Monday, February 28, 2011

DIY: Three Citrus Margaritas

Back before Kel knew Steve and Kelly well enough to demand that they create delicious original drinks for us every time we stop by Elephants, the Three Citrus Margaritas were our go-to. 

I hadn't had a Three Citrus Marg in quite awhile, so when the roomie and I decided to host Taco Night, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make some of my own.

Tangy and refreshing, these drinks are great when you're looking for a slight twist on the classic marg. You can fancy them up by serving them with citrus pinwheels, either in a glass container (like I did below) or in the margarita glasses themselves (like they sometimes do at Elephants).

1.5 oz tequila
.5 oz triple sec
1.5 oz freshly squeezed citrus juice (lemon, lime and orange)
.5 oz simple syrup

Combine tequila, triple sec, citrus juice and simple syrup.
Serve over ice.



For our party of eight, I bought 3 large oranges, 5 lemons, and 6 limes. That yielded enough juice for everyone to have one margarita plus seconds for the half of us who wanted another. (The other half switched to beer... I know, confusing. But in this case, it worked.)

Some photos from the evening:

 Anna is an excellent juicer. Thanks, lady!

Personalizing our blocks for a game of drinking Jenga.
Some form of "Shannon drinks" was a favorite.

This looks like it was Jocelyn's fault. But it was probably Shannon. (Love you, roomie!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Boston: Drink and Hunt- 80's Ski Hunt

Anna and Erica's sister Courtney was in town last weekend so in her honor we rallied the girls and signed up for Drink and Hunt's 80's Ski Hunt.

Do you know about Drink and Hunt? They're a relatively new company (I think they started up last summer) that sponsors themed scavenger hunts/pub crawls around Boston, New York and San Francisco.

We didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into when we signed up (somehow we all missed the FAQ page), but we ended up having an amazing time.

The hunt works like this:
Each team has a special webpage that you access via smartphone. The page gives you a one sentence clue about what bar you should go to next. Can't figure it out? Ask for a hint and you'll get a second clue as well as 5 minutes added to your total time. Still stumped? Ask for another hint and you'll get the address... and another 5 minute penalty.

Once you get to the correct bar, you have to show that you've made it by answering a question like "What is the first name of the politician in the black & white photo by the bar?" or "What is the first word of the third line on the plaque by the window?" After you answer the question, you have 5 minutes until you're given the next clue.

We used those 5 minutes for sharing pitchers and doing tequila shots but you can also pass the time by answering 10 trivia questions on your webpage to earn extra points. Our questions were appropriately 80's themed.

Teams can also get more points by posting on Drink and Hunt's Facebook page and tweeting photos of the team with people like a bartender and someone in colonial dress.

Wanna know more?

Here's a recap of our Drink and Hunt experience:

We started our day at Erica's for an intense 80's hair and makeup session.

Check out our team shirts (and my out-of-control side pony): 

Awesome, right? Thanks, Courtney!

We met up with our fellow hunters at The 21st Amendment, where there was time for a pitcher and some appetizers before we were read the rules and sent out onto the streets. 

Our first stop was Jose McIntyre's and then we were off to Mr. Dooley's.

Of course we enjoyed the drinking, but getting to the bars was part of the fun too...

The "bob n' weave"


Heel click?

Right after Mr. Dooley's though, we began to encounter some setbacks.

Katie W's super cute flats starting acting super evil and we were forced to make an unscheduled pit stop at CVS for bandaids and socks.

Our hunt was further delayed when we/just me decided it was necessary for Courtney to play Wham!'s "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" on her phone while I danced in the aisles.

My bad guys.

More trouble came when, even though we had used all 3 clues and had multiple phone convos with Drink and Hunt, we still couldn't find the damn Kinsale. Seriously though, addresses are hard sometimes. Especially when you've been pounding beer and shots of tequila all afternoon...

We finally found it, but by that point, we were pretty much done. The next bar we were supposed to go to was Sail Loft (which we had only figured out thanks to a couple we met at the bar) and walking all the way from Government Center to the North End seemed impossible.

So we called back Drink and Hunt and demanded they tell us where the final bar was. We were disqualified, but at least we could finally sit down and enjoy our beer without the threat of the clock looming over us!

