I was invited to join a paella and sangria class up the road at Bulla Gastrobar in Legacy West. Needless to say, I have a new appreciation for the giant skillet of seafood and rice … and for this amazing restaurant.
Starting off the night, we enjoyed a few passed appetizers and cava while we learned about the head chef, the background of the restaurant, and how to make paella and three different types of sangria.
I’ve always been a little intimidated to make paella, but … fun fact, this dish gets its name from the pan used to make it. Anyone else intrigued by that? I’ll say this … it’s a good thing I didn’t try making this on my own. The ingredients are simple, but the process needs a little finesse. The dish is created with love, and from start to finish it takes about 30ish minutes … and that’s great because the smells were almost as intoxicating as the sangria and none of us could wait to eat.
Whether you are a microwave master or home chef, this class was perfect for all levels. Coming around a table, sharing, and conversing with fellow classmates made the evening an enjoyable and relaxing experience that I highly recommend attending … and make sure you’re hungry!
Bulla is hosting this exact class, “Lovers & Friends, Sangria and Paella Making Class” on February 13th at 7PM. If you don’t have plans yet and are still on the hunt for a fun night, grab tickets on their website for $200 for two people!
This year I was ecstatic to find out that my new friend’s birthday is a week after mine AND that Jimmy Buffett would be in town the same week. So, what does a Parrothead do? Host a huge tiki tailgate before the concert … obviously.
We rented an RV, made some food and some tiki bevvies, and made a day of it. We loaded up the RV with decor and furniture and a hearty group of partygoers and busted our butts to get our little spot of parking lot ready for the party.
Since I don’t have my own RV (yet…), we looked for an RV rental company, and Cruise America was the winner! We got the RV that sleeps five for three nights with 300 free miles for a song! Everyone had a place to use the restroom and cool off from the heat, and we all got to ride there together! (And there’s a super cute sticker of a dog on the window!)
The setup was as it should be: over the top and kitsch as hell. While we were short on fans, we weren’t short on shade!
Our friend Ariel was kind enough to step behind the bar for us and serve up our awesome drinks, and that was CLUTCH. She made us look gooooood!
Every great tailgate needs great booze. So, to stick with the tiki theme, we worked with some of our favorite brands to make tiki-friendly cocktails that we batched out to make them easy to enjoy.
Elyx Copper Cup #1946
1.5oz Absolut Elyx Handcrafted Vodka
.75oz GH Mumm Champagne
1.5oz coconut water
.5oz lemon juice
.5oz honey simple syrup
Combine all ingredients except champagne and shake to combine and chill. Pour over new ice and top with champagne. Garnish with coconut shavings and a pineapple wedge. Makes two cocktails.
Patrón Tiki ‘Rita
2oz Patrón Reposado Tequila
.5oz Patrón Citrónge Orange Liqueur
.25oz Allspice Dram
.5oz lime juice
.25oz vanilla simple syrup
.5oz grapefruit juice
Rim a glass with Himalayan sea salt. Combine ingredients in a shaker tin and shake to chill and combine. Pour over fresh ice in the prepared glass and garnish with fresh grated nutmeg and a slice of lime with cloves.
Plantation Mai Tai
1oz Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry Rum
1oz Plantation Original Dark Rum
.75oz lime juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker tin and shake to chill and combine. Pour over fresh ice and garnish with a pineapple wedge.
1.5oz strawberry-infused Maker’s Mark Whiskey
.5oz Giffard Creme de Fraise du Bois Liqueur
bar spoon of strawberry purée
.5oz lemon juice
.25oz simple syrup
.25oz coconut milk
Combine ingredients in a shaker tin and shake to chill and combine. Pour over fresh ice and garnish with a strawberry.
While cocktail are great, we decided they weren’t enough. So, we got some wine and alcoholic gummies and made a couple high-proof popsicles.
