Friday, June 17, 2011

Cigar Ice cream?!?!?!?!?!?

When I first met Debi, she introduced me to the show Iron Chef.  I had never seen a show with such unique cooking styles and ingredients, and our running joke was that they always made Ice Cream out of the theme ingredient.

Well Boys and Girls……today’s theme ingredient is Cigar?

Allez Cuisine!!!!!

Cigar Ice Cream Anyone?

DUBAI // Karl Heinz does not hesitate when he names the strangest ingredient he has used in his exotic ice creams.

The asparagus ice cream sounds odd as do the requests from customers for wasabi, brown bread and pineapple curry flavours.

But the cigar ice cream wins the prize as weirdest.

No matter how unusual, the German ice-cream maker, who moved to Dubai four years ago, will make any flavour from scratch on demand.

And so when Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa called to order the tobacco leaf-flavoured dessert four months ago, he said yes.

"They asked for a cigar ice cream for a themed dinner held for the launch of a cigar in their hotel. Not my taste, but I did it," he says.

Mr Heinz bought a bunch of Cohiba cigars and cut them into tiny pieces. He added them to his basic ice cream mix of milk, sugar, cream and a stabiliser that helps give the ice cream a better texture and then strained the concoction to maintain the cigar aroma.

This month, the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi hosted 300 sheikhs for dinner - and asked for tomato, sweet balsamic vinegar and pumpkin ice creams.

The hotel also placed an order for baklava and date ice cream, with ingredients from the UAE. He also has a local supplier of edible flowers, allowing him to add rose and lavender petals to the ice cream.

"Every day I come up with new flavours. Hotels need special flavours for special menus for their functions so I send them samples after I taste it myself."

As a chef with 25 years' experience, Mr Heinz has become an expert. He owns a hotel in Germany where he started his ice-cream business - but in Europe, he says, homemade ice cream is "commonplace".

"It's not very popular here but it's picking up and I think in 10 years' time, it will really boom," he says. "People usually associate ice cream with walking, which is why it happens more in Europe."

Mr Heinz says he takes special care when it comes to sourcing his ingredients.

"I bring in vanilla sticks from Madagascar, 200kg of frozen fruits a day from France, mangos from India and chocolate from Belgium," he says. "It's better quality and it's fresh."

He makes more than 100 flavours at his Empire Ice Cream premises in Ras al Khor, with no minimum order or time restraints.

Other exotic flavours include black sesame seed, chocolate chili, spicy honey, Arabic coffee, camel milk, strawberry black pepper, red bean and a sorbet of ginger and dates.

He sells tubs of two, four and five litres, at Dh26 a litre for a basic flavour. More complex mixtures can run to Dh70 a litre.

"Some customers have asked me to incorporate gold in the ice cream, which has to be done by hand, and that costs about Dh260 a litre," he says.

One hundred litres of the ice cream take one to two hours to make, and his factory produces on average 500 litres a day. The ice cream is stored at minus 18°C and it is best eaten at minus 14°C as "it maintains the flavour".

Mr Heinz sells Empire to 45 hotels across the UAE, a few restaurants and coffee shops. Once the establishment puts in a custom-made request, the flavour is immediately labelled under their name.

"It's important to have this kind of business in the UAE because it's a niche market," he said. "People only knew about industrialised ice cream before, such as Baskin Robbins and Haagen Dazs."

"This isn't so heavy, it's healthier and as mindsets are changing here, people are thinking more about their food and their health."

With Father’s Day coming up….

I thought I would throw a few suggestions out there.  First, stay away from the mass-market sellers like Red Envelope, and do a little research. Know the person you are buying for.

Red Envelope style retailers are usually focused on a perceived notion, ie- a woman’s idea of what a man wants vs asking your male significant other (or his male friends) what he would like.  By doing that a little research, he will appreciate more the gift and probably cherish longer.  A great example of a poor gift can be found HERE.

That being said, if Dad IS into Beer, Scotch or Cigars….here are some suggestions -

If he likes….

Beer – Take him to your local Brew Pub for lunch (if you are in CoMO, I suggest Flatbranch). Don’t have a good microbrewery, Beer Bouquet is an excellent alternative.

Scotch – I always suggest supporting your local shops, but Masters of Malt is to great to ignore. Not only is their selection unprecedented (not just with whiskies), but they even offer the opportunity for samples on many of their product lines. Let Dad indulge and sample something exotic.

Cigars – There are tons of Cigar specialists out there. Stop by your local shop. For example, if you are in Columbia MO, George at the Nostalgia Shop is a great resource and would never steer you wrong (plus they have a great liquor selection). If you don’t have a local shop, call one of the online retailers (such as Thompson Cigar ) who can help you out and answer any questions you may have.

In the end, with no disrespect intended towards Moms, Father’s Day is a lot different than Mother’s Day.  Dads are more laid back and just a quiet day watching a movie (I always liked watching Big Jake with Dad, but movies like Finding Nemo or Field of Dreams work too).  Pop him beer and let him put his feet……he will definitely appreciate it.

BTW – Here’s to you Dad.  I miss you tons.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

National Fudge Day

Today is National Fudge Day.  In honor of such an auspicious occasion, I give you my two favorite fudges.

T-Rex (from Orgasmo) and Bourbon Fudge (after the video).

I will warn you that the T-Rex video is somewhat Not Safe For Work (NSFW), but is one of many awesome scenes from the movie Orgazmo.  Matt and Trey hit it out of the park with this one, and you should go out and watch it ASAP.


Bourbon Fudge
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • Cooking spray
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Bring bourbon to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat. Add chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.
  • Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk.
  • Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well. Add flour mixture and bourbon mixture to sugar mixture, beating at low speed just until combined.
  • Spread batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.

U.S. Naval Aviation 100th Anniversary Decanter

Here at Smokes and Booze, we love Pusser’s Rum (Check HERE).  It’s a fantastic rum, steeped in Naval tradition and has an excellent presentation. 

They also produce commemorative and specialty decanters…all of which are top notch and look great. 

