Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New episode online!

This week's episode is now online and can be found here!  Many folks live in areas where they're deprived of a true fall and all its glory.  Our tips will show you how to create the flavors and colors of fall at home!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Curry in a Sort-Of Hurry

I'm on an Indian food kick.  I made Chicken Tikka Masala last night, which came out really well and put me in the mood to try making a vindaloo.  We love hot and spicy food and I've always heard that vindaloo is "burn your face off" hot, but the time I tried it in a restaurant I wasn't even fazed.  Am I immune to the spice or did I just get a tame batch?  We'll find out tonight when I try a recipe I found online.

While putting together my shopping list I found I was almost out of curry powder.  I remembered the story of my mother-in-law's Pakistani friend who chastised her for buying curry powder, since making your own is not difficult.  I found a recipe and decided to give it a try.  It involved toasting and grinding some spices, but was indeed easy and I now have a TON of curry powder.  And the kitchen smells nice!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chicken Soup for the Sick Hubby

Paul is home sick today with a nasty cold, so I'm making a big pot of chicken soup, featuring lots of veggies, a ton of garlic, herbs from the garden and two full beers.  It will both heal him and knock him out!

I really don't want this cold, so I'm scrubbing surfaces and washing my hands like crazy, drinking lots of broth and tea and hoping for the best.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rice Krispie Treat Drink Garnish

What's better than Rice Krispie treats?  Why pairing them with booze, of course!  Here's how to make them highball ready:

Rice Krispie Treat Drink Garnishes

2 1/2 TBSP butter
2 cups marshmallows
3 cups Rice Krispies
Decorative sprinkles or sugar if desired

All you do is melt butter in a saucepan, then add marshmallows and melt over low heat.  When melted, stir in cereal and coat completely.  When cereal has cooled (just a few minutes - be careful not to let it harden), form into balls over the ends of bamboo skewers.  Sprinkle with edible decor if you wish.  When firm, add to your drink!  For extra decorative power, slide skewer into a decorative straw!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gracious Hospitality

From Today's Woman Cook Book, 1953: "A plate of cookies and a glass of wine is always a gracious way to offer your hospitality."  It remains true to this day!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Road Rage Episode Online

This week's episode, wherein we tackle the sensitive issue of road rage, is now online!  Watch it here!   And please tell your friends!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cross Country Road Trip: The Rest

Day 8:

After Tiki Oasis we hightailed it to Las Vegas to shoot an episode (already online here) at Frankie's Tiki Room!  We'd never been there before, but had only heard great things, so we were very excited.  However, I was also anxious about the drive, since the northbound traffic on I-15 had been pretty much stopped a few days before, when we were headed to San Diego.  I was afraid our supposedly five hour drive would take about 24!  Happily, I guess Mondays the traffic heads in the opposite direction, because it was smooth sailing for us the entire way.  We got to Las Vegas in plenty of time for our pre-arranged shoot and were not disappointed.  Frankie's is fabulous!

The staff was wonderful to us, owner Chris made two cocktails on camera, and we managed to try eight of their cocktails, between the ones we ordered and the ones our friends ordered when we went back with them later that night.  We also fit in dinner at the Peppermill, one of our favorite Las Vegas spots.  We stayed at the Golden Nugget, home of the World's Largest Gold Nugget and this ATM, which dispenses gold bars (no, I didn't get one!).  I love Las Vegas.  I want to go back when we have more time to spend!

Days 9 & 10:

Day nine was mostly driving, driving, driving, but we did manage to find a great little Mexican restaurant in Mesquite called Los Lupes, where we had lunch.  We drove on through a little of Arizona, a lot of Utah, which turned out to be really cool - rugged grandeur, to borrow a phrase from Mr. Belvedere - and part of Colorado, ending our evening in Silt, where we did some desperately needed laundry.

