DDD #149 – Dark & Stormy Rum Cocktail

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IMG_3403All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2020

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Dark & Stormy

INGREDIENTS

3 ounces dark rum

6 ounces ginger beer

fresh lime

ice

INSTRUCTIONS

Fill a glass with ice.  Squeeze half a lime over the ice.  Add a slice of lime inside the glass.  Add the ginger beer.  Pour the rum over a spoon into the glass.  Garnish with a lime slice.

Voila!

Vegan Pulled Chicken with Jackfruit in a Sriracha and Blackberry Jam BBQ Sauce for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

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That above is jackfruit.  It is a staple in Southeast Asian diets.  It is a giant fruit that grows to 100 pounds.  If you want to read more about it – I went into some detail in my Vegan Jackfruit Spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles post.  Those are the noodles – below.

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I bought this jackfruit in cans for $1.39 at my favorite Thai market – Bangluck – but I hear most Asian markets carry it.  Just be sure to buy UNRIPE or young jackfruit in water or brine.  Ripe jackfruit in syrup – it seems – tastes like Juicy Fruit gum & would be awful in this dish.

I made this in the slow cooker using a combination of jackfruit & Beyond Meat vegan chicken strips.

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Both the jackfruit (above) & chicken will require that you shred it using two forks to achieve the pulled chicken visual.  It is easy once they are warmed & soft.  Just fish them out of the BBQ sauce & shred them on a cutting board.

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Vegan Pulled Chicken with Jackfruit in a Sriracha and Blackberry Jam BBQ Sauce for the Slow Cooker

This makes a lot but I will post 4 recipes using it over the next few days

INGREDIENTS

2 (20 oz) cans of young jackfruit

9 oz vegan chicken

4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 TBS cider vinegar

2 TBS Dijon mustard

1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari

2/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup blackberry (or other dark berry) jam or preserves

3 TBS sriracha

1 TBS molasses

2 TBS vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1 (12 oz) bottle of dark (or other) beer (optional)

2 tsp smoked paprika

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS chili powder

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything in the slow cooker & leave on high for 5 hours.

At some point – you need to use two forks & shred the chicken & jackfruit.

Serve as you would serve any pulled chicken.

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Chipotle Gouda and Guinness (Stout) Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pulled Chicken (or Pork) in Homemade Chipotle Apricot BBQ Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Macaroni & cheese.  Who doesn’t love it?  It can be customized so many ways and, even better, can be prepared in advance & baked in the last half hour so – if you are hosting a party – you can actually enjoy it, too, and not slave in the kitchen while the guests swill your liquor together.

I hosted a little birthday thingy recently & made three, count’m – THREE – different kinds of mac & cheese.  I made the one posted here and I made a Mint & Zucchini Mac & Cheese & a Smoked Gouda & Truffle Oil Mac & Cheese with Crispy Panko – seen below – respectively.

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I made this pulled chicken version with Beyond Meat vegan chicken.

You could use any fake (or real) meat.  I also made a homemade BBQ sauce (which is VERY easy) but your favorite jarred variety will do.

I used chipotle gouda.  Only 8 oz.  LOTS of other cheese, though, so the chipotle part was a tad overwhelmed but the chipotle BBQ sauce more than made up for it.  If you love chipotle, maybe add a chopped chipotle pepper or two into the cheese mix of double or triple the quantity of chipotle gouda?  These kinds of dishes have lots of wiggle room so do not get all anal about this shit.  Mix it up & trust.  It is fucking cheese & pasta.  Who is gonna complain?

I used a combination of various pastas in my three dishes.  The kind you use is up to you.

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My dish was inspired by this photo – but the recipe is mine.  The list of ingredients in the BBQ sauce is long but the instructions are short – so do not be intimidated.

