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fatdeko

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Everything posted by fatdeko

  1. fatdeko

    Cocktails with two spirits

    Yep. That's me. Friend of the Earth and all its Earthitudinality. Love it or hate it, you can't shoot it: Earth! In the perfect world, where it's just the last three of us drinking, and we're drinking Suffering Bastards, I'd use the nails from the Crucifixion as swizzle sticks. (Think about it.....) Barring that, I'd try my hand at the Black Arts and try to capture the smell of my basement in a foam. To me it smells like diesel and grape jelly. But a sprig of mint is good too. I guess. myers
  2. fatdeko

    Cocktails with two spirits

    Gin and Bourbon are difficult to get to work together, tis true, and it's always puzzled me because those Blues guys are always sticking the two together in songs.* But the Suffering Bastard gets it about right: Gin, Bourbon, Lime Juice, Bitters Ginger Ale myers * The only 2 that come immediately to mind are Graham Parson and RL Burnside: "The first time I lose I drink whiskey/The second time I lose I drink Gin" "I got a ass [sic] pocket of whiskey/Front pocket full of gin", respectively.
  3. fatdeko

    Imbibe!

    It took them a while to post the video so I stopped checking after a time, but here's David on our little local news magazine. http://www.wcsh6.com/includes/buildasx.asp...ch_wcsh.wmv&sp= myers
  4. So just how "hip" is Crystal Lake in the grand scheme of things?
  5. How I wish it were true! Actually it's a trick of a bad photographic angle. In reality what you see are the remnants of 2 sleeves of Malacca nips that are sitting on the bar just behind the mixer. I might have 20 left and I use them (almost) only for Pink Gins. But a floor stack of Malacca cases...now that's the stuff that dreams are made of. myers
  6. I'm a less ambivalent about the Waring WM007, in fact I'm kind of intrigued. Like Dave I kind of see it as part of the progression of shaking tech. There's some turn of the century patent and catalog illustrations of a floor standing cocktail shaking contraption that was powered by a hand crank. (Dale has a picture of it in his book). And I hate the thought of parting with my ca. 1940 "Chron-Master Mix-All". Recently I witnessed the latest gizmo from Guinness that uses sonic waves to agitate a special "flat" bottled Guinness into the frothy, luscious, only-available-on-draught texture of the "real" thing. So looking at the architecture of the Waring, I could'nt help but wonder if the WM007 uses sonic waves as the mixing medium. It probably doesn't, but what if it did? While the first Waring blenders gave us slushy drinks ala the Pina Colada and the Chron-master style Malted mixers were the tools of choice for many of the Tiki masters, what would the Eben Klemms of the world do with a sonic mixer? Just sayin' myers
  7. There was this one time--no, really it happened--when Mr. T came to town and I was a freshman in college and I was tripping in an auditorium full of middle school kids and Mr. T said--and I quote--"Thank God For Jesus!" "Well, Duh!", I thought. "Who else you gonna thank?" Except I said it out loud. There was a scuffle and I'm pretty sure I had to leave early. myers
  8. fatdeko

    Portland ME Restaurants

    The Press Herald had this to say about Stone's cooking at the Commercial Street Pub. http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=126207&ac=Go myers
  9. fatdeko

    Portland ME Restaurants

    I'm glad you guys enjoyed yourselves on this trip. I hadn't noticed until now that you're DC'ers. After 10 years in the District, I happily exiled myself to Portland 5 years ago. Go figure. Keep us posted as to your schedule in July and we'll do what we can to steer you straight. myers
  10. fatdeko

    Portland ME Restaurants

    If you're just passing through and need some memorable fortification, than by all means, go to DuckFat. I live nearby and have to walk passed it almost every day and I wish I was from away simply so that I would value it more. Moreover, if you are just passing through, DuckFat is situated at a unique hub: across the street is an amazing new bookstore called Rabelaiswith foodie literature from the 18th century clear up to the present, while in the opposite direction, a block away, you'll find Miccuci's Italian grocery. Great things are to be found there, and it's a great spot for 'provisioning'. Here's my strategy for a hit-and-run lunch: Park near Duckfat. Go to Rabelais and take your time finding a couple of books to read. Order lunch at Duckfat. While you're waiting for your pannini's, go to Miccuci's and provision--get some bread, salumi, wine etc. Eat at DuckFat. Half way through your meal, ask for the truffle ketchup that you meant to order in the first place. Go back to Rabelais and buy that book you were on the fence about, now that you realize you need it. Go back to Miccuci's --you had a great idea while eating at DuckFat, and besides, you'll need some more of that wine after all. Fill your nostrils with more of those pungent aromas and wonder if you can bottle it. Drive to Bristol, all the while wondering why you only allowed yourself time for lunch in Portland. myers
  11. fatdeko

