Pok Pok’s Tamarind Whiskey Sour Review

Pok Pok Whiskey Sour - The Pinquiry

We’ve been a little quiet around here, and I’ve been totally lacking in inspiration on the Pinterest front. (Send me ideas-crafty, food, drinks–you know I love drinks.)  So, this is another not-from-Pinterest find, but I loooooooved it so much I had to share.

Portland is a food lover’s paradise, and the restaurant Pok Pok has quite the following.  Delicious (and spicy) Thai street food all fancied up and tasty drinks that make it that much more amazing.    I went with some girlfriends and ordered their Tamarind Whiskey Sour, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it pretty much changed my life.  No joke, it was that good.  Kind of sour and sweet and a little bit savory.  When you partake in a life changing drink, you must find the recipe to recreate at home as soon as possible.  After some poking around–jackpot!  I found the actual recipe from the man/owner/mastermind himself!  I will tell you, I have made this quite a few times now.  I’ve worked out the kinks, so see below for some tips that are hopefully helpful.

Pok Pok's Tamarind Whiskey Sour Review - The Pinquiry


A whiskey sour is easy peasy.  It’s usually 1.5 oz whiskey – 1 oz lemon/lime juice – .5-ish oz simple syrup.  Shake ‘er up and pour over ice.

This one has more ingredients than what I mentioned above, but it does not make the mixing of it any more difficult.

Can I mention again how delicious this is?


You will have to run to the store (probably an Asian market) for this drink, unless your pantry is stocked with tamarind paste.  I know–kind of different, but that is the ingredient that makes this whiskey sour so different and delicious.


I’ve made this multiple times now, so I have a few things to share:

1) It calls for rich simple syrup.  Do not make yours with regular.  It is just not the same.  According to the online recipe, rich simple syrup is one part water to two parts Demerara sugar.  What the heck is that?  I looked it up, and it’s a sort of natural brown sugar that is kind of expensive.   So, a couple sources gave me permission to substitute light brown sugar for it, and it totally gave the same taste I was hoping to achieve.

2) Do not make this with lemon (as many whiskey sours are made that way).  I tried it because we were out of limes, and it just was not the same.

3) I made a pitcher of this for our Fourth of July festivities (I know, I know–how festive and more red white and blue can I get?!), and it worked out well.  I mean, tons of lime juicing happened (thank goodness for this gadget), but it was still tasty and I didn’t have to shake individual drinks.

What do you think?  Are you sold?  I’m serious when I say this is amazing.  Let me know if you give it a whirl.

Pok Pok's Tamarind Whiskey Sour - The Pinquiry


The Best Sangria Recipe Review (P.S. This thing has ARUGULA in it!)

The BEST Sangria (with arugula!) - The Pinquiry

Getting here was a teensy bit tumultuous.  It one of those nights when I probably shouldn’t have been testing out something for The Pinquiry.  I was grouchy, I was clumsy, I needed a glass of wine.  Or, maybe I just should have gone to bed.  Typically, I enjoy working through recipes and crafts I find for this little blog.  I snuggle my children into their beds, pour a glass of wine, and settle into whatever process Pinterest has found for me.  On the night of trying out The BEST Sangria?  Not so much.  I spilled a cup of sugar onto our kitchen floor, and we’ve been trying our darnedest to keep the ants that love old houses away.  I accidentally splashed the Triple Sec all over the counter, my phone, and laptop keyboard, and that stuff is sickeningly sweet smelling.  I splattered the wine/sugar/orange liqueur/brandy mixture onto our freshly washed floors.  And, all I could keep thinking is “There is salad in this.  This is going to be terrible.  There is SALAD in this!”  For the record, there is arugula in this sangria.  I was curious at first, but then I was so frustrated with my clumsiness, I was sure it was going to be a big, fat fail.  Then, I poured a glass of wine.  Strangely enough, it was smooth sailing after that.  I should have done that step first, I guess.

