This week I’ve been working with Sweet Annie Herb — a strain of wormwood that’s super interesting and aromatic:
Category Archives: NEW TO ME
I spent part of my Monday night scrolling through April Wachtel’s Instagram account, checking out her food photos and cocktail photography.
I had just earlier in the day listened to an episode of The Speakeasy Podcast where Damon Boelte was interviewing her about mocktails.
Anyway, one of the photos I came across was of a drink with interesting little bubbles floating in it.
So today when I got to work I decided to try floating olive oil in a cocktail:
In total, that’s about three drops of olive oil. After I got the drops in the glass, they kept floating closer and closer to one another — and of course, when they touched, they became one big bubble of olive oil.
April Wachtel’s not alone in adding olive oil to cocktails. Check these links:
—Four olive oil cocktails from Wine Mag.
—Some “Cocktail Science” from Serious Eats.
—A fat-washing article by Camper English!
—Straight from the horse’s mouth!
—A recipe for a gin sour with olive oil called the Slick Rick.
—One last link from PairMag.
New To Me
Gantous & Abou Raad Arak
Arak is liquor distilled from grapes and flavored with Anis Seeds.
It is the traditional alcoholic beverage in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Israel.
The Arak I tasted last night is from Lebanon and clocked in at 100 proof.
It tasted like a less viscous, more potent sambuca.
Like Sambuca, Arak is also compared to Ouzo, Pastis & Absinthe.
For the second half of our overnight in Buffalo, we started Sunday morning with brunch at Cecelia’s.
Cecelia’s a small restaurant located on Elmwood across from Blue Monk. I’ve blogged about it before.
Cecelia’s Ristorante & Martini Bar:
The last time my wife and I were at Cecelia’s was a weekday, and we ordered off the lunch menu — a salad, pizza, hamburger and other delicious lunch items. However, the first time we ever ate at Cecelia’s was several years ago on a Sunday, and the brunch we had was one of those meals that the two of us have brought up to each other time and time again throughout the years.
Thankfully, we were lucky enough to get seats at the bar this trip. We didn’t have reservations for brunch and there weren’t any tables available.
Since it was 11 o’clock, no one could drink (as per New York State law). But like clockwork, the mimosas started flowing right at noon.
Everyone who orders one of the restaurant’s premium brunch dishes is entitled to a free mimosa.
By 12 o’clock though we were just about done with our meal: a crepe to share and a dish of their eggs Benedict for each of us.
Even though we were each entitled to a mimosa, we passed on them — and that would have been the end of our Cecelia’s experience but I saw a bottle of Strega behind the bar.
The last time I was at Cecelia’s I got to try an amaro is never had for the first time. And so similarly this trip I decided to end my meal with a shot of Strega.
Strega is an Italian herbal liqueur that’s been in production since 1860. Like so many bitter digestifs, it contains saffron which gives it its yellow color — though it’s a little less yellow than Galliano.
Although it’s termed a liqueur, Strega is 80 proof (40% abv) and among its 70 herbal ingredients are mint and fennel.
It is slightly sweet, semi-viscous, and has a bold, complex flavor with strong minty or coniferous notes.
Another neat fact about Strega is that it’s the Italian word for “witch,” which made it an appropriate drink for the Halloween weekend.
One last thing about Cecelia’s, as if I haven’t gushed enough, is that I love the natural light they get in their bar from their skylights:
Also along this section of Elmwood is Blue Monk.
I had a quick beer at the popular beer bar after Cecelia’s, but we didn’t stay long. We’d purchased some sponge candy at Watson’s and were itching to get back to Resurgence to pair the candy with the brewery’s stout.
My short stop at Blue Monk did yield me two badges though:
My wife and I went to Buffalo over the weekend for my birthday.
It was a whirlwind trip, and we managed to pack a ton of stuff in throughout the course of only 24 hours.
The first stop we made was a first-time destination for us.
We were on the 90 approaching Buffalo and wanted an early afternoon snack, but had no particular place in mind.
I’d seen friends post pictures of a place called Resurgence Brewing on Facebook so we dialed up OnStar on a whim and took a chance on it:
We had such a good time at Resurgence on Saturday that we decided we’d end our weekend there as well, and we did!
When we left Buffalo on Sunday afternoon, we stopped again so I could try the Sponge Candy Stout — and I ended up winning a beer stein as part of a fundraiser being held at the brewery.
I love that I’d never had this brewery’s beer before nor had I ever been to this brewery, yet it ended up being the beginning and end to my weekend — a sort of bookend for my birthday. And both visits were exceptional in their own unique ways:
I had two beers on Saturday, the WNY Fest and the Oktoberfest.
We also had two snacks while at Resurgence on the first day, a chip-and-dip with a peppers-and-cheese sauce as well as an order of pretzels which came with its own trio of other dips.
Perfect food for a beer-drinking afternoon, but grab plenty of water — most of those dips were spicy.
Saturday was Halloween and we were too early for the brewery’s costume contest (and we weren’t in costume yet), but one of Resurgence’s staff members was an excellent Ace Ventura.
Before leaving, I bought a six-pack of Resurgence’s IPA (which I still have yet to try) — and on our way out we sat by the outdoor fireplace which the brewery has in its closed-off backyard. It was a great way to spend a beautiful October afternoon.
After brunch at Cecelia’s and a quick beer at Blue Monk, we bought sponge candy at Watson’s and then headed back to Resurgence for the brewery’s Sponge Candy Stout (pictured at bottom):
Both days had their own unique energies at the brewery — Saturday was all abuzz with holiday joy and twentysomethings playing brewery games (cornhole, Connect Four, Jenga). On Sunday there were people there for the football game and also to support the fundraiser happening.