Tag Archives: Chris Pratt

Paloma My God: Steak Tacos, Palomas & Crunch Dynasty

A good weekend requires a nap to recover.

A great weekend requires two naps.

Either I had the best weekend ever or I’m 80, because I took two naps Sunday afternoon and then fell asleep again at 7 pm. As you do.

I did have a pretty terrific weekend. My friends Lindsay, Sarah, and Anna came up to visit from North Carolina and it was just all kinds of fun. Great friends, all the food, and all the tequila. Seems like a recipe for success.

On Friday, they got in 40 minutes early than expected and banged on my back door like cops coming to do a drug bust. I jumped and shrieked a bit, because as I said earlier, I’m 80. Also, I keep a lot of illegal drugs in my house. We made beer-marinated skirt steak tacos on the grill and ate dinner on the porch. Fan living, y’all. The charred tomato salsa is oh-so-good. It’s got that slow burn from the ancho chile, but the sweetness of the charred tomato. I might have eaten the leftovers for breakfast Monday morning.

Taco bar is the best bar after alcohol bar.

Taco bar is the best bar after alcohol bar.

On Saturday, we went to a yoga class. It  was a hilariously hippy-dippy class. “Put your hand down on the ground like an angel is kissing the earth.” I don’t know what it says about me, but I really want to go back.

That afternoon, I hosted a happy hour at mine to introduce some of my North Carolina friends to some of my Richmond friends. And when I say I hosted this party, I mean I drank all the drinks while Lindsay, Sarah and Anna did a lot of the work. I mean, I prepped a lot ahead of time. But they helped so much to cook, clean, buy ice, refill water, pass out mini-Atlantic beach pies, make all the Palomas, drink all the Palomas, etc. I’m pretty sure they hosted the party more than I did. What was I doing? Holding witty, engaging sober conversation. Well, I held conversation. The Palomas were flowing, y’all.

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Double fisting like a champ.

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Another in a series of photos of me taking photos of Anna taking photos of me. I plan to do this for the rest of our lives.

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Seriously, Lindsay and Sarah did all the work. I just pointed at the ice. Photo by Becca! 

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Not pictured: tiny pies. And allllll the palomas. 

Our weekend ended with brunch at Stella’s and a trip to the Stella’s Grocery. Stella’s is no joke in the brunch department. You like sweet brunch? GREAT. Greek Easter bread done French-toast style topped with whipped Greek yogurt, sour cherries and pistachios. You like savory brunch? GREATER. The Loukaniko sausage skillet and the black kale skillet are both excellent. Start your meal with an order or hummus and Bloody Mary or a mimosa. (Virginia lacks the alcohol-limiting blue laws that North Carolina holds onto so dearly, making it so much easier to drink on Sunday. Hallelujah and pass the bottle.)

We stopped by the Stella’s Grocery after brunch.  It’s been open for about a month and sells specialty food items, like boozes, meats, prepared foods, such as smoothies, Greek Salads, and desserts (baklava!). Also, condiments. Why do condiments get their own section? Because I found a condiment, Crunch Dynasty, that is made right here in Richmond and it is made right here by my very own friends, John and Anya. I met Anya through work and John through Anya. They are a hilarious, kind, and cool couple with some kids who are the same. One of their kids knows all the knock-knock jokes ever and the other one told me my hair was like mermaid hair. I’m a big fan of all of them.

But I digress. Condiments.

If Chris Pratt were a condiment, he would be Crunch Dynasty.

Delicious, delicious dynasty. 

Crunch Dynasty is this amazing, mysterious condiment that somehow works on everything. Honestly. It’s as good on vegetables as it is on rice as it is on salmon. It genuinely tastes good on everything. Nay, it makes everything taste better. It makes you happy. And it is spicy. Crunch Dynasty keeps you on your toes. It’s like the Chris Pratt of condiments. If Chris Pratt was from Richmond, was Chinese, and tasted of garlic. To be fair, I haven’t tasted him. He might taste of garlic.

Then as quickly as they came, my friends left. And I took all the naps. And then I wrote this post.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to take a nap.

Tecate Skirt-Steak Tacos from Bon Appetit

  • 1 pound skirt steak, silver skin removed, cut into 6-inch pieces | I doubled the amount of steak b/c it looked wimpy.
  • 1 12-ounce can pale lager (such as Tecate)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • ¼ medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, cored
  • ½ canned chipotle chile in adobo, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for serving
  • 8 fresh corn tortillas
  • Avocado slices, crumbled Cotija cheese, and lime wedges (for serving)

Combine steak, beer, 1 Tbsp. lime juice, 1 tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper in a resealable plastic bag. Seal; chill 3 hours.

Cook onion, garlic, and oil in a small skillet over medium heat until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Let cool.

Prepare a grill for high heat (if using charcoal, prepare two zones of heat, high and medium-high). Grill tomatoes over high heat, turning occasionally, until well charred but still holding their shape, 6–8 minutes.

Reduce grill to medium-high heat (or use medium-high zone if using a charcoal grill). Remove steak from marinade and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper and grill until charred, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let steak rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend onion and garlic, tomatoes, chipotle, and remaining 3 Tbsp. lime juice in a blender until smooth. Add chopped cilantro, season with salt, and pulse until just combined. Transfer salsa to a small bowl.

Grill tortillas until soft and beginning to char, about 30 seconds per side. Slice steak against the grain into ½” strips. Top each tortilla with a few pieces of steak, then some salsa, cilantro leaves, avocado, and Cotija cheese. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

The Paloma from StyleMePretty

  • 2 oz. Reposado Tequilla
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • a pinch of salt (or a salted glass rim)
  • agave syrup to taste (optional)
  • Ice
  • Garnish with lime, mint leaves, thyme, or jalapenos if you like some heat

In a shaker filled with ice mix tequila, grapefruit juice, and lime. Shake, shake, shake. Pour over ice, add a pinch of salt, and garnish. Add agave if you feel it’s not sweet enough.

