CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — There is fun to be had with “in between season”

Published 7:59 am Tuesday, December 26, 2023

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This week is an in-between time as we enjoy Christmas memories and look ahead to resolutions, Epiphany and what all 2024 brings.


Let me take a moment to thank Culinary Thrill Seeking readers who enjoy letting me know how they relate to not only good food, but the joy of creating it.

Here’s some “in-between” treats to consider:

Ring it in with Sammy – Want to ring in the new year with Sammy Hagar? You don’t have to be a super fan to enjoy his light Beach Bar Cocktails in a can in flavors such as Tangerine Dream. But if you were a super fan you may know about his restaurants. What rocks is what I call white rum, but Beach Bar Rum calls this premium Platinum with “flexibility to support a cocktail or be sipped neat over ice.” Times Square has always seemed a little cold for New Year’s Eve. Feel beachy with these tropical notes and hints of coconut and banana. Again, those cocktails are super refreshing and fizzy. Read about this interesting line at

What the Desert Yields – Did you learn that “desert” is the hot place, spelled with one s and “dessert” after a meal has “ss” because you want two of them? Don’t be confused by Monsoon Chocolate, hand crafted from the Sonoran Dessert in such creations as malt balls in roasted strawberry, a bar of 74 percent barrel aged dark chocolate and boxes of fetching chocolates including salted caramel that melts in your mouth. Desert. Dessert. If I’ve made you want to go, there is a café in Tucson. The earthy colors of the packaging tie it all together. Learn more at

 “A Bellwether Christmas” – Here’s the short story on a youth novel sharing the Nativity story from the animals’ point of view. Laurel Guillen of Friendswood, who’s husband’s dad grew up in Port Arthur. Had a life-changing visit to Italy. (I want that!) It’s been 800 years since the Christmas Nativity Scene originated, popularized in 1223, and Guillen figured her love of the era and knowledge of feisty farm dwellers would make a good match. It’s delightful. All my senses are aroused as she describes a young shepherd’s daily life. Then someone special comes to town……

Here’s how it goes down:

“Bart is a curious, impetuous lamb who lives in a tiny village in medieval Italy. He is always getting into trouble and feels like he doesn’t belong. In chance encounters with a hare, a lark and then a terrifying wolf, he learns about the poor man from Assisi who loves all creatures and talks to them about love, honor and belonging. Bart is convinced that this man, and the new kind of celebration he is planning for Christmas Eve, holds the key to understanding his own destiny. But when Christmas Day dawns, he faces his biggest challenge yet: a dangerous mission to bring the gift of love to a friend. Will he be brave enough and finally find the place where he belongs?”

The book is delightful, but I need space to share her story: Laurel Guillen is a Cornell University graduate and former radio, newspaper and television journalist who has always loved medieval tales. She helped her husband, Michael Guillen, PhD, produce the award-winning family movie Little Red Wagon and now writes the blog God and Gardening on Facebook.

Darragh Doiron is a Southeast Texas foodie ready for 2024 to show what it’s got. Reach her at