A Cucumber Salad for Cucumber Haters

The other weekend I was going to a little cucumber-themed dinner party with some friends. Yep, cucumber-themed. Pretty specific, I know, but I love dinner parties so of course I was down. Here’s a secret, though: I really don’t like cucumbers very much. They’re one of the few foods I generally shy away from (other foods that receive that treatment from yours truly? Celery, eggplant, and licorice). I wasn’t going to be a theme-wrecker, though, so I decided to make a salad including, but not highlighting, the cukes. I also was in the mood to be healthy (if you don’t count the approximately 6 glasses of white wine I downed that night, oops).

This salad was really easy to throw together and it was a hit amongst my friends. Quinoa has always been one of my favorite grains, and it used to be considered kind of exotic, but these days it’s pretty easy to find. I combined that with fresh herbs and ruby red grapefruit (which, unlike cucumber, is one of my favorite flavors). The result? Light, fresh, sweet, sour, a bit spicy, and waaaaay too easy to eat.

Grapefruit-Cucumber Quinoa Salad

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Endless Poptails: Strawberry Greyhound

They’re baaaaaaack. We were going to wait for summer to re-launch our Endless Poptails series, but guess what? Poptail season starts when we say it does. Because while we don’t need to an excuse to squeeze a little booze into anything we can, we thought we’d give you an excuse to do so, too. Besides, there’s always fruit in a Poptail — so thank us later for giving you another way to get you daily fruit serving.

For those who are new to the series — we try to keep it simple here, so you don’t have to go spend some crazy money for jut a few ounces. At the same time. if we do use something crazy we’ll give you a variation, so you can decide to scale up or down.

Kickstarting the series is a classic Greyhound (vodka-grapefruit cocktail) mixed here with strawberries, for a sweet-and-tart kick on a stick. Also — now that we’ve got you started we’re taking orders. Let us know in the comments what kind of cocktail you want to see mixed into a Poptail.

Grapefruit and Strawberry Greyhound Poptail

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Cocktail O’Clock: Shibuya Shake

Any drink that combines the exotic (shiso leaf), the extravagant (St. Germain) and the just plain silly (Squirt!) is an A-OK drink as far as we’re concerned.

This one comes from the just-opened Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen in San Francisco. If you don’t have a Japanese grocer around the corner, we’re pretty sure it would work with a couple basil leaves instead of the shiso. Pretty sure the Squirt is essential though.

Shibuya Shake

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Cocktail O’Clock: The Gringo

It’s a billion and one degrees outside. Does that call for a frosty beer? Or a cold glass of juice? Maybe a shot of tequila? How about all three?  Red Star Tavern in Portland, Oregon is now serving The Gringo, a beer-based cocktail that will make you forget all about the heat.

The Gringo

1.5 oz. silver tequila (100% agave)
.5 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1 oz. grapefruit juice
1 Double Mountain Vaporizer Pale Ale (or your favorite pale ale)

Shake tequila, elderflower, and grapefruit with ice. Strain over fresh ice.  Top off with pale ale. Serve in a salt-rimmed glass with a grapefruit twist.

For more summertime cocktail recipes, check out Endless Cocktails

Top 9 Foods Found Only at SoCal Farmers’ Markets (and Not in DC)

While I didn’t catch a glimpse of an avocado orchard, or even an avocado tree, I did find a farmers market, Local Harvest at Marine Stadium, on my last day in Long Beach, California. The first stall displayed all fruits and vegetables that I easily find at my neighborhood far mar: zucchini and onions and peaches.

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But then I looked to my left and saw jujubes. The vendor had a sign proclaiming unattainable health benefits (cancer prevention, Zen-filled life). I bought a half pound. Frankly, though, jujubes may grant me 109 years on earth, but they still taste like blah. Total blah. At first I thought they were dried chilies but then I thought, hey, a sickly sweet candy is named after the dried fruit so it must be sweet. ERRRR. <buzzer sounds> It tastes like absolutely nothing.


What a radical notion. Citrus fruit is not only in white cartons marked with styles of “some pulp,” but apparently grow on trees. In California.

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Dragon Fruit

Total alien fruit. Was this the punk rock cousin of an artichoke with its round shape and spiky leaves? No. It’s a beautiful fuchsia-fleshed fruit. The color, however, is more exciting than the taste.


There are some edibles out there that I have zero concept of how they grow. Nuts are one of them. Fresh almonds from the farmers market are particularly nutty and do have more flavor than their encased-in-bulk-bins selves.

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