Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine's Trip

Valentines Day, another hallmark holiday made up so businesses can make some extra cash. So I thought to myself, “why can’t I benefit from this holiday as well?” So I did. Since it was on Thursday Amber and I decided to hold off on doing anything until Saturday, so I parked cars for Valentines Day and did pretty well since I worked a high-end restaraunt in German Village here In Columbus. Then I did it again Friday night. So I had a pocket full of money and a hot lady to take out on the town for Saturday. After relaxing most of the day we were up and getting ready but before, I decided to run to the store to grab a pre-dinner beer. And on my walk home I thought to myself, “why not do a post where I give a little info on my drinks of the evening? Even better I’ll do a trip around the world with my drinks.” So with that statement let me reiterate the fact that I don’t condone drinking and I will stand by my statement that I am not an alcoholic.
            First we travel to Germany, Warstein, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany to be exact. Actually outside of there in Arnsberg Forest Nature Park sits the Warsteiner brewery, Germany’s largest privately owned brewery. It has been owned by the Cramer family since 1753. I picked Warsteiner for one main reason, the glass. Nick sent me this glass straight from the Warstein because Nick's company has their headquarters right next to the brewery. Could you imagine having to work next to a brewery and being able to smell that sweet nectar all day? Mmmmmm. Anyway I chose the lighter Warsteiner since it was a pre-dinner drink.
For dinner, at Nida’s Thai on High, I picked a ginger ale from Japan, a Hitachinio. Brewed by Kiuchi brewery in Naka, Japan where they mix European beer making techniques with traditional Japanese brewing techniques. Not sure it was the right choice for dinner especially paired with sushi but what is? It was a good beer and my first ginger beer as well. Owl you need is a beer.
After dinner we headed down the road to Barrel 44, a whiskey bar here in Columbus. I’ve been itching to try a scotch so I stepped out of my norm of beer and ask the bartender for a scotch drink for a beginner and she handed me a scotch and soda with a twist of lemon. She used Dewar’s White Label which is a littler “smoother” than regular Dewar’s. I’ve come to realize when a whiskey drinker says “smoother” it’s still going to burn when you drink it straight, but with the splash of soda and lemon it was actually pretty good for my first time. Dewar’s is obviously from Scotland up in the Highlands, started by john Dewar in 1846.
Next I head a little south to north Yorkshire, England and picked up a New Castle brown ale which is the most sold brown ale in the UK. I had gotten ale because we ordered a plate of fries and I didn’t think a scotch and soda was the right choice to wash down the hot potatoes strips.
After the fries and drinks we braved the cold and headed home. As old fashioned as this sounds we enjoyed our last drink of the evening, a night cap if you will, a port. For V Day, Amber got me a bottle of Noval Black. Noval Black is a port from Portugal which means it’s a real Port or Porto. A port is wine that has been fortified and left in a barrel in a cave or kahv (Portugal for cellar). The fortification leaves a little more sugar in the wine and boosts the alcohol content. And if you get a port that isn’t from Portugal it’s a generic or knockoff. The name Port comes from the seaport city of Porto at the mouth of the Douro River where it was first exported in the 17th century.
So I didn’t necessarily go around the world and there are a ton more choices out there from all over but those were mine for the evening and I’ll admit they were all pretty good choices for my first trip. And I felt fine the next day because most of the drinks were spaced out pretty far and before bed I took two aspirin and a glass of water. So until the next trip, cheers.

“I cook with wine; sometimes I even add it to the food.”         -W.C. Fields

Friday, February 8, 2013


Awe the coldness, it just keeps creepin’. Well actually it has been battling it out with the warmth. Some days its cold and others it’s warm. It literally snowed all day one day last week and was down around 20°F and the next day it topped out at 63°F and melted all the snow. Welcome to Ohio, where you never know what the weather will be like. If it’s cold in the morning you might as well wear some shorts under your pants because it may be hot by noon. If you live in a little more predictable climate or it actually is cold today in Ohio there is nothing better on those freezing days than a hot meal. One of my favorite hot meals is jambalaya. Oh you don’t know what jumbalaya is? Let me put it to you this way; the Cajuns said, “I’m gonna make some spicy rice and add some meat.” Not sure what the original dish contained but you can put anything you want in it. Whether it’s chicken, sausage, seafood, or alligator it’s a tasty hot meal on that cold winter day.
How do you make it? Easy. You buy a box of Zatarain’s Jambalaya Mix and follow the instructions on the back of the box. The box doesn’t come with meat so you add your own, again, your choice. I like mine with sausage. Andouille sausage is the way I go, or with smoked sausage or jalapeno chicken sausage. Now on the back of the box it instructs you to brown the meat (sausage) in one pan and drain. Then it goes on to boil so much water and add an amount of veggie oil as an option. When the water comes to a boil add the rice/spice from the box and the cooked meat. Then it goes on how to finish. The way I do it is I brown my sausage in a sauce pan, remove the sausage and there is a small amount of oil left from the sausage, some might call it grease, or fat juice, whatever you want to call it, that’s what I use instead of veggie oil. I leave that in the pot and add my water, bring it to a boil and add my rice/spice and sausage bring back to a boil and then let it simmer on low heat. Twenty minutes later you have a pot full of goodness. Now I don’t take credit for finding this recipe, me mum used to feed it to me when I was a little lad. Not sure why that sentence had a British tone to it. Oh you say you’re a vegetarian? Don’t add meat. The rice is tasty by itself as well. The best part of this whole meal, it’s cheap and easy as hell to make. So next time you in the sto’ go on and pick you up a box. Not sure how to write in a Cajun way.
If you are unfortunate and they don’t have Zatarain’s in your local grocer, you can make your own. There are a ton of recipes on the internet. And you are too lazy and don’t want to make your own or by the box and make that, some restaurants make their own so you can go get theirs. Around the Columbus area there is a restaurant called BJ’s Brewhouse by Polaris mall that serves a very tasty version loaded with a few different meats including chicken, shrimp, and sausage.