Beer Time!

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This week, I checked out a couple of beer tastings, because I needed something to do so I don’t get cabin fever from all of this harsh cold weather. Plus, who doesn’t like to try beer pairings and a new coffee beer? I am not really a beer person, but when you add cookies and coffee in there, I’m game.

The first one was the Cookies and Beer event at Bier Station in the Waldo Area. It was sponsored by Recommended Daily, with cookies by Dolce Bakery and beer picked out by Bier Station.

They offered three flights:

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1. Maple Toasted Oatmeal Cookie with Oskar Blues’ Old Chubs Nitro Scotch Ale.

2. Chocolate Chunk Espresso Cookie with Tallgrass Brewing’s Pub Ale.

3. Pretzel, cashew, chocolate Cookie with Stiegl Radler.

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I tried all 3 pairings. My favorite beer was the Scotch Ale, that’s it up there of off the serving board, and my favorite cookie was the espresso cookie, the dark one on the plate. I tried to eat slow so it would last longer, but it didn’t work. It was the smallest cookie of the three.

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The second event was Torn Label brewery’s release of it’s Cafe Dubbel at Thou Mayest Coffee Roaster. A collaboration between the two companies. Torn Label is a new local brewery and Thou Mayest is one of KC’s best coffeeshops/bar.

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Cafe Dubbel is a Belgian ale coffee beer made with a single origin Ethiopian coffee brewed by Thou Mayest. I liked it because it tastes like beer with hints of coffee flavor, not the other way around. It is now my favorite coffee beer.

Next time you are in Kansas City, these places are a must! πŸ™‚

Down South Where I (Wanna) Stay……

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This past weekend, we went down to San Antonio for the long weekend, because we had nothing better to do. Just kidding. I’ll tell you why, later.

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We got to see the Terminator(Aspen) and spend some time with family for Jaelan’s birthday. But, more importantly, we got away from the blistering cold! We did come back to about half a foot of snow.

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I was able to check out a couple of coffee spots, Local Coffee and Press Coffee. Both were awesome spots and served a great cortado. I found Press Coffee a little cozier and less crowded.Β Xavier and I tried out the Esquire Tavern on the Riverwalk for desserts and cocktails for Valentine’s. I highly recommend. Great space and atmosphere, and a little history. We had the VDay special and the pulled pork sandwiches, and the Bitter Flip cocktail. We couldn’t squeeze in Fiddy Shades, but maybe that was a good thing?

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We also went on a hike with the girls at a nearby park for VDay. May just be a new tradition. Right before we finished:

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Xavi: How many miles have we hiked?
Aspen: 5 days!! We walked for 5 days, Xavi!! (She sounded angry)

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I think she was tired by then, lol. It was only a couple of miles, jeez.

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Here are a few more photos. Sadly, I did not get any shot of the Riverwalk, next time. Have a great rest of the week!! πŸ™‚

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The Pitch Bite Club: Renee Kelly’s Harvest!!

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Last month, Xavier and I attended the second event of The Pitch’s Bite Club, hosted by The Pitch, FindItKC, and Renee Kelly’s Harvest. For a reminder of what the bite club is and of the first event, go here.

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The venue this time was Renee Kelly’s Harvest in Shawnee Mission, KS. Harvest is housed in the old Caenan Castle. Yes, a castle, but think a smaller scale.

As with the first event, Chris Olsen of FindItKC, that’s him up there with Xavier, was an awesome host. Dinner was presented by the very energetic chef Renee Kelly.

I started off with a drink from the cocktail menu, the chocolate pumpkin martini, which was perfect. The chocolate pumpkin combo was new to me and very glad that I tried it, even though I drank it way too fast. Xavier had the Lemon Blossom, think Black-Eyed Susan. We had a bartender on hand to explain each cocktail and make great recommendations.

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We were served a four course meal. The first was pressed duck chest that was very fresh and tender, black rice(which I’d never had before), apple slaw with huckleberry and beet sauce. The sauce was magic, and I am not a duck person, but this one was a winner.

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The second course was the tastiest carrot and ginger bisque with crystallized ginger, creme fraiche and bourbon pear balsamic vinaigrette ever, though I can’t say I’ve ever had it before.

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For the main course, we had the scotch filet with butter braised turnips, pink potatoes, and parsnips and apple puree. The puree was like whoa. I ate everythang. It was cooked perfectly for me and as farm fresh as they come.

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For dessert, we had chocolate ganache cake with candied orange peel. Xavier doesn’t even like chocolate cake, but he ate all of his and so did I πŸ™‚

Besides the food, chef Renee was one of the highlights of the dinner. Her energy and enthusiasm was very contagious. She had everyone excited about each course. She is very passionate about her craft and it shows in each of the dish that she presented. She also gave us a little insight into what she has in store for the future and it is definitely a bright one.