I’m so glad I kept plugging along because the sangria turned out pretty stinking delicious.  See below for some tips and tricks.

The BEST Sangria (with arugula!) - The Pinquiry


Pros:  This is a tasty sangria.  Not too sweet.  Really strong.  (See tips below for how we fixed it up.)  Totally delicious.  I might even say it is kind of savory.  The arugula is so NOT weird.  Crazy, right?

I thought the sangria was really pretty.  There’s a ton of fruit in it–oranges, limes, lemons, strawberries–and they all looked so vibrant after being soaked in the wine mixture.  I especially loved the brightness of limes after soaking–purple/green goodness.

Cons:  I haven’t made sangria before, but this took me a bit of time to make–is that my con for every post?  Maybe.  Also, this probably took awhile because I was cleaning up my mess for half of the time it took me to make it.  Total butterfingers over here.

Tips:  Maybe this is “Duh, Gillian,” but mix up all of your goods in a giant pot or bowl.  I started by mixing mine into the giant pitcher I was planning on using and the sangria ingredients were too much for the container to hold.  Enter the moment Gillian splatters sangria mix all over the floor.

After all of your ingredients sit for awhile (I prepped mine at night and we drank it the next evening.), strain the sangria from the fruit/arugula into your pretty pitcher, and then add the fruit that you want back into it.  I didn’t put the arugula back in because I didn’t want there to be “salad” in my drink.  And, I added about 1/2 of the fruit back in–there was soooo much fruit in this.

I had five mamas over for dinner the other night, and we needed to keep our nine children alive, so we added a bit club soda/ginger beer (non-alcoholic) to our glasses.  It was tasty, not too sweet, and made the drink not as strong.

Also, we poured ours over giant ice cubes.  Love those things.

Will I make this again?  Yes!  I loved how it turned out, and the arugula made the flavor interesting/deep/delicious.  Plus it is fun to tell people there is salad in the sangria.

What do you think?  Will it be a sangria summer?  I hope so!

P.S.  I’d love to know what you’ve been pinning!  Find us on Pinterest!

The BEST Sangria (with arugula!) - The Pinquiry



Quick Tip: Hulling Strawberries with a Straw Review

Hulling Strawberries with Straw - The Pinquiry

I just have to start of by letting you know that this trick has changed my life.  Now, I didn’t find it on Pinterest, but through our good old friend Martha, so I am kind of stretching the rules of The Pinquiry.  But, I don’t want to just keep this gem of wisdom to myself, so here you go!

When it comes to getting the stems separated from strawberries, I typically cut the tops off with a knife and am way more concerned with how long it is taking me to get the entire flat of berries sliced up, than I am with conserving the amount of strawberry being discarded.  This is where Martha’s straw trick saves the day!  This method is fast, and you don’t loose much juicy berry in the process.  See picture below for directions and some tips.

Hulling Strawberries with Straw - The Pinquiry

From Martha Stewart Living, June 2014: p 24

Hulling Strawberries with Straw - The Pinquiry

Tips:  I tried using a disposable straw, but it would bend and the process was a little laborious.  Using the melamine straw from my reusable cup or a hard plastic straw from my kiddo’s water bottle helped those strawberry stems pop right off.  When you’re done, just push the remaining strawberry bits out of the straw with a pipe cleaner, and you’ll be all set, and can make more of this.

What do you think?  Will you give it a try, or do you have an amazing/easy/duh-everyone-already-knows-this-Gillian way to hull strawberries?

Rhubarb Simple Syrup Review (and a Pinquiry Mojito recipe!)

Rhubarb Syrup Review - The Pinquiry

It is rhubarb season in Portland, and I love adding it to crisps and crumbles.  But, I’m trying to cut back on my baking adventures (because of this and this and this and swimsuit season.)  So, when my neighbor sent over a big bundle of that juicy stuff, I figured drinks were in order.  I had seen a few delicious looking drinks making the rounds, and settled on whipping up rhubarb syrup because I’m a sucker for making simple syrup (it is so easy), and then I could add it to all sorts of cocktails and mocktails.