I think they have outdone themselves this time. 

Today they announced pre-orders for their “U.S. Naval Aviation 100th Anniversary Decanter” and I must say…WOW.

Great artwork abounds on this piece.  What a great gift for any current/former Naval Aviator (I can never say that without hearing Lou Gosset Jr’s Voice, check the :55 Second Mark ) or Military Collector.

Go to the Pusser’s Website for more information.

Great Job guys.



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Drive On

Drive On….how many times have I heard that term?  Tons, usually with the words Fuck It attached (FIDO).

I find it very fitting today, with the economy in the tank, 3/4/5 different wars going on and unemployment up. 

Yet, we as Americans (no matter our political affiliation) need to just suck up up….say FIDO and move on.  We can right this ship, just like the Great Depression generation did before us.  Times will be tough, so help your friend, help your neighbor….toss a little extra change at the guy begging on the street.

If everyone helped the person to their left or right and didn’t wait for a government handout…things will rebound quicker.

It’s what Whisky Sam would do.

2,500 year old brewery found

I love these type of stories.  Talk about linking to our past.

Iron Age Beer-Making Operation Discovered

France today may be renowned for its fine wines, but it has at least a 2,500-year-old history of beer-making, suggests an Iron Age beer operation recently discovered in the Provence region.

The early beer-making items, described in the latest issue of the journal Human Ecology, provide the oldest direct archeological evidence for beer brewing in France. The home brewery is also one of the most ancient in all of Europe.

scots_beer_kitThere's a chance that beer then was about the same as it is today

"From what we can tell, it was processed in a way that was close to traditional beer-brewing techniques and was not so different from modern home-made beers," lead author Laurent Bouby told Discovery News.

"It is, however, still difficult to know what the taste was of this beer," added Bouby, a researcher in the Institute of Botany at Montpellier. "We know nothing, for example, about possible additives used in brewing, such as hops. We know nothing about possible lactic fermentation, which would give a sour taste to the beer."

Bouby and colleagues Philippe Boissinot and Philippe Marinval analyzed three samples of sediment from a fifth century B.C. house at a site called Roquepertuse in the Provence region of southeastern France. The area had been settled by people of Celtic heritage. One sample came from the dwelling's floor, near a hearth and oven. Another came from a ceramic vessel, while the third sample was found in a pit.

All three of the samples contained carbonized barley, 90 percent of which had sprouted. The barley had been carefully sorted, with no weed seeds present, eliminating the possibility that it had germinated by accident during storage.

Based on the barley remains, its location and the equipment, the researchers believe the home's inhabitants soaked the grain in vessels, spread it out during germination on a flat area of the paved floor, dried the grain in the oven to stop germination, and used grindstones to pulverize the malted barley. Hearths and containers were then probably used for fermentation and storage.

The brewmaster may have shared his beer.

"Being a domestic production does not necessarily imply that it was consumed at a single family level," Bouby said. "It could have been dedicated to collective drinking or feasts. In traditional societies, the consumption of alcoholic beverages often bears strong social and symbolic meanings. ... This is why grain could have been used to brew beer instead of being preserved for human or animal consumption."

At the time, people from southern France used to consume wine imported from the Mediterranean region, frequently from Greeks in the city of Massalia, Bouby explained. Local wines were also being made.

Based on historical writings, the Greeks and the Romans often turned their noses up to beer then, so it is unlikely that the French beer-maker was able to trade the brew for wine. The raw grain itself, or materials like metals, might have been traded for wine.

The Celts, however, seemed always to have an appreciation for beer, so trade could have existed between their populations. Wooden barrels found in early Celtic communities may have been used to transport beer instead of wine.

Hans-Peter Stika of the University of Hohenheim's Institute of Botany has also been studying early evidence for beer making in Europe. Stika told Discovery News that while Greek and Roman historians wrote about beer, specific information about "prehistoric beers is poor."

"Archaeological excavations of features where beer production took place are scarce," Stika said, "so I was really happy to learn more about Iron Age brewing."

Stika said it's important to note that the Celts in France were producing both wine and beer, and possibly other alcoholic beverages. Future analysis of the manufacture and use of these beverages could reveal important information about social, cultural and economic life during Iron Age Europe.

Drunk and Steamroller do not go together

Ok, if you are a guy….you know you have fantasized about it.  You know what I mean – Stealing a Steamroller.

Now we have a PSA…Don’t do it drunk.


Drunken Joyride On Steamroller Ends Badly

From the  Ontario's Sudbury Star:

A 19-year-old Greater Sudbury man remains in stable condition in hospital after a steamroller accident in Bell Park early Sunday.

Traffic Sgt. Gary Lavoie said Monday the man had to undergo emergency surgery to treat a serious leg injury and has yet to appear in court on the charges.

The man was found pinned underneath a steamroller in Bell Park about 3:20 a.m. Sunday.

Investigating officers determined the man had taken the steamroller for a joyride and lost control. The steamroller tipped over on him. The man had been drinking, police say.

This Day in History–Hee Haw

I know it’s hard for some of you younger folks to understand a day without cable television.  Imagine only 3 stations (4 or 5 if you had an independent and PBS), where you were a captive audience and had little selection.

That was us growing up….and sometimes I miss it.  You just don’t get quality programming like this anymore -

Jun 15 1969

Hee Haw debuts on CBS television as a summer replacement for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. The country bumpkin musical comedy show quickly becomes an institution, airing weekly until its demise in December 1997.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Way to go Boromir!

Who knew Boromir (Sean Bean) was such a badass?

Sean Bean Stabbed In Bar Brawl, Orders Another Drink

You may recognize Sean Bean as Boromir from Lord of the Rings and as Eddard (Ned) Stark on HBO’s “Game of Thrones” (which is totally badass, by the way). The 52-year-old (52!? Wizardry!) was outside the Hill Bar and Brasserie in Camden, North West London with April Summers (pictured at right), a topless model 30 years his junior. Witnesses say a passerby made lewd comments at Summers, sparking a fight. Is Sean Bean gonna halfta choke a b*tch?

