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Sunday  June 26, 2016

How to Make a Peachy Sour!

We’re away from Los Angeles for another girl’s weekend at our friend’s compound in San Diego and as usual, raiding her fruit bearing trees for delicious cocktails. After all, what better way to compliment the swimming, long lunches, and late talks than drinks made from freshly squeezed produce?

Summer is finally here along with some fantastic warm weather. It has been a long and chilly winter and spring along the SoCal coast, so some 80°+ June days makes us really quite happy.

Cheers to poolside cocktails with great friends this summer!

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Peachy Sour
1.5 ounces silver tequila
1.5 ounces banana rum
½ ounce peach syrup
3 ounces homemade sweet & sour
Fresh peach garnish

Directions
Fill a martini shaker with ice. Add each ingredient and strain into a bucket glass filled with ice. Garnish with a peach and serve.

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Monday  June 13, 2016

The Restaurant Diaries: Page Two

The names of the people and businesses in this blog series have been changed to protect their identities and the integrity of this project.

A lot about this project is catch-22. You can’t get the business plan together until you have an idea of the cost of remodeling. You can’t raise the funds for the remodeling until you convince the investors it’s a good idea. You can’t really persuade the investors until you show them the design idea. And the idea costs money.

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In Santa Monica, we met with the design team we think we’d like to work with. They were updated about where we are in the process and what timeline we envision following..though it’s a very loose timeline at this point. Then they walked us through a Power Point presentation of projects they have recently completed and are currently working on so that we could get a sense of their ability to transform a place.

Then we got more specific with what they envision for our location. We already knew that they want to take down a wall and open the restaurant up to the street. But we didn’t know how they envisioned taking this dark and dingy dive bar into 2016.

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The mood board that they showed us gave us chills. It represents exactly what we want: honor the old style while bringing in something new and updated. It has a California vibe with a clear southwest accent. The black vinyl booths would be replaced with real leather. The random (bad) art on the walls would be tossed in exchange for old local photos of the surrounding city. The log cabin themed bar stools would be swapped out with backless barstools made of dark wood. The place would truly be transformed.

We left their offices having a new visual reference, and feeling hopeful that this might all actually come to a reality.

Previous Entries
The Restaurant Diaries: Page One



Monday  June 6, 2016

6 Tips for Throwing the Ultimate Bourbon Tasting Party

Throwing a bourbon tasting party is fun, easy, and appropriate for any and all seasons. We recently co-hosted a tasting for a group of forty people in the back yard of a beautiful Los Angeles home, and thought we’d share a few tips for planning one of your own.

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  1. Choose Your Brands There are many options when it comes to choosing your brands. First, you need to decide if you’ll be conducting a vertical or a horizontal tasting. A vertical tasting means that you stay within the same brand. For example, we poured samples from Four Roses bourbons to give people a sense of the differences between one company’s products. A horizontal tasting includes different brands. You might choose to stay with bourbons made in Kentucky, or to sample brands produced from other states. You can choose to stay with 40% ABV, or move up to 45% and 50%. Mashbill can also play a part in your selection. Decide if you want to serve bourbons with similar amounts of corn, rye, barley, etc. There has to be a presence of at least 51% corn to be considered American bourbon, but that remaining 49% can vary greatly between brands.FullSizeRender-73
  2. Plan Your Budget The cost of bourbons vary depending on age, availability, and demand. Plan to spend $30 to $80 per bottle for a collection of well-established brands like Four Roses. You can also book-end your tasting with bottles that start at $100, but that’s entirely up to you. Remember that there are about twenty-five ounces of liquid in a 750 ml bottle. Since we wanted to pour each person a one-ounce tasting from each bottle, we needed at least two bottles of each label to cover everyone. That being said, one ounce may not seem like a lot, but if you’re pouring five flights, it adds up. Consider pouring ½ to ¾ ounce flights to stretch the bottles and not overload people too quickly.FullSizeRender-81
  3. Create a Signature Drink When your guests arrive, they will want to socialize a bit before sitting down for the tasting. Create a signature bourbon drink that your guests can sip while waiting for the main event to begin. We recommend creating a light drink with a lower ABV and not too much added sugar. Our drink of the night was the Delta Infusion, a recipe from our latest cocktail book, Cocktails for Cougars & Cowgirls and made with Four RosesThe bartender mixed two ounces of the Delta Infusion with two ounces of club soda for a refreshing aperitif. Might we add that it was a real hit! FullSizeRender-78
  4. Build the Dining Menu If your tasting will take place before dinner, which we recommend, provide your guests with a few appetizers upon arrival. Our event was catered with Southern food, including tray-passed appetizers like mini pulled-pork sliders and mac & cheese bites. However, you can do it all on your own to keep costs down and quality up and your event will still be as special. Offering appetizers that are higher in fat, like mixed nuts and cheese is also a good idea before serving high-proof alcohol. But your dinner menu can be anything you dream up! Bourbon pairs well with leafy salads, grilled vegetables, barbecued meats, grilled fish, and chocolatey desserts. Check out the food section of Southern Living if you need inspiration.FullSizeRender-75
  5. Find Your Bourbon Guide You don’t need to be an expert to guide your friends through a successful bourbon tasting. You just need to do your homework in advance. The websites for the brands you’ve selected offer loads of information, ranging from the history of the label to the tasting notes to the mashbill. If you’re set on having a professional do the talking, you’ve got two other options. The first is to call the label and ask if there’s a brand ambassador in the area to come and conduct the education part. The other option is to choose labels offered by the same distributor, and ask the distributor if there is a local rep who can guide the crowd through the distillation process, and the unique properties of each bourbon.FullSizeRender-76
  6. Set the Table We had custom blue placemats created for each guest to add some extra festivity to the evening, and to provide a clear place for people to set their tasting glasses. You can design your own using a site such as Crush Tag. Besides a floral centerpiece, we also prepped the tables with small dishes of coffee beans and little glasses of distilled water, which is the closest thing to branch water. The coffee beans are needed between tastings to clear the senses. All your guests need to do is gently inhale the aroma of the beans (we prefer espresso roast), and not eat them as one guest tried to do. The water is for those who may not be accustomed to drinking bourbon and need to open it up with a couple drops. The addition of water is also nice just for the sake of comparison. The taste of a bourbon can change dramatically with just a few drops of water, as many people noted when tasting Four Roses Single Barrel.

