It Was a Good Day

The day started off well enough, an early lunch with my brothers — a couple tall Molsons on tap and a minuscule serving of seared ahi at Outback Steakhouse.

And from there, the sky was the limit.

Mike admires his Chichicapa cerveza

Mike admires his Chichicapa cerveza

Waiting around in the parking lot of my kids’ school for the bell to ring, I got a call. It was my pal Michael:

“Dude, what’re you doing?”

Mike had a beer he wanted to share with me. Not any beer, a special beer.

As profiled previously on this blog, Mike is a partner in the great mezcal producer, Del Maguey. The equally great bourbon producer, Pappy Van Winkle, had sent Del Maguey some bourbon barrels to experiment with aging their mezcals. Having aged and bottled some of their delicious Chichicapa single village mezcal in the barrels, they paid it forward and sent the barrels to the equally great Brooklyn Brewing Company, who filled the barrels with their German-style pilsner. It was this we were about to sample — an exclusive brew unavailable to the public that Brooklyn Brewing sent back to Mike and the Del Maguey folks as a gift.


Arriving just before Mike was the Fed Ex guy, an older black dude with whom I sometimes chat, with a “Perishable” box.

“Somethin’ good in there,” he said.

“Crabs, maybe?” I said hopefully.

“Man, I made some crabs the other night…” And we were off.

Turns out it was crabs inside the box — five Dungeness beauties sent by Bruce Patch as a “thank you” for our help on a new website for his beautiful new wines. But the crabs would have to wait, for Mike and his beer had arrived.

We repaired to the deck with our glasses.  I love a beverage with a story, and that was a good one. The beer was fascinating — a golden effervescent splash of malty sourness with smoky undertones that spoke both of Kentucky tobacco fields and misty Oaxacan mountain villages. It only seemed appropriate to follow the beer with a few sips of Del Maguey — although we did not have Chichicapa, we enjoyed the last of a bottle from the pueblo of San Luis del Rio.



Three beers and a couple copitas of mezcal in, it was time to depart for dinner at the home of our friends, Steve and Ashley.

Steve had been boasting about his shrimp toast dish, inspired by his Brit country mate Jamie Oliver, for months. Getting him to make the damn thing was something else altogether. But finally, it was happening.

The tasty toasts lived up to their reputation.


“Fancy a margarita?” the man inquired somewhere between the shrimp toasts and Ashley’s divine and perfectly cooked (a feat!) salmon slabs. And we were off on an adventure in search of tequila while the kids played and the wives chatted.

And that, friends, was a good day.

*    *    *

Steve’s shrimp toasts
serves 4 as an appetizer

16 large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
2 red fresno chile, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
2 tbsp. chopped ginger
1/4 cup Italian parsley sprigs
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 baguette
toasted sesame seeds

Half the baguette, and cut into 16 2-inch sections. Toast lightly.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a skilled. Cook the chiles, garlic and ginger until soft. Toss in the shrimp and parsley, stirring frequently, and cook until shrimp are plump and pink, about 2-4 minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice, toss and remove from heat.

To serve: Top each toast with a shrimp and some of the chili/ginger/garlic mixture (as in the photo). Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Leslie and Mick

Leslie and Mick

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl "Cheffie Cooks" Wiser
    Jan 29, 2016 @ 02:03:02

    Sounds like a great time!!!


  2. Trackback: The Japanese Make the Best Things | skinny girls & mayonnaise

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