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If you need a new place to grab drinks and awesome farm to table food, definitely stop by Renee Kelly’s Harvest. I know we will definitely be back! πŸ™‚

*Bite Club logo from the pitch.com and Caenan Castle photo from reneekellyharvest.com*

*Photos taken with iphone4*

Kansas City Caffeine Crawl!!

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If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love coffee. If not, well, I love coffee.

This past weekend, The Lab, a beverage marketing company, hosted the fall edition of the Kansas City Caffeine Crawl, there is also one in the summer.

If you didn’t already know, Kansas City has a very rich coffee community and it is ever growing.

Naturally, when I found out that Kansas City has a caffeine crawl, I signed me up, albeit last minute, but I was able to go this time around. Thank you to Jason and Micheal from The Lab for saving my tickets! πŸ™‚

Xavier and I took the Sunday self driven Route 1. There are also bus routes available, but they sell out pretty fast. FYI: Xavier is not a coffee drinker, he just came along for the fun, plus he was a very helpful in getting us to the stops on time πŸ™‚

In addition to sampling some great coffee and specialty food/products, each crawler receives goodies bag filled with various coffee “swag”.

Here is our route and what each stop had to offer:

Stop #1: Parisi Cafe in Leawood.

Parisi is one of my favorite spots here. Kate, the GM, presented an innovative culinary use for coffee. She created a dish of coffee caviar, yes coffee caviar, with pomegranate pop rocks chased by carbonated plums. It was awesome. It included a demonstration on how to make coffee caviar. I thought the presentation was very informative, especially since I had never heard of coffee caviar. When you put the combo in your mouth, it literally creates a popping sensation in your mouth like fireworks. Xavier did try this one and he actually liked it. He also loved the carbonated plum, because he loves plums.

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Stop #2: Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard in Prairie Village

Foo’s staff demonstrated how to make coffee ice cream. They use a cold toddy method. Again, lots of useful information on other ways to utilize coffee. And what better way than coffee ice cream. After the demonstration, we were able to try the recipe and it is pretty much the best ice cream flavor ever. We also sampled their house blend coffee. I have never tried coffee ice cream before, and I am glad I got to try Foo’s. The process of flavor extraction and making the ice cream is so time consuming that Foo’s only offers ice cream coffee for special events/occasions. (Restroom break #1)

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Stop #3: Oddly Correct in Westport

Oddly Correct is a Kansas City staple. This was the first coffee shop I visited when we first moved here. This was also the first place that encouraged me to try coffee without any additives. So, I really like this place.

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We hit a snag getting to this stop on time and we only caught the last 10 minutes of Oddly’s presentation on Roasting variables. The presentation included tasting of brewed coffee roasted at different temperatures and comparing them to a control brew. You can definitely taste the difference. For those interested in roasting your own coffee, this was definitely an informative session.

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Stop #4: PTs at the Crossroads

PTs co-owner Jeff Taylor gave an informative session on direct and fair trade. At this stop, we were able to sample award winning coffees and Christopher Elbow collaboration chocolates, like 3 different kinds. The coffee was great and I really liked one of the chocolate, but did not catch the name 😦 (Restroom break #2).

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Stop #5: Blackdog Coffee House in Lenexa

Blackdog gave a presentation on the Chemex brewing system(which I use at home), and offered Ibis Bakery bread pairings with various jams and spreads. I tried all of them and they were all good. I skipped the coffee because I had had like a bunch of cups of coffee by this time and also because Restroom break #3. So, I thought I would give my kidneys and bladder a break.

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Stop #6: Homer’s Coffee in Overland Park

The last stop offered coffee samples paired with sweet snacks. My favorite was a Kenyan with the pumpkin soft cookie. It was delish. There was also a musical performance to close out the crawl.

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This was my first coffee crawl and I had a blast. I learned a ton about the dynamic coffee industry and enjoyed tasting the various offerings that each stop provided. I also learned how quickly coffee goes through my system, goodness.If you are a coffee lover, this event is definitely a must. Go here to find out more and see where the next crawl will be!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pitch Bite Club: Room 39 Midtown!!

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Last week, we were invited to be part of the Kansas City Bite Club, sponsored by The Pitch, Findit KC, and Room 39 Restaurant at Midtown. The Bite Club is a group of about 12 local bloggers, social media enthusiasts, and foodies hand picked by The Pitch to try out local restaurant menus and share the experience on their preferred social media outlet. The idea is to meet once a month. *Please excuse the photos, it was pretty dim in the restaurant and all we had were our iPhones. Next time we will be better prepared*

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For our first gathering, the venue was Room 39, located at midtown. Room 39 is a small, cozy establishment serving seasonal American cuisine. They also have a second restaurant in Leawood, KS. The event was hosted by Findit KC founder, Chris Olsen, who along with The Pitch came up with the idea for the Kansas City Bite Club. According to Chris, the idea came from a similar group out of Boston. Dinner was presented by the chef/owner of Room 39, Ted Habiger. Ted is an award winning chef and is very passionate about his food.

