I am on a search for the best Lemon Drop Martinis in Tampa Bay. Each week I will feature two Lemon Drops from local restaurants and will pick a first place winner on October 1st. The winner will be featured in my blog as well as receiving a Lemon Drop Ladies award, a gift basket and a banner on my site. There will also be second and third place winners who will also receive gifts and mentions on my site. Lemon Drop Martinis hold a special place in my heart. The first cocktail that I learned how to make was a Lemon Drop and not only did I fall in love with the flavor, I fell in love with the art of hand-crafting unique variations of this classic cocktail. The history of the Lemon Drop is another reason this drink is so special. I am from the San Francisco Bay area and the Lemon Drop was born in my favorite city by the bay. The Lemon Drop came into vogue during the 1970′s and was developed at a now defunct bar called Henry Africa’s in San Francisco. Henry’s was known as being a singles bar that catered to single men and women. They often tried to create drinks for women that would disguise the taste of alcohol and thus the Lemon Drop was born. As I go on my search for the best Lemon Drop in Tampa Bay, I will be looking for not only taste but creativity and presentation. Each Lemon Drop that I try will be featured here on my site with tasting notes as well as the preparation method and food pairings. I want bartenders to show me what they got! Ok Tampa Bay, I am ready to find the best Lemon Drops! Please feel free to comment with any recommendations of places to visit. Cheers!
I hope 2012 has been magical for everyone so far! I have been so busy working on my book and my other blogs that I have not written a post on here for a while. Now that my busy season at work is over, I am ready to get back to blogging! Last week I hosted my 4th Lemon Drop Ladies event at Datz in South Tampa and I must say, it was the best one yet! Datz has been one of my favorite places in Tampa for quite some time and I am continuously impressed with their culinary creativity. When I began thinking of places to hold my event, they were number one on my list. Before I give you a re-cap of this fabulous event, I want to take a moment to define my vision for The Lemon Drop Ladies. We have all heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I love lemonade but the first cocktail I learned how to make was a Lemon Drop Martini back in 1997 when I was just 22 years old. One sip and I was hooked! 15 years later, my love affair with Lemon Drop Martinis is still going strong. Over the years I have created my own unique Lemon Drop recipes and to this day it is my signature drink. About three years ago, I was going through a hard time as a single mom and feeling like a failure. It seemed that no matter how hard I worked I was still struggling. As I sat at a red light, I glanced over and saw a homeless woman asking for food on the corner. Suddenly, I realized that I was so fortunate to have a roof over my head, two beautiful children, a job, a car and amazing friends. I had always been a very strong person and a hard worker and no matter how tough life was for me, I always managed to make ends meet. At that very moment, “The Lemon Drop Ladies” just popped into my head and it was as if I had seen the light. For the first time in two years, I was truly thankful that I was a single mom and no longer with the father of my children. I also realized that my life was so much better without him that it ever was when I was with him! My mind began to go 100 miles an hour and my the concept for “The Lemon Drop Ladies” was conceived, right on the intersection of Dale Mabry Highway and Spruce Street, just a few blocks south of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. I went home later that day and got to work on my vision. Two years later, I began to work on my book and got the name trademarked. So, what is a Lemon Drop Lady? In a nutshell, a Lemon Drop Lady is strong, yet sweet. She takes life’s lemons and uses them as ingredients in her recipe for life. A lemon alone is sour, but when added to other things, it accentuates flavors and makes things taste better. No matter what obstacles come her way, a Lemon Drop Lady will use them as tools for building a strong life and making her dreams become reality. To help get the work out about my project, I host parties every few months and invite women to join me for a few hours of networking, Lemon Drops and lemon-themed foods. Each event has been very successful and I have met some pretty incredible women. My 4th Lemon Drop Ladies event took place June 9th, 2012 at Datz in South Tampa. A week has gone by and many are still talking about it. Datz went above and beyond to create a spectacular menu and the food clearly knocked my yellow stilettos off! Lemon Drop Ladies Menu June 9th, 2012 Crostini with Whipped Goat Cheese, Roasted Lemon Chutney and Balsamic Vinaigrette Lemon Chicken Skewers w/ Lemon Basil Sauce Lemon Hummus with Crudite and Pita Lemon Bars Japanese Lemon Donuts with Empire Lemonela Glaze Beautiful Food Prepared by Datz! Voli Lemon Drop rimmed with Lavender Syrup and Lavender Sugar Crostini with Whipped Goat Cheese, Roasted Lemon Chutney and Balsamic Vinaigrette Lemon Chicken Skewers w/ Lemon Basil Sauce Lemon Hummus with Crudite and Pita Lemon Bars Japanese Lemon Donuts with Empire Lemonela Glaze Japanese Lemon Donuts with Empire Lemonela Glaze Everyone that attended had a wonderful time and some wonderful new relationships were formed at this event. I had the opportunity to meet some ladies in person that I had only corresponded with via email or on Facebook. I will be hosting two more events this summer, one in July and one in August. After a hectic year, I am ready to get my book finished and help ladies across the country turn their lemons into Lemon Drops! I have a few Lemon Drop Ladies t-shirts to give away to a few lucky readers. To enter, simply do any of the following and each will count as an entry. Simply comment on this post and let me know which items you have completed. I will pick three winners on June 30th. “Like” the Lemon Drop Ladies on Facebook by clicking here Follow The Lemon Drop ladies on twitter @lemondropladies Share this post on Facebook Tweet this post ”The Lemon Drop Ladies are for when life gives you lemons make something sour into something sweet. Like a lemon drop martini with a crystal sugar rim!!” -Tiffany Styles I would love to give a HUGE thank-you to everyone who donated to my raffle. Stop by and show them some love! Sun Kissed Mobile Spray Tanning Stylz Company The Salty Rim Eats! American Grill Intensity Academy Your Fondant Memories Working Women of Tampa Bay South Tampaopoly My Other City By The Bay Datz
