Friday, October 31, 2014

Bourbon Cranberry Cider

I have said it many times, but I will say it again...Fall is my favorite. And few things remind me more of  this fabulous season than Apple Cider and bourbon. Add cranberries to the mix and you pretty much perfect any scenario. 

I have made a few different cocktails with these mixes before and this was a quick one I came up with before a recent party. I went with what I had on had and the result ended up being exactly what I had been hoping for. Refreshing and light but with bold flavors. 

Bourbon Cranberry Cider

3 oz Apple Cider
1.5 oz Cranberry juice
.5 oz lemonade (optional)
1 oz bourbon

Combine all ingredients, shake or stir and serve over ice. I rimmed my glass with cinnamon sugar rim and garnished with granny smith apples and frozen cranberries. 

I used just this small amount of lemonade because I liked the added flavor but I abstained the second time I mixed this up and it was just as good. I also just used the frozen cranberries instead of ice the second version. The one step I will say is a must in this recipe is buying (or making!) FRESH apple cider, this makes a world of difference!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Shuckers Grill Deal Saver

You guys know there are few things I love more than a good deal and I stumbled upon a great one going on right now on! They are offering $40 worth of food for only $20 at the new Shuckers in downtown on Glenwood Ave. 

I know I will be buying the deal, what about you? I can't imagine why you wouldn't!

Here is the link, go get on that!

Shuckers Grill Deal Saver

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tuscany, Pretola Inn

While we stayed in Tuscany, we were able to stay at the Inn that my husband's family owns and what an experience it was. This inn offers the most spectacular views and the food. I could go on about the food for days.

We were able to stay in the upstairs in a quaint room with a nice sized bathroom and a queen bed. It was exactly what you think of when you conjure up images of a stay in Tuscany. There is so much history here, as the building was originally a farmhouse built in the 1600's in the medieval village of Gragnola.

The location is an easy drive to Pisa, Cinque Terra, La Spezia and Parma. You are able to gaze upon the Apuane Alps while taking a dip in the pool. You are close to castles and also the small village of Gassano. Which happens to be where our family is from and so many still reside.

On our first day at the Inn, we were celebrating the 80th birthday of my husband's great uncle and the food came and came and came. and somehow, each new dish brought about a new explosion of flavors.

We stayed up late in to the night drinking wine and the men enjoyed some Tuscan cigars. As I sat there, I was almost in dismay that I was actually experiencing this particular moment. It was as if it was a dream.

And each morning, Roberto created us a breakfast that you would be pleased to experience just once, much less five days in a row. Fresh toasted bread with homemade butter. Honey and jams. Cappuccinos. and my favorite part of each morning, omelettes with pancetta. And the pancetta is from their very own hogs!

Our last night there, we had another amazing meal with the most succulent dishes. The meats and cheeses seemed to never stop. Fresh pasta made that afternoon and a homemade chicken soup with cheese raviolis. Best soup I ever thought of having.

And the night ended with an amazing tiramisu.

If you are ever looking for a spot that is both relaxing and will tempt your taste buds, I fully recommend Agriturismo Pretola.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Get Shucker Punched

I actually did at one point this week;) Shuckers is predominantly a seafood restaurant that, to put it mildly, also does their cocktails rather well. And most recently my favorite one is the Shucker punch. And it's pink. I mean...yes, please. C'mon, I can't drink straight bourbon alllll the time!

But I digress as there is so much more to this place. The original was a literal stones throw away from us and a few years ago they moved more into Wake Forest. The location is nice and roomy and they have a fantastic patio. Everyone knows how I feel about my al fresco dining. All year long. 

And, the even better news is that they just opened a new location in downtown on Glenwood. Perfect place to start off your night. They have a huge bar and I am already trying to think of a reason to celebrate so we can have use of their private dining room. 

My husband loves their oysters, which I believe you can order in half a dozen or a full dozen. Or there are the moments he goes for The Big SOB. And it's as filling as the name implies.

 Although, if I had to stage a bet, it would be that his favorite menu item is the bacon wrapped scallops. We all know my thoughts on bacon, I think it is safe to say I think every meal should include it. And my pesky allergy to certain shellfish leaves me salivating at the table as he orders it. But if he couldn't order foods based on my allergies, the man would never eat;)

I try to change up my dish when we visit and I usually wind back up in the same place...salmon. They just do it so well there. I often times order the Jack Daniels salmon but more so get the plain grilled salmon and choose one of their signature sauces. I have tendencies to lean towards the pineapple salsa.  And each time I order the roasted red potatoes, so good. I just got hungry again. 

For dessert I think they have multiple items, I really do, I am not sure because I have been hypnotized by the bread pudding and my mind has only a one way track when it comes to the dessert. One of the best I have ever had. 

And if you are not the biggest seafood fan or if, like me, you have certain allergies...never fear, they offer so much more than just seafood. Wraps, sandwiches and I really enjoy their ribs.  So much more, just check out their menu on line!

If you are Gluten Free, they also offer a menu with a plethora of options, We had friends visiting from Boston a few years ago and ended up eating at Shuckers. He has a severe case of celiac and is always cautious of eating out and they took great care of him. 

However, let's not kid ourselves...their hushpuppies. I think they really should just change the name to crack puppies because I cannot stop. More than once I have gone and eaten way too many of those pops of perfection and then...had to box my meal to go. I wish I was sorry. I am not.

If you have a chance, I definitely recommend heading to either location! This will also be up on the Raleigh Revealed section of my other blog, The Whimsy One. 

This is my Friday Favorite of the week. What's yours?