Sunday, March 6, 2016

Blueberry Margarita: Granite City

Blueberries. I don't like to eat them on their own but I love them in smoothies and alcoholic drinks. They are blue on the outside, green on the inside, and purple when mashed. We like to go out for lunch on the weekends and usually its about the food because my husband is a chef but sometimes we get to combine our loves and get great food and margaritas. Granite City, for those who have never been, is considered slightly upscale but approachable by the average diner. Granite City is known for brewing their own beer, which made the guys happy. I started by ordering the house margarita, which was on the happy hour menu for the day, but when I looked inside the menu I saw there was a blueberry margarita and I had to change my mind.
The margarita had great color but the taste was only ok. You could barely taste the blueberry and you really couldn't taste any tequila. It was citrus-y which is part of a margarita but it could have easily been a tequila/lemonade. I was unimpressed enough to not order another one. Which has become a dig to my husband and others who join us it to eat. They don't ask anymore if it was good or not, they ask if I'm having another one! 
Happy Drinking!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sangria Margarita: TGI Fridays

Hello... It's me. Bad Adele reference o know, but I've been slacking on bringing you the tequila and maragarita reviews! I feel terrible and hopefully you still love me! 
Monday was National Margarita Day and it was a busy day. Due to all the running around I couldn't make it to my favorite watering holes so we ended up at TGI Fridays. I was about to go with a margarita I'd had before when our waitress brought out the "new" menu. I'm a fan of both margaritas and sangria so I figured why not?! 

It came to me unmixed which I found weird so I mixed it together. It didn't taste like I was expecting. I expected one of the drinks to take over the flavor profile and be stronger... But neither stuck out as being more powerful than the other. 
I could only taste the wine slightly more than the tequila. 
As far as calling it a margarita of any kind, TGI Fridays was wrong. This wasn't tropical in any shape or form. That's motto say the drink wasn't enjoyable, it was, but it wasn't a margarita. Should you be looking for an enjoyable drink, want both tequila and wine, and don't want that tropical feel this is the drink for you! 
On the maragarita scale this gets a 2 out of 5. On the drink scale it gets a 4 out of 5.
Happy Drinking!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

McCoy's Pub House: Margarita

It's Sunday and I'm hungry. Here in Minnesota it's cold. And when I say cold I mean it's -6 with a feels like of -23. The kind of weather when most people would call the couch their best friend and Netflix their new lover. But I'm fresh out of tequila at home and that just doesn't sit well with me. We chose to meet up with some friends and brave the cold at McCoy's Pub House. An average, unassuming place that you feel comfortable meeting your friends. We came for lunch and naturally when they list a margarita on the menu infused with citrus and made with house mix I'm interested. 
I'm not interested anymore. As you can tell by the picture it came out looking like something from outer space the way it glowed. Based on its color I knew it would be too sweet and it was. Unfortunately the lime that came out with it was dried and brown. All around a major disappointment. I can understand if you don't have a margarita on the menu that I should expect it won't be that great, but when you make it part of your specialty cocktails menu it better be on point. 
I have never (until today) seen a tequila old fashioned on a menu anywhere. I had asked our server which she preferred and she told me the margarita. So for my second drink I ordered the Old Fashioned. Amazing. The old fashioned was made with Casamigos tequila which isn't my first choice but it turns out that it was amazing. Slightly sweet but still able to enjoy the taste of the tequila. I have to say, these may be my new go-to. Old fashioneds are made simply; tequila, agave, and orange bitters. 
If you get the chance to pop in to McCoy's have a Tequila Old Fashioned. Or make your own at home, you won't be disappointed. If you do stop into McCoy's don't order the margarita. Just don't do it. 
Happy Drinking!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Blood Orange Margarita: Red Robin

