Monday, September 4, 2017

OTT: Raleigh-Calavera

Of all the places there are to eat and or enjoy a cocktail in Raleigh, there are few that make me as happy as the small corner bar, Calavera. And small may be too large a description. When you walk in downstairs you land straight in the bar that can comfortably hold less than ten people. But many times I have been there when the amount of people crammed in dwarfed that number. 

Up the stairs you go and find a very unassuming dining room with floor to ceiling windows that overlook a few other spots in the Oak City. The dining room is small but doesn't feel too cramped. 

 They claim to specialize in two specific things: Tequila and empanadas. And I believe that is why they do them so well. Some places can pull off a menu that is all over the map, but I feel it holds true that when you do specific things right, you will succeed. 

Their prices are perfect for a laid back night out. You can grab a cocktail and two empanadas for under $20. I have found that two tend to be enough for me but sometimes I just need that third flavor. I am a big fan of their pork empanada offerings but I believe their black bean and sweet potato option has become my go to. The flavors just explode in your mouth and you don't even notice you have gone with a vegetarian option. 

and not to be outdone, their tequila selection is top notch. Perhaps one of the largest in our area. And they whip up a darn good margarita. I love that they usually offer seasonal flavors. Right now it was Apple Cider, which is funny because I had just come up with my own recipe for it and to say they were similar would be an understatement! My standard favorite though is their spicy pineapple. So good!

All of this said, you must, and I do mean must, save room to try their key lime pie empanada. Full disclosure: I hate key lime pie. There I said it. I do. My friend ordered this when she visited me last year and insisted I take a bite and thank the good Lord because...OMG, where has this been my whole life. They take an actual key lime pie and just crumble it and use it in the empanada. So flippin good!

One of the other reasons I love stopping by here is their proximity to one of my favorite hole in the wall music venues, Lincoln Theater. You can swing in for dinner beforehand or even just a late night beverage. 

I promise a visit here will be worth your while. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Lazy Day Limeade Cocktail

The Summertime is the perfect excuse to want to be lazy, lounging next to the pool with a cool, refreshing drink in your hand. Such a lovely notion but it doesn't always work out that way. However, even if you are short on time, I have the perfect concoction for you that takes hardly any time at all to create!

Tequila is the perfect compliment to the tartness of the strawberries and lime, one sip and you will be hooked! I made this for a game night gathering and it was gone in a flash. Just be careful, this can be a bit deceiving, it doesn't taste quite as strong as it actually is! I used Simple Limeade for this version, I prefer this and Califia brand because they almost taste homemade versus some of the other brands. This will give it more of a 'craft cocktail' cocktail taste. There is definitely a difference in taste if you use certain limeades but, rest assured...It is tasty no matter which limeade you end up using!

 I used a strawberry vodka but if you don't want to buy a special bottle just for this, take about 1/2 a cup of regular vodka and muddle with fresh strawberries, let sit overnight in a air tight container. 

6 oz limeade
2 oz tequila
1 1/2 oz strawberry vodka
1 lime sliced
1/2 cup sliced strawberries

In a cocktail shaker, place a few of the sliced strawberries and lime slices. Muddle thoroughly. Add the tequila, vodka, and limeade. Shake vigorously for about 10-15 seconds. Place remaining lime slices strawberries in two glasses with ice. Top with the Lazy Day Limeade. 

Now be sure to check out all of these other awesome strawberry recipes from the rest of the Ultimate Recipe Challenge Crew!