Posted in Drinks Galore

Cocktails: Cosmopolitan

Read about this challenge and see the list here 

Ingredients: vodka, cointreau, lime juice, cranberry juice

Drank on: May 16, 2018

Location: The Independent, Placerville, California

Notes: This place makes all juices fresh, and it was pretty and tasty too.

 

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Posted in Bon Appetite, Drinks Galore, Festivals/Special Events, Gift Giving

#516 Throw a Surprise Party

My favorite so far is the surprise birthday party my sister and I threw for our mom a few years ago.

This was one of those milestone birthday’s (I won’t say which one so she can’t get mad at me) My sister and I wanted to make sure to do something special. Her birthday is at the end of July and there were several years she had to celebrate it at a swim meet.

I had gone to a friend’s wedding at a little winery not far from our house. It was super cute and their wines were pleasant to taste. I had the place in mind right away when we started discussing this. AND it would serve as a great cover of getting her to it, by using the excuse of wine tasting and then lunch.

We created a list of family and friends and sent out invites. This was my first time planning a big-ish event like this. Lots of little details became clear. Not to mention costs. There was the location, food, drinks, cake, decorations.

My uncle (her brother) was very helpful with the planning and when I became worried about having the money for it all, said he would be willing to help cover the cost of the food. My cousin was dating (and now married to) a very nice gal whose family managed a food place (Armadillo Willy’s). They talked and worked out that they would bring the food as a buffet. It was a perfect choice because it was food we knew my mom would enjoy, especially the coleslaw (side note: I am not much for coleslaw but this one is very yummy).

Next up was ordering a fruit basket cake from Whole Foods. That part wasn’t hard at all. The hard part was getting my sis here from Hawaii and making sure not to blow the party to our mom. I was living in an apartment at the time, so she was able to fly in and stay with me without mom being aware. She went to our house during the day, while mom was at work, and looked for photos to use as part of decorations. We found some fun ones of her throughout her life.

My sis thought she was being clever in setting up a call to mom to make it seem like she was still in Hawaii going about her daily routine. I just had to make sure not to say anything about the party when my mom was around.

We almost got away without her being completing aware, but then the winery made the mistake in calling her house phone instead of my cell phone. They wanted to make sure I was sending the final payment for the event. I was SOOOOO PISSED! It worked out in the end because, as my mom said, I didn’t need to come up with an excuse and she didn’t know what or who might be there.

The day of, we went to the farmer’s market to get a bunch of flowers. Then headed to the winery. Our uncle and family was there to help set up the food and when a few other guests got there a little early, gladly helped us finish setting up tables. We had bought glass jars from Goodwill that we filled with the flowers and then had the photos placed at the different tables. The winery had a table for the wines and set up another one for the cake and any presents people brought. I had a little stereo that had music, but it was small so people couldn’t really hear it (turned out to be unnecessary anyway). Being at the end of July, I wasn’t sure if it’d be super hot like it can often times be. Luckily it was only warm with a slight breeze coming over from the river nearby.

Then I went to go get the guest of honor.

One last thing, the week before my mom had gone out to dinner with a friend. They decided to get a bottle of wine and asked the waitress for a recommendation. She mentioned Scribner Bend to try. My mom came home to tell me that we have to check out this winery and that the wine was very nice. I almost said something then, but I was able to stop myself. Was very glad to know she would enjoy the wine.

So, I went and got her and came back to the winery. Now, where we all were was in the middle of some of the vines, so she couldn’t see it right away. She walked through the flower arch and everyone yelled, “SURPRISE!!” and she was. There were a few people she hadn’t seen in a while. But when she noticed my sister hiding in the back, she said “I KNEW you were here!” Later, she admitted she didn’t really, but had hoped.

In the end, it was a very pleasant afternoon and so fun. Definitely a surprise party to remember and cherish.

Have you thrown a surprise party or been the recipient of one?

Posted in Drinks Galore

Cocktails: Woo Woo

Read about this challenge and see the list here 

Ingredients: vodka, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice

Drank on: May 21, 2014

Location: Clubhouse 56 in Sacramento, California

Notes: The bartender hadn’t heard of the drink name before but when I showed her the ingredients she said no problem. I really liked this one. It’s a nice change up from just vodka and juice. Also had fun saying the name with friends.

