I've been wanting to share this recipe for a really long time. Kendall and I created this recipe two years ago, and we never got around to writing about it. Now that it's actually COLD in San Francisco, it's a great time for a cozy cocktail.
I don't remember what inspired us to create a Bourbon Chai in the first place, but I do know we were putting bourbon on and in EVERYTHING (apples, pears, hot chocolate, you name it!). Homemade chai & bourbon was a major winner. We'd drink while cracking fresh walnuts and eating dates for dessert.
If you're a cooker/baker, you'll have most of the spices for bourbon chai in your pantry. In addition, you'll need loose leaf black tea. I've been buying a Darjeeling from David's Tea that is a little earthy, and goes really nicely from the spices and the vanilla notes from the bourbon.
BOURBON CHAI TEA (serves 3)
- 10 Cloves
- 6 Cardamom Pods
- 5 Black Peppercorns
- 2 Star Anise
- 2 fresh Ginger coins
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 2 tbs. loose leaf Black Tea, or 2 tea bags
- 2-3 tbs. Brown Sugar
- 3 cups Water
- 1/4 cup Bourbon
- 1/2 cup Milk
Combine water and all spices in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Add bourbon, and after 2 minutes remove it from heat. Add tea and let it steep for 3 minutes. Strain the tea to remove all spices and tea leaves. Add sugar (start with 2 tbs., and add more if you'd like it sweeter), and milk. Stir well before serving in your favorite mugs ore teacups (these ones are from Elise Green). Garnish with spices of your choice. Enjoy!
Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes
Last month I bought a 22 pound pumpkin from a pumpkin patch. Yes, 22 pounds! I spent a whole afternoon cleaning, roasting, and straining it to make fresh pumpkin puree. As you could probably imagine, I had a boat load of puree to make lots of fall treats (more on that later).
These Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes were the favorite of all of my pumpkin creations. They're fluffy and delicious, and are definitely something you'll want to cuddle up with on a fall morning.
SPICED PUMPKIN PANCAKES
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 2 cups Flour
- 2 tbs. Sugar
- 1 tbs. Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
- 2 cups Milk
- 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
- 1 large Egg
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients and whisk until slightly frothy. Add wet ingredients to dry bowl and mix until a smooth batter is created. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes. Heat a skillet up over medium heat and coat the pan with butter. Ladle in the batter and allow it to cook until golden brown around the edges and bubbles form on the surface. Flip the pancakes, and cook for another couple minutes, then remove the pancakes from heat. Top with spiced maple syrup (recipe below), walnuts, pomegranate, and fresh nutmeg.
SPICED MAPLE SYRUP
- 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
- 1 tbs. Pumpkin Puree
- 1 tbs. Heavy Cream
- 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. Allspice
Whisk all ingredients together and warm up over low heat. Drizzle over pancakes.
Out of the 3 areas we visited in France, Provence was by far my favorite. Provence is just stunning, and if you saw any of my instagram posts while I was there, you can see why. So many unique towns with so much history and charm.
We got to Provence from Paris by train. It was about a 2 hour train ride, which went surprisingly fast. It was fun to see the countryside, and I knew we were getting close to Avignon when I started to see sunflower fields.
We rented a car from the Avignon train station to get around Provence. You NEED to rent a car if you're going to that area. There are so many places to see, and public transportation is very limited. Some of my favorite moments were just driving around, looking at the beautiful scenery and stumbling upon the cutest little towns.
Our first stop was Gordes, a village built of stone building along a cliff. I've never seen anything like it before- incredible!
In Gordes, we spent all day and night relaxing- eating, drinking wine, and reading. We rented an Airbnb with a patio, where we ate all of our meals. Bottles of wine were no more than 10 euros and the quality is so high, so you kinda have to drink 2 a day, right?
About a 20 minute drive away from Gordes is Rousillion, an ochre-red village. We spent an afternoon there at the market, and walking through the ochre quarries.
Loumarin, although not on a hill, was probably my favorite town in Provence. It has a Medieval castle and is surrounded by sunflower fields, olive trees, and grape vines. We only stayed for one night but I wish we stayed longer.
We visited Apt just to go to the Saturday farmer's market. The market is HUGE!! All of the narrow, curvy streets are lined with market stalls- it literally takes over the whole town. So much fun getting lost in the market craziness!
For my birthday, we went to Beaumes de Venise and had an amazing behind the scenes experience with a wine maker. Luckily, this was during harvest so we were able to see the process from grape to glass. In Beaumes de Venise, they're famous for the Muscat wine. I'm not usually a sweet wine drinker, but I gotta tell ya, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise makes a fabulous aperitif on a warm summer day. The 4x4 ride we went on through the vineyards was the highlight of the trip- the combo of vines, trees, and mountains was absolutely stunning!
The finished our visit in Provence in Cassis, a small fishing village along the Mediterranean. It was SO hot so we spent most of of our time inside out Airbnb (which had a killer view) with all of the windows open and fans on, drinking wine. Super relaxing.
6 days wasn't nearly enough time in Provence. When I go back (which I DEFINITELY will) I want to spend at least 10 days. I hope you all have a chance to visit soon!
11th Arrondissement, Paris, France
I have never experienced Paris as an adult. As a teenager, I went a few times with my family and have great memories of visiting all of the tourist attractions, eating escargot and huge scoops of ice cream. As you could imagine, I was super excited to spend 4 days eating and drinking through Paris with my boyfriend, living like a Parisian.
