Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Original Swizzle Inn and Cup Match

The Original Swizzle Inn, Bailey's Bay, BDA

Speaking of swizzles... now is the time of year when the serious swizzles present themselves. This year, August 1st and August 2nd mark the official two-day celebration of Bermuda's Cup Match.

So what exactly is Cup Match? Two days of non-stop camaraderie... Okay, really it's an annual Cricket match between St. George's (the West Side) vs. Somerset (the East Side).

For the occasion, locals have been fermenting swizzle batches for months, some even up to a year! They tend to be darker than your average swizzle, and much more potent. Spectators, beware... seriously.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Banana "Ice Cream"

Ever wondered what to do with old bananas that have turned brown and almost mushy?  Well, of course there is Banana Bread.  But, especially come summer, what if there was another option as well?  Ladies and Gentlemen, you're in luck, because today I tell you that there is. 

When the weather is warm and just the thought of turning on the oven makes you sweat even more, I introduce to you homemade Banana "ice cream".  The ice cream is in quotes because as you may have inferred, it is not really ice cream, but rather one of those super easy fixes that sure does seem to come pretty close to it.  So, without further ado, take them aged 'nanners and follow these simple steps:

1)  Tear off a strip of parchment or wax paper to fit on a freezer safe plate or bowl.  This is so the banana does not stick when you go to make the ice cream.

2)  Cut the banana up into smaller chunks.  This is optional, but will make it easier/faster to make the ice cream later on.  A little work up front for less work on the back end!

3)  Cover the banana with another layer of the wax or parchment paper to avoid unwanted freezer burn.

4)  Let sit in the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight (even up to a month).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Brunch at Paggi House

*** UPDATE: Paggi House has unfortunately closed as of May 25, 2014. ***

Recently we found ourselves indulging in Sunday brunch at Paggi House. It was a lovely experience, starting with the refreshing mimosas and bellinis. 

As you are perusing the menu, they'll start you off with a wonderful assortment of pastries. Already off to winning me over and I haven't even ordered yet!

On Sundays, it's a pre-fix brunch where you pick two of three courses - Sustenance (Appetizer), Succulence (Main course), or Indulgence (Dessert). Or you choose one from all three for a small up charge. It's all fine, elegant dining with amazing flavor and perfect presentation.

Texas Beets and Mascarpone Cheese
Crab Salad with Avocado Puree
Lox Ceviche, a favorite of the table

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ginger Beer

Ginger Beer is not synonymous with Ginger Ale.  While both products use very similar ingredients, there is a flavor distinction.  Ginger Beer is a lot more potent on the ginger side.  It is a strong, robust flavor, unlike the softer ginger taste in the Ginger Ale soft drink.

Because of this bite, traditionally, Ginger Beer has been used as a mixer in certain cocktails.  Most popular being the Dark 'n Stormy - ginger beer, dark rum, and a lime.   Also popular is the Moscow Mule - ginger beer and vodka. These days you see Ginger Beer being more vastly used in mixology and popping up on drink menus nationwide.  I can only hope this new fad continues for a long time.

There are a few different kinds of Ginger Beers branded in the market.  My favorite, and the most traditional Bermudian brand, is Barritt's.  Whenever we can find Barritt's Ginger Beer, we buy up a 12-pack to stock in the fridge for the summer's Dark 'n Stormys.

Alternatively, there is Gosling's Ginger Beer, which is found more commonly, as it is manufactured by the folks that bring us the ever so delicious Goslings Dark Rum.  A third brand that has gained popularity is Fever Tree.  With the clear glass bottle packaging, I consider Fever Tree more of a high end or hipster kind of Ginger Beer, but delicious all the same.

Typically the Ginger Beer you find these days is non-alcoholic, but on a recent trip abroad, we stumbled across an alcoholic version: Crabbie's Ginger Beer.  Back when Ginger Beer was first brewed, it was much like beer, alcoholic in its natural state.  Thus, if I had better known my history, or ginger beer brewing techniques, I shouldn't have been surprised to stumble across this wonder, but I was, excitedly.

