Monthly Archives: August 2018

50th Birthday Wine #1 – Veuve Clicquot

Let life surprise you! Happy Birthday Side Hustle Wino!

Side Hustle Wino

My milestone birthday started with coffee and a box of Godiva chocolates that were a gift from my Dad.  Shortly thereafter, my husband toted my “birthday wines” down to the beach where we planned to spend the day. The first wine was of course a Champagne! This bottle was also a birthday gift from my dear friend and co-worker Marcus.  I don’t know how I am supposed to be upset about turning 50 when it starts out like this!

img_6287Popping the cork early with only a couple of chocolates for breakfast had me soon realizing why people celebrate life’s happy moments with Champagne! It just puts a smile on your face.

I had not had Veuve Clicquot before and, to be completely honest, it has such massive media exposure with product placement it seems literally everywhere, it always left me thinking their branding/marketing person was phenomenal but it never made me…

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A Day In Dublin Touring Guiness Beer Brewery + Peachy Keen Recipes!

Visit the to find a fabulous recipe for Fresh Peach Mini Cake Muffins.  Delicious, moist and so easy to make!


Recently my husband Lou and I found ourselves with an unexpected day in Dublin, Ireland, as we waited for our airplane to depart to our next destination.  Not ones to ever waste a minute of travel exploration we decided to while away some of the time at the Guinness Brewery/Storehouse. The St. James Gate Brewery was founded in 1759 in Dublin, Ireland, by Arthur Guinness.

Here’s a link to the Guinness Storehouse Tour:

30 Million Bubbles In Every Pint! 

No wonder Bubblybee liked this tour so much!

We poured ourselves a pint in the tasting room.

“There is beer and there is Guinness.”

The Guiness Brewery Observation Deck was amazing.

One view from the observation deck was St Patrick’s Tower located in Dublin City. It was built in 1757 and was the largest smock windmill in Europe used to power the Roe Whiskey Distillery. By 1926 Roe & Co Distillers had ceased production of whiskey, and in 1949 Guinness took over the site.

Guiness has fabulous advertising through the years.  One iconic television ad is the “Fish with the bicycle” advertisement from 1996.  Through much of the 1900’s doctors thought Guinness had medicinal properties. Mothers were given Guinness after giving birth due to the high iron content in the beer up through the 1950s.

Fish Needs A Bicycle Advertisement

TV ad ‘Bicycle’ was produced in 1996 as part of the “Not Everything in Black and White Makes Sense Campaign” by Ogilvy and Mather. The idea was to challenge the received wisdom of famous quotes. The commercial opens with a group of women drinking in a bar. Flashbacks show these women doing jobs traditionally associated with men – such as drilling roads and driving lorries. The quote from Australian writer, social activist and filmmaker Patricia Irene Dunn – “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” – appears followed by a shot of an empty maternity ward, and a fish riding a bike along the pier. The ads in this series reaffirmed GUINNESS as a surprising, challenging drink supported by cutting-edge advertising. 

We enjoyed touring the Temple Bar area of Dublin after we finished the Guinness tour.

Some of the names of the beer were a little cheeky!

Corned Beef Sandwich with Homemade Potato Chowder and Crispy Chips at J. Sheehan’s Pub. Loved all of the potatoes served in so many delicious ways in Dublin!

I loved how the townhouse doors in the city were painted brilliant colors with fanciful knockers. There were stores that specialized in selling door knockers.


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Hiding in Plain Sight: Rapeneau Family Estates

Beautiful champagne story from Vino Ventures. The Rapeneau family has amassed a collection of over 1000 champagne glasses!

Vino Ventures

Chateau de Bligny

Château de Bligny is the crown jewel of Rapeneau Family Estates, a pristine set of Champagne brands secured over four generations by the Rapeneau family. Today the collection includes three récoltant-manipulant (grower/producer) wine estates and four maisons (houses). All seven brands are highlighted at the end of this story.

100+ Years of Champagne

More than a century ago, the family enterprise was sparked by patriarch and wine merchant (négociant) Ernest Rapeneau. In 1901, Ernest was selling both still wines and Champagne in Hautvillers, a village considered to be the birthplace of Champagne. As the process of delimiting vineyards and setting appellation boundaries began to take hold in France (1927-36), Ernest shifted his business exclusively to the Champagne trade. (In fact, Ernest was involved in creating the regulatory process to protect place and quality.) When he retired in 1965, son Bernard took over with twenty years of…

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Fun bubbly giveaway from the Champagne Chick 🥂🐣


We all love getting something for free, right? So, I’m kicking off this new addition to the blog with a giveaway of my own.  And hopefully you have better luck than me in entering giveaways …

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Star City Supper Club – BBQ Under the Star at Mill Mountain

Visit the to Party Like A Pineapple! Recipes for Fresh Pineapple Martinis and Grilled Pineapple Salsa to serve on pork tenderloin or grilled hamburger sliders…

Star City Supper Club – BBQ Under the Star at Mill Mountain

The River and Rail Executive Chef Aaron Deal (pictured above right),  recently introduced a quarterly guest chef series in Roanoke, Virginia, which aims to provide a convivial culinary experience to the community by showcasing the talent of some of the nation’s top chefs and celebrating Southern culture.

silhouette of people standing neat tree under the moon

Photo by Gerd Altmann on

During the summer installment of the Star City Supper Club on August 9, guests had the unique opportunity to meet and interact with the purveyors that have helped The River and Rail to provide the best quality ingredients possible for the last six years…all while under an iconic Roanoke landmark ~ The Mill Mountain Star! A live bluegrass band provided music throughout the evening, and it was a night to remember.  A portion of all ticket sales were donated to Roanoke Outside, a non-profit organization that makes local outdoor events like these possible.
At the entrance to the large tent we were greeted by the smiling faces of River and Rail Restaurant. We were given our personal River and Rail cup for wine/beer and a ticket for 5 beverages of our choice with unlimited food.

