Food and Drink

How About Instead We Just "Enjoy The Day...."

Many of us have "carpe diem" 'ed plenty in our lives; between the early morning PT, 2,000 meter swims, being checked by the jumpmaster for the 22nd time while waiting to get on the bird, or stepping off the bird into another combat zone (sometimes, same zone 3rd or 4th time), some of us have "seized" plenty.

Not to mention all of the "seizing" we did during TA-50 layouts, PMCS on every vehicle in the motorpool, and counting back all the ammo that some other turd-neck unit didn't shoot at the range (who does that?)

So getting something besides a retirement check or disability payment warms my heart some on this day, more than most, so head here and check out what is available for veterans today and tomorrow to enjoy, and please visit a couple of these fine establishments and partake of their wares.  Make sure to thank them right back when they thank you for your service.

Have a Joyous Veterans Day vets, especially those that are on duty or facing danger somewhere in the world today.  I have always appreciated that we serve not only because we can and chose to, but because there are those that cannot and choose not to.

I am going to take Mrs. Deebow (a vet herself) and Little Deebow for some good free grub tonight and explain to Little Deebow once again why it is that his mommy and me hear "Thanks for your Service" wherever we go and why we are offered something free on this day.

And like every year, I say because what we and millions like us gave and continue to give for what we have here in the country wasn't and isn't free.

Chateau Breuil & Calvados

Growing up in the 60s and 70s, my first exposure to Calvados -- apple brandy from France -- involved a bottle with an apple in it, or a pale astringent substance that could have been used as a substitute for paint thinner.  The choices were limited, and for most of America what was available is something that the people of Normandy consider only fit for cooking, not consumption. 

My trip to Normandy was not all bunkers and memorials.  I had the chance to try a good bit of cuisine, and best of all I was able to visit two different Calvados distilleries.  There, I learned about the process and was introduced to products to rival fine cognacs -- aged Calvados that combined the smooth texture of cognac with sweet buttery apple and more. 

As a special treat for you, I arranged with Chateau du Breuil to do a video tour of their facility.  I regret that the camera didn't come on quite fast enough a couple of times, but I think you will enjoy this virtual tour:



If you go to Normandy, I highly recommend a visit. Not only do you get to sample some of their wares, but the grounds are beautiful and if you have a group and make arrangements in advance, they can even provide your group with a Norman culinary experience at the facility.  The guided tour is good, and staff I met very friendly and helpful. Also, if you don't have a group, there is a nice meat market/gourmet grocery nearby where you can find things to make a most excellent picnic meal. 

As for a bit of what is missing in the video, most of it had to do with discussion of the unusually cold weather.  Spring was in many ways just arriving at the time of my visit, so you get to see blooming apple trees and flowers you would not normally see that time of year.  As some of you know from previous posts, it was indeed quite cold this year. 

I've got more photos of the grounds and such up at Laughing Wolf for your viewing pleasure.  I will also add that when I go back to Normandy, I will be going back to visit Chateau du Breuil again.  In addition, I plan to buy several large bottles of their 20-year-old Calvados.  While the video talks about the 15-year-old, which is excellent, the 20 takes things to a whole different level.  The richness of taste and aroma, the spice and edge of sweet apple, and the way it fills the mouth show the best of what Calvados can be.  If you can find it, it is well worth the try. 

I want to thank Bénédicte Baude-Vattier, and Chateau du Breuil, for their time and outstanding hospitality.  The willingness not just to have me come visit, but to give you a personalized tour of the facility, is very much appreciated. 


This trip and other embeds sponsored by MilitaryLuggage.Com and B.N. Shape Clothing.  My thanks to them and to everyone who has contributed to make this and other trips possible. Be sure to check out my Facebook Page and Laughing Wolf for other photos, stories, and more. 

A variety of advertising sponsorships are available, and you can contribute to this trip and other embeds at GoFundMe

Cakebread Cellars Tasting

The wines to be tasted

Recently, I was invited to Marietta Wine Market for a tasting of Cakebread Cellars wines.  Located just a block off the square in downtown Marietta, the Wine Market has a very nice selection of wines, along with local beers, a variety of cheeses, and more.  They do wine tours, and in fact the owners had just gotten back from conducting a port tour in Portugal.  Their tasting events are also built around having the participants make a donation to go to a local charity. 

Continue reading "Cakebread Cellars Tasting" »

A Partnership with Lock-N-Load Java


It has been a true pleasure in doing my recent product reviews to point out that Lock-n-Load Java not only seeks to provide good coffee to the troops, but that it also donates $1 on every order to a military charity.  To help get good coffee out to the troops, they also make it easy for you to buy and ship coffee to the troops. 

For many companies, just one part of that would be enough, but not Lock-n-Load Java.  I am pleased to announce that any unit I embed with for more than two weeks will be getting coffee sent to them by Lock-n-Load.  It's a way of supporting the embeds and giving a reward to a unit that is willing to have me embed with them. 

Good coffee, with a company doing good things for good people -- our troops.  You can't ask for more.  Check them out.


A Different Tasting

Recently, I had the chance to attend a Whisky tasting hosted by the new Savi Provisions in Atlanta.  Savi Provisions is the latest venture from the owners of Savi Urban Markets, and the new venue is off to a great start with a very nice tasting room and a well-stocked wine and spirit store, which will soon be joined by a gourmet market.

Continue reading "A Different Tasting" »

Lock-N-Load Java A Pureed Review


If you get a variety of sample packets (a great and cost-effective way to explore without having to buy whole bags) of Lock-N-Load Java, and the measure for the coffee maker you are using is more than half but less than all, what do you get?  For me, it was a chance to play coffee blender on my own. 

