Memoirs of a Princess Pupcicle: Chocolate Lab

I would like to start this post out by acknowledging that chocolate is very bad for dogs.  I do not give my dog chocolate.  Nor do I condone any dog eating–or even licking–chocolate.

But, well, I have a Labrador.  And when it comes to food, Labradors are exceptionally crafty.  As I have mentioned before, ninjas could take lessons from Princess Adelaide Grace.

One year for Christmas, a friend was so very kind to send me a kilo of dark chocolate from Haigh’s Chocolates in Adelaide (hahaha, Adelaide.  Not that I’m laughing at the city itself, just the irony of the chocolate coming from a place with the same name as the princess).  My friend didn’t tell me what she sent in her magical package, which arrived one day in early December.  It was filled with a Christmas card, a letter, and a few small wrapped gifts.  The card just said “Happy Christmas!” and the accompanying letter told of a year filled with adventure and fun.

Nowhere was there any mention that I should keep the largest/heaviest of the wrapped gifts far, far away from the princess’s reach.  It was all nicely wrapped and so I put it under the tree.  For nearly two weeks, Adelaide (the dog, not the city) seemed uninterested in any of the packages from Adelaide (the city, not the dog).  Since Adelaide (the dog, although perhaps also the city) cannot contain her excitement when she smells food, I presumed that nothing in the packages was edible.  Therefore, I did not believe any packages from Adelaide (the city, not the dog) would be tempting to Adelaide (the dog, not the city).

HAHAHAHAHA. Wow! I was spectacularly wrong!

One day while I was leaving work, Ann sends the following text:

what’s Haigh’s?

To which, I responded:

An amazing chocolatier in Australia.

The reply back with a picture:

would it have been wrapped in Christmas paper?

I responded:

uh…maybe…why?

Of course, I was on the subway and since phone service was sketchy, I couldn’t call Ann.  What I did manage to do was text my friend in Adelaide, who confirmed that the AWOL package was, in fact, a full kilo of dark chocolate, not just a small bar of chocolate.  I relayed that information to Ann.  The second I came above ground, I called and received the following diatribe:

YEP! YOUR FUCKING DOG ATE THE FUCKING CHOCOLATE.  ALL OF IT.  EVERY LAST MORSEL! GONE!  IT’S ALL OVER HER FACE AND SHE’S JUST LYING ON YOUR BED BASKING IN THE GLORY OF EATING ALL THE FUCKING CHOCOLATE!  AND NOW I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!  SHOULD I TAKE HER TO THE VET?  SHE SEEMS FINE BUT SHE COULD DIE!  I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE ATE ALL THE CHOCOLATE!  I MEAN, YES I CAN, BUT WHY?!?!?!  IT COULD KILL HER!  DOES SHE KNOW THIS?  OF COURSE SHE FUCKING DOES, BUT SHE OBVIOUSLY DOESN’T CARE BECAUSE SHE ATE ALL THE GODDAMN CHOCOLATE!

After several minutes of panicked back and forth about the antics of my newly minted Chocolate Lab, I hung up and immediately called the vet.  After explaining Addy’s dalliance to the vet tech who answered the phone, I was put on a brief hold and the vet himself came on the line.  After repeating the story to him, he asked a couple of questions about how Addy was doing.  I replied no vomiting, no diarrhea, no sluggish behavior, and that according to my roommate, she is happy as a clam and proudly flaunting the remnants of her feast.

To which the vet responded:

well wouldn’t you be happy as a clam if you just ate a kilo of dark chocolate?!?

IMG_6552

Touché!

Thankfully the worst thing to come out of this was that a) I was deprived of some delectable chocolate (the real tragedy of this story!) and b) now the pupcicle thinks she is immune to the evil effects of chocolate to dogs and is constantly trying to sneak a taste when I’m not looking.

sigh… #lifewithlabs

Sunday Comics: #56 Easter Chocolate

I know this has been around for a long time, but it still makes me laugh…every.single.time.

Happy Easter! -xoxo-

easter chocolate

Btw, if you’re looking to up your Easter chocolate game, check out this recipe the BFF found on FB for Drunken Bunnies from delish.com  you’re welcome.  I meant, enjoy*!!

