Cocktail O’ Clock: Smoked Scofflaw + Black Old Fashioned

Dickel Cocktails

Today’s Cocktail O’Clock is a 2-for-1 deal! Aren’t you lucky. I, however, am not. I was invited to a George Dickel whiskey tasting with barbeque extraordinaire Adam Perry Lang last month, BUT the day of, there was a huge Texas rainstorm and I wasn’t able to make it. BOO. The nice people at Dickel were kind enough to send me some photos and recipes that I missed out on, and I am kind enough to pass them on to you.

The Dickel team says: With grilling season upon us and tailgate season is fast approaching… the cocktail recipes below are a perfect pair with barbecue or any kind of protein during the summer.

Let’s make these right now. I have FOMO.

Smoked Scofflaw

1 oz. George Dickel Rye
.5 oz. dry vermouth
.75 oz. smoked lemon juice
.75 oz. grenadine

Shake together and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon.


Black Old Fashioned

1.3 oz. George Dickel No. 12
.5 oz. Amaro Averna
Black walnut bitters
Orange snap

Shake together and strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

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Endless Eating at Austin Food & Wine Fest

Austin Food & Wine Festival was three weekends ago, so this recap is definitely a little later than I would like, but to be honest, it took about three weeks to recover! I attend a lot of food events these days, and AFWF is the mother lode of all food events here in Austin. I ate and drank more in those three days than I did in the rest of 2014, I swear. There wasn’t a moment I wasn’t stuffing some sort of caloric goodness into my mouth. So much wine, specialty cuisine, celebrity chefs, fanciful tacos, sugary sweet macarons… I could go on, but you get the idea.

Austin Food Wine Fest Republic Square Park

I’d rather show than tell, though. Here are some highlights from my three days of gorging:

Georgia Pellegrini Rock Your Taco

Georgia Pellegrini‘s “Dough a Deer” taco from the Rock Your Taco competition. Green plantain tortilla with parsnip puree, venison tossed in a Cuban oregano vinaigrette, pickled jicama and carrot, tomatillo salsa, smoked Adobo sauce and pickled mustard seed. SO creative and delicious.

Jeni's Ice Cream Sundae

The “Not Enough” (salted caramel ice cream, pecans, and bittersweet chocolate) ice cream sundae cup from Jeni’s. Have you had Jeni’s ice cream? It’s seriously some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. It’s a little pricey, but worth hunting out. You can find it in upscale groceries and specialty markets.

TRACE Croque Madame Austin Food Wine Fest

Croque Madame from Chef Lawrence Kocurek of TRACE, made with duck bacon and quail egg. Disclaimer: I work for TRACE, too! But my completely unbiased opinion is that this was one of the best bites I had in the entire Grand Tasting inside the fest.

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The w00tstout: Made by Geeks, FOR Geeks

Stone-w00stout_Trio-WEB

In the spirit of YouTube’s self-proclaimed “geek week,” I bring to you the tale of three geeks and the journey to great taste and libations. Stone CEO Greg Koch has apparently corresponded with actor Wil Wheaton on a number of occasions and since Wheaton is a homebrewer (with an impressive set up at the “Wheaton Castle”), Koch decided to ask him to collaborate on the next Stone collabo-brew. There was only one problem—who would the third collaborator be? Wil Wheaton had the answer: fark.com founder Drew Curtis. Three proud geeks (of beer, and much more) came together to create: The Stone Farking w00tstout.

When I asked Wil Wheaton what the most enjoyable aspect of the brew was, his answer was simple: “All of it.” Wheaton is a homebrewer of two years and already has a regular brew schedule for every other weekend. As a fan of craft brews and a beer geek himself, Wheaton couldn’t help but boast about the opportunity to brew with Stone, using some of the best brewing equipment around. For him, the hardest part was staying focused and not getting too excited about the one-of-a-kind opportunity at hand. Wheaton’s advice for any brewing beginners? “Just give it a try. You will always learn something from it, and you will always have beer.”

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Top 6 Exotic Foods You Must Try Once in Your Life

 When it comes to yummy exotic food, we think of the classics: eating a poutine in a Montreal restaurant, chowing down on green curry in Thailand, butter chicken in India and so on. But international cuisine is full of delicious dishes that you might not know about yet. ES guest Caroline Simpson joins us for a look at the top 6 exotic foods you must try once in your life.

1. Aligot, France

aligot

Granted, this may not be the finest of French dishes. But in the “comfort food” category, aligot scores major points. Those who dig cheese are going to love this one: Melted fresh “Tomme” cheese (some kind of super fresh cheddar), potatoes, cream, butter, garlic… this thick and gooey cheese paste is simply delicious. (Photo: Tavallai)

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Cooking with Fabio: Drunken Red Spaghetti

Has anyone else missed Fabio Viviani? I know I’d take his crazy Italian ramblings over this year’s boring Top Chef-testants any day. Well, not to worry—I just stumbled upon his new web series, in which Fabio and his disturbingly hot mom cook up drunken red spaghetti—pasta doused in red wine and smothered in pecornio, walnuts and caramelized pancetta. I love this dish because he doesn’t add just a little bit of booze. Uh-uh. He adds enough wine to turn those noodles purple! Now that’s Italian.

Also – check out his nickle-and-dime pasta serving size trick at 2:40!

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A Response to Pete Wells, From Guy Fieri

Earlier this week, New York Times food critic Pete Wells, apparently too lazy to call a town car to take him to another hip SoHo gastropub, instead wandered two blocks from his office over to TV star Guy Fieri’s “Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar” in Times Square. Mr. Wells, shocked to find the obvious tourist trap serving anything less than Per Se-quality fare, churned out the scathing restaurant review that everyone and their mother has since shared with you on Facebook.

