This pandemic has been a supreme drag, but perhaps a silver lining exists in the variety of new services that have sprouted in response to shared safety concerns. We have had time to reflect on the idea that what we put into our bodies will determine the level of performance it gives.
Jodi Battaglia brings her decade-long experience in global food and hospitality via Delaware North to her project: Cur-ate. Ms. Battaglia has created a network of talented local chefs who offer a new catering-type dining experience in the wake of pandemic-concerned hosts and talent.
Many people are still wary of dining out in restaurants. However, after 2+ years of remaining vigilant and physically distant, we have found new options sprouting up around town that allow people to unite and celebrate a shared love for food while rediscovering what nourishment means. Curate clients are encouraged to share their vision for the occasion and provide any allergy-related or dietary specifics ahead of time. Clients can customize as much as they desire or leave it to the pros.
Chef and whole foods advocate Shana Maldonado is one of the chefs on Jodi’s roster. She is also the executive chef of Built Without Guilt: a successful meal prep service specializing in nutrient-dense macro-balanced meals. The service offers customized flavor-rich foods that can accommodate many dietary restrictions, such as keto, paleo, gluten-free, or macro-based diets. We met with Shana and Jodi at Artisan
Kitchen and Baths to introduce them to Curious Elixirs and spark a delicious food pairing. Curious No. 4 is an ideal non-alcoholic option for any occasion. It is void of added sugar while remaining complex in flavor. No. 4 is a creative but alcohol-free spin on a classic aperitif cocktail: the Aperol Spritz. Holy basil (aka tulsi) and turmeric provoke an almost earthy flavor profile, while blood orange, non-alcoholic Prosecco,
and American ginseng bestow a zippy balance. Aperitifs prime the body for food the way an opening band primes your ears and headspace before the main act. Aperitifs exist to open a meal. These beverages prep the body for food thanks to bitter components that ignite receptors in the mouth and signal a gastric secretion within the stomach. Simply put, they make you hungry.
Shana began the meal by peeling some cooked plantains and giving them a spin in the food processor with a generous pinch of sea salt. Next, she spread a golf ball-sized portion of the doughy mixture on an avocado-oiled tortilla press for a perfect whole-30 compliant tostada.
Shana tossed some Red Argentinian shrimp in an outfit of garlic powder, Spanish paprika, and onion. Once the shrimp and tostada cooked to perfection, Shana artfully spread a layer of mole on the plantain tostadas and proceeded to pile on the goods.
Meanwhile, Jodi set a picture-perfect table. We each took a seat in front of our respective towers of shrimp, avocado, queso fresco, shaved radish, and cucumber salsa piled on top of an utterly mouth-watering plantain tostada. Unsurprisingly, this combination was a smashing success, and nobody left hungry.
About Curious Elixirs
Curious Elixirs are booze-free craft cocktails, infused with adaptogens to help you unwind. Whether you’re sober or sober curious, toasting your team or sipping solo, Curious Elixirs is on a mission to create the world’s most sophisticated cocktails, without the alcohol. Inspired by classics like the Aperol Spritz, the Spicy Margarita, and the Negroni, every Curious Elixir is handcrafted with organic ingredients and no refined sugar. Our ingredients include adaptogens and plants that benefit your body, helping you relax and destress without the hangover. We offer one-time orders as well as our subscribers-only Curious Cocktail Club to ensure your fridge stays stocked. Order Curious Elixirs online, and have it shipped directly to your door at Curiouselixirs.com.
View other videos in the Bitters series.
Author and host, Michelle Merlo
Photography by Vincent Berbano & Addison Schoonmaker
Executive Producer, Jessica Marinelli
Special thanks to Chef Shana Maldonado & Jodi Battaglia