Brennivin is Here for Holiday Cheer

brennivinIt’s celebration season and Brennivin, the original Icelandic Spirit, marks the launch of its 80th Anniversary Cask Aged Aquavit. For the first time, this semisweet spirit is available in the United States.Only 1,200 out of 5,000 bottles may be purchased here for the holiday season.

The Aquavit is made from grain and infused with caraway seeds. Made from grain and infused with caraway seeds, the current batch was distilled in 2015, then matured for one year, aging within a combination of Islay Whiskey casks, bourbon barrels, and finished in New American White Oak. The result is a deliciously, smooth spirit which can be enjoyed on its own.

opalLicorice lovers have another reason to rejoice as Brennivin’s Opal Icelandic Liqueur recently made its première voyage to the U.S. The unique flavor profile is akin to Iceland’s beloved pasteille, a licorice-like candy. The unmistakable label echoes a groovy 1940s /1950s pop art bulls-eye design.

 

With such exclusivity to the Scandinavian sippers, there’s a handful of states which sell spirits (listed below). Howevery, if you are in or near New York City, you can head to the Up & Up Bar (116 Macdougal Street), the first U.S. bar to offer Brennivin. Imbibe on tipples such as the Icelandic Sense of Urgency crafted with honey, jalapeno and of course the 80th Anniversary Edition Brennivin or try the savory Visa Application made with both Brennivin exclusives, sherry and pear brandy. Cheers!

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Brennivin 80th Anniversary Cask Aged Aquavit:

— 40% ABV
— Price: market to market

Opal Icelandic Liqueur:

— 40% ABV
—  Price: around $35, 750ml bottle

Where to find Brennivin 80th Anniversary Cask Aged Aquavit and Opal Icelandic Liqueur (listed by state and merchant):  

Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island—MS Walker
California—H. Mercer Imports, K&L Wines, Bar Keeper LA and Bitters & Bottles (SF)
Texas — Favorite Brands
Kentucky — River City Distributing
Colorado — European Wines & Spirits
Washington, DC — Sherry’s Wines
Washington State — Vinum Wines & Spirits
Alabama/Idaho/Montana/Oregon/Wyoming — State Special Order

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Flying Purple Pisco Recipe

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Lynnette Marrero, co-beverage director of Brooklyn’s Llama Inn, shares the inspiration of the Flying Purple Pisco – a play on the traditional Pisco Sour and named after the Flying Purple People Eater. This refreshing libation  features Peru’s infamous spirit, pisco, a grape brandy made in the country’s wine regions. It’s perfect for any season, celebration, and much needed happy-hour. Click here to learn how to make the Flying Purple Pisco.

Courtesy of Llama Inn.

Flying Purple Pisco Recipe

1 oz of Purple potato puree (with simple syrup mixed in*)

½ oz Lime juice

½ oz Lemon juice

2 oz Macchu Pichu Pisco

1 Egg white

Directions

Dry shake all ingredients together.

Add ice to ingredient mixture and shake again.

Strain into a low-ball glass

Top with a streak of Angostura bitters and grated nutmeg

 

*Simple Syrup Recipe

1 part water

1 part white granulated sugar

Simple syrup directions:

Directions

In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water.

Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.

Adjust amount of sugar to desired taste.

Allow to cool.

Llama Inn: Not Your Average Barrio Bar

llama-innA truly international and rustic cuisine, Peruvian food deserves more acclaim than it receives. Serving up a melting pot of cultural influences including Spanish, African and Incan, yield iconic dishes like ceviche and Escabache de Pescado (fried fish with onion sauce). Peruvian dishes often have bold, complex and vibrant flavor, incorporating ingredients like aji chili and sweet lucuma (a native fruit).

Flavors such as these are proudly served at Brooklyn’s Llama Inn. Don’t let its hipster vibe fool you – the ‘Llama Drama’ (referring to the buzzing atmosphere) is serious about delicious authentic eats, reflecting Chef Erik Ramirez’ favorite nostalgic meals. Chef Ramirez and his staff have done a wonderful job turning a social haven into a full-scale, epicurean, must-visit. One of the stand-out dishes is the Beef Tenderloin Stir Fry. This visually stunning dish matches its aesthetics in taste as it is a beautiful mountain of sliced tenderloin topped with red onion, rocoto (hot chili pepper)  and French fries served with a side of avocado and scallion pancakes. The succulent beef is bathed in a luscious soy sauce, perfect for dipping fries or drizzled on a pancake burrito.

