Drinking Adventures

Most of my posts inspired by drinking, will be on my drinktopia page. Last year, I came across a blog that talked about this book and I was intrigued. It’s very informative and fun to go chapter by chapter and learn about different alcohol. I am now starting out with learning about Scotch whisk(e)ys. It reminded me that I have been Scotland and toured a whisky distillery. Hopefully I can find a photo to share about that adventure.

Have you read this book? Or had Scotch Whisky? And what was a favorite?

Advertisements

Good Eats: Impossible Burger

#foodiefriday entry

As a kid, I was a pretty picky eater. Didn’t like many sauces and wasn’t happy with spices or trying odd foods. As an adult, I am willing and wanting to try new foods and there are a ton of choices out there. I think it’s been a couple of years now when I first heard about a vegan burger patty that looked so much like a meat burger, people were making waiters take their food back to the kitchen because they thought the waiter got the order wrong. Turns out it just was that good of a meatless patty. I was intrigued and wanted to give it a try but just never got around to buying it in a restaurant or grocery store.

Yesterday, I was heading out to a happy hour at a wine bistro place in town. I saw that they do burger and wine deals on Thursdays and one of the choices was with the Impossible burger. I jumped for joy. (Not really, but was happy for sure seeing that). As soon as I got in the door and sat down to order, I pointed to the burger and said that was what I wanted.

If I hadn’t known that it was vegan, I would have thought it a good flavored meat burger. They had added aioli, greens, pepper jam, vegan mozzarella, crispy onions & avocado (I had it without the vegan bun). I recommend and it is definitely worth a taste, it was super yummy.

Find out more about the Impossible Foods here.  Have you tried it? 

DDD: Dad’s Kitchen

Do you know the show from Food Network, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (DDD)?

With roadside diners, vintage drive-ins and out-of-the-way “dives” enjoying a resurgence of hipness among foodies, host Guy Fieri travels across America in search of some of the best “greasy spoon” eateries. The restaurants that Guy visits are usually well-known among locals and other people in the region. While at each location, Fieri talks to the staff as well as the customers to get their thoughts on the food. Many episodes feature eateries that are connected by a common thread, such as burgers or comfort foods

Click here to see the list as I add them, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: #2 out of over 800

Dad’s Kichen is located in my hometown of Sacramento, California. I have been here several times for breakfast (or brunch), lunch, dinner, even picking up food to take home. All the food I have eaten have been pretty yummy. They also keep a nice rotating beer menu on tap.

The day I took a photo with Guy’s DDD poster, we were there for lunch and enjoyed the french dip, fries, and onion rings. They have a nice enclosed patio seating (inside seating too, but small area).  I highly recommend.

Have you been to a DDD location based off seeing it on that show? Have you met Guy Fieri?

This location was featured on Season 11, Episode 8 – Soup and Sandwiches

Eat Alligator

In 2015 I decided I wanted to celebrate my October birthday in New Orleans. The other reason I chose to travel to that city was because I had been wanting to experience Halloween and visit a friend that had moved there. We made plans and set the dates at the beginning of the year. Another friend that lives in Dallas said she would come visit at the same time and we could hang out. This would be both of our first time in New Orleans and I was very excited.

We had so much fun exploring the area seeing all the landmark sites, as well as ate and drank throughout the town. One of the first places our friend took us to was a place called Oceana Restaurant in the Famous French Quarter district. Walking into the restaurant, looked like some fun décor. That is also when I realized the places there had courtyards. I had thought it was just patios on the side of places like they mostly have where I live. It was really pleasant to sit in the courtyard and relax. We order several sampler dishes and drinks. One of which was some alligator. Couldn’t come all that way and not try alligator.

I didn’t think to get a close up photo of the alligator. It’s the breaded dish that looks a little like nuggets. And it did taste like chicken nuggets, definitely not chicken, but similar. I’d eat them again.

We also enjoyed oysters, gumbo, crab cakes, and pasta. Very yummy and filling lunch.

