Tag Archives: Mixology

Drink of the Week: Morning Sex

Not sure what kind of “spam” messages I am likely to get posting this drink name, but it’s too darn delicious NOT to put on the site!

Morning SexMorning Sex

  •  2oz Bourbon
  • 3/4oz Lemon juice
  • 3/4oz Passion Fruit Puree
  • 1/2oz Masala Chai Syrup
  • 3 dash Peychauds Bitters

Shake and serve over a large ice cube.

Garnish: Orange twist or pansy flower

You can find this drink, among other greats, on the drink menu at The Wallace, Los Angeles- A fantastic new spot in the heart of Culver City. The food there is nothing short of exceptional (so much so, that I am coming out of my writing drought to discuss it!) and the drinks, although great already, will be getting a fresh spin in coming weeks from their new beverage director- Greg Bryson.

The drink listed above  is currently my favorite drink in Culver City.  From it’s memorable fun name to it’s accessible flavor profile, this drink has everything I could love in it.

The bourbon is subtle enough that any type of drinker can enjoy its flavor, no matter what their usual base alcohol preference is. It  has a delicious tropical sweetness coming from the fresh passionfruit juice, with no unnatural flavors to it (that tend to come from sweeter/fruity drinks.) It is refreshing, summery and makes me feel like i’m on vacation in Hawaii or the Caribbean when sipped on a hot day!

The presentation at The Wallace over a large ice cube also makes it an accessible ‘not too girly’ looking drink option for both men and women., which I think is very smart. In past few visits they have started to garnish it with a pansy (flower), which looks really pretty and a nice alternative to the orange peel.

I admit this recipe will be hard to reproduce at home, in particular the ‘chai syrup’ but it’s definitely worth heading in to The Wallace to try it on its home turf.  Whilst you’re there, try some of the food too…it’s all fantastic. I would write a review on the whole place right now, but I plan to go back for a 4th visit (in 2 weeks) to try even more food before I write about it. It’s just that good.

Delicious, Delicious, Delicious.

 

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Drink of the Week

Falls GoldFalls Gold

  • 2oz Rye Whisky (Templeton Rye)
  • 1/2oz Amaro Meletti
  • 1/2oz Organic Grade B Maple Syrup
  • 3/4oz Lemon juice
  • 1 Egg white

Shake once without ice, then shake with ice and strain in to a glass.

Garnish: Sprinkle of pumpkin spice (available at Whole Foods)

I can’t believe it, but it’s already that time again. ‘Fall’, ‘Autumn’, ‘The Golden Season’..whatever you want to call it, it’s here! It’s not so visually obvious in Los Angeles of course, seeing as we really don’t get a seasonal change with the leaves here, but at the end of October there is a definite change in the air.  Girls start wearing boots and scarves, snuggling by the fire sounds like fun and everywhere starts to smell like pumpkin spice and cinnamon!

This drink of the week is one of my new favorites, because it’s got that ‘Whisky sour vibe’ with a suitable Autumnal twist. The Pumpkin spice and maple syrup give it just the right feeling for the season, without being over bearing.  I have to say, I am the brilliant mind who came up with the name for this drink haha but the drink honestly tastes amazing too. The Amaro gives a hint of saffron that balances out the sweet and the egg white gives the fluffy texture I always enjoy in sours.

It is currently on the drink list at both locations for Hostaria Del Piccolo and was created by their beverage director Greg Bryson.

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Drink of the Week

The Fussy One Cocktail

The Fussy One

  • 2oz Rum Blanco
  • 3/4oz Lime Juice
  • 3/4oz Vanilla syrup
  • 3/4oz Fresh Beet juice

Garnish: Lime wheel

Next week sees some big achievements for me. On Monday 28th January I will have been living in the States for 5 years…then on 30th January I will be celebrating my 1st ‘Bloggerversary’.  Yep, this little blog will be one year old on Wednesday!

The above drink recipe was created lovingly by my Beverage consultant boyfriend Greg Bryson, as a nod to me…and my fussiness! This drink is nothing short of delicious, and perfectly fits my personality.  The use of beet juice gives it an almost healthy taste and vegetive flavors, for some reason the beet reminds me of carrots at times too.  When Greg first met me (read about me) I would never have eaten a vegetable by choice, so incorporating it in a drink with my namesake is pretty smart and somewhat amusing.

This drink has everything I love combined. It has Rum as the base (my favorite), it’s Sweet, Strong, Pink, Fruity and Girly. (Add a dash of crazy and it would be describing my personality!)

In essence this drink could be described as a Vanilla Beet Daiquiri, but I prefer to call it by it’s new name… “The Fussy One” 🙂

Head on down to Greg’s new Venice location of Hostaria Del Piccolo on Wednesday for a drink to celebrate. Greg will be making this recipe as well as loads of his other creations, it’s going to be a fun night.

