Favorite Beers

My top 10 personal favorites:
1. Hoegaarden Original White Ale (Belgium)
2. Erdinger Weibier Kristallklar (Germany)
3. Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale (Ireland)
4. Sapporo Draft (Japan)
5. Sternen Weizentrumpf (Switzerland)
6. Asahi Super Dry (Japan)
7. Qingdao Tsingtao Premium (China)
8. Heineken Lager Beer (Netherlands)
9. Tiger Lager Beer (Singapore)
10. San Miguel Dark Lager (Philippines)

A good beer not only quenches your thirst; it relaxes your senses and ignites your spirits. When you need a beer, quality, not quantity, counts. Beer is an acquired taste. Any beer must be consumed cold, preferably served in a chilled glass or mug. Usually, 1 mug or glass is sufficient for a verdict of its ranking. By the time you are tipsy, you have probably had too much and any liquid would almost taste the same.

Sternen Weizentrumpf was the latest addition to my list of favorites. I tried it for the first time 3 weeks ago. We just had a walk along the lake and stopped at a quaint little cafe for a drink. I decided I wanted a beer, since I was on holiday. My boyfriend, who usually prefers espresso, decided to join me in trying the draught beer they served. The first sip went down smoothly. Its mild wheat malt aroma and sweet banana zest was refreshing. That beer, accompanied by a view of the lake at summertime children playing happily, swans and ducks peacefully swimming about, occasionally dipping their heads under water and pointing their tails to the blue sky; made it a beautiful day. We had seconds and it was just as good as the first.

My first taste of beer was Tiger, at the legal age of 18. I worked in a restaurant which served Tiger and Heineken as its only alcoholic beverages. 90% of the foreign patrons preferred the local beer. Curiosity killed my teenage abstinence. Sorry to say, it tasted like bitter horse piss. No, I haven’t tried any piss in my life but I imagined it might have tasted like that. My verdict changed when I was challenged to a full mug of Tiger beer on my 21st birthday. Honestly, the second mug was really quite nice although it still had a bitter aftertaste. After that, I simply lost count and had a wonderful time.

Each year after that, I added a new beer to my favorites’ list. The one I had the most of was probably Heineken because it was commonly available and inexpensive. Similar to Tiger was its slight bitter finish. Hoegaarden and Erdinger are the 2 top favorites I could not decide between. I love the light and fresh citrusy taste of Hoegaarden Original White Ale which leaves a sweet, slightly spicy note. I also enjoy the refreshing fizziness and lovely wheat flavors of Erdinger Weibier Kristallklar. Coming up next is smooth, rich Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale. Somebody told me that Kilkenny was almost a full-calorie meal on its own (like Guinness Stout) so I limited myself to it.

Asahi and Sapporo are the best Japanese beers. Clean tastinge, almost like fresh water, with Sapporo slightly more flavorful. Qingdao Tsingtao Premium is similar in tropical lightness and a very effective thirst-quencher. I think I only tried San Miguel once & it made it to this list because of its tasty sweet dark malt aroma with a slightly dry ending.

There it is my favorite beers, for now. It may change soon, as I travel the world to discover more good beers.

Source:
1. America's Top 10 Favorite Beers – InvestorPlace
2. Butter vs. Oil: Which Is Better?
3. Best Beer – Brewmasters' Favorite Beers of 2015 – Thrillist

Image Credit
www.beersweetbeer.com

Fish Recipes Fish Tacos Easy Fish Dishes Healthy Fast Meals

Fish Tacos when I first heard of fish tacos I thought my friend was crazy.  Fish with salsa and sour cream sounded absolutely disgusting and I had no desire to even walk into a restaurant that had fish tacos on the menu. Thank god my friend was bossy and made me go, fish tacos have become one of my favorite meals. They are delicious, good for you and so very very easy to make.  I am going to give you two basic recipes but feel free to change the fish or the toppings or the cooking method.  Once you get familiar with the dish there are endless combinations and the only thing stopping you will be your imagination.

