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Holiday Survival Guide: Best New Bars of 2013

December 15th, 2013 No Comments

Mary Rambin Drinking a Beer

When I go home over the holidays, I like to try the new hot spots all of my friends have been raving about. Thrillist just posted this list that includes bars from all over the country.  They rarely lead me astray, so if you see your city, give their rec a shot!

Click here to read the full article with descriptions of each place.

Atlanta

Austin

  • CRAFT PRIDE
    What you’re getting: A Jester King seasonal
  • WHISLER’S
    What you’re getting: The Dealer’s Choice

Cambridge, MA

  • BEAT HÔTEL
    What you’re getting: A VFW Old Fashioned

Charleston, NC

THE RAREBIT
What you’re getting: Moscow Mule with homemade Sweatman’s ginger beer

Chicago

  • BILLY SUNDAY
    What you’re getting: Fernet & Cola
  • THREE DOTS AND A DASH
    What you’re getting: Poipu Beach Boogie Board; a Treasure Chest (if you’re a baller and/or shot-caller)
  • PUNCH HOUSE
    What you’re getting: Dusek Punch

Dallas

Houston

Las Vegas

  • VELVETEEN RABBIT
    What you’re getting: The Crucifix in a Deathhand; the Burning Bush

Los Angeles

  • NO VACANCY
    What you’re getting: A delicious gin cocktail
  • HONEYCUT
    What you’re getting: Any drink on their extensive list; the Toucan Sam if they’ve got it

Louisville

  • EL CAMINO
    What you’re getting: Whatever sweet tiki drink Susie Hoyt wants to make you

Miami

  • DROGERIE
    What you’re getting: The Pain Killer

Milwaukee

Minneapolis

Nashville

  • PINEWOOD SOCIAL
    What you’re getting: The Honesty of Constant Human Error

New Orleans

New York

  • TØRST
    What you’re getting: A beer you’ve never heard of before that’s probably been barrel-aged
  • DEAD RABBIT
    What you’re getting: Morning Reviver
  • AMERICAN WHISKEY
    What you’re getting: Remember the Maine

Oakland

Portland

San Diego

San Francisco

  • TRICK DOG
    What you’re getting: Eye of the Tiger
  • MIKKELLER BAR
    What you’re getting: A crazy sour beer you’ve never heard of

Seattle

Washington DC

  • 2 BIRDS 1 STONE
    What you’re getting: The Daily Punch
  • BLUEJACKET
    What you’re getting: James & the Giant; the Stroppy pale ale

 

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Maple syrup on my salad? You betcha!

December 5th, 2013 No Comments

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The other night at a dinner party I was blown away by the salad they served.  Spinach never tasted so good! The reason, it tasted like waffles…with a side of bacon :)  And I couldn’t exactly put my finger on why.  When I asked the chef she spilled her secret: maple syrup!

This salad is sweet with a hint of savory.  Perfect to serve with chicken and butternut squash.  That’s what popped into my mind.  I’m sure you’ll find tons of other combos and additions to make it your own.  Guests will love it because it’s so unexpected and unique.

FALL SALAD WITH MAPLE CIDER DRESSING

Salad

  • Spinach
  • Chopped fuji apples
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bacon
  • Blue cheese
  • avocado
  • Candied walnuts

(I’m not a blue cheese fan so I opted out of that and the walnuts.  Honeslty, I didn’t miss them)

Maple Cider Dressing

  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Chopped chives to taste
  • Garlic, salt, pepper to taste

 

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“Eat a banana, not a cookie.”

December 5th, 2013 No Comments

Banana Infographic

 

That’s what I tell myself when my sweet tooth starts to rage!  I keep Trader Joe’s flattened bananas in the car for that very reason.

(Click the image to enlarge.)

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New yogurt blends make for a more satisfying snack

November 21st, 2013 No Comments

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Yogurt frustrates me to no end.  The grocery store stocks TONS of it, yet there are only a few that actually meet my criteria as a “healthy” snack.  I’m looking for at least 14 grams of protein, minimal sugar (no sugar is preferable), and no additives (starches).  These criteria leave me reading labels for at least ten minutes or picking up the same old stuff when I’m in a hurry.  If I have time, I seek out new brands and get my hopes up high that when I read the nutrition label, I’ll see tons of protein and no added sugar.  Tough bill to fill.

My frustration continues after I eat a yogurt and I’m STILL hungry!

On so many levels yogurt is simply unsatisfying…until now.

Big brands and more notably local producers are making an effort to create well-rounded and satisfying yogurt cups for those of us on the go.

Chobani was the first one I spotted.  The divided dish has slightly sweetened yogurt in one side and all of my favorite additions in the other: chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts. From a nutrition standpoint, I have to compromise the 13 grams of protein and added sugar for the energy it delivers before a workout.  After eating it with half a bottle of water, I feel full and not weighed down when I have to move.  And it’s SOOO convenient to just flip one side over and mix…while I’m driving.  (It’s true!)

The Epic Seed is local and meets all of my standards for protein and carbs.  It’s lacking in fat (which is necessary to feel full) so I’ll eat a few almonds along with it.

The most “filling” feature of these cups are the chia seeds, which I’ve discussed before.  There are several brands making them now, you just have to pay attention to the protein and sugar source.

When I can, I make the mixture at home.  No measuring, I just throw what I want into the bowl.  Usually, to a small cup of flavored yogurt, I’ll add a couple spoonfuls of plain non-fat to bring up the protein.

 

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Check out your new favorite taco, NYC.

