Archive | August, 2012

Summery Sangria on a Cold San Francisco Day.

7 Aug

My dad gave me a watermelon and an orange flesh melon fresh from the countryside.   I got an idea to make sangria with them, but, since I can’t drink up two whole melons worth of sangria, I invited some friends over for brunch.  I was hoping to play some Taboo because, well….I LOVE TABOOOOO!!!!

My plan for Taboo didn’t really pan out, though, and we ended up watching the US win a gold in synchronized diving.  GO USA!

After a few rounds of sangria (recipe is below), I was getting a little inebriated and decided I’m going to bake those darn Chocolate Chip and Cherry Cookies I’ve been wanting to make for the past few weeks.  I’ve been planning on making these for literally two weeks but my lazy butt kept telling me not to.

I must admit, baking when you’re drunk isn’t the most smartest thing to do, but it isn’t the dumbest either.  No, I didn’t burn myself or set anything on fire, but I feel like the cookies would’ve came out much more delicious if I was sober.  I was kind of disappointed in myself.  They weren’t horrible, but they weren’t spectacular.  Maybe I could have creamed the sugars and butter longer, or maybe I was too drunk and didn’t notice that they weren’t as fluffy as they should be.  My friends seemed to like them and even took some home, which I’m grateful for, otherwise, the boyfriend and I would get fat (0^.^o)

I first encountered this fantastic combination of chocolate and cherry inside a cookie at Frog Hollowwhen I used to work for a firm in the SF Ferry Building about 7 years ago. I don’t know why I never thought about making these until recently….what a huge brain fart.

The other day,  I had to go get a cookie from them to figure out what I did wrong.  My case study with the Frog Hollow cookie first began with eating it and savouring the flavors, followed by saving half for the boyfriend, and trying extremely hard to refrain from eating the rest.  I couldn’t even wait to get back to my office before I took a bite out of it!  Yes, they’re that good!

First off, I noticed that my cookies are not as brown as theirs.  Maybe I need to use more brown sugar in place of the regular sugar.  Second, they’re dried cherries were more mildly flavored, not too sweet not too tart but with just enough of a cherry flavor.  The ones I used were a bit on the tart side. Guess I’ll have to try the recipe again, sober! (-.^)

Next time I make these, I’m thinking of using quality dried cherries, and a good chocolate chip cookie recipe as a base.  Then I’ll just add the cherries and walnuts into it and hope it turns out like the Frog Hollow ones.   Anyone know a good chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Watermelon/Any Melon Sangria

Ingredients:
melon (cut in 1/2 inch cubes)
1 cup brandy (I used E&J)
1 cup blackberry liqueur (I used Manischewitz)
2 bottles of cheap white wine (I used 2 buck chuck Pinot Grigio from Trader Joe’s, aka Charles Shaw)
7-up or sparkling water for some fizz
 
Directions:
Dice up the fruit and soak it in the brandy and liqueur in a covered Tupperware overnight. 
The next day, scoop out the drunken fruit and putting them in a serving bowl or pitcher.  I used two separate pitchers because I didn’t want to combine the orange flesh melon and the watermelon together as one sangria. But for each sangria I used a cup of brandy and a cup of liqueur.
Add the white wine.
Serve it up and add a  little splash of either 7-up or sparkling water.  You can also garnish with mint or basil.

Happy Valenbirthiversary!

1 Aug

(See, not always rainbows and butterflies.  Phil Dumphy is a genius with his all-in-one-liner).

A few weeks ago, the boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary.  We’ve been together for 6 beautiful years, but wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies.  We hit challenges and hurdles along the way.  Needless to say, looking back at everything, I’m happy that he is mine, and I am his.   He’s my best friend, he keeps me grounded when I need it, and lifts me up me when troubles weigh me down.  He’s a great guy.  I know this for a fact because my mommy says so.  Love you Normalicious!

Every year, we go to our usual spot for our anniversary, The Melting Pot.  It’s a chocolate lovers dream.  We always order the set menu but this year we decided we only wanted the cheese and chocolate fondue.  Gotta cut calories somewhere.  (^o -)

(I know I’m starting to look drunk in this picture…this is after we got acquainted with the bartender)

We wanted a more relaxed evening rather than what they normally offer, so we opted to sit at the bar.  Plus, the bar has happy hour until 7pm.  Lucky for us, they have burners at the bar to serve fondue on as well!   We started drinking and were chatty with the bartender and the manager.  (Norm likes to talk a lot when he gets drunk, muahaha).  The manager is from Hawaii.  Having just gotten back from Hawaii a few months ago, we were exuberant to hear this and immediately shared the manager’s longing for his homeland.  To add icing on the cake, the manager was so sweet and printed out a “Happy Anniversary” poster for us and gave us a few drinks on the house.  (-_^)

The bartender, well, he’s a special guy.  He used to tend the bars at two of our favorite watering holes in SF, Bourbon & Branch, and Rickhouse.  Now, if you’re not from SF or you’re just unfamiliar with these places, let me tell you, Bourbon & Branch, and Rickhouse are awesome bars with fantastic libations!  They fashion themselves after the heyday of Prohibition.  The decor, the whiskey, the bitters and the rye are all meticulously chosen to send you back to the speakeasy days, especially at Bourbon & Branch.  They want to maintain that speakeasy feel so you can’t get in unless you know the secret password that changes daily.  And at Rickhouse, the majority of the bartenders have handle-bar mustaches and suspenders.  They also have about 20 different bitters on hand to makes their old-fashioned cocktails.  Don’t believe me?  Go check it out.  And while you’re at it, let me know what you think of these spots in the comments below.  PS, best drink at Rickhouse is the Blue and Red Smash.  I don’t know what’s in it but it’s effin delicious.

Going back to what I was saying earlier, when Mr. Bartender told us he used to work for these fantastic bars and created a special Prohibition-based drink menu at the Melting Pot , we immediately perked up our ears and were eager to wet our palates with his booze.  By this time, the Giant’s game on was over and the crowd at the bar had cleared.  We were the only ones left sitting there getting our drink on.  He was such a skilled bartender and I like to think he enjoyed our company.  He was explaining to us what he was mixing, why he was using such ingredients, and the history and origin of the cocktails.

The moral of the story is, if you’re ever in the area, you gotta hit up these fantastic bars.  If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, try the Melting Pot.  And I’d like to shout-out to the staff at the Melting Pot, especially Brad, the manager, and John, the bartender.  You guys ROCK!  All in all, twas a great night with the hubby.  Cheers, and here’s to another 6 years!

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