Have you tried alligator?

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?

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”

 

Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

I went to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany around 2002. I thought I’d write up a condensed list of some of stories/memories/experiences I had. I would LOVE to go to Oktoberfest again sometime, especially since I only was there one evening.

What I learned from my First Oktoberfest adventure in Germany:

  • Don’t wait until the day before to decide to go. You’ll only be able to get a room at a B & B outside of Munich in the middle of no-where.
  • Learned that Dachau is a little town outside of Munich, not just a concentration camp. Did you know that?
  • Don’t forget how you got to the B & B, you’ll need that information later
  • Learned they had carnival type rides there. Whoa, is that really a good idea?
  • Don’t be with people that decide to bring a little baby. They won’t let you in the tents/halls where there is beer, food, and fun music and dancing because of all the smoking that fills the air.
  • Beer and some food are available outside, and tables, but it looked more fun inside
  • If you are with people with a baby, you can sneak some free beersteins out, maybe. otherwise you have to buy them
  • Be careful handing your phone off to friends as a precaution to getting split up. Your dad might call to say hi and that friend will have a conversation with him, who has no idea who the person is. Luckily, I was nearby to grab the phone.
  • Do not lean against walls, ever! If you wonder why they are wet, just wait, you will see why lines to the guys bathrooms are so short.
  • You make all kinds of friends sitting at the long tables, sometimes you can understand each other and other times you just smile, laugh, and go along with what each of you are saying even though you have no clue.
  • Shepherding drunk friends back to the train station requires more than one sober person to help, depending on the group
  • You might think Dachau was small in the daylight and easy to navigate the roads, but at night the roads all become circles.
  • It’s spooky driving right past the remains of the concentration camp, especially when you realize that’s what it is and had never seen it. Don’t let your drunk friends convince you to stop to check it out. Don’t worry I didn’t let them.
  • Once you finally get on the road to the B & B in the middle of no-where, try not to get stuck with a train going through. The drunk friends in their wife beaters will try to speak to the occupants in another car for directions. Whether they understood the slurred English or attempts at German are unknown.
  • Make sure you can get into the B & B in the late evening. It took a while for someone to unlock the door
  • Make sure the couple with the baby have diapers. There are no places to buy some in Germany as everything is closed on Sundays.
  • Don’t forget a camera to take photos of all these antics, especially if you need proof when telling some one what they did

only photo I have, this is Dachu’s concentration camp ruins

Have you been to the Oktoberfest in Germany?  Or other big Oktoberfests? Crazy adventures to share? Been to Dachau?

How cool, an Ice Bar in Vegas

I read about an ice bar experience in a Vegas hotel a few years back. I knew whenever I went, I was going to track it down and go check it out. Last year was my first time in Las Vegas and I can say I had a blast. A number of people in a group I was with was interested in going too. The Mandalay Bay was just down the street from our hotel, so on one of the days there, a few of us went to the Minus 5 bar.

There were a few different packages to getting into the bar. Most of us chose the basic one (this includes a parka, gloves, and 2 drinks). If you want more drinks, you can open a tab. We had to put our purses, shoes, and all electronics (they said it was because of the cold) in a locker. When we were all ready, we walked in. First thing I thought of was that it was small. That actually makes sense because everything was ice, the walls, benches, tables, light fixtures, bar, and drinking glasses.

We all got a drink and hung out around a table for a little bit. A photographer came in and we took a couple of photos. Then an alcove in the back corner was open, so we sat down and chatted. One of the guys was from Indiana and took off his parka for a bit, he said the temp was about average at home. Not so for the rest of us, being all from Northern California (oh, and one from Oregon).One of the guys started stacking our cups and another guy decided to knock his into the tower. This made them crash and break. The photographer was back making the rounds and saw this occur. She gave the guy the “look” he shook his head and pointed to others, which made us all point to each other and she caught that moment on camera. It completely summed up the experience. I couldn’t have had a more fun group in there for this memory.I don’t remember what we all talked about, but we laughed so much and I guessed looked like we were having so much fun, that other people came over and joined us for a little bit. We finally decided to leave to get ready for dinner. Chipped in for the photo package and marked this off the list.