There is nothing quite as refreshing as the flavor of lemon. I have loved lemons for as long as I can remember and use them in everything from pasta dishes and marinades to desserts and beverages. A few years ago, I was browsing through my local grocery store and came across a box of True Lemon. Intrigued, I picked up the box and saw that True Lemon was cold-pressed, crystallized lemon in a packet that could be used in beverages and recipes. SOLD! I took home a box and since then, we have been living happily ever after. I begin each day with a tall glass of water flavored with True Lemon. Not only does it taste amazing, it has helped curb my diet soda habit. I will often add two packets of True Lemon and a packet of Splenda to my water and make my own carb-free lemonade. Drinking water with True Lemon keeps me hydrated and full of energy, which is essential living in the Florida humidity. I always have a stash in my purse. Over the last few months, I have been using True Lemon in many of my favorite recipes, including my signature dish, Lemon Spaghetti. I want to share my love of True Lemon with my readers and am now dedicating Tuesdays to this amazing product with the launch of my “True Lemon Tuesdays.” Every week I will feature a recipe made with True Lemon and would love to hear your recipe suggestions and requests. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if your recipe idea is featured, I will send you a box of True Lemon. To learn more about True Lemon and the other products in the True Citrus line such as True Lime, True Orange and the new True Grapefruit, be sure to visit their site at www.truelemon.com and visit them on Facebook by clicking here. Next Tuesday I will be featuring my signature True Lemon Spaghetti.
There is nothing more inspiring than hearing stories of women that have found success after being faced with a difficult situation. About a month ago, I attended a luncheon for Tampa Women of Worth and met an incredible woman that is a perfect example of a “Lemon Drop Lady.” Her name is Dominique Mealey and if you live in Tampa Bay or are familiar with radio personality, Bubba the Love Sponge, chances are you have heard of her product that has quickly become a staple in my kitchen. Dominique is a Tampa native and her story has inspired me on so many levels. She and her husband own Back 9 Dips and their signature product, Bubba’s Buffalo Chicken Dip, is beyond delicious. I had heard about their dip from a few friends as well as from my brother Dominick who lives in San Jose, CA. He is a long-time fan of Bubba the Love Sponge and has been asking me about Bubba’s Buffalo Chicken Dip for quite sometime. Dominique gave me a tub the day I met her and now I am hooked. Her journey to success began with life handing her and her husband a giant lemon and they turned that lemon into a successful company. I spoke with Dominique about her story and am delighted to share it with you. Making Lemon Drops out of Lemons by Dominique Mealey “My husband David had just received a raise and promotion. I was 8 months pregnant and had put in my notice for my job ( marketing and sales for Flemings Steakhouse). A month after getting the raise, David was let go. He was with Callaway Golf and they had supplied us with a Yukon XL and we were also told on the same day he was let go that the car would be picked up in the next 2 hours. We were in a tough place to say the least. We had been pursuing our hobby in competition BBQ and had brought in some BBQ to Bubba the Love Sponge to get his thoughts. David also brought in his Buffalo Chicken Dip. Bubba and the guys couldn’t stop talking about our dip and how much they loved it. We started getting calls from all across the country and emails from peolpe who wanted to buy our dip. We took a huge leep of faith and put everything we had into getting our dip to retail. We downsized everything we could so we could afford to start our dream. We have worked so hard to get where we are today. Last year at this time we had one retail location. By next month we will be in over a thousand locations with two flavors of dip (Buffalo and Sweet Heat). We really are so blessed. What seemed like a devastating turn of events was the best thing to ever happen to us. I could never say enough about the support of the people who have helped us get here. People really wanted to see us succeed. Bubba and his team will never know the true impact they have made on our lives. That is why we named the dip after them.” I am so proud of all that Dominique and her husband have accomplished. Their story brought tears of joy to my eyes and it is such a wonderful example of taking life’s lemons and turning them into something amazing. I hope their story will inspire you as it has inspired me. We must always remember to have faith and courage when life hands us lemons. By working hard and believing in yourself, you can accomplish anything. In honor of Dominique’s story, I would like to give a reader a gift basket that contains a Lemon Drop Ladies t-shirt, a Lemon Drop Ladies martini glass and a tub of Bubba’s Buffalo Chicken Dip. To enter, please be sure to “like” the facebook pages for both The Lemon Drop Ladies and Back 9 Dips. Be sure to comment that you did so and I will pick a winner on October 1st.
