The nap inducer.

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving nap! The super fun chaos of hosting Thanksgiving for 30 delayed the start of my nap (as well as the posting of this image/animation), but I did manage to finish the entire plate, making it inevitable. And it was good.

A toast to leftovers starts now! Cheers!

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I’m thankful for cheese. Good cheese.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! I’m thankful for love, family, friends, all the wonderful things around me, getting to say y’all every now and then, and life in general. I hope y’all feel the same way, everything is great in your world, and you are spending time with your loved ones. The Thanksgiving turkey post will come (no pictures yet, insert segue), so I’m going to shift gears and say I’m thankful for cheese. Especially when all you have to do is say, “Yes, please. I’d love a sample!”

I was walking through the Wegmans cheese department (this happens frequently, as I photograph cheese often), and the Giorgio Cravero Parmigiano Reggiano was being sampled, paired with pear infused balsamic vinegar. It took me just to the end of the first bite to grab a chunk and a bottle…and go in search of more balsamic flavors.

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As you can see, I decided on fig, along with the fresh fruit to pair with it. Bread and wine (which I’m also thankful for) weren’t far behind on my shopping list.

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The ciabatta baguette was a nice way to soak up a little extra vinegar, and to keep it from dripping as you’re dipping. The pear variety is a little sweeter, blending well with the tart balsamic vinegar base. The fig version is lighter (just like the color), and considerably more tart. Both were excellent (slight edge to the pear), and went well with the cheese. The cheese was a little softer and more moist than most aged parm, with more brilliant flavors of caramel, fruit, and nuts. Giorgio Cravero created an excellent (as the label states) “small batch, Artisinal, Parmigiano Reggiano”.

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Two varieties of Apothic wines seemed appropriate, as we had the 2 varieties of vinegar. They were probably too deep a red for the pairing, but were very good! Both are California blends with dark fruit and layers of flavor. The Red (Heather’s favorite) is definitely lighter and adds a few notes of vanilla and jam. The Dark (my favorite) is true to name, darker, with hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

Enjoy your day! Cheers!

The diversity of beer and music.

I went to the beer store. While this isn’t necessarily an odd occurrence, my mission was unusual. I volunteered to shoot an image for this month’s RAF event, 20 Minutes and a Beer. (Join the Facebook event!) Anthony DeVito from Pandora will be speaking about the current and future state of streaming audio. Thus my mission was to find some beers that relate to music! Beer and music come in hugely varying options, so I find it fitting that the two I ended up choosing are so different in their inspiration and their taste/style.

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First we have Trooper. A traditional English ale inspired by the song of the same name, it was created by Bruce Dickinson (the Iron Maiden vocalist), and brewed by Robinson’s. The iconic artwork was hard for me to pass up, as it brought me back to my high school days of listening to heavy metal. The website describes the beer as malt flavours and citric notes from a unique blend of Bobec, Goldings and Cascade hops dominate this deep golden ale with a subtle hint of lemon. There is a bit of malt hiding under the citrus and hops to help hold it together, but I found it a bit too lemony, with not enough malt. It was good, and probably a great example of the style, but I really wanted to like it more. I have, however, added an Iron Maiden station to my Pandora account.

Second, we have the re-release of Bitches Brew by Dogfish Head. It was first created in 2010 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original release of Bitches Brew, Miles Davis’ 1970 groundbreaking jazz album. A dark beer that’s a fusion of three threads of imperial stout and one thread of honey beer with gesho root. I found this to be a fabulous stout, very dark in color with a thick, rich caramel head, featuring a great blend of mild bitterness and mild roast. Flavors of dark chocolate and coffee mix in with just a touch of caramel and honey. An excellent and drinkable beer with a slight malty finish, it’s much drier than you may think given the flavors. Of the two, I have to give the Bitches Brew the hands down victory. I have also added a Bitches Brew station to Pandora!

Which station are you going to add? Which beer are you going to try?

If you’re in the area, please join me at Good Luck on Tuesday!

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The trophies have arrived….yippee, yahoo!

This “good news” post has been a long time coming. I’ve mentioned the Addy awards before (this post, and also this one). The Rochester show, the RAF Addy awards (formally called the American Advertising Awards), was held in March of this year. It’s a pretty big deal for us in the advertising community, with months of planning and over 500 people attending. I was fortunate enough to have won three gold and one silver Addy! Any winning entry can be forwarded on to the regional awards show (which I did). Our region being District 2 means going up against some big markets….New York, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and more. I’m proud to say, I won 3 silver Addys at the regional show! Why am I sharing it with you now, you ask? There was an issue with the creation of the trophies at the regional level, so they just arrived (thanks for your help, Karen!). Here are the winners.

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The jazz pictures and 1961 Vodka (more on this great vodka to come) series won Rochester gold and regional silver. The 20 Minutes and a Beer series won Rochester gold. The 2eat2drink food series won both Rochester and regional silver.

2eat2drink-addysThanks to all of you for being a great inspiration for me!

Summer Sunday breakfast

Seeing as it’s been so long since my last post (most humble apologies!), I wanted to officially say, “happy summer”! I hope yours has been as busy and as fun filled as ours, so far.

I thought I’d share our thyme French toast breakfast with you, as it was delightful. Fresh figs are always a highlight for us, and this was no exception. Especially with the addition of good Italian bread, thyme egg batter, and agave nectar.

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Make your egg batter for the french toast with several egg whites, only one egg yoke, a dash of milk, a little salt and pepper, and thyme.

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Quarter the figs and throw them in a hot pan with some blue agave nectar to slightly caramelize them.

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Top with maple syrup and a little powdered sugar, and your day is off to a good start! Enjoy your Sunday!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

The day is winding down, but with a margarita and guacamole for motivation I had to finish this very important Cinco De Mayo post.

We just hosted a Cinco De Mayo party and tequila tasting (see picture below). At some point you can expect to see a few tequila reviews sharing our favorites. But for now…I’ll just offer up a margarita….with a variation of the recipe from the link above. This recipe is slightly stronger to highlight the tequila; Espolón reposado tequila….currently our go to, and an excellent value. In a shaker with crushed ice add 2 ounces tequila, 1 1/4 ounces triple sec, 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice, and 1 ounce simple syrup. Shake and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish and serve. Be careful, these will go down easily (and as smooth as he is, Ramón (the Espólon mascot rooster) may bite).

Cheers!

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Mirbeau in the snow

It snowed today. In April. Not that that is unusual for us here in Rochester, it’s just a little frustrating given the long winter. But…it was also very pretty, and had the nice effect of reminding us of a recent trip to Mirbeau Inn and Spa. One of our fondest memories from Mirbeau is sitting together in the spa with large fluffy snowflakes falling through the open timbers overhead. I hope you get the chance to visit Mirbeau in the snow, but not until next winter.