Springtime Adult Beverages

Everyone should know that “adult beverage” translates to “alcoholic drinks”. The following recipes have been gleaned from several sources, including a local grocery circular. They all have some appeal to us, and so we share them with our readers.
POMEGRANITE VODKA COCKTAIL
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients 
4 oz. orange juice
6 oz. 100% pomegranate juice
2 oz. lime juice
8 oz. Absolut Vodka
3 Tbsp. superfine caster sugar
½ Tbsp. ginger juice
1 orange, sliced and quartered

Directions 
Whisk together all ingredients to combine.

Divide among 4 glasses and serve over ice, or pour into a pitcher and pour over ice as needed.

Add a wedge of orange to the rim of the glass for a festive addition.

 

FIZZ BOMB
Hands-on Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients 
4 tablespoons powdered lemonaid
½ cup water
4-6 ounces tequila ro vodka
4 cups lemon sparkling water or ginger ale
8 scoops lemon sorbet

Directions 
Place lemonade mix into a pitcher and add plain water, stirring until dissolved.

Add sparkling water and alcohol. Pour into glasses.

Top each glass with 2 scoops lemon sorbet. Enjoy immediately!

Leave out the tequila for a great virgin drink.
SWEET BOURBON MOJITO
Hands-on Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients per drink 
8 fresh mint leaves
1 Tbsp turbinado (raw) sugar
½ ounces club soda, chilled
Ice cubes
3½ ounces bourbon
¼ tsp almond extract
1½ ounces pineapple juice
2 tsp pure maple syrup
Pineapple wedge for garnish

Directions
Muddle mint leaves with sugar and club soda, then pour mixture into a cocktail shaker.

Add the bourbon, extract, juice and syrup. Shake well, then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.

Garnish with a pineapple wedge.
BLOODHOUND WITH JERKY
Hands-on Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients 
3 cups tomato juice
2 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp. ground celery seeds
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 large dash Tabasco sauce
Celery salt or kosher salt
Lime wedges
Ice cubes
6-8 oz. vodka
4 sticks beef jerky (I like Jack Links)

Directions 
In a large pitcher, combine tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire, lemon juice, celery seeds, pepper and Tabasco. Stir well.

Place celery salt or kosher salt on a small plate. Rim 4 glasses with the lime wedges and dip the rims, coating well.

Fill the glasses with ice and divide the vodka among them. Pour in the tomato juice mixture.

Garnish each drink with a beef jerky stick.

For an added treat, garnish with a skewer of grape tomato, beef jerky, and a mild or hot pepper. This garnish adds more color as well as a dash of panache.

 

Remember, always drink responsibly!

— Ann Cathey

Barcenas – Houston, TX

At first glance, Barcenas Mexican Restaurant looks like just another up and coming strip mall eatery. There area ctually three locations currently, serving Houston and Friendswood as well as the LaMarque location we were introduced to.

We happened to be there with some friends for a small wedding reception in the back room. Their Christmas finery was up and was fairly understated except for the whopper of a Christmas tree in the front entry. The rest of the decor was fairly laid back, but typical of the venue with broad swatches of earthtones highlighted by bright red and green accents.

Sadly I was unable to take photos of our food or the venue itself due to the occasion, but
rest assured it was very comfortable and the staff was on point.

When checking out a new restaurant, my partner and I usually have a specific dish that we
order as a litmus test. For Mexican food, that test dish is Queso Flameado. For those not
experienced with this excellent appetizer, it’s a hot dish of melted white cheese topped with chorizo. A lot of establishments will call it flameado, yet offer fajita chicken, beef or
grilled onions and peppers to top it off. Those variations actually have other names, but you get the idea.

The Queso Parrilla, as they call it, with fajita chicken was outstanding. The flour tortillas
served with it were a little small, and there were only three of them, but they were obviously made on site with a lovely flavor that complimented the buttery richness of the cheese.

While some of the rest of the party was much more adventurous, we stuck to known quantities for this visit. I ordered the flautas, while he chose a burrito plate. The portions were generous and very tasty.

Flautas – Three corn tortillas wrapped around Ranch chicken and deep fried, served with
Spanish rice and refried beans, a small bed of lettuce topped with sour cream and guacamole.

Burrito Azteca – A large flour tortilla stuffed with fajita chicken and white cheese, topped
with moderately spicy chipotle sauce. Served with Spanish rice and refried beans.

“Big, warm, and flavorful. Definitely a $10 burrito plate.”
— Christopher

A bar is available , specializing in margaritas, cocktails, and a small list of beer and wine. Check out their full menu  for the wide variety of entrees and appetizers they offer, then go give them a try when you are in the area.

Barcenas offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as banquet and party services, with three locations to serve you.

On the 1-5 scale, Barcenas gets:
Cleanliness – 4.5
Service – 5
Quality of food – 4.5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – 3
Overall experience – 4.4

Barcenas Mexican Restaurant
11013 Delaney Road
La Marque, TX 77568
(409) 908-9801

Let us know if you go, and what you think about Barcenas.