Rhubarb Syrup Review - The Pinquiry

Pros: This is easy to make and you don’t have to throw out all of the leftover rhubarb after you strain the syrup.  You can put the leftovers on ice cream or waffles, and it is tart and yummy.

If you’ve got tons of rhubarb around, this is a way to use it up without making this mouth-watering thing.

The color of the syrup is so pretty, and I’m a sucker for pretty.

Cons:  None.

Rhubarb Syrup Review - The Pinquiry

Tips:  Like I mentioned, don’t throw out the rhubarb after cooking and straining!  It’s delicious stuff, but it isn’t particularly pretty, hence, no pictures.

I was worried my syrup was going to be brown and ugly because my rhubarb wasn’t crazy pink, and as I was cooking the syrup, it was looking brown and dingy.  Do not fear!  When you strain the liquid out, it will magically become a lovely pink color.

I used about 6 medium sized stalks to make this and got a little over a cup of syrup.

I’ve mixed an ounce of syrup with club soda and one of the strawberry cubes I froze with the leftover puree from the gin and tonic, and it was just the right amount of sweet (see the pictures above.)   And, I stirred up a refreshing strawberry rhubarb mojito–if that strikes your fancy, see below for the recipe.

Strawberry Rhubarb Mojito - The Pinquiry


Strawberry Rhubarb Mojito


1-1.5 oz rhubarb syrup

1-2 strawberries, sliced

1/2 lime, sliced

10 mint leaves, torn into small pieces

1.5-2 oz white rum

club soda


Syrup, strawberries, lime, and mint go into the bottom of a tall glass.  Muddle and smash those guys up so everything is nice and juicy.

Add ice and pour rum over that goodness.

Swirl around and then top with club soda.  Swirl some more.

Drink with a straw on a patio with a fire pit as the sun is setting and your children are sleeping soundly in their cribs/beds.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes (with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting) Review

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting Review - The Pinquiry

Carrot cake is my love language.  The sweet/spicy cake with the tangy cream cheese frosting is the perfect combination to me, and anytime it’s on a menu, all the other desserts just fade away, and carrot cake is the absolute and necessary choice.

When I saw this recipe spinning around, I figured it was a must try.  I have never made carrot cake before, so cupcakes seemed simple enough, and when you smother anything with cream cheese frosting, it can’t be too bad, right?

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting Review - The Pinquiry

Pros:  The recipe is pretty basic, so you don’t need any mad baking skills for success.  You actually don’t even need a mixer.  Mix the wet stuff, mix the dry stuff, and mix it all together. Voila!  Carrot cake batter!

The frosting is really yummy.  The pineapple is a nice addition to make it a little different.

No raisins.  I’ve never passed on carrot cake that had raisins, but I love that this recipe uses dried cranberries instead.

This cake is not crazy dense, but still nice and moist.  Perfectly rich, but it won’t do you in.

Cons:  The only thing that takes a bit of manual labor is shredding the carrots, but duh, this IS carrot cake.

Carrot Cupcakes with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting Review - The Pinquiry

Tips:  Your batter will be bright orange.  Don’t worry–they will still turn out looking like cute little carrot cakes.

Don’t shred your carrots in your KitchenAid shredder attachment.  The carrots dyed the contraption orange, and I ended up adding way more carrots than necessary.  The recipe says to grate them finely, but that just means regular old cheese grater size.  My Kitchen Aid made itty bitty pieces with giant chunks I had to pick out–not a huge deal, but it really would have been easier to hand shred.  I know–that contraption is kind of overrated.

