Friday, October 30, 2015

October 2015 Digest

Smoke, Spice and Spirits in Austin

Austin, Texas is a pretty hot place. Even in October, the temperatures rise to the mid-90s (seriously). Nonetheless, it's a pretty cool place too. Chris and I enjoyed a wonderful long weekend in Texas' capital city, one of America's fastest-growing big cities, seeing the sites and enjoying amazing barbecue, Mexican and cocktails. You can read about out eating and drinking experiences, the highlights of which were our barbecue dinner at Stubb's, excellent modern Mexican at La Condesa and perfectly made cocktails at CU29 (check out my attempt to recreate the Elijah's Railcar, our favorite drink from the trip) and Garage. A real find on the trip were the breakfast tacos--an Austin "thing"--the best of which were from Taco Joint, a short walk north of the sprawling University of Texas campus. My recipe for Steak, Egg and Smoked Gouda Breakfast Tacos is inspired by our favorite tacos from that amazing little taco joint.

Fall Cocktail Week: The Magic of the Manhattan

There are a lot of great cocktails, but there's something truly magical about the combination of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, the simple foundation of the ever-so-complex Manhattan cocktail. This month, I took a closer look at our favorite drink with my Ode to the Manhattan Cocktail, a in-depth look at the components of the drink in an article I called "Manhattan Construction," and I shared 10 recipe variations (see the cocktail recipes list below) including classic and modern interpretations (some of my own too) of the drink. And if that wasn't enough, I did an 8-2-Eat list on Further Exploration of the Manhattan.

Bringing Chicken Fajitas Indoors

Chicken fajitas are one of our favorite things. We enjoy them frequently from various Tex-Mex restaurants around D.C. and even when we travel. Although traditionally fajitas are grilled--making them an ideal summer food--I wanted to create a recipe for fajitas cooked in the kitchen that are just as tasty as their grilled counterpart. This recipe for Sautéed Chicken Fajitas is the result of that effort, and it's become one of our stay-at-home Saturday night favorites.

A Final Pocketful of Summer

We said farewell to summer with these Vegetable Stuffed Pocket Pitas, using the last of the season's fresh tomatoes and cucumbers along our favorite Mediterranean flavors, including hummus, tzatziki, feta cheese, olives and pitas.

D.C. Restaurants
Our local outings this month included a trip to The Partisan, D.C.'s delicious meat-centric restaurant expanded from the Red Apron butcher shop, and DBGB, the first D.C. restaurant from famed New York chef Daniel Boulud.

The Partisan (American, meat)

DBGB (American, French)

Austin Restaurants and Bars

24 Diner (American, breakfast)

Congress Bar (cocktail bar)

CU29 (cocktail bar)

Garage (cocktail bar)

Guero's Taco Bar (Mexican)

Iron Works BBQ (barbecue)

La Condesa (modern Mexican)

Lamberts (barbecue, grill)

Stubb's (barbecue)

Taco Joint (tacos, breakfast tacos)

Taco Shack (tacos, breakfast tacos)

Food Recipes

Steak, Egg and Smoked Gouda Breakfast Tacos - Inspired by the tacos at Taco Joint, our favorite breakfast tacos from our Austin trip.

Sautéed Chicken Fajitas - Bring summer grilled fajitas indoors with this flavorful marinated sautéed version.

Vegetable Stuffed Pocket Pitas - A final recipe with summer tomatoes and cucumbers featuring Mediterranean flavors of pita, hummus, tzatziki, olives and feta cheese.

Cocktail Recipes

Traditional Manhattan - The simple classic of rye, sweet vermouth and bitters.

Classic Manhattan #1 and #2 and # -  Two recipes exploring why different ratios of whiskey-to-vermouth may be appropriate depending on the type of whiskey used.

Winter Manhattan - A little smoky scotch, whiskey barrel-aged bitters and the amazing Carpano Antica vermouth make this variation a favorite for the colder months.

White Manhattan - A lighter variation of the manhattan made with white whiskey, Dolin blanc vermouth, Benedictine liqueur and orange bitters.

My White Manhattan - My take of a White Manhattan with white rye whiskey, Dolin blanc, Combier orange liqueur, maraschino liqueur and orange bitters.

Black Manhattan - A darker take on the drink made with Averna, an Italian amaro.

Perfect Manhattan - A variation of the drink that includes both sweet and dry vermouths.

Spanish Harlem - Tequila stands in for whiskey in this Manhattan variation.

Brooklyn - An old Manhattan variation with dry vermouth and maraschino liqueur.

Elijah's Railcar - Similar to a Black Manhattan, this drink was our favorite among the many great cocktails we enjoyed during our time in Austin.


Butternut Squash - 8 delectable recipes featuring this favorite fall vegetable (including a to-die-for lasagna with sausage, sage and goat cheese).

Sandwiches - 8 favorites, including a deluxe club, grilled cheese and classic tuna salad.

Further Exploration of the Manhattan - 8 more pieces (7 stories, 1 podcast) that further explore the history and modern day delight of our favorite cocktail.

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