Jon Bon Jovi’s Rosé Can and Should Be Enjoyed Everywhere

There’s a new rosé in town and you’re going to want to grab yourself a bottle before it heats up in Texas! Like, really … we’ll wait while you run down the street for a bottle.

 

You back? Cool … I’ll continue. [Open the bottle and drink along with me.]

This isn’t just any ol’ rosé—it’s Jon Bon Jovi’s rosé that he created with his son, Jesse Bongiovi and former Notre Dame hockey player, Ali Thomas. It’s called Hampton Water, and it dove into the Dallas scene last month with an epic party at the Joule hotel in a kickoff event for KAABOO Texas (the killer music festival featuring The Killers coming in May).

The intimate event called “The First Sip” featured plenty of Hampton Water Rosé and an acoustic set by Jon Bon Jovi himself—no big deal, right?? The event was at the heated rooftop pool deck at the hotel and the second that I stepped out of the elevator, it was clear what a big deal this rosé was at least trying to be. … and it was.

 

All of Dallas’s elite came out to enjoy a glass of rosé from Dallas athletes like Jason Witten and Dirk himself (bless that man)and alumni from The Bachelor to bloggers, media reps and businessmen. It was a huge turnout and the room was buzzing with excitement for both the performance and the launch of KAABOO and Hampton Water. (Just so much to celebrate.)

Have you already poured yourself a glass?

Now let’s talk about why the Wine Spectator featured it as one of the top 100 wines of 2018: The blend comes from wine makers in the South of France and is made from the perfect blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre grapes. It has a nice clean taste with hints of fruity flavors like cherry and watermelon. It has a really balanced, crisp finish which makes it perfect for pretty much any occasion where wine is involved (which should be all the time, right?). Once patio season hits, I have a feeling we will be seeing it all over Dallas. (Hence our aforementioned note to HURRY.)

Also coming to Dallas is the three-day music festival called KAABOO on May 10-12 which will be headlined by Sting, The Killers, Kid Rock, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. KAABOO describes itself as “People against dirty” and “The perfect weekend escape, described in a word that comes from whatever the hell we feel like yelling when we’re high on life and having fun.” It’s taking place at the AT&T Stadium, and you can be sure here will be lots of cocktails available (including Hampton Water Rosé, obviously) along with craft beers, cabanas, six stages and even a Vegas-y pool club!

As I was sipping my glass of rosé and googling how much KABOO tickets are—which are very affordable as far as music-festivals go btw—the crowd starts hustling towards the stage for Jon Bon Jovi’s private set when he played through his well known hits like “American Pie,” “It’s My Life” and “Livin’ On A Prayer.” I now officially have about 179 Jon Bon Jovi recordings on my phone … and I’m only exaggerating a tiny bit there.

Tasting Notes
Grape Varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre
Color: light peach
Aroma: bright fruits
Palate: hints of fruity flavors like cherry, strawberry, and watermelon with just a slight minerality
Finish: long, dry
Region: France — Languedoc-Roussillon
ABV: 13%


Hampton Water
hamptonwaterwine.com
In Dallas, you can find the rosé at Central Market, Pogo’s Wine & Spirits, Nick & Sam’s, Hotel ZaZa, Imoto, Tei-An and Uchi
Retail: ~$18

KAABOO Texas
kaabootexas.com

The Booziest Days of the Year

We’re always looking for a good reason to celebrate … and an excuse to drink at lunch. In the spirit of celebration, it’s a great idea to keep these important days of the year on your calendar. Get ready to party in July!

