There is no time like right now to write and drink

It’s not like I haven’t been writing; I have – actually more than ever since September when I took on the Eater Denver editor position. So, if you miss me, find me at Eater Denver.  Somewhere in the frenzy of doing that I gave myself permission to step away from the blog and I have an entire list of reasons to do that: how busy I was, how written-out I have become, how much harder it got every day to get back into a habit I neglected, how much explaining I had to do with this whole name change of the blog and all. At one point, about a month ago, I drafted a post explaining and getting back into it. Yesterday I looked for that document. No dice. So, here it goes: I changed the name of my blog French Press Memos to Fork and Pen for two simple reasons: (1) easier to remember (or in very official terms that I actually failed to consider- better branding) and (2) because it matches what I want the blog to be about better – food and writing. I considered a relaunch with a shinny post and a thoughtful recipe on the right … Continue reading

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Father’s Day Drink: Americana aka Point and a Half

Father’s Day has to include cocktails. Actually, any celebration should include cocktails but it is imperative to include liquor when celebrating any parent. My better half likes a good cocktail, but more than once he found himself sporting a pink drink in a girly glass in a bar or restaurant. And I could not perpetuate that on Father’s Day. Today’s cocktail is the best adult cherry cola you have ever had. It is a summery Americana Spritz made with a lot of un-American ingredients.

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Big Change, Great Cocktail

I should have known something was not right when I developed a pita chip addiction. Every day, around 10 am, I took the elevator up two floors, turned two corners, and found myself in front of the vending machine, $1.25 in hand. I hit A6 and waited for the double metal ring to unwind around the bag of Stacey’s Pita Chips that was soon make its way down. I was always nervous it would get stuck and I’d end up hopelessly trying to shake the immovable vending machine. I sat down in a booth in the cafeteria and crunched on my chips, savoring them one by one, slowly, while browsing the local newspaper. Then I went back two floors. I sat once more in front of my side-by-side computer screens, in my ergonomic office chair, under a gigantic double strip of neon lights, trying to fend off an ever-growing stack of legal documents while cuddling a portable heater that perennially lost the battle with the air conditioning. Let’s back up a little. At some point in my childhood, I announced my future: I was going to be a lawyer. (Should one allow a 6 year-old to issue such edicts?) I … Continue reading

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Read Now: How Italian Food Conquered the World

Any food writer knows who John Mariani is. Much-loved folks in the industry have mixed feelings toward him. I had just read Mariani’s blunt review of Grant Achatz’s new memoir, Life On The Line, and all the back-and-forth that ensued following that (like this article and this oneand this one). I also had just finished Bourdain’s Medium Raw; there were no nice words for Mariani there either. And I had SaltySeattle‘s tweet stuck in my head; she declared : “he is a self-aggrandizing idiot who lives under a rock.” I do respect Achatz. And Bourdain. And love Linda. I was now curious. I am intrigued by a controversial character. I have a special place in my heart for talented people who are unaffected by criticism. And I respect anyone with a career as impressive as Mariani’s. You have to hand it to him. No one gets where he is without talent and serious hard work. April 7 in Boulder. Me- standing by the bar waiting for a friend. Mariani – by the hostess’ table holding nothing more than a glass of water. He looked like his picture- an older man with potentially grumpy tendencies – (stereotyping, I know). Frasca hosted … Continue reading

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Doubts, Margarita

It has been over a year, nearly 100 posts, and I am still questioning myself with each post. Is this an interesting rant? Is it an enticing recipe? Do they belong together? Why do they belong together? Am I too detached? Too personal? Do I sound like I am writing in my journal (please shoot me if I do!)? Why would anyone read this and not the thousands of other blogs? Is my manicure good enough for the next photo shoot? You know- important questions. There is no way for me to explain exactly how much I struggle over writing, over what I post, how I say it, how little, how much, how strongly. Masochism perhaps. It is the struggle I am drawn to because I am about to dive into more of it. Big changes in the life of French Press Memos are upon us – soon to be shared with you- very soon. Right now, as hundreds of questions and thoughts and plans and ideas run frantically through my head, I feel like I have found the cure to quieting down my mind, my worries, my doubts. Tequila. I do not advise you (or I) do shots, but … Continue reading

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Lent, Easter, a Better Use for Eggs

It is a blur but somehow between severe headaches, stress, and old masochistic tendencies, I decided to give up alcohol for Lent. I know – why? I am not religious. I’m more ‘food’ than ‘wine,’ but still love a the right wine pairing with the right dish. I lust over a clever mixed drink. Rational reasons aside, I decided and I found myself too invested to stray from my commitment. God knows I am stubborn enough to spite myself for 6+ weeks. 46 days of not drinking (not that I was counting or anything) proved to be more difficult than the 7ish months of no alcohol while I was pregnant. Now I have a toddler and need a drink. But that was not all. This time, I literally didn’t taste alcohol at all. Not one sip. Not a sniff. Nothing. And all the while I found myself at some of the most tempting culinary events, some of the best dinners, and some of the hottest bars. Ironic. But the wait is over and make-up for lost time can be sweet. To keep with the religious theme, from now until June 12 – Pentecost Sunday- it will be a party, complete … Continue reading

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Thankfully: Drinking, Oak at Fourteenth

Thankfully, about a week ago, Bryan Dayton decided to make my life harder. Thankfully, now it is more difficult to choose where to have dinner in Boulder. Early last week, with plenty of anticipation but not much fanfare, Bryan and his partners, Chef Steve Redzikowski (formerly of Frasca and the Little Nell) and Manager Annie Polk opened Oak at Fourteenth. I could not help myself and went to try it for myself on their first Friday. Thankfully I got this fabulous voyeur seat in front of the beautiful wood-fired oven. Thankfully Bryan was there mixing drinks and shaking hands- the Monk Garden was a highlight. Thankfully the food was exceptional – don’t miss the Fried Pickles with Green Goddess Aioli. And thankfully the service was outstanding. In some personal thanking-sort-of news, thankfully there is salt, homemade butter, and fresh pasta. Thankfully there are manicures, perfume, short skirts, and high heels. Thankfully, there is Conscious Coffees, Cure Farm, and the Boulder Farmers Market. Thankfully, I still allow myself to sing in the car, to laugh and cry, to be silly, sappy and vulnerable, to take risks, break rules, and love fearlessly. Thankfully, I have learned to accept blame, forgive, persist. Thankfully … Continue reading

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Liquor Up! Tomato Consommé Martini

I appreciate a good drink. A lot. In fact, I appreciate a good mixed drink more than any glass of wine or beer. There is serious creativity going into it, great potential for surprise, infinite possible combinations. Some stand out and I will always remember- the Honeysuckle Champagne cocktail at Robuchon in London, the Red Sour at Crush in Seattle, the Indian Mojito at Vij’s, Bryan Dayton’s Stefania at Frasca in Boulder (I must take a moment to say I love Bryan!), and the Margarita that Jose Andres foamed up here. They stand out because of a surprising ingredient – honeysuckle, a creative way of using wine essence- red wine syrup in Red Sour, an unlikely combination- Garam Masala in a Cuban drink, just a fabulous mix all around (Gin, St. Germain, Aperol, and grapefruit juice- I am drooling!), or well…the margarita because Jose Andres handed it to me. You would think that it is a sad moment when one cocktail overshadows an entire dinner at a nice restaurant. But it isn’t. It is a glorious moment, one that deserves celebrating and replicating over and over. The Clear Tomato Consommé Martini at Kelly Liken Restaurant in Vail (Top Chef contestant … Continue reading

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