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Posts posted by haresfur

  1. Not exactly directly in line with the GG problem, but I think in the "spirit" of this topic: I was at a place recently where their drink menu said, "Muddled drinks available."

    Hmm, I've heard of that, sounds sophisticated and cocktailian. I didn't know quite what to make of this, did they actually know when to muddle a drink, was it a clue to someone that they would make your drink properly if you knew the list of drinks that should be muddled, was it marketing hype, or just an indication that they had a stick of wood behind the bar?

    So I ordered an Old Fashioned and got a blank look from the waitress. Said I preferred bourbon to rye and wanted fruit. She didn't have a clue what rye was anyway and pointed to their bourbon list. I decided to play it save and go high end. I think the bartender had to look it up but the drink was ok. I wonder if I should have just said "bartender's choice" for the spirit or if that would be asking for trouble?

    So this brings up another issue, it isn't only the bartender that needs to have a clue regarding drinks - a quality experience depends on the knowledge of the whole staff, just as if I was wondering what wine to order.

    Their specialty cocktail list was dominated by flavored vodkas so I assume it is indicative of the fad aspect rather than a desire to present a wide range of innovative choices.

  2. Great for kayaking. Remove the box and the bag nestles securely at the bottom of the kayak. When you are done with the wine, you can blow up the bag and use it as a pillow. A secure way to reseal it would be nice for wine on the move, though.

  3. Another tidbit from Chemical Science:
    An electronic tongue that can 'taste' the grape varieties and vintages of wine has been created by Spanish scientists.

    Cecilia Jiménez-Jorquera from the Barcelona Institute of Microelectronics, and colleagues, created a multisensor device and trained it to distinguish between different wines and grape juices.

    When speaking with specialists of the wine industry, the need for a rapid route to obtain valuable information about product quality was noticed, explains Jiménez-Jorquera. It takes a long time to send samples to a centralised laboratory for analysis with complex equipment.

    But will it tell me if I'm supposed to like it? :hmmm:

  4. Sometimes the drink comes first, sometimes the locale, and sometimes the *name*.

    And it happens I have a drink that I can stretch to make into an entry this month. It is named after a fine, venerable, company - the Tacoma Screw.

    So first the story: Sitting at the dinner table my wife mentioned to our niece that she needed to stop by Tacoma Screw in the morning to pick up some bolts for her horse carriage. Much silliness later, it was decided that we needed to honor the company with a cocktail "worth paying extra for". :raz:

    Obviously an orange juice base was in order. Tacoma is a seaport and I like rum... Lot's of blackberries on that side of the state but as near as I can tell the WA state liquor control board doesn't have blackberry liqueur so I substituted Cassis - honoring our local puritanical version of socialism (... not that there's anything wrong with that...)

    The Tacoma Screw

    In a rocks glass mix:

    2 oz white rum

    3 oz orange juce

    ice cubes

    pour in 1 oz Cassis without mixing

    float a splash of Pyrat XO rum on top


  5. You can read the coffee shop owner's response here.

    An excerpt:

    Q. What's wrong with "espresso over ice?"

    ... Pouring espresso over ice creates unpleasantly acrid flavors.

    I *like* the acrid flavor of espresso poured over ice. I prefer my americano made by dumping the shots on top of lots of ice and then topping up with water. Add some raw sugar and milk without stirring, sip through a straw so you get alternating slugs of sweet and bitter - yum! I think the real reason is that the owner is trying to preserve his milk supply. But even if he gives away the milk, I suspect he is not losing money or at least not as much as he is losing by being a pompous whatever.

  6. I'm off and on trying to work out a a variation on the sidecar that I want to call the "motorcycle diary" that turns out to be more of a variation on between the sheets - using Pisco instead of brandy and maybe dark rum (Cuban rum?-). Think I might have to go to lime juice because lemon doesn't seem quite right. My current sip using Gran Gala instead of triple sec shows some promise.

    Any suggestions are welcome.

  7. Certain kinds of beer can be aged, and can really improve with time. The higher ABV beers tend to fit this mold, along with lambics. This is why my apartment has a whole closet of beer to be drank at a later date -- whether it be a year from how or 10 (the lambics in particular are waiting for a while).


    ... my boyfriend ...


    Well the "aficionado" I referred to is my 22 yr old niece. ... what's your annual income? :raz:

    I knew some beer aged well, what I found most interesting was the difference between the two bottles. I suppose this could tie back to the screw cap vs. cork controversy for wine. I wonder what it would have been like if I had started with a really good beer.

  8. You might be interested in a happy discovery I recently made.

    I stopped brewing beer quite a while ago – I didn't seem to have time and wasn't drinking enough to get good at it (the former excuse still holds but I'm not sure the later still does). My last batch, christened by my DB as “Trash the Kitchen Imperial Stout” (never let your Imp. boil over) was a disaster in other ways, too. In a mis-guided attempt to sweeten up the recipe, I added too much molasses, not knowing that the molasses flavor results from unformentable chemicals. This resulted in a vile, highly alcoholic watered down blackstrap.