Reportedly (from a gossip rag, so grain of salt and all), Bean was “stabbed” in the arm with a broken bottle and had a bruise over one eyebrow. Rather than go to a hospital, Bean re-entered the Hill Bar and Brasserie, wrapped his arm from their first aid kit, and ordered more drinks.

Because he’s Sean Bean. And we’re not.

This Day in History–The Gong Show

While note directly related to S&B, how can you argue that Chuck Barris was not under some form of “influence”?

Jun 14 1976

The Gong Show debuts on NBC. People with dubious talents perform their acts before a celebrity panel of judges, who are free to eject the performer at any time by banging a large gong. The best non-gonged performer each night wins $516.32.

As an added treat……how about the first appearance of Oingo Boingo?

Old Whiskey River

Today’s review is for Old Whiskey River, a bourbon purported to have been chosen from batches and blended to the specs of Willie IMG00124Nelson himself.

My friend Rex had a bottle of this at one point, and when I asked him about it….he could only recall the name.  This did not bode well for my samplings.


Color – Dark Amber

Nose – A sweet vanilla and caramel front with oak undertones.  

Taste – Pepper and oak merge with a heavy alcohol burn.  Cutting with water eased the burn, and opened up the flavor a (very) little bit, allowing a sweetness to work it’s way  into the taste.

Finish – A long medicinal finish coupled with the “Burn” aftertaste.  A slight hint of licorice was detected along with lingering woody elements.

Score – 2.5 Stars out of 5

Overall, this bourbon was “Ok”.  Nothing to WOW you or to write home about.  I think it is a little overpriced , although on sale at DrinkUpNY, but drinkable. 

An interesting novelty whiskey (which includes a guitar pick on the neck of the bottle) that would be good for a Country Music fan, but totally lost on anyone else. 

With so many good bourbons on the market, My advice would be to pick up a bottle Buffalo Trace or Elijah Craig and really enjoy yourself.

Happy Birthday US Army

Well, it’s that time of year again.  Today is the 236th birthday of the US Army, founded in 1775.

I’ve had some great friends from the Army, many of whom I am still in contact with today.  There are even a select few that are still in (Maj. K and CW4 Gordie are my favorite examples).  An even smaller number are those who I watched grow up and decided to join as well (looking at you Donnie). 

I am proud to have served with everyone out there, and tonight I raise a glass to all of you.  It was the best of times.

If you know someone who is serving in (or served) in the Army, here are a couple of ways you can say “Thanks”.

First, we have the Beer Bouquet.  Notice how they have a bucket Bucketwith the Army logo on it.  Having been there, I know you can never have enough stuff for cleaning or storage, so this would be appreciated….and who doesn’t like 6 pack of beer to go with it.  Excellent choice. 

Next, we have the beer 004-thumb-400x300-42056[4]

If you live on the East Coast, there is 50 Back, a company that gives 50% of all profits to Military charities.  There is something beautiful when a company isn't greedy but wants to go out of it’s way to recognize the service our our brave Americans in uniform.

Likewise, Miller High Life is continuing their great program of support as well.  If you haven’t seen the commercial, here it is.


The Army's Birthday: 14 June 1775

When the American Revolution broke out, the rebellious colonies did not possess an army in the modern sense. Rather, the revolutionaries fielded an amateur force of colonial troops, cobbled together from various New England militia companies. They had no unified chain of command, and although Artemas Ward of Massachusetts exercised authority by informal agreement, officers from other colonies were not obligated to obey his orders. The American volunteers were led, equipped, armed, paid for, and supported by the colonies from which they were raised.

In the spring of 1775, this “army” was about to confront British troops near Boston, Massachusetts. The revolutionaries had to re-organize their forces quickly if they were to stand a chance against Britain’s seasoned professionals. Recognizing the need to enlist the support of all of the American seaboard colonies, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress appealed to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to assume authority for the New England army.

Reportedly, at John Adams' request, Congress voted to "adopt" the Boston troops on June 14, although there is no written record of this decision. Also on this day, Congress resolved to form a committee "to bring in a draft of rules and regulations for the government of the Army," and voted $2,000,000 to support the forces around Boston, and those at New York City. Moreover, Congress authorized the formation of ten companies of expert riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, which were directed to march to Boston to support the New England militia. These were the first troops Congress agreed to pay from its own funds, and later became the 1st Continental Regiment.

George Washington received his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army the next day, and formally took command at Boston on July 3, 1775.

John R. Maass
US Army Center of Military History

Beerfest gone bad

Ouch.  20K tickets sold with a known capacity of 12K.  I can see maybe selling an extra 3K of tickets, as people go home or come late this keeps a constant flow….but 8,000 more is a bit crazy.  We are talking in terms of some of the larger German Fests (not Oktoberfest though), and those are handled by professionals.  This just turned out bad, and sadly this means the local government will probably not issue permits for another one.

Anyone in Houston attend?

Houston Beer Fest Outsells Its Venue by 8,000 Tickets; Attendees Furious

FestNearly 20,000 tickets were sold by the organizers of the inaugural Houston Beer Festival, although the festival's venue only had a capacity of 12,000 people. And that was just the first of many issues that arose at the beer bash on Saturday afternoon, after the embattled organizers had already contested questions about the 501(c)(3) status of the festival's charity organization and tickets sales that were in direct violation of TABC regulations.

KHOU reported that several attendees were treated for heat exhaustion, a result of standing in a line that stretched for blocks while only a handful of volunteers worked the festival's sole entrance. Jake Rainey, general manager at the nearby Flying Saucer, was working a booth at the festival and was stunned when he saw how the line had built up in only a short amount of time after the festival opened its doors.

"I went outside the tents and there was a line basically on two sides of a block square," said Rainey. "I talked to a cop and he said it took 55 minutes to get from one corner to another. It was a two-and-a-half hour thing to get in."

A mass of nearly 20,000 people flooding into the one entrance at Hermann Square Park was simply too much for festival organizers and volunteers to handle, and the lines inside the event weren't much better, according to festival attendee Chris Linebaugh.