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Homemade Chipotle Apricot BBQ Sauce

Makes WAY more than you need for just the mac & cheese recipe – so keep leftovers jarred in the fridge

INGREDIENTS

1 TBS Olive Oil

1/2 onion – diced

7 garlic cloves – minced

1 4 oz can chipotle peppers in adobo – minced

3/4 cup apricot jam or preserves

1 cup tomato sauce (I used a spicy homemade pasta sauce I had around but jarred/canned is fine)

1 cup ketchup

A few shakes hot sauce ( I love Crystal)

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 cup brown sugar

1-3 TBS sriracha (or other hot sauce)

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 TBS Dijon

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp celery salt (optional)

1 tsp ground pepper

1-3 DROPS Liquid Smoke (optional – but if you use it – GO LIGHT because this stuff gets gross fast)

2 TBS cornstarch (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a pan & saute the onions.

Once they are soft, add everything else & bring to a boil – then lower heat & simmer for 15 minutes or so.  You could puree this in a blender if you liked – but I did not.  I then left mine in a crock pot for a few hours but a few minutes stove top is great.  If you want it thicker – stir in some cornstarch at the end.  I did not do this.

Set aside.  See?  easy!

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OK – one thing – because I made this mac & cheese for a party, I cooked it in a large casserole pan but the ramekin images were taken the next day – when I reheated the leftovers.

This is not burned on top.  You are seeing the BBQ sauce & vegan chicken.  Mmmmmmm!

Chipotle Gouda and Guinness (Stout) Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pulled Chicken (or Pork)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups BBQ sauce (recipe above)

1 lb dry pasta – cooked & drained & cooled under running water

9 oz vegan chicken or pork (or real meat)

2 cups milk (I used almond)

4 TBS butter

4 TBS flour

pinch of nutmeg

1 tsp chipotle chili powder

1 12 oz Guinness (or other stout)

8 oz chipotle gouda

3 cups grated cheddar

2 cups grated pepper jack – divided

4 oz cream cheese

S&P to taste

1-2 cups panko or other breadcrumbs

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook & cool the pasta.

Heat up 1 1/2 cups of BBQ sauce (reserve 1/2 cup to drizzle over the top later) & drop the vegan chicken in there.  Bring to a boil & the lower heat & simmer while you do the next things.  When you can, however, use two forks & shred the chicken in the BBQ sauce.

Warm the milk.

In another pan, melt the butter over med-high heat & then add the flour.  Whisk constantly & it should bet thick pretty fast.  Heat it until it starts to turn a golden sandy color.  Then, add the milk 1/2 cup at a time, whisking the whole time, until all the milk is incorporated & it is sorta thick – but still pourable.    Now add the beer the same way.  It could get frothy & bubble over so be careful.  It won’t get thick again once you add the beer.  Once it is all incorporated – add all the other ingredients – EXCEPT the BBQ chicken – and be sure to reserve one cup of pepper jack to top the dish.

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Spray a casserole pan with cooking spray & put the mac & cheese in.  If it seems too dry, stir in some milk.  I didn’t have to with this recipe.  Top with panko (and I spray them with cooking spray).  The one on the left is the one for this recipe.

Bake for about 25 minutes & then top it with the BBQ chicken & the reserved pepper jack.  Bake another ten minutes or so – or until the cheese is melted.

Drizzle with reserved BBQ sauce, if you desire.

Let it rest 5 minutes or so & serve that shit up!

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Smoky Guinness Mac & Cheese with Crispy Fried Onions

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is a slight adaptation from a recipe posted by one of my favorite food bloggers – How Sweet It Is.  The main difference being simply that she topped hers with panko & fresh basil.  I opted for canned crispy onions!

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This is a really easy dish & the flavor of the Guinness really does come through.  Because of the dark beer – the dish has a browner color than traditional mac & cheese.  The crispy onions on top add a bit of sweetness.  A perfect dish for St. Patrick’s Day!!!

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Smoky Guinness Mac & Cheese with Crispy Fried Onions

serves 8-12

INGREDIENTS

5 cups uncooked macaroni

4 TBS butter

4 TBS flour

16 ounces milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

16 ounces Guinness or other stout (or other beer)

16 ounces cheddar (I used a mix of 7 oz Kerrygold Dubliner & 9 oz Tillamook sharp) – grated

plus 1 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar)

8 ounces Parmesan – grated

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp pepper

pinch of nutmeg

6 ounces crispy fried onion pieces from a can

Additional grated cheese to top the casserole – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cook & drain the pasta.  Feel free to under cook it a minute or two as it will cook more in the baking process.

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over med-high heat.  Whisk in the flour & stir constantly for a few minutes – until it begins to brown.

