Bourbon & RC – A True Southern Libation

I am most definitely a bourbon fan.  Nowadays, it is pretty much my liquor of choice.  This was not always the case as for many years I was (and still am) something of an Irish Whiskey fiend.  For years, most of my friends have been fans of bourbon and its many brands.  Several years ago, my good friend Dave shared several bottles of fairly good bourbon with me and since then I have been a convert.  Neat, mixed, or on the rocks – I’m a fan of bourbon in all of its incarnations.

This one just happens to be the one I drink more often than others. *^*

It combines the bourbon my friends love with the cola that my mother loves – Royal Crown (aka RC Cola).  RC is a bit sweeter than its much larger competitor I shall not name.  You have to look for it a bit harder in the grocery aisle, but it is there. Personally, I like this pairing quite a bit.  The sweetness of the bourbon and the cola work great together and overall it is just an easy beverage at the end of a long day.

Give it a try and let me know what you think! Continue reading →

Zeus' Vieux Carre cocktail

Review – McMenamin’s Zeus Cafe (Portland, OR)

McMenamin’s Zeus Cafe

303 SW 12th Ave

Portland, OR 97205

Visit: March 16, 2018

We stopped by the Zeus cafe to grab a drink and meet up with our friend Caitlin downtown.  The cafe is located on a long block as part of the adjoining Palace Hotel.  The McMenamin’s have a pretty neat thing going in Portland – they buy up properties and turn them into music venues/breweries.  I did not get a chance to try any of there beer, but I did get to try a few tasty beverages while we were there.

Anna and I both snagged a cocktail.  I went for the Zeus’ take on a Vieux Carre.  While I enjoyed it, I cannot say it was as tasty as the one I had at Pepe le Moko the night before (that one was near perfect).  It was, however, quite tasty and I left no alcohol behind.

Zeus' Vieux Carre cocktail

Zeus Cafe’s take on a Vieux Carre

Continue reading →

The bar!

Review – Pepe le Moko (Portland, OR)

Visit Date: March 15, 2018

407 SW Tenth Ave

Portland, Or 97205

Pepe Le Moko

Getting in

Pepe le Moko is a pretty awesome little bar.  And I do mean little – it seats a maximum of thirty-four.  Thirty-four people who don’t mind getting in each other’s personal space.  The bar is hidden away around the corner and down a flight of stairs underneath the Ace Hotel in downtown Portland.  Before you head down the stairs (I recommend making a reservation), you enter through a door that sits next to an oyster shucking station and a hostess stand. If you have a reservation, or if there is space, they will take you down the flight of stairs to your table. Continue reading →

Review – Hale Pele (Portland, OR)

Visit Date: March 15, 2018

2733 NE Broadway St

Portland, OR 97232

Hale Pele is one of those fun places you find and then keep to yourself.   It’s a dark bar with a smallish sign out front and not a lot of outside light.  From the street, you can’t really see what’s inside.  You walk in the door and see a low set bar, lots of dark wood, tables to one side, and umbrellas.  Lots of umbrellas.  What you have found is something of a dying breed.  This is a Tiki bar.

Tiki bars used to be the rage twenty to thirty years ago.  To the extent that they now have a bit of a bad name.  People scoff at them and refer to them with derision.  In all fairness, there are a *lot* of bad Tiki drinks made out there.

If you are lucky though, you find a place like Hale Pele.  Hale Pele harkens back to the good old days of real Tiki bars like Trader Vic’s.  Craft cocktails, not mass mixed cocktails.  This is the good stuff, let there be no doubt. Continue reading →

Spicy Cocktail Weenies Recipe

Read the article here.

Ingredients:

Mise-en-place

2 packs Lil Smokies or similar cocktail weenie of your choice

1 can *

1 large Yellow Onion (diced)

4x Garlic Cloves (roughly chopped)

12oz Chicken Stock

12oz Beer

4oz Tomato Paste**** (if not using Chipotles in Adobo)

1tbsp Salt

Method 1 (Smoker)**:

In a foil pan, combine all ingredients.  Stir to combine. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in smoker.  Cook for 2 hours or until hungry.

Method 2 (Crock Pot)***:

Combine all ingredients in crock pot.  Stir to combine.  Set to High setting, and cook for 3 hours or until hungry.

Serving Suggestions:

If you are having a cocktail party and use the Smoker method, just transfer the weenies to a separate bowl with some of the broth.  Serve with some toothpicks and a good spicy mustard on the side.  You will be amazed how quickly they disappear. This also happens if you serve them straight out of the crock pot, a method I also endorse.

My kids absolutely love eating these weenies on top of some cheap yellow rice from the store. Go figure.  (Confession time, my wife and I also like to eat them this way).

Leftovers also go great with beans.  Or in a lunchbox as an easy snack.

To adult it up a bit, you could add some kale close to the end of the cooking time and eat this as a kale and sausage soup.

Notes:

*- Omit these if you don’t like spicy or are feeding the littles. Alternate option, de-seed a dried and chili and add instead.  Chili flavor without chili heat.

**- I prefer the flavor from this method to the crock pot version.  That being said, I generally do not fire up the smoker just for cocktail weenies.  The weenies are a great side item to throw on the smoker when you are already cooking something else (turkey, pork butt, brisket, etc…).  With these, if the meat is taking its time to get tender, you have something to snack on in the meantime.

***- The crock pot method is super convenient and gets great results, but the smoker method generally has better flavor.  It is also great because it can travel pretty well in the crock pot if you are headed to the party vs. hosting the party.

**** – If you are not going the spicy route, I recommend adding a bit of tomato paste.  This gives the broth a bit more body and makes for a more flavorful dish overall.