"The lines inside made it unbearable," Linebaugh said via email. "The more known vendors had about 20 to 30 people in each line, and the lesser knowns had about 10 to 15 in each. These lines took forever and you would almost regret having to go get in line."

Linebaugh had purchased tickets to the event through Houston Beer Festival itself and waited 50 minutes just to gain entrance. Unlucky attendees who had purchased tickets through Groupon were faced with the much longer lines that Rainey witnessed, however. In addition to aggravating those who had used Groupon and other discount retailers to purchase their tickets, Linebaugh says it bothered him that the Houston Beer Festival organizers were essentially penalizing those who had purchased their tickets ahead of time.

"Why punish those that actually want to go and bought their tickets earlier?" Linebaugh asked. "It should be the other way around. I was very frustrated when I saw the DailyDeal that came out a few days before the event advertising $12.50 tickets when I paid $20 per ticket."

Many people bailed on queuing up for the event, as the lines were moving at a snail's pace, and opted instead to head to local bars like Flying Saucer in an attempt to get both beer and air conditioning.

"We had quite a bit of overflow," said Rainey. "It was much busier than a normal Saturday." But even what could have been good news for downtown bars turned sour as the bars were suddenly slammed with patrons. "We appreciate the sales, but we weren't ready for what it was going to be like."

Back at the event, beer began to run out hours before the festival was scheduled to end at 10 p.m. And worse, it completely ran out of water at 5 p.m., according to Rainey.

There were "trees to shade the very hot sun," according to Linebaugh, as well as a good selection of food, but the lack of water and the heat in combination created a dangerous situation.

The organizers have taken an unusual and what some might term unprofessional approach in response to criticism leveled towards them on Facebook and Twitter.

Last night, they created a Facebook group called "I hate the Houston Beer Fest," and this morning, the festival's Twitter account went private. The organizers -- including Timothy Hudson, with whom I spoke last week -- have not returned requests for comment, although they are providing refunds via email at

"It reminded me of fraternity parties when I went to college," said Rainey of the flip cup and beer pong competitions that took center stage over the few craft beer and small-production brewers that were at the event. "They kind of dumbed down a lot of what we try to do in the beer culture; they didn't put the beer culture's best foot forward."

Regardless, the organizers still plan a second, three-day-long festival this time next year. And despite being disappointed with the festival, Rainey has high hopes for its future: "It was really neat to see that many people downtown, excited about the festival. The venue itself was pretty neat. It just wasn't executed the way it should have been."

Monday, June 13, 2011

An Email arrives

Some of you may recall our Native Stone Winery/Bull Rock Brewery review from a few months ago.

It was probably one of the longest posts, and the comments section is definitely worth reading….mostly because it came out how cheaply things were handled.

Well, last week I got an Email in my inbox from Native Stone.  It turns out, without even asking me, they have placed me on an Email list…..and the first email I get from them in almost three months isn’t about a wine tasting or beer sampling, it’s not about a musical event or dinner special…’s about an Extreme Coupon Class. 

Needless to say, I purposely waited until after the event to post this, as I do not support this type of marketing.  It has NOTHING to do with the core element of the establishment, and the fact that I was sent this without being given the chance to opt out of spam is pretty ridiculous. 

I get offer emails all the time, but the difference is I submitted my name to the lists AND it is content I want to read.  A great example are the one’s from GrandCru.  I might be interested in 1 out of 10 things they send, but at least I am interested.

Am I off base here?  I would love to read your comments below.


Native Stone

Best Movie Cameo EVER

As a setup….Prof. X and “Magneto” are out trying to recruit mutants….and this is one of the scenes in the montage.  There is a bad word in it, so keep the sound down or don’t watch if you are easily offended.

Also, I do not own this video.  I linked to it on YouTube, so go there if it is a intellectual property infringement.

Three Bourbon Reviews from Randy

Randy and I both have a love for Bourbon.  We had crossed paths in the past at a tasting or two and when we met later in life, it only rekindled our love for American Whiskey. 

Randy writes his own blog (MySideoftheBar), but he also guest writes for us from time to time.  I always welcome his opinion and trust his tastes 100%.

Please enjoy his three bourbons below.

Thanks Randy……and Cheers

Four Roses Yellow Label
Price: $15.00 - $19.004 roses
Color: Very light caramel color
Nose: Sweet and smooth with a very distinctive Bourbon flair. This could be due to being only 80 proof.
Taste: Very smooth on both the tongue and finish. Sweet fruit like taste, but very light. The website says a little hints of spice, but I do not get that. However if you have a Cigar with this Bourbon it takes on an entire different complexity and then you may get some hints of spice.
Overall: Well what can I say this is the official Bourbon of MySideOfTheBar. This is an excellent Whiskey and I enjoy it both neat and in a Manhattan as the price is very moderate.

Elijah Craig 12 Year OldElijah Craig
Price: $26.00
Color: Darker caramel color than either Four Roses or Cedar Ridge.
Nose: Much heavier and distinctive Bourbon smell which I relate to being 94 proof.
Taste: Very surprising as the taste does not reflect what you get from the nose. Very light taste with a slightly heavier finish, but still very smooth with still a sweet flavor, however more a gourmet chocolate sweet than a fruity sweet.

Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon Cedar Ridge
Price: $35.00
Color: Very light caramel color similar to Four Roses.
Nose: Very sweet on the nose almost like a candy sweet similar to a chocolate covered fruit. More apple than cherry.
Taste: Very, very smooth and you do enjoy a very sweet taste on the tongue and very smooth sweet finish. Definitely a sipping Whiskey and also great in Manhattans, however for the price I would reserve for enjoying neat.

Monday Quick Hits

Wolverine, Oriental Food and the Queen.  Yep, it’s time for this and many more with our Monday Quick Hits.