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Slowly add the milk & beer – in increments – and stir constantly as it thickens.  It will not be as thick as most recipes because of the beer.  Once incorporated, add the 16 ounces of cheese & blend.  Add the spices & blend.   Lower the heat to medium & simmer about 5 minutes.  Add the pasta & blend.  Add an additional cup of grated cheese – if you feel it needs it.  I did.

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Transfer the mix to a greased casserole pan.  Top with more cheese (optional – I did not add more here) and top with the crispy onions.

Bake 25-30 minutes & then allow to set & cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Slop that baby out onto some plates & swill it down with more Guinness!  HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

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BEER! And other lunch items at Spitz, 3 Dog Cantina, Mission Cantina & Golden Road Pub – in & around Hollywood, California

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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The last time my badass boyfriend, Miles, was in town from Little Rock – it was over 100 degrees nearly every day of his week-and-a-half long stay.  Hot like the temperature recorded on my drive to LAX – in that photo above.

That is the heat reading on one of my two trips to get him at LAX (as his first attempt to leave was thwarted by the total incompetence of American Airlines – a fact that also allowed us a few extra days together so – there’s that).  Driving round trip from Hollywood to LAX is usually unpleasant, at best, but when it is 105 in your house & you have no air conditioning, you find yourself quite content on the 110 south in bumper to bumper traffic – because it is your only access to free AC.  Even the typically irritating fact that you cannot access the carpool lane because you are alone in the car is an inconvenience that rolls off you like the sweat on your own back.  Sweat that has dried & even causes a little chill as you blast the AC into your face so hard that your hair looks like a fright wig at the happy reunion with said beau.

The result of the uncivilized & oppressive & unyielding heat was that Miles & I spent far too many daylight hours in air-conditioned public places – usually ones with bars.  Not jail bars – but “belly-up-to-the” bars.  Bars with friendly bartenders.  Bars serving cold beer & the kind of acidic, unpleasant wine that most bars serve by the glass.   MMMMM!  That’s livin’!

The first time I picked him up at the airport, it was literally 105 in Hollywood so we went directly to Mission Cantina because Miles had a taste for Mexican food & because they serve this Pasadena-made beer – Craftsman 1903 – that I really enjoy.  He got a chicken burrito & I got a couple of fish tacos.

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Everything was delicious.  I’ve written about Mission Cantina before – when Miles & I first went there & then to the Museum of Death.  Here is the interior & outside patio.

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Our only issue on this day was that they had all their doors wide open & it was only a few degrees cooler in there than the oven just outside the doors.  I had sweat rolling down my legs and when a gal is wearing shorts & sweat runs down her legs – well – does the word “incontinence” mean anything to you?  It isn’t a pretty picture.

So – the next time I picked him up at the airport (an hour after dropping him off there) it was still 105 outside.  So – we decided to try a new place we spotted on our drive back home – Spitz.  I had never heard of it & the exterior gave nothing away as to what we might expect inside.  Here is the inside:

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They had Golden Road AND the Craftsman 1903 – both made locally.  I’m a fussy beer drinker so this pleased me a great deal.  So – Miles & I ordered beers & checked out the menu.

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Nearly everything on the menu had a carnivorous & vegetarian option!  That is a great thing for me (a vegetarian) & my “all meat all the time” boyfriend.  Unfortunately, neither of us were very hungry so we ordered only the Street Cart Fries which we were promised would be amazing.  And they were!

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Somehow, despite being loaded with a lot of damp toppings, these fries remained crispy & delicious.  Then we noticed – MY GOD – it was happy hour!  So I ordered a glass of white wine & Miles got another beer.  The wine was far more drinkable than your average happy hour white & served in a real wine glass AND it was a deep pour.  Suffice it to say, I will be returning to Spitz!

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On a hot Sunday, Miles & I staggered in from the heat – and I mean it was Africa hot – to 3 Dog Cantina.  I’d considered the place before but a peek inside revealed it to be MASSIVE & with a sports bar vibe.  Neither Miles nor I can tolerate sports so this place has been on the back burner.  Until that boiling hot Sunday.  We entered 3 Dog Cantina!

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Promptly seated in one of those huge booths by the window, I checked us in on Four Square because, as I’ve said before, I am a huge dork.  And because, sometimes, you get a little reward.  This check-in rewarded Miles with a free beer!  Bravo!  I ordered this cucumber margarita & it was pretty awesome.