Whether you find yourself imbibing in already spiked Ginger Beer, or mixing up your own cocktail with the non-alcoholic version, I raise my glass to you, and a tastefully refreshing summer.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Martha's Vineyard

I had always heard of this mystical place referred to as Cape Cod, but seeing is believing, so for the first many years (admittedly 20 +) of my life I wasn't totally convinced that this wonderland existed.  Until finally, one day, we made the drive up, and out, to the arm of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

While the mainland has its own wonders, it was the islands that really got me.  We first hopped the fast ferry over to Martha's Vineyard for a few nights.

Upon arrival at Martha's Vineyard, we headed over to the original Black Dog Tavern for some fish and chips and a lobster roll.  This was my first introduction to the Black Dog, while I had seen it on T-shirts all over the country, but it was not going to be my last. It's the story behind this salty dog that had me at hello.  I think everywhere else across the island where a shop was to be found, I was also to be found in it.  Thank you for your patience, husband.

Whilst it appears that most summer vacationers rent a house for the week, we stayed our few nights in Edgartown at the lovely Harbor View Hotel.  Highly recommended.  There is a great view of the lighthouse from the Adirondack chairs on the wrap-around front porch.  If anything, pop into the bar at this lovely hotel, grab a drink (Hot Buttered Rum for the chilly nights), kick back, and enjoy the view.

Edgartown is a happening town on the island of MV.  There are plenty of fun shops, including my new and old favorites:  Black Dog, Vineyard Vines, J. McLaughlin, and the Island Shop, just to name a few.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Soft Pretzels

Word is that the unique shape of the current day interlocked pretzel came from olden day Bakers in desperate need of more space, thus they looped the pretzels to be able to hang on sticks, creating more space for the other pastries in the showcase.

Further, some say the name pretzel roots back to the Latin words bracellus, meaning bracelet, or bracchiola, meaning little arms. Interesting tidbit.

Either way, soft pretzels make for a delicious snack, and when done right, a healthy one, too!

1/4 cup of Baking Soda
4-5 cups of water
Slotted Spoon

Optional: 1 Egg and 2 Tablespoons of course Sea Salt


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bermuda, again

There are many things that attract visitors to the island of Bermuda

For me, there is a long list of favorite things:
 - the swoon worthy uniform of short pants and tall socks, 
 - lovely pink sand beaches with the bluest water, 
 - amazing fish chowder with sherry peppers sauce, 
 - swizzles and dark 'n stormys, galore!
 - and of course the Bermudian Accent, which I have yet to perfect: a mix between British, Caribbean, Jamaican, and just all around goodness (literally, the Bermudians are just good people).

The list of course goes on... But aside from my own personal draws, there is a history that brings many tourists to the island, starting with is the chance to see the world's smallest drawbridge:

The bridge is intended for a sailboat's mast to make its way through the passage and into the harbor. It measures less than two rulers in length (22 inches), and works! It's adorable.

Another popular attraction is the Unfinished Church:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Strawberries & Cream for Wimbledon

It's that time of year for both strawberries and tennis.

According to the New York Times, strawberries and cream became a Wimbledon signature because strawberries were freshly available at this time of year. Seasonality, so European. So the way it should be.

With Nadal and Federer out early, I find myself cheering for Andy Murray, again. Will a Brit ever win Wimbledon? Here's to hoping we make history in 2013... Cheers!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Rules for my Unborn Son

This book makes for a great gift for any father-to-be. 

My husband acquired this book somewhere along the way, and these days we find it even more entertaining to flip through.

Some of our favorites:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Nook in Charlottesville, VA

Charlottesville attracts tourists with its proximity to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and the prominent University of Virginia.  Yet the small town in the Commonwealth has splendor of its own with the historical Main Street - a foot street with adorable shops and restaurants.

One of the best places to stop in for brunch on the weekends is The Nook. You know it is a favorite local joint because it gets pretty packed, but not to worry, tables do turn quite quickly. 

Famous for its milkshakes, but the corned beef hash is also deliciously done right. The biscuits are baked to perfection, the grits are quite flavorful, and the menu's price point is undeniably reasonable.

 When the weather is agreeable, outdoor seating is a must.