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Planning a bourbon tasting is one of our favorite activities, and people always walk alway happy to have a new foundation of knowledge about this amazing spirit. Planning a bourbon party now and need help? Tweet us your questions! @GirlWalksIn2Bar



Tuesday  May 31, 2016

California Vacation Destination: Malibu Beach Inn

A recent wine tasting took us inside a beachfront hotel just a few miles from home on the coast of the Pacific. We’ve passed Malibu Beach Inn many times on our way up and down PCH and always had the same thought: “It would be the perfect staycation destination.” Now that we’ve had a chance to experience the hotel, we’ve confirmed that hunch.

Malibu Beach Inn Sunset

The hotel is as close to the beach as you can get. So close that when you’re sitting on the dining deck and it’s high tide, the waves are crashing right under your feet. During low tide, you can walk the stretch of Carbon Beach and see the mountains of Malibu when you’re heading north, and the the hills of Palos Verdes when facing south. However, you don’t feel like you’re anywhere close to the hustle and bustle of LA’s long-stretching coastal communities, home to hundreds of thousands of people. This little section of beach could be part of a small beach town anywhere on the West Coast.

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As you may have experienced, boutique hotels can sometimes be hit and miss. We love staying in quieter, smaller venues for their intimacy, charm, and accessible staff. But we’ve also found that with the quaintness can come the loss of the amenities we look forward to when getting away from the routines of day-to-day life. However, there are no losses at the Malibu Beach Inn.

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With only forty-five rooms, the hotel still boasts a full spa service, all day dining, and twenty-four hour room service. The wine list is outstanding and the beautiful little bar lives right behind the registration desk, beckoning you to begin relaxing without hesitation. The hotel is staffed as if there are 450 rooms and every employee is beyond friendly, and genuinely intent on making your stay as enjoyable as possible. The rooms are clean, bright, breezy, and cozy, all at the same time. It’s seriously a little gem of a spot.

We’d suggest that you roll in on a Friday and stay on campus until you absolutely have to leave. Just the thought of sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine and a good book is enough of a reason to stay put all day. But if you do want to get out and explore the world around you, the Malibu Beach Inn has put together this list of top ten “things to do in Malibu.

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Book yourself a little getaway today! Ocean view rooms range from $412 to $825. Call 1.310.651.7777 to make your reservation.



Friday  May 27, 2016

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

We hope that you and yours have a wonderful and relaxing Memorial Day weekend, filled with amazingly delicious crowd-pleasing cocktails! xoxo Jordan & Jocelyn

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!



Thursday  May 26, 2016

The Restaurant Diaries: Page One

The names of the people and businesses in this blog series have been changed to protect their identities and the integrity of this project.

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There’s this restaurant in Los Angeles that is the definition of a diamond in the rough. And it might be for sale for the right owner. And we think we might be the right owners.

It’s one of those places that you drive by all the time and never really notice it because it has been there so long. When you do happen to notice it, you think to yourself, “How does that place stay in business? Who eats there? Is it even safe to eat there?”

We approached a restaurant friend of ours, Tony, to see if he might want to pursue this whole crazy idea with us. We also talked to a close friend of ours, Jeremy, who grew up in town and would be one of the early investors with us. He was excited about the idea and said he’d definitely team with us to vet this thing and pull together a large team of investors.

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Our first job was to have dinner there. We’d all eaten there several times before of course, but when you’re dining to assess a possible investment, you look at things differently. We peeked into the kitchen, scrutinized the bathrooms, dreamed about building a better bar.

I talked with a few other customers and confirmed what we already knew: the place is supported by locals. This can be great, but you don’t want to be dependent solely on people who live in the neighborhood. And the locals who do come are a little older, and aren’t making 8:30 dinner reservations, or stopping in for after dinner drinks at 10:00 PM. They’re probably tucked in and fast asleep by 8:30.

The next step was to visit during non-business hours and to bring a design team, and a kitchen and bar designer, which we did. That all came together really quickly.

As we walked through the place, everyone agreed that there is a ton of potential. But we all also noted that it’s going to need a lot of work. Like…a lot. There was actually another group that came in about a year ago and expressed an interest to buy, but they determined that the overhaul would be too much and bowed out.

After our walk-through, we all exchanged business cards in the parking lot and planned to follow up in a week. I made an appointment to meet with the design firm in their downtown offices to discuss the cost of what the rendering will be.

At this point we are all feeling optimistic. I hope it stays that way.

Next Up: Meeting with the design firm