November 7th, 2013 No Comments

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You will find it here:

Ottos Tacos ExteriorOttos Tacos Loca

Specifically at 141 Second Ave between St. Mark’s and 9th.  You know, where tons of great chefs are opening up their casual counterparts.  In this grab-n-go taqueria, you’ll find these guys (Chef on the left, my long time friend Otto on the right):

Otto and Chef Jose

Serving up this seeming simple but blow your mind flavorful menu (click to enlarge):

Ottos Tacos Menu

 

Don’t get dressed up or wear heels cause you’re walking in starving and taking tacos out to devour.  There are a few seats, but I expect once word gets out, they’ll fill up fast.

When you go, tell Otto I sent you and give hime a big hug for me!

Very proud of you my man.

Mary Rambin Otto's Tacos

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“Tequila as smooth as George Clooney.” — Oprah

October 31st, 2013 No Comments

George Clooney and Rande Gerber Casamigos Tequila

Oprah doesn’t strike me as the tequila drinking kind, but you know I am.  I’ll tell you, she’s right!

Casamigos tequlia, “brought to you by those who drink it: George Clooney and Rande Gerber,” is remarkably, unbelievably smooth.  Now, I can’t attest for Clooney or his game, but considering his exes, it must be pretty seamless. Gerber’s been keeping Cindy Crawford happy since 1998, so he must have it going on too.

My friend Gary brought a bottle of Blanco to a BBQ the other night, and we were all seduced in one sip.  One shot led to a generous pour on the rocks…and possibly another.  When our crew met for coffee the next morning, no one was hung over.  So while Clooney’s girfriends might not feel the same way, he treated us right!

Do yourself a favor: Don’t make margaritas with Casamigos.  If you do…don’t tell me about it.

Buy it liquor stores or online here.

Follow the brand on facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest.  They seem to be very active!

 

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Are you a big dipper?

October 17th, 2013 No Comments

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I love nothing more than throwing parties: for dinner, football, birthdays, swimming, or just because.

To kick off, I’ve found I really can’t go wrong with homemade chips and fresh veggies to snack on with an array of dips.  I can make make the dips a day ahead and don’t demand attention.

Here’s a list of my favorites.  You’ll find they’re easy to make and satisfying to mingling friends.

Fresh Guacamole

  • 3 avocados, diced
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 tomatoes diced with the seeds scooped out
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • chopped cilantro
  • salt, pepper, squeeze of fresh lime juice

Ranch Dressing

  • 2 cups non-fat greek yogurt
  • package of ranch seasoning (use sparingly to taste)

Pineapple salsa

  • 1 pineapple, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup chopped scallion, green part only
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced fresh jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Ultimate Cheese Dip

  • 6-8 slices of bacon, diced and cooked crispy
  • 2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, soft
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 4-6 jalapeno’s, chopped and deseeded.  The seeds will make it fiery hot.
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion
  • 1 cup of crushed crackers
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter, melted

Prehead oven to 350. Combine all ingredients except last 3 in a baking dish so your dip is about an inch thick. Combine last three ingredients and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 20-30 min until bubbling. (Recipe via Simply Gourmet)

White bean hummus

  • 1 can canneleni beans
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil plus 4 TBSP
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed garlic
  • salt, pepper, dried oregano

Pulse in a food processor until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Homemade Chips

  • Fresh tortillas (wheat, flour, corn, your choice)
  • Canola Oil
  • Paper towels
  • Sea salt

In a large skillet, heat about 1/2 in of oil until hot. Test by wetting your hand and dropping water into the oil.  If it pops, it’s ready.  Cut tortillas in quarters or in eights.  Gently place first batch in oil.  Wait for underside to brown and then flip.  Take one out, let it cool, and test to make sure it’s not chewy.  Remove chips and lay out on paper towels to cool.  Put int a bowl and sprinkle salt.  You have to watch the chips AT ALL TIMES.

 

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Best protein bars on the market. Both whey and vegan. Period.

October 11th, 2013 No Comments

Papa Steve's No Junk Protein Bar

 

 

Papa steve’s protein bars are about as clean and nutritious as it gets folks.  PLUS, they’re delicious AND filling.  Please note, I took the picture AFTER I devoured half of the bar :)

Papa Steve's nutrition facts

 

I sat down with Papa Steve a few weeks ago to discuss my Seedful Not Sinful granola.  The man blew my mind with his knowledge of food properties and how they work within they body.  He’s put all of that knowledge into his line of protein bars.  

He claims that Pea Protein is the best vegan protein out there.  You don’t see a lot of it because it’s new and in very high demand as it’s been deemed the best substitute for whey.  He had to buy tons worth to ensure he could continue to make these bars, which sell out almost instantly at his vendors.

In terms of protein in general, Steve is a fan of whey  because it is naturally complete, “containing all of the essential building blocks for muscle recovery and repair. Whey protein has the highest biological value of any protein, meaning it’s easy to digest and the body can metabolize and use it quickly but you must ingest it 10-30min after a workout to get maximum muscle uptake. It can help improve blood and liver cholesterol and enhances the body’s immune system.”

Read more of his thoughts on protein here.  He goes into great detail about the differences in whey proteins (concentrate, isolate, hydrolysate) and why whey is better than Soy Protein.

Papa Steve's Whey Protein v. Soy Protein Chart

He has several other bars I think you’ll love.  Browse the selection here.

I really can’t praise this product enough.  If you’re like me and insist on eating clean, you MUST try this.

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