“First world food tech problems–I sent a text message about duck, and now I have to retrain my phone for f-words again.”


Drought on Draught

Another possible drought victim will be the tasty CA beer I love so much.

Sipping on the dock of the Bay. Oakland, 2012

Sipping on the dock of the Bay. Oakland, 2012

One popular brewery, Lagunitas in Petaluma, recently announced that they may not get access to the tasty Russian River water that we know and love. The switch t groundwater will be a tough one, but Lagunitas at least has the reverse osmosis capability to strip groundwater of off minerals and replenish it with mineral composition like the river’s.

Other breweries in the area don’t have such capabilities, but hopefully the community could work together to help each other out. I know the Oakland beer community at least works together for that kind of stuff–many raised money to get Commonwealth back on its feet after a fire.

I don’t whether that cult-favorite Pliny the Younger would be affected next year. Russian River Brewing might also be big enough to have reverse osmosis equipment.

Until we know more, get that stuff while it’s still on the shelf and still a normal price!

Nutrition During Drought

California is thirsty in the worst way these days. We’ve received smatterings of rain here and there, but it’s getting pretty rough for the farmers who produce the majority of the nation’s food. In fact, just yesterday, they received word that they won’t receive additional irrigation water for their crops.

In addition to this meaning fewer jobs for farm workers, this also means higher prices for foods. To those who already stretch pennies, this is going to be quite rough.

The alternative, which is actually a pretty good one, is to buy frozen produce. Now, I don’t mean the stuff that’s slathered in a salty soybean oil “butter sauce,” I mean the stuff whose only adulteration is its freezing.

See below:

Support the local farms if you can, but don’t shy from the freezer section if the dollar’s buying less than it used to. In fact, I currently have a bag of frozen berries thawing in my refrigerator for mixing with yogurt.

Instagram Psychology

I’m always impressed with what does and doesn’t get any “likes” on Instagram. However, if you post #vegan, #glutenfree, or #paleo, then strangers will like the sh*t out of your photos. They’re often stupid, simple things too.

You know what my most liked photo is? This stupid salad that I only posted because of this silly post about stock photos of women with salads.



But it is a good salad. Want your own? I made this vinaigrette, these croutons, and added roasted sunflower seeds (because I’m allergic to nuts!).

Bourbon Rebuttal

During the holiday season, Bon Appetit published what I consider a well-intentioned but off-putting slide show of affordable bourbons to buy when you can’t find Pappy van Winkle. While I do agree with some of it, BA and I have very divergent interpretations of affordable! I do understand and appreciate that BA caters to an affluent demographic that greatly out-earns me.

Fastidious Urbanite, who admittedly dabbles in some indulgences, keeps it real. I almost always (see, I broke my own rules recently for what I thought was a steal at the time) keep it under $35 a bottle for my at-home collection. It used to be $30, but then I wanted to see what an extra $5 would get me. I appreciate that I have more to try, but I have some labels that I’m happy with.

My personal criteria, and reason for keeping my ceiling somewhat strict (though reasonable!) is I want to make myself a decent drink, but also cook with a shot or so without feeling like I wasted it. (I mean, I never actually wasted it because it makes something delicious, but, you know what I mean).

So, here is a list (with photos!) of my regulars.

1. This one is an obvious tried-and-true if you live in the Bay Area. In fact, I didn’t think of its omnipresence here until I lived in Boston and found more unicorns than bottles. It’s apparently only really big here according to this Esquire post. (BTW, I read Esquire like a sex-starved housewife reads Cosmo. They have great writing! Their food stuff and profiles are my favorite. In fact, their profiles regularly win awards from the American Society of Magazine’s Editors) This is Bulleit. If you see it for more than $22, you’re getting ripped off. They’re great in cocktails. Both the bourbon (which is rye-heavy) and the rye (which I might like a little bit better).

ImageThis is a very ghetto Old Fashioned. I have the whiskey, bitters, and sugar. But I rarely have an orange around to zest. Good enough for me!

2. There are three in this line from Redemption–a rye, a high rye bourbon, and a straight bourbon. For a company with such a neat product, their website is underwhelming. This third party one is much better. The Rye and High Rye’s a pretty easy to find, but the green-labeled Temptation takes some work. It’s great if you can find it though. All three are available for under $30. Since the price isn’t too hard to swallow, I felt OK with using it to make this nectarine sorbet (using this peach recipe, but I like nectarines better).


3. Four Roses. Now, the BA article does recommend Four Roses Single Barrel. I agree that it’s good, but Small Batch and Yellow Label are more my price range. In fact, the Small Batch is what made me expand my price ceiling by $5. It’s great on it’s own. (It also has a very pretty bottle). The Yellow Label, on the other hand, is under $20. I use it for cooking and cocktails. Since the Yellow is on the sweeter side, I especially like it for desserts. The bread pudding with whiskey sauce (which I cannot find online, but it was in Food Network’s How to Boil Water cookbook) even got a “like” from Four Roses’s Instagram page!


4. I’ve never seen Elijah Craig 12 year for over $30. It’s decent on it’s own, but also cheap enough that you can use it in cocktails and cooking without much guilt. This bourbon maple whipped cream was the appropriate indulgent topping for Bobby Flay’s pumpkin pie. (Or in iced coffee…if I don’t have to go to work…)


5. I like Buffalo Trace. It’s usually about $25 a bottle and most upper-scale bars around here, Oakland, use it as their “well.” (The others use Bulleit). They’re apparently responsible for the Trader Joe’s label, but I haven’t tried it. (It is $14 though. It’s probably worth buying for curiosity since it’s less than a cocktail with call whiskey at a nice bar). Their distillery also makes Eagle Rare, another sub-$30 one I like.


So, that’s my very brief, non-expert summary. I’ll probably compile a part 2 once I have 5 more to discuss. I know I’m not done! However, I set strict consumption, spending, and frequency limits on what I’ll buy for my home bar. What did I miss? I’m due for my monthly bottle purchase!