I will start with my favorite, which was about 90 percent New Guinea and 10 percent Ethiopian.  My hosts favorite was (I think) a blend of Double Barrel and Smooth Operator, though we both very much enjoyed a blend of Double Tap and Charlie Don't Surf

Me, Monday I am placing an order, and just waiting to see how large an order I place.  Good coffee from good people, and the troops benefit.  Not bad. 


Lock-N-Load Java A Blended Review


Life can never be all bad when there is good coffee to be had.  And, thanks to the fine folks at Lock-N-Load Java there has been good coffee in my life.  My hosts and I just have hated having to sample so much good coffee, and I fear we are getting a bit spoiled. 

This week's review is of a sampler pack of their blended coffees (you can read the review of single-source coffees here).  Coffee has gone the way of whisky and whiskey, in that blends get a very bad shake.  As with a good blend of whiskey/whisky, the goal is to create the best of several worlds, bringing together flavors so that a rich and complext taste is obtained without negatives.  In terms of coffee, the flavor should be rich and complex without excessive bitterness, acid, and other things that would detract.  As with whisky/whiskey, there are indeed some bad blends out there, that are not pure product and/or are not quality product. 

Such is not the case here.  The blends they have are pure and high quality, and show it.

First up was the Warrior Select medium roast. The body is nice, and it has a good flavor.  There was enough richness to be satisfying, and the finish was smooth and pleasant. 

Second, we tried the Double Barrel Black dark roast.  I really liked the full body and solid flavors a lot. Good body, great balance, slight bit of bite on a solid finish. For those who like it dark, a good choice. 

Finally, we tried the Smooth Operator light roast.  To be honest (and polite), I'm not usually a fan of light roast coffee.  This, however, was full of flavor and showed some nice complexity with fruit and nut notes. To be very honest, I am impressed with it and I'm going to have to rethink some of my coffee snobbery about light roast. 

As before, I want to mention that the company is veteran owned, has an option for you to ship coffee to the troops, and does other good work.  There is more coming on some of those good works.  Stay tuned. 

Now, to see if the troll (competitor?) shows up to misquote prices and disparage things again...


You can catch me on Facebook, Twitter, and at LaughingWolf


A Special Tasting

The Bourbon Bar

Monday night, a friend and I had the delightful treat of a bourbon tasting at The Bourbon Bar/Southern Art Restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead.  It was a reunion of sorts for me, because the tasting -- put on by the Metro Atlanta Scotch Club -- was done by Hunter Chavenne of Willett Distilleries.

Continue reading "A Special Tasting" »

Lock-N-Load Java A Single Source Review

Working at Blackfive does have benefits.  Right after getting to meet good and interesting people, the best benefit is finding good things.  Those who have met me know I like good food and drink, possibly a little more than I should.  Good coffee is something I appreciate, and I know others do too -- particularly out in the field.  I made friends on embed by bringing good coffee with me.


I wish that I could have had Lock-N-Load Java with me for those embeds.  The kind folks at Lock-N-Load have sent me some of their products to try, and I (and my hosts) are very much enjoying the opportunity.This isn't a company that just does your standard blend and roast, but one that is dedicated to providing the finest coffees for all range of uses. 

This week's review is of the sampler pack of their Task Force Zulu premium single origin coffees. As a coffee snob appreciator, I like single-origin coffee.  In fact, I had a favorite for making in a french press on those days that called for a really good start to the day.  Any of these coffees will give you that.

Our tour started with the amazing Papua New Guinea.  Amazing is not too strong a word, as this medium roast coffee has a good body, wonderful flavor(s), clean finish, and absolutely no bitterness.  The write-up talks about dried fruits and other notes, and they are indeed there.  If you like complex coffees that are balanced and with no bitterness, this is a great coffee to try.  My host likes cold coffee, as in iced, and not every coffee holds up to that -- and this one did with even more notes and flavors coming out. 

Next up was the light roast Rwandan.  As I noted on Facebook, it has a good body and flavor, with hints of plum and fruit.  The body is a bit lighter, but not weak.  The finish was good, and the overall flavor truly is unique.  If you like a lighter roast and coffee, without loss of flavor or complexity, you should try this one.

Then we tried their Ethiopian coffee.  Let me preface this by saying that a particular Ethiopian coffee is my favorite mentioned above, and I benchmark other coffees against it.  Despite not being made in a french press, and being a medium light roast instead of a darker roast, the Lock-N-Load Java Ethiopian more than held its own.  This is a solid coffee with rich complex flavor, hints of fruit and herbs (to me), and a clean finish.  I really want to try this in a french press and compare to what I normally get/got. 

Finally, we tried the Costa Rican.  I put it off because my host has not had good luck with Costa Rican coffees before, but this one may have changed that for him.  It has a solid body, with the hints of sweetness for which Costa Rican coffee is known.  A light roast, it is flavorful and presents the best qualities of Costa Rican coffees. 

Now, I know I've talked about a french press a few times here, and for more than one reason.  To me, it is about the best way to make coffee there is.  Sadly, my glass french press is not able to travel with me because, well, it's glass.  For those in the field, that is a drawback.  Well, not anymore as thanks to Lock-N-Load Java you can get a stainless steel french press to go into the field with you.  And, yes, this is now on my Amazon Wish List. 

Oh, did I forget to mention that the company is veteran owned, has an option for you to ship coffee to the troops, and does other good work?  Well, here you go and more is coming on some of those good works.  Stay tuned. 

It's also not just me that likes them.  Check out this review at TAH


You can catch me on Facebook, Twitter, and at LaughingWolf.