Art Tattoo Quebec City 2016

imageThe Molina’s made it! From SLO in California to Quebec City with a one day travel turn around…yikes, but with all these great artists and friends here, there’s plenty of good energy to go around! Last minute, I also get to add to my tattoo collection this trip–the talented Kaija Heitland! Have a look at her work on Instagram @tattoosbymisskaija 😊More soon! BoozyLife on the road again….or still…

Roc City Tattoo Expo and Iron Smoke Whiskey: Local Finger Lakes Love 2016

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The Roc City Tattoo Expo is Upstate NY’s only high end tattoo convention, drawing an impressive roster of international artists each year to our beautiful area.

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2016 saw the 8th annual Roc City Expo in a different venue, the addition of more local artists and vendors, and a focus on artwork as opposed to entertainment and contests.image

 

 

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The Hand of Fate has attended every one of these eight years of shows, starting with the first event right after we had opened our business, and relocated to the Finger Lakes. Jet and his crew at Love Hate Tattoo have always focused on bringing the best artists in tattooing, to an area that is often overlooked for larger markets and cities.

Rochester is a fantastic town, larger scale than Ithaca, with an artsy, young, downtown crowd and a flourishing dining and entertainment scene. Due to local Finger Lakes wine trails, breweries, and distilleries being less than an hour away, the locavore movement is strong here, and local vintners and brewers are represented along side menu items, sourced from area farms.

Iron Smoke Whiskey, a small batch distillery located close to home in Fairport, NY, saw the opportunity to join in on the Roc City Expo fun! FINALLY, a local booze producer that saw the potential marketing frenzy that a tattoo convention crowd offers: exposure to an absolute rainbow selection of adults, from all walks of life, that enjoy quality luxuries. A whiskey tasting at a tattoo convention? YES. SO MUCH YES.

imageLet me say, the whiskey tasting was VERY well received, pouring staff were knowledgeable and answering questions, and I’m sure three days of sales reflected that!

Iron Smoke also seem to have a growing distribution to bars and restaurants in the Upstate area, so make sure to keep your eyes open, or request it by name at your favorite watering hole. Iron Smoke Distillery is run by a contact that goes by the name of Skully, and their labeling and merchandise feature a distinguished skeleton, in a suit, smoking a pipe. Very well suited to a tattoo crowd, to say the least. Lots of teeshirts went out the door with that whiskey….

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Back to the actual whiskey tasting and my own impressions. Iron Smoke brought two products with them- Iron Smoke small batch Apple Wood Smoked Whiskey, and their Rattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Whiskey. Both were surprising, and I was shocked that as a local booze hound I had never had the pleasure! Jet and the Roc City crew must have known I was coming, and planned the whiskey accordingly. 🙂

imageIron Smoke Apple Wood Smoked Whiskey: small batch, locally sourced grain is mashed and smoked with an apple wood smoking process, before distillation and aging for years in charred, American white oak barrels. With a hint of sweetness on the nose, this smooth amber colored whiskey has a light, smoky, vanilla and apple flavor with a nicely rounded, deep oak finish. Lovely small batch spirit.

imageRattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Whiskey: Forbidden Apple Pie recipe of small batch house distilled corn whiskey, blended with all natural upstate NY apple cider, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Slightly sweet, with the tang of fresh apple cider and a bite of corn whiskey, this potion is delicious on its own, or as a mixer for some beautiful cocktails. Slightly sweet, bright, and luscious long finish. According to their Iron Smoke website, Apple Pie was the winner in the San Fransisco World Spirits Competition–for those of you that follow the medals and events scene!

Once again, huge thank you’s go out to Jet and the entire Love Hate Tattoo Rochester crew for all of the hard work and hoop jumping it takes to have such a great show turnout in this area! Hand of Fate has enjoyed the journey since the beginning, and there is always something surprising to enjoy, along with world class tattooing and artwork. This year, BoozyLife felt especially loved! Want to buy your own bottles of Iron Smoke Whiskey? Check out their website here : Iron Smoke Whiskey website –there are awesome cocktail recipes for your newly aquired local whiskey!

Paris and Mondial du Tatouage 2016

 

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Custom Nissan Juke by Tin Tin for Mondial–Ellen Chaboya

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Clint modeling a lovely red

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Custom Fender by Nick Chaboya

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Tattoo Contest crowd

Paris is a magical city. The lights, the people, the wine…the art. The energy is unlike anywhere else, a joy for life and an appreciation for the beautiful things that borders on hedonism. Quality tattoos and tattoo culture are revered and celebrated here, possibly more than any other location. One of the largest and best international tattoo conventions, Mondial du Tatouage, took place the first weekend in March.

