Top 10 Foodie Gifts

Ah yes, Christmastime is here. Christmas music is playing at every department store in the nation, fathers and husbands are crankily rushing around to strings of lights, Christmas trees, and other gadgets that are used for one month out of the year, and yes- – we are all searching for gifts to please those special people in our lives. There are so many things to choose from. But what about for those of us who love food the most? What are you going to get them? A fruit of the month club? Another cookbook that will sit on the shelve to collect dust? NO! How about something that is different/unique but also enjoyable? Well, we’re here to help. Here are our 2014 suggestions:

First Nibs: Chocolate Subscription

10. Raaka Chocolate Subscription

Raaka now offers a subscription service that offers two limited edition bars and one of their “classics” sent directly to your doorstep. The limited edition bars are only available through subscription. We were in Bryant Park and got a chance to sample their Pinot Noir Salt and Pink Peppercorn bar which was very tasty. A neat idea for any chocolate lovers out there who also appreciate a twist on some original flavors.

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9. The Original Bacon Kit

If you don’t like bacon, you most likely hate America as well. This kit would be fun for ANYONE to try out themselves and pride themselves on serving their own bacon on Sunday morning.


8. Handpresso Auto

You already know how I feel about this product. If you have an espresso lover in your life, I guarantee they will enjoy this. Fresh espresso in your car – what else is there to say? I mean, other than the fact that it also ensures your car will always be smelling like Starbucks!

7. Spiegelau Craft Beer Tasting Kit

Spiegelau is known for their high quality glass and practical designs, enhancing the flavors of the beverage poured into the glass. We’ve already tried the IPA, Stein, and Stout glass, but this kit gives the beer lover a glass to drink each beer they have in their fridge. I’ve been doing some in depth testing of the kit that Spiegelau sent us and I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the way each glass enhances the aroma, flavor, and sometimes carbonation of the beer. If you know someone who loves beer, invest in two of these kits as a gift – they need to have enough glasses to share with you!

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The ES Summit: Top 10 Beers and Booze for Politics

The tides are shifting in American politics. A new party is in control and our President is willing to work with them to make a better America. Blah blah blah. Yet another cycle has completed and we now have another lame duck president. BUT WAIT. Obama and US Senator Mitch McConnell are going to solve all of our problems with a Bourbon Summit. Now that’s something we can get behind. A little Kentucky booze may be just what our leaders need to get things done. This got us thinking…what would an ES summit look like? Other than the usual gallivanting around, bitching and moaning about irrelevant things, and gorging ourselves with food, we would pick the best beer and booze to offer for the occasion. If it were up to us, here’s what the Obama-McConnell summit would consist of:

10) Flying Dog Raging Bitch

What better to drink while BITCHING and moaning about the great problems of the world (or what to have for dinner)? Raging Bitch is an in your face IPA with a nice sweetness that makes it very drinkable at a high ABV.

Arrogant Bastard Ale

9) Arrogant Bastard Ale

Need I say more? Not only does the name sum up just about every one of your very proud “ES’ers, but it also sums up the jerks in Congress. What’s more? The brew is one of the highest ranked in the United States with complex flavors that will also kick your ass.

Knob Creek® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

8) Knob Creek

A little bourbon never hurt nobody. Knob Creek is about that level where you stop drinking whiskey with coke and actually start enjoying the sweet and oak-aged flavors of bourbon.

7) Titos Vodka

What’s more American than an all-American made vodka? We have to be at least a little patriotic, right? Plus, this is some of the smoothest Vodka we’ve ever had! Try it with water and lemon…just be careful – you won’t taste the whiskey.

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Endless Booze: Adult Chocolate Milk


















I know grown men that will still order a chocolate milk out at a restaurant or diner. So why not? Unless you don’t like chocolate (and hate America), you should be thrilled to hear of adult chocolate milk. My sister’s boyfriend brought it to us as we celebrated the Fourth of July and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I can’t really tell you what it’s made of…since the label doesn’t say much at all. The only thing I can tell you is that it was chocolatey with a slight hint of booze and it goes with many mixers and other alcohols. The overall consensus was that a shot of it tastes like an alcoholic Tootsie Roll.

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Friends Wine a Can

Wine in a Can? Yup.

Friends Wine a Can

This is a thing that is happening in our lives (and livers). Canned wine: it is real.

The brand is called “Friends Just Wine” which strikes me as hilarious for some reason, and also makes me think of these two scenarios:

“Hey bro, are you and Chelsea hooking up?” “No way brah, we’re just friends…”
“Excuse me young lady, are you drinking alcohol in that can?” “Of course not, officer, it’s just juice…”

Or something. That might have made more sense in my head. Anyway, my friends said it looks like the Friends sitcom logo, which is also funny. Really, either way, what’s better than wine with friends? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

As far as stealth drinking, portability, and container endurance goes, Friends Just Wine takes the cake. You can tuck it in a koozie and pretend it’s a more innocuous soda or something. You can throw it into a big, full cooler and not worry about a glass bottle breaking. Plus it’s earth-friendly since you can just recycle the aluminum can – no plastic cups required, unlike when you lug a couple glass bottles to a picnic or pool party (unless you decide to take earth-friendliness into your own hands/mouth and drink straight from the bottle, which I would never condemn).

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Resolving to Make My Own Gin

Everything is DIY these days. People brew their own beer. Urban farmers with backyard chicken coops and beehives are multiplying exponentially…or at least, here in Austin they are. It was only a matter of time before Americans took certain matters into their own hands and started distilling their own homemade liquors as well.

