Everyone's got a different opinion of the holidays. Some people love the season and get all into it, putting antlers and crap on their cars or wearing festive outfits that look like Santa Claus puked on their sweaters. Then there are plenty folks who hate the whole idea, getting all Scrooge-y and shutting themselves away into their dark, cave-like rooms, listening to Smiths tapes over and over. But there are also those of us somewhere in the middle. This is where I land...
For my own part, I enjoy Christmas. I like the legitimate cheeriness in the air, but faux holiday spirit and over-extravagant displays of Xmas bling make me sick. And the music... Christmas music can be some of the most beautiful, but then there are the inane children's tunes that rotate endlessly through the mall loudspeakers, and the cheesy over-covered versions that dot every singer-songwriter's holiday album. Still, I can't help but smile at the thought of babies in Santa hats (and cheerleaders in the same), and my nieces' and nephews' joy while opening their presents in the morning.
In addition, I like the special treatment we all get at this time of year. And that comes from many directions... not just the Black Friday sales and egg nog lattes at Starbucks... but also the (alcoholic) holiday drinks that come around every December. Seems like every bar or restaurant will throw together a cocktail or two with some nutmeg or peppermint to break that winter chill. And even RA Sushi in Harbor East has gotten into the act with a pairing of food and beverage specifically for December - the Pomegranate Breeze and Seared Albacore Tapas.
I was able to try these the other day and thoroughly enjoyed them both. The Pomegranate Breeze is a bit of a sweet drink, as you can imagine, but it hits that holiday note quite well. Made with Captain Morgan rum, POM pomegranate juice, PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, pink grapefruit juice and more, it has a citrusy, beachy feel that whisks you away from the frozen tundra (*exaggeration) of Baltimore and warms you from the inside out. And the Seared Albacore Tapas, a combination of seared albacore tuna, avocado, and pomegranate seeds served over a yuzu vinaigrette, matches the drink quite well. The delicious spice of the yuzu vinaigrette was a perfect foil for the sweet beverage. And while the pomegranate seeds didn't seem to add much (at least to my liking), they did offer a nice splash of holiday color. But for $15, this pair (while not necessarily "traditional") is an excellent and affordable addition to the Christmas foodscape.
So once you're done kicking yourself for spending too much at the mall, you might find your way to RA Sushi for a brief respite from the craziness. So while it's only available throughout the month of December, the pomegranate combo is a good way to start. And, if nothing else, I'm guessing you'll be less likely to hear Mariah Carey's 8th Christmas album on repeat. And for that, I will always be thankful...
Drink well, my friends... and happy holidays!