In our first article, we learn that sitting and being lazy can be as bad as smoking.  Given that 99% of us spend our days in front of computers…..I predict the world is going to end in 2012.  Wait, someone else already predicted that?  Then 2014.  Seriously, what ISN’T good for us?  Every time I wake up, there is something new.

smoking_weight_lossBut since we have established that sitting is bad for you, at least we know learn when nicotine helps you loose weight.  New research published in Science today shows what's going on in the brain when smoking makes you less hungry. There are nicotine receptors all throughout your brain, but the ones in the hypothalamus affect hunger. Researchers discovered that the α3β4 nicotinic receptor, located on neurons in the hypothalamus, suppresses your appetite when activated by smoking.

Changing gears a little bit, how about TGI Friday’s allowing you “Buy a Friend a beer” via Facebook?  Recipients receive an electronic gift card to redeem in restaurant and priced at $5, regardless of the recipient's regional location, and is redeemable for any beer of choice, non-alcoholic beverage or food item at any local TGI Friday's, claims the company. image

The guests redeeming an e-gift card can also choose from the following, new regional craft beer selections which includes (availability varies by state): Harpoon IPA, Magic Hat #9, New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale, and Goose Island Honkers Ale.  They can also choose from Abita Amber, Alaskan IPA (Alaska only), Boulevard Wheat, and Uinta Cutthroat Ale (Utah only.).

Personally, I see this as a marketing ploy and an attempt to cash in on the Gift Card Craze, which has already shown to be a Bad Idea.  If I want to buy you a drink (see, already I am not restricted to beer), you and I can meet up and pour a few down our throats.  I don’t want to be painted into a corner with crappy beer or into a particular bar. 

Of course, then we might get a DUI driving home…..if so, I was hoping to get THIS Judge, that is until he was busted too.  Come on dude….you are a DUI judge….one would think you knew the ramifications.

Since we don’t want to get a DUI now and TGIF is off the radar, here is another list to pay attention too when it comes to beer…..the World’s Most Expensive Cities.  I’ve take the liberty to remove all the BS, but you can follow the link if you are interested.  Instead, I only have the beer prices here-

No. 1: Tokyo 
Beer at a bar: $10.56
No. 2: Oslo
Beer at a bar: $13.18
No. 3: Nagoya, Japan
Beer at a bar: $11.37
No. 4: Stavanger, Norway
Beer at a bar: $12.83
No. 5: Yokohama, Japan
Beer at a bar: $6.59
No. 6: Zurich
Beer at a bar: $10.54
No. 7: Luanda, Angola
Beer at a bar: $6.62
No. 8: Geneva
Beer at a bar: $9.12
No. 9: Kobe, Japan
Beer at a bar: $8.69
No. 10: Bern, Switzerland
Beer at a bar: $7.46

I’m glad to say there isn’t an American City on there.  I was surprised to see the Swiss cities though.  I’ve been to both and I don’t recall beer being that expensive there.

How about the Queen of England?  We’ve blogged here in the past regarding her disdain for Beer (Here and Here), and we’ve even highlighted her favorite drink – a Gin and Dubonnet, but we’ve never had a picture of her with one….until now.  It’s on the railing to the left.


I’ve never tried this drink (and it is not on my radar), but apparently it is a favorite for the Queen Mum too….who’s note requesting the drink brought in £16,000 at auction.  Who knew they liked a nip in the morning?


Finally, the last one is for my wife…..who’s current addiction is watching the Bachelorette.  This season, the founder of Evolve Wines, Benjamin Flajnik, is on the the show and Debi thinks he will be one of the finalists.  Haven’t tried his wine, but maybe I will do a themed dinner for her if he makes it to the end.

That’s all for now.  Stay tuned as I get caught up this week posting some reviews.  Some GREAT stuff coming.

Cheers-  E

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dash Cam, Beer, Mower and Shopping Carts

While I admit the shopping cart train is pretty funny….I do think this is Fake.

First, notice the dash is pretty empty.  Every cop car I can think of has more gadgets than my wife.

Second……the great display of Opie and Andy on the T-shirt.  Could it be framed any better.

Finally, who does this?  I mean really.

Still pretty funny.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Not a good Father’s Day Gift?

Here we go – Father’s Day is coming up, and websites such as Red Envelope are already trying to act like they know what men want.

This is the inherent problem with Father’s Day….where you have people that might not exactly understand the male mentality, and try to get the best “Man Gift” on the market…and in doing so, turn to sites they prefer (like Red Envelope) thinking that if they understand women so much, then of course they understand men. 

Case in point – As linked by someone (you know who you are) – The Beer HolsterHolsterWhile I am not arguing the novelty of the product,  I do question product quality, markup ($29.95 that is “Reduced” to $19.95) and practicality.  To me, this is a gag gift, plain and simple.  If I got one, I would smile, wear it once or twice and never use it again.  Man up….hold your beer.

Also, why go someplace like Red Envelope in the first place?  Looking at their “Father’s Day Bestsellers”, you can see how incredibly overpriced some of these items are.  While there are some S&B related items out the list, I wouldn’t go out of my way for any of them.  If you want something like this for your significant other, then go to source that at least has more unique offerings (in this case, such as Beer Outlaw), where they have multiple options and at least allow it to be customized. 

Another example on RE is their offering of “Here’s to Dad”, a knockoff on Beer Bouquet, except you get 3 Root Beers and some meat and cheese vs a 6 pack of of beer (your choice) AND a customized bucket with Dad’s favorite sports team or interests.  I know where I would put my money.

I’m not trying to knock these particular product lines, but instead want to highlight that men think a lot differently than women.  Our needs and tastes are vastly different, and the best thing you can do is to ask what we would like.  Flowers and cards are nice, but really that is a female substitution applied to a male holiday.

For me, this year will be extra special, as we will be taking our son to Notre Dame for his first football camp that he will participate in.  As some of you know, the Notre Dame football field was the first place he ever touched grass, so this is a bit of the circle becoming complete.  I didn’t plan for this to happen on Father’s Day, but seeing him out there and watching everything take place will be better than any gift.  It matches my interests, personality and involves the my son.  Perfect.