Day ten took us through the Rocky Mountains, which was as gorgeous as Utah, but VERY high (over 11,000 feet at one point according to signs).  Our poor four cylinder car was practically gasping as we pulled into Denver.  Paul had located a lunch stop called Steuben's through Google, so we headed there.  It turned out to be another great lunch!  They've only been there since 2006, but their retro, mid-century style was right up our alley and the locals obviously agree, because it was packed!  

Highlights after Steuben's included a rock hitting our windshield, which resulted in a pockmark, but, thank heavens, not a fracture.  We also got these two annoying flies in the car that vexed us for about 200 miles.  And we drove pretty much the length of Nebraska, which, luckily for our car, is very flat! We ended the night in Gretna.

Day 11:

Day eleven was one of those marathon days you reflect upon later and aren't sure how you managed to get through it all.  We were scheduled to be in the Chicago suburbs about 4:00, to begin shooting our episode at Hala Kahiki (click here to watch!), but it quickly became obvious that we were going to need to push that back.  Happily, the owner, James, was incredibly accommodating, as were our friends who'd paved the way for us to also shoot at nearby Chef Shangri-la.  We were incredibly lucky to have such great people on our schedule that day. 

We stopped for lunch in Des Moines, at a place I'd wanted to hit ever since I'd seen it on a food show, Fong's Pizza.  It was originally a Chinese restaurant, but the people who bought it wanted to serve pizza, so now they feature Chinese food ON pizzas!  We got the Crab Rangoon Pizza AND I got their signature mug!  Des Moines seems like a very hip little city.

We got to Hala Kahiki about 6:00 and were greeted by a very nice hostess and bartender, who took care of us while we were preparing to shoot.  I wished we had more time there, but we were also expected at Chef Shangri-la, which has really upped their tiki game since we were there about two years ago.  I want to go back to Chicago and spend more time at both places, because they're great!

Hala Kahiki:

Even though it was after 9:00 at this point and we still had shooting to do at Chef Shangri-la, we REALLY wanted to hit Three Dots and a Dash, the new craft/tiki bar in Chicago that we'd heard amazing things about.  Being from New York, we figured we'd just take the L, since we take the subway all the time.  Our friends Dave and Coalbe didn't think that was such a great idea at that time of night, but offered to take us there.  We were thrilled!  We hadn't checked in yet at our hotel, so we all drove to the hotel and Paul and I jumped in their car after we'd parked ours.  By this time it was well after 10:00 and raining,  Have I mentioned how thrilled I was to have a sherpa to guide us?  We got there 11:00ish and it was very crowded.  I hadn't realized it was a velvet rope type of place, but we were all decked out very festively, in our aloha wear, and the hostess escorted us to a great table!  It was a great night!  By the time our Dave and Coalbe dropped us back at our hotel we were so tired we crashed immediately.

Day 12:

We were a little slow-moving the next morning, but managed to get out of the hotel before checkout time.  We didn't have any plans for the day, other than getting to Youngstown, Ohio, chosen for its proximity to the highway and the fact that we'd have a short driving day the next day.  However, again, we managed to find a great place for lunch - off the beaten path by about 20 miles, but well worth the detour, South Side Soda Shop, in Goshen, IN.  Is this place up our alley or what?  And the food was great and cheap!

Lucky Day 13:

Home.  Here's the odometer, with the complete story of our adventure:

I'd be wistful, but we plan to do it again.  We had a great time and learned a lot about what we'd do differently on future trips of this sort (like leaving plenty of breathing room on shooting days).  We want to get that vintage trailer and carry our home away from home with us at some point in the future.  In the meantime, I think we'll be staying put for a little while!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Help us to produce the show

I promise I'll get back to our road trip soon!  In the meantime, I wanted to share that I've added a "donate" button to our website (scroll down to the bottom).  As we grow we're hiring more and more folks to help us out and, wouldn't you know it, they all want to be paid!  Donations over $25 will result in free "thank you" gifts from us!