1. The “classic” fish taco

Ingredients

You want a firm hardy fish, about six ounces a person.  Try halibut or talipia.

Season the fish – use a blend of Mexican spices, Cinnamon, cumin, hot pepper, paprika anything that sounds good.  Season the fish on both sides

Grill the fish – you can do this on an outdoor grill or in a cast iron pan.  If using a grill make sure you wipe it down with a little oil before you start so the fish does not stick.  If you are using a case iron pan make sure that it is nice and hot.  Either cooking method means you have to place the fish over the heat and leave it there for about three minutes and then turn.  The fish should feel firm to the touch when it is down and be white.

Avocado – the fresher the better – mash it up into a paste or cut it into chunks whatever you prefer.  Squeeze a little lime juice over the avocado.

Fresh salsa or pico de gallo. 

FRESH cilantro

Flour tortillas.  You can use corn tortillas, but it is my opinion that the flour tortillas are better.  They have a mellower taste so the freshness of the fish and other ingredients can shine.

All that is left is to put it all together.  A couple ounces of fish, a few tablespoons of the fresh avocado with lime juice, the fresh salsa and cilantro. Roll it up and enjoy.  Serve it with beer or a margarita or fresh brewed ice tea.   Say a prayer of thanks and take a big bite. YUMMY

2. Blackened Fish Tortilla – these are so good you may not be able to talk while you are eating

Once again you need a nice sturdy and hardy fish.  Halibut or tilapia works well.  You want a fish that can stand up to being cooked and not flake, but also one that does not have a strong taste

Season the fish with blackening spice.  I like Paul Proudhon’s.  It can be found in any decent grocery store in the spice isle and he has one especially for fish.  You can also make your own.  Basic ingredients are Cayenne pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion, paprika, white pepper and some star anise.  Feel free to add or delete anything.  Always remember that recipes are suggestions and you are the cook.

Season the fish on both sides and cook it in a case iron pan.  Make sure the pan is hot hot hot.  It should be smoking when you put the fish in so make sure the fan is on as you do not want to set off your fire alarm.  Once again your fish should be cooked in 7-12 minutes depending on the size of the fish and the temperature of the pan.

The topping for this is an apple, pear and chipolte honey sauce.  Very easy to make and so good you may want to make a lot because it is possible that you might just consume the whole thing standing at the stove “testing it”.  For a basic batch, peel, chop and core two apples and two pears.  It is important to peel the fruit otherwise the skin may be really chewy and hard to eat.  Put the apples and the pears in a pot with a few tablespoons of water and a few tablespoons of honey.  Just enough to make sure all the fruit is covered.  You can always add more if needed.  Next add a jar of chipolte peppers.  Before you add the peppers drain the jar and chop up the peppers into small pieces.  Chipolte peppers are jalapeno peppers that have been smoked.  The smaller the pieces the better.  Also buy a small jar.  You want about a 1/3 of peppers to the apple/pear ratio.  Let it all cook and simmer together for about 10-15 minutes and remove from the stove.  Test it – depending on the time of year you may need to add a few teaspoons of sugar.  If you do put the sugar in, put it in slowly and make sure it dissolves.

In this recipe you really want to use the flour tortillas.  They mellow everything else out a little.  If you are trying to up the vitamins and nutrients you can garnish with some FINELY chopped cabbage – make sure it is FINELY chopped.  It will give your taco a little more texture and is also very good for you.

Once again you are ready to assemble.

Tortilla – fish – chutney – cabbage if desired and then a prayer of thanks a big bite and a bigger sip of beer.

Enjoy!

Source:
1. 12 Fish Taco Recipes – Cooking Light
2. Sacred Heart Diet Plan Review
3. Easy Fish Tacos Recipe – Chowhound

Image Credit
cdn-image.foodandwine.com

Eggs the Perfect Diet Food

Once shunned by consumers concerned about their health, the egg has been redeemed by recent research that shows the benefits of eating eggs far outweigh any negative effects.