    Singing the praises of the chefs

    Sorry gang, But it's Cooks vs. Chefs. It doesn't matter how hard the egg guy works, nor how hungover he might be, the fact of the matter is: The guy who works nights, the guy who puts the menu together, the guy who is dying for the local review and waiting for that scribbler to notice him is the guy that works nights. The hardworking guy who makes all the breakfasts is simply the hardworking guy who makes all the breakfasts. To be sure, he's great, and we couldn't make it with out him, but...... A long time ago we had a talented guy that we thought could be our "chef". We offered it to him, but the schedule sucked because he had a girlfriend and he only wanted to work days. The guy we eventually hired as the Chef de Cuisine had the best line ever: "No lunch cook ever got famous for cuisine" Lots of Truth in that. myers
  12. fatdeko

    Bartenders vs. Cooks

    I wish more bartenders started out in the kitchen. Any position would do, even dishwasher, but even a little time as a prep-cook or garde manger would make a huge difference. The skills learned in the kitchen that are most useful for the barman aren't even the one's Alchemist points up, though he's right on. There's something about the discipline learned in the kitchen that gets missed when we train the inexperienced to stand behind a bar. Maybe it's the crucible-like atmosphere in the kitchen or the sense of teamwork (and the consequences of letting that team down) that makes more good linecooks per dozen than a bar makes bartenders. Stupid little things that I assumed were simple common sense, I realized were attitudes I gleaned from my years as a Kitchen Dog. Attitudes like: Fresh things that have passed their prime should be thrown out; products should be rotated; clean as you go; mis en place; prep today for tomorrow; stay stocked; keep a clean stock area; there's always one more thing to do; every thing has only 1 place where it belongs and every place has only 1 thing that belongs there...I could go on and on. These are the things that separate the bartenders you like working with and the bartenders you want by your side. myers
  13. fatdeko

    Rules of the Restaurant Universe

    Something I learned while catering and then started noticing everywhere else: The Bad News: Even if you've planned well and you're extremely organized, you will still, inevitably, run out of time. The Good News: If you've planned well and you're well organized, somehow it all gets done. myers
  14. fatdeko

    The Martini Markup

    What our intrepid journalist is also completely missing is that the "Martini" for which he is calculating the cost is most likely not the "Martini" he is getting in the bar. While his "Martini" is 2 1/2 oz of Vodka and 1/4 oz of Vermouth, the $13.00 "Martini" he is getting in the bar is probably along the lines of 3 /12 oz - 4 oz of Vodka and some inconsequential amount of Vermouth. Now the cost of his drink is closer to 4 bucks and a 300% mark-up is totally in line. If he really wants to tilt at windmills, he should wonder why the mark-up for a domestic bottle of beer at his local pub is the same as the mark-up for liquor at a bar. It's not as much a class thing as he might think--it's economics, stupid. myers
  15. fatdeko

    Cost of Cocktails

    Some things that aren't apparent but might skew a simple price to price comparison: The rising costs of insurance, particularly "Dram Shop" provisions, and the ever growing chunk that state and federal taxes represent in the price of a bottle of booze. Where yesteryear's bar could be in profit by running, let's say, 60% cost of sales, today's gin mill would be covered in ply-wood following the same model. myers
  16. fatdeko

    The Mint Julep

    David: Are there "artifacts" of the Wenham Lake recipes that you allude to? If so, do they fall into the category of "ephemera" like the free booklets and "necker"s we've come to know (and love) Stateside, or are they buried in contemporary 'cookery books' etc? myers
  17. fatdeko

    The Mint Julep

    That Wenham Lake thing was a complete debacle. Sorta. For the most part. Except where it was hugely successful. You had reactions ranging from "Venom Lake" to the pervasive notion that the US had a lake so big, that all the food grade ice in the world came from it. Some even thought that Wenham Lake ice didn't even melt. myers
  18. fatdeko

    The Mint Julep

    Might I just add, in a literally reductive way, that when you "remove" items like juices, pineapple slices and strawberries and so forth from a cobbler, have you "got" a julep? I think not. If you were to serve a Julep to a Cobbler drinker, you're likely to have an issue. If you were to serve a Cobbler to a Julep drinker, you might find yourself in the same predicament. Cast away your post-modernity: sometimes things ARE as they appear. When asked by reporters why she called a particularly long-necked goat a "giraffe", Eve said, "Because it looks like one". "It is what it is" may be deeper than we give it credit. Maybe a Cobbler is a Cobbler and a Julep is a Julep. myers
  19. fatdeko

    Rabelais Books

    I've been walking passed the Rabelais Books since PastryElf mentioned it in the Opinions of Food in Portland Maine thread, and shoving my face up against the glass monitoring the signs. They opened today and if you're in Portland looking for prandial literature, you just gotta stop by and root around. Wonderful stuff to be found there. myers
  20. fatdeko

    The Mint Julep

    I'm inclined to think that the "Bourbon only" and the strict, almost escetic aesthetic school of julep literature is a post-reconstruction /post-prohibition phenomenon. The elegiac voice of Soule Smith, the julep-jingoism of Cobb and his friendly spat with Mencken seem to me to be partly inspired by a sentimental yearning for the faux gentility of the ante-bellum South coupled with an underdog's desperate claim to be better at something, anything, than the alpha dog. As Nathan Bedford Forrest would say, they got there fuhstest with the mostest, and captured the popular imagination, thus giving birth to the intransigent (modern) school of Kentucky-style julepry. myers
  21. fatdeko