Have you been to an ice bar? thoughts? Would you go more then once?

 

I CAN Be an Artist

It seems there is a growing trend of learn-to-paint classes, which encourage novice artists to gather with a group of friends and create a piece of artwork, all while enjoying a cocktail or two.

This is not an item written down to check off my list, but it is something I’ve thought would be fun. March 2014, I went with a bunch of friends in my Active 20-30 Club to a place in town called the Painted Cork.

Have you ever felt like taking a painting class to unleash your inner Picasso, but felt as though you couldn’t even paint a stick figure? Are you looking for something different and new to do for a birthday party, ladies night out, team builder, first date, couples or even as a single person who is looking for some unique social interaction in the Folsom or Midtown Sacramento area? The Painted Cork “paint and sip” Art Studio creates a comfortable, fun, hip and exciting atmosphere where you and your friends can enjoy a fantastic time while a professional art instructor teaches you a step by step 2 to 3 hour painting classes. The Painted Cork offers a completely relaxed and social painting class/party where guests are allowed to bring with them their favorite wine or beer and delicious snacks to enjoy throughout the class!

I’m definitely not an artist, so I was guessing that my painting would turn out really bad. Got to the place and found the easels and paints all set up at tables. The artist instructor told me to grab an apron and then drinks, snacks, and a seat. I put down the bottle of wine and snack mix I brought and grabbed a glass and apron and a seat. The canvas had a penciled outline of the skyline we were going to be painting. Up front there were different paintings that were completed, the instructor told us to take a look at each one to use as a baseline for inspiration or ours. Then we started painting.

It was a very simple step by step processing. Mixing colors and watching what she did and then doing similar. By doing it this way, I realized that each person is different in how they paint the same object. This in turn means that no one is a bad artist. I don’t think I’d be able to do a painting like that without watching the steps to get it done.

Overall, it was a very fun evening and I’d totally do this again. I can see why it’s become so popular.

Have a V-8

I used to drink V-8 as a kid ALL THE TIME. Then got sick of it and couldn’t stand drinking it anymore. Recently I’ve been drinking it again, and back to enjoying it. Now, V-8 has also created fusion drinks with fruit added. Will try one of those some point.

I also want to try juicing my own V-8 some time. But at least I can check this off my list of things to do.

I always think of those old V-8 commercials when people are walking around sideways until they have a drink.

Go Wine Tasting in Sonoma County, California

The first time went wine tasting in Sonoma County I think was in 2009. My family rented a house in the Russian River area for the weekend. This was a lot of fun because a number of them had been living in other parts of the country and so it was a big family gathering. While visiting, I went with one of my cousins and his girlfriend (at the time) to a few wineries.P1010199The only one I know is Hop Kiln because I got the name in a photo. There were two other places that were beautiful and had tasting rooms outside, but I’ve forgotten their names. Guess I’m just going to have to go back to match the photo to the place and re-taste the wine.P1010203What is neat about Hop Kiln is that the tasting room is in a California registered landmark.

This structure served the important hop industry of California’s north coast region, once the major hop-growing area in the west. Built in 1905 by a crew of Italian stonemasons, it represents the finest existing example of its type. The building consists of three stone kilns for drying hops and an attached wooden cooling barn with a two-story press for baling hops.

I definitely want to go back and explore more and taste more of the wineries. I would say that Sonoma, especially the Russian River area, is more pretty then Napa. But I would bet the prices for tastings are about the same.

Have you been to wineries in Sonoma, Russian River, or Napa? How was your experience?

Drink Champagne With a Crazy Straw

crazy strawI gave this item a try while welcoming in 2016.  I thought it would be fun to have a little bottle to drink from instead of a glass or the regular size.I was hoping to have friends join in, but they were not in the mood. That could be a new goal, to get friends to drink champagne with a crazy straw, at a bar.