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Artist supply pack

Last year in 2015, I was lucky enough to attend with my husband as well, to really get a taste of the insanity and the crowds. The Paris tattoo convention was completely unlike anything I had ever seen–Fender Guitars and MTV sponsor, lines that wrap around the convention hall for several city blocks the entire weekend, a well orchestrated madness of entertainment and artwork.

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Geoff McMann from Sanitary Electric Tattoo Co. In Vancouver Dawn Danroth

This year, due to business and life not lining up the way we had hoped, Lefty and I had to miss Paris for March 2016 . It’s such an incredible event, that there was no way I wanted to skip a post– so I asked a couple of friends and fellow tattoo wives to send me some photos from this year. One of the things that I absolutely love about being in this tattoo community, is the sharing and support that we often find! Thank you, ladies!! You rock. Truly.

Dawn Danroth, wife to veteran tattoo artist Clint Danroth and owners of Craftsman Tattoo Parlour, BC, kept me updated on what stood out to her-for her first time at the show! Dawn’s highlights were GOOD red wine in food courts (!!), excellent red wine EVERYWHERE, a gift of Pinot Gris from Alsace and Steph at Octopus Tattoo, and reportedly some of the best French Onion soup she had ever tasted at a café on St. Denis!

The lovely Ellen Chaboya also ran a booth with her multi-talented tattoo artist husband Nick Chaboya ( Nick Chaboya private studio, San Fran Bay Area) and sent me some awesome photos of the crowd, the custom Mondial Nissan Juke by Tin Tin, as well as shots of the Fender guitar Nick customized especially for the show! We spent a bit of time together last year, and it’s always a blast.

Until next year, Mondial du Tatouage 2017….

BoozyLife in Puerto Rico

 

After years of hearing the stories, I finally got to see for myself– Puerto Rico is a beautiful, rich, lush, tropical paradise that lives life and loves to take it easy. This post has a little bit to do with wine–but there was more rum, adventure, and seafood to be had than grape growing! Not to mention that our first morning, husband found a Taste NY spot right down the street from the tattoo shop!

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A TASTE NY SPOT IN PR?!? Who knew?!

They’re waiting on their alcohol license, and after that, I hope to bring some of the Finger Lakes to Old San Juan! Get in contact with me if you’re interested in more info….

We stayed in Old San Juan for a week, while Lefty did a guest spot at Senzala Tattoo — the only tattoo shop in Old San Juan, and a solid spot for old school tattoo work, as well as a long list of fantastic rotating visiting artists. Eddie (or The Molina as I heard him called on several occasions) was booked pretty solid, but if you missed the chance to get tattoo work from him, he’ll be back soon.

I had a set amount of time to myself in Old San Juan for shopping, walking, and touristing (awesome little boutiques, local flavors, tourist traps, forts, museums) on foot- all very walkable, wear the good sandals or comfy flats.

It’s also relatively hot and humid, so billowy sundresses were the preferred threads. I showed a lot of tattooed skin, and passed out a LOT of business cards–good for me, good for everyone!

A few days into the trip, we escaped for a day of nature. Rainforest bound, we had to make a stop at Bebo’s BBQ. It’s an open air, pork bbq spot, right across from the airport. Bourdain knows about the porky goodness-I had to find out….it did NOT disappoint…

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Porky goodness at Bebo’s BBQ

Venturing out of Old San Juan, we rented a car (CHEAP) –and the driving is nuts (no blinkers, zippy passing on the right shoulder kind of stuff), but I was with a semi-local, so….we had a day in El Yunque National Rainforest.

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Hidden beauty

I wasn’t completely geared up, but just from the roads and a few light hiking paths I saw some of the most gorgeous natural rock formations, waterfalls, and wild . Next time we go back, I’ll have my Ithaca style hiking gear, for sure! The paths aren’t all maintained, but the views are spectacular, and the swimming holes are local treasures.

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El Yunque colors

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Palm size snail

Later that evening, we drove about half an hour to Fajardo and the bioluminescent bay–an experience I will never forget! We kayaked with a group through mangrove groves in pitch darkness, only to come out into a sparkling bay–the winds were light, the glow was definitely there although low, and I got to hold a glowing, bioluminescent jellyfish. Next trip we will explore others as well! You can find more info here: Bioluminescent Bays in Puerto Rico.