Betty Cocktail, a friend, neighbor, and badass bar lady, makes some of the most delicious gummies that just HAPPEN to have booze in them. We’ll just say we were more than delighted when she showed up with her tray of goodies!
Our friends at Union Wine Company were kind enough to send along some cans of their Riesling Radler which, coincidentally, is costumed in the perfect jungle print, toucan and all! This summer-friendly wine in a can has hints of grapefruit and is only lightly “hopped”.
To cool us off, we thought some frozen cocktails would be the ticket. While the alcoholic popsicles were delicious, they sadly didn’t stand up in the heat. Let’s just say that they turned out to be more slushies than popsicles.
1.75C Malibu Coconut Rum
.5C Torani Creme de Banana Syrup
.5C coconut water
1 small container of banana yogurt
Combine all ingredients, then fill into popsicle sleeves. Allow to freeze for at LEAST 24 hours and keep very cold.
Combine all ingredients, then fill into popsicle sleeves. Allow to freeze for at LEAST 24 hours and keep very cold.
We knew that a six-hour tailgate party with free flowing booze needed a pretty stacked food table, so we went full-tilt tiki and had pulled pork, Hawaiian meatballs, Hawaiian Roll ham sandwiches, and more. We had an ambitious pit-master in the group, and he hit it out of the park with his pulled pork with HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCES. (Yes, sauces … two of them.) Dessert we knew would be a slam dunk, so we got some of the amazing White Chocolate Macadamia Nut & Coconut Chocolate Chip cookies from Pokey O’sand tequila-infused margarita cupcakes from Sprinkles.
ALL IN ALL …
All in all, it was a really fun day and a wonderful way to celebrate a couple birthdays. We’ll be back next year, and we have some serious plans … #tikitrouble
I am in a paid partnership with Modelo Negra, but all opinions are my own. Please drink and enjoy responsibly (if you’re 21)!
This past weekend’s Gold Lion Barbershop pop-up featuring Modelo Negra was a new level of pop-up. Beer, beautifully crafted beer cocktails, Mexican chocolates, and some of the best BBQ sliders I’ve eaten in a while were enjoyed. Attendees were also able to get quick trims or braids, play cornhole, and enjoy the DJ’s fantastic music.
There were three fantastic “beertails” brought to us by Jesse Powell, and my favorite was the Modelo Transcending.
.25 oz lemon juice
5 oz ginger/cardamom syrup
top with Modelo Negra
garnish with a mint sprig
Thank you again to Modelo Negra for inviting me to such a fun event!
There’s a new rosé in town and you’re going to want to grab yourself a bottle before it heats up in Texas! Like, really … we’ll wait while you run down the street for a bottle.
You back? Cool … I’ll continue. [Open the bottle and drink along with me.]
This isn’t just any ol’ rosé—it’s Jon Bon Jovi’s rosé that he created with his son, Jesse Bongiovi and former Notre Dame hockey player, Ali Thomas. It’s called Hampton Water, and it dove into the Dallas scene last month with an epic party at the Joule hotel in a kickoff event for KAABOO Texas (the killer music festival featuring The Killers coming in May).
The intimate event called “The First Sip” featured plenty of Hampton Water Rosé and an acoustic set by Jon Bon Jovi himself—no big deal, right?? The event was at the heated rooftop pool deck at the hotel and the second that I stepped out of the elevator, it was clear what a big deal this rosé was at least trying to be. … and it was.
All of Dallas’s elite came out to enjoy a glass of rosé from Dallas athletes like Jason Witten and Dirk himself (bless that man)and alumni from The Bachelor to bloggers, media reps and businessmen. It was a huge turnout and the room was buzzing with excitement for both the performance and the launch of KAABOO and Hampton Water. (Just so much to celebrate.)
Have you already poured yourself a glass?
