3 things outside the art studio: lazy grilled dinner, cocktails ordered in, and some synthesizer

    Summer heat in Los Angeles is serious business, although it's still cool enough in the evening to relax on the patio most nights. For some reason I feel lazy this time of year (go figure), so an easy grilled dinner fits the bill.

    And since California allows cocktails to be delivered with food now (#silverlinings), we found a stunning cocktail that I've tried to recreate for you. Wrap it all up with good music, and safer-at-home looks pretty fantastic tonight.

    1. Easy grilled chicken fajitas

    I'm mostly a novice at grilling, but these fajitas in foil manage to be forgiving enough that skill doesn't matter. If you cheat like I did with pre-sliced chicken, it all comes together in record time. Bonus: if you make a little extra, the flavors actually seem to improve next day. What a nice replacement for my usual, lazy PB&J.

    2. '80s summer hits, of course

    I guess it's true what they say: your music tastes get locked in when you're in high school. So yeah, we turned on an upbeat '80s summer playlist full of synthesizer and soulful choruses. I dare you not to sing along.

    3. A knock-out tequila cocktail that's not a margarita

    We've been loving the pre-mixed cocktails that we get along with the delicious food from Verse, a truly marvelous local restaurant. They keep the menu limited each week since the pandemic hit. But they also change it up constantly, so we're always trying something new.

    I'll give you a minute to go check them out, and to order if you're nearby. Go ahead, I'll wait.

    Okay, welcome back. A couple of weeks ago, they had a Palomina cocktail that uses Avion tequila, fresh grapefruit and lime juices, agave, and just a little bitters. And it was fantastic. 

    If you can't make it to LA, I've come up with a recipe you can try at home. No mason jar required!

    Who might like this? This juicy beverage tends toward the sweeter side, but the grapefruit juice keeps it balanced. If you like margaritas, you'll find a lot to like about the Palomina. Be warned: these drinks go down very, very easily!

    Cocktail inspired by Verse Restaurant

    Verse-inspired Palomina-ish Cocktail

    1 ounce tequila (Avion)

    1 ounce grapefruit juice

    1 ounce lime juice

    1 bar spoon agave syrup

    2 dashes orange bitters

    soda water to taste

    Combine everything but the soda water in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain over ice into your glass of choice. Top with soda water to taste and stir gently.

    Lazy bartending tip:  You can mix a big batch of these in a pitcher and just add the soda water when you serve each glass. Believe me, you'll want these sitting beside you next time you're relaxing on the patio. Just don't get so relaxed you burn your grilled fajitas. Then again, enough Palominas and you won't care one little bit.