A big thanks to all my readers, keep following and commenting. I love your suggestions and feedback!

Here’s to many more years of eating, drinking and blogging…

The Fussy One xx

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Drink of the Week

Egg Nog Egg Nog and cookies

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream

Garnish: Grated nutmeg

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, whisk the milk and sugar together over a medium heat until sugar is dissolved. In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Whilst continuing to whisk pour your hot milk/sugar mixture into the eggs in a slow and steady stream.
  2. Return mixture to pan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, (this usually takes about 20 to 25 minutes but do not let it simmer.) Quickly strain into a bowl. Stir in bourbon and cream. Let the drink cool completely then refrigerate until chilled.

Ok ok, I know i’m a little late for a Christmas drink…but to be fair I was off enjoying the holidays these past weeks and didn’t have time to write this great old recipe up! Seeing as it’s  currently winter this classic is still a great option to make, especially if you plan on a late holiday party or simply want a creamy delicious drink to create at home! The above recipe will serve 6 people and is a recipe I found on the Martha Steward website.  I chose this version because it is pretty traditional in character and very easy to execute, it is also extremely tasty.

Sherry Egg NogKappler Eggnog

  • 2oz Sherry
  • 1 Whole egg
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar

Shake thoroughly and serve in tall glass, garnish with Nutmeg.

This recipe was created by George Kappler and documented in 1895.  It was a popular version at the time, however nowadays people tend to want the heated version above it because they don’t like the idea of having a whole raw egg in their drink.  Using a whole egg in a drink is often referred to as a flip and provided the eggs are fresh these drinks are perfectly safe to have.  Some of my favorite drinks out there include raw egg (Clover Club, Whiskey Sours), because they give a creamy texture to any drink they are in.

Egg Nog is known across the World as a Christmas drink, and there are literally hundreds of variations/recipes to choose from.  The recipes may contain whiskey, rum, brandy, bourbon, or cognac. Some will contain multiple spirits in the drink.

The origins of the Egg Nog are unclear however many suggest it dates back hundreds of years to Medieval Europe with suggestion that it originated in East Anglia, England as an ‘Egg Flip’ (named after the technique of ‘flipping’ the egg back and forth when mixing.)  Some believe however it is a variation developed later on from the Posset, a British hot drink in the 19th Century that involved heating milk with ale until it curdled and adding spices.

Whatever the origins, the end result is very interesting and surprisingly ‘NOT’ eggy in taste. It is a strong, creamy and tasty drink that’s almost like a custard in consistency. The nutmeg on the nose makes it very appropriate for the holiday season and a good option for Christmas parties.

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed some great New Year celebrations this week. There will be lots of new restaurant openings, drink creations and mixology events again this year, so be sure to keep checking in for all your “Fussy One” 2013 reviews and posts!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

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I VOTE for… Tasty drinks!

Tomorrow (6th November 2012) is a big day in the USA, it is the day the American people will cast their vote for either Democrat President Obama or Republican Mitt Romney. I certainly know who i’d be voting for but I won’t say it here as it’s pretty irrelevant since I am not a citizen and therefore can’t vote anyway!

I thought i’d put a few election inspired drinks up though…you know how I love a good theme. 😀

In the BLUE corner…

There are very few ‘blue’ drinks I approve of, and no ‘Classic’ concoctions with a bright blue hue.  I had first planned to put up a drink with blueberries in but realize that using muddle blueberries creates more of a purple color. Sadly the only really blue drinks are ones that use a fake ingredient like ‘blueberry syrup’ or food coloring.  The drink I have chosen is the only drink I really like that has a bright blue color, and Paul Martins American Bistro (PMAB) is the only place i’ve seen a Lemon Drop made this way.

The PMAB Lemon Drop

  • 2oz Vodka (or Gin)
  • 3/4oz Lemon Juice
  • 3/4oz Simple Syrup
  • Splash of Blue Curacao

Garnish: Lemon Wheel and Sugar rim

I know it sounds terrible to the real drink connoisseurs  but I have to say it’s really tasty! Great if you have a sweet tooth (the sugar rim certainly does it for me!) and the pop of color makes it stand out. If you ever find yourself at a Paul Martins and want a sweet refreshing vodka drink, you should certainly give this one a go.

In the RED Corner…

There are plenty of Red options to choose from, but seeing as the drink name has ‘America’ in the title, this one seems appropriate!

Americano

  • 1oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1oz Campari
  • 40z Soda

Garnish: Orange Peel/Slice

This drink dates back to the 1900s when it was first served in creator Gaspare Campari‘s bar, Caffè Campari, in 1860. It used to have a different name, (‘Milano-Torino’) but the drink creator supposedly changed it when it proved so popular with the American tourists.  It is actually a very interesting mix of flavors.  Using the beverage bitters (Campari) you get a gorgeous red color and the drink itself is a bitter sweet mix with a taste that makes you want to drink more.

