Drink : Not Your Fathers Root Beer

Not Your Father's Root Beer

Not Your Father’s Root Beer
Wauconda, Illinois
$10.99 / 6-pack

I was in a corner liquor store looking for a beer to pair with my dinner. Most of the options ranged from  uninspiring to terrible. Then I spotted a six-pack of Not Your Father’s Root Beer. I’d heard great things about it so I gave it a shot.

This isn’t your usual frosty mug of root beer. This is actual beer with vanilla and spices. It is sweet with a little bit of bite. At 5.9% ABV, Not Your Father’s Root Beer is not for the kids. I’m definitely trying this again.

How To Eat Sushi : Feast Your Eyes Infographic

I don’t know about you, but I used to find sushi intimidating. Does any other food come with rules? I committed many faux pas when I first started to eat sushi. I cringe whenever I think about the times I used to mix the wasabi — which by the way isn’t real wasabi — into the soy sauce. Eventually I learned better and did better.
You don’t have to learn the hard way. Peter Arkle come to the rescue with this handy infographic. Happy eating!
Sushi Etiquette

Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2014 : Wine Wednesday Review

Yalumba Viognier

Yalumba Y Series
South Australia
Price: $12.99

I was looking for a wine to go pair with my Crab and Spinach Lasagna. So I ventured to my local wine store and asked for some suggestions. Ok, I asked for suggestions but I actually had something in mind. I didn’t want a Chardonnay (Don’t ask my why. I just didn’t). I wanted something different, like a Viognier or a Vouvray.

The Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2014 is pale yellow with green hues. The nose has citrus and floral notes, backed by honey. This Viognier is dry. The palate revealed citrus peels that were rounded out by the flavor of apricots. It has a full body for a white wine.

The Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2014 paired well with the Crab and Spinach Lasagna. The citrus notes cut through the creamy sauce, but didn’t overwhelm the dish. I’m definitely picking this up again.

Cook: Crab and Spinach Lasagna

Crab and Spinach Lasagne

My local mom & pop grocery had Maryland back-fin crabmeat on sale. I had some ricotta cheese on hand, so I decided to make crab lasagna. Please be warned that I like an ignorant amount of mozzarella on my pasta. Yes, I know Italians never mix seafood and cheese. I’m not Italian.

Crab and Spinach Lasagna
Serves 6 -8 


  • 6 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup finely diced shallots
  • 1½ cups sliced white mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups half and half (DO NOT use fat-free half and half)
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach – thawed with as much liquid squeezed out as possible
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons basil sliced in a chiffonade
  • 1 pound lump crab meat – picked for shells
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese—divided
  • 1 16 ounce package shredded mozzarella cheese—divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepot. Once the butter is melted and foaming, sauté shallots for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and sauté until shallots are translucent and mushrooms are softened but not browned—about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Dust sautéed shallots and mushrooms with flour, stir, and cook until flour starts to brown slightly and smells slightly nutty.
  4. Add half and half. Then stir to dissolve flour. Cook until thickened. Do not let it boil.
  5. Add Old Bay, freshly ground pepper, and spinach. Stir until spinach is warmed through. Remove from heat, then stir in basil.
  6. In a medium bowl, mix ricotta and beaten egg. Add ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese and 1 cup mozzarella cheese and stir well.
  7. Arrange 3 sheets of lasagna noodles on the bottom of a 12″ x 9″x2″ baking dish. Top with half of spinach mixture, half of the crab, and half of the ricotta mixture. Repeat layers.
  8. Top layers with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
  9. Cover with no-stick aluminum foil and seal well.
  10. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until mixture is bubbly. Uncover and bake for 10-12 more minutes to lightly brown top.
  11. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Feast: Beefalo Bobs Carryout

Beefalo Bob's Pit Beef and Ham

Beefalo Bob’s Carryout
107 Mountain Road. | Pasadena, MD 21122

If you (like me) are not from Maryland, this phrase ‘Pit Beef’ may perplex you. Pit beef is a top round that is grilled directly on charcoals. It isn’t done via the ‘low and slow’ method that is the signature of most styles of barbecue. When done right it’s charred on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Sliced thin with a deli-slicer and piled on a bun, pit beef can make a roast beast sandwich hang its head in shame (I’m looking at you — Arby’s). Typical condiments are horseradish, mayonnaise, ‘tiger sauce’ (a combination of horseradish and mayo), mustard, barbecue sauce, onions, lettuce, and tomato. Most Marylanders will argue that the ONLY condiments should be onions and tiger sauce. I agree.

