Posts Tagged ‘’

Smokey Pineapple Tequila and Mezcal Cocktail Inspired by the Spirited Happy Hour at Bastion in Celebration of Music City Food + Wine Festival!

Your missing out if you haven’t yet had a tequila and mezcal cocktail!


Photo by

Get your tickets today so you can experience the fabulous 4th Annual Music City Food + Wine Festival held in Nashville. 

Every year before the Music City Food + Wine Festival, there’s always a celebration that takes place at one of our fabulous local restaurants that showcases our immensely talented chefs. This year we all gathered at Bastion, Chef Josh Habiger’s newest culinary and cocktail experience for all of us to enjoy. Josh is also one of the talented chefs who will be at the Music City Food + Wine Festival in September. Bastion is located in the Houston Station area of Nashville with a casual yet chic vibe in ” a warehouse-style digs with trendy, restored decor.”

If you’ve never had tequila in any other cocktail other than a margarita, you are missing out. And, when it’s combined with mezcal and pineapple juice, it creates a cocktail on a whole new level of refreshment and enjoyment.

Here’s my inspired version of my new favorite cocktail!

This is a cocktail that is a blend of all the flavors we love which are sweet, salty, savory, spicy with a touch of smoke. It simply has it all.

Immediately, I fell in love with the layers of flavors. Smoke from the mezcal, slightly sweet tropical flavors of pineapple juice, fresh ginger, tart lime, shaken and poured into a glass that’s coated with spicy BBQ seasoned salt. I added a touch of demerara sugar, cardamom and smoked paprika to balance out the flavors.

This cocktail is called Toy Soldier at Bastion. We just call it that “awesome smokey tequila cocktail” that changed my concept of a cocktail for ever.





08 2016

Put an Egg on It! Enjoy a Sunday Paella Brunch with My Paella Travels and Lodge Cast Iron Paella Pan

Paella is my passion and so is brunch! 


all photos are by my daughter @laylamays photography

First, I want to thank Lodge Cast Iron for supplying this awesome 15 inch seasoned carbon steel paella pan! WOW! It is the very best paella pan that I have used so far. I am a Paella Chef in Nashville, TN called MY PAELLA TRAVELS. I expertly create succulent, intensely flavored authentic Spanish paellas with a Nashville-inspired twist. I have cooked for many in the Nashville and surrounding area and even won FIRST PLACE in a paella contest last September. I won the popular vote. Everyone loved my Nashville-inspired paella!

I recently received this great pan from the Lodge Cast Iron Company. I was delighted to find that it is already seasoned and cooks the paella evenly which creates the most flavorful and uniform socarrat (crispy bottom crust) ever! It’s small enough to finish in the oven to get the crispy, caramelized rice crust and large enough to feed 6 to 8 people!

Put an egg on it!

Brunch seems to be very popular here in Nashville and we now have many great brunch places to choose from. But the only place you will find this is with My Paella Travels! Most brunches include several dishes with eggs or topped with a poached or fried egg. Soooo, I was thinking…..


There is always a plate or two of paella leftover from the events I host. I always tell the group to warm it up for brunch the next day, put a fried egg on it and serve with a side of tangy and smokey Romesco sauce. Well, it’s about time for me to do that too. But why wait until the next day. Why not have a Paella Brunch today!

IMG_9109-webSaveur Magazine has great Paella articles and recipes. I found this Paella Mixta recipe and thought this would be just perfect for today’s Sunday Paella Brunch. I was very inspired by the recipe but I did modify the recipe to fit my own flavor profiles. This recipe worked great for the 15-inch paella pan but I did use 2 cups of Bomba rice instead of 2 1/2.

The Romesco Sauce (modified) is the perfect accompaniment with the fried egg and paella. Spanish Romesco sauce is a tangy, smoky blend of roasted red peppers, smoked paprika, garlic, olive oil and the freshness is enhanced by the sherry vinegar. It is often served with tapas of grilled seafood or even with a paella.

All seasonings and spices used in the recipe can be purchased at Savory Spice Shop in Franklin,TN or online. The Palacios dried mild chorizo can be ordered from 

Let me know if you have any questions about how to host a Sunday Paella Brunch. MY PAELLA TRAVELS may just travel to you!




