Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Diet Be Damned!

In addition to teaching The Liquid Muse Sustainable Sips® cocktail classes in NYC, I also did a few media appearances related to Fre (alcohol-removed wine) for whom I’m the spokesperson and mixologist. One of the drinks I created for our summer media tour is called Tokyo Dreams, and inspired by Asian ingredients.

The recipe for Tokyo Dreams calls for fresh ginger, mandarin juice and canned lychees. Lychees are an Asian fruit easily found in Los Angeles but, I learned on our cross-country promotional tour (Seattle, 3 cities in Wisconsin, Rochester and NYC) they are rather challenging to secure in other parts of the country. (So much for creativity!)

Just before taping a cocktail segment on a radio show with Mike Calameco on WOR710 AM (which will be broadcast on June 15 in 60+ cities!), I was on a mad dash to find lychee so I could make Tokyo Dreams on the air. After poking my head into 4 markets surrounding my hotel in SoHo, I decided to just hop a cab down to Chinatown, where I’d surely find what I was looking for.

And, I did. At the very first store I entered. “Well, that was easy,” I thought. And, now I had time to kill. Hmm… the dumpling shop was just across the street…

“How often am I in New York’s famous Chinatown?,” I rationalized inside my own brain. Never mind that we have a Chinatown in L.A., replete with delectable Chinese fare. Who wants to ruin one’s own fun when a plateful of steaming pork dumplings is only moments away? I doused them with chili oil and gobbled them down. Ah. Delight.

xt, I figured I’d wander the streets – burning calories and taking in sights. Next thing you know, the Chinese lettering on the historic buildings turned to words like Lombardi’s and Italian sausages hung in the windows. Damn! “I just ate the dumplings,” I thought. I wasn’t really hungry anymore.

Then, a word entered my head and I knew I had to do indulge. Cannoli. I was in Little Italy. Diet be damned. Who cares if I had the dumplings only minutes earlier. I had to find a Cannoli. When in Rome… as they say.

It wasn’t difficult to fulfill my desire. Around the next corner, in an old brick building with a wooden bar inside, I found a case full of cannolis. I ordered one laden with chocolate chips tucked into the marscapone filling. It was sprinkled with powdered sugar and the lady handed it to me wrapped in a piece of wax paper. It felt authentic. It tasted authentic. Although, by the time I finished it and tossed the wax paper in the trash, I realized I don’t really like cannolis all that much, really. Still, I didn’t regret a thing.

Ultimately, I’m what I refer to as a “tongue traveler.” My voyages are not complete without tasting the local fare – both edible and drinkable. This is why I can refer to myself as a ‘gourmande of all things deliciously decadent.’ It isn’t an exaggeration. When I’m in an exotic locale (and nearly anywhere can be exotic to me), knowing each and every city becomes a finger-licking good experience.

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