It's been a great holiday week. If you saw Facebook or Instagram I shared my fabulous shirt and multitude of tequila that I received. We have finally made it back from the great white north to the metropolis and we are dying for food. Not only do we need nurishment, but because a big part of our drive was extremely slow due to icy roads we needed a drink too. That's not to say I didn't have enough tequila this week... But I needed more. We decided burgers were the way to go and Red Robin is where we landed. I ordered the Blood Orange Margarita. The margarita here is sweet blood orange, strawberry, and blackberry mixed with Hornitas Plata 100% Blue Agave Tequila, triple sec, and house made margarita mix.
This margarita is is sweet and delicious. After all of the heavy holiday foods this is light and refreshing. I'm also a big blood orange fan so that really helps! It also helps that this margarita is under $8!! Typically a margarita made with any 100% Blue Agave (the only tequila in my mind) is $10 or more. 
This margarita starts with the sweetness of the berries and finishes with the tang of the blood orange. I found it to be very appetizing. I would recommend if you get the chance to stop in at a Red Robin have the blood orange margarita... It's delicious!
Happy Drinking!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tequila Carnitas

Almost as much as I love tequila, I love food. Even sitting at my desk at 8:30 in the morning I am thinking about eating these carnitas. Growing up and living in the Midwest, we are big meat eaters. Meat is central to nearly every dish we make from bacon at breakfast to steak for dinner. These pork carnitas were a natural fit into my eating habits.
I wasn't the only person eating this delicious shredded meat, my husband and I made these for our friends and family during a football game one Sunday afternoon. It took longer to cook the carnitas than it did to devour them! This recipe serves 6-8 people very comfortably.
- 4 or 5 lbs. pork shoulder, boneless
- Taco seasoning (I had Old El Paso on hand)
- Salt & Pepper
- Butter
- 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
- 1 large jalapeno seeded and chopped fine
- Juice of about 2 limes
- 1 cup Tequila (I used Tres Agaves Reposado)
- 1/2 cup of water

Cut your pork shoulder into 4 large chunks to make it easier to work with. Season the shoulder with the salt, pepper, and taco seasoning. (I gave my pork shoulder a good coating of the taco seasoning and added just a pinch of salt and pepper since the taco seasoning has plenty of both). Find a large pan. Melt some butter in this pan. Once the butter is melted, add your pork shoulder. Sear/brown the shoulder on all sides. If the spices start to burn, reduce the temperature a bit. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Once seared, put all of the meat into a glass baking dish. Add your garlic, jalapenos, lime juice, tequila, and water. Cover the baking dish with tin foil and put it in the oven. Now comes the waiting. The pork shoulder will have to bake in the oven for 2-3 at this temperature. Once the pork is cooked to a safe temperature (160 degrees), remove the baking dish from the oven. Remove the large fatty bits from the pork and begin to shred the meat with a fork and knife.

Once you have shredded the pork shoulder it will be hard to resist eating all of that porky goodness but do wait! Now you'll need to turn on the broiler of your oven and crisp up the carnitas. You should be able to eyeball when the top of the meat is getting a crust. Then comes the best part of all..... eating! Top these carnitas with anything you prefer, I like avocado and all kinds of other veggies. 

No one was disappointed with the outcome of these Tequila Carnitas! A group of 6 of us demolished the entire pork shoulder.  All that was left was a little lettuce and cheese. I would love to hear from any of you who decide to make these yourself... let me know what you think!

Happy Drinking (& eating)!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Chili Tequila Truffles