I put my frosting into a ziplock bag and cut off the corner to squeeze the frosting onto the cupcake tops.  That is one of my favorite tricks because it looks sort of fancy, but not like to had to slave away forever frosting them.  I probably frosted all of them in a few minutes.  Seriously.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting Review - The Pinquiry

So, is carrot cake you love language too?  Or is it wine?  Or maybe cheese?  Those all might be mine too.  Can I have more than one?

Strawberry Basil Gin and Tonic Review

Strawberry Basil Gin and Tonic Review - The Pinquiry

Strawberry/basil/balsamic/pepper gin and tonic.  Oh goodness, sign me up!  I gave this one a try because it sounded kind of fancy, but not so girly that the boys wouldn’t be into it.  The girls loved it for sure, and I’m pretty sure the guys did too.  Unless they were just being nice, because you know–this drink is kind of pink.

Strawberry Basil Gin and Tonic Review - The Pinquiry


Pros:  This is delicious.  Not too sweet, with hints of pepper and basil.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to like a sweeter gin and tonic, but this one was perfect.

It is a nice one for a dinner party or something special.  It is a little bit of work to get all of the ingredients ready (not a ton, but more effort than just pouring yourself a g+t).

Cons:  It is a little time intensive because you let all the ingredients sit for fifteen minutes or so and then blend them up, so you might not make this on a whim in the evening.  I mean, after all the small people are put to bed, those minutes before you actually fall asleep yourself are precious, and who wants to be waiting around for their drink then?  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Tips:  We made ours in an 8ish ounce glass, with 1-2 basil leaves torn up and muddled, 1 tablespoon of the strawberry puree, 1-2 ounces of Crater Lake Gin (a nice choice that is not super juniper-y) and topped with tonic.  You could make yours sweeter by using more of the puree if you want.

She says her recipe is enough for four drinks.  We could have made at least 10 with our ingredients–probably because we only used a tablespoon per drink and I had a giant Costco container of strawberries pre cut, so I was guessing as to how much would equal a pint.  I think I overestimated because we had a ton of puree.  I froze the leftovers in an ice cube tray, so next time I could just melt a cube or two, and boom! Fancy schmancy gin and tonic for one or two.

I tried mixing a tablespoon of the puree with club soda, and it was so yummy.  If you’re still reading, but not into gin, this combo is delightful.  And, you could always add vodka, if you were jonesing a grown up drink.

Strawberries and basil?  Are you in?  Hope you have a lovely weekend, and we want to see what you’re cheers-ing with.  Take a pic and tag us with your Happy Friday drinks!  #thepinquiry

Deviled Egg Review

Deviled Eggs Review - The Pinquiry

I loooove deviled eggs.  I could eat them at breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I could eat them as an appetizer, main course, or dessert.  I could eat a meal entirely of deviled eggs and be extremely happy.  So, I only indulge when someone else makes them because, you should probably eat those delicious things in moderation and I. Just. Can’t. Help. Myself.  I gave this recipe a whirl because I had a 24 pack of eggs that we had dyed, and I figured a Pinquiry on this topic after Easter might be helpful.  Or at least that was my justification.

Pros:  This is a pretty basic and traditional recipe.  You can use it as your base and go from there.  I added dill relish to my second batch, and it added a nice zip and crunch that was tasty.

Cons:  None.  Unless you’re looking for a new and improved version of the deviled egg.  She does have a few other recipes that are more adventurous on her post (like using Japanese eggplant or anchovies), but I didn’t give them a try.  I’m a sucker for the full-of-mayo-and-mustard kind.

Deviled Eggs Review - The Pinquiry

Tips:  My first batch followed her recipe exactly, and I had to add more of everything because my Costco eggs were jumbo size.  Of course.

Be sure to cut them in 1/2 lengthwise (because I made a few more today and forgot about this and they did not sit upright and wobbled around the plate.  Duh, Gillian.)

After combining the yolk mixture, I put it in a ziplock bag and cut off the corner for easy piping into the egg white.  Might not be totally necessray, but it was so easy.

