Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Farewell 2019, Hello 2020 (Cocktails)

We do not have exciting end of year/start of new year celebrations planned. We're "let's just stay in, wear our jammies, and watch TV" years old. While we're watching TV, we'll probably sip on cocktails. Cocktails were the gift theme this year. Back in November, for my birthday, SP gifted me a copy of How To Cocktail from America's Test Kitchen. For the holidays, I gifted SP a whole lot of bar tools, ingredients, and glassware. This past weekend, we mixed up a couple cocktails.
Dark & Stormy. Before I fell in love with bourbon, I liked rum. Specifically, Rum & Coke. These days I dislike soda. But Dark & Stormy? Gingery goodness. SP made the fresh ginger syrup in December and gifted me a bottle of Gosling's Black Seal Rum. Add some lime juice and club soda and you have a fantastic cocktail. I like the pretty separation, the rum floating on top. Just be sure to mix it up before drinking it, otherwise your first gulp will be a shot of rum. 
SP has wanted coupe glasses for a couple years, so I finally bought them. He made a Sidecar: orange liqueur, brandy, lemon juice. Our liquor cabinet has Triple Sec for the orange liqueur, Remy Martin VSOP Cognac for the brandy, and he made a corkscrew lemon peel on a cocktail pick with his new bar tools.

We're having fun with the new beverages and bar tools. SP likes gin and tonics so I bought him the ingredients to make tonic syrup. We tried their Old Fashioned, which uses two kinds of bitters, and really liked it.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

Last weekend we went to see Knives Out. I really wanted to see it because I love mysteries and it had received great reviews. I loved it! No spoilers, but it is a terrific old-school whodunnit.

After the movie, we went to Burgatory for the Shake Special, the Rudolph Shake. Chocolate & peppermint - yum! I had my usual chicken breast with bacon and fried egg. SP had a naked elk burger with bacon and fried egg.

We baked holiday cookies. I haven't been in a particularly festive mood and didn't much feel like baking, but we did anyway. I enjoyed it and it made me happy to bake our favorite cookies. We made Linzer, Spritz, Cinnamon Spice, Triple Ginger, and Chocolate Dipped Crescents. Only five kinds this year. We don't have the energy nor the time to bake more this year.

What We're Eating:

  • Baked Ricotta Chicken with mixed greens
  • Sauteed apples, gruyere, ham on multi-grain with mustard panini
  • Dessert: Holiday cookies

What We're Watching:

  • Watchmen ended and I enjoyed it much more than I expected. That's how a show should be made: a certain number of episodes to tell one complete story.
  • We started the third and final season of Glitch on Netflix. We have two episodes left. I wish Netflix had a recap for seasons 1 & 2 because we've spent a lot of time asking each other questions. Who is that? What happened to him/her? What did he/she do? So far it seems to be nicely wrapping up the story, I just wish there hadn't been a two year gap between seasons 2 & 3.
  • The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition.
  • Holiday Baking Championship Season 6 on Food Network. I love seeing what they create.

What I'm Reading:
Lethal Pursuit by Will Thomas. This is my first Will Thomas novel and I'm really enjoying it. I guess that means I'll have to start at the beginning of the Barker & Llewellyn series and read the first ten (I started with the eleventh).

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

It has not been a good lunch week. For one, SP convinced me that I should try the multi-grain English muffins. No. I should not have. They taste like cardboard. Lesson learned, yet again: the grocery store aisle multi-grain/whole wheat products are terrible and are not as "healthy" as they would have you believe. If you want healthy and tasty non-white breads, suck it up and pay the premium price for the good stuff at a good bakery.

Don't even get me started on the cheese. I like Swiss. Sure, sometimes he buys me Colby or smoked Gouda, and those weeks are a treat, but it's almost always Swiss and that's fine because a good Swiss is yummy. This is not a good Swiss. It's pale. It doesn't melt nicely. It has a weird texture. It tastes... well, it's tasteless. I finally figured out why when I looked at the tag on the deli package. He bought low sodium, low fat cheese. Why oh why would anyone buy me low salt/low fat cheese? Way to ruin cheese. He got an earful over that. He says it was a mistake.