To donate, just go here and scroll down.  And thank you!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cross Country Road Trip, Part 2

Really quick before we continue on our journey, our new "handy household hint" is now online!  It's all about creating your own custom spirits with liquor infusions and can be found here.  Creative and frugal!

Cross Country Road Trip, Day 4:

We had a long drive on day four, from Amarillo to Kingman, AZ, which feels endless after dark, but the good news is that, believe it or not, driving through the desert is interesting.  We stopped for lunch in Albuquerque, at another Roadfood recommendation, a local chain called Sadie's.  This proved to be a great suggestion for several reasons.  The food was good and cheap, we were both ready for a margarita and they were right next to a Target, so we could do some badly needed shopping while the tequila wore off.  And they were both right off the highway, so it worked out perfectly!  When in Albuquerque, go to Sadie's!

Day 5:

Paul's birthday!  We woke up in Kingman and hit the road after breakfast, stopping for lunch at the Coco's in Barstow.  Paul got a birthday steak.  It turned out to be a good thing we'd fortified ourselves, since the traffic between Barstow and San Diego was quite heavy in certain places.  We did make one stop in Victorville, which distinguished itself by having the worst restroom we encountered on the entire trip.

Happily, we pulled into San Diego and Tiki Oasis while it was still light.  They seemed apologetic that our room was located FAR off the beaten path, but it turned out to be perfect for us.  Unlike most of the rooms, there was parking right outside our door, so unpacking the carload of stuff we'd brought for our symposium was a breeze.  This sign was also right outside our door:

Thursday evening's Tiki Oasis festivities happen at the Bali Hai, San Diego's classic tiki restaurant with exquisite water views.  We went over and were delighted to see friends and that our fellow New Yorker, Phast Phreddie, was DJing.  There were bands.  The weather was perfect.  What more could you want?

Day 6:

Friday we spent the morning rehearsing for our symposium and making sure everything was in place for our presentation on Saturday.  We also attended our friend Karen's symposium about the book "Off The Road," by Carolyn Cassady.  The theme was beatnik, after all!  HIGHLY entertaining and educational.  After that was all done we did some shopping, hit the hot tub (always my favorite spot) and the Sip and Shop, where we sampled rums and shopped, two activities that go great together.  After that we ventured out to Wang's North Park for dinner.  Wang's has a custom tiki mug I was thrilled to lay my hands on and was unexpectedly pretty, with great food.

A few Friday shots:

Saturday was our symposium!  Not only did we have a custom cocktail that I created and that our sponsor, Tiki Club Liquors, made for the attendees, but we also had snack mix that I'd made at home and carried in airtight containers across the country.  We also created an entire set of frugal party set-ups, including a dinner table set for four, a homemade "aluminum Christmas tree" with a video fireplace, several custom lamps and more!  We served cider from a crock pot and had a tasting of liquors we'd infused in the prior weeks.  Many attendees stayed to chat with us later, which was wonderful.  I had a great time!

Saturday after the symposium was mainly a blur of lunch, shopping, dinner and watching bands from the balcony of our friends' room.  Paul and I were both so tired we nodded off!

Day 7:

By Sunday we'd fully recovered from our exhaustion and were ready for some serious shopping, pool time and brunch.  We'd made reservations at the Bali Hai, since we'd heard the brunch there was amazing and it did not disappoint.  All you can eat, with endless champagne, for a fraction of what it would have cost in New York.  We spent a good couple of hours there, then wandered around the waterfront afterwards.  It was heaven.

As you enter Shelter Island, where Bali Hai is located, you pass Trader Mort's, which combines two of our favorites, tiki and liquor!

As I said, it's pretty much heaven!  After that we got back to the hotel, shopped, got in the pool and hot tub and later Paul went out for In-N-Out burger for us while I wrote our Las Vegas episode, which we'd shoot the following day.  There were bands Sunday night and we caught up with a couple of friends.  Then, suddenly, it was Monday.  Off to Vegas!

More later!