Category: Good Eats

Not Your Mom’s Thanksgiving

By cwiesendanger on November 9th 2020

Everything about 2020 is different, and the holidays will be no exception. Gatherings will be smaller, you may be spending more time outside, and masks will be the hottest holiday accessory of the year. But we’re determined to keep things festive and fun, and why not take it as an opportunity to start some new Turkey Day traditions while you’re at it? Here are our tips for hosting a non-traditional Thanksgiving.

THE FOOD

Maybe this year, you’re celebrating with your roommates, or a few friends or family members in your “bubble.” Keep it low key and stick to an easy Thanksgiving menu, or use this opportunity to try out something totally new:

  • •There’s never been a better year to order takeout from your favorite neighborhood restaurant (hooray for supporting local). Use your fanciest dishes and make sure to leave a good tip!
  • •If you are in the mood to cook, let’s talk turkey – tbh, is it really anyone’s favorite part of the meal? (don’t @ us)…There are plenty of turkey alternatives that can be just as delicious and festive – try chicken, steak, lamb, lasagna, stuffed mushrooms, cauliflower steak, or hey, if you’re in the mood for hamburgers, go for it. Thanksgiving knows no bounds in 2020.
  • •It’s also a perfect year to test the waters with something totally new (hello, boozy cranberry sauce;trash can turkey or sriracha turkey;fried mashed potato balls;apple pie salsa;everything bagel stuffing). We’re calling it – This is the year of unique Thanksgiving dishes, so let your creativity fly.

THE SETTING

We love a big packed cozy dinner table as much as anyone else, but this year has other plans for us, and that’s OK. We’re all about the joy of switching it up, and a non-traditional Thanksgiving calls for a non-traditional setting:

  • •Pack the car and have a Thanksgiving campout. Does it get any cozier than sharing what you’re thankful for around a campfire and under the stars? We don’t think so. Campfire roasted turkey, here we come (or if you’re ok ditching the turkey, this camp kitchen pesto halibut recipe never fails). Keep the rest of the setup easy with our tried-and-true camp hacks.
  • •Host a driveway distanced BYO dinner. Supply the drinks and let everyone bring their own picnic. It’s a real win-win when everyone gets to eat exactly what they want.
  • •If you are set on keeping it traditional, the backyard is where it’s at. Twinkly lights and outdoor heating will set the mood, and if you live somewhere extra cold, make sure your dress code calls for warm, casual, comfortable, and soft (might we suggest the Flatlander fleece collection?). And if you’ve never dined in an igloo before, here’s your chance (yep). If it’s snowing and you’re in the mood to take things up a notch, here’s your guide to building one. Whatever route you take, al fresco is the name of the game when it comes to hosting Thanksgiving 2020.

THE PEOPLE

You may not get to spend the holidays this year with your whole usual crew, but this year we’re giving thanks for technology (and our pets).

  • •Host a virtual pre-dinner cocktail hour or set up a computer at the table so you and the family can all enjoy your meals virtually together. For more interaction, plan a virtual scavenger hunt, trivia night, or cookie decorating contest.
  • •Make a collaborative holiday playlist that the whole family can contribute to, near and far.
  • •Take it old school and write good old fashioned letters and cards to those you’re missing this year. Everyone loves snail mail – so send ‘em a note as to why you’re thankful for them and what you’re looking most forward to about being together IRL next year.

So while Thanksgiving dinner is looking a little different, we’re seeing it as an opportunity to get creative, switch up the dinner menu, and spend a little extra time being thankful, even if it’s from afar. And who knows – maybe some of these alternative Thanksgiving traditions will stick for years to come. Bon appétit!

Host Your Own (Socially Distant) Oktoberfest

By cwiesendanger on September 21st 2020

Ahh, fall. Leaves, pumpkin spice, your favorite flannels on repeat, and Oktoberfest. Since large gatherings are not 2020’s friend, you probably won’t be attending any big Oktoberfest celebrations this year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t grab a couple of family members or your roommates and host a safe and socially distant gathering to celebrate the season.

Location, location, location.

Park, backyard, front yard, you name it. Just make sure you have fresh air and plenty of space for distancing.

Start with the beer.

While Oktoberfest originated in 1810 as a celebration of marriage of the Crown price of Bavaria and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen (try saying that five times fast), the celebration progressed into an annual festival with large beer halls by the late 20th century, and it’s safe to say it’s been a beer-drinking shindig ever since. Luckily for you, around August, Oktoberfest-themed beers start popping up on grocery and liquor store shelves everywhere. The most 2020-friendly way to serve beer is by the bottle, in a big cooler for guests to grab on their own time. For an extra precaution, make it BYOO (opener).