“Begin the day with a friendly voice, A companion unobtrusive Plays that song that’s so elusive And the magic music makes your morning mood. Off on your way, hit the open road, There is magic at your fingers For the Spirit ever lingers, Undemanding contact in your happy solitude. “ -taken from The Spirit of the Radio by Rush, lyrics by Neil Peart Corey Dylan has been the friendly voice that I would listen to on the way to work since I have lived in Tampa. Whenever I hear the song The Spirit of the Radio by Rush, I think of Corey. I moved here in May of 2003 and began listening to her radio show when I would commute from Carrollwood to Brandon. Her morning show always got me going and I have been a fan since the first time I heard her on the air. I always loved that she was from the Pacific Northwest, especially since I have a lot of family from her neck of the woods. A lot of the music played on her show reminded me of my days back home in San Jose, CA. Corey doesn’t know this, but her show always made me feel a little less homesick. Once I would tune in, I would be taken back to my high school days and felt more at home here in this town so far from where I grew up. A few days ago, I got into my car and put on 101.5 The Point. Something was different and I then learned that changes were made with the station and Corey was no longer there. My favorite songs of the 80′s and 90′s had been replaced with a new format and Keith Lawless, CMG Vice President & Market Manager, states “The new Hot 101.5 will be the station women 18-34 years of age can count on for the hottest hits.” Ouch! 18-34? I am 36 and according to them, do not fit into that category. I really miss 101.5 The Point. This new format sounds just like all the other stations on the radio. Now, do not get me wrong, I do enjoy a lot of those songs, but I am an 80′s girl and love the music of that era. I had been thinking of Corey all weekend and was wondering how she was doing with the whole situation. As I logged onto Facebook, I saw in my news feed that Corey was doing well and had started a new blog. My heart started racing with excitement as I clicked on the link to her blog. I thought, “Wow, here is someone I have been listening to since my arrival in Tampa and she is truly taking lemons and making lemon drops.” As I read her first blog post, I had tears in my eyes. Corey is doing exactly what I believe in by taking life’s lemons and turning them into something amazing. I contacted her and was blessed to be able to give her a very brief interview via Facebook. Corey, what was your first reaction when you heard the news about your job? “I think fear is usually anyone’s first reaction. When one becomes a grown-up we have bills to pay and ourselves to rely on! But now I’m excited to do something new and take on a new project. I have an amazing family and group of friends that are there to support me during this time. “ What would you tell someone that has been out of work for awhile and has given up? “Employers are looking for passion and enthusiasm in a new hire. If you’ve been looking for work for a while that can be a challenge but having been out of work for nearly a year before I know you need to dig deep. What have you always wanted to try? Try it! Ask the people close to you if they have ideas and don’t let anyone tell you that something you want to do isn’t possible.” Can you share any tips for motivation? “Knowing you need to pay the bills is often motivation enough to keep looking for work but when so many aren’t able to pay their mortgage there’s a feeling that you’re not alone. Network, network, network! You have to believe that you’re good at what you do and do something that you love. But taking on a few part-time or short-term jobs may introduce you to something new that gets you excited. My plan is to throw myself into projects that I’ve put off, develop new ideas and answer the door when opportunity knocks. NEVER pass up an adventure!” Corey is such an inspiration and I think there are many of us that can benefit from her new blog. I am excited to see her embark on this new journey and I know that she is going to find great success. In this tough economic climate, we all need to remain positive and know that things will get better. I have several friends that are unemployed and they are taking this time to continue their education and discover new hobbies. Corey has a gift for writing and I know her blog is going to be a hit. In honor of her fantastic new blog, I want to give a few readers a Lemon Drop Ladies t-shirt. Email me your stories of taking a job loss and turning it into a golden opportunity. My email is email@example.com. I will select a few stories to publish on my blog and send you a shirt if your story is selected. Be sure to visit Corey’s blog, The UPside to Unemployment and watch this amazing woman make lemon drops out of lemons. Cheers to you Corey!