 

Posted in Bon Appetite, Drinks Galore

Recipe #9 – Tarragon Mustard-Crusted Scallops

“Everyday Dining with Wine”

Read about this ongoing cookbook challenge here

Ingredients:
16 large sea scallops, patted dry
Dijon mustard
Fresh tarragon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground white pepper
Unsalted butter
Olive oil

Wine recommendations:

Barrel-Aged Savignon Blanc / Semillon Blends , Murphy-Goode Fume Blanc, Dry Creek Fume Blanc (California), DeLille Chaleur Estate Blanc (Washington), Chateau La Louviere, Chateau Rahoul (France)

I found a Murphy-Goode Savignon BlancMy Review:
Scallops are a bit on the expensive side, so we only bought a dozen (6 for each of us). The flavor came out great with the scallops. I was thinking, it’s not really crusted and then realized as I was typing this that I forgot to pat the scallops dry so the mix would coat them more. I was a little nervous cooking them, as this was my first time and I know how easy it is to overcook scallops. But I think I did it just right.

Savignon Blancs are usually pretty tart tasting to me so I don’t often get them and this wine choice was just okay. This did go great with the scallops though.

Overall I wouldn’t mind making this dish again.

Posted in Drinks Galore

Cocktails: Rob Roy (take 1)

Read about this challenge and see the list here 

Ingredients: scotch, sweet vermouth, angostura bitters

Drank on: October 14, 2014

Location: Clark’s Corner in Sacramento, California

Notes: I asked for a Rob Roy (which is the drink on the right) I ended up with the drink on the left, which I am pretty sure is a Roy Rogers with a splash of alcohol. Guess i need to track down a sophisticated bar and just go to that for my cocktails.

What’s a Roy Rogers? It is a non-alcoholic mixed drink made with cola and grenadine syrup, garnished with a maraschino cherry.

 

Posted in Bon Appetite, Drinks Galore, Festivals/Special Events, Home Town

I Sat Next to a Killer

Yup, you read that correctly. I sat next to a killer and had dinner with him at my table, and I am here to tell you about it.

A couple of my friends; “Penny” and “Lizzy” sent me a message asking if I’d like to join them for dinner on the Delta King. This is a docked steamboat located in Old Sacramento that has been turned into a hotel and restaurant. I quickly sent back a message saying, heck ya! I had dinner there as a kid, but couldn’t remember how it looked inside the boat and since it was the last Friday of the year, it’d be a treat.

I met up with the two friends and we headed to the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. Loved the wooden ambiance. While we were deciding on a cocktail, the bartender was making a drink that caught our attention it was white and had chocolate in a martini glass. Lizzy and I decided to order that and we all split an order of fried calamari.

I have been getting better about asking other people to take a photo so I can make sure I am in some. What I now need to work on is asking; “Can you take a photo of us?” NOT “Can you take a photo?” Otherwise I’ll end up with more of these kind of photos

 

Then we ventured down to the restaurant and sat down. The tables were set up like they would be on a cruise ship, so the three of us were at a table with 8 other people. There was one older couple with the wife celebrating her birthday, two pairs of couples out enjoying the dinner together, and another couple. This was also a pre-fixed dinner with a salad, main entree, and a dessert. The guy from the couple was seated to my left and he leaned over to us before dinner started saying that he was going to propose to his girlfriend and would like us to video tape it. We all thought that such a sweet thing and said yes, of course.

Dinner was good, and we had entertainment provided by the Delta King staff. The host that seated us came over a few times to make sure we were enjoying ourselves and he was quite the character, always had a joke and made us crack up. During the main course (I had the pasta, and Penny and Lizzy had the beef). The guy to my left got up and got a microphone and proposed. She said yes and we all clapped for them.

But it was while we were enjoying our cheesecake desert that a cop came in to announce there was a killer in our mist and we were all suspects. He asked the guy to my left to stand up and started grilling him, the guy was darting his eyes around, and getting very anxious when he suddenly pulled a gun on the cop. His new fiance ran and got the cop’s gun. The guy had been drinking redbull all night, he said it was his favorite drink, so his hands were shaky and he ended up killing the host and his finance. It was terrible.

We all just clapped and they got up, went to the front and took a bow. Yup, I just experienced my first murder mystery dinner. Did I have you going?

It was so much fun and I highly recommend going to a dinner performance like that. Who knows, you might be sitting next to the killer.

The host
The actors
We made up names for the evening “Penny, Lizzy, & Shelly Lane”