We stayed at an Airbnb in the 11th Arrondissement- a neighborhood I absolutely adore. There's a great mix of food, shopping, and nightlife. If you want to avoid tourists, this is a great neighborhood as it's kind of off the beaten path. We were just 3 blocks away from Rue Oberkamph, which was my favorite street in the neighborhood. There's everything, from bakeries to cocktail bars to chic clothing boutiques.
We were so exhausted our first night in Paris from the flight, so for dinner we just hit up all of the food shops on Oberkamph and had a picnic at our apartment. We got brie from a fromagerie, a baguette from a boulangerie, fruit from a fruit stand, and red wine from a wine shop. This is my favorite way to eat!
mini tarts from Chambelland
My friend Jenn (huge foodie & pastry enthusiast!) was also in Paris at the time, so we met up for a croissant date. She introduced me to THE BEST croissants in Paris from Ble Sucre, which also happened to be in my neighborhood. They're extremely fresh (served warm!), crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside with amazing buttery flavor (the butter in Paris is just sooo good!). We went to Ble Sucre 4 times... it's THAT good.
Croissants from Ble Sucre
Ble Sucre is closed on Mondays, so we had to get our croissant fix somewhere else. We stopped in Pierre Herme to get some chocolate treats (they also have the most beautiful macarons!) and spotted a gorgeous croissant. It had a rose water glaze with freeze dried raspberries, and inside a raspberry & litchi jelly.
Pierre Herme's fancy croissant
There are farmer's markets all over Paris, but in the 11th there is the Bastille Market which takes place on Sundays. It is HUGE (bigger than any market in San Francisco), and filled with all sorts of vendors: produce, cheese, meats, seafood, baked goods, flowers, everything! I was blown away by the selection and how cheap everything was. I got 20 figs for less than 2 euros... HEAVEN!
We took all of the goodies we bought at the market and had a picnic along La Seine. The perfect lunch!
Okay, so you can't go to Paris without having CREPES! We ate at two creperies in our neighborhood: Bretons and West Country Girl. Both had amazing savory & sweet crepes. My favorite savory crepe was Bretons vegetarian one with tomatoes, mushrooms, goat cheese, herbs, and pumpkin seeds in a crispy buckwheat cake, and my favorite sweet was a caramel apple one at West Country Girl.
Buckwheat crepe from Bretons
Now, for the DRINKS. Most nights we bought bottles of wine (you can get amazing wines for less than 20 euros), but to mix it up a little we went to a couple cocktail & beer bars.
On Rue Oberkamph, there is a trendy cocktail bar called Bespoke. They had delicious cocktails and delicious bites. We had an Old Fasioned and a cocktail on their menu that was basically a Mezcal Negroni.
Bespoke Cocktail Bar
If you're a beer lover, you must visit Les Trois 8. It's a small bar that specializes in craft French beers. I personally prefer US beers, but it was great to try beers that aren't available at home. And WARNING, their "pints" are HUGE- almost too big for me to hold with one hand. Order the "half pints".
Les Trois 8 beer bar
And for the Tiki fans out there, Dirty Dick is the bar for you. Located in the 9th, it's a small tiki bar with delicious (and strong!) drinks, very friendly bartenders, and a relaxed vibe. I know, the name of the bar is weird- apparently the building was a brothel back in the day, so I guess it works! We had a few of the classics like the Mai Tai and Painkiller, and also tried one of their originals. All fantastic cocktails!
Mai Tai at Dirty Dick
Merci, Paris for all of the amazing food & drinks!!
Before we moved to our current apartment on a little alley off of Hyde Street, we used to make the 8 block trek to Za Pizza on Hyde at least once a week. Sometimes we would stay and have a beer and other times we would take our slices to go. Every time we made the trip to Za, I would stare at one of the apartment buildings across the street with blue shutters and dream about living there. Hyde Street is lined with ficus trees and always feels like a festive place to be, partly because of the crazy tourists always riding by on the cable car, whooping and hollering like hammered teenagers on a roller coaster. I would dream about what it would be like to live in the best location on earth - across from Za Pizza.
Now we live a stone's throw from Za and all my dreams have come true. Having people over and everyone's hungry and you have no food?? Send them to Za. Get home from work late and in the mood for a quick slice of heaven? Za is the answer. Need to figure out dinner but True Detective starts in five minutes??? GO TO ZA.
Pizza is pizza though so you should probably go for a walk to help balance things out. We like to go up to this place on Taylor and Vallejo. I'm pretty sure it has a name, but we just call it the view spot. Sometimes we bring beer.
the houses of russian hill
the view spot
On Thursdays in the summer, the owner of Za picks up peaches from the farmers' market. The slice of the day on these Thursdays is Peach Pie. I still remember my first slice of Peach Pie. It blew my mind. Organic peaches, canadian bacon, and basil. SO GOOD.
I tried to re-create this peachy cheesy goodness at home on toasted bread. It did not disappoint.
Slice bread into thick slabs. Brush a little bit of olive oil on the bread and toast on a hot skillet, a couple of minutes on each side. Arrange slices of cheese (I used mozzarella) on toasted bread, and top the cheese with sliced peaches. Heat tartines under hot broiler until cheese gets melty and slightly blistered. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with flaky sea salt, and top with fresh basil. ENJOY!
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