Two housekeeping items before we get to it this week:
It’s mom’s birthday week! Say happy birthday to mom. I love you! 🎂✨
I want to hear from you! Can you fill out this readers' poll? It’s anonymous.
I haven’t seen an espresso martini in the wild since Sex and the City was still must-see TV. But this summer, the once-passe concoction of vodka, Kahlua and espresso has been everywhere. The Bestie™ came to town recently and ordered one at both Shelby Bar, Detroit’s newest cocktail lounge, and our local dive, PJ’s Lager House.
Is it 1999 again? My students are wearing low-rise jeans. I demand answers!
So I gave The Bestie™ and our friend Jen an expense account and sent them on a reporting mission. I told them not to come back until they truly understood the situation. (Somebody has to do the hard journalism. 🤷🏻♀️)
Here’s what they have to say:
Lena’s Sunday afternoon bartender, AJ, told us the revival is one part nostalgia for the 90s, one part TikTok, and, well, all-parts deliciousness. Plus, after a Saturday night out on the town, the jolt of caffeine will perk you right up. It’s the ultimate hair-of-the dog brunch drink.
We had to take them for a taste test. So we ordered a plate of nuts and olives and two espresso martinis. Abraham, the other Sunday bartender, served them shaken, not stirred, with a garnish of cinnamon that he delicately shaped into a heart using a toothpick.
Right out of the shaker, espresso martinis look like a milkshake. But within moments the layers separate into the classic dark brown liquid topped with a layer of creamy froth.
This drink had me at hello. It was simultaneously rich and smooth, boozy with a hint of sweet coffee acidity and a bit of espresso foam. It went down very, very easily.
To make sure we really understood the espresso martini, we had a second round.
The verdict: 10/10 would drink again.
Here's a pro tip from Abraham when you're making one at home: The drink’s signature foamy top layer is a result of the agitation of the espresso, so really put your arms into shaking it.
It has been a week over at Bar\Heart. Our sewer line may have collapsed. I invited my 300 students onto a Slack workspace and spent two days sorting out the ensuing chaos. And Detroit lost a beloved restaurant owner.
But we can do one good thing for the world: We can reclaim the crying-laughing emoji, 😂. The youths cancelled it, but we want it back! Because sometimes we need to laugh so hard we’re crying or cry so hard we’re laughing.
Here’s what I’m most looking forward to on the fiction list:
“Go for a walk” is at the top of my to-do list every day. Lately, it almost never gets crossed off. Lethargy has overtaken me during the pandemic, and my pants don’t lie. I have a million excuses why, but it comes down to this: I’m overwhelmed.
And that is exactly why I need to go for a walk. The activity is about more than taming my waist line; it’s also about taming my thoughts. Walking is how I think and process information. It shakes up my brain when it starts a cycle of self-hate. As Henry David Thoreau once said: “The moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”
I actually believe in that connection so much that going for a walk is the official assignment this week for my Michigan State entrepreneurship students. They have to take themselves for a walk and keep a journal of every spark of curiosity they experience on the journey. I want them to feel the connection between feet and mind and its power to generate new ideas or at least new thinking.
I guess it’s time for this prof to take her own advice.
I’m oddly obsessed with Dr. Abbie Stevens TikTok channel where she dispenses facts about neutron stars. Did you know a Vitamix spins at 475 rotations per second and a Neutron star can rotate on its axis 700 times per second? Me neither! And did you know if you were to take all humans and squish them into a 1 cm cube, you’d have the same density as a neutron star?
Now we know.
1. Dr. Academic Batgirl's Twitter thread showing the academic disciplines, as represented by Met Gala fashion. Below is an example, but do yourself a favor and go through them all. It's the joy you need this week. Also, the comments from the disciplines that were left off DAB's list are hysterical. (What about the art department? Or religious studies? What about us?!)
2. Josh Dzieza’s riveting account of the bike delivery drivers in New York: The revolt of the Delivery Workers
3. I’m following SpaceX's #Inspiration4 mission that launched on Wednesday. Its Twitter feed is packed with good video and pics of the Earth from space.