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If I’m not mistaken, Miles also ordered a lemonade & a Coke with his beer & they were served in huge Mason jars.

Here is the menu.

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Not a fan of mahi-mahi, I ordered shrimp tacos & Miles got fajitas.

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The food was great, the room was very pleasant (despite sports on every wall) and it wasn’t crowded so we lingered as long as it took Miles to eat ALL of that chicken – which he did.  A miracle.

On the last full day of Miles’ trip, the temperature dropped into the nineties so I decided we could brave an outdoor meal.  We had been planning to try the Golden Road Brewery Pub and so try it we did.  It was even bigger that 3 Dog Cantina & offered indoor seating, outdoor seating & outdoor games.  Empty, it had the vibe of those massive bars in – like – Ensenada – that cater to college kids.  The sheer optimism of the size of it was intimidating.  Being there when it is crowded must be brutal.  But they had parking & it wasn’t crowded so we pressed on.

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HERE is the menu.  Far more creative than I have come to expect at pubs.  I ordered the avocado fritters & the banh mi (because I have never seen a veggie one before).  Miles, predictably, got ribs.  And we both got their Point the Way IPA.

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I’ve had fried avocado before & found it mushy, warm & gross.  THESE were crispy & delicious.

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I cannot comment on the ribs but Miles seemed to enjoy them a great deal & he ate ALL of that hunk of cornbread.  I guess southerners like the cornbread crumbly while, southerners say, Yankees like it wet.  As a Yankee, that was news to me – though I am definitely in the “moist with fresh corn added to it” camp.  Miles, if you haven’t figured it out, is a light eater despite the fact that (or maybe because) everything he chooses to eat is heavy.  Meat meat meat.  If it is fried – even better.  “Vegetables” for him include (and are almost limited to) mac & cheese & french fries.  How he stays at 135 lbs at 5’6″ – I will never know.  Especially when you factor in the beer.  By I digress.

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That is the banh mi.  In fairness to Golden Road – I am not a huge tofu fan.  I don’t dislike it – as in – I will not avoid it but I never add it to anything that doesn’t already include it.  I don’t buy into that whole “Vegetarian?  My god!  How do you get your protein?” bullshit.

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So – I found the tofu in the sandwich sort of pointless & replaced it with the fried avocado.  Also, in fairness to Golden Road, they offer a sandwich with the fried avocado.  And the bread was ridiculously awesome.  So, next time – I will get that fried A.L.T. they offer.  And there will be a next time because it was distinctly pleasant to sit out on their big porch & drink their beer & nibble the goodies they offer.

So – there you have it!  Four new joynts to try out – whether you are a degenerate carnivore, a persnickety vegetarian or just an inveterate drunk.  Enjoy!

In closing – here are two completely unrelated but cute little animal posts.  You’re welcome.

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Spicy Honey Chipotle Homemade BBQ Sauce & Golden Road Beer

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is pretty straight forward.  I used this on a bunch of chicken drumsticks that I barbecued over the weekend for my carnivorous boyfriend & some other guests.  They looked like this (the drumsticks – not my guests):

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And they smelled so good – it was all I could do not to just quit this pescatarian business & devour a few of those bad boys.  The BBQ sauce is genuinely spicy & could be used any way you might use such a thing – or maybe even mixed into some potato salad or something.

The beer in this photo here

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is by a local Los Angeles brewery called Golden Road & it is delicious!  See – the cans are all marked with the date they were canned?  I once had a beer from there that was only a day old.  There is a pub, too, with vegan & other bar food.  I will definitely be going there soon so I can report back.

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Spicy Honey Chipotle Homemade BBQ Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 small onion – diced

olive oil

4 garlic cloves – chopped

3 TBS brown sugar 3/4 cup ketchup

1 TBS molasses

1/4 cup honey

2 TBS apple cider vinegar

1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

2 chipotle peppers in their adobo sauce – minced

2 TBS Dijon mustard

1 TBS sriracha

1 tsp chipotle powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne

DIRECTIONS

Heat about 1 TBS olive oil in a stock pan.  Saute the onion until translucent.  Add the other ingredients & bring to a boil.  Lower heat & simmer for 10-20 minutes to let it thicken a bit & to let the flavors meld.  Add water if it is too thick.  When it cools – blend it to break up any onion or chipotle still left in pieces.  Put it in an old pickle jar or something & chill until you are ready to use it.   This should last at least a week in the fridge – maybe more.