According to an article at purehealthmd.com, eggs have been given a bum rap, but actually are one of the most nutrient rich foods anyone can eat. Eggs are a good source of protein, vitamin A, potassium and many B vitamins. The egg contains diverse nutrients specifically needed for brain function and healthy nerves. However, because fats have been blamed in recent years for increased risk of heart disease and other health problems, consumers reduced or eliminated eggs from their diets. But eaten in moderation, eggs are an exceptional source of nutrients needed for good health. Eggs contain almost every nutrient known to be essential to humans.

Carotenoid nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, contained in eggs, may help prevent diseases that affect the eyes, such as macular degeneration. The nutrients also contribute to a lower risk of developing cataracts.

All nine essential amino acids are found in one egg. An added benefit is that one egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein, needed by the body to build, maintain and repair cells and produce enzymes, hormones and antibodies.

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. Other studies have found eating eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.

Choline, a nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and the cardiovascular system, is found in eggs. One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline, making eggs a good source of the nutrient.

One egg contains 5 grams of fat, which includes 1.5 grams of saturated fat. The fat contained in eggs is the good kind of fat. Studies show moderate consumption of eggs does not negatively impact cholesterol. Two eggs per day do not affect a person’s lipid profile and may improve it.

Eggs contain natural Vitamin D, a nutrient needed by the body to combat many diseases. Research now shows Vitamin D plays a role in preventing fractures, aging, heart disease, diabetes, and other maladies. Vitamin D is made naturally in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, but also is contained in foods such as eggs. The vitamin, which actually is a hormone, regulates hundreds of genes. Some genes involve the immune system and the body’s defenses against viruses.

One recent study showed women who consumed at least 6 eggs per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 44%. Another study, reported by Wellsphere (stanford.wellsphere.com) showed that choline, found in eggs, when consumed by pregnant women, may help prevent or reduce breast cancer in daughters.

Eating eggs also can contribute to improved health of hair and nails. Eggs have a high sulphur content and many vitamins and minerals that are needed for healthy hair and nails. Those deficient in sulphur or B12 may find their hair grows faster when they make eggs a regular part of their diet.

Cooksrecipes.com cited a number of studies that have shown eggs to contribute to a healthy diet and provide a number of benefits. The recent studies, from 2006 and 2008 articles in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the European Journal of Nutrition, the Nutrition Bulletin of the British Nutrition Foundation, the International Journal of Obesity, the Journal of Gerontology, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, refute prior claims that eating eggs is unhealthy. The studies showed:

Older adults who eat the most high-quality protein lose less lean muscle than those who do not. One source of high-quality animal protein is eggs.

Choline and betaine, found in eggs, salmon, broccoli, and cauliflower, may help reduce risk of inflammation in cardiovascular diseases, bone loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

Eggs should not be excluded from dietary advice for weight loss. Two eggs per day did not have a negative effect on blood cholesterol.

Dietary cholesterol intake may be associated with increases in lean mass after strength training.

There are exceptions to the recommendations to eat eggs regularly. Those who have a medical condition or allergy that may be affected by consuming eggs should consult a doctor before making eggs a part of their diet. But for most individuals, eating eggs will not only provide a great tasting meal, but will give health a boost. Give eggs a try with the following recipes.

Cooksrecipes.com offered the following recipe in its category for egg recipes:

Breakfast Burritos (2 servings)

2 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack, cheddar or Swiss cheese
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons salsa

Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Place tortillas on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and tortillas just begin to brown. Meanwhile, beat eggs with hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add eggs and scramble. Just before mixture is set, stir in salsa. Divide eggs between tortillas. Add green onions and salsa. Roll up and serve immediately.