Too lazy to add them yourself? That’s ok … you can subscribe to my silly holidays calendar here: http://bit.ly/2yUjPjK

January 1: Bloody Mary Day
January 11: Hot Toddy Day
January 17: Hot Buttered Rum Day
January 25: Irish Coffee Day
January 31: Brandy Alexander Day

February 18: Drink Wine Day
February 22: Margarita Day
February 27: Kahlua Day

March 3: Mulled Wine Day

April 7: Beer Day
April 9: International Gin & Tonic Day
April 17: World Malbec Day
April 19: Amaretto Day

May 7: Cosmopolitan Day
May 13: World Cocktail Day
May 16: Mimosa Day
March 18: World Whisky Day
May 25: Wine Day
May 30: Mint Julep Day

June 1-7: Negroni Week
June 4: Cognac Day
June 5: Moonshine Day
June 11: Gin Day
June 14: Bourbon Day
June 19: Martini Day
June 30: Mai Tai Day

July 10: Piña Colada Day
July 11: Mojito Day
July 14: Grand Marnier Day
July 19: Daiquiri Day
July 24: Tequila Day
July 25: Wine & Cheese Day
July 27: Scotch Day

August 2, 2008: International Beer Day (changes annually)
August 16: Rum Day
August 25: Whiskey Sour Day
August 28: Red Wine Day

September 15: Creme de Menthe Day
September 20: Rum Punch Day
September 28: Drink a Beer Day
September 30: Mulled Cider Day

October 4: Vodka Day
October 16: Liqueur Day
October 19: Gin & Tonic Day
October 21: Mezcal Day

November 7: World Gin Day
November 8: Harvey Wallbanger Day
November 12: Happy Hour Day
November 20: Beaujolais Day

December 5: Repeal Day
December 10: Lager Day
December 13: Screwdriver Day
December 20: Sangria Day
December 24: Egg Nog Day
December 31: Champagne Day

Kimpton Angler’s Hotel (Miami, Florida)

Miami is a lot. I hadn’t visited the 305 in almost ten years, and I’ll admit that I didn’t have the best impression of the city … but when your favorite people in the world that lives in London adds some vacation to a work trip to hang with you, you comply … gladly. So once dates were set, trip planning began. While the city itself is a lot, hotel rooms (and AirBnBs and VRBOs and even hostels) are equally as … a lot. The hotel search was daunting to say the least.

But then I was delighted to discover the newest Kimpton in Florida, the Kimpton Angler’s Hotel smack dab in the heart of Miami Beach just a couple blocks from beach access. (As my readers know, because I make no mystery of it, Kimpton is my favorite hotel brand.) It seemed to have everything that we wanted from our accommodations—location, a casual bar that had quality cocktails, a pool, a view, and spacious rooms. Even more, like all Kimptons, they offer a complimentary wine happy hour every night, and this hotel even offered daily on-site wellness activities from yoga to boot camp.

Image borrowed from Family Vacation Critic

We made our reservation and drove up on the day with a ridiculously full car to check in. The valets were as helpful as I’ve experienced anywhere and the hotel staff were eager to show us a perfect stay.  Even the lobby was welcoming with unique art pieces and the signature Kimpton scent that I just adore.

Our room was gorgeous and spacious, which was a welcome respite from the fast-paced city around it. The bathrooms were just as roomy and clean with a powerful shower with cobalt blue tiles that we both died for.

We looked for the amenities that we’ve come to expect from Kimptons—a yoga mat, robes, and more. Since this is a beach hotel, they also provided a beach bag and towels! And, as one always needs when traveling to a beach destination of any kind, our balcony provided a little peek at the water.

To get a better view, we ventured up to the rooftop pool, which was complete with plenty of towels, chairs, sunscreen, and space for days. Grab a glass of wine at the complimentary happy hour and then hop up to the pool to watch the stunning sunset.

 

While Miami has plenty of amazing bars and restaurants (you know we went to a ton of them … for research purposes!), but we didn’t even need to leave our hotel to find the perfect happy hour spot. Minnow, their lobby bar, has perfect bites and cocktails to get your night started or wound down on the perfect note. If they don’t have a cocktail on the menu that tickles your fancy, just ask the friendly bar staff for a suggestion.

I was happy to see that they would be expanding and opening a restaurant, Seawell, shortly after our visit in “early 2019”. They promise an “American seafood restaurant will feature locally sourced ingredients and regional classics including a selection of ‘raw bar’ items and platters.” With outdoor seating and Minnow next door, it seems like it’ll be a nice addition to the hotel’s offerings for a date night or business meetings.

Courtesy of the Kimpton Angler’s Hotel

The Kimpton Angler’s really helped change my mind about Miami, and I hope I have another good reason to visit so I can enjoy their hospitality again.