    The Mint Julep

    Just goes to show you, if you wait long enough..... The "pre-recreational" juleps, from what I've gathered, were used as demulcents--something cloying enough to stick to your throat to ease soreness or coughing. Cough syrups. Nowadays you can't sit through a ratings week without any number of news outlets scaring us with images of teens getting high off Nyquil or Robitussin. Pre-recreational, Indeed. myers
  22. fatdeko

    The Mint Julep

    I'll admit that I skipped big broad portions of the above post, skipping down to the bottom to see how or whether you would include Irvin Cobb and Soule Smith, most likely the best and most literary writers on the mint julep. Once again, NewspaperArchives let you down. But first I have to renew my opposition to citing NewspaperArchive articles in the manner that you do. The article from the Nevada State Journal that you cited was not a product of the Nevada State Journal, but was purchased from the United Press (UP), has a dateline of New York, and actually names the UP staff writer who did the reportage. Leaving this information out of your citation does a dis-service to everyone involved, not the least of which, the thousands of newspapers who purchased the same article and are given no credit even though they don't deserve any. The Nevada State Journal doesn't deserve any credit for the article either. They're in a search engine by happy accident. In the article itself, the scene opens with Cobb reading a julep recipe. And this is where either a Nevada editor or a slipshod UP reporter drops the ball. (My suspicion lies with the editor) The question is never raised: who is the source of Cobb's recipe? A cursory reading of the article would lead us to believe that it is Cobb's own. But it's too lyrical and so un-Cobbsian and it sounds a little like...but wait! It is! It is none other than Judge Soule Smith's paean to the "julep, the mint julep". And Cobb hints at its source, and we must have glossed over it in the first reading: Again I see the over eager scissors of an editor, excising a possible line where Cobb introduces the source of his recipe. I transcribed Cobb's best julep screed on this thread at webtender. It still gives me giggles. http://www.webtender.com/iforum/message.cgi?id=61933 myers
  23. fatdeko

    Salted/Salty Cocktails

    I'm with Dave on this salt thing. It's seemed to me that bartenders (and others) who have blurred the line between the kitchen and the bar have missed out on the simplest thing--salt. It's culinary 101. While we sometimes use sugar/sweeteners to carry flavors, we do little to heighten or amplify them. This is where salt comes in. Lacking the necessary circle of weirdos to really explore how salt can improve cocktails, (I'm in Maine, don't forget) my experiments sort of fizzled out. I seem to recall that I could get close to a 7:1 salt solution before (simple) solubility became a problem. (I don't remember why I thought that finding that threshold was important) And testing salted vs unsalted cocktails by myself became, um, problematic both from trying to maintain a Double Blind protocol and just plain getting too blind. So I pretty much have taken it on faith that a judicious use of salt is good and probably isn't bad. My solution is to add a pinch of salt every time I make simple syrup. myers
  24. fatdeko

    Cocktail Historiography

    I just popped in to ask if anyone had seen the NYT article and its relevance to cocktology. Once again, Dave is already on it. What really caught my eye and impressed on me the vastness of the "holes" was the graphic on pg 2. Granted, it was delivered by way of a big assed graphic, perfectly suited for digestion by my bartender's attention span but still: it would take the National Archives, f'rinstance, 2300 years to digitize their collection. This thread and the NYT article did much to spur me into exploring why I collect the things I do. I'm not building an archive--not in a scholarly sense--nor is it for research, really, though I read a lot and some of it inevitably sticks. I don't have that hoarder gene where I'm surrounded by towers of newspapers, coffecans and cats, and yet there's a lot of clutter here at the Casco Bay Institute for Advanced ntoxicological Studies. I guess it boils down to this: Digitalization (which already sounds a little dirty, from a Freudian standpoint, with its connections to fingers etc) denies an object its very "thing-ness".It's even in the way the digitizer refers to the un-digitized or pre-digitized as "objects"--it's no longer a book or a letter or a...whatever it "really" is. The irony is that digitalization even removes an object from the realm of the hands and fingers. There's value in the very thingy-ness of some of this stuff far beyond the presciptive CSI (Cocktail Scene Investigation) research impulse of, say, George who wants to bore down to the bedrock of a cocktail's creation. Yes, there are stacks and stacks of stuff here that are carriers for factual errata but there is beauty in many of them too. Some are simply beautifully made--the autobiographies of the Temperance people are truly handsome. Some even foster a sense or even a connection to a particular zeitgeist, as Dave and Gary have alluded too. Always there is a sense of the author, sometimes the publisher and often, in the background, you can catch a glimpse of the marketer and salesman who may also let slip what he thought of the times as well. And then there are the things themselves--the Jim Beam cars and trains, the strainers, the worn out wallet stamped with the Bartender Union of New York City with Jack Townshend's phone # in the phone book and on and on. So maybe I'll think of it as a Rescue Project--like a Whippet Rescue. Or better yet a Preserve. Like a Wildlife preserve, but more like a Wild Life preserve. myers
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