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We were served a five course meal, with wine pairings for the first 2 courses. Xavier and I decided to try their French martini during the meet and greet. Each course was presented by Chef Ted. He carefully explained each dish and the ingredients. I found the whole presentation to be very informative and insightful. I also liked Chef Ted’s little blurb about small details in a restaurant, like white table cloths. I have a thing for restaurants with white table clothes. To me, it’s inviting, and goes with his whole idea of community . It was nice learn how a dish comes together and what a dish and small details mean to the chef. At the heart of Room 39 and Chef Ted are locally grown and raised ingredients, and the community.

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The group we dined with was very enthusiastic and fun. There were foodies and bloggers of all kind, of different backgrounds, and of different personalities. Being fairly new to Kansas City, it was nice to meet some of its locals and learn about one of its hidden gems that has been serving its community since 2004.

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There was a short moment during the dinner when I thought it was kind of strange that we were actually expected to take pictures and share our experience on social media. But, seeing how excited and how everyone was having so much fun, the strange feeling quickly disappeared. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The hosts were awesome and the food was excellent. The lobster gnocchi and the duroc pork chops are a must when you come out and visit Room 39! (And don’t forget to check out #pitchbiteclub on Instagram for more photos). Enjoy!!

**Thank you to The PItch, Findit KC, and Room 39 for inviting us!!** πŸ™‚

*All photos were taken with iPhone 4 and edited with VSCO Cam*

*Bite Club logo from pitch.com*

Monkey Bread!!

I am all for quick and easy recipes. The less ingredients and the less the preparation, the better. Especially when it comes to pastry, because I can’t pastry, I just can’t. The dough never comes out right. So, when I saw this video above, I had to try it. Also, because there were 4 cans of mini biscuit dough that no one wants to eat. Plus, it’s like 3 ingredients.

I had never heard of monkey bread before, but it looks good, so we tried one of the sweet recipes. The girls and I baked the cinnamon and sugar version. It came out really well and even looked like the finished product in the video! And it is yummy! I prepped the ingredients and the girls did the dirty work of coating the dough. There was sugar and cinnamon everywhere, but it’s all good. Here is what ours looked liked:

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Game of Thrones Mixing: 9/10

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*If you have not seen the latest episode, skip to the recipe*

This episode was action packed and was all about Jon Snow. Plus there were giants and mammoths. Giants AND Mammoths. But, I decided to make a drink after Ygritte. I couldn’t decide between her and Jon Snow, and I even thought about doing one for both, but I eventually decided on Ygritte. I have a feeling that I will get a chance to make a Jon Snow cocktail for the last episode of the season. Also, how is it that there is only ONE episode left, ONE!?

Ygritte

Ygritte is one of my favorite female characters in the show, after Cersei and Danaerys. She is strong, wild, and not afraid to kill…anyone, even Jon Snow.

It seems like every episode since like the second one, a major character dies in this show, which is part of what makes it awesome. This week, sharp-shooting Ygritte goes down. Her best moment was last season, Β when she put like 6 arrows into Jon Snow for turning his back on her.

In this episode, on the eve of the war between the Crows and the Free People, she makes it clear that she wants to be the one to destroy Jon Snow. Ygritte, in full rage and fury to avenge her broken heart, kills like a bunch of Crows. When she finally sees Jon Snow, and has the chance to take him out, she stares a little too long(without the rage and the fury), and is killed by the little elevator boy, with one arrow. Ironic. In the end, despite all of her badassery, she couldn’t do it. She couldn’t put more arrows into Jon Snow, and kill him. She ends up dying in the arms of Jon Snow and tells him that they should have stayed inside their cave.

Episode 9: The Ygritte Cocktail

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This drink looks good and it is. It’s refreshing and there is just enough zest and sweetness. I made two small changes. I like it better with ginger beer, instead of ginger ale. I also added a tad bit more of cranberry juice, and it was perfect. You can find the recipe here.

1.5oz Vodka (I used Reyyka, because Wildlings and Ygritte are cold)

0.75oz Cranberry Juice

0.5oz Fresh Lemon Juice

a splash or two of ginger beer (I used Cockbull)

2 large strawberries

Muddle strawberries in a shaker. Add vodka, cranberry juice, and lemon juice, and ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with strawberry and ENJOY!!

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*Game of Thrones images from hbo.com*