 Team Aquanet at The Grand Canal, our final destination.

So yeah, by the end the whole scavenger hunt schtick did get a little old, but running around Boston, throwing back a few pints with friends, solving clues and being introduced to new bars we might have otherwise missed definitely made the hunt worth it.

In fact, we had so much fun we're considering joining Drink and Hunt's upcoming St. Patty's Day hunt. See you there?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

DIY: Hijitos

Posted by Katie

I was the second person in my group of college friends to turn 21, which meant that my first time out to the bars in Portland was a lot different than say, Leslie's 21st...

And certainly much different than Joe's...

My 21st birthday involved me, a friend, and my former RA sipping drinks sedately with no pink boas or dancing to be found. That's okay though because the night of my 21st was the night I happened upon what would become one of my favorite drinks in Portland: Saucebox's Hijito (aka a mojito with ginger and hibiscus).

The mint and ginger make this cocktail oh-so refreshing and the hibiscus, which tastes a bit like a cross between raspberry and rhubarb, gives the drink a sweet berry taste. According to Leslie, Hijitos "taste like juice" and I'd have to agree that they go down pretty smoothly. I've had lots of good cocktails since my 21st, but I still think Saucebox's Hijito is one of the best.

Not gonna lie, this is not the easiest drink to recreate at home. It takes some planning ahead to make the ginger vodka infusion and some scouting around to find hibiscus syrup (try Bev Mo in CA or The Boston Shaker in Boston). But it's worth the work. Promise.

- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 hibiscus flower (from syrup)
- 3 sprigs fresh mint
- 1/2 oz hibiscus syrup
- splash of soda water 

Blend lime juice, hibiscus flower and mint leaves in food processor.
Combine puree with hibiscus syrup and ginger vodka. Pour over ice and stir.
Top with soda water. Garnish with lime.

The hibiscus syrup I've been using comes in a jar like this:

One small jar costs $10-$12 and contains about 10 edible hibiscus flowers and 6 ounces of syrup. So while a jar is kinda pricey, you can make 10 Hijitos from it. Not bad.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Portland Restaurants: Valentine's Day Ideas!

Posted by Kelly

People say that Valentine's Day is a grossly over commercialized holiday so that the Hallmarks of the world can make tons of money, men can be burdened with romantic responsibilities, and single people can eat ice cream and watch sappy romantic comedies. Well that may be true, but I'm guessing Portland restaurants aren't complaining!  Most restaurants create preselected menus for five course meals...of course paired with wine if you'd like. So this Valentines, if we had money, these are the places I would have tried to choose between.

Din Din - Location Changes - Meets Once a Month
This is quite possibly one of my favorite ideas. It's similar to Simpatica in that the menu changes and it's on an email/reservation basis, but with Din Din you get to experience different venues that aren't your typical restaurant. Yes, I added myself to their email list so I definitely plan on attending one of these soon. For Valentines, Courtney has created a sexy menu ($75 + gratuity and wine pairings) for their dinner series on February 12, 13, and 14 at Art Department, a collaborative art+design space in the heart of the Central Eastside Industrial District's Distillery Row. This is an obvious first pick!


Le Pigeon - 738 E. Burnside St. - 5-10pm Mon-Sat - 5-9pm Sun
I have only heard great things about this charming french inspired restaurant on East Burnside. The restaurant is small so reservations are the only way to guarantee a seat, but the bar is reserved for walk ins (prob not on Valentines though...) where you can sit and watch the staff at work. This restaurant is absolutely on my list so look forward to a full review.


If they're full, I wold recommend checking out Little Bird Bistro at 219 SW 6th Ave. It was opened by the same team as Le Pigeon and I'm positive will be just as enjoyable!

BEAST - 5425 NE 30th - Seatings 6pm+8:45pm Wed-Sat, 10am+12pm Sun
This successful NE restaurant offers a six-course prix-fixe dinner four nights a week ($68 + $35 for wine pairings) and a four-course prix-fixe brunch every Sunday ($28 + $20 wine pairings). The menu changes weekly and is updated online for you check out before making reservations. This week there is a cream of celery soup, a charcuterie plate, duck breast, smashed potatoes, red kale, and demiglace, a butter lettuce salad and a selection of desserts. If this menu isn't your cup of tea, check back next week!