Another quick egg breakfast recipe is offered by eggs.ca.com, a site that also is a source of egg history and other egg-related information:

Ratatouille and Scrambled Eggs (4 servings)

Cooking spray
1 large potato, peeled, diced and cooked (about 1 cup/250 mL)
1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup/250 mL)
4 small zucchini, diced (about 4 cups/1 L)
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced (about 1/2 cup/125 mL)
1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 eggs
12 cup skim milk

Spray a large non-stick skillet generously with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add potato, onion and zucchini and saut until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in diced tomato, oregano, salt and pepper; keep warm.

Whisk eggs with milk in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Spray a 10-inch (25 cm) non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in egg mixture and reduce heat to medium-low. As mixture begins to set, gently move spatula across bottom and sides of skillet to form large, soft curds. Cook until eggs are set but still moist.

Divide scrambled eggs between 4 warm plates. Top each plate with an equal amount of ratatouille.

Source:
1. 6 Reasons Why Eggs Are The Healthiest Food on The Planet
2. South Beach Diet Phase 2: Benefits, Tips, and Reviews
3. Are Eggs Really Nature's Perfect Food? – Huffington Post

Image Credit
www.leaderpost.com

Delicious Side Dishes

Here is a great side dish with potatoes, pesto, and sun-dried tomatoes. Below this recipe is a recipe for homemade pesto. This is cooked in a slow cooker (crock pot) and serves approx 4-6.

3 Tbls olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup oil-packed or reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold or other all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pesto, homemade or store bought
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Heat 2 Tbls of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and cook 1 minute longer; set aside.

Lightly oil a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker. Arrange one half of the potatoes in the bottom of the insert. Top with half of the onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and dot with half of the pesto. Top with a layer of the remaining potatoes, the remaining onion mixture, and the remaining pesto and season again (if you wish) with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low for approx 6 hours until the potatoes are tender.

In a small skillet, toast the bread crumbs in the remaining 1 Tbls olive oil over medium hat until golden brown. Set aside.

When you are ready to serve, top evenly with the bread crumbs.

Recipe for pesto:

2 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the garlic and pine nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the basil, salt and pepper to taste and process until ground into a paste. With the machine running, stream in the olive oil through the feed tube, processing until well blended.

Source:
1. side dish Archives – Damn Delicious
2. Is Tea A Diuretic
3. Side Dish Recipes – Allrecipes.com

Image Credit
www.mystargames.com

Classic Pot Roast Recipe

Everyone should have a few classic, comfort food recipes in their arsenal. Classic Pot Roast with the traditional trimmings should be close to the top of the list. If the phrase Pot Roast brought to mind a picture of almost black, curling, tough meats, then you have not had good pot roast.

Good pot roast needs to cook for several hours, so using a slow-cooker is highly recommended.  The meal can be started in the morning and be ready at dinner time, which fits most people’s busy schedules.  The ingredients cook together all day to create the perfect blend of tastes.  Make sure your slow-cooker is large enough for the roast to sit on the bottom.  If needed, cut the raw roast into several pieces and arrange on the bottom.

Ingredients

There are several types of beef roast favored by pot roast chefs; chuck roast, round roast and rump roast are a few.  Any type of boneless roast works well with this recipe.  Chuck roast is often recommended as the marbling produces a juicy roast.  Usually plan on 4-6 ounces (uncooked) per person.

Potatoes and carrots are also needed.  Idaho Baker potatoes are the traditional choice for classic pot roast.  Plan on 2-3 small potatoes per serving.  You can either select fresh carrots or packaged baby carrots.  Never substitute canned potatoes or carrots.

Gravy can either be made from the drippings or you can use prepared brown gravy if you prefer.

Preparation

Allow the roast to thaw before cooking.  Place a large skillet on the range, sprinkle liberally with seasoning salt, garlic powder and onion powder.  Place the roast in the skillet and turn on to medium heat.  Leave for at least 5 minutes to brown on each side.