 

*totally meant you’re welcome

Like Peas and Carrots, Just Not With Merlot…

I’ve never fully understood the phrase “like peas and carrots”–I mean sure, it was a popular side dish back in the day, but having an immense dislike for both when I was younger always made me want to argue that they did not compliment each other unless it was in providing a companion while they were both thrown out.  I’m sure you’re probably wondering why I’m even mentioning it.  Well, this month’s wine writing challenge (#MWWC21)–as selected by last month’s winner Jim of JVB Uncorked–is pairing.  And whenever I think of pairing the first thing that pops into my head is Forrest Gump’s thick ‘Bama accent saying “Jenny and I go together like peas and carrots.” But as an adult I find wine pairing is much, much tastier than peas and carrots.  Okay for full disclosure, as a kid I probably would have found wine pairing much tastier too….because….a) it’s wine and b) IT IS NOT PEAS OR CARROTS.

wine stain

 

Wine pairing is my favorite thing about wine.  Now before you argue, let me remind you pairing wine combines wine and food. wine and foodWINE and FOOD!  The only that I could think of as better would be visiting wineries because that pairs WINE with TRAVEL and if you’re lucky, meeting the WINEMAKER and quite possibly getting FOOD as well.  But unless you are fortunate enough to live in or very close a wine region, you’re probably not visiting wineries very often. As such, pairing wins this debate based solely on more opportunities–like every time you open a bottle.

wine pairing

The amazing thing about pairing is that it brings out the flavors in both the wine and the food, with results that can be truly magical.  Tragically, it can also enhance the negative flavors, like too much anise in your Amarone or overoaking in your Chardonnay.   In light of that, along came basic pairing rules like “red with steak” or “white with fish” or “riesling with spicy foods.” Obviously these are not unbreakable rules, but more like guidelines because the whole point of pairing wine and food is to bring out the best flavors in each one.  As our tastes are all slightly different, so too will be what we consider an amazing pairing.

If this is all new to you and you want to ask Google for help, you will be offered 413,000 article suggestions on the rules of wine pairing in 0.36 seconds.  After visiting a handful of sites, I found that in terms of general guidelines FoodAndWinePairing have a really understandable set of rules.  These start off with what should be everyone’s the first and foremost rule of wine drinking: drinking what you like takes precedent over “rules” of wine.  Their list goes on from there for pairing wine to balance and compliment the flavor of your meal and suggestions if you are stuck.  If you were looking for articles and recommendations with a bit more flair and pizzazz, then Food & Wine has a couple of articles here and here.

Of course, you have to give props to those who like to think way outside the wine pairing box and offer suggestions like pairing wine with Girl Scout cookies (sorry, I know the infographic is a bit small–click on it and you can read all about the proper GS cookie & wine pairings).

girlscout

Don’t look at me like that, you’re only mad because you are still on a quest for that perfect white wine pairing for your stockpile of Thin Mints.  TRY THE MERLOT!

Yes, you read that correctly: I yelled “TRY THE MERLOT!” Now, if you know me in real life or have had the pleasure–in one form or another–of listening to me rant about how I hate strongly dislike most merlots, you’re probably thinking that I’ve suffered blunt force trauma to the head or am WWD (writing while drunk)…but no, I said it.  With gusto, in caps, and an exclamation point!

For those of you who are new here or haven’t had the pleasure, I heartily dislike drinking merlots (with a very short list of exceptions) because they tend to leave a very bitter and astringent aftertaste in my mouth, much like eating cotton balls soaked in rubbing alcohol.  I would now like to interject a clarification that I have NEVER actually eaten cotton balls soaked in alcohol, but I would imagine it tastes a lot like drinking merlot.

But then…then you add chocolate, like, let’s say a Thin Mint, and suddenly even merlot is palatable.  The chocolate (real chocolate, that is–not the nasty fake white chocolate shi stuff) really brings out the cocoa undertones that are inherent to merlots and suddenly the cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol aftertaste is magically transformed into velvety smoothness.  It’s like a Christmas miracle, but any day of the year!

At this point I know you are no longer paying attention and are wondering if you still have that dusty bottle of merlot at the bottom of the wine rack and that bar of chocolate safely hidden from kidlets and spouses in a box of Grape Nuts in the pantry (you laugh, but I know someone who does that with his cookies), but before I let you go out into the adventurous world of wine pairing, The Huffington Post kindly gathered some great wine pairing suggestions from comedian Jeff Wysaski and they were just too good not to share!