KIMPTON ANGLER’S HOTEL
anglershotelmiami.com
660 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, Florida
(305) 534-9600

The Kimpton Angler’s Hotel provided me and my guest with a media rate for our stay.

Elm Street Cask & Kitchen

Elm Street Cask & Kitchen may be filling the spot of Grayson Social, but they are certainly setting themselves apart from the previous southern-style restaurant. This new joint has all the comfort food you could possibly need … and the whiskey list to match, The space lends a feel of porch sitting at Grandma’s after enjoying a home cooked meal.

They’re all about the whiskey and bourbon at Elm Street Cask & Kitchen, and if their “Whiskey Bible” doesn’t do it for you, then I don’t know what will. The extensive book features history lessons, cocktail recipes, and plenty of information on whiskey. As for their cocktail menu, they feature drinks such as their Maker’s Mark Mint Julep, Old Fashioned, Whisk(e)y Sour, and even whiskey flights. (For non-whiskey drinkers, they also have wine, beer, and various signature cocktails available.)

I went with the Kentucky Buck (Four Roses whiskey, fresh muddled strawberries, lemon, ginger, and bitters), and it was SOOOO refreshing—perfect for those wanting to get into whiskey drinking, but not necessarily be hit with it like a sack of bricks.

Now, as a Southerner, I take my Southern-style cuisine very seriously. They do a great job providing traditional Southern fare alongside current crowd favorites like hushpuppies with roasted chili honey butter and Crushed Avocado (aka guacamole) with chimichurri and black pepper crackers.

The main dishes are packed with flavor and cooked perfectly. I suggest the Beer Can Chicken with apple cornbread stuffing, almonds, charred carrots—order it with can of Lonestar for just an extra $2! The Bourbon Braised Short Rib with Lakewood Bourbon Barrel Temptress glaze, asparagus, and brown butter mashed potatoes was also quite intriguing and we decided was worth a return visit for us. If you’re into fish, you might enjoy the Pan Seared Salmon with black-eyed peas, ham hock, pickled shallot, and watercress.

 

The only logical way to end a filling meal is to overstuff yourself with delicious sweets—am I right? It’s pretty hard to choose between the Cast Iron Bread Pudding and the Banana Cream Pie … so just go ahead and get both.

Courtesy of Elm Street Cask and Kitchen

 

Elm Street Cask & Kitchen offers Happy Hour pricing Monday-Friday from 2pm to 7pm featuring $5 bites, $5 select drinks, and $12 chili dog/draft beer/TX bourbon shot combos.


Elm Street Cask & Kitchen
ElmStreetCaskKitchen.com
1525 Elm Street (Downtown)
Facebook | Instagram

*Header photo courtesy of Elm Street Cask & Kitchen*

Charleston Wine + Food 2019 – Here We Go!

I couldn’t be more excited to be heading back in Charleston after being away for more than four years. My first visit to Chucktown was life changing for many reasons, and not the least of which was thanks to their progressive food and drink scene. Thanks to my amazing friend Elise Cordell whose parents happen to live in Charleston, I was encouraged to attend Charleston Wine + Food … and here I am.

The Holy City’s culinary carnival is more than just tuck and tipples; the festival offers education opportunities (from tastings to hands-on classes), excursions, and paired meals rounded out by various wellness opportunities like yoga classes and aliment ambles.

To make us all feel better about stuffing our faces with great food and drink, it’s all for a food good cause. “Charleston Wine + Food is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports Charleston and the Lowcountry’s diverse culinary + hospitality community.” Cheers to that.

If you find yourself in the area March 6-10, join me for a drink or three at one of their 100+ events! Tickets for select events are still available!

Follow along on my social handles this week to see what trouble I get into!


CHARLESTON WINE + FOOD
March 6-10, 2019 | Charleston, South Carolina
charlestonwineandfood.com
Facebook: /ChsWineandFood
Twitter: @chswineandfood
Insta: @chswineandfood

Pictures courtesy of Charleston Wine + Food

bartaco in Preston Center

Bartaco may be new to town, but they’re not new to the game. Margaritas and tapas-style taco bites are their specialty, and they know how to do them right. With a uniquely Asian flair, bartaco has something for everyone.