Have you drunk any alcohol from a crazy straw?

Drink the Milk From a Coconut With a Straw

My sister is currently living in Hawaii so it is a tad more than just visiting her when I go. It’s very much a vacation in paradise. There are tons of “bucket” list adventures to cross off when on a tropical island. This was one from the book.

I had visited my sister in 2011 as a birthday vacation. We did quite a few items, like my first time stand-up paddling. While we were out on the beach, one of her co-workers went and chopped down a few coconuts from trees nearby. Then they cut into the coconuts so I could drink from it. (I had mentioned this being a checklist item to my sister, so she asked him to get them as a birthday treat).coconut 2 There were no straws, but you can’t beat having it fresh right? After we drank the juice (which was more like water then milk), they cut more of the coconut (which took a lot more chopping than I would have thought) and we dug out the meat. I’m not a fan of coconut, but it was fun to eat it still in the shell and so fresh.coconut 1Maybe, I’ll go buy one at the store (or better yet, have another opportunity in Hawaii like this) and use a straw. In the meantime, I’m counting this as mission accomplished.

Have you had any coconut related experiences?

DDD: Twisted Root Burger Co.

Do you know the show on Food Network, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (DDD)?

600x600bb-85With roadside diners, vintage drive-ins and out-of-the-way “dives” enjoying a resurgence of hipness among foodies, host Guy Fieri travels across America in search of some of the best “greasy spoon” eateries. The restaurants that Guy visits are usually well-known among locals and other people in the region. While at each location, Fieri talks to the staff as well as the customers to get their thoughts on the food. Many episodes feature eateries that are connected by a common thread, such as burgers or comfort foods.

I’ve started taking a look at places in my hometown and when I travel to that has been featured on this show. It would be fun to go to these locations and check them out.

My first official check at one of these places came about accidentally.  While visiting my friend in Dallas, Texas we tried looking up places on DDD and found a few bbq/steakhouses and mexican places. These just weren’t grabbing our attention to try.

The last day I was there, we did an online scavenger hunt in Deep Elm. It is an area of town getting revitalized with artwork and new restaurants.  We were having fun hunting and learning about some of the spots and artwork but then my friend’s phone died. (that app uses up a lot of battery life). We headed back to the car, and across the way was this place, Twisted Root Burger Co. On one of the windows, it advertised twisted root beer floats. We figured that meant an adult (alcohol) root beer. so we go in to get a treat before I headed to the airport.

o

It’s one of those fun, funky places. I got an adult milkshake of Creme De Menthe & Chocolate chips. My friend got the root beer float. It didn’t have alcohol, but it did have caffeine.  We split an order of fried pickles.  Their burgers and other foods sounded good. Instead of order numbers, they gave out celebrity or fictional names to call out. It was funny hearing them for people to pick up the food.

I saw next to the counter was a poster of Guy and asked if this was a place that he visited on DDD. They said, yup. So, to start marking off locations, I took a photo with the poster.

img_2256

Checked off, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: 1 out of over 800

Have you been to a DDD location based off seeing it on that show? Have you met Guy Fieri?

This location was featured on Season 6 – Episode 4 TRIPLE D

Check List for Diners, Drive-In, and Dives

600x600bb-85With roadside diners, vintage drive-ins and out-of-the-way “dives” enjoying a resurgence of hipness among foodies, host Guy Fieri travels across America in search of some of the best “greasy spoon” eateries. The restaurants that Guy visits are usually well-known among locals and other people in the region. While at each location, Fieri talks to the staff as well as the customers to get their thoughts on the food. Many episodes feature eateries that are connected by a common thread, such as burgers or comfort foods.

I’ve started taking a look at places in my hometown and when I travel to that has been featured on this show. It would be fun to go to these locations and check them out. And to mark them off, I have to make sure to get a photo of the poster or something showing the place was featured on the show.

Checked off, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: 2 out of over 800

Have you been to a DDD location based off seeing it on that show? Have you met Guy Fieri?