My big challenge was that my eggs were not easy to peel.  Some tips passed on to me to help are to add a bit of baking soda to the boiling water and/or to use older eggs, so I’ll give those tricks a try next time.  And, see below for full disclosure.  I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if you got the impression that I made perfectly perfect ones sprinkled with fairy dust.

Deviled Eggs Review - The Pinquiry

Are you a fan?  Any awesome versions you have to pass on?  I mean, I’m sure I can find a way to justify making them again.  And, I guess I should really be truthful here:  I ate 6 in one sitting.  I know–I’ve got a serious problem.

Quick Tip: McCormick Egg Dye Review

McCormicks Egg Dye Review - The Pinquiry

I love dying Easter eggs, and I would probably do it by myself whether our three-year-old Claire was into it or not.  There’s something about turning a carton of pristine white eggs into wildly unnatural colors that makes my heart happy.  The Portland mama in me thought maybe we should be coloring our hard-boiled eggs with beets and cabbage, but let’s face it–I wouldn’t be able to get them bright blue and cheery red with that method.  So, I saw this chart all over the place on Pinterest and figured we should give it a whirl.  I mean the colors were so vibrant and fun, and if we could actually replicate them, I would be totally stoked.  I headed to Target to buy actual McCormick food dye, just to be sure we were using the right ingredients to give you a legit review.  Vinegar and plastic cups ready, I pulled up the chart, poked around their website to figure out the recommended vinegar/water ratio, and realized that you are supposed to use the NEON food dye.  It doesn’t say that anywhere on the chart and, well, of course that is not what I bought.  So this is review is more of an experiment that will show you what happens when you use the traditional red/blue/yellow/green food dye instead.  I guess that makes this not a true review, but I’m pretty sure you don’t have those neon colors in your cupboard too.

McCormicks Egg Dye Review - The Pinquiry


What happened: McCormick recommends adding 20 drops of food dye to a 1/2 cup of boiling water and a teaspoon of vinegar.  The chart does not mention any of this, so I had to do some doubling and tripling to get the ratios of dye to vinegar/water right.  See below for how this went down.

McCormicks Egg Dye Review - The Pinquiry

1. The chart called this Apricot.  Obviously not apricot, but if you want to replicate this ugly one you need 16 drops of green and 4 drops of red.

2. Sky Blue – 2 drops red, 18 drops blue & 4 drops green

3.  Turquoise (my favorite!) – 6 drops green & 15 drops blue

4.  Raspberry (love this one too) – 24 drops red & 4 drops blue

5. Deep Purple – 14 drops blue & 6 drops red

6. Green Apple – 20 drops green & 2 drops blue

Ha!  Are you still with me?  What do you think?  Will you give it a try or stick with Paas or dye with blueberries and turmeric?  I would do this again, just because I have food dye on hand all of the time and it would be fun to experiment and come up with some other interesting colors.  I did miss the little wrappers (I guess they’re called Egg Arounds) that you shrink around your egg from the Paas kit, though.

The Pinquiry girls hope you have a delightful Easter, and we’d love to see what you’re up to.  Find us on Instagram (thepinquiry) and hashtag all your stuff (#thepinquiry).  Xo.


Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake Review

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake Review - The Pinquiry

Oooh la la.  Lemon blueberry cake with cream cheese frosting?  It just screams spring afternoons and picnics with red checkered table cloths and a glasses of rosé with friends.  We brought the cake on a picnic this afternoon, and the results are in–this recipe was a winner.  And remember?  I’m not even a baker.  I swear to you, I read this recipe at least three times before starting because if I’m going to give you a legit review, I at least have to have a decent grip on what is supposed to go on in my kitchen.  Whether that strategy always works out for me—well that’s another story.  I will say, I learned a ton by making this recipe.  This is pretty easy to follow, but she also adds baking tips and tricks to help you along the way.  Like, I learned that if you forgot to bring your eggs to room temp (which of course I did), you can put them in warm water for 5 minutes or so before you start.  You might be thinking, “Thank you Captain Obvious,” but guys, that tip just changed my life and would have never occurred to me on my own.  Anyway, on to the review.