This week's binge comes from Bar\Hart editor Caitlin Cruz: I am obsessed with LuLaRich, a four-part docuseries that chronicles the comically fast rise of LuLaRoe, maker of unflattering clothing, and it’s limping, slow-moving demise. The multi-level marketing company started by selling maxi skirts, but after unbelievably quick growth, the company (a portmanteau of some granddaughters' names) branched out into leggings, dresses, shirts, etc., all under the guise of prosperity gospel.
The Amazon Prime series documents how LuLaRoe preyed on mothers who wanted to make money while still being present for their young children; how nepotism can turn out even worse than at The Trump Organization; and how in MLMs the only winners are the first people in.
The four episodes pack in so much information about the downward spiral that you almost miss the fact that two of the 11 children from the founders’ blended family married each other!! Founder DeAnne Brady Stidham starts suggesting fat LuLaRoe sellers visit her plastic surgeon in Mexico!! She also gives sellers a copy of her mother’s The Secret Power of Femininity to help their marriages that are being damaged by selling LuLaRoe!!
Please watch and report back in the comments! We must discuss.
Last Sunday, Bar\Heart contributor Shana (1), invited Lovey and I over for supper. She and her Consort told us they were serving tacos with “pistachio sh*t”(2) for dessert and that we didn’t need to bring anything but Hank, ourselves and a container for leftovers.
We arrived to spicy margaritas on the patio (thanks, Kelly, for the recipe!) and the smell of carnitas wafting through the air. Shana’s Consort even made a separate bowl of pork and bacon and corn for Hank. The dog lost his damn mind when they put the bowl down for him. He tried to fit his entire Hank Head into the bowl.
But that doesn’t begin to describe our love for the pickled onion and jalapeno relish that Shana served on top of the carnitas-and-cotija cheese tacos. Its tangy sweetness deserves to be slathered on everything from BLTs to salmon to, well, everything. So I made Shana dish out the recipe. Here she is:
I know a lot of people spent their Covid lockdowns learning a language, making sourdough and watching Tiger King. I did none of that. But I did learn how to make the easiest thing on earth: pickled onion and jalapeno relish.
That’s mostly because I missed brunch. Pre-pandemic, we had a routine: get up early, grocery shop, then hit brunch. We’d people-watch and gossip with the bartenders while eating avocado toast. If we were going to survive the pandemic, I had to learn to make avocado toast at home. But you can’t just schmear some avocado on a piece of bread and call it good. Otherwise, how would restaurants justify $15? You have to zhuz it.
I made this grilled pork chops with spicy relish recipe for dinner, and it gave me the idea to try the relish on avocado toast. I can confirm pickled onions and jalapenos make perfect avocado toast. The quick pickle dish is now a constant in our fridge. Here’s what you do.
Ingredients: This is not precise. Improvise; I'm sure it'll be fine.
Mason jar w/ lid, or a tupperware/pyrex situation you really trust
Large red onion
1.5 cups of white or cider vinegar (3)
3 tablespoons of white sugar
Bay leaves (deeply unnecessary)
Slice up a red onion and several jalapenos. I like them super thin. (I'm lucky enough to have a hand me down mandoline laying around. Thanks, Mom! )
Cram as many of them as you can into your mason jar
Bring the vinegar to a boil
Add in the sugar and salt; stir to combine
Pour over the onions/jalapenos mix in the jar
Leave them on the counter, uncovered, to cool
Once they're room temperature, close the jar and put it in the fridge
The relish should be good to go for a couple of weeks — if they last that long.
Have your friends over for tacos and margaritas. You'll look super fancy but really you just know how to boil things and use a knife. I won't tell.
Hank says: May you, too, have friends who feed you bacon -- or whatever you love -- in a bowl as big as your head.
That’s it for this week, friends. I’ll see you next Friday for Cocktail Hour.
Yes, Shana of the amazing "oh sh*it kit" has been upgraded from Friend of Bar\Heart to contributor. It comes with no raise or additional perks. You know, like most promotions. 😉 In fact, she's reading about it here first. Mostly it means I don't have to write out "Friend of Bar\Heart" anymore.
If you grew up in a Midwest family, or a family with Midwest tendencies, you may recognize “pistachio sh*t” by a variety of names, such as a “fluff” or “green stuff.” It is anything that involves pistachio pudding and marshmallows. It’s delicious. And I will fight you for it.
Either is fine; Shana says she's tried both with no discernible difference