The 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…
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.
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.
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.
Let 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….
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. 🙂
Iron 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.
Rattlesnake 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 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.
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.
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….
One of our favorite international tattoo conventions is going on this weekend in Paris-Mondial du Tatouage is the greatest tattoo conventions on earth! The lines every day to get in to the show are incredibly long, some of the best tattoo artists in the world attend, contests are judged by tattoo legends such as Filip Leu…an incredible showing of talent and spectacle…
Sadly, this is the first year that the Molinas had to miss it in a few years…but I have asked a few lovely tattoo wives on the ground (or trapped in their husbands booths 🙂 ) to check in, and they are sending pics and enjoying the circus for us as the weekend goes on! BoozyLife will have a 2016 Paris write up, once the tattoo wives have survived the event and helped the men tear down their booths and pack it up tomorrow night. Enjoy Paris, ladies!!
Aaaand, a few shots from OUR Paris trip (last year 2015 ❤️🍷)
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
Finally, after years of being the airport drop-off driver for this very commonly repeated trip, I’m tagging along to Puerto Rico with the husband! Early December, my man Lefty will be back at it, doing a guest spot at Senzala Tattoo in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico–one of the oldest existing cities in America. I’ll be blogging along the way, hanging out at the tattoo shop, trying local delicacies and boozy beverages galore–when I’m not touring rainforests and a bioluminescent bay…..and beaches, and hiking….
Have any recommendations for stops along the way that I absolutely shouldn’t miss? Leave a comment here, on my FB page, or tweet at me on Twitter @BoozyLife 🙂
Aaaand, if you’d like to schedule a tattoo appointment with Lefty while we’re in PR, get a hold of Senzala Tattoo for any tattoo availability and booking (follow the link above)!
Side note–this is my 100th post on the BoozyLife! Thank you for reading and following the journey!
The first leg of our trip this month had us flying on a multiple city ticket–last minute flight purchases–and ended up with an overnight layover, to ourselves, in Paris. Terrible, right? What to do…we wanted to stay near the Gare du Nord train station in order to stay close to the morning train commute to the airport…cheap night in an Ibis hotel nearby…research! My husband found a spot called Chez Casimir about 100 meters from us–it’s the sister restaurant to the famous Chez Michel bistro, and actually SHARES A KITCHEN with them. DONE! We walked over and took an outdoor table overlooking the evening Paris streets. Google them if you want to see more articles, they’ve been written up in CNN travel amongst many others….
There is either an ala carte menu or the standard four course pairing (appetizer, entrée, world-famous cheese tray, desert), so we went traditional and ordered off the prix fix menu. At less than forty euros each, the price was more than a casual dinner, but presented to be a more upscale bistro fare. I chose a portion of beef with mushrooms and a pepper sauce as my entré…and then, I got to pick our wine! Best part!
I ordered a French Beaujolais wine (young and fruity red, easy drinking and good with a bistro meal like this) from the menu, and was invited to go grab MY bottle!! The wines were stored in the Cava de Vino (wine cave…in this case, a climate controlled side room/closet area) and you were asked to grab the bottle you want yourself, and a server will open your selection(s) and add them to the bill at the end of the meal. OK. YES. Several of the bottles were small batch, organic, or from harder to find producers! HOW TO CHOOSE? After a good amount of standing still with my mouth open in a happy place, I grabbed a bottle of GAEC de La Tallebarde – Séléné Beaujolais Gamay, a very young red wine, lightly aged and traditionally made in the Burgundy region of France. It also happily had an artsy label, plastered with a painting of Frida Kahlo-which was a nice marketing surprise for me and appropriate as well I suppose!
The young red wine -once popped -was fruity, funky, and complex, without being heavy–a fun pairing for casual outdoor dining. The acidity cut through all of the rich flavor of the meal, from my beef and mushrooms, all the way to the incredible treat of the Chez Michel style local cheese platter course.
Really, no words–the cheese tray comes after entirely too much food, so plan accordingly! Desert was an incredible raspberry chocolate concoction that melted in my mouth with silky perfection…lovely sweet ending to a delightful night in Paris. Check out Chez Casimir next time you are in town–BoozyLife approved and recommended! See you on the road….