Discovering the joys of Tabasco
By Steve Siciliano
I’ve always been a wimp when it comes to spicy food but over the past month or so I’ve acquired an inexplicable hankering for the savory tang of Tabasco sauce. Per que? No clue, but it could have something to do with the fact that my gut is back to normal after years of unknowingly dealing with a troublesome stomach bug called H pylori. A regimen of antibiotics must have wiped out the tiny invaders because I haven’t had to pop a Pepcid AC in weeks.
I got the hint last fall that something was amiss with my tummy after consuming no less than six bloody Marys throughout the course of one day up at the cottage. Sometimes moderation isn’t one of my strong suits. The next few days weren’t pretty. I won’t go into the gory details but my condition prompted a visit to Spectrum Health where the good ER doctor suggested that I schedule a colonoscopy, pronto.
I’m not sure what initially prompted me to grab the small bottle of Louisiana pepper sauce that had been sitting untouched in the cupboard for years. I used it sparingly at first, a few drops on a helping of chicken/rice casserole, a smattering on Barb’s delicious home-made pea soup, but then gradually upped the ante. I blew through that small bottle in a week then went out and bought the jumbo size which now sits half empty in the fridge. During a trip to Family Fare the other day I snagged another.
Despite my newly acquired taste for red peppery spice I haven’t had a bloody Mary since that day back in late October. I guess I’m still a little gun shy but I’m working up the courage. When restaurants are allowed to reopen Barb and I are going to stop for brunch in Newaygo at the River Stop Café. One of their tasty omelets and one, just one, of their excellent meal in a glass bloodies is sounding mighty good.
Featured Wines of the Week
Mumbo Jumbo, Pinot Noir, 2017, California, $17.49/750 ml - "With a vivid ruby-red color and showing lush raspberry compote & bright red flavors of cherry and strawberry, this wine is harmony in a bottle. Silky tannins unravel intense flavors of savory asian spices & shaved truffle. The finish is long & balanced with toasty coconut, vanilla & a dash of sassafras" (Source)
Paris Valley, Chardonnay, 2018, California, $14.19/750 ml - "Aromas of little white flowers, wet stone, citrus and green apple are complimented with flavors of ripe honeydew melon and white peach." (Source)
Otto's Constant Dream, Sauvignon Blanc, 2018, New Zealand, $16.69/750 ml - "Behind the pale green/yellow color lurks a vivid bouquet with smidgen of grass that puts your palate on notice. The message is delivered in the form of fresh sage, blackcurrant, fresh passion fruit and a jolt of lemon/lime freshness. This is an aromatic wine full to the brim with a savory spectrum. Fresh citrus, minerals and a hint of the sea jostling about yards from the vineyard give the wine a bracing palate quench-ability." (Source)
Quo, Grenache, Spain, 2017, Spain, $13.19/750 ml - "Aromas of red cherry and strawberry. A well extracted wine with balanced fruit, spice and a lot of personality." (Source)
Buy three or more bottles of wine get 10 % off.
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Featured Spirits of the Week
Monte Alban Tequila, Blanco and Reposado, $11.59/750 ml, $14.79/1000 ml, $28.39/1750 ml: Blanco- "Surprisingly vanilla-forward for a Tequila without significant barrel time, this blanco also offers creamy honey flavor, finishing with cayenne and jalapeño pepper heat. Serve well-chilled and it should be pleasant to sip."
