Southern comforts

Going “home” to Miami isn’t exactly comforting for me. It can be fun, yes, catching up with old friends, seeing family (in small, controlled doses), hanging out in my old stomping grounds. If I squeeze in some beach time, Miami can even be relaxing, but rarely, if ever, is it comforting.

Comfort in a cocktail: Yardbird's tasty Watermelon Sling

But during the last visit to my ol’ hometown, between long stretches spent trapped in the car thanks to Miami’s ever-present traffic (reason number a billion to live in a city with actual, functioning public transportation), I was able to find some comfort. As it often does, comfort came in the form of food. (Sorry, family.)

Eating at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar was one of only a small number of things on my “must-absolutely-get-done-while-I’m-in-town” list. I read about it a few months ago when it first opened and immediately wanted to go. when I read about southern comfort food staples like fried chicken, mac and cheese and cornbread. Miami may be south, but southern it definitely is not.

I loved Yardbird right away, with its country-cool, rustic vibe and a distinctly not Miami Beach feel. But when my Watermelon Sling came out, all sweet and refreshing with its crisp, clean mix of fresh watermelon juice, smokey borboun, lemon, orange bitters and a light, frothy cucumber foam, I was head over heels.

Then came the perfect follow up to my drink, melons and cheese, chosen from the small plates portion of the menu. Two fat wedges of bright, juicy watermelon were topped with a grilled cheese that the menu called farm cheese, but I thought was a lot like queso fresco, the white, salty cheese used in Mexican and other hispanic cuisines. Either way, it was delicious and further proof that mixing sweet (in this case, fruity) with savory, is always a recipe for tastiness.

Melons and cheese: win, WIN.

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Put your liquid jacket on

ABC Kitchen's Berkshire cider

This year’s official first day of winter is December 22nd but with this weekend’s lows in the 30s and get this— a chance of snow (Yea, I know, snow in October. WTF, right?) it looks like winter is showing up early. And while my closet is stocked full of puffy down jackets, wool coats, sweaters out the wazoo and scarves of every color in the rainbow and then some, one of my preferred ways of keeping warm is the ol’ liquid jacket. You know, booze.

Yes, most any form of alcoholic beverage—be it beer, wine or liquor— will do the trick, but my favorites are the seasonal kind. Earlier this week, for example, during lunch at the always delicious ABC Kitchen, I had the gut-warming, soul-soothing, Berkshire cider martini. Made with berkshire bourbon and spiced apple cider, it was smoky and deep, the kind of drink that literally makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Hot buttered rum

Also this last week, but this time at home and made by yours truly, was the holiday-style-gluttonous hot buttered rum. Ingredients: hot buttered rum mix (basically a blend of  cinammon, nutmeg, and the like), rum, and you guessed it, butter. I mean, really, don’t you feel cozy just thinking about it? Cause I do. With no garnish or much thought put into presentation, it wasn’t particularly attractive (nor did my camera do much to help the cause), but it was spicy and smooth, and made me wish I had a fireplace to sit in front of while enjoying it.

Winter might be here early but me and my liquid jacket will be just fine.

Happy Friday everyone!

The Seven Gram Rock... yup, just what you're thinking

I don’t know about everyone else, but I for one, am ecstatic that this week is over. I mean really, it’s been relentless, and I’m filing it under “awful.”  But if there was one thing that stood out as a shining moment of awesomeness in this otherwise obnoxious week, it was Tuesday night’s 20/20 interview with Charlie Sheen. Yea, I said it.

I don’t care if he’s cracked out, completely bonkers or actually a genius. The man is hi-la-rious! A gold mine of outrageous ridiculousness and I can’t get enought of it!

Which is why I loved that Fatty Johnson’s in Greenwich Village, where I went on Thursday with some girlfriends, had a drink on their menu called the “Seven Gram Rock,” an allusion to the now famous quote, “I was banging seven-gram rocks and finishing them, because that’s just how I roll!” Yes! What a ridiculous individual. The other drinks, carefully crafted by guest New York City mixologists, sounded delicious, but in the spirit of Charlie, I ordered the Seven Gram Rock. Cause like Charlie, that’s just how I roll.

So what was in it? Dried peach-nectarine-apricot infused bourbon, cinammon, bitters, orange zest and essence of cocaine. I’m not sure about that last one, but all of the other ingredients came together in a great way to make for a zesty, smokey drink that was not too sweet, not too bitter, and just the right thing to drink on annnoyingly cold night on an annoyingly long week.  

** A note about Fatty Johnson’s: This pop-up from the Fatty Crew is only open until Sunday, at which point it will close while they create something more permanent in its place. Color me excited.