Because Wells’ now-infamous zero-star “review” is written entirely in questions, we decided to give Guy Fieri a chance to respond. Note: We don’t actually know Guy Fieri, but we’re pretty sure this is what he’d say if he got the chance.

GUY FIERI, have you eaten at your new restaurant in Times Square? Have you pulled up one of the 500 seats at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar and ordered a meal? Did you eat the food? Did it live up to your expectations? Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex?
P-Wells, seriously…what’s harshing your vibe? Why so many questions? When did you become an angry food blogger? I thought you wrote for a newspaper. What happened, homeslice? Did your editor threaten to send you back to the obit desk if you don’t double your page views, pronto? This is all way harsh, bro.

When you saw the burger described as “Guy’s Pat LaFrieda custom blend, all-natural Creekstone Farm Black Angus beef patty, LTOP (lettuce, tomato, onion + pickle), SMC (super-melty-cheese) and a slathering of Donkey Sauce on garlic-buttered brioche,” did your mind touch the void for a minute?
Yes. You’re right, that sounds like it must have been a really tough moment for you. You have a rough life, don’t you, Pete? Well, now you know what real pain is like. A burger description with too many words. Try reading a restaurant review that’s 12 paragraphs longer than it needs to be.

Did you notice that the menu was an unreliable predictor of what actually came to the table? Were the “bourbon butter crunch chips” missing from your Almond Joy cocktail, too? Was your deep-fried “boulder” of ice cream the size of a standard scoop?
So…first my restaurant’s menu isn’t fancy enough for you, and now you’re complaining that your serving of DEEP-FRIED ICE CREAM is too SMALL?? What did you want, a gallon of it? It’s fried ice cream! Petey, I admit I wasn’t shooting for a Michelin star, but the one thing I can say with certainty is that if you did not get enough food at this restaurant, you have a serious problem. Most of our appetizers have more calories then a four-person family is supposed to consume in a week. Chiiiiiiiilllllll.

What exactly about a small salad with four or five miniature croutons makes Guy’s Famous Big Bite Caesar (a) big (b) famous or (c) Guy’s, in any meaningful sense? Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are? If you hadn’t come up with the recipe yourself, would you ever guess that the shiny tissue of breading that exudes grease onto the plate contains either pretzels or smoked almonds? Did you discern any buttermilk or brine in the white meat, or did you think it tasted like chewy air?
My bad, bro. You must have forgot to look at the back of the menu. That’s where our ten-course foie gras tasting options are.

Why is one of the few things on your menu that can be eaten without fear or regret — a lunch-only sandwich of chopped soy-glazed pork with coleslaw and cucumbers — called a Roasted Pork Bahn Mi, when it resembles that item about as much as you resemble Emily Dickinson?
You ate the whole menu?!? Wow, someone has some extra time on their hands. Not even my mom did that. Is everything OK at home?

When you have a second, Mr. Fieri, would you see what happened to the black bean and roasted squash soup we ordered?
Really, Pete, it’s the New York Times. Is this personal query really relevant to the masses? Perhaps you should have…I don’t know—reminded your server? No, no, never mind—you’re right. An angry online complaint is much more effective than asking in person for your personal problem to be fixed. Have you tried Yelp yet, Mr. Wells? You’d love it.

Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste? The watermelon margarita? Any idea why it tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?
Here’s a tip for the next time you go recreational slumming, Wellsie. You order a blue drink at a place like this for one reason, maybe two: it’s probably going to be giant, and it’s definitely going to get you (and your date) hella wasted. It certainly doesn’t matter two shits what it tastes like. People know this. In fact, you are the first customer to ever inquire as to what our giant blue “margarita” might taste like. I’m sorry it didn’t have the subtle cloying notes of a 1985 malbec. We’ll work on it.

At your five Johnny Garlic’s restaurants in California, if servers arrive with main courses and find that the appetizers haven’t been cleared yet, do they try to find space for the new plates next to the dirty ones? Or does that just happen in Times Square, where people are used to crowding?
Oh the horrors! I’m guessing this is also your first time eating at a restaurant where there was no silent waiter on hand whose sole job is to discreetly sweep the crumbs off your tablecloth in between the cheese plate and the sorbet course?

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Top Chef 10 Preview: Wolfgang Puck on Going Back to Basics

What a week. Election yesterday, and the premiere of Top Chef: Seattle tonight! As someone who lived in Seattle for the past six years, I’m especially excited to see what beautiful Northwest sights and tasty Seattle restaurants they decide to feature this season. (It doesn’t seem fair; when they did Top Chef in Austin I was in Seattle, then I moved to Austin and they went to Seattle! I just want to befriend Padma!) Anyway, what I’m saying is: I’m psyched for tonight, so obviously I was also psyched when I got the chance to jump on a call with Wolfgang Puck, one of the judges this season, to get a sneak peek at what we can expect from Top Chef 10.

On thing Wolfie (can I call him Wolfie? I feel like we’re BFF at this point, so it’s probably cool) is particularly vehement about is the whole “back to basics” thing that Top Chef is touting this season. He explained: “To me… I judge these chefs on how they can cook an egg… I say, okay, make me an omelet. All these people say they cook in fancy restaurants, but you need to know the basics. Cooking an egg is like cooking a steak or something. Oil, butter, some cream, cook them fast enough so they’re cook on the outside and soft in the center. And it’s amazing how few professional cooks can actually do that.”

Amen, my Austrian brother.

Wolfie says it was interesting to see the new contestants and the choices they make. Some he assumed would be good ended up being very spotty, and a lot of them “tried too hard.” He described the judging experience as, “some terrific dishes where I said ‘wow, I would hire them!’ Then the next show, ‘wow, is that the same person?'”

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