Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

tequila

Valentine’s Food and Drink Picks!!

Here are a few things I have tried lately that sort of fall into the Valentine’s category, and since today happens to be Valentine’s Day, I would like to share them with you.

Patrón XO Cafe Dark Cocoa



This brand new liqueur combines Patrón Silver tequila, the light essence of coffee and the richness of chocolate.

Distilled at 60 proof, Patrón XO Cafe Dark Cocoa is less sweet than many other coffee liqueurs, and a mix of coffee, chocolate and tequila.

The label and outer box for Patrón XO Cafe Dark Cocoa are dressed in red. You can find Patrón on Facebook here.

Xan Confections


Xan Confections was started by Susan Johnson and Kerry Johnson Anthony of Susan’s Healthy Gourmet. With the combination of chocolatiering creativity and Kerry and Susan’s vision of healthy, Xan created indulgent artisan chocolates, caramels, and other handcrafted treats using distinctive flavors with only the finest, all-natural ingredients. Many of the Xan products are gluten-free. I was sent a few of the CocoXan products to try, a line of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate European-style truffles paired with a selection of nutritionally enhanced ingredients.

The five new product lines include fortified ingredients targeting wellness, heart, brain, pre-natal and pre-menstrual health.

Nutritional enhancements in selected products include vegetarian Life’s DHA, Wellmune WGP, folic acid, a proprietary blend of Vitamins A, C, D3, and E, chasteberry, bilberry, CoQ10 and Kaneka QH.

You can find them on Facebook here and on twitter here.
Oren’s Kitchen

Perhaps my favorite line of samples I have been sent lately is the nut packages from Oren’s Kitchen. There are four different varieties: Rosemary Almonds, Smoked Paprika Pecans, Indian Ajwain Cashews, and Coconut Chili Macadamias. My favorite are the macadamias. The nut mix is a blend of toasted and shaved coconut, macadamia nuts, some honey for sweetness, and dried Full Belly Farms red chilies are added for a little flavor kick. They are so addictive I could probably eat 2 or 3 bags in one sitting. 😉 To order, you can go to their website here.

You can find them on Facebook here and on twitter here.


Emanuel Andrén Chocolates

Emanuel Andrén Chocolates (www.emanuelandren.com) are crafted in the small town of Lilla Edet, located just southwest of Stockholm. The family-owned company has been producing confections since 1868, with recipes passed down from generation to generation. Emanuel Andrén, who has followed in his great-great-great-great-grandfather’s footsteps, transformed the family business since becoming CEO in 2002. Today, Emanuel Andrén Chocolates is recognized as some of the world’s most luxurious chocolates and truffles, each of which is deemed a work of art, with Andrén being named “Pastry Chef of The Year” in his country.

Red Carpet was featured at the 54th and 50th Grammy Awards. The Red Carpet collection makes your successes memorable with elegant chocolate creations that celebrate any occasion.

Rich and Robust is an extraordinary luscious sensory-provoking confection created from a selection of the finest spirits and tobacco with a taste of distinction.

Royal Tribute a Swedish inspired array of noble flavors reaching a new level of sophistication and designed in honor of Sweden Royalty.

Rustic Harmony offers chocolate lovers the creamy and delicious union of chocolate and cheese with a touch of sweet fruit marmalade.

Swedish Strawberries offer fresh aromatic summer berries captured in their purest form to seduce every palate.

You can like Emanuel Andrén on Facebook here, and follow on twitter here.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sacramento’s Dine Downtown Week: Mayahuel and the best steak ever!!

Hello Sacramento! Welcome to Dine Downtown week! I just want to take a moment of your time to recommend a restaurant that might not yet be that well known. It’s called Mayahuel (pronounced Ma-Ha-Kwell) and it’s located diagonally from one of my other favorite restaurants, Ella. You’ve heard of Ella, right?
OK, well back to Mayahuel and Dine Downtown. It starts today and you must try this restaurant. First, they brought out this soup. It was made with nopales, and a little on the spicy side. It was kind of like an amuse bouche. 
During this time, the BF and I made our wine selection for the evening–yes, you can get decent wine in a Mexican restaurant–the Napa Toro Chardonnay. Feel free to like them on Facebook now. 😉 Because it was actually pretty good wine. 
I have to give a shout out to our server, Franscisco. He was the epitome of service. So polite, and so genuinely kind.
After meeting us, he presented the two appetizer choices from the Dine Downtown menu. First, was the Eclipse de Sol: it was composed of beets, orange rings in a citrus sauce with pickled onions, peanuts and a touch of oregano. 
Then came the soup, called Flor de Calabaza con Perfume de Tequila: a Creamy Squash Blossom soup with infused tequila. Yes, please! It was topped with tortilla strips, providing a pleasant crunch.

