Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Strawberry Cocktails

Drink your strawberries while you can! Back by popular demand, Felicia is going to be serving up Strawberry-Basil Cocktails, starting today and ending really soon since strawberry season just doesn't feel long enough.

Of course, you can always buy strawberries off-season, but they are genetically altered giant mutants (that's a quarter next to the two in the above picture) who will eat your dog while you sleep.

Last week, we smashed strawberries into our mojitos, and we have also been known to sneak strawberries into everything else, too, like our State Street 75 and fresh spiked lemonade.

I can personally attest to how incredible the Strawberry-Basil Cocktail is since I drank five of them last night (Mom and Dad, I did not really drink excessively. Honest. I am exaggerating to amuse my reading audience). Seriously. Best. Drink. Ever.

Oh - one other tip - bourbon lovers should try replacing the vodka with Knob Creek, if you can get your hands on some ever-elusive Knob before the predicted outage.

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Sustainable AlleyArt

Sustainable AlleyArt installations invade Felicia's Atomic Lounge

by Amelia Sauter, Ithaca, NY

Felicia’s Atomic Lounge owners Leah Houghtaling and Amelia Sauter have made it clear during the past five years that they care about the community. Now these two women have taken Felicia’s commitment to do-gooding one step further: They are opening Felicia’s alley for sustainable art shows.

The premise, according to Houghtaling, is to host monthly AlleyArt installations comprised of artwork created with a minimum of 50% recycled or reused materials. Artwork must be designed to withstand - or transform with - the elements, including but not limited to rain, wind, sun, and interaction with people. Preference will be given to those artists whose pieces are created with a higher percentage of recycled materials.

“We have a long, blank blue wall in the alley,” says Houghtaling. “We are committed to being green, and we care about the arts. The AlleyArt show fuses these two passions together.”

July’s featured artist, Charlie Elrod, read Felicia’s request for proposals on the lounge’s blog earlier this month and responded immediately. Elrod started welding in 1980 when he owned a dairy farm in Georgia, and a few years ago he successfully tried his hand at metal sculpting using pieces of old farm equipment. He calls his business Springfield FarmArt.

“I try not to alter the individual parts since they have such cool, sinuous curves and angles,” explains Elrod. “I let their shape determine their placement and interaction with the other pieces. I also don’t use any finishes on the metal, but let the patina that has developed over decades say what it will of its history.”

For Felicia’s AlleyArt show, Elrod will be displaying artistic patio furniture welded from farm machinery.

Elrod adds, “The emphasis on recycled/reclaimed materials is a great opportunity for me to move away from the glass table tops I have been using and into searching for reclaimed materials that bring their own history to the pieces.” Elrod’s tabletops for the Felicia exhibit originally came from the Tompkins County Courthouse. He found them at Finger Lakes ReUse.

Houghtaling and Sauter are thrilled to be partnering with Elrod for the show. “His art work is perfect for our alley,” says Houghtaling. “It’s functional art, which to me is the best kind.”
Elrod’s FarmArt will be on display in Felicia’s alley from July 1-July 31. The opening reception on July 1 will be from 7pm to 9pm, and Felicia’s will take this opportunity to introduce a newly expanded food menu. Samplings of spring rolls, paninis, new flatbread pizzas and other food will be on hand.

Elrod’s FarmArt can be seen online at Felicia’s Atomic Lounge is currently accepting submissions for summer and fall AlleyArt installations. Click here for guidelines.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Father's Day Gift Suggestions

What should you get dear ol' Dad for Father's Day? You didn't forget, did you? You bad, bad child. Your parents deserve a better child than you. Felicia will save your ass with some last minute suggestions:

1) A bottle of Knob Creek - word on the street is that there is going to be a Knob Creek shortage this summer. Dad can probably sell that bottle of Knob on eBay for a good price after he squanders all of his retirement money at the track. Unless he drinks it all himself like the lush that he is.

2) A bottle of The Dalmore 1263 King Alexander III or Mount Gay Rum Extra Old. I have never tried either one of these, but I told some bigwig marketing broad that I would plug them for Father's Day because I thought she said she was going to send me some of both. Turns out, she said she was going to send me some information on them both. Dammit. BTW, The Dalmore is only $200. Doesn't your Dad deserve that kind of love? No, mine neither. The Mount Gay is only $50 if you're feeling thrifty. A one-and-a-half ounce bottle of Jack Daniels is only $1.99.

3) Sharpen his lawnmower blades at Agway. Of course, he'd love it! Everyone loves appliance- and tool-related presents. Why, I bought Leah a vacuum cleaner for her birthday and she was just thrilled to pieces about it.

4) Admit that when you were a teenager you drank his booze and added water to the bottle in its place. Dad, I didn't do that! I was too much of a geek. But I'll bet my sister did.

5) Buy Dad a pedicure. His toenails are probably a little funky at his age. And who doesn't like a good foot rub?

6) How the hell should I know what you should get your dad? Call him yourself and ask him what he wants. And for god's sake, don't take him to the Chinese Buffet. That's reserved for Christmas.

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The Chicken BBQ Phenomenon - Week 7

Hey! What happened to Weeks 5 and 6? Apparently small town Chicken BBQ's have a season. Kind of like rhubarb. They pop up in early May - specifically the weekend before Mother's Day - and then slowly peter out by the end of May when everyone has pigged out one too many weekends in a row and started to question why they are eating dry, tasteless, chewy hunks of flesh.

The above photo was a rare sighting of an Ithaca (i.e. larger town) Chicken BBQ a few weeks ago. I took this picture from the car window on my way out of town to the Big Apple, where I most certainly did not find any Big Chicken BBQ fundraisers.

