Tag Archives: Drink

Drink of the Week

Mom-Mosa

1 1/2 oz Gin
2 Strawberries
3/4oz Lemon Juice
3/4oz Simple Syrup
 
Muddle Strawberries then add the Gin, Lemon juice and Simple Syrup to tin, shake and double strain in to a Champagne flute (or in my case, a coupe)
 
Fill with Champagne
 
Garnish: A Strawberry half
 

Mothering Sunday has already been and gone for England and Ireland (back in March), but here in the USA it is finally Mothers Day today.  Jeffrey Lee Clark a barman at Bar Chloe in Santa Monica came up with this concoction last night and I thought it was a fun and cute way to celebrate all the mums and moms out there!

It is a light, fruity and refreshing champagne drink, easy to make and a nice alternative to the classic Mimosa.  Enjoy!

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Interview with a Bartender: Giovanni Martinez

Today my Bartender of choice is former Chivas Regal Brand Ambassador (2007), Bar Consultant and Spirits Director Giovanni Martinez.  Consultant for both the New York and Los Angeles Fig & Olive Restaurants, as well as Buffalo Club in Santa Monica, he can now be found working on drinks at Sadie in Hollywood.

I have known Gio personally for a couple of years now, due to his close friendship with his work colleague, my boyfriend, Greg Bryson (AKA FutureGreg.)   He is extremely passionate about alcohol and creating drinks, he’s entertaining, friendly and always the life of the party!

Giovanni Martinez

AKA: Gio
Official Job Title: Spirits Director
Born: Los Angeles, California
Currently Resides: Los Angeles, California
Current Work locations: Sadie, Hollywood


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*****

Q & A

What is the best thing about what you do? 
Opening the door for people and watching them step into a new World of drinking which they never expected to be in but now enjoy being a part of.
 
What is the Worst thing about what you do?
Cleaning out clogged floor sinks
 
Who would you say is your mentor? Who do you feel trained you in your area of expertise?
Max Warner and Colin Appiah probably influenced me the most in regards to dealing with having a commitment to  excellence whilst keeping the customer the number one priority.
 
What is the name of your favorite (current) Mixology bar in LA?
I have a great time at Harvard and Stone.
 
Are you a fussy eater or picky drinker? If so, what WON’T you try?
Not much. I won’t eat Domestic animals or Animals of high intelligence (except the occasional pork, they’re just so tasty).
 
What is the most unusual dish or food item you’ve ever tasted?
Unusual is so relative….Crickets.
  
What is your ‘go-to’ liquor of choice?
Umm….. In a Punch or Sour- Gin, in a Cocktail- Rye, Neat- Scotch or Tequila.
  
What is your favorite “Classic” Drink?
I really like Martinez’s and Last Word’s.
  
If you couldn’t do what you do now, what would you do instead?
Teach history.
  
If you could live anywhere in the World where would it be? and Why?
London or Bora Bora.  London because I’ve always had a stupendous time there, and Bora Bora cause, well, duh. But I couldn’t live anywhere but Los Angeles for very long, after all this is, to quote Steve Martin falsely quoting Shakespeare:
 
“This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
The envy of less happier lands, 
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this Los Angeles”
 

*****

If you would like to be considered for this segment of my site please send an email to pickydrinker@gmail.com with a little info on who you are and where you work.  If you don’t sound like a crazy person, I will happily send you a questionnaire to fill out.  If you work in Los Angeles I will almost certainly come in to see how good you are!

Please note: I am looking for enthusiastic bartenders with a real passion for ‘Tending Bar”, Mixology or Classic drink making.  Those of you who think ‘Sweet and Sour Mix’ is a great product, bartend only for the joy of extra cash and have no interest in the cocktail community itself, need not apply!

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Bagatelle

Bagatelle
755 north la cienega
Los angeles, CA
90069

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I went to an industry event at Bagatelle recently, which is the new bar/restaurant replacing Coco Deville inside STK in Hollywood.  I have to admit, I wasn’t too excited to be going there initially purely because I had bad memories of it’s original establishment, however I was pleasantly surprised by how different it is to the former night club

The restaurant area has a similar vibe to Fig and Olive across the street. The bar has a pristine white marble top, the dining area has a romantic candle lit setting, there are beautiful chandeliers everywhere and delicate detailing that extends to the vent covers.