Paella Mixta with Spanish Romesco Sauce for a Sunday Brunch
Recipe type: Brunch
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8 servings
My Paella Travels Paella Brunch! While the Paella Mixta was cooking, I made a Romesco Sauce. Both recipes inspired by Savuer
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 chicken breasts,diced, marinated in olive oil, smoked paprika, lemon & seasoning, sherry vinegar
  • 10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. dry-cured Spanish chorizo, cut into 1⁄4"-thick coins
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • Pinch of dried thyme and oregano leaves
  • 3 medium tomatoes, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon
  • 2 cups short-grain rice, BOMBA RICE
  • 8 oz. fresh or frozen peas
  • 3 jarred roasted red peppers, torn into 1⁄2"-thick strips
  • 12 mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 (9-oz.) box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 1 egg per person
  • For the Romesco Sauce:
  • 2 large bell peppers or 2 jarred and drained roasted red peppers in a jar
  • 3 large cloves garlic cloves, crushed or fine minced
  • 1 cup blanched white almonds (I used Marcona almonds)
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 1⁄4 tsp. smoked paprika
  1. Put saffron and 1⁄4 cup hot water in a small bowl; let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Season chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil in a 15 inch Lodge Cast Iron Carbon Steel seasoned paella pan over medium-high heat. Add marinated chicken, shrimp, and chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer shrimp to a plate, leaving meats in pan.
  5. Add paprika, garlic, bay leaves,thyme, oregano, tomatoes, and onions to pan and cook, stirring often, until onions soften, about 6 minutes.
  6. Add reserved saffron mixture, lemon juice and broth, season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  7. Sprinkle in rice, distribute evenly with a spoon, and add artichokes, peas, and peppers.
  8. Cook, without stirring, until rice has absorbed most of the liquid, 10–12 minutes.
  9. (If your pan is larger than the burner, rotate it every two minutes so different parts are over the heat and the rice cooks evenly.)
  10. Reduce heat to low, add reserved shrimp, and nestle in mussels hinge side down; cook, without stirring, until mussels have opened and rice has absorbed the liquid and is al dente, 5–10 minutes more.
  11. Remove pan from heat, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  12. Fry one egg per person for each serving of paella.
  13. Make Romesco Sauce while Paella is cooking:
  14. Place the drained red bell peppers and garlic in a blender along with the almonds, olive oil, tomato paste,sherry vinegar, chile flakes, paprika, and 1⁄2 cup water, and purée until smooth. Scrape into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to use.







06 2016

Enjoy Two Cool Summertime Cocktails with Smirnoff Whipped Cream Flavor-Infused Vodka!

Cool, Crisp and Refreshing or Creamy Chocolate Decadence

How do you satisfy your thirst?

Two very different yet equally satisfying cocktails created for you!


Photo by

Recently, a friend purchased a bottle of Smirnoff Whipped Cream Infused Vodka and asked if I had any ideas for cocktails recipes using this flavored vodka. Creating a couple of cocktails with balanced flavors seemed like a fun project and I was up for the challenge.

After opening the bottle, I closed my eyes and inhaled the decadent aromas of whipped cream and vanilla. It did indeed smell and taste like a sweetened creamy whipped cream and maybe a bit like vanilla ice cream which evoked memories of fresh fruit pies of summertime piled high with big dollops of cool and creamy freshly whipped cream. Because of the big creamy flavor profile of the vodka, I really wanted to balance the sweet and creamy with tart and refreshing.

Summertime is for cherries and the sweet-tart flavors would be just perfect for a cool cocktail. Tart cherry Juice really brings out the flavors of a fresh summertime cherries and a touch of lime complements the bold flavor of the vodka. Fresh lime juice, tart cherry juice and finished with a crisp and fruity Cava Rose’ made a cool,refreshing and slightly bubbly summertime cocktail.

Double Cherry Pie? yes, please!

1/2 cup Lakewood Organic Pure Fruit Tart Cherry Juice

1-1/2 oz Smirnoff Whipped Cream Vodka

juice from 1/2 lime

A handful of ripe cherries, pitted, cut in half

A splash or two of Segura Viudas Cava Rosé Sparkling Spanish Wine

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail glass and serve.

Add crushed ice, if desired.

For best results, chill all ingredients before mixing.

Now, for the Decadent Chocolate Martini Cocktail!

chocolatedrink-lr copy

Photo by

A cool and creamy Chocolate Martini is just the cocktail for a warm summer night. Sometimes, though, the challenge is creating a cocktail that is not too sweet and has layers of flavors. And, who doesn’t love luscious chocolate with creamy layers of whipped cream??? There are lots of chocolate syrups available on the market. We found that the Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Syrup is less sweet than the traditional syrups with a deeper, richer flavor. A touch of bold, rich and bitter coffee flavors of Ferrara Instant Espresso was the perfect flavor profile to enhance the chocolate flavor yet balance the sweet flavors of the vodka and Bailey’s Original Irish Creme.


Decadent and Creamy Chocolate Martini (for those summertime evenings)

In a cocktail shaker, add:

1-1/2 oz Smirnoff’s Whipped Cream Vodka

1-1/2 oz Bailey’s Original Irish Cream

2 T Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Syrup

A pinch of Ferrara Espresso Powder (1/4 t, more if you like!)

A splash or two of Half and Half

4 to 5 ice cubes or crushed ice

Shake well and pour into a sugar-rimmed martini glass

Top with grated bittersweet chocolate!





Ingcherry_0891-lr 2

Segura Viudas Rosé Cava

Smirnoff Whipped Cream Flavor-infused Vodka

Lakewood Organic Pure Fruit Tart Cherry


ChocIngr_0899-lr 2


Ferrara Instant Espresso Powder

Hershey’s Special Dark Syrup

Bailey’s Original Irish Creme

Drink UP! 


06 2015