While the roast is browning, wash and peal the potatoes and carrots (if using fresh instead of bagged baby carrots).  Cut the pealed potatoes into 1 ½” cubes.  Cut the carrots into pieces no longer than 1 inch.

When the roast is browned in the skillet, turn on the slow-cooker.  Add about ½ cup water to the bottom.  Add any additional seasonings to the water as it will steam into the ingredients as they cook.  Layer the ingredients starting with the roast on the bottom, then the potatoes and finally, the carrots on top.  Put the lid on tight and allow cooking for at least 7 hours.  It is almost impossible to overcook this recipe in a slow-cooker.

A few modifications

If you wish to add mushrooms or pearl onions to the mix, place them on top of the roast, and then add the potatoes.  Flavor can be added by using half wine and half water, or for a very moist roast, use Coke instead of water. 

Source:
1. Classic Beef Pot Roast Recipe | MyRecipes.com
2. Banana Cranberry Pancake Recipe
3. Recipe Classic Pot Roast with Root Vegetables – Cook's Illustrated

Image Credit
www.edmontonjournal.com

Can you tell me how to Make the Perfect Yorkshire Pudding

I may be a Lancashire Lass but I still make a good Yorkshire pudding, if I say so myself!

Yorkshire Pudding, as the name indicates, were created in Yorkshire, England. They were originally cooked under a spit were the meat cooked in the ‘dripping’ ( the fats) from the roast meat, it was always served prior to the meal with gravy in order to fill up the family so that they ate less of the more expensive meat – Yorkshire people don’t have a reputation for being thrifty for nothing!

Traditionally served with roast beef, Yorkshire Puddings have now become a popular addition to any roast meat or poultry. A perfect traditional Yorkshire Puddings needs to be well-risen, golden brown in colour and should have a good crisp outside and soft middle that will soak up all the rich gravy that is served with it.

So just what are the secrets of making the perfect Yorkshire Pudding?

The one BIG secret about getting a perfect, well risen and light Yorkshire Pudding lies in the temperature of the oven and also in pre heating the oven. The puddings rise because of the steam produced in the oven so they need steady and direct heat. Also you must not take the puddings out of the oven too early, if they are not crisp enough on the outside where the eggs and flour will set to make the crispy edging they will deflate and you will end up with pancakes instead of puddings.

Another factor is that the tin or tins that you pour your batter in should contain smoking hot oil so that the pudding begins to set almost immediately on entering the tin.

One more thing – and a mistake that many people make – never use SR flour or any raising agent in your batter mix – rather than making the puddings rise this will result in flat and soggy puddings not the tall, crisp light ones that you are aiming for.

YORKSHIRE PUDDING RECIPE

 Serves 4 people

 Ingredients

 2 medium eggs

6fl oz skimmed milk

4oz plain flour

½ teaspoon salt

Vegetable oil or meat dripping for cooking

 Method

 1. Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, Gas mark 7.

2. Put a little vegetable oil or beef dripping in either a shallow baking tin,a  4-hole

3. Yorkshire pudding tin or a 12-hole cake tin and put into the oven until smoking hot.

4. Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl and season with the salt.

5. Gradually add the milk until the batter is the consistency of thick double cream.

6. Leave to stand for at least an hour, at room temperature and NOT in the refigerator.

7. Just before putting in the oven whisk the eggs until light and frothy and add to the mixture and whisk until smooth.

8. Carefully remove the hot tin from the oven and pour in the batter.

9. Cook for 30 minutes or until the puddings are well risen, golden brown and nice and crisp.

 Now all you have to do is sit back and take all the praises you get from your family for your perfect Yorkshire Puddings!

