Dear coffee in the summer,

When it starts to get warm, the shift begins: the heartbreaking shift toward to drinking less and less coffee. I started this habit a few years back, when I really concentrated on drinking enough water. I also subscribed to the long-held belief that coffee dehydrates the body (it’s a tough balance, life is hard).

But the logic goes as such: It’s hot in the summer. So drinking water to stay hydrated is more important (and more difficult, if you ask me) than usual, so best to avoid coffee and its diuretic effects.

But a few months ago, a study came out that busted my logic to pieces. NPR’s food blog The Salt discussed a study out of the U.K. (from the tea lovers!) that showed the body develops a tolerance to the diuretic nature of caffeine, and actually hydrates the same way water does. Hallelujah!

Coffee, it’s true that before, we were cuddle buddies only for the cold, cold winter. It’s true that once summer rolled around, we’d part ways only to meet again for brief, fleeting moments. I just didn’t know you could be any good for me when it was so hot outside. But now, if you’ll have me, we can continue to kindle this coffee love in the months to come. I can look at you, guilt-free, and know that we have something good.

And we do. It’s very, very good.

Love,
A

Dear chocolate ale,

So this chocolate ale thing is a really big deal. It’s seasonal, but last year, they didn’t release it. But yay 2014! I love beer and I love this beer.

When I heard about it, I imagined it would taste like a chocolate stout (which is silly because ‘ale’ is in the name), but its chocolatey taste is delightfully luxe and refreshing. It’s probably gone now, but I need to get my hands on a bottle. I need it.

Love,
A

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Dear shiner’s punch,

Before I begin, I have an announcement: this is post number 101! I’m so happy to reach this milestone, it’s time to celebrate with a little ‘shine… moonshine, that is.

Serve me a drink in a mason jar (with a handle) and I’m in. But this has so much more going for it. I like bourbon (which is in it). I love pineapple juice (which is in it). And who doesn’t love maple brown sugar molasses? But hark: What is this firefly cherry moonshine? Sweet sassy molassy, it sounds like the nectar of the gods.

And I’m telling you, this drink is the perfect thing to sip on while devouring a pile of ribs while it snows outside. Because that’s what I did.

Love,
A

Shiner's Punch from Famous Dave's is a mix of firefly cherry moonshine, Jim Beam bourbon, pineapple juice and maple brown sugar molasses.

Shiner’s Punch from Famous Dave’s is a mix of firelfy cherry moonshine, Jim Beam bourbon, pineapple juice and maple brown sugar molasses.

Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows

DF at Work: Hot Chocolate

Although this is pretty specific to my workplace, let me go ahead and tell you the recipe for the perfect office hot chocolate. Hopefully you can apply these principles to your own workday hot chocolate:

1. Pour a bit of half and half in your mug.
2. Grab two hot chocolate packets.
3. Plug them one at a time into the Flavia machine.
4. Let the first one run the full cycle, but on the second one, take the mug away before the hot water comes out.
5. Go grab one of the mini dark chocolate bars from the candy bowl and drop it in your mug. Give it a stir.
6. Marshmallows, marshmallows, marshmallows.

Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows

Cheers,
N

Dear Food Logo

We’ve gone social!

Dear Food Logo

We have too many thoughts on food for one blog to hold. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We’ll share top-notch recipes, photos and reviews. As we prepare for the second year of Dear Food, we’ll be bringing you exclusive content and interviews with up-and-coming chefs, as well as making you privy to the best restaurants you’ve never heard of. Have a place we should check out? Food issues you’d like us to cover? A chef who deserves some attention? Drop us a line. We’re always looking for the next delicious thing.

Cheers,
A & N

Dear Food Wine Club: Dear wine tasting in Temecula,

Delicious wine over a beautiful Temecula vineyard.

Delicious wine over a beautiful Temecula vineyard.

It’s not really a secret: wine tasting is the best thing to do ever. You don’t have to be an oenophile – but that undoubtedly makes you cooler – to enjoy hanging out at a beautiful, rustic vineyard while sampling the oaky, full-bodied, fill-in-wine-adjective fruit juices of its labor.

Specifically, I visited Faulkner Winery. It might have been the calm vibe, the setting sun or the unseasonably warm December, but it was transcendent. A particular favorite was the Hot Lips mulled wine (yes, the irony of a mulled wine in Southern California is not lost on me but it was delicious). Add a piece of chocolate with the taste, and the evening is complete.

Love,
A

Wine club: Dear Veramonte merlot and cheese,

Wine, herb brie cheese and baguettes, also known as dinner.

Wine, herb brie cheese and baguettes, also known as dinner.

It’s obvious that the best dinner consists of wine and cheese (and sometimes, that’s all I want for dinner). But as the weather starts to cool and the leaves begin to fall, I find comfort in the simplicity of the preparation juxtaposed with the robust flavors of the food. Today, we’re having merlot for dinner.

While I am partial to Spanish wines, how could I resist this minivacation to Chile’s Casablanca Valley with a merlot by Veramonte. It’s rich, dark, fruity and smells heavenly. This is how life should be.

Love,
A