Tag Archives: Glendale

Interview with a Bartender: Arash Pakzad

I have mentioned Neat bar a few times in previous posts, for two distinct reasons. One, the owner Aidan Demarest is one of the most interesting, funny and charismatic people you will ever meet. Two, the drinks are always great and the bartenders really know what they’re doing there.

I have plenty to say about this place and it’s innovative concept, so be sure to check back in the next few weeks when I will be putting up a review of the bar itself. For now, here is a little interview with one of their top barmen Arash Pakzad.  (Please note the photo used below is copyright to Raul Villarreal of rAwkfoto.)

Arash Pakzad

Official Job Title: Head Bartender
Born: San Francisco, California
Currently Resides: Los Angeles, California
Current Work locations:
Neat Bar, Glendale CA (Basically all the time)
.

*****

 Q & A


What is your ‘go-to’ liquor of choice?
High Proof Rye Whiskey and Islay Scotch, also a good Reposado Tequila
 
What is your favorite “Classic” Drink?
Sazerac
 
Are you a fussy eater or picky drinker? If so, what WON’T you try?
Not too fussy, I’ll try anything as long as I kill it or it’s been killed for me.
 
What is the most unusual dish or food item you’ve ever tasted?
Cow Tongue Stew, Brain tacos, Rocky Mountain Oysters – all great.
 
What is the best thing about what you do?
Everything. Pleasing people around me and pleasing myself.

What is the Worst thing about what you do?
I get people nice and tipsy, then I have to stop serving at 2am!
 
What is the name of your favorite (current) Mixology bar in LA?
Mixology bar? You mean a bar that the bartenders know how to make excellent drinks? Tough choice.  I feel like there are only a select number of people in the World that are true mixologists and the term mixology is overused and under-appreciated.  There are some great places in LA though.
 
Who would you say is your mentor? Who trained you in your area of expertise?
Aidan Demarest, Jon Ojinaga, Laurel Sather, Fred Pakzad, John-Eric Sanchez, Ashley Afferino, Edgar Monsivais, All my fellow bartenders that I have had the opportunity to work beside.
 
Where can you usually be found on a Saturday night?
Neat bar in Glendale!
 
If you could live anywhere in the World where would it be? & Why?
San Francisco, CA. Do you have a couple pages of space for me to use to explain why? I have my friends, it’s my birthplace, all that food and the awesome homeless people to give my leftovers to.
 
 

*****

If you would like to be considered for this new segment 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 bartend for extra cash but have no actual interest in the cocktail community need not apply!
Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Interview with a bartender!

A really NEAT Art show!

"Shaken" 18" x 24" Oil on linen

Event: The Matt Talbert Art Show

@ Neat

1114 North Pacific Avenue

Glendale,

California, 91201

*

I have always had an interest in Art, I took Art History in high school and my mother is an artist in the UK.  I have also, as you all know from my blog, found an interest in drinking and the world of Mixology. So what could be better, than a night that incorporated both of these passions?!

Last night I found myself at Neat (oh that Aidan Demarest always makes it worth the trek to Glendale) for the Matt Talbert art show.  Ironically I didn’t find out about this through Aidan or Sporting Life, I actually came across it when googling the term ‘Mixology Paintings’ and couldn’t believe my luck when I learnt about Talbert’s paintings and in turn his show coming up in LA.

Who is Matt Talbert?

Matt is a fine art painter, specifically using the medium of oils.  He studied at The Orange County High School of the Arts and then earned a BFA in Illustration at the Laguna College of Art & Design. He left college to pursue his artistic talent professionally, moving to New York City for inspiration before moving back to California.

I went on his website and saw his ‘Figures and Portraits’ and ‘Cityscapes’ first, and was immediately captivated by the way he paints. His images of people in particular are fantastic.  I love his texture and imagery. He has a verisimilitude photographic quality to his work, liquids and glassware are particularly hard to convey in oil, but he appears to do this with ease and effortlessness. His cocktail series, was of course the area that really caught my eye.  This is taken from his website Bio and is written by Matt himself;

“…my current series revolves around my fascination with the growing craft cocktail movement in America.  Whether I am painting a cocktail, a figure or a cityscape, my core motivation is to capture the seemingly normal moments in life, that upon a closer look become extraordinary.”