Source:
1. Best Yorkshire puddings | BBC Good Food
2. NutriSystem Cost
3. How To Make Yorkshire Puddings | Jamie Oliver – YouTube

Image Credit
static.theglobeandmail.ca

Beer Reviews Rogue Chocolate Stout

If you’re accustomed to drinking only American light lagers, then the following beer may be a bit of a challenge to you. Why? Chances are you think of beer as a drink you can readily enjoy while mowing the lawn or watching a baseball game on a 90+ degree afternoon. There are those beers, of course, but this isn’t one of them. Likewise, you’d probably never associate a beer with dessert either. Just the thought of cracking open a Miller Lite to drink alongside your death by chocolate cake seems a bit …well … sickening, doesn’t it? If you’re this person, I encourage you to think outside the can. Beer is food. And as we all know, some food is better than other food.

Rogue’s Chocolate Stout is truly one of my favorite American-made craft beers. I often enjoy this beer with a big chunk of Belgian dark chocolate, a brownie or that killer chocolate cake you’d only otherwise reserve for a tall glass of milk. But more often than not, I like it all by itself. A finely crafted stout with truly amazing flavors, Rogue’s Chocolate stout is a dessert in and of itself.

Here’s my review:

Poured into a standard pint glass from a 22oz bottle. This beer pours a mostly opaque jet black with deep brown accents. Hot cocoa-colored, thick head. Didn’t last long … reemerges when swirled in the pint, leaving streaks of lacing in the inner rim. The nose is initially not as strong or as robust as I would have expected. Then I realized I hadn’t let this bottle adjust to the proper serving temp before pouring. This beer gets better as it warms. The aromas come to life and entice you to take a sip. Quite simply, this beer smells of dark chocolate … almost as if I were holding a pint full of melted baker’s chocolate. Possibly a hint of hop notes in there somewhere, swimming in a sea of rich cocoa. Honestly, one sip of this offering from Rogue and I am instantly in love with this brew. It is, by far, the very best chocolate stout I have ever been honored to sample. Absolutely sinfully good. I am drinking it as I write and am quite literally overwhelmed with dark chocolate heaven … again, as if I am drinking melted baker’s chocolate in a glass, yet without the cloying effect that would be sure to have. . NOT overly sweet, and I do taste the presence of some hops in there to balance the flavor profile. The Rogue guys have outdone themselves with this one. Almost pure chocolate flavor here … to the point you almost need to remind yourself this is a beer. The mouthfeel is not overly thick, although it does become heavier as the beer warms in my hand. I actually appreciate that this stout doesn’t bruise your palate with overly thick, heavy body that leaves you desiring something that more closely resembles liquid. Not only the very best tasting chocolate stout I’ve ever had, but also clearly the most drinkable. You could drink these all night if given the chance … and oh how I’d like the chance. The more I drink it, the more I’m grateful that this beer isn’t too heavy which would limit how much I could tolerate at a sitting. Drink this one alone at least once, in order to fully appreciate what the Rogue folks have done here. Then, by all means, try it with a rich chocolate dessert, or perhaps some ice cream for a great food pairing. This beer is a MUST DRINK for chocolate lovers and/or stout lovers. You’ll likely be both when you’ve drained your pint. Exceptional beer.

Fortunately, this beer is available in wide distribution as well. Here in Southern Illinois, you can find it at most of the larger beer retailers in the 22oz bomber size. If you’re looking to expand your beer horizons, look no further than Rogue Chocolate Stout. A terrific diversion from the norm …especially if the norm is water-down pale lagers.

Source:
1. Chocolate Stout | Rogue Ales | BeerAdvocate
2. Sacred Heart Diet for Losing Weight
3. Rogue Chocolate Stout – RateBeer

Image Credit
www.thepostgame.com

Best way to Share a Restaurant Bill with others

Dining out with others, especially a larger group, can result in some uncertainty about how to divide the bill at the end of the meal.  There are two simple ways to share a restaurant bill with others.  Both require having an understanding upfront about the nature of the dining out experience and what the expectations might be.  An easy way to save confusion and embarrassment right from the start is to ask the waiter or waitress for separate checks, if the intention is to have everyone take responsibility for their own meal.  Many restaurants are more than happy to accommodate you if you make your request at the time of ordering. 