Luckily for us agriculturally-challenged folks, the dudes at the Homemade Gin Kit have our backs. No Boardwalk Empire bathtub swill for us in 2013! Instead, you can send away for a big box packed with (almost) everything you need to create your very own bottle of gin. For $40 plus tax and shipping, they’ll send you juniper berries, a mix of botanicals, spices, and flowers, two glass swing top liquor bottles, a double mesh fine strainer, a funnel, and detailed instructions. All you need to have is your own bottle of mid-grade vodka, and a little bit of patience.

I was fortunate enough to score a sample of the Gin Kit before it was released to the public this holiday season, and I’ll be honest: while the idea of making my own booze was undeniably appealing, I was a liiiiiittle bit skeptical. Could I really make gin just by throwing some dried herbs into a bottle of vodka? Also, I’m pretty picky about gin quality (unlike boxed wine or  well vodka, I actually have standards when it comes to gin, because the cheap stuff makes me nauseous)—would this creation even be up to my standards?

Well, if anyone was up for the challenge of finding out, it was THIS GIRL.

Here’s what came out of my kit:


Here you can see all the supplies I listed above (plus my own bottle of Vikingfjord Vodka, which is pretty good, and a steal at $10ish!) The equipment is all high-quality stuff—-the glass bottles are really nice and sturdy, and the strainer and funnel are solid as well. I will definitely add these to permanent rotation in my kitchen tool collection.

Anyway, the process is pretty simple. You add some of the juniper to the vodka bottle, wait a day-ish, add the rest of the botanicals, wait longer, than strain out all the crud and funnel the remaining liquid into the glass bottles. Ta-da, gin! The process of making the gin itself took about a weekend (as in, spending 5-10 minutes on each step, every other part was just waiting) and it was fun and exciting. I guess the excitement factor depends on how thrilled you get about booze, but we all know how I feel about that.

Here’s me fulfilling my destiny with the last part of the process, funneling the gin into its final home:

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Friday Fuck-Up: Stick With the Beer

T’was the night before Christmas and there in my kitchen,
the turkey was ready; and boy, was it bitchin’!
It was seasoned and brined and buttered with care,
and ready for dinner once the gang all got there.
We’d celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and all,
and include all religions, just like the mall.
I’ve sent out the invites and bought all the booze.
They all said they’d be here, even the Jews!

This recipe is new, I’d seen it online.
It got thirty ‘likes,’ so it had to be fine.
I roast at 450 for thirty minutes or so,
to get the skin crisp—then turn it real low.
And leave it alone to keep cookin’ all night.
It was on endlesssimmer so it had to be right!

I popped in the bird and poured a short drink.
I drank it real quick, and that made me think.
What can I do while I’m timing the roast?
That drink was sure good, maybe just one more toast.
Wait thirty minutes, or some other jive?
To help me pass time I’ll take a shot every five!

Fifteen minutes go by and it’s shot number three.
Or does that make five? Now how can this be?
I started with two and then had three more.
What was the time when I started to pour?
I roast it for thirty or some other crap?
Maybe I’d better take just a short nap.

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Burns My Bacon: Anti-Booze States

Do you know what a State Store is? If you do, then you understand my endless rage. If you don’t, then you’ll most likely be enjoying the recent endless wines super-cheap case of wine gift with no frustrations. The rest of us are scrambling to find somebody in a neighboring state willing to open their doors to a case of wine while also willing to refrain from drinking it. (I’ll explain)

I know for most of you, you have no idea what I’m talking about. Some of you can stop at a gas station on your way home from work and pick up a pounder of Keystone for your enjoyment the minute you get home. Or you could stop at your local grocery store and get wine, beer, or yes, even liquor. You have no idea how much the rest of us envy you.

I live in the great state of Pennsylvania. We are home to two great cities, great sports, the Philadelphia Cheesesteak, the Liberty Bell, the homes of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, and a site of which the constitution was drafted. We bring to America great pride in its history. But then there is this giant ink blotch on our state that we just can’t get rid of: The State Store.

Here in Pennsylvania, we are restricted to where and when we can get our booze. If you want beer, you need to go to a distributor. You want wine or the hard stuff?! Who the hell do you think you are? You need to go to what we call “state stores” run by the LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD (not controlling nanny-state-like at all). But wait—you can only go during certain hours, and we do not allow anyone to get any form of alcohol on Sundays (depending on where you live IN PA). God forbid. Phew. So those are the rules here.

Well…there is another catch. Apparently if these state stores (which have a giant selection and are run by experts in wine and booze…er…sarcasm) don’t have what you want,  you can’t even order if from  another state without going through the state store. And paying a tax nearing 20% on your purchase. You better pay for your booze you drunkard!

So that awesome deal that you’re trying to get…that’s hilarious! They can’t ship to Pennsylvania—that would be blasphemy.  I mean, unless you ship it to the state store and pay us back in taxes for allowing you to send a package to our door and hold it for you. That takes a lot of resources you know…

The deal is awesome. I’m pretty excited, and contemplating having the girlfriend let me ship to her house in New Jersey (just don’t tell anyone!). The rest of you…well, you know what I think about you. Pick up a 40 for me next time you’re out…anywhere. Celebrate the occasion that you’re free to buy whatever beverage you want, wherever you want. I’ll be lost in the maze of Pennsylvania legislation trying to figure out HOW THE HELL I CAN GET ME SOME NAKED WINE!

(Photo: Our Awesome Wine Sponsor)

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