Now let’s talk about why the Wine Spectator featured it as one of the top 100 wines of 2018: The blend comes from wine makers in the South of France and is made from the perfect blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre grapes. It has a nice clean taste with hints of fruity flavors like cherry and watermelon. It has a really balanced, crisp finish which makes it perfect for pretty much any occasion where wine is involved (which should be all the time, right?). Once patio season hits, I have a feeling we will be seeing it all over Dallas. (Hence our aforementioned note to HURRY.)
Also coming to Dallas is the three-day music festival called KAABOO on May 10-12 which will be headlined by Sting, The Killers, Kid Rock, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. KAABOO describes itself as “People against dirty” and “The perfect weekend escape, described in a word that comes from whatever the hell we feel like yelling when we’re high on life and having fun.” It’s taking place at the AT&T Stadium, and you can be sure here will be lots of cocktails available (including Hampton Water Rosé, obviously) along with craft beers, cabanas, six stages and even a Vegas-y pool club!
As I was sipping my glass of rosé and googling how much KABOO tickets are—which are very affordable as far as music-festivals go btw—the crowd starts hustling towards the stage for Jon Bon Jovi’s private set when he played through his well known hits like “American Pie,” “It’s My Life” and “Livin’ On A Prayer.” I now officially have about 179 Jon Bon Jovi recordings on my phone … and I’m only exaggerating a tiny bit there.
Grape Varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre
Color: light peach
Aroma: bright fruits
Palate: hints of fruity flavors like cherry, strawberry, and watermelon with just a slight minerality
Finish: long, dry
Region: France — Languedoc-Roussillon
Hampton Water hamptonwaterwine.com
In Dallas, you can find the rosé at Central Market, Pogo’s Wine & Spirits, Nick & Sam’s, Hotel ZaZa, Imoto, Tei-An and Uchi
WARNING: THIS STORY ISN’T ABOUT BOOZE; IT’S ABOUT MY FAMILY AND HOW AWESOME SOUTHWEST AIRLINES IS. If you aren’t interested … scroll along. 😉
Being an aunt to two beautiful children is the most fulfilling thing in my world. Yes, sharing my adventures and drinking experiences with y’all is really fun, but knowing that I can help shape my niece’s and nephew’s lives brightens mine every day.
When my sister learned of her first child, Ten’s, severe peanut allergy, we were all greatly concerned and hoped we could find a way to help him live a normal life—because I don’t care what anyone says, a severe allergy to something common like peanuts can make a child’s life difficult. Thanks to a ton of research, my sister found a doctor in Dallas who offers exposure therapy for children. (This is a proven and safe treatment … if you have any questions, just ask!)
The idea was simple—every week for 18 weeks, Ten gets dosed up and monitored—but the execution was less than simple. Her beautiful family lives in Albuquerque, a full 650 miles from said doctor. My parents and I live in Dallas, so she made the choice to make the trip from Albuquerque to Dallas every.damn.week. With flight costs being what they are and most airlines’ cancelation policies and change fees being strict and expensive, it was a daunting idea. (Especially because, if there was any change in Ten’s heath 24 hour prior to the appointment, that week’s appointment had to be postponed.)
And then Southwest Airlines swooped in to save the day. Alice starting squirreling away miles, watching for fare sales, and setting up her weekly flights to make it happen. And, since Ten wasn’t yet two years old, he flew free. (Huge win.) Even more incredible, if Southwest is alerted that there’s someone onboard with a peanut allergy, they don’t serve peanuts that flight* and families are allowed to board early to get the wee ones settled.
My amazing sister made it happen. She schlepped her pregnant, nauseous self and her adorable, allergic boy on a weekly flight to Dallas to make his appointments where he progressed beautifully, winning over every nurse in the office as he went. And, just before his second birthday, he went to his last appointment. Ten could now eat peanuts, giving him the chance to enjoy what is now his favorite food (peanut butter, or “baya”) and his family the peace of mind that a rogue peanut butter and jelly sandwich wouldn’t take him down.