If you neglect to make this request upfront, or if this particular restaurant has a policy against separate checks, it is sometimes best to simply divide the check equally among the diners when the bill comes at the end of the meal.  If you dine with the same people often, there is no need to worry about everybody paying their fair share; it all evens out eventually.

There are some potential problems that can come into play if you decide to divide the bill equally at the end of the meal.  If one person dines on a salad and another orders the prime rib and lobster dinner special, there is certain to be inequity in the division of charges.  In this case, the person ordering the larger, more expensive meal should voluntarily speak up and offer to cover his or her own disproportional share of the bill.  In the event the offending party appears oblivious to the higher cost of his meal, it is not at all inappropriate to point out the difference to him.  Just do so discretely or with a casual comment about the high market price of specialty menu items.

Occasionally, in the situation where a couple is dining out together on a semi-formal dating type of arrangement, there may be confusion about who should pick up the bill.  Tradition suggests this is the province of the man to treat at dinner but modern day male/female relationships have moved away from this scenario quite a bit.  Today, women are willing and often insistent on paying their own way in their social circles.  Dining out in the dating world is often handled as “Dutch treat” where each party pays their own way.  Another option to this scenario is for the man to pick up the bill one time and the woman to pick up the bill on the next outing, alternating back and forth.

The critical point when dining out and paying the bill is that you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you or other members of your dinner party are embarrassed.  In order to avoid that happening, it is always best to reach an agreement ahead of time.  If someone is willing to pick up the tab for the others, courtesy and good manners suggests that this is made clear before anyone places an order for their food.     

Source:
1. Going Dutch
2. Cantaloupe vs. Honeydew
3. How to Split the Bill When Eating Out with Your Friends

Image Credit
i.ytimg.com

Beer Reviews old Tom Barleywine

Remember how I told you I brought home some beers from Yorkshire?
Yes? No? Does it matter?

Well, I did. And one of these beers was Old Tom.

Old Tom is brewed by Robinsons, of Stockport in Cheshire. Dating back to 1838, they remain a family business – the family being the Robinsons, I expect.
They produce a range of ales, including: Double Hop, Unicorn (named after the pub where it all started) and Hartleys XB which they supply to over 400 tied Pubs in North West England and North Wales.

Old Tom is brewed using: pale and crystal malt, a small amount of chocolate malt and caramel is used for colour. Goldings whole hops, and a small amount of Northdown hops are used. It’s dry hopped in the cask with Goldings pellets.

THEY SAY:
” A heady, vinous aromas of dark fruit. Booming balance of ripe malt and peppery hops; deep port wine finish with bitter hops balance. A dark, rich and warming superior barley wine.”

OLD TOM pours a slightly hazy, rich and deep mahogany colour with little more than half an inch of tight, off-white foam that’s slow to dissipate, but doesn’t leave an awful lot of lace on the glass.

The aroma of is of dark, vinous fruit – raisins, dates, prunes etc, with sweet malt and hints of caramel and chocolate. It’s a little estery, and the alcohol is noticeable on the nose too. It’s quite bready and treacly and almost has the feel of a fruit-cake. Quite a substantial malt aroma, but there’s not a lot of hops evident.

It’s full-bodied and has a smooth mouth feel. The taste, as with the aroma, is initially of sweet malt and dark fruit – prunes and dates, but it turns a little thinner midway and the alcohol kicks in. The treacly, molasses-type flavour is there, but not quite so prominent as in the aroma. The hops finally make an appearance towards the finish with a late, nippy bitterness and a fairly dry aftertaste.