The minute I saw his cocktail paintings I knew I had to get one.  Neat was a great venue to hold this event as the walls are normally a black bare space and therefore acted as a great blank canvas, so to speak, to visualize the paintings clearly.

Also, his drink work fit perfectly with the venue.  Who’d have thought to put an art show at a bar? Genius. Sipping on cocktails whilst looking at paintings of them was something new to me, but very enjoyable.

This one (below) I think is particularly clever for the drink enthusiasts, it is called ‘Prepare for Takeoff’ and is a deconstructed ‘Aviation cocktail’ still-life.

"Prepare for Takeoff" 16" x 20" Oil on linen

At the show there was an image of Neat’s owner Aidan Demarest. The likeness is uncanny, and knowing Aidan personally I was really impressed by the cheeky quality he managed to capture in a subtle smile.  It also showcases Matts talent for painting people with such an accuracy and attention to detail.

"Aidan Demarest" 16" x 20" Oil on linen

I met Matt and really liked him, he is easy to talk to (trust me, some artists are very introvert and strange individuals, Matt thankfully is not!) He told me his local hang out became ‘320 Main‘ in Seal beach (a great spot  I will be reviewing properly in due course) and that became inspiration for a number of his paintings. Including this one, (American Bar man) of Jason Schiffer (head bartender and owner of 320 Main)

"An American Bar Man" 18" x 24" Oil on linen

I personally fell in love with two paintings “Finishing Touch” and “Double Strained”(see below). It took a good 2 hours trying to decide between the two of them. Whilst I did, I got to enjoy a great ‘Flowing Bols’ (Bols Genever) Punch that bartender Arash Pakzad behind the bar gave me. It was a punch made with pineapple, raspberries, Luxardo Maraschino liquor, Lemon, sugar and soda water.  It was a very refreshing and sweet summery drink, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Marcos Tello (Part of ‘Tello Demarest Liquid Assets’) was giving a Bols Genever tasting at the back of the room.   In October 2011 I went to Amsterdam and the Bols Genever museum, so I was particularly interested to see it being talked about in the US.  Bols Genever is an interesting spirit that pre dates Gin. It smells funky to me and can be hard to mask its strong flavors when mixed in drinks, but alone it has a floral quality  that is different and interesting.  I have to admit I prefer Gin, because I find the pine and clove notes of Bols a little overbearing but if you have never tried it, it’s worth a go.  It was great ‘slurping’ on a shot and hearing Tello talk about its history and origins.  For more information on this spirit, check out their website here.

After debating with myself, texting my boyfriend and chatting to Matt I finally made a purchase and am the proud owner of ‘Double Strained’ (below). It is perfect for me due to my love of Coupes, Clover clubs and the Bar industry.  Thank you Matt for creating this masterpiece, I will hang it with pride in our home bar 🙂

Double Strained 11" x 14" Oil on linen

I am a strong believer in supporting artists, and to me that means buying originals as apposed to prints whenever possible.  If you ever see a piece of art that you love, but think it’s too expensive make sure you take in to account the cost of materials, the cost of education of the artist to hone his craft and the hourly it would take to make it.  I also read a great quote at school I liked, which is good to think about when purchasing art;

‘An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.’ James Whistler

As an artist myself I can completely understand why paintings are expensive, and Oil is in my opinion a particularly difficult medium to work with. Matt’s work is all extremely reasonably priced and I urge you to have a look on his site (click here) or visit Neat in the coming month to see his current paintings for sale.  Below are a few more of his paintings for you to enjoy…

"Finishing Touch"

"With a Twist"

"Bitter Cube"

"The Pour"

"2 Across"

A true likeness! Aidan and Aidan!!!

1 Comment

Filed under Events

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Drink of the Week