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CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Products to help you ‘get over’ 2020 Gray Whale Gin

Remember the time we went to Big Sur and the gray whale’s 12,000-mile journey inspired us so much we developed a gin perfected with six Californian botanicals to celebrate its journey?

No? Oh, that was Marsh and Jan, who are out wild harvesting Mendocino Coast sea kelp to enhance this fabulous gin in a beautiful sea blue bottle. Mint from Santa Cruz and Almonds from Central Valley are mixed in and even the lines of the whale tale are a tracking map on this lovely bottle. There’s quite a whale’s tale at and I sure want to recreate that trip in the whale van pictured on the site. A gin aficionado I know gave this a nod at a distanced patio tasting and I’m all about the flavor as well as the story.

Now, are you ready for the other three botanicals? Give it up for Juniper from Big Sur, limes from Temecula and fir tree from Sonoma. Those whales don’t know what they’re missing. They’re in the water and not dealing with the no-funness of 2020.



If I’d been out more this social distancing season, I know I’d have received even more compliments/inquiries on my Komuso necklace. But if ever there was a time when a beautiful necklace could foster your well being, it’s time to put it on.

The Shift looks like a little golden whistle, but it’s a nearly silent tube designed to let you exhale a long breath, and oh, what that can do for calming anxiety, releasing lung toxins, loosening muscles and decreasing blood pressure.

That’s a lot for tiny gold/silver/slate tubes, but I formed an instant impression of this item when it started showing up on my Pinterest feed. I imagined the weight of it around my neck and just glancing at it all day putting me in a slow-down frame and recalling what it feels like to breathe better. And you know, the night I stayed up reading hundreds of customer reviews, all those folks thought the same thing.

I ordered, it arrived and I breathed. I was just right about it all. And the critics were right on as well, praising the superior packaging, loving the tale of the couple who met a flute guy who told them about Japanese Komuso monks who breathed through their instruments and how everybody feels better when they pay attention to the most simple detail of breathing.

If you wish everything was this simple, shift to a deep breath. Visit:


A Feast of Serendib: Recipes from Sri Lanka

Family gatherings, even over Zoom, relax us with flavors, aromas and stories.

When people ask Mary Ann Mohanraj the difference between Indian food and Sri Lanka’s food, it’s difficult, because she figures we’ve probably had Americanized versions of Indian food. Her land’s curries tend to have more vinegar, though.

I’d easily try everything in her book, an achingly beautiful tribute to her family with photos and illustrations and even poetry.

Each page even feels good in your fingers as you turn to the next treat. Ribbon sandwiches are layers of color for parties, deviled shrimp gets black mustard seed and many other things you find in your pantry, but it sure doesn’t turn out Cajun!

Seasonal Pumpkin alert: You can add it to your curry.

I love the discussion on Bombay Toast/Bombatoast, which is much like a more sugary version of French Toast with lots of butter. Here’s a quickie to spice up just about anything:


Chili Onion Sambol

This classic Sri Lankan Sambol is a simple way to add heat and tang to any meal. The author says it goes with “whatever you like” and is great on sandwiches:

  • 1 onion, chopped coarsely
  • 3 dried red chilies
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1-2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients in a food processor (alternatively, mince onions fine and then combine ingredients with mortar and pestle).


The Happy Labs

The Chill Pill is a real thing with passionflower and valerian root.

Read up on The Happy Labs’ description of the sense of relaxation and calmness designed for letting one “enjoy the moment.” It’s another one of those CBD deals that people of all walks are trying and these come in a tin with a customer 5-star rating. I’d advise getting all sorts of advice before trying these and then, proceeding with calm caution. I tried a sample as instructed and “got over” what was taking up some brain space pretty quickly. The company’s myriad products are at


Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie chilling out at a social distance. Reach her at


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