Who will live in the White House?

On a recent trip to Washington DC we met and befriended legendary barman, writer, illustrator and fountain of knowledge; Derek Brown. The drink below was created by Derek (AKA The Presidents Mixologist) and is particularly fitting for my election theme because it has been served AT the White House itself. Derek probably thinks ‘The Presidents Mixologist’ is a bit of a pretentious title, and if you met him you’d know he would never want someone pushing for it but frankly that is what he is! He has been chosen to create drinks for the White House on more than one occasion, has interacted with President Obama personally and is pretty much the ‘King of Cocktails’ in Americas Capital City. To me he is certainly the Master when it comes to mixed drinks and also just an incredibly lovely man.

When thinking of drink recipes suitable for this Election week he was the first person I wanted to ask for input.  He wouldn’t reveal what the President drinks, pointing out that “pouring and telling in DC is a political no-no!”  He was, however, kind enough to give me the recipe for one of the drinks he prepared for the White House holiday parties back in 2009.

Robert Frost Cocktail

  • 3/4 oz. Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Dry Amontillado Sherry
  • 3/4 oz. White Port
  • 1/4 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters

Combine ingredients with ice and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish: Thinly sliced orange and lemon wheel.

Derek told me that ‘The Robert Frost Cocktail’ is based off the ‘Whispers’ or the ‘Frost Cocktail’. He says he also chose the name because Robert Frost is one of America’s top poets and a poet laureate who embraced progress while recognizing what made America great. Frost actually read at the inauguration of John F, Kennedy too. Derek told me; “Frost just seemed like the perfect inspiration to honor America’s new direction.”

This drink is DELICIOUS! I tried it for the first time today and think it’s just beautiful. Perfect for all kinds of drinker. The Port, Sherry and Bourbon make an incredibly delicious mix. It is balanced with both a strength and sweetness to it. If you can get the ingredients together, it’s certainly worth a shot making it at home.

So there you have it, 3 somewhat random drinks to sip on this week as you watch the polls go one way or the other.

!!!!DON’T FORGET TO VOTE ON TUESDAY!!!!

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Drink of the Week

Jack Rose

  • 2oz AppleJack Brandy
  • 3/4oz Fresh Lime juice (or Lemon juice)
  • 3/4oz Real Grenadine

Garnish: Lime or Lemon (depending on juice chosen)

Please Note: The photo above has been borrowed from YMN, and was not taken by myself.  It was the best looking image of the Jack Rose I could find.

This is such a simple drink to make at home, and such a great option for Fall.  I have been thinking about Autumnal drinks all week, and will be posting several more as my favorite bartenders roll out their fall cocktail menus.  The Jack Rose is a classic from the 1920s, we know it dates back at least this far because in Ernest Hemingway‘s 1926 classic, The Sun Also Rises, the narrator Jake drinks a Jack Rose in the Crillon Paris hotel bar.

As with many of the drinks I learn about, this too has many theories and stories of it’s origin. There are a slew of ideas that relate to it’s name, some say it is named after Gambler Bald Jack Rose, others suggested that the name was invented by Joseph P. Rose, a  New Jersey restaurateur with the nickname Jack, who once held the title of “World’s Champion Mixologist.”

There are other theories, although Wikipedia (of all places) suggests the most likely explanation of the name is the fact that it is made with applejack and is rose colored from the grenadine. This makes the most sense to me, maybe there is no dramatic reason for it’s name at all…perhaps people get so caught up in the stories they can’t see the wood for the trees!

My boyfriend just informed me that there is also a genre of drink called the ‘Rose’ which is simply a Sour with grenadine, there is a Tequila Rose, A Rye rose etc. and this drink is a an Applejack rose! The same still applies though, the drink is rose colored from the grenadine.

This is a very tasty drink with apple notes that come through from the apple brandy. I suggest using Lairds Bonded Applejack if you can get it, it works the best for me and under no circumstances use a fake grenadine like Rose’s, it will ruin the flavor profile. Take the time to make your own grenadine (pomegranate juice to equal parts sugar and a dash orange blossom water) you won’t regret it!

The Jack Rose itself is a benchmark brandy drink because of how well it pairs with the citrus and grenadine.  There is some debate as to whether it is supposed to be with lemon or lime juice, I personally prefer it with lemon but my boyfriend says lime juice works better. To each his own!

The drink is mildly sweet, strong and perfect for the Fall season we’re now in. Give it a go!

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The Parish awaits…

The Parish
840 S. SPRING ST. (AT 9TH)
LOS ANGELES, CA 90014
213 225 2400
 

*****

Before I write this review I feel it is vital I mention how opposed I was to going to The Parish. Not because I’d heard bad things, but because i’d checked the menu online a few times and nothing ever appealed to me. Pigs ears, Fried Olives, Bone Marrow and Chicken Liver are words that tend to steer me away from a place,  I mean come on, I am the fussy one!

