Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Fangled Old Fashioned Cocktail

On my first trip to Lake Chalet, I ordered their Old Whiskey Cocktail. I'd struck out with their Dark and Stormy and didn't want to order a drink with a silly name. Also Lake Chalet uses rye whiskey for their Old Fashioned. While Wild Turkey is available in a rye version, I've had a soft spot for rye whiskey since The New Low Down poured me a dram of Old Potrero. How long ago was that?

For whatever reason, the Old Fashioned clicked this year. My first scrounge for a recipe went the usual way - everything I thought I knew about the old fashioned was wrong, because I hadn't read this. Tasty stuff:

'Young impudent sir, he screamed, '...Man and boy I've built Old-Fashioned cocktails these 60 years... and I have never yet had the perverted nastiness of mind to put fruit in an Old-Fashioned. Get out, scram, go over to the Palmer House and drink.' I was rebuked.

Me too. And the adulteration goes further. In place of sugar I like to add just enough cane syrup to get the cocktail slightly viscous. Please be tolerant of this backward, blurry, and uncomposed photo. I'll replace it one day soon:

My new-fangled old-fashioned cocktail recipe goes something like this:

  • 2 full shot glasses of Bulleit Bourbon, aka the best of the cheap stuff at Trader Joe's. Here's Liquor Snob's review.
  • Angostura Bitters, three dashes plus that first splash that splashes out unbidden.
  • Water. Maybe 1/2 a shot's worth.
  • Blood orange if you've got it, an obnoxiously large wedge a la Cafe Van Kleef.
  • Depaz Cane Syrup, to taste and feel. At least 1/2 tsp.
  • Your favorite dried cherries. Will impart hardly any flavor, but are tasty after the fact. My digging for them, as I read in bed, has led to some grumbling from Amy who usually goes to sleep earlier than me.
  • Directions: Get your orange wedge into the glass somehow. It may take shoving, and some incidental juicing is encouraged. Don't go crazy. Cherries if you like. Then dash in the bitters. Pour in the cane syrup, then the bourbon. Then the water. Somehow 3 ice cubes always seem to fit into our Crate and Barrel highballs.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Peko Peko Guerilla Cafe

Speaking of Peko Peko, just received email word that they're doing their pop-up izakaya thing at Guerilla Cafe in Berkeley. We plan on being at Camino that night for crab, but the izakaya poster does say "till late".

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone, hangover-curing ham and cheese popovers at left there.

Time for that annual first post, full of promise and retrospection. While I'd planned on not addressing the specifics, the time that I had spent blogging was given over to other pursuits for most of 2009. There were vacations that I thought would get me back in the blogging saddle. Mostly I rode my bike instead. The accompanying weight loss has been a welcome benefit, though I'm also having an on-again off-again discussion with my physician about whether this renewed interest in cycling and the like has had the positive impact on my overall health that I suggest.

To be sure, we ate well last year. We signed up for a Fully Belly Farm CSA, kept at the Grand Lake Farmers Market, and ate and drank more than our share. I've been slowly assembling a case of wine from Axel's birth year, sampling as we went so we'd know that the cellar-worthy bordeaux and new world stuff were actually interesting. I tweeted about some of these things. Which means some of them wound up on Facebook. I got into the habit of visiting Boccalone once a month or so (Amy gave me a membership in their Salumi Society for my birthday), which got me to the Ferry Building Farmers Market for the first time - a former colleague described this as "going Hollywood".

The last handful of posts here were about the food we were eating in Ukraine. I'm not sure I recovered and I'm not sure what the affliction is. If it's that eating well continues to be too privileged, then surely all these newfangled food trucks represent progress?

Photo credit shout out to Rob Peterson, food truck fan and sometime partner in crime.

Or the community vibe of Radio Africa Kitchen. Or the lack of pretense involved in picking up Peko Peko at some random storefront. When I showed up with Axel to pick up bento the first time, they couldn't make change. So, they offered me a beer while they went to go find some. Commis may hold out a different kind of promise for people getting over the pretense surrounding serious food. Haven't gotten around to going though, in part because it seems so self-conscious.

Our first order of Peko Peko bento for two, with bonus peaches.

It's not the pretense or privilege though; I found ways to cope with that a while ago. I had a great time at l'Atelier de Joel Robuchon - even if the cocktails aren't as good as what Grand Tavern serves up (Mai Tai). I even manage a soft spot for Lake Chalet (Old Fashioned Whisky Cocktail).

Window display at Bitter & Zart in Frankfurt on our way back from Ukraine.

Mostly it's the blogging itself. Which is necessarily what I make of it. Still cracking that code.