Airports Upgrade

airport

I recently flew across the United States, so I had a lot of layovers and plenty of time to scope the airport dining scene.  Much to my surprise, all the airports I stopped in had some excellent dining choices.  Airport dining has come a long way in the past four years.

houston

In Houston, TX I was shocked to see that Iron Chef Cat Cora had a restaurant in the airport.  Of course, it was a bit pricey, but for those traveling on a budget there was also a great BBQ joint right across the hall.  The smell was so mouthwatering I had to check it out, and I was not only shocked how much food they fed you, but also that it tasted good.

atlanta

In Atlanta, GA I wasn’t surprised by the amount of Southern comfort food joints I saw, but I was surprised by One Flew South.  It is a fine dining restaurant in the airport! There menu is a Southern Asian fusion that looked out of this world.  Unfortunately for me, it was closed because it was only 6am, but they also had a great French inspired bistro called French Meadow.  The croissant sandwich was fresh and delicious and they had a great selection of organic teas.

boston

By the time I made it to Boston, MA I wasn’t surprised to see a legit seafood house in the airport.  Legal Sea Foods has a menu full of New England seafood favorites.  You can even purchase live lobsters!

My favorite though, was in the SeaTac Airport in Seattle, WA.  Anthony’s has a menu full of local and Alaskan fish in a variety of dishes including tacos, sandwiches, fish and chips, or a full entrée.  What surprised me the most about this restaurant is not only the freshness and quality of food, but that they also make seasonal cocktails.  This month:  strawberry rhubarb.  This is my favorite combination, especially talking pies, so I was not shocked it made a delicious margarita.

So, for those of you not traveling through SeaTac International Airport any time soon, here is my version!

Seattle

Strawberry Rhubarb Margarita

2oz tequila

½ oz triple sec, Cointreau, or Combier

1 oz strawberry rhubarb puree

3 oz sweet and sour mix

For the sweet and sour mix I personally would use Minute Maid frozen limeade.  Make with a few ounces less water and add 1 oz of fresh lime juice.  This will make a sweet and sour mix that will not over power the strawberry rhubarb puree.  If you want to make your margaritas blended, switch the amount of puree and sour mix.  This makes for a better texture and more flavorful margarita.

Add all the ingredients to a shaker or blender with ice and mix.  Because this is a kind of sweet drink I personally skip the salt on the rim.

For the strawberry rhubarb puree:

Ingredients
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on desired tartness
1/3 cup water
1 pound rhubarb stalks, cleaned and diced
1 quart strawberries, cleaned, hulled and halved
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

(Foodnetwork.com)
Directions
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat combine sugar and water. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add rhubarb and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Add strawberries and lemon juice and simmer for 10 minutes more. Allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.

In batches, if necessary, puree mixture in blender. Add water if mixture appears too thick. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, like a chinois, to get rid of the seeds.

By Krystle Turkington

Congratulations Class of 2013!

Grad1

It is graduation season, which means it is time to celebrate!  So whether you are hosting a party, BBQ, or just saluting yourself on a job well done, here are some drinks to help you along the way.

To me, champagne and celebration go together like peanut butter and jelly, but for such a momentous occasion it should be kicked up a notch.  For inspiration, who better to turn to than the French?  They have been making white wine cocktails for centuries. The most infamous is the Kir, a blend of white wine and cassis, named after the mayor of Burgundy who made this cocktail popular after World War II  (Wikipedia.com).  It has several known variations, including the champagne based Royal Kir, and now I have added a new version to the repertoire.

Grad 2

Festive Kir

½ oz ginger infused grand marnier

½ oz cassis

Top with sparkling wine

Orange twist

Soak peeled, sliced, raw ginger in the grand marnier for at least 24 hours.  The longer you leave the ginger in the cognac the stronger the ginger flavor will be.  I recommend storing the mixture in a sealed container and not stuffing the ginger down the neck of the bottle.  Once the ginger infused grand marnier is ready, add it and the cassis into a shaker with ice.  After it is chilled, strain into a champagne flute and top with a sparkling wine.  I personally like a sparkling wine with crisp, citrus flavors to enhance the orange in the grand marnier like a sparkling pinot grigio or prosecco.  The orange twist will also bring out the flavors of the grand marnier and add a beautiful pop of color to this celebratory cocktail.