And that is the thing.  Guys, especially as they get older, move away from the gag gifts, but more towards things they can wax nostalgically about.  We think of our Fathers and our childhood, we look at things that have personal meaning and sometimes a little personal time is just the ticket.

Sitting on a porch and enjoying a life well lived on “Father’s Day” is probably one of the best things you can give Dad.  My fondest memory of my Dad was just sitting with him in his back yard (him in his advanced age) and enjoying a beer (he always went out of his way to make sure there were Killian’s in the fridge).  We didn’t talk much.  We were already in tuned with each other.  There wasn’t anything to say.  Just a sunny day….me and Dad.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Drunken Sailor

Great Irish Music, a stupid article to read while you listen….and WoW in the vid for when you are done reading.  A perfect HUMP Day combination.


Drunk sailor forgot his wife was at home

KALMAR, Sweden, June 4 (UPI) -- Swedish authorities said a drunken sailor who thought his wife had fallen overboard forgot she had never been on the boat.

Authorities said the man called emergency services Thursday morning while sailing near Kalmar and said he feared his wife had fallen from his sailboat and drowned, but rescuers soon learned the man was drunk and his wife had not been with him on the boating trip, The Local reported Friday.

The rescue team towed the boat, which had a broken tiller, back to shore, and police administered a breath test confirming the man was intoxicated.

The man was arrested on a charge of boating while intoxicated.

Read more:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Holy Crap–It’s a Decepticon

Ok, not a huge Transformers fan.  I loved the cartoon, hate the movies – but if they had Decepticon Beer Cans, I might watch more.

Cheers -


Monday, June 6, 2011

This Day in History–June 6 1944

67 years ago, Operation Neptune (the landing operations as part of Operation Overlord) took place.

Losing close to 10% of the 50,000 men who assaulted Omaha Beach, the US Military still shined, showing the grit and determination of our brave men as they fought to take the most fortified and heavily defended beach during the operation.

I had a unique opportunity 17 years ago (damn….seems like only yesterday) to attend some of the ceremonies at Normandy, and to say I was in awe of the sacrifice and bravery of those who partook is an understatement.  Aside from Arlington Cemetery, it was the most humbling place I had ever been.

Who knows the outcome of WW2 if this mission would have failed?  I personally wonder if there would have ever been an opportunity to get another foothold in the continent.  The success (IMO) hinged upon the excellent cooperation and planning with our allies and the professionalism of the various Intelligence groups involved.

To commemorate, today I found an article regarding the cigar Sir. Winton smoked during one of the planning sessions.  I hope you enjoy the read, and I sincerely hope you take a moment today/tonight to think about our veterans and heroes….the ones who went before us.  I know I will raise a glass.


Winston Churchill D-Day cigar discovered

CIGAR_1527550cThe cigar has now been valued at £800 by an expert during the filming of the Antiques Roadshow.

Student Christian Williams, 33, was given the cigar when he was just 12 by his grandad Ronald Williams, a WWII veteran.

At over six inches long the cigar has never been touched by its owner, who keeps it safe in a sturdy wooden box.

It was taken from a historic meeting between Churchill and the other Allied leaders at the famous Casablanca Conference.

Placecards bearing the names of the world leaders taken with the cigar from the conference combined with Mr William senior's testimony helped the authentication of the cigar.

Read more HERE

Beer and Bank robbery don’t mix

Dude – The celebratory beer is for AFTER you get away.

Beer-toting man reportedly robs bank, is caught after dye pack explodes

SPRINGFIELD — A man suspected of robbing a KeyBank branch here was caught a few hundred yards away after a dye pack exploded and covered him in red dye.

And he drank a beer throughout the entire chase.

The robbery occurred at the branch at 402 S. Burnett Road about 11:15 a.m. Friday. The man dropped the bag — which was filled with a fake stack of bills — near Burnett and Lexington.

People followed the suspect, who was running northbound on Burnett Road near Springfield Regional Medical Center, emergency radio traffic indicated. He was caught near Burnett and High Street near the hospital.

Springfield Police took the man back to the bank to allow him to be identified by witnesses.

Amanda Young, of Springfield, was traveling southbound on Burnett Road when she saw the man running down the street and thought he was just tucking in his shirt.

“And he just kept walking and drinking beer like he was on a nice Sunday stroll,” she said.

Police have not released the identity of the man arrested.

“We’re in the process of investigating, and charges are going to be pending,” said Lt. Noel Lopez.

Friday, June 3, 2011

No Smoking

Classic Walt – To bad they don’t make cartoons like this anymore


Operation Cupcake

For those of you who do not know, I used to work in Military Intelligence.

29390_1466964077104_1323618903_31244699_6426829_nWhile I wasn’t an analyst, I was around those people and I went on more than my fair share of “Black Operations”. 

I also have a twisted sense of humor, as does 99% of the rest of the intel community.

So, that being said….I somewhat get the humor in the latest MI6 attack on al-Qaeda, called Operation Cupcake….but I also see the failure in it as well.

Apparently, al-Qaeda has an online magazine that targets potential recruits and MI6 was able to hack into it and change the stories.  The main one in question was by “The AQ Chef” and it gave instructions/a recipe for creating a pipe bomb out of kitchen items.  What MI6 did was funny, but also wrong.  They replaced the recipe with “The Best Cupcakes in America” as featured on Ellen DeGeneres…including the Mojito Cupcake-

“made of white rum cake and draped in vanilla buttercream”a

Again, the humor doesn’t escape me, but what they should have done (rather than something so obvious) is either tamper with the original bomb plans to make the bomb inert, or make the explosive so unstable that it would kill whoever was making it.  This could have been done discreetly enough that al-Qaeda would never know they were compromised…and possibly saved live and taken a few of them with it.

Come on guys…you blew (pun intended) a great chance here.  You need to step up your game.  Now where is that TacJam?  I have some “Killing and Arab” to play.


PS – Crap, one of my TacJams is a Museum Piece at Tobyhanna…I feel old.  Remember working on the antenna positioner Laity?