It’s difficult to go wrong at the Inn with so many exceptional selections including the refined octopus or spicy pork belly anticuchos (skewered meat). Whether a novice to Peru’s succulent fare or a native, Llama Inn is an unforgettable experience transporting diners’ taste buds to the motherland itself.
Hungry for more? Click here to watch the ‘Llama Drama’ in action on POUR featuring Llama Inn’s iconic Flying Purple Pisco cocktail.

Llama Inn

50 Withers Street

Brooklyn, NY 11211

718-387-3434

Tidbits:

Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 3:30 pm

Rooftop bar and dining space

U.ndeniably W.onderful S.pots in the U.W.S.

Many people know the Upper West Side, U.W.S. for short, for it’s exquisite museums – MOMA, The Museum of Natural History, the Planetarium and of course Central Park. But remember, this is New York City, one of the world’s food mecca’s and so ANY NEIGHBORHOOD in this city is known for it’s food – The Upper West Side included. I’ve had the pleasure of sampling some new dines and known favorites in this neighborhood.

New to me, but well established to locals is Canteen 82. This superb sushi and Shanghai-centric joint offers fresh, organic ingredients. So many imaginative sushi rolls in this eatery – there’s the Mango Fly Roll filled with spicy tuna and yellowtail fish topped with mango and also the Green Dragon Roll stuffed with sweet potato, shitake mushrooms and cucumber draped with avocado.

Green Dragon and Mango Fly Rolls, Canteen82
Green Dragon and Mango Fly Rolls, Canteen82

I cannot say enough about their succulent pork soup dumplings. These babies are similar to traditional dumplings but include a helping of pork broth inside, so your bite bursts with flavor to seduce your taste buds! You must try it at least once in your life. Unforgettable!

Address: 467 Columbus Ave. (bet. 82nd and 83rd )

Another popular place is Gabriela’s Restaurant & Tequila Bar. No passport necessary, but once your walk under the front trellis your are instantly transported to Gabriel’s back patio in Mexico. Authenticity is taken very seriously here. Especially in the coveted moles served – Poblano (pepper and chocolate based sauce) and Pipian(pumpkin seed and almond sauce). I recommend notable dishes: Empanada de Pollo Organico, a turnover filled with organic chicken, sautéed tomatoes and onions and the Pork Al Pastor tacos.

Empanadas de Pollo Organico, Al Pastor Tacos, Shrimp Chimichanga, and Suizas
Empanadas de Pollo Organico, Al Pastor Tacos, Shrimp Chimichanga, and Suizas

And you cannot miss the shrimp chimichanga filled with beans, cheese and tomato sauce (pictured) nor the Suizas enchilada packed with chicken topped with Pico de Gallo, sour cream and Green Salsa or you can opted for a mole sauce instead (pictured). No matter what you order you won’t be disappointed. Be adventurous and accompany your option with their delicious sangria or a fantastic margarita. Looking for a brunch option? Gabriela’s offers an unbeatable $13 spread of dishes every weekend and holiday!

Address: 688 Columbus Ave. (at 93rd st.)

One of my favorite places, The Meatball Shop, is one of the new kids on the block (literally). Recently making their claim to the UWS, Owners, Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow have opened their fifth location in Manhattan (sixth overall) which is all the buzz in town. This time, I tried the mysterious yet legendary Kitchen Sink Salad with a quinoas, turkey meatball topped with homemade pesto and vinaigrette dressing. The salad is made up of the chef’s choice of

Kitchen Sink Salad with Quinoas Turkey meatballs and pesto sauce
Kitchen Sink Salad with Quinoas Turkey meatballs and pesto sauce

greens and veggies. Mine included sliced apples, shredded carrots with raisins, sautéed cauliflower, mushrooms, and beets. All topped with extra mozzarella cheese. Absolutely tantalizing! I’ve reviewed The Meatball Shop in a previous post… if you’re hungry for more, read the full review here.

Address: 477 Amsterdam Ave.

Shakeshak, a glorious burger joint to New Yorkers. Known for it’s heavenly milkshakes, juicy burgers, dogs and addictive fries, this shack is a grill-grub home for museum tourists and natives alike. Cannot miss the DogMeister- a dog topped with Shack cheddar and American cheese sauce and crispy ShackMeister Ale-marinated shallots. Umm-hmm, sounds great, right? Wash it down with a Caramel shake or a featured beer. P.S. Congrats to ShakeShak for it’s newest location in Flatbush, Brooklyn!

