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  1. I had to do a double-take, but I thought Frank Bruni's cameo appearance in there at the end was pretty clever. Just as she's presenting the duck to her dinner guests... Audrey
  2. I would never refer to Stevia as garbage. Stevia is extremely beneficial to diabetics and others who are insulin sensitive, in that it flat-lines at -0- on the Glycemic index. Splenda / sucralose is chlorinated. Stevia is derrived from a plant, which makes it vegan-friendly, as well as having -0- carbs and -0- calories. There are a number of factors to keep in mind when using it. The flavor profile of stevia can greatly vary from brand to brand. I've personally tested a dozen different brands and was very surprised at how vastly different they were. I found Nu Naturals to be one of the best. "Now" foods also produces a very good one as well. You can purchase stevia in three different forms. The most natural and at the same time least satisfactory is the powdered green leaf, which has a bitter after-taste (15 - 30x sweeter than sucrose). You can buy stevia in liquid form, as well as the most common form, a refined, white extract. Depending on if and how it has been "cut", refined Stevia can be 200-300x sweeter than sugar. Although many companies will package stevia in "single-serving" packets, this -does not- mean that you need an entire packet for your needs. Sometimes, even a quarter of a packet will do the trick. Some folks are "hypertasters", in that the bitter flavor profile is strongly exacerbated for them. Recurring palate descriptors such as "bitter" & "metallic" can be indicators. Interestingly enough, if consumed on a regular basis, the palate will eventually acclimate to the bitter notes in a specific flavor profile, in which it was initially detected (think Campari). While I'm far from diabetic, I have noticed that I've become more sensitive to sugar as I've gotten older, so I like to pick and choose when I'm going to consume it (can you say, "Daiquiri"). With that said, I have been consuming stevia in my coffee for quite some time now, and the initial bitterness I detected has now pretty much disappeared. I also believe that the addition of milk (and more precisely, it's fat content) will certainly help temper bitterness--whether stevia or the other stuff. Adversely, the bitter compounds in black coffee could certainly exacerbate stevia's bitterness, but I also believe that to be true of artificial sweetners as well. Audrey
  3. I have stackable units at Pegu; double 650 units. I love the cubes and have been working with them for over 10 years now, but the older model machines that I've had experience with could certainly be tempermental at times. I always felt so ashamed whenever the units went down and I had to resort to using the "replacement ice"---it dimishes the entire cocktail experience; so ghetto. I look forward to going forward with a newer model. But even with that, I will still continue to work with stackables. They offer me a great deal more security-- during the times when one unit goes down, at least the other one is still kicking. Like having a basic insurance policy in place. Audrey
  4. I already told Joe what I wanted for Christmas..... ....a KD machine with interchangable molds.....any size cube you want, just pop the mold in, and its all yours. You want to go from a 1.25" to a a 2.25" cube for 3 hours of production? Why not. ....and KD could make the bennies just on the custom-molds alone. Joe? Audrey
  5. I want to add that I walked into that kitchen on a number of occasions throughout the week, and was completely blown away by the level of dedication coming from their operation. The walls were stacked with cases and cases of fruit, and when I looked inside the walk-in, there were gallons upon gallons of different cocktails with the various seminar names & times written on each. And speaking of juicers, what they didn't mention is that the sunkist broke on the way down to NOLA, and they managed to McGuyver it back into working condition---utilizing pieces of aluminum baking pans moulded into shape.. I've never seen such tenacity and dedication, and despite their challenges, everyone seemed to be in really great spirits---you could feel an incredibly strong sense of commeraderie amongst that team whenever you walked into the room. This is how real pro's roll. Hats off to you guys...you rocked it out!! Audrey
  6. I was there as well. I love the place! Matty Gee (former of M&H) is behind the concept, and he has created a wonderful space with a lot of warmth to it. I think Matty's vision is to have a nice place to go, where the cocktail menu is simple, yet perfectly executed---but without any sort of pretension. I've known Matty for a number of years now, and not only is he a great bartender and a true gentleman, but also a bit of a romantic. There is a large, blow-up of an old photograph hanging on the wall in the middle of the room, circa 1940/50's--it's of a couple very much in love, both looking out the back seat of a car---it turns out to be Matty's grandparents on their wedding day. Matty's family has been in the flower business, and he is personally responsible for the the beautiful arrangements that