Over the course of what ended up being 22 weeks of appointments, he grew to love airplanes and, of course, Southwest. When he saw a heart, he’d point and say in a proud tenor, “Southwes!” (He had trouble with the second t for a while.) He loves watching airplanes and will tell you that the planes are going to “Dayas” or “Querque”. (He was also well-versed with the safety cards.)
To mark the end of his treatments and his second birthday, my family figured that the best way to celebrate the extraordinary process he went through was with a Southwest Airlines-themed party. The company being what it is, we made some calls and told our story to any employee that would listen—which was pretty much every one we spoke to—and were given little children’s games, pretzels, gifts, and such here and there.
Then, we started amassing extra napkins from flights along with pretzels and cups … and things like custom Southwest teddy bears and paper airplanes started to show up in the mail. A friend even sent him a branded t-shirt (that is now his favorite clothing item) and some other little gifts from their employee store! Apparently we’d struck a cord …
Living in Dallas, our family knows an employee or two, so we called in some favors. None were too busy to at least try to help. We were blown away by everyone’s kindness and generosity. In the end, we pulled together a pretty festive party for the little man.
We are all so appreciative of Southwest on so many levels—for being the airline they are so that my nephew could make his weekly appointments and for being so generous to help him celebrate two huge milestones. Thanks to EVERYONE who helped make it happen.
I recently had the privilege of welcoming Smithworks Vodka into the Lone Star State with an amazing Blake Shelton concert at the famous Billy Bob’s Texas!
Smithworks Vodka was launched in early 2016 and I’m happy to say that Smithworks has recently expanded its distribution to Texas. Over the next few months, Smithworks will be available in twenty- four states.
Smithworks is an American-made vodka that is made with corn from Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma and water from Lake Fort Smith. Smithworks is distilled three times and charcoal filtered for a smooth taste and clean finish. It’s finished and bottled with pride in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and named after the dedicated team there and their hardworking values are symbolized through the tractor icon. They say, “Born and bred in the traditions and values of America’s Heartland, Smithworks embodies the values of the place in which it comes from – local pride, simplicity and hard work.”
Blake Shelton is part of the Smithworks family. He said that he had been waiting to partner with the right brand and he found his home with Smithworks; Shelton said he shares the same values and mission as Smithworks (Vodka. His favorite way to drink Smithworks is with diet lemon-lime soda garnished with a lime. Simple enough.)
Shelton is quoted as saying, “I grew up in Ada, Oklahoma and was raised on the values of hard work, humility and an appreciation for the simple things that make up a good life. As part of the Smithworks family, I’ve been involved in the development of the brand and I’m excited for everyone to finally taste what we’ve been crafting. At its core, Smithworks celebrates that moments in life are better spent with good people and great drinks.”
For the rich mouthfeel and smooth (lack of) flavor, we were surprised by the low price tag—just under $20. A great price for this smooth, clean vodka.
We’re eagerly awaiting distribution in the great state of Texas … a note from Smithworks: For now, you can find Smithworks Vodka in AR, CO, IA, KS, LA, MI, MO, NE, OH, OK, TN, IL, NC, and PA. If it’s in your neck of the woods, ask your favorite local spot about us—it’s usually the personal touch that gets it done.
Every January San Antonio gets drunk … drunk with power knowing that most of the cocktail industry flocked to the home of the Alamo to party, learn … and party some more at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference (the SACC). Bartenders, bar owners, and newbies come from the reaches of the south to mingle with brand ambassadors, media, and daywalkerscivilians enthusiasts at seminars by day and parties by night (and, in actuality, by day too).
Leading up to the main event, brands offer dinners for the locals or the early arrivals with thoughtful and usually quite opulent pairings. Seminars are offered Thursday-Saturday alongside an absolutely overwhelming tasting room experience. And, every night of the main SACC time, there are incredibly well executed parties and celebrations featuring brands offerings tastes, cocktails, and expertly-paired food … and, if done well, a fun hook to keep people hanging at their bar.