So, to sum up, I am enduring 5 lunches of tasteless cheese inside cardboard.

What We're Eating:

What We're Watching:

  • Only one more Watchmen! Last Sunday was another great episode that answered some questions and pulled more threads together.
  • The series finale of Madam Secretary. I've enjoyed the show and this short final season seemed a bit rushed, but at least everyone got a send off/sense of what was next for them.
  • We watched Dumbo. It was fine. It was Disney.

What I'm Reading:

  • A Dark & Twisted Tide, the fourth and final Lacey Flint novel. It was good. Not as good as the previous three, but still good. Since it's been five years without a Lacey #5, I guess the series is done, but I wouldn't mind if Bolton decided to write more books with the characters.
  • Twisted Twenty-Six, the latest from Janet Evanovich. At least it seems like maybe things are going to make progress and not be the same old thing over and over. We'll see where the 27th book goes next year. 
  • Magazines. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

It doesn't feel like it has been a week since Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if it feels longer or shorter than that! It was just the two of us although we did get to visit for a couple hours with TX family in the afternoon.

We weren't feeling much Christmas spirit and talked about not putting up the tree, but in the end we asked our friend ST to help us decorate. We didn't do quite as much as usual, but it's looking very festive now.

What We're Eating:

  • Leftover turkey, stuffing, cranberry, green beans
  • Chicken Piccata with rice and broccoli
  • Dessert: Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

What We're Watching:

  • Watchmen! I started watching simply because I knew SP wanted to watch. It was good but I wasn't all that into it for the first few episodes and I kept wondering where Don Johnson's character was since he gets such prominent billing. But the last two episodes have been fantastic and now I'm into it and wondering what happens next. I am not so into Jeremy Irons' story/character. I never get what is going on in those scenes. But the rest of it! Angela and Cal and Will and Laurie and Looking Glass - so excited for Sunday's episode! Two more for this season.
  • We finished the final season of Man in the High Castle. I thought it did a decent job of wrapping up most of the story lines, left it open at the end, maybe ended kind of hopeful - ? We enjoyed the four seasons.
  • We zipped through Season 3 of The Crown on Netflix.
  • We watched Toy Story 4 and enjoyed it.
  • I watched The Farewell and found myself enjoying it much more than I expected.

What I'm Reading:

  • Lost by Sharon Bolton, the third Lacey Flint book. Really enjoying these books.
  • The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans from Joanna Carl. Very light, quick read.
  • New issues of Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food Network, Cook's Illustrated. Lots of holiday foods.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Bakery Lorraine

I think my favorite place in San Antonio was Bakery Lorraine in the Pearl District. It's a lovely cafe with delicious food made by people who met while working for Thomas Keller at Bouchon Bakery. You order & pay at a counter, take your beverage and hope there's a free table, and they bring your food to you. It can get quite busy and a free table can be hard to find, especially on cold & windy days when no one wants to sit outside.

We went here several times. That's how much we liked it. Here's what we tried:
A yummy puff pastry with cream and raspberries.
Earl Grey tea.
Quiche Lorraine (bacon, gruyère, caramelized onions, served with side salad).
Ham & Cheese on Croissant (French ham, brie, secret sauce).
We might have asked for no secret sauce, fearing some sort of garlic sauce. I don't remember a sauce. I remember flaky layers of croissant with ham and creamy brie.
Breakfast Sandwich (sausage or bacon and egg with cheddar on biscuit or croissant). I love breakfast sandwiches. I loved this breakfast sandwich.
Raspberry Coffee Cake (served warm with cultured butter). My goodness that butter was amazing. The cake, too.

Everything we ordered, we shared, and almost every time, I didn't want to share. Not that I could have eaten all of it, there was, as always, plenty of food in front of us, but it was that tasty. I wish we could have tried more. I wish Maybelle's Donuts, the donut shop run by the same people, had been open the Sunday morning we tried to go (it wasn't open that early and we had to get on the road before 11 am). I wish we had a Bakery Lorraine here. This place is delightful.