An Autumn Feast

Most people move to red wine thoughts when the weather cools down but when I saw this recipe in Garden & Gun, I knew it was a perfect pairing with our Lightning CdP Blanc.  The lemon in the sauce just pops and pairs with the wine and the vibrant acidity in the wine balances out the creaminess of the sauce.  A fabulous Autumn pairing!

Spaghetti Squash With Kale and Pecorino Romano Cream  

Scrape seeds from a halved squash. Roast at 350°F, cut sides down on sheet pan, for 15 to 20 minutes. Rest 10 minutes. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a sauté pan over medium. Add ½ tsp. chile flakes, 4 cups chopped kale, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. butter, and ½ tsp. salt. Cook 3 to 5 minutes. In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. butter over medium-low. Add 2 tsp. each minced shallot and garlic. Sweat them for 5 minutes, then add 2 cups heavy cream. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in ½ cup grated pecorino Romano, ¼ tsp. sherry vinegar, ¼ tsp. salt, and pinch of pepper. Use fork to scrape squash to form strands. Add to pan with kale, and toss with 1 cup of sauce. Top with chopped toasted walnuts and parsley.

Bon Appétit – xxoo Brooke


Vineyard Visit | Harvest 2017

El Dorado County |  Grape Growers: Chuck & Ron Mansfield |  Grenache, Piquepoul, Grenache Blanc

Chuck and Ron Mansfield know what they’re doing. There is no denying that.
The fruit looked great and it’s always a bonus to snack on some of the “extra fancy” tree fruit they grow through Gold Bud Farms.

Adult Field Trips are the Best – XXOO – Brooke

Another Bottle Down: Listen to Randy!

“Check out this week’s podcast with Randy Hester from Lightning Wines and C.L. Butaud Wines from KOOP Radio. Randy has been in Napa for the past 10 years working for some iconic winemakers and making his own wine. Now he’s forging his path in TX. Randy is betting on TX wine, check out what he believes the potential of TX wine to be, all from a Napa perspective.”

Listen here.

Keep it classy.

The way any classy lady carries her wine roadie with her. Click here to see all styles!


Margarita Four Ways

I heart margaritas.

I celebrated my 21st with a pitcher of margaritas over Thanksgiving lunch.

I’ve embraced margaritas at Chili’s (Chambord float), On the Border (yes, we had a collection of goblets in college), Chuy’s (in younger years, I loved the Strawberry Dot; I currently prefer the Mexican Martini), and any happy hour I could find in college. I’ve even tried Skinny Girl margaritas (the branded ones + the ones they have on the menu to make you feel better.) And the mixologists at The Corner in Napa and the team at Maya in Sonoma do me right every time.

Cheers to my favorite margaritas this summer!…….XXOO Brooke

Kate Spade lime clutch + Avocado Margarita Recipe.


Margarita float at Urban Outfitters.

Currently, my favorite Margarita – the Sangrita at Hopdoddy

Martha Stewart’s Margarita Sno Cones (yes, they are alcoholic).

Bar Hopping with Lightning || The Volstead Lounge, AustinTX

Taxidermy and metallic gold wallpaper? I felt my heart skip a beat.

The Volstead Lounge in ATX is a moody dive with an excellent happy hour – and the neighboring Hotel Vegas has the tunes.
Cheap drinks in this old brothel get a thumbs up from me.

The pluses: Great happy hour, a burger food-truck outside, aardvark head on the wall.
The minuses: Tiny ladies room, and the drunk girl who tried to kick down the wall on the outside patio. (But is that really a minus? It really chalks up to great people watching!)

XXOO Brooke



#fridayiminlove…..with The Cactus Jungle

I’ve been obsessing lately over cacti. I had to be talked down from buying a $100 cactus for my living room (yeah, yeah, so it won’t get the heat and sun it deserves…I just wanted to look at it!).  The experts at The Cactus Jungle  in Berkeley have you covered. Check them out if you need a succulent fix….

Image may contain: plant and outdoor

XXOO – Brooke

Cocktails by Lightning

Randy’s favorite toddies served up at Lightning HQ happy hour.

Randy is partial to the Sazerac. He first had the drink at the Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Bar in New Orleans. The simple – but specific flavors – make this one of his favorite drinks to whip up.

Randy’s recipe below……

Ingredients: For 2 drinks
• ½ oz. simple syrup, or one tsp. sugar + water
• 5 good dashes Scrappy’s Creole bitters
• 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters
• 3 oz. Rittenhouse rye whiskey
• Splash of Herbsaint, Absinthe, Pastis, or one drop of licorice bitters
• Lemon zest peel (some twist, but I prefer more of a peel using a potato peeler)

1. Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice; set aside to chill
2. Fill shaker with ice, add first four ingredients, and stir
3. Empty the old-fashioned glass and add splash of Herbsaint
4. Coat the inside of the glass and discard (or not, I like that flavor)
5. Strain the shaker contents into the old fashioned glass
6. Rub the zest around the rim and drop it in

Traditionalists will say that the lemon twist should be squeezed over the drink to release its essences but that the twist should not be dropped into the glass itself.  Personally, I like to see it, and I like to smell it, so it goes in.

Sip, don’t slurp! XXOO Brooke