second thoughts

pony and trap

The first sight we see upon docking at Aegina is a line-up of pony and traps waiting to tramp tourists around the main town. Uh oh. Perhaps the proximity of the island to Athens makes it more of a tourist hub than originally anticipated. (Even though by all outward appearances there seems to be at most five identifiable tourists wandering the esplanade, and the klatsch of carriage drivers are too busy smoking and talking to pay us any heed.) We opt for ice cream – pistachio, natch – and a pause to look at our options.

pistachio ice cream


live blog: fro-yo realness

I’m not one of those devoted fans of frozen yogurt. And ice cream – except for those summer days when the pavement is practically melting – leaves me cold. (Ba dum dum) I am, however, addicted to the goaty goodness of strained Greek yogurt. Given the fact that Greece has been about as temperate as a wok this summer and almost every person I’ve passed in the street these weeks has been unabashedly lapping at giant cups and cones of soft serve, it is a wonder I’ve not put the two together. Soaked in sweat I at last made that correction today in Crete with a simple dish of frozen Greek yogurt topped with sour cherries. Delirium ensued with the first spoonful – along with a palm smack to the forehead. Cool, creamy, thick and spunky, this fro-yo can be summed up in one word: fierce.


drink it where it lies

Earlier in the year I spent a few days in downtown San Diego at The US Grant, the historic Starwood hotel with plushly restored interiors and (highlight alert) chummy cocktails crafted by mixologist Jeff Josenhans. Now comes word that he’s taken his mad-scientist skills to a whole other level: the basement. After experimenting with various bottling processes, Josenhans has become the first mixologist to successfully create bottle-conditioned cocktails combining the highly complex (and rarely attempted) champagne method with the brewer’s method. In layman’s terms that means adding yeast to the bottle and allowing the pressure of fermentation to create carbonation before spirits and sugar are mixed in, while the addition of hops adds a spicy spark of brewer’s flare. Because these two processes happen in concert, the result is a smoother spirit with complex flavors and a refined effervescence. Consider it the difference between mass-produced ice cream and artisanal gelato, if you will. Launching as Cocktails Sur Lie (sur lie is a French wine-making term that means having rested on its yeast), you can try a tease or two of the bespoke Mule in a Bottle, made from garden flower-infused vodka, ginger, rock candy sugar, California hops and Champagne yeast in Grant Grill during the current Autumn Mixology Dinner event but to sample the full slate of drinks you’ll have to wait until the official January launch.


good things come

Had I waited – instead of consuming all of yesterdays beautiful peaches in two particularly juicy and gluttonous sittings – I could have taken advantage of this simple yet ever so clever ice box recipe that arrived in my email today, courtesy of the kitchn:  last minute ice cream.  It sounds like an ideal way to use the last of the season’s fruit to whip up – quite literally – a cool treat to beat the summer heat.  I’ve got peaches on the brain right now but consider strawberries, blueberries or raspberries – all of which are now at their peak.

Last Minute Ice Cream – makes 3 cups, about 6 servings

Combine 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, 1 cup ripe peaches, 1 tablespoon heavy cream, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla in a food processor, or by hand.  Spoon into serving cups and place in the freezer for up to 30 minutes. Serve with garnish of your choice.


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