Beefalo Bobs Carryout

Some friends told me about Beefalo Bob’s Carryout last year. Sadly it was closed for the better part of a year for renovations. Finally, I noticed signs of life. The lights were on and smoke billowed from the chimney on top of the building.

Beefalo Bob’s Carryout is bare bones on the inside. There is a counter, and just behind the counter is the pit. The term pit belies the deliciousness that resides inside. Hunks of pit beef, ham, and turkey are roasted over hickory wood. Beefalo Bob’s also features barbecued baby back ribs and chicken. Deep-fried goodies such as hand-cut fries and fried pickles are also on the menu.

I chose ham and rare pit beef on a Kaiser roll with sliced onion and tiger sauce and an order of fries. The meats are sliced to order. I couldn’t help but exclaim, “That’s beautiful!” when the young guy behind the counter picked up a perfectly rare hunk of beef and sliced it. It was a busy Friday night with a line to the door so he did not have time for my shenanigans. 

I rushed home with my bounty and dug in immediately after pouring myself a cold beer. The fries were hot and crispy. It should be noted that Beefalo Bob’s also offers gravy for their fries. French fries with gravy are another Baltimore thing. It’s kind of like poutine without the cheese curds.

On to the main event. The pit beef was minimally seasoned. The ham provided the bit of salt that the beef needed. All of the meat was juicy. The ham reminded me of a southern Easter dinner. The bite of the onions and tiger sauce were a perfect counterpoint to the rich meat. Beefalo Bob’s does pit beef right.

 Have you tried pit beef? Did you like it? Where do you go to get your pit beef fix? Let me know in the comments!

Cooking Hacks Everyone Should Know : Feast Your Eyes Infographic

A ‘hack’ is what used to be called a good idea. It’s a way to increase your productivity by making things a little easier—while making yourself seem really smart in the process.

Take a look at this handy infographic, then amaze your friends when you peel an entire head of garlic in seconds!

Cooking Hacks: Everyone Should Know

Drink: 2015 Maryland Governor’s Cup


This year’s competition consisted of 157 wines. There were four tables with 5 judges each. Each table judged about 40 wines. The wines came out in flights. We judged the wines individually on a medal system that ranged from “No Medal—not commercially acceptable” to “Gold Medal.” After we judged a flight individually we would then come to a consensus at the table for each wine. If we could not reach a consensus, we could send the wine to another table for judging.

Flight 1: Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio

 Flight 1- Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio

Flight 2: Aromatic White Varietals—Dry

Flight 2- Aromatic Whites - dry

Flight 3: Aromatic White Varietals—Off Dry to Semi-Sweet

 Flight 3- Aromatic White Varietal - Off Dry to Semi-Sweet.

Flight 4: Dry Rosé (from another table)

 Flight 4- Dry Rose (from another table)

Flight 5: Meade

Flight 5 - Meade

Flight 6: Rosé—Off Dry to Semi-Sweet (from another table)

 Flight 6 - Rose - Off Dry to Semi-Sweet (from another table).

Flight 7: Red Vinifera Varietal 

Flight 7 - Red Vinifera Varietal

Flight 8: Meritage Blend (from another table)

Flight 8 - Meritage Blend (from another table)

Flight 9: Chambourcin Blends

Flight 9: Chambourcin Blends

Flight 10: Petit Verdot

Flight 10: Petit Verdot

Every wine that was awarded a gold medal by the individual tables went on to the Governor’s Round. This year we had 44 wines go to the Governor’s Round. Each judge tasted all 44 wines and picked out their top 5. The top 5 must be ranked in order.

In years past the Governor’s Round was presented all at once:

Governor's Round 2010

This is the Governor’s Round from 2010

This year, the Governor’s Round came out in several fights. We held aside glasses from each flight that we thought would make it to the top five. We would narrow down from there.

This is the last flight from the Governor’s Round.

 Last Flight in the Governor's Round

As always, it was a rewarding day and I learned a lot. And I’ll be staying away from wines for a few days while my tongue recovers.