grace the bartop. There is a piano in the corner, and I believe that music will be played on monday nite-- but you'd have to confirm that. Music is old-school, lots of uplifing clarinet. And then at closing time, we heard Billy Ocean being piped in. It was great. Downstairs is a cool, little room with a corner bar, and Matty said that they will be breaking through the wall in approx a month to increase the space. It was very late when I got there, so I two-fisted. I had a deliciously-bright ginger cocktail, as well as a strawberry-cucumber gin fizz- which had such perfect balance that it made me take a step back. There was a grace to its simplicity, and an alchemic perfection in the combination. But the cool aspect was that the drink menu was friendly and approachable. It was not extensive, but I am sure that it will develop over time. And frankly, I'd rather see 1 perfectly executed cocktail than 6 mediocre ones. Matty told me that it would be the direction for the warmer, summer months to come, and that we would see brown cocktails come into play in the fall, along with freshly squeezed apple juice, etc. The spirits selection was thoughtful, well-rounded, and also very accessible. I don't think Matty's intention is to take a hard-core stand as a geeky cocktail haven. He certainly could if he wanted to, I've drank at his bar on many occasions, and his drinks are perfection. I think that moreso, he is really looking to create an environment where first and foremost you are having fun. It had -such- a great vibe, and I can't wait to go back. Audrey
  7. I heard that a batch of Plymouth sloe gin is being steeped for the US market as we speak... ...the timing might be January / February 08. ...and that a popular restaurant chain had already approached them to snatch up 30,000 cases of it. Audrey
  8. .....A few authentic ones on the thread itself certainly couldn't hurt
  9. When, after reading the Suze thread, you henceforth initiate an email exchange with the good folks at Pernod-Ricard USA to see if they would consider bringing more of their wonderful product in from France for your American friends in need..... Status: Pending
  10. Sounds weird, but, (utilizing your favorite Mary mix...sans spirit), prepare with (good quality) champagne the same way you would prepare a mimosa. A nice, savory alternative. Audrey
  11. A few of us from Pegu attended Matt's service yesterday in Teaneck. I met his parents, Jim & Dora, and we talked for a little while. It is easy to see that the apple didn't fall far from the tree; they are very, very special people. Really intelligent, gentle, & loving folks. There were a number of photographs of Matt displayed around the room, and it was very warming to be able to take a look at them. Matt's father showed me his favorite picture---Matt was sitting down on the steps outside of their house in Cape Cod. The sun was beaming down on his face, and he was looking up directly into the camera and the sun with a big, big smile. Everything about Matt was sterling....I loved him a lot and thought of him as family. I spent the last number of days recollecting the times we spent together. His visits to Pegu, the various meals we shared, and our incredibly stimulating conversations during those times together. And I love that he lived like a rockstar, but even more importantly, I really admired what a respect he had for all of it as well. He had an enormous appreciation and respect for everything. The gaze, the voice, his energy....what a beautiful person he was. He had great presence and such a brilliant mind; it's hard to let go. I asked his family to send us a picture of him so that we can keep it behind the bar; the entire staff at Pegu is feeling his loss as well. He was part of our clan. For the time-being, I printed out the one that Jason posted above (thanks Jason), and hung it behind the bar & in our service area where everyone can see it. I worked in the well last night after his service, and it was very comforting to look over and see that pix hanging there. Not far from one of his favorite barstools. Not very far at all. Audrey
  12. I agree. Gerry's is one of the best places around; you'll find most everything there. Audrey
  13. Phil just handed me the prettiest Ramos fizz ever. And then he (knowingly) asked, "you wanted the cardamom on top, right? (it'something I have a weakness for) yea, when you stare at your cocktail in loving admiration for at least 2 minutes, and then spend a good 10 - 15 seconds nosing it, the way you would smell your newborn nephew / niece, then you know you're in a strange place. The head....it was like a guinness poking up a good 1/2" over the rim. Pure art. Audrey
  14. Yea, Rob Roy, of course. I was so deep into my rant at that point that there was just no coming back But I think you get the concept. Audrey Edited to acclimate to the increased amount of oxygen to my brain after stepping down from the soapbox
  15. When you "accidentally" run out of peach liqueur on Saturday nights so you have to "86" it. No peach liqueur = no Sex On The Beach drinks or "Woo Woo shots. It does seem to arrive quickly from the distributor for the rest of the week, though. Audrey
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