Happy wining!

wine pairing Huff 1 wine pairing Huff 2 wine pairing Huff 3 wine pairing Huff 4 wine pairing Huff 5 wine pairing Huff 6 wine pairing Huff 8 wine pairing Huff7

Better Than Sex!

Sigh.  Okay, here’s the deal: I thought I would be proactive and upload all of the photos from my FL trip.  The problem with that is whenever I go to my photo library to see what I want to write about next, I see all my Harry Potter photos from Universal Studios and suddenly THAT’S what I want to write about.  However, my OCD won’t let me write about Orlando until after I finish Key West.   Don’t get me wrong, Key West was amazing and amazing and even more amazing.  But Diagon Alley has a dragon!  That breathes fire.  A FIRE BREATHING DRAGON!

IMG_0168

If I were more technologically savvy, I could get the video to play…

There isn’t much that can compete…except, maybe…a grilled chocolate and cheese sandwich.

“What the what?,” you ask.  Oh yes, I said grilled chocolate and cheese from a fabulous little dessert restaurant called Better Than Sex (you can’t make this up, people!).  There were a plethora of tempting desserts from which to choose, however, since I feel that cheese is non-negotiable in my life, when push came to shove that’s what I picked.  Dark chocolate and brie grilled together on homestyle bread, topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar.  It was served with a strawberry champagne dipping sauce…and it was divine.

IMG_0081

chocolate grilled cheese!

Are you drooling yet?  You need to be!

Being the GENIUS people that we are, we all picked a different dessert to try (and share!).  While I think each preferred our own, I will confess that Tracy’s order of the signature dish was a very close second to my concoction of melted cheese and chocolatey gooey-ness!

Tracy ordered the Better Than Sex

Tracy ordered The Better Than Sex

Jamie's Kinky Key Lime Pie

Jamie’s Kinky Key Lime Pie

Christi's Peanut Butter Perversion

Christi’s Peanut Butter Perversion

NOW ARE YOU DROOLING?!?!?

Of course, there was quite an extensive list of dessert cocktails, along with a great wine list and the usual dessert drinks.  Even the coffee was fancy, with the option of a chocolate rim.  I enjoyed the delicious coffee as is, but Christi ventured out with a pretty white chocolate rim!

IMG_0080

It’s a tiny restaurant and always packed, so either make a reservation beforehand or be prepared for a wait (don’t worry–it’s well worth any wait!).

Better than sex?  No–but pretty darn close!

Savoring Life

Remember my post about Wine Pairing where I mentioned a special Burgundy I had collecting dust at the bottom of my wine rack? Well, I recently went to Florida to celebrate the Big Birthday (a little early) with the BFF & BFFH. I thought it would be the perfect time to take The Burgundy along to open in celebration of the Big Birthday (and conveniently fulfill my promise to share it with the BFF)!

My first sigh of relief was arriving in Florida with the wine safely in one piece and not soaking all the rest of my stuff.

I was a bit trepidatious when it came time to actually open it, as when I cut the foil, I noticed the cork was looking a bit soaked. Crossing my fingers, I inserted the corkscrew and, while holding my breath and perhaps closing my eyes, I pulled gently and out it came–in one piece and smelling amazing.

I poured a sample. Swirl, swirl, swirl. Big breath….mmmm…dirt, as the BFF would say (or, as the rest of the world would say, earthy). Second sigh of relief. The taste was, well, magic.

We gave it a few moments to breathe the fresh air it had been denied for 12 years (helped along with an aerator) and it opened up so beautifully. We had no choice but to just sit there and absorb the moment.

And then…then the BFF announced she needed chocolate. Yes, chocolate–Peruvian dark chocolate fudge, to be exact. The pairing transcended amazing and entered into heavenly.

It was a quiet celebration: no pomp, no circumstance (okay, a bit of tweeting–but that’s it!). Sitting there with these two wonderful friends and sharing this amazing wine reminded me that through all the ups and downs of the last few years, it was moments like these that should be savored–just like a 12 year Burgundy.

IMG_1801.JPG