I'm sure there are more. There always seems to be numerous Portland restaurants I am itching to try, but these are the ones that stand out to me the most this morning. Though, no matter how tempting these choices may be, I won't be spending upwards of $150 this Valentine's day so a bottle of champagne, a home made din, and some chocolate dipped strawberries will do just fine!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

DIY: GO PACK! Mint Lemon Drops

Posted by Katie

The roomie is a HUGE Packer fan.

We don't have a TV, so last year she used to drag me to Joshua Tree to watch games. I would sit quietly and read about Max Perkins (Editor of Genius) while she would yell at one of the many over-sized screens. Sometimes she would cover her eyes and ask me to tell her what happened. "Uh.... I think they made a point or something?"

This year, she's taken to invading Anna's apartment on Sundays. Shannon gets to watch the game and Anna gets to make her famous buffalo chicken dip. It's win-win for everybody.

And what with the Packers making it to this year's bowl, there's no way Shannon's celebration was only going to be contained to one day, so we started off Superbowl weekend by making these Packer-inspired Mint Lemon Drops:


- 1.5 oz citrus vodka
- 1 oz triple sec
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 3 springs fresh mint
- spoonful of simple syrup
- green sugar sprinkles

Blend lemon juice and mint leaves in food processor.
Combine mint puree, vodka, triple sec and simple syrup in shaker over ice.
Shake. Pour in green sprinkle-rimmed glass. Garnish with lemon.


We wanted to make these drops extra-festive, so I played up the green and gold theme by rimming our glasses with green sugar sprinkles.

The cocktails came out cute, but the green dye from the sprinkles stays on your lips, so for a more refined affair, maybe go with regular sugar instead.

P.S. Imbibe Magazine (my new fave) has some other Superbowl drink ideas too. Check them out here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Boston Restaurant: Sofra Bakery and Cafe

Posted by Katie

What: Sofra Bakery and Cafe
Where: 1 Belmont Street in West Cambridge
Honey's Heart: Greek Yogurt Parfait

I have a new obsession: the Greek Yogurt Parfait with Spoon Sweets, Grano & Honey ($5) at Sofra Bakery and Cafe.

Seriously, it's so good! Let's break it down by layer.

Greek Yogurt- Greek yogurt is highly superior to regular yogurt because it's much creamier and thicker. Also, someone told me once that it's healthier for you. If I looked it up, I could probably verify whether that's true or not... but I'd rather just go on blissfully thinking this stuff is good for me, just in case it's not.

Spoon Sweets- Spoon sweets refer to the traditional Greek custom of greeting visitors with spoons filled with sweetened fruit or vegetable preserves as a symbol of hospitality. At Sofra, they don't let the pieces of fruit break down completely so the spoon sweets are more like a compote than a jam. Delicious!

Grano- I've been talking this parfait up to a lot of people, and usually they're right there with me until I get to this component. Grano is a type of grain known for its chewy texture. That weirds some people out, but trust me, the grano is really what makes this parfait worthy of obsession. The yogurt and spoon sweets would be plenty fine on their own, but it's the satisfying chewiness that the grano adds to each spoonful that really makes this parfait so amazing.

Okay, this is making my mouth water. Moving on...

Shannon and I also tried Sofra's take on a maple donut.

The glaze was a little too sweet for me but the donut itself was light and fluffy and the cream inside, heavenly.

Sofra has plenty of other dishes and treats to offer as well.

There's the mezze bar where you can load up your plate with choices like beet tzatziki, lentils with pomegranate & greens, and Moroccan goat cheese...

Or you can sample some of Sofra's many tasty pastries. (The chocolate hazelnut baklava is just as good as it sounds.)

Sofra also serves stuffed flatbreads and traditional Mediterranean dishes like shawarma (similar to a gyro) and moussaka (which you might remember as a former obsession of mine.)

The only downfall to Sofra is that it's located about an hour from my apartment by bus. Sad.

But I'm probably still going to try and convince my roomie to go with me again this weekend... Told you I was obsessed.