thirsty thursday
notes from maggie's farm

One of the things I enjoy most about the week between Christmas and New Year's Day is the less than structured days and evenings, and the anything-goes attitude about meals.  Last night, because we've both got a week at home (not free, 'cause we're still up to our eyeballs in tamales, but off the roads, at least) we decided to try to reconstruct a cocktail I enjoyed at Maggiano's on Christmas Eve.  We then had, for dinner, I suppose you could call it, a batch of bacon crackers and horseradish dip over which we've had a great time swooning with our friends on Facebook.  It wasn't a healthy dinner.  But it was fun.  And we like to think it was work.  You know, research.

Thumbnail Review: Maggiano's
This year, my family carried our holiday get-together to Maggiano's on Christmas Eve  and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely,  rolling away after a lovely evening, stuffed to the brim with delicious Italian food.  The location itself is just beautiful...all mahogany and brass fittings, and marble tiles; I knew this place was going to have to work hard to NOT be a favorite from the well-appointed decor, upwards.  After a reservation snafu that was settled, though done so a bit wobbly, service was efficient and friendly.  We ate from the 'family style' menu, which after the successful negotiations over appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert choices, turned out to be just the perfect style for our family. Favorites included the Crispy Zucchini Fritte, the Calamari Fritte, the salads, the lemon aioli cream sauce, which I attempted to eat with every dish on the table, the Linguine and Clams with white clam sauce, and the Apple Crostada.  I was disappointed with the Chicken Picatta, which was the dish I negotiated.   I found it to be a bit bland and dry, however with that magical aioli, it made a pretty good sandwich-of-leftovers, the next day. My husband loved the Chianti-Braised Beef which really was a taste of home for his yankee self, but it's strong sweet pepper flavors met mixed reviews around the table.  In all honesty, I'm not sure if I was uninspired by the Four Cheese Ravioli, or simply too full of calamari fritte to appreciate it.  To say that the fried calamari is good is a gross understatement.  It is about the best calamari I've ever had and frankly, made me less than fully attentive to the dishes delivered afterwards. And the company, too! (Pardon me?  Did you say something?  Oh, I'm sorry.  I missed that.  Couldn't hear over my moaning.)  
Of all the dishes we tried, however it was their new signature apertif which washed it all down quite brightly, that I most wanted to reproduce at home......and I did.  Or tried to.  What we came up with was pretty darned good.  And since it's not exactly what Maggiano's served, we're calling it a collaboration and naming it....The Maggie!

An aperitif is an alcoholic drink served before a meal, sometimes as an appetizer, or accompanied with an appetizer. The drink is usually somewhat bitter, sweet or light, and serves as a warm-up or opener to a meal. Aperitif comes from the Latin aperire a verb meaning “to open.” In France, one might receive an aperitif before a meal, usually dinner, and sometimes lunch. In Italy, one would be offered an aperitivo. The former term is more commonly used in the US and in other English speaking countries. courtesy of
After some judicious sampling (which means we made sure we had no place to go for at least 8 hours....)  we settled on the following recipe:

click on the picture for a larger view

Have you ever had a cocktail that tasted a little off to you?  Maybe a margarita that didn't taste fresh?  That is the sweet and sour mixer you're tasting, I bet.  I truly dislike it and will spare you what it reminds me of, however, fresh sour is a whole new ballgame. You may already be using this in your own cocktails.  I'm kind of a neophyte at making cocktails at home so this is new to me.  I'm a fan of lemon juice, and fresh sour is nothing more than simple syrup and fresh lemon juice.  It's made itself on to my do-it-yourself cocktail must-have's:

click on the picture for a larger view

Tomorrow, we're going to tackle those bacon crackers and horseradish dip we've been going on about.  They are delicious and easy and so-retro-they're-hip, and you don't want to miss out!  They're going with us to two New Year events this weekend--that is if we can get them out of the house without devouring them ourselves.  Come back and see us!

Meanwhile, cheers!


  1. I've never been a big fan of lemon juice but the "fresh sours" is really good.

  2. Conversely, I've never been a fan of the sweet and sour mix that ruins a good margarita...this fresh sours is the savior!


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