Address: 366 Columbus Ave. ( at 77th st.)

The County Cork Wine Pub Review

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Dinning in a small town doesn’t mean a dull dining experience. Such is the case when it comes to The County Cork Wine Pub. Nestled in a modest area of Eldersburg, (a suburb of Baltimore) this chic family owned wine bar has truly made its mark with locals. With an impressive selection of wines ranging from sparkling to the favored J. Lohr Chardonnay, delicious ports, and flirty rosés, this pub is well stocked for a great time. And let’s not forget vino from around the world like the Austrian Grooner Grüner Veltliner (a white wine with citrus and green apple notes) and the Argentine Alamos Melbec (a full bodied red with dark cherry flavors) is on hand – no passport necessary. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to choose; you can sample up to three wines for $10. No too shabby! The cocktails are great to boot, too!

There are so many great reasons to come visit with friends or to end a work day. On Tuesdays bottles of wine are half price and Wednesdays are free apps! My favorite appetizer is the bountiful Crab and Brie fondue- a cheesy pool of fresh, lump crab meat adorned with diced tomato and scallions. You can’t go wrong with the Shaved Lamb French Dip with swiss and caramelized onions along with a velvety au jus. Or even the glorious Grilled Eggplant Flatbread decorated with tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese.

The County Cork Pub has so much to offer; it’s not just another wine bar. The Cork’s library of wine, specialty cocktails, and craft beer paired with no-nonsense dishes provides a top shelf experience for guests. Throw in its superb service, warm atmosphere and affordable prices, there’s no wonder why this pub is an up-and-coming neighborhood favorite.

Location: 1716 Liberty Road, Eldersburg, MD

Tid- bits:
OpenTable Diner’s Choice 2014 Winner, Happy Hours, Monthly Wine Events, and fantastic weekly specials
Hours: Tue- Sat 11am -1 am
Sunday brunch: 10am -3pm
Closed Mondays

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Redwood Review

7121 Bethesda Lane

(301) 656-5515

 www.redwoodbethesda.com

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Chicken Sliders

You’re probably like me. I love being surprised, especially when it comes to a restaurant like Redwood in Bethesda, Maryland. Located in an upscale area near DC, it’s highly touted and was chosen as the venue for Bravo’s Top Chef season 7 “restaurant wars” – a legendary event and honor in itself. Needless to say, I was slightly intimidated by its score card. Yet, when I was invited to dine there, I jumped at the opportunity. Surprisingly, my nerves were quickly eased. The food and exceptional service lives up to the reputation but it is unpretentious. Although chic and modern, Redwood focuses on wholesome comfort food and doesn’t take itself too seriously. With delicious appetizers like whimsy fried chicken sliders with a chipotle aioli and lightly fried macaroni balls, I knew I was in good hands. This local favorite renewed my faith in fried calamari as well. In the past, I’ve been highly disappointed by calamari if I order it anywhere else other than an Italian eatery.  But I was more than pleased here. The flavorful, plump “O’s” are crispy and well-seasoned with the perfect thickness – it didn’t stand a chance for survival!

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Shrimp and Grits with braised greens

Known for its commitment to serving the best of traditional and contemporary dishes with local ingredients, the kitchen takes homey favorites such as chicken pot pie or shrimp and grits and refines them while evoking memories of  our first bites of these classic entrées. Executive Sous Chef, Sedrick Crawley’s take on custom and modern American cuisine is the perfect balance between familiar and new tastes while leaving diners wanting more. And with an ever-changing menu, it excites me to see what else he has up his sleeve. Chef Sed’s passion for his craft radiates from each plate. Such is the case with the steamed muscle with chorizo and roasted garlic and even the bucatini (a thick pasta dressed with a pork and beef meat sauce finished with the Italian grana padano cheese); both appropriately served in a rustic “mama’s favorite” skillet.

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Bucatini
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Steamed Muscles

Now, when indulging in such great fare, the occasion begs for a 21+ libation. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the impressive, hand crafted drinks and wine list. (A comfort to know.)  I’m a gin girl and my favorite drink was the brilliant Chartreusian 75 which includes yellow chartreuse, simple syrup, and sparkling wine. A tantalizing mixture of sweet and tart…basically it was seduction in a glass.

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Chartreusian 75

With delicious happy hours, weekly live entertainment and a menu that’ll thrill your taste buds, Redwood is more than a restaurant… it’s an experience for all senses.