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cheap Booze and Stocking a Bar

So the Houston Press has an Article HERE that outlines what they think are the best 5 Cheap liquors to stock a bar with.  I’ve linked it above if you want to check it out.

I’ve also listed their choices below with my own comments (plus some graphics) for your convenience.

What are your thoughts or favorites?

Top Five: Cheap Booze

5. Sobieski Vodka
1222-sobieski-bruce-willis-ccAll vodka does not taste alike, and for a smooth, cool burn while drinking it straight, look to pay big money for Grey Goose and Absolut advertising. But the subtleties get lost when mixing vodka, and Poland's favorite, Sobieski, with a faint taste of rye and no hint of rubbing alcohol, is an amazing bargain at $10 for 750ml at Spec's.  Ed – This just arrived locally, so now I have a reason to pick a bottle up and check it out.  Tito’s would be my choice at low-end, but I would give this a shot.  Just as it’s not Dark Eyes (Shudder)

rittenhouse_straight4. Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whiskey, 100 Proof
If you order a Sazerac in New Orleans, you'll probably get Old Overholt, another low-priced rye. With the Great Cocktail Revival came the ascendancy of stronger and tastier Rittenhouse 100, and the demand for Manhattans so great that many cities ran out of Rittenhouse before a new batch could be properly aged. It is now back on the shelf at Tony K's Liquors (2720 Bissonnet) for $20 per 750ml. Ed- I personally prefer ri for a rye, but this one isn't bad…especially considering we are working off of a budget. 

3. Beefeater Gin
Martini drinkers can be particular about their Bombay, Boodles and Tanqueray, but for myriad other London Dry cocktails, it's Beefeater for value. Toby Maloney, of nationally recognized Alchemy Consulting, describes it here as a "Big, back-bony gin with lots of juniper and citrus to it." (Note: Mr. Maloney got "mixologist's arm" from his enthusiastic shaking, so don't try this at home, or work.) Beefeater is $20 per 750ml, also at Tony K's.  Ed – I see this recommended quite often, but to me…..nothing tastes more like ass than cheap gin.  Of all the alcohol in your home bar, gin is the one you cannot cannot cannot go cheap on.  My “Well” is Bombay Saphire, but if I have a choice, I go with Hendrix.


ni722. Flor de Caña Extra Dry
For sipping, expensive Mount Gay Extra Old or Ron Zacapa will do, but for most rum drinks, which contain ample sugar or citrus, Flor de Caña Extra Dry white provides plenty of rum flavor, with little sweetness, for daiquiris, mojitos, or coladas. The slightly sweeter Gold mixes with Coke and lime for Cuba Librés. About $13 per 750ml anywhere. Ed- I’ve never had this one, so if I were going to stick with just a standard, no nonsense and basic (no exotic flavors)….you are well served by the stock Bacardi.

1. Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Tastes of oak, spices, and vanilla. Take a whiff of Buffalo Trace, sniff a bottle of vanilla, and then put them both under your nose. One of the best smells in America. No bourbon beats Buffalo Trace for the price of $20 per 750ml at Spec's. No bourbon. Ed- Excellent Excellent Excellent choice.  This is right up there with the best bourbons on the market and I would NEVER be ashamed to serve this to anyone.  In fact, I would almost call it a requirement to have on stock.


"Pizza” and Beer

Ahhhh….the joys of parenthood, where you mandated by all that is holy to take your children (and if you are doing some type of penance, other people’s kids too) to Chuck E. Cheese.

I will go on record to say that I am not a fan of C.E.C..  I think the pizza is crappy and overpriced, the games are worn out and old, and usually the place is far to crowded to even remotely enjoy yourself.  That being said, I would do anything for my son, and when he was younger….he liked going there.

As a parent, the only other upside (than seeing the smile on James’ face) was the ability to have a beer or two while my quarters were going up in smoke.

I actually went to the CoMO C.E.C. before they got their liquor license, and to say it was agonizing is an understatement.  By taking away the only thing that countered the chaos brought on by OTHER people’s kids, someone should be in jail for what could be considered inhumane and against the Geneva Convention.  Seriously, I can tolerate my own kid’s screaming (because if it gets out of control, I can reign him in)….but when there are 75 other families that can’t control theirs….it drives me nuts.

Even with me despising C.E.C. (we are Dave and Buster fans, who also BTW serve beer AND liquor), I do side with them in that I really doubt many of the fights are due to alcohol.  Cramped quarters and the ‘competition” to get the most tickets drives these people insane….not the beer.

In the end, if these parents do not like that C.E.C. serves alcoholic beverages ….GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!


Pearland parents protest Chuck E. Cheese's liquor license application

BRAZORIA COUNTY, Texas – A family restaurant near Pearland is applying for a liquor license and several parents aren’t happy.
Wendy Heath is formally challenging the permit that Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza, in the 3100 block of Silverlake Village Drive, recently applied for.
"It's just not right," she said. “I'm sure as parents we can survive two to three hours without a drink. It's not necessary."
Heath is concerned with parents potentially drinking and driving as well as increased rowdiness within the popular family restaurant. Videos on show fights captured on cell phones at Chuck E. Cheese’s across the country. In 2008, a Michigan location temporarily stopped alcohol sales after a public outcry following several fights.
“I believe that there's a time and a place for alcohol consumption,” said Jamie Newman, another mother who regularly visits the restaurant with her kids. “And an establishment that markets itself (with the slogan) 'Where a Kid Can Be a Kid' is not the place."
But the chain said those fights weren’t tied to alcohol.
"A lot of parents appreciate the opportunity to have an adult beverage, so we just like to give them that choice," said Brenda Holloway, a Chuck E. Cheese’s spokesperson.
Holloway added that 70 percent of the restaurant’s locations offer beer or wine.
Some customers argue it’s a way to enjoy themselves while their kids have fun.
"Most pizza places have beer and wine,” said Janice Smelley. “Adults need a beverage too."
Lt. Mark Menn, with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, said the county judge will now decide whether to grant the permit. No date has been set for the hearing.