And now, for the stunning entrées. And I am not kidding here, they WERE stunning. I was so blown away with the flavors, the amount of food on the plate, and how perfect everything was cooked.

First, my BF ordered the Mixiotes de Pollo en Adobo Huasteco: Chicken and mushrooms with nopales in a Cascabel & Pasilla chile Adobo sauce, served with white rice and Mexican zucchini slices. The chicken was super tender and the sauce was mild, yet incredibly flavorful. As you can see, the portion was very generous. The wine we chose previously (the Napa Toro Chardonnay) was a great complement to this dish.
And then, let me present to you, the best steak I have ever had in a restaurant, the Ojo de Costilla con Costra de Chorizo Rib eye steak with a chorizo crust, on a bed of seasoned mushrooms in an adobo salsa. I was literally cutting my steak with my fork. It was exquisite, and I am not exaggerating. If you only try one thing off the menu at Mayahuel, please give this a go, (order it rare or medium rare). It will knock your little stockings off! I didn’t even mention the chorizo. It was so flavorful and added another dimension to the meal.
And then out came the mariachi band… they were wonderful and the crowd was loving it. I was so pleased to see the restaurant packed around us and everyone was in a convivial mood.

Then it was time for dessert. First, our server Francisco, brought out the Pastel de Queso y Chayote (a Chayote cheese cake and mole in chocolate sauce). Mole is a perfect addition to a dessert because of its components and texture. The chayote works in the dessert because it’s a squash and has an inherent slightly sweet taste and tender texture. That being said, I don’t think you’re gonna find this at the Cheesecake Factory, folks, only at Mayahuel! (Thanks to the BF for tasting the sugary treats).

The other dessert option was the Flan de Chile Ancho. It was a flan made with ancho chiles of all things, and finished with Grand Marnier. It has a beautiful strawberry and blueberry garnish. The BF tells me the combination of the ancho and the Grand Marnier was uniquely flavorful.

So, not only do you get the food I just showed you above, but for the $30, included at the end of the meal, is the 1/2 ounce tequila tasting. Our bartender, Oscar, was extremely knowledgeable and passionate, and had a true encyclopedic knowledge of tequila.

The tequila we tried was the Jose Cuervo Platino, and it was served in a champagne flute in order to provide the best tasting experience. It’s truly the stemware that makes all the difference in a tasting. It can really bring out the oaky and fruity notes of a particular wine or beverage. What a nice little digestif, and it was such a treat to get some background information on tequila from Oscar.

If you haven’t been to Mayahuel Tequila Museo, you are missing out on a true downtown gem. Dine Downtown week kicks off Monday, January 9th and runs through Wednesday, January 18th. This event is a great way to try out some of Sacramento’s finest.
Mayahuel is on Facebook here and on twitter here. To make reservations, you can call them at or check them out on Open Table here.

Herradura Tequilas for a Last Minute Gift Idea

Last week, the reps at Herradura Tequila sent me a sampling of their line (loved the bottle and the horseshoe logo!), and I think it’s a great gift idea especially if you don’t know the recipient that well (gift exchange, gift for new boyfriend or girlfriend). And…it’s also a nice little gift for yourself. 😉 By this time of the holiday season (since it practically now starts around Labor Day), most of us are ready for it to be over. What is better at the end of a long day than relaxing by the fire with a nice adult beverage?

Herradura has four tequilas on the market, and I sampled three of them:

The Herradura Silver/Plata is aged 45 days in white oak barrels. This is the type of tequila to buy the person who likes to make margaritas or other mixed tequila drinks. A touch of lime and salt enhances the slight notes of oak. Its alcohol content is 40%.

Herradura Reposado (“rested”) is rested for 11 months (nine more than category standards) and is slightly caramel in color. Its alcohol content is also 40%. The flavors are a little more developed and drop hints of vanilla and cinnamon.

Herradura Añejo (“aged”) is aged two years in white oak barrels and its alcohol is 40%. It has an almost spicy and smoky flavor and is light amber in color. This is the kind of tequila I enjoy slightly warmed (like one would a brandy) and sipped slowly from a snifter.

Herradura is a sister tequila to el Jimador. You can find their full line of products here.

To find a store in your area that carries Herradura Tequila, you can use this locator on their website. Local to Sacramento, you can find it at BevMo. You can also purchase Herradura online by following this link.

Herradura’s Facebook page can be found here.

Happy Holidays to all! Relax and enjoy life, it’s way too short!!