We started with margaritas, specifically the Pomegranate Margarita and the Classic Margarita, both of which were delicious and smooth. The Pomegranate Margarita is actually part of their “Margarita March” promotion, but more on that later on (skip to the bottom if you really can’t wait that long).

I would suggest starting your meal with some salsa roja and corn tortilla chips, which you get to break yourself; and the duck quesadillas, which are tender and served in a blue corn tortilla. If you’re looking for something lighter, the tuna poke is a colorful and refreshing option.

Everything ordered at bartaco is served family style in small tapas form, so you can order as much as you want and not feel guilty about it at all! Each taco will run you $2.50 – $3.50.

We tried a ton of tacos—the baja fish, spicy chorizo, falafel, fried oyster, glazed pork belly, carne asada, and Brussels sprout. All of the tacos were delicious, but the crowd favorite was the Brussels sprout taco … which isn’t even officially on the menu! It comes with a sweet balsamic glaze and spicy carrot purée, which tastes more like a sweet potato mash and works beautifully with the other ingredients. This taco was so good that we ordered a second to share.

We supplemented our taco frenzy with a side of Asian slaw and black beans with sofrito. Sides are easy to add on at just $2.50 each!

Round two of drinks hit the table to help us finish our meal. We (greatly) enjoyed the Mojito Tinto (Flor de Caña silver rum, winter spiced sangria, lime, mint, and sugar) and, of course, the Smoke on the Water (Banhez mescal, Pisco, pineapple, lemon, bitters, and egg white), pictured below. bartaco also serves bottled and canned beers, wines by the glass, and sangrias by the glass or liter.

If you’re anything like me and need to end your meal with something sweet, then the platanos fritos are the way to go. They come with a side dish of a mayo dip, but I personally think they taste better dipped in chocolate gelato. If anyone has tricks for kicking a bad sugar habit, I’m all ears.


Now, back to the Margarita March news that we’ve all been waiting for. Each week in March, bartaco will feature a different specialty margarita, like the Pomegranate Margarita mentioned above (Liber grapefruit cordial, lime juice, lucardo marascino, and Libelula Joven Tequila*). The drinks are only around for one week each in March, so grab your friends, order some tacos, and get to living the #bartacolife!

Photo courtesy of bartaco

BARTACO
bartaco.com
6130 Luther Lane (Preston Center)
Instagram | Twitter

 

*This tequila was selected specifically for bartaco by Destilladora Bonanza and is crafted in the highlands of Jalisco (obviously … or it wouldn’t be Tequila!)

A LUV Letter to Southwest Airlines

WARNING: THIS STORY ISN’T ABOUT BOOZE; IT’S ABOUT MY FAMILY AND HOW AWESOME SOUTHWEST AIRLINES IS. If you aren’t interested … scroll along. 😉

Being an aunt to two beautiful children is the most fulfilling thing in my world. Yes, sharing my adventures and drinking experiences with y’all is really fun, but knowing that I can help shape my niece’s and nephew’s lives brightens mine every day.

When my sister learned of her first child, Ten’s, severe peanut allergy, we were all greatly concerned and hoped we could find a way to help him live a normal life—because I don’t care what anyone says, a severe allergy to something common like peanuts can make a child’s life difficult. Thanks to a ton of research, my sister found a doctor in Dallas who offers exposure therapy for children. (This is a proven and safe treatment … if you have any questions, just ask!)

The idea was simple—every week for 18 weeks, Ten gets dosed up and monitored—but the execution was less than simple. Her beautiful family lives in Albuquerque, a full 650 miles from said doctor. My parents and I live in Dallas, so she made the choice to make the trip from Albuquerque to Dallas every.damn.week. With flight costs being what they are and most airlines’ cancelation policies and change fees being strict and expensive, it was a daunting idea. (Especially because, if there was any change in Ten’s heath 24 hour prior to the appointment, that week’s appointment had to be postponed.)