Summer is here and recipes featuring lemons are popping up everywhere. I was at the grocery store this week and spotted three magazines at the checkout stand that all had lemon recipes gracing the cover. Of course I bought all of them and spent the weekend experimenting. My son Rocco loves to help in the kitchen and we decided to make a batch of Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies that is featured in Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade magazine. My son did most of the work and the cookies were delicious! Rocco and I would like to share this recipe with you. Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies (recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Magazine, July/August 2011) Ingredients: 1 (17.5-ounce) package sugar cookie mix (we used Betty Crocker) 1/2 cup butter, softened 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 large egg 1 teaspoon lemon zest 1/2 cup prepared lemon curd 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar **You can buy lemon curd at the market or make your own. We used a recipe from www.food.com. You can see the recipe here. 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (Mommy did this.) Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine cookie mix, butter, flour, egg, and lemon zest; stir until a soft dough forms. (We used our Kitchen Aid.) Roll dough into 36 balls about 1″ in diameter. Place dough balls, 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets. Using a thumb dipped in flour, gently press in center of each portion of dough to form an indentation. Smile! It increases your face value! Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ 2. In a small bowl, combine lemon curd and lemon juice. Fill centers of dough with about 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon curd mixture. Here is Rocco mixing the lemon curd and juice together. Here is Rocco filling the dough with the lemon curd. Laughter is the secret ingredient! 3. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. (Mommy put these in the oven for Rocco since the oven is hot.) Let stand on baking sheet for 1 minute. Remove cookies on parchment paper to a wire rack; cool completely (about 30 minutes). Sift confectioners’ sugar evenly over cookies. As Rocco would say in his best Julia Child voice, BON APPETIT! Rocco was so proud of his cookies. He is such a Lil’ Lemon Drop Dude!
I love specialty soaps, especially ones that are lemon-scented. My friend Jennifer has a gift for making soaps and sent me one of her creations that put a huge smile on my face. It is a “Lemon Drop Cake Soap” and is just one of the many scent-sational soaps from her company, Snooty’s Suds and Goddess Soap Kitchen. It smells divine and is almost to beautiful to use. Made with Goat’s Milk, Glycerin, Vitamin E Oil, Dead Sea Salt and Lemon Cake Fragrance, this luxurious soap will brighten your mood and refresh your mind. I keep a bar in my kitchen as well as one in my bathroom. This soap smells just like a piece of lemon cake and puts me in the mood to bake. I want to share my love of this soap with you and will be picking two lucky readers to win a bar of this heavenly “Lemon Drop Cake Soap” from Snooty’s Suds and Goddess Soap Kitchen. All you have to do is comment “Lemon Drop Cake Soap” on the wall of my Lemon Drop Ladies Facebook page. I will pick a winner on July 4th at 11:59 pm. Winner will be announced July 5th. Be sure to visit Snooty’s Suds and Goddess Soap Kitchen on Facebook and show her some Lemon Drop Ladies love by liking her page. Well, I am off to bake some Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies. Have a wonderful day!
My favorite cocktail is a Lemon Drop and I love to experiment with different variations on this classic cocktail. I have never attempted to try a low-carb lemon drop and was excited to try this recipe by True Lemon. For those of you that are not familiar with the True Lemon product, you are in for a treat. True Lemon is crytallized lemon that comes in a packet. Fresh lemons are selected and then cold-pressed and crystallized to lock in the flavor. I add True Lemon to my ice tea, water, non-fat Greek yogurt, melted butter, sauces and more. I will be featuring a different recipe every Tuesday for my launch of “True Lemon Tuesdays.” The “True Lemon Drop” is a low-carb twist on my favorite cocktail and the taste is amazing! For those that are watching your carbs and enjoy Lemon Drop Martinis, this is the drink for you! Cheers! True Lemon Drop (recipe and photo courtesey of True Lemon) Ingredients: 2 packets of True Lemon 2 packets of Splenda a shot of vodka a shot of water Directions Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and pour into a chilled martini glass. (You can rim the glass with Splenda and/or garnish with a lemon wedge) Serve. Enjoy! You can follow True Lemon on Twitter @TrueLemon and find them on Facebook by clicking here. Be sure to visit www.truelemon.com for more recipes and to see their other products.
