Oh, just go ahead and eat and drink like the world might end. Because if you're like most people, you really do only have a few days left before the good times have all gone bye-bye. Come January, your "new life" begins and you have to start exercising and eating right, quit smoking and switch to light beer. Yup, it'll be All Bran all the time in 2005. You have lots of leafy green vegetables and grilled chicken breasts, wheatgrass shots and iced herbal tea to look forward to. Are you crying into your beer yet? Your 40-ounce malt liquor beer? Just think how much tail you're going to pull when you belly up to the bar and order a Michelob Ultra. Very sexy, tough guy. Ah, and now the tears come. Shed those tears now my dears, so you won't have runny mascara for the big New Year's party. You know, the party at which you're going to eat handfuls of bacon-wrapped cocktail wieners dipped in chile con queso, washing them down with Jim Beam straight from the bottle and a chaser of oatmeal stout. Stick that hand deep into the candy jar on the receptionist's desk and gobble up every last chocolate truffle you can dig out of your nephew's discarded Christmas stocking. Because in the words of that somber zombie movie 28 Days Later, "the end is really f-ing nigh."
Know Your Ingredients
Make Mine Molasses
Revisiting a sweet holiday treat
In January 1919, a 14,000-ton tank of molasses burst and sent a 30-foot wall of ooze rampaging through downtown Boston. It crushed a firehouse, flung horses and wagons into the air, and molassesed 21 people to death.
Chardonnay-braised lamb shank with leek risotto, root vegetables and natural reduction
From Chef James P. O'Brien III of Milagro Grill and Brewery
James O'Brien is a restless traveler. Milagro's new chef grew up in St. Louis, but has since worked in Memphis, Louisville and Atlanta, and attended culinary school in Vermont. O'Brien's wife was eight months pregnant when he decided to quit his high-paying corporate chef job and take a chance on relocating to the Southwest. After six months spent cooking at the Sheraton Old Town, O'Brien decided to settle down in the kitchen at Milagro Grill and Brewery in Bernalillo. “I walked through the door and my jaw dropped,” the chef says of his first visit to the restaurant. “I thought hands down this was the most beautiful restaurant I'd seen since I've been in New Mexico.” Milagro's menu, on the other hand, presented an inviting challenge. To O'Brien, it looked like the menu had been written by three different people—none of whom agreed with each other. He started work immediately on a dinner menu that would present a clear vision of elegant but rustic food; dishes that are creative but approachable. This Chardonnay-braised lamb shank is one of the chef's favorite dishes from his new menu, which debuted just a few weeks ago. The crispness of the Chardonnay helps to counter any gaminess in the meat so that even diners unfamiliar with lamb will be wooed.