At 8.5% ABV, this is a decent enough barley wine but it’s not up there with the best. It’s certainly complex enough, and there’s no shortage of different flavours and aromas to keep you interested, but I thought it just a little heavy-handed, alcohol-wise. I like beers that nudge the 7-8-9% mark, but I don’t want the alcohol taste to be so up front. Subtlety’s the key.
Having said that, it’s still a nice beer and would be ideally suited to drinking on a chilly Winter’s evening (or an afternoon in the middle of August around here!).
As it’s a barley wine, it would probably be better suited as a dessert beer than a meal accompaniment, but who am I to tell you what, or what not to eat. Or indeed when and what/who with. Or where. Or why…

As for availability, according to their website, Robinsons say that this beer is available on draught at many of their pubs and as a guest ale elsewhere – I wouldn’t know. I bought mine in a small off-licence and paid 1.99 for a 275ml bottle. Not exactly cheap, but you’d expect a higher ABV beer to be that little bit more expensive.

Would I drink it again? – To be purrfectly honest, maybe.

Source:
1. Robinson's Old Tom Strong Ale | Robinsons Family Brewers …
2. Kraft Dinner
3. Old Tom | Frederic Robinson Limited | BeerAdvocate

Image Credit
www.beersofeurope.co.uk

5 Reasons for not Tipping in a Restaurant

When dining out a tip of 15 – 20% of the total bill to the waiter or waitress is customary; a generous way of showing appreciation for good service. Many patrons have worked as a waiter or waitress themselves sometime in their distant past and have empathy for the hard work and low wages inherent in the job. Most restaurant personnel are eager to earn tips and give excellent service, thus making your dining experience more enjoyable.

The amount of the tip a patron gives is often a subtle message about the service. If your experience was just so-so, you might give a lower tip of perhaps 10%. If the service was extraordinary, then you might opt to give the higher end of 20% or sometimes even more.

There are some situations when there is good reason for not tipping  at all.

Five reasons not to tip:

* When the gratuity is built in

When your check arrives, it is wise to look it over for evidence of a built in gratuity. In some establishments, the management adds in a percent of your total bill, often 20%, and it is not necessary to give even more on top of what you have already paid.

* When it is serve yourself

If you are eating at a buffet or all-you-can-eat food bar and are essentially waiting on yourself, it is not necessary to leave a tip. The exception would be if one employee is assigned to provide drinks to your table or hovers nearby in the event you need something additional and fetches it for you. In that case, a small tip to that specific individual would be appropriate, if you feel so inclined.

* If the waiter performs his job poorly

If your waiter or waitress is not up to par with service then certainly you will not want to leave a tip. If the food is cold when it is brought to you, or the waiter is nowhere to be found when you need something, or creates any other disturbance to your enjoyment of a peaceful dining experience, you have no obligation to pay additional monies on top of the bill for your food. Restaurant personnel know that performance results in good tips , but there is the occasional bad experience.

* If the waiter is rude or disrespectful

The service might be exemplary, but if the waiter’s attitude is rude, sarcastic or disrespectful in any way, that is unacceptable and undeserving of a tip. Bear in mind that if you reward poor service you are doing a disservice to other patrons who might encounter that ill-mannered waiter or waitress. A better course of action is to waive leaving a tip and notify the manager of the unacceptable behavior.

* Shift change

If there is a shift change in the middle of your meal, you do not want to leave a tip. The person clearing the table will not be the person who extended you the service. A better option is to leave the gratuity with the manager, specifying who it is intended for, if you are not comfortable foregoing the tip totally.

It is always a good idea to make note of the name of your server when you sit down, for there is no way of predicting the outcome of your experience. Never feel obligated to give a reward unless it is truly deserved.

On the other hand, if the service is exemplary, but the food is of poor quality, the environment is unsanitary, or any other situation occurs that is out of the control of your waiter or waitress, I would suggest leaving a tip in appreciation of that person’s conscientious behavior, and communicating your overall displeasure with the establishment directly to the manager or owner.

Source:
1. Why You Should Stop Tipping – Reasons Not To Tip – Thrillist
2. Magic Bullet Reviews
3. 9 Reasons We Should Abolish Tipping, Once And For All

Image Credit
images1.houstonpress.com