This Lemon Drop Lady has an obsession with a hot sauce that is produced in Tampa, FL. Back in December, I was introduced to the wonderful gourmet sauces of Intensity Academy. I am now hooked on them and use them religiously in my kitchen. My absolute favorite is “Garlic Goodness.” I use it in sauces, on meats and fish, in marinades, in tacos and on pizza. I had the distinct priviledge of meeting Intensity Academy founder, Michele Northrop, and she shared this amazing recipe for Lemony Garlic Goodness Greek Dip. The dip is fabulous and if you are looking for something to wow your guests with at your next get-together, this recipe is perfect. Lemony Garlic Goodness Greek Dip 16 oz of Greek Plain Yogurt 8 oz of crumbled feta cheese 1 bar softened cream cheese 1-2 tbs Garlic Goodness to taste 1-2 tbs fresh lemon juice to taste Blend together & chill for 2 hours Serve with pita chips, bread rounds or fresh veggies. I am giving away a bottle of Garlic Goodness to a lucky reader. All you need to do to enter is “like” my page on facbook and leave a comment of “Garlic Goodness.” I will choose one lucky reader on 5/25 so that you will be able to wow your family and friends with this recipe over Memorial Weekend. To go to my page, The Lemon Drop Ladies, click HERE. You can find Intensity Academy on Facebook by clicking here. You can follow their saucy tweets @SaucyQueen.
On May 1st, I hosted my first “Yellow Party” at Eats! American Grill in South Tampa. The purpose of the Yellow Party was to let everyone know about my blog and my book that is currently in production. I asked everyone to wear yellow and I picked out the most amazing yellow dress. I ordered lemon cake pops from Island Girl Cakes and custom Lemon Drop Ladies martini glasses with a yellow stem. Everyone was greeted with a lemon drop martini as they walked in. Seeing everyone in yellow brought tears to my eye. It was a beautiful day. As I was getting ready for my event, the unthinkable happened. As I put on my beautiful yellow dress, I realized the zipper was broken. In a panic, I searched my closet for something yellow and could not find anything. I called my friend Jennifer who actually found the dress for me. She is the owner of SASS (Sophisticated Affordable Sensible Style) and was right there to come to my rescue. We had 45 minutes to come up with a solution so she went shopping and picked out two yellow dresses and brought them to my house. Unfortunately, they did not fit right and I had to resort to wearing a pink and black dress. Upset that I did not have a yellow dress for my Yellow Party, I had a mini breakdown. As mascara was rolling down my face I realized that I was not praticing what I preach. Here I was given a lemon and was letting it “sour” my event that I had worked on for weeks. I took a deep breath, got myself together and put on the pink and black dress. I promptly sent a text message to my dear friend and fellow Lemon Drop Lady, Leslie Joy Ickowitz, and asked for her advice. She recommended that I place a yellow flower in my hair. GENIUS! I headed to my event and brought the yellow dress with a broken zipper so I could show everyone how I had to make a lemon drop out of a lemon that day. The party was a great success and I made some wonderful new connections. I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends and am very excited about the journey I am about to embark on. We all must remember that whenever life hands you a lemon, you have to make something sweet out of it. It has worked wonders for me. I would like to give a big shout out to Robert Azmitia of Robert Azmitia Photography for the beautiful pictures. I also received a donation of my favorite hot sauce, Garlic Goodness, from Michele Northrup from Intensity Academy. The amazing “Saucy Queen” donated two cases for my raffle. It is the perfect blend of garlic and spice. Thank you to Michelle Cyr for the donation of lunch for two at the Centre Club. I am very proud to be a member of the Centre Club and will be hosting a Lemon Drop Ladies event there in the near future!! I also received two copies of my favorite book, Our Stimulus Package from one of the authors, Kirsten Becker. It is a must-read! LindaJoy Rose donated a gift bag from The Fairy Line. It was a hit! Be sure to visit her facebook page here. Oliver Gray from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was kind to donate lunch and a tour of One Buc Place. Four lucky ladies got to have lunch and take the tour with Oliver. My raffle raised $65 for my team, The Lemon Drop Ladies, in the High Heel Hike for Autism. Thanks again to everyone for their donations! Lots of love and kisses xoxoxoxoxo -Lola Lemon Drop