Chicken BBQ's have not completely disappeared, but I am no longer seeing two or three in Trumansburg every weekend. This could change with Father's Day coming up this weekend.

I will be sure to post a Chicken BBQ update after the holiday weekend so stay tuned.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Mixology Monday: Ginger Cocktails

This month’s Mixology Monday is being hosted by Rum Dood and the theme is ginger. Ha! You just mistakenly thought we would disclose the secret behind our someday-it-will-be-famous Horny Ninjarita, previously known as the Horny G*ngerita until someone trademarked the G-word so we can’t use it anymore. For those of you who are not lucky enough to live locally, the Horny G*ngerita, I mean, Ninjarita is a Felicia's Atomic Lounge margarita made with Hornitos tequila and our fresh ginger-lime elixir. Tough crap, you will have to wait until Felicia’s cocktail book comes out for that recipe, which at my current writing rate should be around 2017.

Felicia’s ginger cocktail for Mixology Monday is based on cachaca. I don’t know how to put the little tail on the last “c” in cachaca so you will just have to imagine it is there. Look it up if you don’t know what I am talking about. We tried ginger with scotch first, but ginger risks tasting medicinal when drink/drank/drunk (damn it – which is it?) with whiskey. Say, Rum Dood, does cachaca count as rum, kind of sort of maybe? I had a, ahem, rum "incident" when I was 14 so cachaca is about as close as I can get to your holy spirit.

I am a huge fan of cachaca in general and the caipirinha specifically, but we decided to skip limes today mostly because we found an orange, not a lime, staring at us from the fridge. The flavor of cachaca harmonizes perfectly with ginger and orange. We named our cocktail “Lazy Lover” after a song by the Brazilian Girls, who are neither Brazilian nor girls. OK, one girl, but I’ve never met her so whatever.

Drink and enjoy, and make sure you visit Rum Dood for other Mixology Monday ginger cocktail recipes.

Lazy Lover
1 ½ ounce cachaca
1 ounce ginger-honey syrup (see below)
1 orange wheel

Muddle all ingredients in a glass. Add ice. Shake. Serve on the rocks.

Ginger-Honey Syrup
½ cup honey
½ cup water
2 Tablespoons fresh grated ginger

Bring ingredients almost to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Let cool and strain.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Strawberry Lemonade

Strawberries have made their debut at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. Berries are an easy cocktail addition; they can be muddled up into just about any drink, like a margarita, a mojito or a gin and tonic.

Because we had a fridge full of lemons, we decided to make some fresh-squeezed lemonade with strawberries. Lemonade is easy to make; use equal parts lemon juice, water and simple syrup. Our drink turned out a little darker than usual due to using organic sugar. If you have bottled lemon juice or even a can of Country Time Lemonade mix on hand, you can use one of those, though fresh-squeezed lemon juice will bring out the best flavor of the strawberries. Shame on you if you have Country Time Lemonade mix in your house! Shame!

A great thing about Strawberry Lemonade is that you don't have to spike it if you don’t want to. Why the hell wouldn't you want to spike it? Some people are strange, underage or pregnant. Without the alcohol, Strawberry Lemonade is appropriate for kids and non-imbibing adults, too.

For an extra-refreshing drink, throw your Strawberry Lemonade in the blender with ice. We tend to skip blender drinks ourselves – there’s more to clean up. We swear, the blender is broken. It just broke. Right before you asked for that blended drink. Honest.

Strawberry Lemonade

4 medium-sized fresh strawberries
2 ounces water
2 ounces lemon juice
2 ounces simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar)
1 ½ ounces vodka

Muddle strawberries in a pint glass. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake with ice. Serve over ice. Include a long-handled spoon for digging the strawberries out of the bottom of the glass.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Felicia's Alley

"What are you building?" a four-year-old asked as she walked by Felicia's alley with her mom.

"Doors," answered Leah.

"To keep the enemies out?" said the girl.

She's not too far off the mark. The glorious regal alley doors, henceforth known as The Fortress, were designed by Leah to keep the alley safe at night, from, well, enemies. This includes staying safe from the seemingly benign morning-coffee-drinking-cigarette-butt-thrower, which is not so benign when you multiply three cigarettes by 31 people, as well as from the scary wee-hours-of-the-night-I-poop-in-a-bag-and-throw-it-on-your-roof guy (I'm not making this up).

The Fortress Doors will also protect the upcoming Alley Art installations. Now accepting proposals! Here are the guidelines:

1. Artwork must be created with a minimum 50% recycled/reused materials. Priority will be given to art made with a higher percentage of recycled materials.
2. Artwork must be designed to withstand - or transform with - the elements, including but not limited to: rain, wind, sun, and drunk people.
3. Artwork can be designed to hang on the wall (Felicia-side only) or stand on the ground. Or be creative - what else have you got? We're open to ideas.
4. Individual pieces may be accepted, but we will prioritize installations with multiple pieces of art.
5. Installations will be up for approximately 30 days, with an opening reception held during the first week.
6. Please note: The alley is locked from 2AM til 4PM the next day. Artwork is semi-supervised during business hours, sort of, but kind of not really. Felicia is not responsible for acts of god or idiots included but not limited to weather damage, theft, breakage, and graffiti.

We would love to get the first art show up before the end of June. Send your web portfolio (preferred) to or drop a cd at the lounge.
A special thanks to Lee, the roller derby Ithaca SufferJets' number one fan, for helping us move 3.5 tons of stone into the alley! How's your back today, Lee? Thank you for shaing our pain.

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