on other blogs, and we won our first blog award.

In short, it’s been a good year.

(Get it?  A good year?  Like wine?  A good … never mind.)

This week, we thought about buying something really outstanding to review, but that just didn’t seem us.  Instead, we did what we always do: bought wines based on pretty labels and clever branding.

Wine: RE, Merlot, Curicó Valley, Chile, 2011, $76.55 MXN
Rating: One Bottle

Green would be the best way to describe this wine.  Fresh.  So fresh, so young … so bad.

Megan and Cara did not mind this wine.  In fact, they like it’s freshness.  All I could pick up on was the cough medicine aftertaste.

I will say that it improved with some time out of the bottle, but not by much.  Enough, however, to allow it to pass our rigorous approval method – did we finish the bottle?  Yes.

We moved on.  If this past year has taught us nothing else, it’s to roll with the punches … of shitty wine in our face.

I wanted to finish our year with a wine from our host country.  We’ve had some success with Monte Xanic in the past, so …

Wine: Monte Xanic, Calixa, Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah, Mexico, 2009, $199 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

Velvety bouquet with a pungent nose.  Hints of caramel and butter toffee.  Ripe fruits dominate the palate – plums, figs, dates, black cherries.  Very smooth and inky.  This wine, we liked much more.  Really, our kind of wine.  A slightly mature palette and more complex than the previous wine of the evening.

We like a wine that gives us something to talk about or evokes a feeling or a memory.  If a wine can actually be a bottle of nostalgia, that’s a keeper.  We like our wines like we like our people – we want them to be interesting.

Though it only got two bottles, this was a wine that kind of did it for us.  It wasn’t fantastic, but for the price, was very good.  Plus, with the misty, cool nights we’ve been having, it was just right.

So Happy Wine-iversary to us!  We’d like to thank our family for putting up with our grumpiness around dinner time.

We’d also like to thank everyone who has followed us this year.  Though we’ve never met many of you, you’re part of what we do, because, ultimately, it’s you we do this for.

Which is weird, if you think about it.

(Let’s not.)

Cheers!

 

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