Tag Archives: Neat bar

Interview with a Bartender: Jaymee Mandeville

This week I am pleased to be putting up an interview with one of the successful female Bartenders here in Los Angeles.  If you find yourself in Downtown LA any time soon, I recommend you head in to Drago Centro (Review coming soon) and check out the bar program put together by Jaymee Mandeville. This vibrant and talented lady has created an interesting and well executed drinks list with unusual ingredients such as Dill Meringue and Squid Ink Syrup.  Head in any night other than Tuesday or Sunday and you can enjoy a drink made by Jaymee herself.

Jaymee Mandeville

Official Job Title: Bar Manager
Born: South Korea, adopted at 16 mos. Grew up in Orange County, CA
Currently Resides:  Los Angeles, CA
Current Work locations:  Drago Centro Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri & Sat nights
Touring 2012 with Cari Hah (Neat Bar) “Lil’ Twisted Sangrita Tour”
May 29 Las Perlas
June 24 City Tavern
 

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Q & A

Where was the first bar you worked at, and what was your position there?
At age 19 I worked as a beverage cart girl in college….(they thought I was 21) so I made Manhattans at 6 am with mini-bottles of Martini Rossi and Jim Beam on the golf course.
 
Who is/was your mentor? Who do you feel trained you in your area of expertise?
Michael Shearin has been a huge inspiration to me in wine and spirits, and continues to be a close friend.
 
Are you a fussy eater or picky drinker? If so, what WON’T you try?
I don’t think so.  I think I am open to trying anything. I just dislike all creamy salad dressings, most white condiments (i.e. mayonnaise, aioli,  Alfredo sauce, hollandaise (to name a few)…..actually we should open it up to most condiments, ketchup, mustard, relish.  1000 dressing is my worst nightmare. Oh and I don’t like sweets…I don’t hate them, but I could definitely live without them.
 
What is the most unusual dish or ingredient you’ve ever tasted?
Worm salt  (so weird, but surprisingly good, it tastes like sea salt and pepper combined.) I think Cari and I will be using it in one of our upcoming sangritas.
 
What is your favorite “Classic” Drink/Cocktail?
Negroni
 
As a female bartender have you ever felt like you’re not being taken as seriously by the male dominating Cocktail community?
Honestly, no, but I always welcome any challenge. I think the females in this city are very strong.  We just started a LUPEC chapter here in LA and it has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing and talented females in our industry.
 
What is the best thing about what you do? 
Making drinks…..I love it….I love creating, imbibing, and sharing the love with others
 
What is the Worst thing about what you do?
Evenings…I feel like I never really have an evening off to do silly things like take a sunset hike or cook a normal dinner
 
If you couldn’t do what you do now, what would you do instead?
I really wanted to be a super model and travel the world….unfortunately my height topped out at 5’2
 
Do you see yourself bartending forever or are there other career avenues you plan to explore?
I feel that bartending is a great creative and social outlet, I don’t see myself doing it forever, but I do see myself using this skill set in many ways moving forward.  I love traveling…if I could be like the jet-setter Angus Winchester, that would be amazing.
 

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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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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)
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 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.
 
 

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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!

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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

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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!!!

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