The boyfriend (FG) said we had to try it because our dear friend Edwin Cruz, originally of Tlapazola Grill, was working behind the bar.  It is always great when we see Edwin because not only is he as informative as he is friendly, he’s also a very talented barman.  I grudgingly agreed to give it a go, but was somewhat concerned I wouldn’t like anything on the food menu.

We arrived on a typically ‘urban’ street (dirty) in Downtown, and I once again worried at our choice for the evening but when I saw the entrance I was pleasantly surprised how pretty it was.  Fairy lights around the trees lit the way, then after going upstairs I found myself in a spacious and attractive restaurant, with a HUGE bar. I say huge because the depth of this bar is incredible, the most work surface space i’ve ever seen for a bartender.

 

I decided to start with the ‘Black bee’ which at first I thought would be a ‘beer-tail’ (a drink that tends to have majority beer and minimal anything else) but it was actually the complete opposite.

It was an interesting cocktail with a splash of stout at the end. It was great. Incredible mix of flavors from the lemon, bourbon and stout. They all came through in different waves. It had a sweetness as well as a slight bitter hoppy taste from the beer, there was also a little fruity flavor but not sure where the fruit notes were coming from. Cismontain imperial stout and Telegraph porter were the beers used and they gave some dark coffee notes too. I felt somewhat tipsy from this one drink, the mix of beer and liquor obviously got me buzzed…makes sense, being called ‘The Black Bee!’ (yeah I know, super cheesy, but it’s true!)

The Black Bee- Bourbon, Lemon Juice, Honey, Stout $12

We started with the Chicken liver on toast. Yes, you heard me, CHICKEN LIVER. At first I thought the portion was a little small for sharing, but after a few bites I understood it’s size.  It was very rich and flavorful, had a slight gamey taste but nothing too obtrusive. It was a soft rich pâté on a crunchy piece of toasted baguette, and was actually a very enjoyable dish. To be honest I was proud of myself for trying liver at all.

Chicken Liver Toast- With Bacon and Armagnac $12

FG’s first drink was the ‘Queen Anne’s revenge.’ He loves his twist on a Negroni and this was no exception. Really bitter drink with a lime nose that was interesting and seemed to keep the whole drink fairly balanced. Not for picky drinkers like myself but great for FG. The rum used was 151 lemon hart, very strong and very tasty.

Queen Annes Revenge- High Proof Demerara rum, Campari, Sweet Vermouth $13

When I read FG’s drink name I realized that the majority of the menu was inspired by England.  The whole menu had a British Gastro Pub feel to it with several uniquely British dishes such as ‘Fish and Chips’, ‘Lincolnshire meat pie’ and ‘Sticky toffee pudding.’ I felt quite at home!

Fried Chicken- Brussels sprouts, Date Vinaigrette $25

I’m not a big fan of greasy fried food anymore, but when Edwin suggested the Fried Chicken and every review we could find on The Parish from the bloggers, Yelp and Foursquare said to try it we decided we had to give it a go. I’m so happy we did.

The meat was tender and juicy, with a buttermilk battered crispy skin that wasn’t at all greasy just seasoned perfectly. It came on top of cold Brussels sprouts and dried arugula that made a delicious salad underneath. The date vinaigrette had actual pieces of date in it which added a touch of sweetness to the whole dish. Totally scrumptious!

   

Celery Root Mash- With Harissa Butter $7

We decided to order some celery mash to go alongside. OMG! this was also delicious. The Celery flavor was there but it wasn’t overbearing and the dish had an interesting texture like creamy mashed potatoes mixed with grits.  It worked with the chicken beautifully and the Harissa butter on top gave yummy spice flavors. The whole second course ensemble was serious comfort food and I loved every bite.  It was absolutely ‘finger licking food’ and at one point FG caught me cleaning the plate with my finger, I wanted every last drop! Just Excellent.

Being a true Brit myself I felt compelled to try a true Brit dessert, sticky toffee pudding. This version had dates in it, we all know how fussy I am about bits in dessert and sadly, the pudding didn’t work for me with the date pieces, but the flavors were good and FG devoured what I didn’t eat so it can’t have been bad!

Sticky Toffee Pudding $7

We finished with ‘The Nightshift’ because it seemed like a great option for an after dinner drink. It was very bitter from the espresso but the chocolate came through at the end which was nice.

I couldn’t taste the bourbon that distinctly because it was masked by the bitterness of the coffee and fernet. Not a bad drink at all, and I’m sure it would appeal to the after dinner espresso drinkers.

