Happy St. Tito’s Day!

Yes, I know there is no St. Tito. Well, at least I don’t think there is. (Is there?) So I guess I also need to officially say Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I thought I’d put an American spin on it this year, blending the totally Americanized McDonald’s Shamrock Shake with Tito’s Handmade Vodka. I don’t frequent McDonald’s very often, but if there is a highlight, the Shamrock Shake is it. If any of you managed to get to SXSW in Austin this year, I hope you  got to experience the excellence that is Tito’s vodka. Tito’s has been one of the top finalists at our vodka tasting parties (and always gotten my top vote), holding it’s own against the expensive imports.

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The Shamrock Shake made it home from the drive-thru a few ounces short of full (hey, I did say it was a highlight). I added 3 oz. of Tito’s to the shake, mixed it up and put it back in the freezer. After re-freezing, I ran it through a blender and poured it into two glasses, topping them with fresh whipped cream. A delightful St. Patrick’s Day afternoon treat.

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Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

Sláinte!

A Real Saucy Character

My amazing wife Heather and her awesome brother Dave have a new book coming out this Friday! I’m so proud of them! It’s called José Picada, P.I.: Deception Al Dente. You can find it here. In honor of this occasion, I decided to do an interview with one of their main characters, Chef Marco Augustino. What role does Chef Marco play in the book? Well, you’ll just have to read it to find out! But, in the meantime, I’m looking forward to trying his pasta.

Rich: So, Chef Marco, I understand you’re no longer with your restaurant, Bistro Italiano. Why did you leave?

Chef Marco: Yeah, we’re not gonna talk about all that.

R: Oh. Okay. Well, there go all my interview questions. We’ll just wing it. So, uh, thanks for making this beautiful plate of pasta I just photographed. It was fabulous!

CM: Yeah, it was. The secret is the sauce.

R: It really is a great tomato sauce! What makes it so special? Do you use a certain type of tomatoes? What herbs do you prefer?

CM: Yeah, we’re not gonna discuss my culinary secrets, kapeesh?

R: Oh. Um, all right. So, in Deception Al Dente, you cross paths with the main character, Josie Cates. What’s Josie’s favorite dish?

CM: I don’t know and I don’t freakin’ care. That girl is a real pain in my—

R: Uh, this is a family-friendly blog, Chef Marco. Let’s just get back to the pasta. What would you pair it with?

CM: Some crusty bread, a nice Chianti, and badda bing! You’re good to go.

R: Okay. Well, that pretty much covers it. I had a lot more planned, but you sort of derailed the entire interview.

CM: Whatever. You got any more Chianti?

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Heather and Dave have a unique writing process, where they e-mail the manuscript back and forth. Whoever has possession can alter anything they see fit. It’s a fun process to watch and listen to as they chat on the phone during their planning sessions. You can follow along with them at Driving Blind and on Facebook. Cheers to a job well done!

Happy New Year! (Old world style)

This may be an unconventianal New Year’s Eve post, but it really makes sense. Don’t we all ring in the new year by thinking about some highlights from the previous year? And pledging to do more of what makes you happy in the upcoming year? (And kissing your someone special as the ball drops in Times Square!) So….these pictures are from our 5th Anniversary honeymoon trip to Old San Juan — a definite highlight during this past year. And Heather and I call every trip we take together a honeymoon….which I hereby pledge to do more of this year! (Along with kissing her at midnight!)

This latest honeymoon was about eating and drinking in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, with a lot of cool sights in between sips and bites! I took so many pictures over the course of 4 days that it will end up as multiple posts. Here are a few highlights to get us started!

So here’s to a happy, healthy, prosperous new year to you all. Cheers!

Café Puerto Rico cheers. Happy new year!!

Café Puerto Rico cheers. Happy new year!!

Have a very merry breakfast!

Merry Christmas! I hope Santa was good to you. If ever there was a day to do a less than healthy breakfast..this is it! Cookies and a fresh squeezed tangerine mimosa! At least there is a little vitamin C in there for you. I definitely recommend the tangerine juice version versus orange juice. No tangerines? I know all the stores are closed, so the morning light of tomorrow seems like another reason to be merry! Go hug your family and enjoy the peaceful moments of this special day.

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Have yourself a merry little pomegranate martini!

The pomegranate: that beautiful red fruit that you walk by in the store and think, “I have to buy one.” And then you get it home and think, “what am I supposed to do with this!?” I’ve never had much luck getting a lot of juice out of one, so I’ll heavily suggest you purchase a bottle of POM Wonderful to go along with it. Cutting the pomegranate apart and grabbing some of the seeds to garnish your merry little pomegranate martini is a lot easier, albeit messy!

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In a cocktail shaker over ice add:

  • 2 oz. Tito’s vodka
  • 2 oz. POM Wonderful juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. meyer lemon juice
  • 8 dashes Fee Brothers orange bitters

Shake until chilled and pour into a martini glass. Toss a handful of pomegranate seeds in the glass and garnish with a meyer lemon twist.

Make enough for all and toast to your family and friends. And we’ll toast to you all having a safe and happy holiday season. Cheers!

The merry little pomegranate martini. Cheers!

The merry little pomegranate martini. Cheers!