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

B Lightning in the Kitchen

Although I’m not much of a cook, I do have a few winning recipes I pull out when in the mood.  One of them is a soup from Paul Prudhomme that is just perfect for the fall and winter holidays.  Years ago in Houston, I saw him demo this recipe at a specialty grocery store, took the recipe with me and made it that holiday for my family. It was – and still is – a crowd pleaser.

Recommended pairing – LIGHTNING CdP Blanc.

Leek, Sun Dried Tomato, Champagne and Shiitake Mushroom Bisque5189rlb-grl-_sx368_bo1204203200_

  • 2 pounds leeks
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomato pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1½ tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Salt
  • 4 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup champagne (or dry sparkling wine), in all (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (salt-free)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated Gouda cheese

Trim the dark green leaves from the leeks (leaving the white and light green parts) and the root ends of the leeks and discard.
Split the remaining white part of the leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly under running water, making sure that all dirt and debris is removed from between the sections. Slice the leek halves crosswise into very thin half rounds. You should have about 3 cups

Soften the sun-dried tomatoes in warm water. When they are soft, drain and cut in small julienne strips.

In a medium sized pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the leeks and onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are wilted and transparent, about 8 minutes. Add the Magic Seasoning Blend and stir well. Continue to cook until the seasoning begins to darken slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the shiitake mushrooms and the julienned sun dried tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms begin to darken, about 4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the champagne and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot to dissolve any browned bits on the bottom. Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium low heat until the flavors of the soup are married, about 20 minutes.

Add the cream, stir well and return to a boil. Simmer until the soup has reduced slightly, about 10 minutes. Gradually add the cheese, stirring constantly until all the cheese has melted and dissolved. Add the remaining champagne and stir briefly.
Remove from heat and serve.

After you clean all those leeks, sit back and soak up the compliments – XXOO Brooke