I don't know about you, but I love chocolate. What I love more than just chocolate is adding some spice. I woke up this morning and decided that it was a great day for truffles. Disclaimer, I have never made truffles before so I can honestly say that anyone can make these! These are not a quick-to-make so allow for some time in between to do a couple other short tasks. If your ready to make these sinfully delicious truffles, read on!
  • 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, I used chips
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons Tres Agaves Reposado tequila
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  • Directions:
  • Place the semi-sweet chocolate and butter in a medium glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir, and repeat once more. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream and corn syrup over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and pour over the melted chocolate and butter. Let stand for 2 minutes then use a rubber spatula to stir gently in concentric circles until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and creamy. Gently stir in the vanilla extract, chili powder, cinnamon, and tequila. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Using a small truffle scooper, melon baller or gloves and a spoon, scoop the chilled chocolate and place onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 more minutes.
  • Place cocoa powder in a small bowl for dusting. Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and roll into balls between the palms of your hands. Then roll one truffle at a time in the cocoa powder, using a fork to lift the truffle out of the bowl and dust off the excess. Sprinkle with additional chili powder, for garnish. Let rest at room temperature for one hour before serving. Keep in an air-tight container at room temperature.Don't worry if the chocolate mixture seems thick at first, keep slowly stirring until it becomes smooth and creamy. I couldn't find my truffle scooper or melon baller so I used the good 'ol gloves and spoon option. It worked just fine for me although it was a little sticky.
    The end result has been much talked about! These truffles are just a little spicy but you'll only be reaching for the milk because they are sooo creamy and smooth! Way easier to make then cookies and pie because you can't burn them. Not solely holiday related like peppermints. Chili Tequila Truffles are the perfect treat to bring to holiday gatherings and for every night! 
    Happy Drinking! (And tasting!)
  • Monday, October 26, 2015

    Tequila & Taco Fest Seattle 2015

    What a day! At all started at Pike Place Market - the Gum Wall, fish being thrown, market samples (apples and smoked salmon), and of course coffee! What journey to Seattle would be complete without the coffee?! (And yes, I added my own gum to the wall.)

    Once we had seen some of the sights, we headed off to the Freemont neighborhood of Seattle for the Tequila & Taco Fest. Looking back on the event, I'm glad I purchased the Premium ticket. We got in 2 hours before the general crowd and had room to roam as we pleased. There were so many tequilas represented; Jose Cuervo, Sparkling Donkey, Maestro Dobel, Hornitos, Mexican Moonshine Tequila, 1800, Papa Bueno, Gran Centanario, El Tesoro, Sauza 901, Tres Generaciones, Aha Yeto Tequila, Alipus Mezcal, Deleon Tequila, El Tesoro de Mi Tierra, Milagro, Montelobos Mezcal, Oredain Ollitas, Puerto Vallarta, and Scorpion Mezcal. I enjoyed them all but I would say my favorites would be the Puerto Vallarta, the Mexican Moonshine, and the Tres Generaciones. I tried the Reposado of every brand except the Puerto Vallarta (it is brand new as of June on the US market, it was an Anejo) and the Deleon Tequila (it was only offered in the Blanco). This Tequila and Taco Fest benefited the Motley Zoo Animal Rescue ( 

    Along with the tequila, many local restaurants brought their version of a taco. The tastes were provided by Seattle restaurants; Agave Cocina, Barrio, Cantina Lena, Dilettante Chocolates, Evolve Chocolate, Famous Northwest Catering Company, Flat Iron Grill, Poquitos, Mr. Villa, Red Star Taco Bar, Seasoned in Seattle Catering, South Seattle College, Sullivan's Steakhouse, and Torero's Mexican Restaurants. Surprisingly enough, there was no ground beef used. Steak tartare, chicken, shrimp, shredded beef, Korean ribs, pork, and Ahi Tuna were all represented. There was even tequila/chile infused chocolates and chocolate tacos! My two favorite food offerings were the steak tartare taco from Barrio (not associated with the one in Minnesota that I love so much) and the shredded beef taco. I can honestly say that none of the food was bad, but there has to be favorites. 

    (The steak tartare from Barrio)
    (The shredded beef.)

    (There was even a chocolate taco!)

    Adding to the ambiance of the location, a mariachi band was brought in from a local restaurant. Not only were they excellent but they played to the crowd (nobody missed shouting "Tequila"). 

    Once the general admission crowd was allowed to come in things got very loud and crowded. I would recommend if you attend the Seattle Tequila and Taco Fest next year to purchase a premium ticket, its worth the extra $40 to have the room and time without all the other people. There were quite a few people in the general admission crowd who got way too drunk, way too fast and caused scenes. Not only can you avoid the drama that way but the money benefits a great cause and all the swag was free instead of for purchase! 
    I'm hoping to make this first Tequila Fest a regular event for myself! I had a lot of fun, ate a lot of great food, and drank a lot of really great tequila!
    Happy Drinking!