The Nightshift- Bourbon, Czech Fernet, Espresso, Milk, Pu-Erh Tea and Chocolate syrup $13

I am giving the drinks 4.5 out of 5 coupes.  I really enjoyed my drink and FG loved his two, they were executed perfectly by Edwin and the mix of ingredients for each drink were interesting.  John Coltharpe, previously of Seven Grand, created the bar program here and I think his choices were fun and different.  The mixed drink menu is varied and a grand selection of beers on tap makes this a great location to take any of your friends. There is something for all tastes.

I am giving the food 4.5 out of 5 Platters.  Every bite of what we ate was delicious, but admittedly I felt the menu to be a little daunting and if I hadn’t been in the mood for fried chicken i’m not sure what I would have had.  All in all this was a great night out though, and the menu forced me to try new things (which is what this blog is all about).  The music was fun and the place itself had a nice vibe. Trendy but still romantic, I really liked the atmosphere.  We will definitely return soon.

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Drink of the Week

Stay up late

  • 1 1/2oz Plymouth Gin
  • 1/2oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Brandy
  • 3/4oz Lemon Juice
  • 3/4oz Simple Syrup
  • Topped with 3oz Soda Water

Garnish: Luxardo Cherry and Orange Wheel

I recently visited Mastros Steakhouse in Beverly Hills.  The new rooftop restaurant ‘The Penthouse at Mastros’ has it’s grand opening this evening and I felt it was important to share this info with my readers!  The beauty and difference of this third floor addition is the inspiring mixology program and hand crafted cocktails that have been put together by Brandon Ristaino and Andrew Trauth.  The upstairs adds more of a cocktail lounge feel to the usual Mastros set up and is described as giving ‘sensual sophistication’ to the dining experience. The Penthouse is a really gorgeous space and I am very happy to be a part of it’s opening.

Having had a chance to sample all of the current cocktails I felt compelled to write about the above one. It’s so simple, yet so delicious! A very refreshing, slightly bubbly but delicate drink, with a gorgeous sweetness from the brandy and subtle orange notes.  Plymouth works beautifully in this drink because it’s not a strongly flavored Gin, there is no intense juniper taste so it’s a great option for vodka drinkers to start enjoying Gin.

There are a number of great cocktails on the menu (I will be talking about them more in coming weeks) and I highly recommend stopping in for a drink when you’re next in Beverly Hills.  Yes, Mastros is known for being expensive and this is still the case but the quality of drinks you will be getting at The Penthouse makes it well worth a trip to the top floor.

Hope to see you there!

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We fit in just great at The Misfit!

The Misfit
225 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310 656 9800

 * * * *

I have to say, this bar/restaurant is a really great destination in the heart of Santa Monica. The boyfriend (FG) and I headed there this week for a friends birthday and as soon as we entered I couldn’t believe we’d never seen this place before.

The restaurant itself is visually beautiful when you enter, dramatic high ceilings, a muriel painting behind the bar and tiled floors that made me think of restaurants in Europe.  My boyfriend and I are big fans of Santa Monica, FG runs two bar programs off of Broadway, and we have several dinner spots we love to visit in the area, so I was more than happy to find another craft cocktail bar in the same vicinity.

Not only did they have a good looking bar, I must point out their ludicrous happy hour. 12pm to 7pm daily. Yep, thats 7 hours of $5 drinks. This includes their great specialty cocktail selection as well as their well drinks. I would think this was good either way, but when you factor in what their well includes (see list below) it’s astounding to me this place can stay open. The quality of the products they have in their well puts them leaps and bounds above the competition, although their cost percentage must be insane!

The Misfits Well

Martin millers Gin

Herranura silver tequila

Appleton white rum

Eagle rare

Glenfiddich

 

In terms of Happy hours in the area, I thought Copa D’Oro was the ruler ($5 drinks nightly), but this well selection for 7 hours daily easily just stole the title of Best Happy Hour in Los Angeles.

The first drink I tried was the Bees Knees.  It was well balanced, but reminded me of a honey lemon concoction i’d make myself if I had a cold.  The martin millers gin was a subtle option and didn’t over power the flavors. It was certainly refreshing but the lavender was very subtle, I doubt I would have known it was even in there if it wasn’t on the description.  I can’t really say it was watered down, but it tasted very light and although the drink was balanced, it did air on the weaker side…but for $5, really there were no complaints!

Kd Bees knees- Martin millers gin, House infused lavender honey and Lemon juice $10 or $5 hh

FG had the ‘Misfit cocktail’. It tasted like a Martinez but with the Haymans it was soft and the juniper wasn’t as intense as other places i’ve had similar drinks.  It had a sweetness and weakness to it that I actually rather enjoyed.

