Cocktail O’Clock: Strawberry-Jalapeño Marg!

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Just when I thought margaritas could not get any better, BOOM this appeared and it’s here to stay. If you haven’t had a strawberry-jalapeño margarita yet you must do so immediately. Let me tell you, as far as cocktails go, this one—named La Bamba—is a top-shelf MUST.

So refreshing, so dangerously delectable, AY AY AY! It makes me want to dance. Perfect drink for spring and the key behind getting business drunk. In fact, I love it so much I want it twenty four SEVEN and you will too!! Here’s the solution to all your problems:

To start: If one has jalapeño-infused tequila, do yourself a favor and muddle a fresh strawberry in Agave nectar.

* If one does not have jalapeño-infused tequila—NBD! Muddle a jalapeño slice (or more if you wish) with the strawberry in Agave nectar.

*Ice ice baby.

*Add 2 oz. of tequila (infused or not). Feel free to add more, nobody is judging you.

* Squeeze a lime-and-a-half worth of lime juice.

* Top off with lemon-lime soda (Sprite works)

* Shake shake shake.

* Pour into a cold pint glass prepped with a lime, sugar and salt rim.

* If you want to get fancy, garnish with a lime wheel and a strawberry.

* Cheers mate!

Find more creative cocktail ideas in Endless Cocktails.

 

Fast Food Review: Taco Bell's Cantina Steak Burrito

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I’m an unabashed Taco Bell fan. It’s in my rotation of Friday night takeout options and I even braved the wilds of Orange County for the opportunity to visit their test kitchen and see where the magic is made. I’m pretty regular in my routine. I usually stick with a basic burrito, maybe a taco and almost always a beef Baja Chalupa, although I do occasionally swap it out for the not-on-the-menu-but-available-if-you-ask-nicely Volcano Beef Chalupa.

I have to take my hat off to them for the success of scientific breakthroughs like the Doritos Locos Taco, though that sort of thing always struck me as gilding the lily a bit. But what about a new product line that wasn’t a gimmick—one that stressed high-quality and fresh ingredients? That’s where the Cantina Steak Burrito comes in.

Taco Bell’s introduction of the Cantina menu was intriguing. A trip to your local shopping center will make it clear that Taco Bell is facing competition, so it was only logical that they would fend off the challenge and take advantage of the public’s desire for a more sophisticated option. So, after seeing my wife order it on a few occasions, it was time for me to see if Taco Bell had found the sweet spot between their affordable options and the higher-end products offered by its fast casual foes.

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Artsy Photo of the Day

Earlier this week, Mexico met Japan in an artsy cocktail, and in round two, Mexico meets Japan in this artsy ramen:

ESKChickenTortillaRamen

This  Chicken Tortilla Soup Ramen hybrid is made with bacon dashi, chicken-tortilla-Tom-Yum paste, shrimp paste, chicken thigh, soft soy egg, avocado, corn, fried tortilla, pickled yellow onion, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, and lime. Talk about fusion.

It”s from East Side King at Hole in the Wall, Top Chef winner Paul Qui’s newest Austin venture (for now–He”s working on some other new exciting projects too, so expect a stream of PQ food pics from me in 2013-2014, you’re welcome).

Oh, by the way, it’s amazing.

Artsy Cocktail of the Day

Genki

The Genki, from Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen in San Francisco.

Inspired by a dish at Makoto, a traditional Japanese restaurant in Fairfax, Virginia, bartender Kevin Diedrich’s Mexico-meets-Japan cocktail combines Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Partida Blanco, Combier, togarashi syrup, lime juice and egg white, with a sprinkling of matcha salt on top.

More beverage porn in Endless Cocktails.

Honey Poblano Chicken Tacos

These tacos are something crazy delicious. Shredded chicken, sweet and malty buckwheat honey, spicy roasted poblano peppers and melty gouda cheese, all shoved into a crispy, freshly fried corn tortilla. These were so tasty I ate them for dinner. Then I woke up and made a few more for breakfast. And I’m still thinking about them.