Reposado- aroma: "Roasted agave with oaky notes and hints of dried fruits and almonds Tasting Notes: Sweet vanilla with rich oak tones and herbal hues." (Source)
Copper and Kings, Moons of Juniper Gin, $35.69/750 ml - "Crushed whole juniper berries together with honey & classic gin botanicals – sweet orange, coriander, cardamom, angelica, grains of paradise, are macerated for an extended period in warm grape brandy low-wine, then redistilled together with vapor distilled pulverized whole juniper berries, sweet orange peels and jasmine in the gin basket. Extra bold with assertive juniper. Forest pine, subtle woody spice, dark chocolate, cloaked in warm tropical orange. Extra smooth, with accessible balance, crisp dry gin. Rich & viscous." (Source)
Ravo Vodka, Sweden, $15.79/1750 ml - "RÅVO [ raw-vo ], from the Swedish words for raw (rå) and Vodka, is simplicity in a bottle. To us, raw means pure and uncomplicated. A Vodka in its purest form, made from winter wheat, continuously distilled five times, and blended with natural spring water. Råvo is honoring the true, classic, and basic Swedish traditions of how to make a great tasting vodka." (Source)
New and Returning Beer, Cider & Seltzer
Bells-Flamingo Fruit Flight/12oz/$1.99 - "This Fruit Fight started when two flamingos walked into a bar... it is brewed with passionfruit and lime zest, resulting in a tart blend of tropical, citrus flavors and aromas. It was first released under the name “Larry’s Latest” is a nod to the spirit of innovation and experimentation that Larry started in 1985 and continues within the brewery to this day." (Source)
Shorts-The Ooze/12oz/$2.59 - "The Ooze is a Milkshake IPA brewed with lactose, vanilla, matcha and pineapple. Very cloudy and lime green in color, this beer smells like tropical pineapple, grapefruit, guava, and green tea. Leading with a tropical blast of fruit during the initial sip, the tea shines next with a slight earthiness. Medium bodied, with a simultaneously creamy and juicy mouthfeel, The Ooze finishes smooth." (Source)
High Noon-Peach Vodka and Seltzer/355ml/$3.19 - (Website)
High Noon-Lime/355ml/$3.19 - (Website)
Pigeon Hill-Beach Please/12oz/$1.99 - Kolsch. No commercial description
Pigeon Hill-Catalina Mexican Lager/12oz/$1.99 - Lager. No commercial description
Founders -Green Zebra/15pk/$17.99 - "Delightfully tart and slightly sweet, this ale is our refreshing take on an easy-drinking fruit beer. Watermelon is the highlight of this lightly-hopped treat and gives it a hint of satisfying juiciness to balance the tang and bite we love in a gose style. The soft mouthfeel and dry finish come courtesy of the addition of sea salt. Pairs well with warm days and never-ending sunshine." (Source)
Sierra Nevada-Hoptimum/12oz/$2.59 - "Each year, we try to top ourselves by making the hoppiest, most intense IPA we can muster. We sample endless hop varieties during the annual harvest to choose the ultimate mix—flavorful and aggressive, yet refined. Then we push them beyond their limits to reimagine Hoptimum, a remarkably drinkable triple IPA." (Source)
Alaskan Mixed Pack/12pk/$16.99 - Alaska - American Amber/ Red Ale - 7.0% ABV. Four unique styles of craft beer from Alaska in one package. Included in the package Amber, Husky IPA, Kolsch Ale and White Ale.
Terrapin-High and Hazy/12oz/$1.79 - "High & Hazy IPA is loaded with four varieties of tropical and citrus forward hops. The soft and silky-smooth mouthfeel is obtained by using copious amounts of wheat and flaked oats, while the laid-back bitterness is achieved by the addition of hops at the very last minute." (Source)
Mckenzie-Peach Tea Cider/12oz/$2.09 - No commercial description.
Mckenzie-Pineapple Cider/12oz/$2.09 - No commercial description
Speciation-Whistleblower/12.7oz/$11.69 - "Gin BA Sour Ale w/ Foraged Sumac. Speciation would not exist without the guidance of one person: James Howat from Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales. Mitch worked under James for two years, learning about brewing wild beer and how to run a business. Black Project’s Lead Brewer Alex Buck came up with the idea for this particular beer, so we have to give him credit here too." (Source)
Speciation-Incipient w/Elderberries/16oz/$9.39 - Foeder Aged Solera Sour with Elderberries
Virtue-The Mitten/12oz/$3.99 - "This Michigan cider is a blend of last season's pressed apples, aged in Bourbon barrels for up to one year, then back sweetened with this year's fresh pressed apple juice. The Mitten has notes of vanilla, caramel, and charred oak." (Source)
Roak-Ice Cream Man Kettle Sour/16oz/$3.19 - "Summer time is here and so is the Ice Cream Man, a kettle sour ale with aromas of orange and vanilla leading into a slightly sweet tartness that is balanced and refreshing."
Ommegang-Chardonnale/12oz/$6.29 - "Light ale blended with the juice from a chardonnay grape. Lightly sweet without overpowering the beer. Well done." (Source)
Oddside- Cherry Hard Seltzer/12oz/$1.89 - "Light and crisp well balanced black cherry flavor." (Source)
Oddside-Tangerine Hard Seltzer/12oz$1.89 - No commercial description
Great Lakes-Siren Shores Saison/12oz/$3.29 - "Ahoy, weary sailor! Heed the call of the North Coast’s “inland seas” and plunge into an effervescent maelstrom of sweet passion fruit, zesty spices, and tempting tropical fruit aromas." (Source)
Great Lakes-Lemon Hefeweizen/12oz/$1.99 - "Brewed with real lemon peel and purée, this cloudy German-Style Wheat Beer is a frothy and fruity ale worth hoisting more than einst." (Source)
Stay safe. Spread kindness not germs!