Misfit cocktail- Haymans gin, Carpano antica vermouth, Orange bitters $10 or $5 hh

The food was delicious. I had the salmon on my friends birthday, and then returned for lunch 2 days later so I could have it again- it was that tasty. Beautifully cooked fish that was moist and flavorful with a bbq coating. It came with a refreshing arugula and cucumber salad on the side. Perfect for lunch or dinner, I love dishes I don’t have to modify and I enjoyed every bite on this plate. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

BBQ salmon- Scottish with arugula salad $17

We tasted the Mac and Cheese (which is gluten free and made with brown rice pasta), it tasted great with added Chorizo.  It had a little spice from the chile and chorizo that went nicely with the creamy and cheesy pasta. I must say I didn’t get a photo of this dish because my friends devoured it before I had a chance, but I would probably recommend this as a side dish.

Mac and Cheese- Green chile, brown rice pasta, chorizo (+$2) $9

Roasted parsnips- Basil pistachio pesto $7

Organic french omelet- Gruyere, sautéed spinach, pancetta(+$3) $11

We tried the roasted parsnips which were crunchy (a little too ‘al dente’ for my liking) but still very tasty. The pistachio pesto was a nice touch and complimented the light flavors of the parsnips.

FG had an Omelet with egg white and added pancetta.  It was very light and tasty, not a heavy dish at all. A lot of places he has omelets that are way too filling and big, this was just the right balance of ingredients and the pancetta was a nice addition to the dish.

I tried a sip of my friends Basil Gimlet which was very refreshing, and again I was just awe struck by how incredible the prices were for drinks with such good products in.  This place is certainly somewhere we will continue to return to.  The service was friendly and the atmosphere was fun and inviting on both visits (day and night.)

Food here gets 4 out of 5 platters.

The salmon is divine and i’ll probably return to order it again some time this week, there were other interesting options on the menu that I want to return to try also. The parsnips were just ok, and the mac and cheese was decent. All in all it was pretty good for food, and the rating may in fact increase once I return to try more dishes.

Drinks get 4 out of 5 Clover Clubs.

None of our drinks were truly spectacular and realistically both our cocktails tasted a little weaker than usual but other than that they seemed balanced and were certainly still enjoyable.  The main points this bar gets is for it’s truly fabulous well alcohol selection and it’s insanely long happy hour.  Anywhere with a Manhattan for $5 deserves at least 4 out of 5 in my opinion!

I definitely recommend popping in to this place when you’re next in Santa Monica. It is attractive, inviting and a great deal.  Check it out!

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Crafted to perfection

Craft
10100 Constellation Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
90067
310.279.4180 
 

Monday date night last week led us to a restaurant just minutes from our house, yet neither my boyfriend (FG) or I had been there before.  The list of drinks and food on offer all looked appealing and appetizing, and the decor of the bar area was inviting and warm when we entered. We decided to sit at the CraftBar which is separate from the restaurant itself and has a different food menu, but we decided to mix and match and got a few bar menu items and then our entree from the regular restaurant menu.

FG informed me that the “Craft” team pay a purveyor a lot of money just to travel the country in search of the best produce for all three of their locations. Only the best, organic, fresh and seasonal products are used so the menu changes constantly with what is and isn’t available.

Front Porch: Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Peach, Lemon and Iced Tea $11

I started the night off with the ‘Front porch’ drink after our bartender (Scott) pointed out that peaches were at their best right now. It was wonderful, like a deliciously peachy ice tea with bourbon! It was sweet, strong and fruity.

FG had the ‘Here today… gone amaro’ which was just as tasty as the name was imaginative!  FG best described it as a Manhattan with a subtle sweet bitterness at the end. Rabarbaro Zuca is an amaro made with Rhubarb, which I have only seen on a menu once before, ironically in my boyfriends drink ‘Maguey after Amaro’. I like it when places use unusual ingredients though.

Here Today…Gone Amaro: Old Overholt Rye, Chai Tea infused Carpano Antica Vermouth, Cio Ciaro and Rabarbaro $14

FG was intrigued by the number of Amari they had on the back bar, including the Cio Ciaro (he’d never heard of) which he sampled and described as having a burnt caramel flavor with a slow bitter finish.  Craft also makes a home made velvet falernum which was delicious, sweet and zesty.

Negroni Mio: Aviation Gin, Campari, Americano, Cocchi Vermouth di Tornio, Prosecco & Strawberry. $13

FG’s second drink was the Negroni Mio, this was a good drink, but not great. It sounded amazing on paper (they barrel aged the Negroni then bottle age it with strawberries), but the flavors really came through as simply a Negroni with aperol.

Many of the food options looked interesting but we started with the cheddar hush puppies that came with a smoked maple syrup to dip in. Delicious maple flavor from the sauce altho the puppies had little spicy kick to them.  The cheese didn’t come through for me but still the dish was very tasty.