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Beer Drinking Woman! And Seafood Three Ways – Birds, Franklin and Co & Dillon’s – All in Hollywood

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

Maybe you should listen to Memphis Slim’s version of BEER DRINKING WOMAN while you read this blog!!!

I like beer.  I like seafood.  I like beer with seafood.  The photograph above is of a tall glass of Stella Artois at La Poubelle.  I didn’t get any seafood that visit – so just look at the pretty beer & lovely atmosphere they serve up in there.

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Just down the street is Birds.  I always thought the “birds” thing was that they are pretty heavy on the chicken options in the menu.  They serve rotisserie chicken several ways with about a dozen options.  I don’t eat chicken – or burgers – so I don’t really go into Birds as often as I might – despite living within a mile or two of it for twenty years now.  My boyfriend is a huge Hitchcock fan & has also written a feature film called All the Birds Have Flown South – which he refers to as Birds.  I dragged him into Birds this past July – completely oblivious to the potential connections.  We walked in & sat at the bar & Miles looked around.  “Oh!  Now I see why you brought me here,” he said, smiling.  I returned his smile with a dull stare.  “You do?”  “Yeah!  This is a Hitchcock bar!”  “It is?…”  I looked around & noticed, for the first time, wall to wall portraits of Hitchcock & images from The Birds.  “Oh my God!” I said, realizing.  “Oh!  You love Hitchcock!!  OH!!  Wow.  OH!  And your new movie is called Birds!”  It was my turn to smile at him & for him to look back confused.  How could I POSSIBLY have not noticed or realized – or whatever – EVER??  Thank God he loves me.  Even at my most obtuse.  See here?  He seems to be thinking, “Yeah.  I love you.  Even though you are stupid.”

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Yeah, but HOW stupid are you – you might ask.  Well – notice the Hitchcock profile tattooed inside Miles’ forearm.  I’m THAT stupid.

At any rate – Birds has a full bar & beer on tap.  And – you can sit outside!

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I ordered a Stella & Miles got a Bud Lite.  He ordered chicken & I got the seared tuna burger.

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Miles declared his chicken was among the best he’d ever had – and backed that up by ordering it every time we returned there in the future.  The tuna burger came on a bun about the size & pliability of a VW Bug & was just that easy to fit in my maw.  So – I removed the bun & the tuna was delightful.  The fries here are good & I like that they have about a dozen dipping sauces – from buffalo to bbq to mayo based things – so you can maximize the caloric impact of the meal.

Speaking of buffalo sauce – just next door is the Franklin & Company Tavern.   I love buffalo sauce but since I do not eat chicken – so I only ever really get to eat it by dipping fries in it or by making buffalo shrimp at home.  But – Franklin & Co has buffalo shrimp on the menu!!!

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Of all the joynts there on Franklin Avenue – the interior of this one is my favorite.  It is a VAST improvement from the Italian place – Prizzi’s – that once resided there.

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I like the menu a lot, too.  Lots of veggie faux meat things – like a gyro!

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Or you can go the raw ahi taco direction!  I recommend all very highly.  One complaint – I find their tap beers just a tad warm, so I usually order a bottled beer.  A friend of mine used to work for Magic Hat – so I usually get this as a silent shout out to him.

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They do beer flights & brunch specials & all kind of fun things.  I like this place a lot.

Our last stop in today’s pub crawl is Dillon’s Irish Pub – down at the corner of Hollywood & Vine.  If you like college girls in teensy weensy kilts & all manner of footwear – from goth platforms to sneakers – this is the place for you!  $3 valet outside is genius as everyone else in the area charges $10.  And – for three dollars – any pint of beer on tap!!! $5 for a large one.  This is kind of a big deal because they have (as my friend says) “one point seventy thousand million” beers there.  See?

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I got some Hawaiian thing – not sure what it was called.  It was good!  And – better still – Dillon’s has $2 oysters!

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I love oysters even though they look like the phlegm of a bronchitis patient.  I order them here all the time – almost exclusively.  Me & my buddy Curtis Armstrong (seen below from our time working on Route 30, Too – available for sale NOW!)

