I was a bartender for 3 years in college and have enjoyed making cocktails ever since. My favorite is a Grand Marnier Margarita (call it a Cadillac, call it top shelf, whatever, Grand Marnier makes all the difference!). There are lots of arguments about what is the best tequila to use. My favorite is Jose Cuervo Gold (this isn’t my favorite sipping tequila…that may go to a Don Julio 70 or a Maestro Dobel Diamante…thanks to some of my friends down in Guadalajara, but it is my favorite for this margarita). So, here goes:
2 cups Tequila
1/2 cup Triple sec
1/2 cup Grand Marnier or GrandMa (as my college bartender friends affectionately called it)
1 cup Water (or just ice to cool it all down)
1/2 cup lime/lemon juice…my preference here is Meyer Lemons (or swap out a little for Orange Juice for a little orangier flavor)
Mix it up, chill, salt a rim if you like, and pour over ice. Put your feet up and watch the day go by!
Here is a very simple recipe to help you make some really nice flavored simple syrups that you can use to make your favorite cocktails or just a nice flavored lemonade, etc. The nice thing with them is you can make them up, stick them in a mason jar, pop them in the refrigerator and just break them out whenever you want to infuse some nice flavors into your next drink. The process is really simple:
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Sugar
- AND, whatever you want to infuse…Jalapeno, Rosemary, Mint, etc.
Bring the water to a boil, add the sugar to the boiling water and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add your flavoring of choice and boil for about a minute. Remove it from the heat and let it steep for about 1/2 an hour. Depending on what you are working with, pour the cooled off syrup through a strainer into a mason jar, put the lid on and put it in the refrigerator.
Now just add as a sweetener to anything you are making to just enhance the flavor…lemonade, margaritas, etc….heavenly!
“I shall pass this way but once. Therefore any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now for I shall not pass this way again” –Stephen Grellet
Wow, this is a hard one: ever feel like your giving is a one way street? You can’t do anything about the other side, except keep giving. After giving enough, you have every right to ask, but don’t count on it being favorable. Here are some thoughts on giving:
- Pay it forward… give first
- Give, give, give, give, give, then ask if you must
- Do the unexpected or no one will ever remember you. Tell a good story of why you do things this way
If there is already an exchange of giving:
- Focus your life on appreciation, not expectations…let gratitude fill your soul
- Always give a little more than you promise… under promise and over deliver
If you give without thoughts of receiving, whatever it is will grow…isn’t that the idea anyway? Be grateful and be wary of desire… things in excess tend to become their opposite.
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile” -Albert Einstein
This is a recipe that I have morphed over time. My mama gave me the starter on it (thanks Mama) and I’ve kind of added and changed it up from time to time (added bacon, added spicy sausage, added or taken away more heat). Here go some of my favorite beans that go groovy with just about any Mexican dish and could even be a main dish on its own. These also freeze extremely well, so I’ll double the batch and have more for later. Enjoy:
- 1 – 32oz. package dry pinto beans (soak overnight)
- 4 garlic pods, minced
- 1/2 large purple onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno (adjust as you like for heat)
- 1/2 Cup chopped Cilantro
- 2 – 15oz cans of chicken broth
- 1 – 10oz can of Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
- 3 cans beer (hence the “Boracho”)…I like tecate, but change it up as you like to add more flavor if you like
- 2 tbsp Tony Chaucer’s or seasoned salt (or to taste)
- Olive Oil
- Salt, to taste
- Add spicy italian bulk sausage (Sprout’s has a great one) or bacon if you like
Cook sausage or bacon and set aside. In a large pot, add a bit of olive oil and cook onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add all ingredients to the pot except cilantro and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until beans are soft, add cilantro, cook a few more minutes and you are done.
Also, this goes extremely well with either this Steak from Hell Salsa (I make the beans mild for the kids and add this to add heat) or this Creamy Chipotle Sauce (love to drizzle this over the top).
I got this idea from James Altucher’s Choose Yourself book. If you haven’t read it or listened to his podcast, give it a whirl…I thoroughly still enjoy both (yes, I read the same books more than once…or at least my own notes…over and over…I know, dork squared!).
Anyway, the idea is that to keep yourself fresh and relevant, you should work every day to come up with 10 new ideas. This may sound daunting, but we aren’t talking about setting the world on fire, all that is required is to pick a topic and just start freewheeling. “I can’t do that” you say. Well, I beg to differ…it really doesn’t take that long and it is fabulous for getting your mind stimulated and even invigorating your outlook. Here are some starting points:
- Childhood passions
- Things that could be improved
- Things that you’d really like to buy that don’t exist
- Things that would make your day easier
- Things that could be fixed at your place of work
- Things that could be fixed at your kids school
- 10 people you should introduce to each other
- Things that your favorite business could do to be better
- Ideas for songs, movies, books, blogs, etc.
- Things your favorite team could do to improve their season
- On and on
It really doesn’t matter…the idea is to get your “idea muscle” working. At first, no doubt it will be hard, but trust me after a few goes at it, you will get better and better and really enjoy the exercise. You don’t even have to keep the 10 ideas…throw them away, give them to a friend or business, whatever. The idea is just to start exercising your brain.
Well, what if I come up with a doozy that I want to execute on. Well, start working on the next steps…what are the 10 things you need to do to push this forward and get started today. Remember this…the ideas are worthless in and of themselves, execution is everything, so don’t worry that someone is going to run off with your ideas either.
If you do this for a whole year consider that you will have almost 4000 ideas! Want to have some more fun, do as James Altucher suggests and start having “Idea Sex”…marry one idea to another and see what comes of it. I have a friend that once suggested just looking up patents and marrying them to each other and then filing for a patent on the combo…you aren’t having to do the hard labor of creating something new, just marrying what already exists.
Here’s his detailed Idea Machine post on the topic. Have fun with it!
I get a lot of questions about what are some of my favorite spots to eat, grab a drink, or grab a coffee in North County. Well here’s a good starter list along with links to some of my reviews (T-Money M) on Yelp:
Ironsmith Coffee Roasters: Tiny place, tough parking, but legit espresso drinks…their cortado is off the chain
Encinitas Ale House: Another place that isn’t easy to see, but killer burgers and fantastic beer on tap plus a nice inviting bar to curl up next to
The Land & Water Company: Pork Belly, Sushi, amazing drinks…somehow it all works. Don’t sit at a table, though, gotta sit at the bar and ask for whatever they’re firing up
ARA Lebanese Grill: Another tiny place that is really unassuming, but amazing meats and veggies…the kids even love this place!
Wrench & Rodent: 2 guys that look like me behind the sushi bar, punk rock music playing overhead, and skateboards on the wall. All that, and some of the best sushi I’ve ever had…a definite “Sit at the Bar” place.
For more of my reviews, here is my space on Yelp.