Cheddar Hushpuppies & Smoked Maple Syrup $6

The risotto balls were also on the spicy side with a marinara type sauce named romesco, the crispy thin layer on the outside of each ball made them not too rich and another good starter dish.

Risotto Fritters & Romesco $6

They also brought a bread basket out with delicious breads in.  The dark loaf was incredibly different and hearty. In fact Scott gave us an extra loaf to take home, as he informed me it is the perfect bread to make french toast with the next day.  I loved the wooden box the bread came in too, the presentation of all the dishes was exquisite and although this was a slightly more expensive place than we’d usually go just for monday date night, it became clear very quickly why they deserved to charge so much.

For our main course we agreed on a steak (like always!) and decided to share the dry aged sirloin. When it arrived I realized just how incredibly large 22 ounces of meat is and worried we’d way over ordered!

We also chose some sides, the sugar snap peas (which i’m really in to recently, so sweet and crunchy) and the yukon puree.  I had wanted a potato but couldn’t decide what kind, Scott had said these were “deliciously decadent.”  Of course, alarm bells should go off when you hear a server/bartender describe something as decadent…it usually means, extremely fatty and high in calories.  We didn’t care though, it was an indulgent night.  

The potato was certainly nothing less than decadent! Creamy, rich and full of flavor.  It was like a very soft buttery mash but still had a lightness to it, I couldn’t eat too much but it paired beautifully with the earthy flavor of the steak.  I’m not sure i’d had dry aged beef before but it gave the meat a much stronger fuller flavor.  The meat came with a bone marrow on the side, which greg emptied out on to a piece of remaining bread.

I think bone marrow is definitely an acquired taste, it reminded me of chicken dripping my mum would keep to put on sandwiches after a roast dinner. Not that it tasted like chicken, it just had a very greasy and fatty texture that reminded me of that.  I didn’t like it at all, Greg devoured the whole bone full.

Roasted dry aged sirloin 22oz $56

Sugar snap peas $11

Yukon Gold Puree $10

To finish we saw the wonderful dessert list but felt too full to get anything (believe it or not, we had at this point eaten the entire steak and sides!!!). Scott brought us some little bites from the pastry chef which included some caramel popcorn and little nectarine upside down cakes.  They were the perfect touch of sweetness to end the evening.

Before we left Scott gave us a little pack of complimentary Craft Granola for the next day. FGs parents went the following week and were given some complimentary Craft muffins, it changes daily what you’ll get but I think it’s such a cute and unique idea to give something like that for breakfast. When we ate the granola the next morning (which was great) it had us remembering our wonderful evening the night previous. Very smart marketing move!

Drinks here get my rating of 4 out of 5 Clover Clubs.

My peach cocktail was fantastic, and FG certainly enjoyed his two drinks also.  Scott was professional and informative behind the bar, and the look of the place was welcoming and attractive.  The only negative of the drinks was the Negroni Mio that wasn’t as flavorful as the ingredients suggested, overall it was a close to excellent bar program. They also had an extensive wine list, for those not as excited by cocktails!

My Food Rating here is 5 out of 5 Platters

Overall this place had it all, relaxing music, a nice chill vibe and excellent professional service.  The food was fantastic, it was different and adventurous without being too overwhelming for a fussy person like myself.  The only negative, which i’m not even sure is fair to give, was the high prices of this place.  I hadn’t expected it to be on the higher end, having said that it really was worth the extra expense. The service really was amazing, and my boyfriends parents decided to go a few days later and had the exact same reaction. For that reason, this is the first place i’m giving 5 out of 5. Watch out Bottega Louie (our most popular location), Craft may soon take over as our favorite place to go for dinner in LA!

All in all, Craft (and Craft Bar) are an excellent night out.  I highly recommend anyone looking for a romantic, quality restaurant in Los Angeles to head there.

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The cost of creation

I recently watched the video above (courtesy of Liquor.com) and it got me thinking about a few things, in particular, the cost factor of going out and doing what I do.

All the restaurants and bars that my boyfriend and I visit produce some of the finest food and drinks you can get, this doesn’t always mean the menu is expensive, but often times it can be.

Many of my friends and family don’t quite understand the point of spending a huge portion of our paychecks on food and alcohol, but people often forget that it’s the overall experience you’re paying for not just the products. I may be fussy and certainly not rich, but I honestly have no problem spending my money on a good restaurant/bar. If I enjoy the atmosphere of a place, the friendliness of the service and the quality of what i’m putting in my mouth..I will happily spend a small fortune in one night!

I have recently heard many more people complaining about the ridiculous cost of cocktails at Mixology bars. Many customers think it’s a ‘rip off’ that a drink can cost anything from $12 to $20, and they always want the bartender to ‘hook them up’ by giving drinks away for free or adding extra alcohol, but as the video explains there is so much more to a quality drink than just mixing. Not to mention, adding ‘more alcohol’ often upsets the ratio and balance so the customer probably wouldn’t enjoy the end result anyway.