You’ll want some bites with that.

You’re going to want a little substance to go with all that beer. Try these homemade pretzel twists on skewers. It’s a pandemic-friendly twist (see what we did there?) on a classic soft pretzel – ready for each guest to grab and go. Skewers work well for sausages too….And if you really want to go the extra mile, try individual cups of German Potato Salad (no judgment if you buy this premade either). And when we say individual cups, we certainly don’t mean plastic. Try mason jars or anything you have lying around your house – the good news is you’re keeping it small, so no need to stress on too many dishes. Just make sure you remember the hand sanitizer.

Dress the part.

We love a reason to dress up, and are also all about keeping it eco-friendly, so if you don’t have lederhosen or a dirndl lying around (what? You don’t?), here’s the easiest way to DIY it: Khaki shorts, a checkered shirt and suspenders for the guys; a ruffled or off the shoulder white blouse, high-waisted skirt, and an apron for the ladies. Don’t forget your mask.

Keep it small.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we all know that this is not the year for big parties. So keep it responsible, and save the festivities for your closest family, roommates, or quarantine pod. There are lots of pros to doing it this way: less cleanup, more time for good conversations, and more beer for you. And you can think of it as a practice run for when you do get to throw a big Oktoberfest party next time around. Prost!

Beers That Give Back for International Beer Day

By dweb247 on August 6th 2020

Beer me! Friday, August 7th is International Beer Day and we’re celebrating by (1) cracking a few cold ones, and (2) celebrating Earth… because it’s the only planet with beer on it (that we know of). Beer and Planet Earth — what a dynamic duo. In fact, it’s SO dynamic that a bunch of breweries think so, too. As 1% for the planet members, these breweries care about good ingredients and good business.

What does it mean to be a 1% for the Planet Brewery?

As fellow members of 1% for the Planet, these breweries have pledged to support environmental justice with profits and products. They also taste delicious. 1% for the Planet members measure success in business by how much they’re able to give to nonprofits each year. (PS, we’re 1% FTP Members too). Here’s a round up of some of our favorite international 1% FTP breweries.

(PSA: If we don’t name a brewery in your neck of the woods, check the 1% directory then let us know. We love new breweries.)

Bent Paddle Brewing Co

From Duluth, MN and made with water from Lake Superior and local ingredients. Their aluminum cans are made from more than 50% recycled content (and cans are lighter to ship and get about 30% more volume per truckload than glass bottles, so less of a carbon footprint!) and they’ve supported over 500 community organizations through their “Paddle It Forward” initiatives since opening in 2013.

Maine Beer Company

From Freeport, ME — home to our Freeport Toad&Co store and our East Coast Toads (Freeport, not the brewery… kind of). This is a local’s favorite and they are all about supporting the locals. They give back to The Billion Oyster Project + 24 other nonprofits! Also, we love their tagline: “Do what’s right.”

Topa Topa Brewing Co.

From Ventura, CA, just a hop and a skip from Toad HQ in Santa Barbara. Aside from making great beer in small batches and supporting Heal the Ocean + 22 other nonprofits, the folks at Topa (as we call it) are just downright good company. Over the years we’ve partnered up on community fundraisers and 1% FTP events and they are always game — ready and willing with smiles, high fives, and of course, cold kegs of beer.

Tempest Brewing Co.

From South Scotland, UK, and this is some bloody good beer! In 2010 the head brewers were crafting home brews in a garage in New Zealand that was SO good, they moved back to Scotland and got serious. Fast forward to 2018 and they land on RateBeers 100 best breweries in the world, and in 2019 they became the first brewery in the UK to join 1% for the planet. This means getting involved in various projects to offset their carbon footprint and connecting with local environmental causes. Slàinte mhath!

Moustache Brewing Co.

From Riverhead, NY, this micro-brewery based out of the east end of Long Island, NY is made up of a husband and wife team that started in 2012 as a one barrel operation. They’ve (obviously) since grown, and now support local nonprofits like the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program. ( PS – Google “Shinnecock Bay” — it’s real pretty).

New Belgium Brewing Co.

From Fort Collins, CO, New Belgium is the grand daddy (or mammy!) of 1% FTP breweries. In 2008 it was the first brewery to join 1% for the planet and they’ve since donates hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sales of their “Fat Tire” beer to organizations like Leave No Trace and 311 others! Good beer, good intentions, and great role models.

