Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bar Incident: The angry European guy

About that European guy who had a fit in the lounge last night while the Horse Flies were playing, Felicia did not see that one coming. Maybe he was angry before he arrived, or maybe he just felt small, since he was on the puny side and carrying a shih tzu. He had ordered a flatbread and then told the bartender, "you bring me pizza in alley." Leah was sitting next to him at the bar and she said, "there is no table service in the alley tonight." He proceeded to explode like someone set off a fire cracker in his groin. He yelled, cursed, jumped up and down, waved his arms around, screamed, attempted to suck hapless bystanders in as his allies, and according to Jennie Stearns, he even insulted Leah's knees. One of his friends emailed Felicia today with an apology, "If I hadn't had to pee so much [and stepped away before the incident], I might have been able to put the kibosh on my pal's situation." Sorry you had a bad day, Mr. Angry European Guy. Felicia still loves you, but only from far, far away. Feel better soon, and be kind to your shih tzu.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


With harvest time in full swing, Felicia will dedicate her next few columns to cocktails one can make with local ingredients. Felicia likes to think of herself as a locavore, a person who buys her fruits, vegetables and other items from farmers near her home.

Today’s choice of beverage fruits: peaches and blueberries. Unable to make it to the Farmer’s Market this week, Felicia bought her peaches at Brownies produce stand on Route 96 near Perry City Road. Brownies has amazing fresh-picked corn and a variety of other local or almost local produce. One bite of a peach, and Felicia had an obscene amount of juice running down her chin. Felicia found equally juicy (though not as messy) large, plump blueberries at Grisamore Farms in Locke.

After eating a few peaches and most of the blueberries, Felicia turned herself to the task at hand: the Bellini. The Bellini was created in the 1940’s in Venice, Italy and traditionally uses white peaches. The peaches (white or yellow) can be whirled up in a food processor with the skins on, and Felicia recommends trying one of the many local sparkling wines available in our region. The blueberries can be pureed with the peaches, or added as a garnish. This Bellini makes a lovely addition to brunch, or can be served before dinner during cocktail hour.

Felicia Bellini

1 ounce peach puree
3 ounces sparkling wine

Pour peach puree into champagne glass. Slowly add champagne. Garnish with blueberries.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Road Trip! New York City

Felicia is freshly back from her road trip to the Big Apple. While we claimed the purpose of the trip was to see Oatmeal and a Cigarette at the NYC Fringe Festival, the unspoken reason for all road trips, as you know, is food and alcohol.

Accolades for best cocktails of the weekend go to Tailor. We tried the Lovage Sour (gin, lemon and lovage-infused aquavit), Paprika Punch (rum and red bell pepper lemonade) and the Kumquat Caipirinha (kumquats and cachaca with a caramel rim). Each cocktail had a delicate, balanced flavor. They were simply stunning.

Our favorite culinary experience was Caracas Arepa, a 15-seat Venezuelan food shack next to Caracas Arepa Bar. We spent $24 before tip for two authentic arepas and two Tona beers. Note: There is supposed to be a little squiggle over the 'n' in Tona but darned if Felicia can't figure out how to add that thingy in Blogger.

Thanks to Ruthie Collins of Hip Girl Entrepreneurs, the best surprise of the trip was the opportunity to network with some creative, inspiring women entrepreneurs during a business dinner in Brooklyn.

By the way, the cast of Oatmeal and a Cigarette gave a fabulous performance. The show runs in NYC through August 22.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Oatmeal and a Cigarette

Felicia will be in NYC this weekend. Any recommendations for where she should go for a cocktail? She prefers fresh, creative ingredients to old-school strange liqueurs whose names she cannot ever remember.

Felicia will be in NYC to see Oatmeal and a Cigarette at the NYC Fringe Festival. OAC won Critics Pick at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival a few months ago. That crazy guy in the photo above is actor Karl Gregory, pictured at a fundraiser at Felicia's Atomic Lounge. In OAC, Karl plays "mommy" to a 30-year-old guy who thinks he is 3. If you are in The City, you can catch Oatmeal and Cigarette from August 17-August 22.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mixology Monday: Sage Riesling Cocktail

Felicia writes about a lot of different cocktails, but this month’s theme is right up her outdoor seating in the alley. Today’s Mixology Monday is hosted at Save the Drinkers! and the topic is Local Flavor. Last summer, Felicia started concocting a series of Farmer’s Market Cocktails and has previously written about drinks containing beets, basil, strawberries, cucumbers, mint and the crowd favorite, rhubarb.

When challenged to pick an ingredient that Ithaca is known for, Felicia faced a tough choice. We have a wealth of amazing organic farmers in this region, with tons of juicy blueberries, apples, tomatoes, corn and just about any other fresh produce that your imbibing heart desires. Felicia decided to turn her attention to local wines. If you have ever been wine tasting in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, then you know that the best wine made in this area is Riesling. With a tendency toward peach and apricot notes, our local Rieslings also have a hint of lively citrus and well-balanced acidity.