Way too much for only one post, lots more we ate, saw, and tried to do– but what a first visit for me! I’ll always remember rum, pirate friends, parrots, serious pork, Demian and the Sick Of It All evening of hardcore bone breakage, bioluminescence, beauty, and loving the entire experience with my Puerto Rican husband.

 

Wild Brute Winery in Arkport-Going Rogue off the Trails

Wild Brute Winery

Wild Brute Winery

This summer, I was a part of the Wine Blogger Conference –this year located in the Finger Lakes region, or my back yard. I felt like I needed to go because it was so close to home…however, I unexpectedly ran into some incredible local winemakers that were doing things their own way. I made a point of it to explore this back yard of mine in earnest! Arkport, NY just kept coming up, over and over. There are incredibly interesting things happening off the lakes, about an hour away from Corning, NY.  I took the ride, and it was totally worth it.

The Lineup at Wild Brute

The Lineup at Wild Brute

The French were the first to use the term ‘Gagariste’ in terms of winemaking–these were the mavericks, making wines off the grid and outside of a very regulated system. Although they were not in the system, the French had to agree that the small batch, artisanal products coming from these tiny producers were interesting, and sometimes ground breaking. Justin Recktenwald and his startup, Wild Brute Winery in Arkport, NY, fit the definition of garagiste winemaking perfectly–right here in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate NY. Justin has the pedigree -Graduated Cornell Viticulture program, worked and learned under Dr. Constantine Frank sparkling masters, and has travelled extensively to learn, and apply the knowledge at home.

Justin, me, Kyleigh, Wendy, and Mark--the Wild Brute Crew

Justin, me, Kyleigh, Wendy, and Mark–the Wild Brute Crew

Wild Brute Winery (follow the link for their website) is a family affair. Justin Recktenwald is the owner and winemaker, along with a crew of many-fiancé Kyleigh, mom Wendy, dad Mark, and brother Cody all have a hand in the production process. This family knows farming, and Arkport, and Justin’s knowledge and winemaking skill has turned family farm property into a wine bar and production facility. Currently, aside from publicized weekend events and music shows, the Arkport tasting room is by appointment (although during the nicer weather there is an outside open tasting bar.)

Wine pairing with chocolates

Wine pairing with chocolates

I was invited up to do a tasting, and I really can’t say enough about the feeling I left with. I brought my husband, and we were met by Justin, his family, and a beautiful spread of artisanal chocolate bonbons from Angelica’s Sweet Shop-about fifteen minutes away! I was already a fan of Wild Brute’s 2013 Unfiltered Cabernet Franc…but this time, we got to sample the entire lot…and it was quite a showing of what’s happening beyond the wine trails on the lake shores!

 

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*Wild Brute 2014 Chardonnay–Bright acidity and a balanced oak finish, vanilla, caramel, green apple, smooth mouthfeel. Grab it if you see it!

*Wild Brute 2013 Unfiltered Cabernet Franc–Dark plum color, red fruit, figs, warm oak, light warm acidity. One of my favorite Cabs in the FLX…seriously. It’s special because it’s so different from anything else.

*Wild Brute 2013 Unfiltered Single Barrel Reserve–Super Limited, dark jammy red fruit, a bit younger bite of acidity. Gorgeous dark plum color, lasting finish. Oak adds a warm rounded depth without overpowering the fruit.

*Wild Brute 2013 Off-Dry Riesling–Bright nose, floral, pear, peach, honey, green apple. Light acidity is balanced with hint of sweetness and a lasting honey finish

*Barrel tastings of WB Hard Apple Cider (YUM), wild ferment, heirloom apples.

If you see a bottle of Wild Brute, grab it. If you’re headed through Horse Heads/Corning and want a bottle, they have a limited stock in the general area. This coming spring, I forsee LOTS of events starting up through the he summer at the Wild Brute wine bar–here’s their FaceBook Wild Brute Business Page–Wild Brute Winery on FaceBook–go give them a Like, and know what events are coming up…music, wine, and local flavor, Finger Lakes style…off the lakes! Make an afternoon drive that you won’t regret! #goingrogue

Wild Brute Wines

Wild Brute Wines

Turkey Day Boozy Beverage Options

Groceries are grabbed, baking is (mostly) finished, and our free range turkey from Autumn’s Harvest Farm is dry brining away. Now it’s time to focus on the booze–what to drink with a meal that includes a LOT of different flavors? So many booze choices, none of them wrong…..