I gave time-saving alternative ingredients if you’re strapped for time, but I must insist that you fry your own tortillas. Do not buy the hard shell tacos and use those; they are light years away from the awesomeness of a freshly fried corn tortilla. Let’s get down to business:

Honey Poblano Chicken Tacos

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In Which I Succumb to Taco Tuesday

When I first moved to DC, I had the pleasure of living with not one but two lovely women who came from families with eight children.  As a member of a modest two-child family, I was endlessly fascinated by their stories of growing up.  One story that entered our household lore and has stuck with me going on six years later is the tale of the day that Rachel, who was near the end of her large family train, called her house on a Tuesday and talked to her mom.  It came out that her mom, dad and brother, the only ones remaining at home, were having fish for dinner.  Indignantly, Rachel exclaimed, “But Mom, it’s Taco Tuesday!”  To which her mom replied something like, “You think that we still eat tacos every week now that it’s just the three of us?”  It seems that Taco Tuesday was more a product of pragmatism than a reflection of her mother’s love of Tex-Mex cuisine.

For me, the food growing up was considerably less regimented. Sure, there were some favorite family dishes, but the level of predictability was considerably less pronounced.  My mother would plan the week’s menu over the weekend, and each of us would have a say.  New dishes were welcomed, particularly if the person suggesting it was also willing to cook it.  After I flew the coop, I met a man whose tastes are as varied as mine, and together we embarked on many culinary adventures (think homemade gyros, doro wat, and pesto pizza). It seemed that Taco Tuesday, at least for me, was not to be.

But…I now find myself the parent of two kids two and under, one of whom eats every three hours around the clock, and the other who is disinclined to entertain himself for hours while I practice Advanced Menu Planning and Execution.  That’s right.  I have embraced not only Taco Tuesday, but Pasta Monday as well.  But, I promise you this, ESers:  There will never be a Turkey Surprise Thursday.  I hope.

Oh yes, a recipe…so, when I am feeling particular adventurous  and my mini-sous chef is willing, Taco Tuesday can become Enchilada Tuesday.  It’s not too much more work, but looks considerably more impressive.

Easy Tuesday Enchiladas

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Cooking with Booze: Beer-Battered Baja Fish Tacos

Inebriated……clobbered……blitzed……hammered……obliterated……tanked……soused……ripped…..oh, sorry. I was just looking at some pictures of past dinner parties that I’ve hosted. And I’ve made a shocking realization—my friends can’t hold their liquor!

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to figure that out, considering that on two separate occasions my mailbox ended up on the hood of someone’s car shortly after the conclusion of my party. Or the time that one of my friends unwillingly used the sprinklers on my lawn as his alarm clock. (He still made it to work on time. Air traffic controllers start pretty early around here.)

Could it be that I’ve missed the warning signs in the past? I thought those Christmas card mug shots were pretty funny. And if the guy on the corner doesn’t like people driving across his lawn, he ought to put up a fence! Could it be that we’re just getting older, slowing down, becoming (dare I say it?)….responsible?

Now that most of my friends and I are in our mid to upper fifties, I guess that a little easing up should be expected. Some of us are on our second or third spouse, hip, shoulder or knee. Could that piece of charcoal that passes as our liver be next? Does alcohol compliment food, or the other way around? What was I talking about……?

Oh yeah, booze……hooch……giggle juice……rotgut……moonshine……grog……sauce…..god, my mouth is watering. Man, I need a drink. And some food. Oh yeah, food! THAT’S what this piece is supposed to be about. Food that soaks up booze. Fried food, like fish, which I hear is good for your brain, although I can’t remember who told me that. Fish tacos are not only fried, but they’re even MADE with booze. So here’s a recipe that covers all the bases and still gives you a good dose of omega-3s, which the brain cells that aren’t slaughtered by the alcohol will be very happy to receive.

Katt’s Baja Brain Boosters

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