Cake I Say!

Anyone who knows me, knows that there are three things in my life that I couldn’t live without: beer, music and Food Network. Well, I got a chance to combine all three at Double Door with good friends, food and music.

Chicago based Grape Juice Records is celebrating their fifth anniversary of supporting great music regardless of genre. With acts from folk to poprock, Grape Juice decided to celebrate by having a concert.  They booked their roster of artists, and added some special guests. One of their most recent additions to the label is the Baltimore  based …Soihadto…, featuring Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman. His band, along with seven others of the Grape Juice family took the stage.

Highlight of the night? Was it the free beer? No. The three Ace of Cakes stars that each made a musical appearance? No.
(Yes, Duff, Geof and Elena all took the stage that night)

Ace of Cakes: Geof, Aaron and Ves

The highlight, much like any party, was the birthday cake. Ever since I found out that this event was to feature a Charm City Cakes creation, all I wanted was cake. Duncan Hines wouldn’t do. Even birthday cake of my couldn’t compare. It was Ace of Cakes or nothing!
Ace of Cakes for dessert

Needless to say, I got my cake, I meet some of the coolest characters on Food Network, and I even got to help move the birthday cake. I caught …Soihadto…, The Squaaks (featuring Charm City designer Elena Fox) and a rare acoustic performance by personality extraordinaire Geof Manthorne. It was a crazy night, and I loved every minute of it.

Oh, there was free beer too!

My Duck Fat Fried Birthday

My wife took me to Hot Doug’s for my birthday. I’ve been wanting for quite a while to take the venture up north. Who doesn’t love a good heart stopping birthday present?! Turns out that it was a lot closer than we thought. In fact, we’ve been going to shows for years just down the street and never knew it was this close.

Hot Doug’s has been featured on numerous television shows, podcasts, and documentaries on extreme foods. While Hot Doug’s is a its roots a hot dog stand, it’s far from everyday.

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SxSW: The Drive to Austin

Here we go, on our way to Austin. It’s 2 am and we literally just crossed into Oklahoma. My cold is in full force and I’m hoping it’s only due to the late hour. Here’s to hoping.

On the schedule? Not quite sure yet. It all depends on when we get into town, but the GPS shows us at 10:20 am right now. But I have a feeling we’ll be taking  a nap break soon.

Shows we’re excited to hopefully see this week:

  • Last Fast Action
  • Semi-Precious Weapons
  • Kill the Alarm
  • Shiny Toy Guns
  • Lights
  • The Airborne Toxic Event
  • Anberlin

Hopefully more videos and updates to come!

A Chocolaty Drizzle

The other night my wife had a sudden craving for something sweet and chocolaty. Unfortunately, it was almost 10 p.m. and brownies aren’t really on our diet. For some reason, the idea for chocolate covered pretzels popped into my head which was quickly followed by my not wanting to make the mess that this sweet treat requires.

So what’s as sweet, salty and crunchy as chocolate covered pretzels without the mess? Chocolate DRIZZLED pretzels. Yes, lay them out, throw some chocolate, wait and eat.

Here’s how I did it:

What you need

  • 8 oz. milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 – 1/2 bag of your favorite unflavored, salted pretzels
  • 3/4 cup water

Lay out the pretzels in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with wax or parchment paper.

Place a small sauce pan over medium-low heat with the water. When the water reaches a simmer, place a small to medium glass or metal bowl over the simmer water. Put the chocolate chips in the bowl and stir ever two to three minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, use it and look for a temperature around 120F to 130F. Around 110F, or when most of the chips have melted, turn off the heat and let the remaining steam finish melting the chocolate. Stir for one minute to bring all the chocolate together.

Pour the chocolate into a zip-top sandwich bag and squeeze any air out. Snip a corner from the bottom of the bag and drizzle over the pretzels. Go left to right over the whole pan, the repeat up and down, being sure to cover every pretzel.

Pop the pan into the refrigerator for 30 minutes or 10 minutes in the freezer if you’re impatient like my wife and I. Remove when set, break apart and enjoy. Store leftovers in an airtight container, but there will most likely not be any left for tomorrow.

Needless to say, these hit the spot. My wife’s twitter friends have even been stalking her hoping to get their hands on some.

Pizzaman, if you had just asked!

On Friday while at work, I took my normal 2 pm stroll down the administrative hall for a candy and caffeine fix. On my way, I stopped by the campus announcement board and checked out what was happening on campus. As my wife works in the Communications department at the same school, I checked for the mandatory “Posted by Communications” stamp required to be on the fliers. For once, they all were stamped.

I continued on toward my sugary reward for a hard day’s work, when I stopped this (right) table display of menus.

I scratched my head as I’ve seen local businesses advertise on our campus before, but my continued walked revealed more of these displays. Six more of these displays to be exact. And refrigerator magnets.
Seriously? Is this how your market yourself? You send an under-paid menu delivery boy out for his daily rounds and instead, dumps his entire stash at a university? You pay him to deliver these menus to households where families will put them on their refrigerators and tempt them on Friday nights. Instead, he put them in the administrative hall of a university. The concept works. But he didn’t put them in the dorms – where the students are! Continue reading

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