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#peaseparty: Learning to spell ‘Niagara’

This weekend, I had the immense pleasure of going to my friends Evan and Lauren’s wedding up in Niagara Falls.

It was my first time in the Buffalo area and in addition to wedding things, I did some tourist things and plenty of eating things. I learned a lot from this experience and will share this vital information with you below.

  • Niagara has three As, not two
    • Listen, I care a LOT about spelling and grammar. If you don’t use commas, I’m pretty sure you were brought up in a shed. But until this weekend, I did not realize Niagara was spelled the way it is. I thought it was Niagra. I was being the Shed Person that I so passionately judge. (Not really, but come on. Commas, y’all.)
  • My friend’s friends very quickly became my friends
    • Evan has some really terrific friends who he talks about a ton: his best man/brother (Jared), his groomsman (Brian) and his groomsgal (Jeighdeane). These are names I hear almost daily. I was a little nervous to meet them all, but I had no cause to be. When I met them, it was that sort of instant camaraderie because I kind of already knew them. It’s clear to me that my coolest friend has the coolest friends ever. I THINK that makes me cool by association. I’m looking into it.
  • Chris Pratt is my new celeb crush
    • Yeah, I still have celeb crushes, but I don’t keep my list laminated. I tagged along to see Guardians of the Galaxy with the crew on Friday night. Chris Pratt was so funny (and hunky). And Karen Gillan? Bonafide badass villain. I cannot wait to see it again.
  • Buffalo’s food is LEGIT
    • Being friends with Buffalonians and watching countless episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, I’d heard tell of the wonders of Buffalo cuisine. But I had never had the opportunity to sample. UNTIL NOW. I had two “must-eats” on my list: beef on weck and some authentic Buffalo wings. DID I SUCCEED? Spoiler alert: yes.
    • Beef on Weck
      • On Friday night, I went with Evan and Tony (my friend/a reality star/the officiant of the ceremony) to Anderson’s, a local joint known for their roast beef and custard. I experienced the magnificence that is beef on weck. It’s a roast beef sandwich on a ‘kimmelweck’ roll. A kimmelweck roll is a white roll topped with caraway seeds and salt (‘kimmel’ is caraway and ‘weck’ is roll in German). This is a perfect vehicle for the thinly sliced roast beef and spicy, nose-burning, eye-watering horseradish. Hurts so good. I’m going to have to learn how to make these because I don’t want to live my life without this roll. And Buffalo is FAR too cold a place for me to live.
    • Wings and Things
      • If you are looking to find the original Buffalo wing in Buffalo, you should go to Anchor Bar. But if you want the best wings in Buffalo, you’ve got to go to Duff’s. It’s a no-frills, no-nonsense experience, and it’s absolutely delicious. I went to the original location on Sheridan Road, which has been around since 1946. The menu is diverse, but I knew exactly what I wanted: Buffalo wings with flavor but that would not kill me and some blue cheese. These are absolutely, without a doubt, the best wings I’ve ever tasted. Perfectly fried, flavorful but not spicy (I did Mild Medium, but there are spicier versions for non-wimps). Wings come with celery, carrots and tangy Duff’s blue cheese. The Buffalo wing is an art form up here and Duff’s is the Mona Lisa (or, the picture of the dogs playing poker. Everyone has different taste in art.) Chase it down with a Labatt’s because we’re basically in Canada.

        I want more now.

        I want more now.

  • The Falls are rull pretty
    • If you’re in Niagara, you really can’t not go to the Falls. They’re right there. It’s pretty magnificent. Breathtakingly beautiful and HUGE. And loud, which shouldn’t have surprised me but did. I walked around the Niagara Falls State Park for about an hour and a half and was constantly worried I was going to drop my phone into The Falls when I took a picture. Stranger things have happened, surely.

      A wonder of the world, says the welcome sign.

      A wonder of the world, says the welcome sign.

  • My friends are way cooler than I am (in a good way!)
    • This was without a doubt the coolest wedding I’ve ever been attended. Evan and Lauren are an incredible couple. They’re smart, they’re fun, they’re creative, they’re artistic, they’re goofy, they’re sweet. And their wedding was a reflection of all of that. We all laughed (slash cried) through Tony’s ceremony. We listened to jazzy covers of pop songs during the cocktail hour and played peg games. We ate amazing food (basque frenched chicken with sofrito beurre blanc and Mighty Taco late night). We played name that tune during dinner (even with some light cheating, Table 9 lost BAD). We played pinball, skee ball, Mortal Kombat, and N64. We danced. We did ridiculous stuff in the slo motion video booth. (Note to EVERYONE: shimmying in a slow motion video booth is both funny/highly embarrassing.) We ate popcorn. Evan and Lauren chose North Carolina popcorn for their wedding favors. ‘Wedding Edition’ Chad’s Carolina Corn came in 4 flavors, with packages adorned with the adorable noses of their two dogs, Reuben and Ninja. I went with Buffalo Wing flavor. Seemed apropos.
      Peg games!

      Peg games!

      Cutest popcorn ever

      Cutest popcorn ever

If you find yourself up in Buffalo, don’t miss Duff’s. Or a beef on weck. But unless you’ve mastered time travel or have you stole a TARDIS, you’re probably not going to have as much fun as I did.

Sorry, not sorry.

Me, Sarah & Jordan with the Bride and Groom!

Me, Sarah & Jordan with the Bride and Groom!

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