Thanksgiving is a perfect occasion to serve a bunch of different beverages. They are so many foods and textures, there is no single right or wrong wine style to pair. Sparkling wines like Champagne or Prosecco are great for serving during appetizers and lighter nibbles, such as cold shrimp or cheese plates.  Bubbles are also fabulous with dessert.

Wild Brute Cabernet Franc

Wild Brute Cabernet Franc

I am a big wine drinker, and I love my dry, bold reds, so I will have a selection of bottles Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir to serve during the main event.  One of my favorites is from Wild Brute Winery, who readers will hear more about VERY soon. But wait,  isn’t turkey a bird, so you need to drink a white wine with it? Nope! Rules are made to be broken in this case. The richness will hold up against bolder flavors-go ahead and try that NY State, cool climate Pinot Noir with your turkey. Delicious! As for white wines, local Finger Lakes Rieslings are world-famous–and heavily publicized at the moment. Fox Run just made the Wine Enthusiast 100 for 2015 for their Fox Run 2011 Reserve Riesling–but at number 47, Herman J. Wiemer shows up on the SAME LIST for their 2012 Magdalena Vineyard Cabernet Franc (at 94 points, TELL ME AGAIN HOW NY STATE CAN’T MAKE QUALITY, INCREDIBLE RED WINES). Sorry, back from the rant–not all Riesling is sweet, which is a common misconception….but if you’re looking to try something different, go for a Gewurtztraminer. This German grape has a floral, almost hoppy fragrance, and the taste is spicy, fruity, and different than any other. It pairs well with lots of different flavors, without overpowering lighter foods. Give your guests a chance to try something they might not be brave enough to sip on their own!

Eve's Cidery flight

Eve’s Cidery flight

Lastly, Hard Cider is one of my favorite drinks to have with large, family style meals….especially during the fall, and harvest season. Hard apple and even pear ciders are currently enjoying a popularity swing, and several local New York State producers are making high-end artisanal, traditional styles of sparkling and still ciders (with or without bubbles). Some of my favorite local cider products are from Eve’s Cider, Bellwether Hard Cider, Redbyrd Orchard Cider, and Naked Flock Cider out of the Hudson Valley.

I’ll be posting cooking and pairing updates throughout the day tomorrow–post YOUR FAVORITE BOOZE pairings in my comments, on BoozyLife FB, or follow along live on Twitter @boozylife 🙂

Harvest in the Finger Lakes 2015

Fall in the FLX

Fall in the FLX

I’ve been off the grid! Gentle readers, sometimes business takes it all out of you for a bit, and quite frankly being business owners was rough for a patch. I’m happy to report things are currently fantastic at our tattoo shop, and I’ve been able to once again turn my attentions towards the fields and this year’s harvest bounty.

It’s finally October first, which means lots of the grapes have already been harvested and pressed around the Finger Lakes, and one of the busiest times of year is here! Tasting rooms will be extremely lively on beautiful fall weekends, so if you’re visiting, be civil and expect crowds of other tasters. The good news is, the views are heading towards incredible – enjoy, and don’t be in a rush. The Finger Lakes are all about taking a breath and enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Pick some apples, peep the fall leaves, hike a waterfall, taste some locally made wines, ciders, beers, spirits…chocolates….cheese…

Beauties in the sunlight

Beauties in the sunlight

Harvest 2015 is in full swing, with lots of grape picking, pressing, and cellar happenings currently in the works, area wide. My Instagram feed is currently full of grapes being pressed, yeasts going in and fermentation starting, and lots of rain gear the last twenty four hours! It’s been dry and warm the last two weeks, so many growers got their grapes in before rains started in earnest. Our local weather called for over three inches of rain into today, with more over the weekend. Hopefully it dries out so that everyone gets their remaining crops in!

It’s also fun to see the apple farmers harvesting for their upcoming vintages of hard ciders. The movement is growing nationwide,  and the Finger Lakes area is at the center of high quality, heirloom farmed fruits, classically made, dry to off-dry, sometimes fermented in bottle, hard apple and pear ciders. This coming weekend (October 3rd and 4th) is the Apple Festival in Ithaca, with FLX Cider Week also kicking off. I’ll be attending some local happenings on that front, so stay tuned! October is going to be fun, and fall is the best time of year to be in this area, in my humble BoozyWife opinion…that’s why we tend to stay local until the snow flies again….