If your graduate is not of the legal drinking age yet, you can easily turn this cocktail into a non-alcoholic beverage.  Just replace the sparkling wine with sparkling cider and the cassis with black currant juice.  You can choose to add a touch of ginger beer, no more than ½ oz, if you would like the same spiced effect.  This mock-tail can be made directly in the glass if all the ingredients are already chilled.

Enjoy and congratulations to all the graduates of 2013!

By Krystle Turkington

Mother’s Day Brunch

mothersday

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and it is entirely impossible to forget if you watch TV.  Every other commercial for the past week has been geared toward buying flowers and chocolates for the special woman in your life:  Mom.  From my experience though, my Mom always appreciates a gift from the heart.  So, for those of you who will see your Mom tomorrow; why not make her brunch at your place?

brunch

Of course, no brunch is complete without a cocktail, but you want to make your mother proud right?  What’s a better way than to make your concoctions with your fruits and vegetables?  I know as a kid my mom had two mantras when it came to food:  an apple a day keeps the doctor away and no leaving this table until you finish your veggies.  With that said, here are three cocktail recipes that include fruit and vegetable.

1-800-ACAI

acai

1 ½ oz 1800 coconut tequila

½ oz pama liqueur

Acai juice blend

To make the acai juice blend use one Sambazon blueberry acai and Sambazon strawberry acai with a splash of peach juice.  I personally used about 4oz of the peach juice, but you can adjust the amount until you get the balance you prefer.  Keep in mind that the peach juice will make the acai blend sweeter.  Once your juice blend is ready just pour all the ingredients into a bucket glass with ice and enjoy!

Granny’s Mojito

apple

1 ½ oz light rum

½ oz honey syrup*

1 oz citrus kombucha

½ oz apple juice*

5 mint leaves

Club soda

Muddle mint with honey syrup and apple juice, add rum and kombucha and shake.  Top with club soda. Serve in a tall glass like a pint, hurricane, or highball.  Garnish with an apple slice.  If you buy apple juice, make sure to purchase one without added sugar or cinnamon.  If you are juicing apples to make this cocktail, keep in mind that different varieties of apples have varying levels of sweetness.  I personally like to make this cocktail with granny smith apples because of the distinctive tartness.

*honey syrup:  equal parts honey and water.  Shake until the honey is completely incorporated into the water.

Cucumber Dill Fizz

fizz

1 ½ oz Uncle Val’s gin

½ oz dill syrup

3 cucumber (no peel) slices (English cucumbers work best)

Club soda

Muddle cucumber and dill syrup.  Add gin and shake.  In a Collins glass strain over fresh ice and top with club soda.  For added vegetables, garnish with a cucumber spear and dill sprig.

By Krystle Turkington: http://www.HappyHourPal.com Blogger

Happy Hour Hawaii Now Happy Hour Pal

May 9, 2013, 10:54am HST

Happy Hour Hawaii launching Happy Hour Pal app on the Mainland

Happy Hour Hawaii is expanding its mobile app and website to the Mainland under the Happy Hour Pal brand.

Courtesy Happy Hour Pal

Happy Hour Hawaii is expanding its mobile app and website to the Mainland under the Happy Hour Pal brand.

Reporter-Pacific Business News
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A website and mobile app dedicated to providing pau hana menus and pricing of Hawaii restaurants is expanding to the Mainland.

Carey Bennett, co-founder and CEO of Happy Hour Hawaii, told PBN the company she launched with her husband Brandon Bennett is expanding to the Mainland via the launch of Happy Hour Pal, a national version of Happy Hour Hawaii.

“We are a fantastic resource for locals as well as tourists from all over the country to save money,” Carey Bennett told PBN in an email.

Happy Hour Pal, launched on May 1, has begun entering the Portland, Ore., and Long Island, N.Y., markets, and Bennett said she plans to start building a list in the San Diego market by summer.

Happy Hour Hawaii, which launched in 2011, is now being redirected to the upgraded and new Happy Hour Pal website and apps.

Stephanie Silverstein covers tourism, retail and money for Pacific Business News.