4 Pines Brewing Company

From Manly, Australia and they aren’t just a 1% FTP company, they’re also a Certified B-Corp, which means they meet the highest standards of social and environmental impact. Among things like sourcing sustainable and domestic ingredients from ethical farmers, 4 Pines also does an annual garbage audit (!!!) to see how much they’re recycling vs. tossing (good news, they recycle more), a water audit, and an energy audit — all with the intention of improving a little bit more every year. Also, they make great beer that supports Surfrider Foundation Australia and others.

Hopworks Urban Brewing

From Portland, OR (another town the Toad calls home!), HUB is all about good collaborations like working with farmers for organic ingredients and seeking third-party certifications to make sure every step of the supply chain is done in a sustainable way. Which, BTW, they’ve totally nailed. In 2015 they were the first brewery in the Pacific Northwest to become a certified B-Corp member, and in 2016 they joined 1% for the Planet. Hopworks focuses their giving on water, forest, and bike related causes through special collaborations and partnerships with non-profits like Oregon Wild and 19 other nonprofits.

MadTree Brewing

From Cincinnati, OH, MadTree might have our favorite tagline EVER: Inspiring Madness, Rooted in Purpose. And that purpose is, unsurprisingly, saving the trees. So far they have donated 15,000 saplings to regenerate the forests donate 50k pounds of spent grain to feed local livestock each week, and engage patrons of the taproom with the greatest drinking game of all time: customers can toss a buck to go to non-profits like the Arbor Day Foundation.

Have a great International Beer Day (and a great international beer year), and don’t forget to drink responsibly!

Tiki Tiki Rum Rum Recipe

By dweb247 on June 13th 2020

It’s not as impressive as 10 hours of extra features on the Lord of the Rings DVD set, but this recipe is our version of “behind the scenes.” When we shot our Spring/Summer 2020 collection in Joshua Tree last fall, our awesome creative team set up basecamp at Arrive Hotel in Palm Springs – a funky mid-century oasis with a stellar in-house gastro pub.

After hours in the desert sun, we’d wrap each day by chowing down on pastrami sandos and slurping fruity cocktails. We’d be lying if we said we got the recipes (we didn’t), but we did walk away with a renewed appreciation for tiki umbrellas and dark rum. So here’s our best attempt at a recreation…

Tiki Tiki Rum Rum (inspired by Wexler’s @ Arrive Palm Springs)

Ingredients

• 2 oz. dark rum
• 1 oz. passion fruit syrup
• 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
• Pineapple slice, lime wedge, umbrella for garnish

Directions

Fill a tall glass with crushed ice (if you don’t have crushed ice, put ice in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin — save and reuse the bag!). Combine rum, passion fruit syrup, and lemon juice in a shaker with some ice cubes. Do a little dance and shake until the shaker is cold n’ frosty. Pour into the glass. Garnish with pineapple slice, lime, umbrella… whatever feels tropical!

The Quarantinarita

By dweb247 on May 2nd 2020

This recipe comes from Daisy, copywriter extraordinaire and cocktail Queen.

I’ll be frank: I buy in bulk. Not toilet paper, but tequila. It’s a staple in my kitchen (right up there with garbanzo beans and Top Ramen), and it’s been the cornerstone of my “What’s in the pantry?” margaritas of late.

With the shelter-in-place order in full effect in our Central CA town, I’ve had to get creative. I’ve started infusing simple syrups with anything I can scrounge (Rosemary? Yep. Lavender? Sure thing); I’ve made friends with neighbors with overflowing citrus trees; and I’ve resolved to use up all those random liqueurs that I bought for that one cocktail, that one time…

So this cocktail – the Quarantinarita – is a product of the times: Costco tequila, big batch simple syrup, Aperol from last Summer’s “Spritz Blitz,” and oranges straight from my neighbor’s trees. It’s whatever’s in the pantry, shaken, poured over ice, and best consumed during a sunset neighborhood stroll. Yeah, I could get used to this.

QUARANTINARITA – MAKES 1:

  • 1oz (standard shot glass) simple syrup
  • 2oz tequila
  • 1 cap-full of Aperol (about 1.5 tbsp)
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1/2 blood orange
  • Bubbly water (club soda, La Croix, soda stream – whatever you’ve got)
  • Blood orange slices for garnish
  • Ice

To Make Basic Simple Syrup:

1 cup water, 1 cup granulated white sugar. Combine and bring to a boil; simmer for 3 minutes until sugar dissolves. Cool immediately. Store in the fridge for a month or freeze forever.

To Make the Drink:

Fill a shaker with ice and combine simple syrup, tequila, Aperol, orange juice, and blood orange juice. Shake the living daylights out of it. Pour over ice and fill to the brim with bubbly water. Garnish with a slice of blood orange for fancy pants points. Enjoy responsibly and “air cheers” your neighbors.