Blenheim Vineyards

Established in 2000 by owner Dave Matthews (Dave Matthews Band) Blenheim Vineyards is located 20 minutes southeast of Charlottesville. With three vineyard sites growing seven varieties, the goal at Blenheim Vineyards is to make high quality wines that reflect the climate, soil, and beauty of the surrounding piedmont landscape.
I loved the Frizzante Malvasia/Petit Manseng! Frizzante is an Italian term for “slightly sparkling wine”.
The Blenheim Rosé is the perfect blend of pinot noir, merlot and carbernet sauvignon.
NC Shrimp and Grits ~ Local Seafood Delivery
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Get your fresh seafood at our local Farmer’s Markets:
Roanoke Historic City Market
Thursdays 9am – 5pm

West Village (419/Electric Road)

Fridays 9am – 5pm

Grandin Village Community Market

Saturdays 8am – 12pm
Landon shucking Oysters from Rappahannock Oyster Company
sky night stars

Photo by Free Nature Stock on

BBQ Poulet Rouge Chicken Legs & Thighs Joyce Farms

Smoked Lamb Shoulder Sliders & Ribs Border Springs Farm

Served on River and Rail’s fabulous brioche slider buns!

Nexus and Shane (River and Rail Bar Manager)

Heirloom Tomato & Caramont Goat Milk Feta Salad Thornfield Farms

Beer Parkway Brewing
Mama Tired Blueberry Sour Ale
Funk Your Boat Saison
Red Raven Porter
Gent Bent Mountain IPA

Thank you for a fabulous evening Chef Aaron Deal and the River and Rail Restaurant Team!

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Steger Creek Opens New Stores In Roanoke, Virginia

Steger Creek Opens New Stores!

Steger Creek Fine Gifts and Collectables always felt like home to me. For years I’ve gone to their Starkey Road location to buy the prettiest greeting cards, hostess gifts and home décor items. They recently opened two delightfully charming new locations (the Starkey location is now closed).  When I visited the new stores this week I found my favorite gifts and goodies as well as some new treats and got a little history lesson in the process.

A Norfolk Southern train was chugging along behind the store when I arrived at The Virginian Railway Station, 1402 Jefferson St. (intersection of Williamson Road and Jefferson Street). The Virginian Railway was a 440-mile line completed in 1909 to transport coal from West Virginia to Tidewater.  The Virginian Railway Depot was built that same year to serve Roanoke. Passenger service continued from this depot until 1956 when the Virginian merged with Norfolk and Western Railway.  The depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Steger Creek opened the depot store in July and their hours are: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

I’ve always wondered about the name, Steger Creek and just found out that it is derived from an actual creek running through Central Virginia where the owners, Michael and Alex Pace, own property.  As the creek flows, it feeds the Rivanna River, which ultimately flows into the James River.

Steger Creek always has fun snack ideas with recipe cards. I was tickled to find one of my favorites The Original Savory Party Cracker Seasoning. No bake! Easy To Make!  I used Keebler Mini Club Crackers to make my party crackers. I combined 1 2/3 cups of canola oil and 1 package of Savory Seasoning in a ZipTop Bag and mixed well.  I added 2 (11 ounce each) boxes of mini club crackers and sealed the bag.  Then I tumbled the bag every 5 minutes or so until all of the savory seasoning was adsorbed.  I let the crackers rest in the bag overnight then I put them in an air tight container and stored in the refrigerator. SO SNACKABLE!

Their second new location is at the Taubman Museum of Art.  Open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 12-5 p.m. This quaint shop is full of treasures – jewelry, colorful scarves, hand-hammered metal giftware, local art, fanciful umbrellas and so much more. At the Taubman store I bought some of my favorite Rose & Ivy Pecan Pepper Glaze to make a delightful appetizer:

Rose & Ivy Pecan Cheese Bake

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened

½ cup mayonnaise

2 green onions, finely chopped

6 Ritz crackers, crushed

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

½ cup Rose & Ivy Southern Pecan Pepper Glaze


Combine mayo, cream cheese, cheddar and onions in greased quiche pan. Top with crackers and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.  Top with bacon, drizzle with Southern Pecan Pepper Glaze before serving. Serve on your favorite crackers. I like Carr’s Table water Crackers for this recipe.

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My Time in France–in Photos

Beautiful photos of France from the Drunken Cyclist!

the drunken cyclist

These past ten days, I have been riding my bike around the northern part of France. The first week was split between the northern part of Burgundy and Bretagne, to re-familiarize myself with the two regions before leading bike tours in both.

After briefly passing through Paris, I started in Auxerre, in northern Burgundy, which like many towns in France, has an imposing cathedral.

It was then a ride from Clamency to Avallon, including a climb up to the Vézelay abbey. I think the 18% grade to get there was worth it. I think.

My bike needed an intervention: that is part of a Coke can serving as a shim to keep the seat post from slipping.

After a few days in Burgundy, it was back to Paris for a night, and then a bike ride across town (passing through la Place des Victoires) to Gare St. Lazare and off…

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