Cinco Cocktails

I am running out of fun facts about Cinco de Mayo, but luckily for you not out of new drinks.  Last post I compared Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. to St. Patty’s Day.  Both cultures have iconic beers, Guinness and Corona, and iconic liquors, tequila and whiskey.  Unfortunately, until now only the Irish have had an iconic drop shot though, the  Irish car bomb.  So to get the party started this Cinco de Mayo try a Mexican car bomb!

Mexican Car Bomb

4 – 6 oz Negra Modelo

1/2 oz patron X.O.

1/2 oz tres leches liqueur

Pour the patron and tres leches into a shot glass.  Pour your desired amount of beer into a pint glass.  Now just like an Irish car bomb, drop the shot into your beer and chug!  This will end up tasting just like coffee with cream in to, so please note if you do not like cream with your coffee feel free to swap the tres leches liquor with Kahlua midnight for a stronger coffee taste.

By Krystle Turkington

Five ways to Cinco…Cont.

Since Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday you would think that it is celebrated to the utmost extent throughout the country, but ironically enough the largest celebrations take place in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston. (history.com)  In Mexico, May fifth is just like any other day; federal offices, banks, and school are still in session.  The largest celebrations take place in Puebla where the battle was won.  These festivities predominantly consist of battle reenactments and military parades.

So, how did Cinco de Mayo become such a big holiday in the United States?  Civil rights activists during the 1960s used the holiday not only as a way to highlight their pride for their heritage, but also as an example of the local Mexican population overcoming European influence.

With that said here are two drinks, one for Mexico and one for the U.S.

La-Paloma-2-290x290

La Paloma

2 oz tequila*

1/2 oz lime juice

1 oz grapefruit juice

Grapefruit soda*

Salt

Salt half the rim of a bucket glass.  Shake tequila, lime juice, grapefruit juice and ice together and pour into your prepared glass.  Top with soda and garnish with a lime wedge.

Ginger Jalapeño Margarita

1 1/2 oz tequila*

1/2 oz triple sec, cointreau, or combier

1/4 oz elixir g

3 jalapeño slices, about 1/4″ thick

~ 3-4 oz sweet and sour

Salt

Salt half the rim of a margarita or bucket glass.  If you want an extra spicy m margarita start by muddling the tequila with the jalapeños.  Otherwise, just add all the ingredients into your shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into your prepared glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

* when it comes to choosing your ingredients I recommend you use what you like.  Personally, I would use Hornitos silver or reposado and fresca soda.

By Krystle Turkington

Five Ways to Cinco

cinco

This iconic Mexican holiday is a celebration over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.   (Wikipedia.com)  Nowadays, just like St. Patrick’s Day, this holiday has become more a celebration of heritage and focused on partying.  There are numerous block parties throughout the United States every May fifth including Ann Arbor, Michigan, Chinatown, Hawaii, and Austin Texas, and it is no surprise that most will be pouring tequila.

From my experience working in a tequila bar, out of all the liquors it seems that one bad night with Jose Cuervo can scar some people for life.  If this is you, have no fear, I’ve come up with some inventive ways to bring a Latin flair to vodka and whiskey.  Instead of making a drink with the liquor of Mexico I have taken their herbs and love for spice and transformed them into delicious cocktails.

Firefighter

peppers

1 ½ oz Stoli Hot vodka

¼ oz simple syrup

2 lemon wedges

3 cilantro leaves (if big only use 2)

Club soda

Squeeze lemon wedges and throw into shaker.  Tear cilantro and add to shaker along with the vodka, ice and simple syrup.  Shake vigorously because you want to bruise the cilantro leaves.  Pour into a bucket* glass and top with club soda.

bucket glass

Note your glass doesn’t have to be an exact replica, the most important thing about your bucket glass is that it is somewhere between 10-12oz.

Speedster

1 ½ oz jim beam

½ oz combier

1 oz lemon juice

¾ oz simple syrup

Dash angostura bitters

½ oz perfect purees chipotle sour

Add all the ingredients into a shaker with ice.  You may choose to serve this drink on the rocks (with ice) or up (like a martini).  I recommend serving it with a lemon garnish regardless.  Come back tomorrow for more drinks inspired by Cinco de Mayo!

cilantro

By Krystle Turkington