If you are the kind of person who would rather have a cheap vodka soda or a bottled beer that’s fine too,  just understand that a Mixology bar is not the place to get it!

“Mixology bars are like fine dining for drinks”

Having worked behind a bar myself, I have first hand experience of the horror of hand juicing boxes of limes only to yield a little over a quart of juice. You’d think managers would just buy their staff a juicer…this isn’t always the case.

My boyfriend is a Beverage Director so I witness daily, the time and effort that goes in to creating a new menu, inventing tinctures and working on infusions/barrel aged cocktails. This is also a factor to think about. The recipes on menus at these places aren’t thrown together in a blind frenzy, a substantial amount of time and money will have been spent on testing brands, factoring cost of products and experimenting with different recipes and ratios. At the end of the day, all the customer gets is a delicious drink in front of them but often doesn’t know the effort and preparation that went in to it’s creation.

The economy is bad, yes, but if you’re going to go to a nice place…understand what it is you’re paying for, and thank your lucky stars you’re not in Europe where the price is (no joke) double!

That’s all I have to say about that 🙂

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Drink of the Week

Olson’s Revenge

  • 1 oz Grand Marinier
  • 3/4 oz Mezcal
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Honey Syrup
  • 3 dashes house made serrano bitters
  • Sage leaf

Shake and strain in to a glass.

Garnish: A sage leaf

This is the drink that I enjoyed most at the Bar Room Brawl event in New Orleans for TOTC.  It was created by Alex Bookless (although named by the wonderful Derek Brown) and served by the bartenders of The Passenger/Columbia Room from Washington DC.

The drink itself is beautifully balanced and hits almost every taste element.  It is a little sweet, a little spicy, has a touch of sourness and a smoky after-taste.  I found it so easy to drink, I had at least 4 at the event!  I admit i’m not sure how one could re-create this at home without the serrano bitters, but perhaps a little serrano chili would give the same effect.  You don’t want it to be too spicy, but the slight heat certainly adds to the enjoyment of this cocktail.

Enjoy!

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Drink of the Week

The Singapore Sling

  • 1 oz. London dry gin
  • 1 oz. Bols Cherry brandy or Cherry Heering
  • 1 oz. Bénédictine
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. soda water
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients except soda water and bitters and shake in ice.  Strain in an ice-filled collins glass and top with soda water. Dash with Angostura bitters.

Today is my Dads birthday, so I thought it would be a fun idea to put up a drink in his honor. 🙂

This is a drink that has specific memories to me from my childhood. I used to go with my family to Australia almost every year and on a number of occasions we would stop over in Singapore for a few days. I can remember my dad was always excited when he arrived, he would get unpacked then announce to the family “I’m heading down to the bar for the first Singapore sling of the trip.”  As we were fortunate enough to stay at the gorgeous Raffles Hotel on many occasions, it is easy to understand why this was his recurring drink of choice.

When I first decided to write about the Singapore Sling, I hadn’t quite appreciated how much confusion revolved around its recipe. The drink itself is fairly well documented and most would agreed that the first recipe was created by Ngiam Tong Boon at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel, Singapore, between 1900 and 1915.

However, there is suggestion that the drink may have existed already under the name ‘Straits Sling’ before Tong Boon brought it over to Raffles.  The original recipe has always been disputed, because there are numerous variations in existence that call for different ratios and ingredients.  The above recipe is from research by David Wondrich on the Sling, but if you were to go to Raffles 20 years ago you would receive another version most likely changed sometime in the 1970s by Ngiam Tong Boon’s nephew.

According to Wondrich, new data in the form of a searchable archive of Singapore newspapers shows the earliest reference to a sling is from 1897, nearly 20 years before the Raffles Hotel supposedly created it.  Today, many of the “Singapore Slings” served at Raffles Hotel have been pre-mixed and made using an automatic dispenser that combines alcohol and pineapple juice at pre-set volumes. They are then blended instead of shaken and include pineapple juice to make them more appealing to the ‘American tourists’ in a Tiki style drink.

I always remember seeing a ‘Recipe Card’ in the lobby of Raffles hotel that I believed to be the original recipe, however my research has shown that The Raffles Hotel management has always admitted that the original recipe card was in fact lost at some point during the 20th century.  The recipe in the photo above is variation 26!

With or without pineapple juice, with Cherry Heering or with Dry Cherry Brandy instead, this drink has a lot of history, is refreshing, flavorful and ideal for hot sticky summers in Singapore.

For me the appeal is its sentimental value because of the fond memories I have of my father sitting in the lobby of Raffles enjoying his pink drink.  If I ever return to Singapore in the future i’m sure I will make a point of stopping in at Raffles to order one for myself, if only to keep up the tradition.

Happy Birthday Dad!

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