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake Review - The Pinquiry

Pros:  This is delicious.  The cake is every thing spring cake should be.  Sweet, citrusy, moist and light (see my notes in the tips because my cake was actually quite dense due to user error.)

The frosting–it is AMAZING.  I usually leave the spatula licking to Claire, but I kept this one for myself.  I kind of want to put this on everything.  It is light in texture for a cream cheese frosting, and the amount called for is just right for frosting the cake.

Like I said earlier, even if you’re not going to bake this cake, read her tips.  If you’re not a master baker, you might learn something new.  I loved all of her extra info to help you enjoy cake baking success.

Cons:  This was a little time intensive.  But, maybe made-from-scratch cakes always take a bit of time to make. My only point of reference is making funfetti boxed cake, so there’s that.

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake Review - The Pinquiry

Tips:  I had a couple little hiccups in my cake baking.  She stresses not to over mix because your cake will become more dense than it should be.  I had a hard time incorporating all the ingredients without overmixing, and ended up with a cake that was more dense (but still totally tasty) than I would have liked.  And, in turn, I had to bake everything way longer than she baked hers.

I squeezed all of my cake pans onto the same rack in the oven, and didn’t realize one was tilted a bit at the back.  So, you can’t tell in the pictures because of the frosting, but one of my layers was totally lopsided.  I am all about full disclosure over here and don’t want the pictures to deceive you into thinking this was a perfect layer cake.

I used frozen blueberries (fresh ones are so stinking expensive right now!) and dusted them in flour like she recommends.  It worked out perfectly and if I hadn’t done that, I would have had purple cake batter.

Is this a spring dessert you’d give a try?  Any other cake baking tips you want to send my way?  We’ve got Easter coming up in a bit, and I’m on to the next–carrot cake cupcakes!

Quick Tip: 5 Minute Peach Frozen Yogurt Review

Peach Frozen Yogurt Review - The Pinquiry

I had seen this 5 minute peach frozen yogurt recipe  all over Pinterest, so of course, I knew we needed to do a little Pinquiry to see how it worked out.  Turns out this is pretty tasty and less than 5 minutes later, you have yourself some fro yo.  Love me some dessert/not dessert.

Peach Frozen Yogurt Review - The Pinquiry

Tips:  Her recipe is for tart frozen yogurt. If you have more of a sweet tooth, add more honey or agave or maybe try using vanilla yogurt.  I used full fat Greek yogurt and followed her recipe exactly, and it was deliciously tart.

 IMG_0042 IMG_0051

And, my little taste testers loved it too.  You never guess it by Chloe’s expression, but she gobbled down more than Claire–when she gives you that look, just assume she’s having the time of her life.  She’s not judging you…pretty sure.

Using Greek yogurt made it really thick.  I actually wasn’t sure if it would blend up, so about every minute I pulsed my food processor a couple of times and that helped to get everything combined.  Next time, I’ll mix this up in our Blendtec (the poor girl’s Vitamix), and it should turn out the same.  That way I’ll have less dishes.  Because, you know.  DISHES.

And, apparently my husband has a significant aversion to wooden spoons?  I had him try the yogurt, and he started gagging.  I was trying to figure out why the yogurt would have caused that to happen because I thought it was delicious, but then he started describing his very strong feelings against wooden spoons.  I guess this sweet little spoon was so despicable, it made him gag.  Is this a common phenomenon?  So much weirdness.

Will I make this again?  Yep, and we might venture into trying other fruits too.

What do you think?  Is fro yo your thang?  And, tell me your thoughts on wooden spoons.  I think they are adorable, but be honest, do you hate them too?