I arrived when it was still sunny out and liked how light and clean the place looked, it was elegant and modern with bright white lines everywhere.

The Bagatelle symbol (a silhouette of a woman’s head that sort of reminds me of medusa) and the ornate plaster moldings around the restaurant brought ‘Jasperware’ to mind.  Jasperware are pottery pieces originally designed by Josiah Wedgewood, a British potter from 18th Century whose signature pieces are matte ceramics of carved or moulded classical figures and silhouettes, usually heads.  The Jasperware basalt black with white figurine (shown in the picture below) sprung to my mind as soon as I entered the restaurant, mainly because of the Bagatelle symbol but also because of all the stencil shapes and raised white moldings that surround the room on the banisters and the staircase.

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Zach Patterson is the head barman here and designed a drink menu that works well for the different genres of customer that come through the door.  There are great options for the Mixology geeks of this town, as well as a couple of strategically placed vodka drinks that will appeal to the general Hollywood drinker.  Zach himself is a wonderful character to witness in action, he’s always vibrant and full of energy behind the bar.

I started with ‘The girl from Lima’ which was spicy but had a citric juiciness and slight sweetness.  It got hotter the more I drank it but the passionfruit kept it balanced and drinkable.

Girl from Lima- Jalapeño infused Machu Pisco, passion fruit puree, fresh lemon juice, a dash of mint

The second drink I tried I liked the most.  The drink itself is hot pink due to the prickly pear puree.  It had a great Basil nose, the Aperol helped prevent it from being overly sweet and the color was gorgeous.  I think it would’ve worked well with Gin instead of Vodka, but I understand the need for a few Vodka drinks on a Hollywood drinks list so I didn’t complain.

Tommy (my friendly bartender) told me that when they were trying to come up with a name for the drink the staff had at least 5 possible options and couldn’t pick one, then one day someone said “Hey Remember when hot pink was really cool?” and the name ‘Remember when’ stuck.

Remember When- Belvedere, Prickly Pear, Aperol, Fresh Lemon juice,  Fresh Basil

The food is french and although it was very good, I found it to be a little overpriced.  The chicken dish was very tasty, the meat was succulent and juicy and I’m told the chef stuffs truffles under the skin which would explain the interesting and slightly salty flavor it had. I’m not sure it was worth the $50 price tag (thankfully I wasn’t paying this time) but it was certainly enjoyable.

Poulet Roti Entier a la Truffe- Whole truffle-roasted chicken, yukon gold potato confit, shallots, button mushrooms $50

The beef tartare with little toasts was flavorful and easy to eat, it was lightly chilled, had a delicious quail egg on top and was nicely seasoned.

Tartare de Boeuf au Couteau- hand-cut filet mignon, quail egg, capers, crispy shallots, petite herbs salad $19

I am not going to give a food rating this visit as I didn’t eat much just nibbled on a few items on the table (the chicken and tartare), but I feel like there are a lot of other dishes I should try before I give a rating.  I stopped in mainly to see the new bar program and then stayed on for Aidan Demarest’s birthday party which was great fun!  The ice cream sundae they brought out with sparklers was delicious and a great end to the evening.

I will be sure to review the food in coming months, however what I did taste was well cooked, flavorful and nicely seasoned which is a good sign.

Drinks get a good out of 5 coupes.

There was a good selection on the menu, the bartenders seemed knowledgable and the drinks I tried were tasty.  I understand that vodka drinks have to be a prominent feature on cocktail lists in Hollywood, in order to satisfy the lambourgini driving, head to toe Ed Hardy wearing imbeciles that frequent most places at the top of La Cienega. I only wish there had been less of them on this menu and more Gin options.

All in all its a pretty cool place to check out, the staff were really friendly and I found it to be a huge improvement on the pretentious club that was there before.

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Drink of the Week

Spring Tax Back

2oz Brandy
3/4oz Apple juice (fresh pressed)
1/4oz Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Honey Apple Butter (Trader Joes)
 
Shake and serve over crushed ice in round goblet
Garnish: Green Apple Peel twist
 

Seeing as my boyfriends punch was such a huge success last week (thank you to all those who wrote me messages and re-blogged the drink) I decided this week I would ask him to create me another drink, this time with Tax season as the theme.  He played with a few ideas, green chartruese came in to discussion a few times (he wanted the drink to be Green; the color of money!)  After much deliberation and tasting, this was the recipe that worked the best.