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would often drop into Dillon’s for two cocktails & two dozen oysters.  Despite looking like biohazard – they are delicious!  And none of this vinegar & shallots bullshit!  Cocktail sauce, horseradish, Tabasco & lemon!

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Most recently, as I popped the first oyster in my mouth – I though I heard something small hit the floor.  No, not Miles.  It was my earring.  As I reached up with both hands to check each ear – I heard another clink of a tiny item falling – even before I’d touched my ears.  And yes – sure enough – BOTH of my ears were bare.  I looked on the floor & there were both of my earrings on the floor – under my stool.  What the fuck?  Those oysters were so good – they popped both of my earrings out of my head with nearly the synchronized precision of those Olympic water dancers.  Plink/plink!  Out & on the floor.  That was a first for me.  I was so relieved to have Miles as a witness.  The fact is – we dropped into Dillon’s directly from the Museum of Death – so maybe the stuff they were peddling there had caused me to shiver my earrings nearly out of their nesting places but still.  The experience I had at Dillon’s was – eat an oyster & watch both of your earrings fly out of your head.

By the way – if oysters are your thing – and you also enjoy paying a lot of money for things – the oysters at the Public Kitchen at the gorgeous Roosevelt Hotel are pretty spectacular.

Anyway – I am tempted to go on & cover the classic Frolic Room – just down the street from Dillon’s but the Frolic Room deserves its own blog all to itself.  It is that awesome!

So – until then – CHEERS!

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Breakfast in Los Angeles Three Ways – Millie’s, Hugo’s & Alcove

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

I am not a huge breakfast person.  I tend to eat an early lunch & an early dinner & skip breakfast completely.  I know this is not considered good & makes you fat etc – but what can you do?  I usually work out in the mornings & I am not hungry when I wake up – so – there you have it.  Still – if I have out of town guests – the gym generally gets blown off & then breakfast is back on the table – quite literally.

One of my old school favorites is Millie’s in Silverlake.  I have been going there since about 1985-6.  I’m kind of a stickler about the word “diner” and prefer it only be used when referring to actual DINING CAR diners rather than just any shitty coffee shop. That said – I would be happy to call Millie’s a diner.  It has all the right cosmetic aesthetics & the right (and very good) food.

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That is my cutie boyfriend, Miles.  Aw!

Millie’s also has a great attitude.  Check out this vintage T-shirt I have from there from way back in the day:

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Service with a fuck you!  Nice!

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Miles ordered pork chops & cheesy eggs.  Miles often orders cheesy eggs but this was the first time I’d seen him happy with their execution.  It seems the cheese was nicely blended in with the eggs – rather than just slapped on top & stuck under a heat lamp.

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The pork chops passed muster – as did their awesome rosemary potatoes.  I ordered scrambled eggs, veggie sausage & a biscuit.

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All great – especially the biscuit & the coffee served in a proper diner mug.  There is seating inside, at the counter & outside.  If you sit at the counter – you can watch your meal be prepared.  The food portions are huge & I’ve never had a bad meal here.  The Devil’s Mess is exceptional.  The only odd thing is the art displayed – I guess made by local patrons.  I’m never very impressed.  I once thought some of my roadside attraction imagery would be a perfect fit.  Check them out HERE.  I mean – come on!  4 or 5 of them – printed huge & framed?  They would kill in there.  But I was told (a few years ago) by a snarky guy that the honor of hanging at Millie’s was reserved for regulars.  If a 25 year patronage doesn’t qualify me – then fuck it.  I guess I’ll save myself the expense of printing & framing & use some of that money for Millie’s coffee & biscuits.

A few days later – we stopped by Hugo’s – in the valley.  While Hugo’s has an insanely broad selection of healthy, vegetarian & vegan options – I pretty much get the same thing every time I go there.  I get one of their breakfast pastas.  Pasta Mama, Pasta Papa or – as in this case – Pasta Emilia.  They make all their pastas fresh which is not only wonderful but critical in the case of these eggy breakfast pastas.  Look how yummy!

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Miles ordered a beef burger & I think it weighed half as much as he does.  It was enormous.

I’m not a big fan of those rustic “skin on” french fries.  I am much more of a crispy shoestring or McDonald’s or crispy steak fry kinda gal but these at Hugo’s are OK.    This burger went a long way in that it fed Miles & then my three appreciative dogs as leftovers.  Hugo’s isn’t cheap – but it really is VERY good!