Felicia got her grubby little mad scientist hands on an outstanding bottle of Bloomer Creek Riesling and decided to give it a makeover, against the advice of her peers. Leah, head cocktail artist at Felicia's Atomic Lounge, was convinced. “Riesling and sage are going to totally kick ass together,” she insisted. “Yeah, right,” we all said. “You’re crazy.”

We were surprised and thrilled at the final product. We laughed, we cried, we drank it twice. The Sage Riesling Cocktail (subsequently featured on the PBS show “New York Wine and Table”) is one of the best drinks that Leah has ever created. Felicia says there is a fine line between brilliance and insanity. Leah just says, “I told you so.”

The Sage Riesling Cocktail can be muddled, or if you are heading to an outdoor concert at Taughannock State Park, throw all the ingredients into a thermos and let them steep together for an hour or so before drinking. This is one of those cocktails that makes wine snobs cringe – that is, until they taste it. If you are a doubter, then you must try it. Like bacon-infused bourbon, don’t knock it til ya drunk it.

Sage Riesling Cocktail

4 ounces Riesling
8 small fresh sage leaves
½ ounce simple syrup (more or less depending on the sweetness of the Riesling)
½ slice of lemon
Johnny jump up or other edible flower

Rip up the sage and muddle it with simple syrup and lemon. Add Riesling and shake with ice. Strain into a martini glass (there will be some little bits of sage remaining in the cocktail). Garnish with a flower.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Foodie Detour: Mexican Crab Cakes

Yes, this is a cocktail blog, but a girl's gotta eat, too. Last week was a crabby week - the crustacean, that is. Felicia came into an obscene amount of crab (its own story, really) and since a Crab Martini was pretty much out of the question, she had to figure out how to cook it. Her chosen challenge: a dish with both crab and jalapeno, since the cute little jalapeno plant in the garden was eager to give up a pepper. Though the crab is from far, far away, Felicia decided to make this a locavore challenge, starting with that adorable lone jalapeno pepper. The result? fabulous Mexican crab cakes with peach-tomato salsa. The crab cakes included half of the jalapeno pepper (chopped and sauteed) along with some parsley from the garden (the cilantro had all gone to seed), local eggs, breadcrumbs from a neighborhood bakery and Felicia's homemade Worcestershire sauce. The salsa was made with the other half of the jalapeno pepper, Felicia's first (and so far her only) two ripe tomatoes of the summer, her home-grown basil, local peaches, local corn and local garlic. Delicious! 1/2 pound of crab gone, 5 1/2 to go. P.S. Breakfast the next day was sourdough toast with garlic scape-artichoke spread, sauteed crab and poached eggs. Too hungry to stop to take a photo. P.P.S. By local, Felicia means the fruit/veggie/sacrificial animal was picked/harvested/robbed of its life less than 15 miles from Felicia's home.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bar Incident: The girl with the weird hair

Part I: Red Stripe's Story

It was nice and quiet in the Hussman Cooler. And cold. I like the cold. It's how I remember things being my whole life. I liked that I was surrounded by my peers, really close but not touching. Orderly. Predictable. That was my life. Hangin' out with my peeps, just chillin'.

And then the woman with the blue streaks in her hair reached in, pulled me out of the cooler and popped my top off. It was simultaneously shocking and a release. That's when it happened. She handed me to that b*tch with the weird hair. That girl's sweaty, angry fist wrapped around my middle too tightly. Her hand was hot, demanding. The girl slammed me down on the bar to root around in her pockets. I looked around the bar desperately, but there seemed no escape. Could someone else pick me up? Maybe I could topple myself over? I tried to rock side-to-side but I couldn't move. I was paralyzed.

Suddenly the girl's hand was gripping me painfully again. As she raised me up to her lips, her foul-mouthed, negative-nancy, spoiled brat lips, I knew my fate was sealed. It was over, and my last precious moments of existence would be in the stomach of the b*tchy girl with the weird hair.

Part II: The Bar Stool's Story

I saw it all happen but I didn't care. I'm a carefree, spin-any-way-the-wind-blows kind of guy. You should see the shit that happens in this bar. Like the time the guy sitting on me was feeling up the guy next to him while his girlfriend was in the bathroom. Or the woman who got drunk and fell off of me, then tried to drive home and ended up in a ditch. It's a bar for god's sake. Things aren't always pretty. The girl with the weird hair? That was nothing. Sure, she didn't say please, or thank you for that matter, and she threw her tip down like it was a chore, but whatever. You gotta relax and let these things go.

Me? I'm here to serve. Sit on me, prop your heels on the rungs, spin a little, move me to the other side of the room if you want. I'm easy. That girl was just another drop in the slop bucket. Haha! Get it? Slop bucket. A little bar humor there. I am so funny.

You got to be easy-going to survive in a bar night after night, putting up with all the crazy regulars. Frankly, I like the company. The more the merrier. We all have to let loose sometimes, you know? And what better place than at a bar? If you can't be yourself here, then what's the point? Lighten up, that's what I say. Don't worry so much. Life is too damn short.