It’s a great, slightly sweet ‘Spring time’ drink that utilizes the refreshing citric flavors of apple and lemon.  The brandy works nicely with the sweetness of the apple, and the crushed ice makes it almost like a slushy…great for the Summer months around the corner.  The Apple Butter that we used in this recipe is available at Trader Joes, however it is basically blended apple,honey and sugar so theoretically you could make it yourself if you don’t have access to the brand. The above is the final recipe created by Greg Bryson AKA FutureGreg. Taxes are usually due on April 15th, but seeing as that fell on a Sunday this year you have until April 17th to file.

Enjoy your ‘Spring Tax Back’ whilst you wait for Uncle Sam to send your refund! 🙂

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Drink of the Week

The Akira Kurasawa

  • 2 Japanese cucumber slices
  • 1 Shiso Leaf
  • 1 1/2 oz Pisco
  • 1/2 oz Negori Sake (unfiltered)
  • 1/2 oz Agave
  • 3/4oz Lime juice
  • Dash of Yuzu essence
  • Top off with Aloe Vera juice

Muddle fruit, Shake and Serve on the Rocks

Garnish: A cucumber slice

Created by Yuval Soffer of Neat, I had this drink for the first time this week-end and loved it. Yuval has chosen to play with some different Japanese flavors- the Sake, Yuzu essence, Shiso leaves and Japanese cucumbers create an interesting combination.  The event I attended had him using Pisco Porton which is actually a great Pisco with complex flavors, slightly earthy but smooth with residual sugars. It complemented this drink beautifully.  The drink is refreshing, light and sweet.  The Aloe Vera juice adds something really different and was a taste I don’t think i’d ever actually experienced before.  I know it’s a lot of fairly unusual ingredients to find for this recipe, but if you get a chance I strongly recommend trying it.

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Father’s Office, Culver City

Father’s Office (Culver City location)

3229 Helms Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034

310 736 2224

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Came here for Monday date night with my boyfriend FG (read about me section for more info) having heard so much about the ‘Office burger’.  It has been written about by many bloggers as the best burger in LA and was described in Esquire magazine as ‘one of the best burgers in the World’. The main attraction to the burger is the applewood smoked bacon compote and the dry-aged beef. Chef Sang Yoon was in charge of this creation at the original Fathers Office location in Santa Monica.  This location we went to in the Helms bakery building opened up in 2008, but follows the same standards and rules as the original location.

I had heard good things about the food and beer prior to coming here, but didn’t really know what to expect other than it is described as a ‘gastro pub’.  I had feared it would have a sports bar feel to it due to the TV screens and so many beers on tap, but they have definitely made this more upscale than that. A nice long wood bar, low ceilings with edison era light bulbs hanging all the way along made the place warm and inviting. It was anything but a sports bar and had a great slightly romantic ambience. Please note they do not allow modifications or substitutions of any kind here, and they mean it. I don’t usually like this idea in restaurants because 1. I’m fussy! and 2. I do have allergies to some items. Seeing as I wasn’t allergic to anything on the list I wanted to eat this time, there was no need to bother them on this point.

I should talk a little about the beer menu. I don’t drink much beer myself, but do enjoy themaltier beers and on occasion a porter or stout.  Their list is extensive here and documented nicely in the menu with a good description below each one. This is great for someone like me who really doesn’t know names of beers or what direction to go for usually, the descriptions made me WANT to try the beer! For example, Bear republic Heritage Ale was described as ‘Deep roasted chocolate and smoke with biscuit undertones’. YUM!

They had the beers in categories I could understand too… MALTY, HOPPY, YEASTY/SPICY and FRUITY/HERBACIOUS. They also had a whole section dedicated to SEASONAL beers and rare bottles. If you are in to your beer and want a better ambience than somewhere like ‘The Yard House’, then definitely check this location out. (Or the Fathers Office in Santa Monica.)

Despite being a beer place, I decided not to go with a beer but try a speciality cocktail instead because I had heard they put effort in to this aspect of the menu also. I ordered a ‘Oaxacan Fizz‘ purely because I was intrigued by the ‘tobacco syrup’ they make here.

