All Over But the Clean-Up

This weekend marked the 8th not-exactly-annual BYOP (bring your own pumpkin) in 12 years and, after each event, it’s a good idea to look back and figure out what worked and what (if anything) didn’t. For those who’ve attended my parties in the past, it’s no surprise when I say I’ve been known to over-prepare. Just a smidgen. I’ve been known to put out so many appetizers that 3 hours later when dinner is ready no one’s hungry! Now, I don’t mind having party leftovers because it means I don’t have to cook for a few days, but there’s a
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Tucson: Winners of World Margarita Championship

Here are the results of the World Margarita Champtionship. My apologies as this was the first time I could get to my computer in a few days. The event sparkled from beginning to end with good weather, good food, good cocktails, a few laughs, and lots of friendly people. I brought a friend who was visiting from Los Angeles and she said, “People in Tucson are so nice.” Not a judge but like the 99% or the drinking people, I voted for the Lodge on the Desert’s margarita because it was made with Grand Marnier pearls. Have you ever heard
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When Life Hands You Lemons…

You shake those babies up! The Lemon Drop martini is one of those wonderful sweet and sour bevvies that is perfect for a hot summer day. Even though we’re slipping into fall, I don’t think anyone will argue that a lemony libation is out of season. The best Lemon Drop we’ve had in a restaurant was at Bogey’s at the Hotel DeFuniak–a quaint little B&B (they still used actual keys when we were last there) with a room that is supposedly haunted. (If I’d only known that when I made our reservation I’d have requested that one, instead!) Todd won the drink order*,
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Tucson restaurant: RA Sushi host Halloween celebration

Have a ghoulishly good time on Halloween at RA Sushi’s Boo Bash 2011. Visit RA Sushi at La Encantada Shopping Center on October 31 from 8 p.m. to close for spooktacular food and drink specials, costume contest, and guest DJ. Boys and ghouls are encouraged to dress up for the Boo Bash costume contest. Those dressed to impress will have the opportunity to swipe serious treats, including a $100 RA gift certificate for the first place winner and a $25 RA gift certificate for second place. To keep the monster mash going all night long, a guest DJ will spin
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To Brown or Not to Brown

This was a recent topic of discussion around our house this weekend and I wanted to get some outside opinions on the subject: When cooking in the slow-cooker, do you do any pre-cooking or just toss everything in and let it go? My position is the toss and go side of things. Frankly, I think after 8 hours of cooking everything is nice and tender as is and any browning that could have been done is rendered unnoticeable. Todd, on the other hand, will frequently saute the onions or brown the ground meat or roasts before loading up the slow-cooker.
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Cake Pops. What a concept.

I love being a food writer for many reasons; one of them being that people send me things for my “inspection.”  After checking things out, I pass the items on either donating them to charity or giving them to someone I know will make good use of them.  Such is the case with the second bake book I received from Ulysses Press a few weeks ago (see my previous review of “Mini Pies”.)  I plan on gifting them both to my boss at my day job as she loves to bake. The second book is called, “Crazy for Cake Pops.”
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Tucson Xoom – Celebrates 10 years

Happy 10th birthday to Xoom Juice. There are juice joints and then there’s Xoom Juice. Congratulations on your 10th and many more. To celebrate, Xoom Juice is offering half-off any Xoom smoothie on Sunday, October 23…IF…you wish them a Happy Birthday or sing the birthday song at their three locations: 2739 e. speedway/country club (nr baggins) 790-xoom 6222 e. speedway/Wilmot (nr bookmans) 904-acai 245 e. congress/5th ave (nr hotel congress) 321-xoom The owner of Xoom also has a new endeavor downtown called Sparkroot. Funny name aside, the interior resembles more SOMA than Tucson. Check it out — the coffee is
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It’s Very Easy in the Keys

A couple years ago, at my now-sister-in-law’s graduation dinner and engagement, I ordered a delightful cocktail: the Key Lime Pie. It was dessert in a glass. And ever since then I’ve wanted to recreate it. This is a prime opportunity, don’t you think? Key Lime Pie martinis are quite common and I easily found 7 recipes within half a page of Google results. There was a unanimous agreement that vanilla vodka is the perfect base for this cocktail (and who am I to argue in the face of vanilla vodka?) but from there the ingredients diverged quite a bit. Some
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Tucson: World Margarita Championship 2011

It’s all about the tequila!  This year we thirsty margarita sample sippers will mill around like we always do going from margarita tasting to margarita tasting quenching our thirst and sampling delicious nibbles. What’s different is that the mixologists from the competing restaurants will “mix it up” in front of the judges. Perform! The judges will judge and the people (that’s you and me) will vote for their favorites too. I confess this is my favorite Tucson Culinary Festival event and this year one of my friends from L.A. who is visiting will be joining me and my foodie friends
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Little Pies; Big Tastes

Miniature desserts are all the rage these days, and with good reason. What better way to satisfy a sweet craving with the worry of overindulging? And so when the people at Ulysses Press sent me a copy of  “Mini Pies”,  I was intrigued. Written by Christy Beaver and Morgan Greenseth of Seattle’s Mini Empire Bakery, this tiny baking book is chock full of pretty little treats.  You’ll find recipes for everything from bottoms to toppings. Fruit pies, cream pies, savory pies, nut pies, a variety of crusts and some interesting toppings are all part of the package. The photos are
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