And then Southwest Airlines swooped in to save the day. Alice starting squirreling away miles, watching for fare sales, and setting up her weekly flights to make it happen. And, since Ten wasn’t yet two years old, he flew free. (Huge win.) Even more incredible, if Southwest is alerted that there’s someone onboard with a peanut allergy, they don’t serve peanuts that flight* and families are allowed to board early to get the wee ones settled.

My amazing sister made it happen. She schlepped her pregnant, nauseous self and her adorable, allergic boy on a weekly flight to Dallas to make his appointments where he progressed beautifully, winning over every nurse in the office as he went. And, just before his second birthday, he went to his last appointment. Ten could now eat peanuts, giving him the chance to enjoy what is now his favorite food (peanut butter, or “baya”) and his family the peace of mind that a rogue peanut butter and jelly sandwich wouldn’t take him down.

Over the course of what ended up being 22 weeks of appointments, he grew to love airplanes and, of course, Southwest. When he saw a heart, he’d point and say in a proud tenor, “Southwes!” (He had trouble with the second t for a while.) He loves watching airplanes and will tell you that the planes are going to “Dayas” or “Querque”. (He was also well-versed with the safety cards.)

To mark the end of his treatments and his second birthday, my family figured that the best way to celebrate the extraordinary process he went through was with a Southwest Airlines-themed party. The company being what it is, we made some calls and told our story to any employee that would listen—which was pretty much every one we spoke to—and were given little children’s games, pretzels, gifts, and such here and there.

Then, we started amassing extra napkins from flights along with pretzels and cups … and things like custom Southwest teddy bears and paper airplanes started to show up in the mail. A friend even sent him a branded t-shirt (that is now his favorite clothing item) and some other little gifts from their employee store! Apparently we’d struck a cord …

Living in Dallas, our family knows an employee or two, so we called in some favors. None were too busy to at least try to help. We were blown away by everyone’s kindness and generosity. In the end, we pulled together a pretty festive party for the little man.

We are all so appreciative of Southwest on so many levels—for being the airline they are so that my nephew could make his weekly appointments and for being so generous to help him celebrate two huge milestones. Thanks to EVERYONE who helped make it happen.

There’s no question it’s called the love airline.


*This was before August 2018 when Southwest stopped serving peanuts.

Catch Lovers Seafood’s new menu and patio

Blue crab and truffle deviled eggs.
Crispy shrimp corn dogs.
Maytag blue cheese potato chips.

Say what??

These are just a few of the things you can find on Chef Kent Rathbun’s new menu at Lovers Seafood and Market. I recently had the chance to sample a little bit of everything from this new menu and hear all about their new weekly specials … and you’re gonna want to go check it out.

The tasting started off on a boozy note with the unveiling of their signature cocktails. The tasting lineup featured their Marfa Mary and Gypsy Wife along with a classic, the Corpse Reviver. Each of them were light enough to start the meal nicely without blowing out your palate. (They were also delightful to enjoy on their cute patio!) My personal favorite was the Gypsy Wife (Ketel One, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, grapefruit, basil and lime). This should be no surprise since I’m very into grapefruit-based cocktails lately.

These delicious cocktails are half priced during their happy hour which you can check out Monday through Saturday from 3-6pm. The happy hour also features half priced oysters … such a steal! It’s also very important to note that on Wednesdays they have half priced martinis all night long.

On the new menu, you’ll notice that they have added more grill-oriented items like the Roadhouse Cheeseburger and tender kale salad. This is part of their strategy to re-brand as more than just a seafood spot. (Rumor has it that they will soon change their name to “Lovers Seafood + Grill”.) I love that there were multiple healthy options on the menu like the charbroiled burger bowl that was served over quinoa and sweet potato pieces.

The tasting wrapped up with a sampling of the desserts … and ohhhemmmmgeeeee. They have a key lime pie to die for. The graham cracker crust and raspberry coulis were so good that I would come back just to have dessert.(I seriously considered licking my plate clean. Calories be damned.) Don’t skip dessert when you go!


LOVERS SEAFOOD AND MARKET
loversseafoodmarket.com
5200 West Lover’s Lane (Preston Hollow)
214-414-9880

Susie knows all things boozy …