Oaxcan Fizz– San Juan del Rio Mezcal, Tobacco Syrup, Cynar, Lemon, Pure Seltzer

Now, my boyfriend and I don’t smoke. I don’t often enjoy mescal type drinks for that very reason, I used to think it tasted like water in an ashtray to be honest but recently my palette has been adapting to the smokiness of these drinks and i’m actually beginning to like them! It was pretty smoky as the ingredients would suggest, but it had something to it that i really enjoyed. It was refreshing and light despite its smokiness, no doubt due to it being on ice with seltzer. Actually FG did point out it is technically a collins not a fizz because it has ice. A lot of people don’t realize that a ‘Fizz’ is a type of drink, its like people who mix up a ‘Fix’ and a ‘Sour’, the only difference is whether or not it’s on the rocks but it does become a different drink genre for those who didn’t know! Anyway, it was tasty and the tobacco syrup turned out to be pretty potent.

FG got a real buzz off it actually, and seeing as he’s never even tried a cigarette in his life, he couldn’t figure out why he felt so light headed after one drink. Our bartender Mike (who was great by the way) commented on the fact they make the syrup in house by steeping a really high end tobacco in sugar water so he’s most likely getting a high off of that. If you like smoky, you’ll enjoy this drink….and the buzz you’ll get too!

FOOD

We decided to order the burger med/rare with frites and the duck salad.

Office Burger.

Dry-aged beef patty, Caramelized Onion. Bacon. Gruyere, Maytag Blue, Arugula $12

As I mentioned before, this burger has won several awards and been noted as one of the best burgers in the World, so needless to say it had a lot to live up to. I don’t usually like onions on my burger at all, but no modifications meant i had to bite the bullet and taste it regardless….i’m glad I did. The caramelized onion bacon mix was superb and worked beautifully with the two cheeses. It was rich in flavor without being greasy or overpowering.

The meat was cooked to melt in your mouth perfection at medium rare, it was soft almost like butter and had all its flavor still intact. Sadly the soft bun was nothing special, and I felt could have been crispier against the softness of the meat etc. Not sure if it would get my ‘best burger’ title, but is certainly memorable. The only aspect I didn’t like about this dish was the frites, ours were a little over cooked so tasted more like crispy sticks than fries, I never really like the spindly chips (as I call them), I prefer a thicker cut and we regretted not ordering the sweet potato fries which the man next to us got and they looked delicious.

The garlic aioli that accompanied them made up for it though, wow was that good. Creamy with just the right amount of seasoning. Chef Sang Yoon doesn’t allow any ketchup in the building, so don’t bother trying to get it. I am glad of this fact, because the aioli was just perfect.

Liberty Duck Confit Salad

Mustard Greens, Frisée, Figs, Hazelnuts, Tangelo Vinaigrette $13

The salad was also very tasty. It had citrus and asian inspired flavors throughout. Each bite would move through stages, you’d get a burst of sweetness, that would become sour and end with a slight bitterness. The orange of the Tangelo Vinaigrette cut through the richness of the duck meat and complimented it nicely. I wish there had been more green on the plate as apposed to so much frisée, but I was by no means disappointed with the dish as a whole. I really enjoyed the addition of figs and hazelnuts too. The duck was cooked well and I realized from the two dishes, they really know how to cook their meats to perfection here. Other menu items that intrigued me (I didn’t get to taste this time round) were the ‘Hawaiin Butterfish’ and ‘Steak Au Poivre’, I would no doubt try this on the next visit.

It gets 4 out of 5 Clover Clubs

My drink rating here is a tricky one because it’s based only on one cocktail. I am giving this place a 4 out of 5 clover clubs which is VERY generous, but only because the beer list is so extensive there is bound to be something for everyone and the drink I did have was enjoyable and different. It looses a point for the mistake of a ‘Fizz’ and not being able to taste the syrup to distinguish the mescal from the tobacco.

It gets 3.5 out of 5 Platters

The food we ate was all good but not exceptional in my opinion.  It looses points for the disappointing over cooked fries and the lack of green on the salad. Also I kind of wish they’d cut the duck over the salad as apposed to a big chunk of duck meat on the side, but that’s just a personal preference. The menu choices were interesting though and I would be happy to return to try more food in future.

All in all it was a good experience, food and drink was reasonably priced, service was quick and the staff were friendly. A place worth checking out, especially if you like a good pint!

If anyone has any comments on this location in comparison to the Santa Monica one please let me know, I will no doubt check out the other spot in the near future also.

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