Seminars each year offer anything from light tastings with a side of education to a full-out exploration of terroir in a specific spirit aimed at attendees ranging from industry professionals to novices and aficionados. Expect anything from the history of women in mezcal led by the brilliant Emma Janzen and Graciela Angeles Cerreño, functional bar flair instruction from our friend Phillip Smith, a history of Japanese whiskey, and a history of tiki cocktails to a class about cooking with rum. A fun twist I’m excited about this year is an offering of a daily hour of health courtesy of Ketel One and The Healthtender. If you can rouse yourself to make it to one, your body will, no doubt, thank you. Side note: I’m delighted to see such a female presence this year in the programming; it’s beautiful to see!
There is truly something for everyone here … so long as he can enjoy a cocktail or sip some whiskey. Seminars are all sold separately … so come for one or a ton!
This year’s signature cocktail is the Call Me, Honey, created by Jordan Corney of the local Bohanans Steakhouse. (He also created Patrón’s Margarita of the Year in 2016.)
Call Me, Honey 2 oz Deep Eddy Original Vodka ½ oz lemon juice ½ oz honey syrup (2:1 honey to boiling water) 1 oz orange juice Green cardamom pod Lemon wheel and cinnamon for garnish
Muddle cardamom pod in a shaker tin and add remaining ingredients. Add two cubes of ice and shake. Strain with fine mesh strainer into chilled rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with lemon wheel and dust with cinnamon.
I’ll be attending Friday and Saturday’s festivities, so if you make it to Alamo City, send me a DM! If a trip south isn’t in the cards, you can follow along with this year’s SACC experience on my Instagram stories, or follow the conference hashtag #SACC2019.
Amazing views of the Dallas skyline, a private concert by CMT winning artist, Kane Brown, a potato bar (yeah you read that right), and delicious hand-crafted cocktails. A dream come true, am I right?? Those were just some of highlights of the killer party that Hilton Honors threw at the new Canopy by Hilton Dallas Uptown.
Let me paint the scene: We walked in and were greeted with a fun photo-opp and trays of specialty cocktails that were so absolutely amazing that you don’t want to put them down. You turn the corner and see even more cocktail bars, a bacon bar, AND a mac and cheese bar! There was a crew creating Hilton Honors merchandise in real-time. There were also photographers snapping Polaroid pictures of guests that will later be turned into magnets at the afterparty. (Mine is below, so cute, right!?)
As we continued through the venue, there were trays of locally-sourced bites being passed in addition to Texan craft brews and cocktails. I was lucky enough to try a chicken wing (or three) wrapped in a waffle and drizzled in maple syrupso so good! In the opposite corner, there is a massive DIY taco bar where you could choose from brisket, chicken or pork and then add any topping you could imagine.
Our group was invited back to gather around a small stage for a private, intimate concert. Kane Brown came out and treated the audience to an acoustic set of his songs and some other popular country songs by some of his friends.
After Kane Brown serenaded us, we headed up to the after-party at Upside, the hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant. There were more cocktails, a wide assortment of desserts, and the coveted view of the Dallas skyline. The weather was being a little tricky so the skyline was playing peek-a-boo in the mist, but it gave the whole atmosphere a somewhat mysterious, exciting vibe!
A big hats-off to Hilton for being gracious enough to invite our team to this experience that they put on for theirHilton Honors members. The platform allows members to cash-in points for VIP access to sporting events, bucket list-worthy adventures, private concerts (like this one), and even singing lessons with chart-topping artists. I don’t know about you, but after looking at all the things you can cash in your points for—Belgium getaways, Trans-Siberian Orchestra Concert Tickets?!—I’m totally ready to become a member!
Sound good to be true? Check out all the things Hilton Honors members are experiencing on Instagram.
And if you haven’t been to the Upside at the Canopy in West Village – it’s an excellent choice for date night, girls’ night or just casual after-work drinks!