Archive for ‘Eating & Drinking’

July 31, 2010

Facebook: Reunion Friend or Foe?

‘Tis the season of high school reunions and much has been written about Facebook and its impact on these anxiety-ridden soirees. If I was in the reunion planning business, I would be worried, but as a reunion participant, I love the Facebook factor.

This weekend is my 20th. (Yikes!) I had the luxury of growing up in the same community my entire life, so, for me, reunions reach back not only to high school, but elementary school as well. I attended my 10th reunion with some reluctance, but had a good time and it laid the groundwork of excitement for this 20-year shindig.

There are a few people I would have loved to see that aren’t coming out for this weekend’s festivities and more than one has demured to the capability of Facebook to keep us in touch, as if that’s a reasonable substitute for the face-to-face. But, of course, it’s just not the same. An article in Time summed it up nicely: ” . . . the idea that social-networking sites might kill reunions is a faulty one, because that would essentially mean killing nostalgia itself.” Indeed.

You can’t recreate the Charlie’s Angels pose through Facebook messages. You can’t get together over mochas and indulge in the guilty pleasure of a cigarette or two at your favorite coffee shop in La Jolla. And you most certainly cannot share a Roberto’s carne asada burrito at 2 a.m. over Facebook, not even with a fancy iPhone app.

You can, however, wake up the next day and laugh hysterically to see how very many of your classmates were eating Mexican in the wee hours of the morning at taco shops through out San Diego.

Thank you, Facebook.

December 18, 2009

Heat Me Up, Hot Stuff

Every winter I mix up a batch of spicy hot chocolate mix. There’s something about the unexpected mix of nutmeg, cinnamon and chili powder that makes me feel a bit subversive in this season of overly-frosted sugar cookies.

It’s daring. It’s sophisticated. And I don’t have to share it with my children. They can have the packets of grey imposter cocoa and dehydrated marshmallows. They love it. They can have it.

If you care to join me in this spicy indulgence, below is my recipe. Alternately, I ecourage you to try the Spicy Maya Hot Chocolate from San Diego’s Chuao Chocolatier. They have a few holiday shopper-friendly storefronts. Plan accordingly.

Spicy Hot Chocolate Mix

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar (white or brown) or Splenda sugar substitute (but, honestly, it’s the holidays – use the sugar)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ancho chili powder

Add 2 tablespoons to 8 ounces of hot milk. Curl up in a cozy blanket and enjoy. Ahhh.

February 23, 2009

Open That Bottle!

Saturday, Feb. 27 is Open That Bottle Night. “OTBN” was started eleven years ago by The Wall Street Journal’s husband-wife wine critic columnists, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher. OTBN is the night you can open that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for “just the right occasion.” According to Gaiter and Brecher, instead of saving that special bottle for some high-expectation-laden event, just go ahead and drink it and celebrate the memories that come with it.

Now, I’m not a big wine collector . . or even a small wine collector, but I am a big wine drinker. I attribute it to my place of birth: Napa Valley. I have about three dozen bottles of assorted wine in my cellar (also known as the glued-together wooden rack on the floor in the back of my hall closet). Some white, some red, some bubbly. None of it very expensive. None of it French.

The only contender I have for OTBN is a magnum of sparkling wine/champagne from Schramsburg from 2000. Opening a magnum of champagne is a commitment. That’s not an undertaking for just one or two people. That’s a party. Looks like I have some invitations to send out for the 27th.