Thanks for submitting Mandy Smile

Beer and Mosquitos

I don’t buy this one.

First, the light clothing bit.  I do know for a fact that honeybees sting darker colors more than lighter colors….but they also don’t come out at night.  To think that mosquitos have such keen sight at night is kinda odd, especially since the majority of creatures are colorblind in the dark.  Perhaps its because they can make out an outline better….but I can debunk that with all the bites I got on FTXs and Field Exercises in the Army. 

As to being more attracted to beer drinkers, are you serious?  Someone paid for this study?  Where do I sign up?


Less beer may be key to fewer mosquito bites

NEW YORK - New research on mosquito bites reaffirms some widely-known ways to avoid being bitten and shines a light on a few new ones.

MSNBC's The Body Odd blog says the latest research points to wearing light colored clothing as a way to avoid the itchy bites. They say mosquitoes spot targets first by sight, then by smell. So, a person wearing dark-colored clothing and moving a lot will attract a lot of unwanted attention from the bugs.

The research also says mosquitoes are more attracted to someone who is drinking beer, but scientists are not sure why. People with higher metabolic rates will also be bitten more often because they produce more carbon dioxide.

Beer Painting markets to kids?????

Hahhahahahaha – Today is turing out so great.  I never thought I would ever be able to link a article to S&B, but now I got my chance. 

Having visited Poland, this doesn’t surprise me that much, although I had hoped things had changed considerably in 15 years.  I guess not.   It also sounds like Germany is taking a turn for the worse with free speech issues, especially when “Leck mich am Arsch,” has been deemed an official “Insult”.  Man, I wish I had $5 for every time someone told me that one….I might have been able to cover my beer money.

To Michal Oginski…..I love the painting.  Keep up the great work.


Beer painting could land artist in the can

paintingWho'da thunk that painting a supermarket shelf full of beer would be cause to throw someone into the can?

The threat of imprisonment is facing Michal Oginski, a 25-year-old artist whose latest work is causing a big hiccup with authorities in Cieszyn, Poland.

According to the Austrian Times, police have seized his canvas, claiming the work violates the country's tough laws on alcohol advertising and might encourage young people to start drinking.

"I was told by police that my work corrupts youth and promotes alcoholism," Oginski told the paper. "But it's just a painting of some beer cans. It's part of a series of paintings depicting supermarket products. I've got others of washing powder and sugar. There's nothing sinister or corrupting about it."

Oginski has sought legal counsel from a local lawyer who is dumbfounded by the jail threat.

"This is absurd and I've never heard of such a ridiculous law," attorney Beata Lejman said. "Are they going to confiscate Rembrandt's pictures which show casks of wine?"

Kazmierz Plus, the city's police chief, was quoted as saying: "I don't make up the law. I just uphold it. And this painting breaks the Act of Sobriety Upbringing law, which is universally binding."

Read more: Beer painting could land artist in the can


This is a test

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

If MacGyver made a drinking machine

What’s funny to me is the name “Tower of Power” as it reminds me of Frank Zappa singing Bobby Brown.  Something tells me they are two completely opposite things.

World Leaders and Drinking

I’ve sat on this one for a couple of days, mostly due to a lot of stuff going on at work and the Memorial Day weekend.

Now that that is over, I thought I would touch on a few recent articles about “World Leaders Drinking”.

The first was sent as a suggestion by TommyG – Highlighting the fact that President Obama at least drank the Guinness while in Moneygall Ireland.  Now, if you were following along, you would know my disdain for the Queen of England due to her snub while touring the Guinness Brewery (HERE), so I have to give credit where credit is due.  I personally am not an Obama backer, and I honestly think he is trying to connect with Irish American voters after his fiasco with Israel.  That being said, at least he manned up and drank it, and that is 1/2 the battle.

This leads into his next stop of the trip, London, where he dined with the aforementioned Queen of England.  It was there that they sat back and sipped some $1700 wines.  I’m just glad it finally came out of someone elses budget (instead of ours) for a change.  Of course, just when you applaud Barry for doing something right (stick with Guinness), he does a pretty big OOOOPS -

Even I know you don’t speak during “God Save the Queen”.  In fact, you shouldn’t open a toast with the nobility’s title….that comes at the end.  Also, with no teleprompter… was pretty apparent he was looking at notes.  Again….stick with Guinness.

Finally, we have another submission from TommyG, this time a link to a Slideshow of World Leaders Drinking.

imageMy favorite is the one with former President Clinton.  Not because of the picture itself, but the fact that he is in a place called the “Golden Tiger Club”.  If I were going to take Bill anywhere…it would be so named and would have strippers.  I wonder if he has a cigar tucked away somewhere?

Keep your submissions coming.  I might be a little late running them, but we love to hear from you.  Thanks again TG and check you FB Email….I sent you a message.

Man pulls DUI Trifecta–3DUIs, 3 Cities in 3 Days

It doesn’t happen very often that we get the trifecta all in one story, but today Timothy McGowan pulls the triple triple.

He needs to hook up with Lindsey Lohan.

Marin man's DUI hat trick -- 3 arrests in 3 days

Timothy James McGowan of Mill Valley picked up three DUIs in three days in three cities, authorities say.

On May 18, McGowan, 50, tried to enter a closed bank and drove off while drunk in San Rafael, police say.

On May 19, he was arrested for drunken driving in San Francisco.

On May 20, he got busted in Novato after he was spotted staggering near his Volkswagen Beetle, asking a woman for a ride to Burger King and then getting into his car and making a wide right turn in front of police, authorities say.

A blood test showed that his blood-alcohol level in the Novato incident was more than 0.15 percent, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, said Deputy District Attorney Kevin O'Hara.

On Friday, McGowan pleaded not guilty in the Marin County cases. He is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail. If convicted, McGowan could face two years in jail.

McGowan has previous convictions for DUI, petty theft, resisting arrest and drug possession. He was also arrested four times on suspicion of public intoxication in Mill Valley from January to April.

Read more:

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