— Ann Cathey

Food Porn – Episode 9

Being a photographer as well as I writer, I am often confronted with photos that I have taken that don’t quite make the grade as stock photography, but are too good to be wasted. They get lonely when they are simply  archived. Rather than let these photos sit, allow me to share these tasty items with everyone. Enjoy!

Boiled crawfish ready for take-out!

Boiled crawfish ready for take-out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bangers and Mash at Stuttgarden on the Strand, Galveston, TX.

Bangers and Mash at Stuttgarden on the Strand, Galveston, TX.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish Nachos at Stuttgarden on the Strand, Galveston, TX.

Irish Nachos at Stuttgarden on the Strand, Galveston, TX.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sauerkraut Balls at Stuttgarden on the Strand, Galveston, TX.

Sauerkraut Balls at Stuttgarden on the Strand, Galveston, TX.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brat Sampler Plate, featuring hand-made bratwurst in several flavors, Stuttgarden on the Strand, Galveston, TX.

Brat Sampler Plate, featuring hand-made bratwurst in several flavors, Stuttgarden on the Strand, Galveston, TX.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In need of a refill?

In need of a refill?

 

 

 

 

 

 

— Ann Cathey

Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant – Galveston, TX

While driving along the Seawall in Galveston, we caught sight of a sandwich board advertising a lunch buffet. It was on the sidewalk outside of a building with an extensive patio and a tower reminiscent of Pisa. Of course, we had to investigate. What we discovered was a delightful experience we can’t wait to do again.

DSC_0816Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant is one of three locations on the island that offers Italian cuisine and oven-fresh pizza. On weekdays, they also offer a lunch buffet including ravioli, fried fish, shrimp fried rice (Italian style), spaghetti and meatballs, fresh salad, and lots of pizza. None of these dishes stints on the ingredients just because it’s a buffet!

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Buffet from salad fixings to pastas to meats and veggies.

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Pizza and garlic bread. Everything went so fast I couldn’t get a photo of full pans!

 

 

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Bottom center, counter-clockwise from the buffet: salad with cheese and black olives, cantaloupe, broccoli, fried fish, shrimp fried rice, cheese ravioli, and meatballs (more hiding under the ravioli).

Mario’s dinner menu has a greatly expanded repertory of Italian classics and in house specialties such as the lobster ravioli and the home-made gelato.

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DSC_0808Spacious inside as well as out, and sporting some interesting murals, this place was a haven from the sun, surf, and wind outside. From the aquarium in the entry, to the conservative dark wood furniture, the dining areas are soothing and enhance the dining experience in a subtly understated way.

According to their website: “Tucked away in the thick of seafood restaurants, you will find all the romance, fun and tradition of Italy with a Texas-size seaside view to compliment the richness of Mario’s Seawall’s pastas and pizzas. Experience authentic Italian cuisine at its finest, in Galveston’s oldest Italian restaurant.”

Decorative toy fish in the freshwater tank by the entry.

Decorative toy fish in the freshwater tank by the entry.

Our server, Ana S., and the shift manager, Gina, were friendly, attentive, and happy to help with permission to take a few photos inside to help entice you to visit.

If you’d like a little grown-up time, Mario’s is a lovely place to share some time and a glass of wine. The quiet atmosphere and soothing surroundings make Mario’s an excellent highlight to any Galveston travel.

On the 1-5 scale, Mario’s lunch buffet gets:
Cleanliness – 5
Service – 5
Quality of food – 5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – 5
Overall experience – 5

Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant
628 Seawall Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77550
(409) 763-1693

— Ann Cathey

The Alibi, NOLA

DSC_0084One of the many quaint little hole-in-the-wall-bars in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the Alibi “New Orleans Best Excuse” may well boast the best burger in the city. It also maintains a wall inscribed with all the beers they have on tap and in the cooler. It’s an impressive list.

The place might have a standing room only capacity of about 60 people, but the night we crawled inside there weren’t even a dozen. We took a seat in the back and shared our space with The Most Interesting Man in the World.

DSC_0082DSC_0081The pub menus are on the table, but you have to order at the bar. There’s also a one drink minimum, which is understandable for such a small place in such a busy tourist spot. The beer came back fast, though the burgers took a while.

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I had my usual Bass Pale Ale, and my partner had a Samuel Smith Imperial Stout. If we were only going to have one, they might as well be good ones!

 

When the burgers arrived, all our reservations melted away. While the base price was $10.50, the monster sandwiches that were laid before us made us grin with delight.

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The flavor lived up to the visual promise as well. The 3/4 pound patties were close to an inch thick, juicy and flavorful, and dripping in cheese, just like we like them.

The top is a medium rare with provolone cheese. The second is also medium rare, but with sharp cheddar. There was no scrimping on the beef or the cheese!

If you are staying in the area, you can skip the one drink minimum by ordering for delivery or calling in a takeout. They deliver food to residences, businesses and a lot of the area hotels.

 

On the 1-5 scale, the Alibi gets:
Cleanliness – 3 (It’s a pub!)
Service – 3
Quality of food – 5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – 3
Overall experience – 3.8

The Alibi
811 Iberville Street
New Orleans, Louisiana

–Ann Cathey