Finally – on a Sunday – I decided we had to eat outside.  We went to Alcove – in Hollywood.  This place is gorgeous in every way.  The outside patio is quaint & shady & has ample tables for al fresco dining.  The Big Bar is exactly the kind of old-school but still bright & cheery place I prefer to do my drinking.  There is a bakery & a chocolate element to Alcove, too, but sweets never appeal much to me.  Still – the is one of the prettiest little spots in Hollywood.  You order your food at the cash register, sit with a number & they bring your food to you – wherever you elected to sit.

I ordered a bagel & sliced tomato.  Miles opted for – who knew? – cheesy eggs & a side of potatoes.

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Again – the eggs got a thumbs up.  The potatoes were amazing.  I believe a frialator was involved & I can’t think of anything that isn’t improved by deep frying.  Except butter.   Deep fried butter EXISTS!!  Don’t believe me?  Look HERE.  UGH!  Gag gag gag.  But the potatoes at Alcove seemed deep fried and were a perfect golden color & not greasy at all.  Miles also ordered a beer – as he is wont to do.  It was a new beer to both of us & it was very good.  Don’t underestimate the charm of a cold beer for breakfast, kids!  And don’t judge.  In fact – TRY IT!

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Mmmmmmm!

And so there you have it.  Not a lotta comedy or drama today.  Just lotsa yummy breakfast options in Los Angeles.  And some sage advice – BEER for breakfast!!!

Fish Tacos at The Cat & Fiddle in Hollywood

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

Yesterday was a ridiculously gorgeous day & I needed a way to kill it – with dignity  – not holed up in my troglodyte’s haven – day drinking over my millionth homemade pizza.  My friend Katie & I decided that something greasy, perhaps on a bun, definitely in public, maybe with a rowdy or, at least, spirited crowd, beer & outdoor seating was in order.  After rejecting Saddle Ranch (which we only considered due to its proximity to our decision-making locale) as a place for the Jager & beer bong crowd – we remembered Cat & Fiddle.  It seemed a perfect choice – though I feared it would be packed & the outdoor seating option (a primary concern) taken out of play.  Sitting inside a dark pub on a gorgeous Los Angeles holiday weekend would be a sin.  As it happened – we got rock star parking & the place was deserted.

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Inside & out.

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Pardon the sub-par images but the bright, speckled sunlight made getting surreptitious but lovely outdoor photos impossible – and inside – it just felt rude to linger photographing the few folks that were belly up to the bar.

After some discussion – Katie opted for fish & chips & a hard cider – while I had fish tacos & a Stella.

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I find the food here quite good – assuming you are ready to eat PUB food & not fucking quinoa risotto and things made of kale, sea palm & kelp.  If healthy eating is your goal – head to the good but insanely pretentious Cafe Gratitude (check out this menu http://cafegratitudela.com/menu/) – which isn’t far away.  My fish tacos – while fried – were very yummy.  I ate everything – including a side of fries.  Katie cleaned her plate, too, except for the infinity of peas that made up the bed for her haddock & fries.  Seriously – they must have given her and entire bag of frozen peas.  I wonder in what quantity they get their peas delivered – because they cannot seem to unload enough on any one unsuspecting diner.

The patio outside is full of trees & umbrellas & flowers & a center fountain.  And – most delightful – is the doggy menu – for when your dog is your date – DOG MENU.  It is a perfect place for summer eating & drinking & getting fat.  With your dog.  Can’t beat that!  So after 2500 calories, two beers & both of us feeling like we’d swallowed a cinder block, Katie & I stepped out of Cat & Fiddle very happy to have killed a few sunny hours in their dog-friendly, garden patio.

http://www.thecatandfiddle.com/

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Hangover Cure #1 – Beer at Reata Grill – Dallas, Tx

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Photo © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

This is a tall, cold Sam Adams at Reata Grill at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport.  Beer is a wonderful hangover cure.  Sure – you might feel like an alcoholic having two beers before noon but, at least, for the rest of your day you should feel semi-valid as a human being.  The other choice is powering through the day in useless agony & wondering if you are an alcoholic because you got yourself that hangover to begin with.  Either way, dark times.  So – just have the damned beer.