    So about 8 years later, I found some liter bottles with ceramic caps and a 12 pack of 12 oz bottles of the stuff left in a basement cupboard. I cautiously slipped some from a liter bottle to a beer afficionado who said, “High abv but drinkable.”

    Sure enough, after almost a decade, the alcohol had kept the beer preserved but the molasses had mellowed away.

    But wait, there's more. We opened one of the 12 oz bottles with a regular cap and the beer hadn't gotten any worse but there was still an overly strong smack of molasses. My theory is that the cap sealed too well and you needed the little bit of oxidation through the rubber gasket on the ceramic cap to take out the unformentables.

    Is there a moral here? Maybe that brewing chemistry is way more complex than I understand or that beer-gods are benevolent if you are patient.

  9. Dulse and beer?

    My parents immigrated to Nova Scotia from western Canada after I left home so I didn't gain much knowledge of local cooking - aside from getting jugs of seawater for boiling lobster.

    The other thing I remember is the availability of wonderful old varieties of apples.

    You didn't mention the immigrant freed slaves who found refuge in Nova Scotia (as opposed to the Acadians who went the other way). Are there any remnants of their cooking culture?

  10. First trial of the ginger infusion I made. It didn't freeze in the chest freezer - so far so good. Straight it is strong but sippable - not bad. Then I threw some stuff together:

    2 oz Appleton White Rum

    1/2 oz ginger vodka

    1/2 oz cheap Triple Sec

    2 oz lime juice

    1 oz 1:1 simple syrup (or was it 1/2 oz :-(

    Shake with ice, strain, serve with 1 cube and a lime wedge.

    Threw in a tad more ginger. I think it has promise :biggrin:

  11. *What are a few basic, well-balanced drinks that will make it look like I'm not a clueless idiot or an overgrown sorority girl?*

    I think it depends in part on what you like (or can develop a taste for), in part on what sort of image you want to convey (what *do* you want to look like?), and what sort of establishments (something that they won't totally screw up but will be really good when made well).

    You probably don't want to order something they won't have a clue how to make but it sounds like you want to show a certain level of sophistication. Just avoid anything with too suggestive a name :raz:

    I agree a sidecar may fit the bill. Maybe something rum based like a daquiri, if you don't like gin, a rum collins could work. If rum sounds to "pirate" for your crowd, you could try a whiskey sour.

    If you like wine, but want to go a bit more unusual, kir is tasty. Or Dubonnet on the rocks with a lemon twist. What's the point of drinking if you don't enjoy it?

    Maybe you could conscript a friend to go do some research with you?

  12. I recently celebrated surviving the 'flu season by infusing some of my massive bag of candied ginger into vodka and have a few questions like, "Now what?"

    I filled a pint mason jar about 1/3 - 1/2 full of coarsely chopped candied ginger topped it up with Fris vodka and let sit for about a week. Had a really hard time filtering it through coffee filters - clogged immediately. Any ideas why or a better way to filter?

    BTW, I mixed the leftover ginger with orange marmalade and slathered it on a chunk of halibut that I baked - yummy.

    Right now the infusion is sitting in the deep freeze and I have only tasted the potent drops spilled on my fingers. Do I want to let it age at room temperature for a while longer? Would that kill the heat (and would that be a good or a bad thing?).

    So where would this stuff work better than say, ginger beer, in a cocktail? I don't think it is something that would be wonderful neat. The only idea I found upthread was #42.

    Then, I was wondering if you get a different flavor from a ginger-alcohol infusion from a ginger syrup, and if there is any advantage to each. Opinions?

    Thanks everyone. In the last year my liquor cabinet went from an ancient bottle of Oban, Cointreau, and some CC to overflowing so I'm still getting the hang of things.

  13. Perogies (deep fried) and sour cream - a favorite in Manitoba pubs. At home I like to eat them with mango chutney.

    Never developed a taste for dulse and beer - Nova Scotia style, but I love the idea.

    We were really popular in Yellowknife NWT when we showed up at the bar with insanely salty Dall-sheep jerky.

  14. Most of my family's reminiscences about growing up seem to involve food, "Do you remember that restaurant where..."

    I guess I'm lucky to have too many good memories to include. The first that came to mind though was from a small town on the Italian Rivera when I was 7 years old and camping around Europe with my family. The menu was only in Italian and I ordered the most amazing plate heaped with mussels in a spicy broth. Can't recall if I knew what I was ordering or even knew what a mussel was, anyway. The memory is even better because my vegetable-hating brother wound up with a plate of cold green beans in olive oil. :laugh:

    Actually many of my memorable meals are from Italy, so one more. My wife and I were living in the Washington D.C. area and she had to go to Budapest and Florence for work. Naturally I invited myself along. Florence was sensory overload, so one day we took the bus to Fiesole, which I remembered as a sleepy town in the hills with one restaurant worth visiting. When we got up there it was bustling and well into midday dinner. We found a promising looking place to squeeze into. The owner was charging around making sure his staff were on top of things, providing the grated cheese for my plate, explaining that my wife's dish really didn't need any, "Ok, just a touch". When we finished, the place had pretty much cleared out and he talked with us for quite a while before we left. His shirt was soaked through with sweat.

    The crowning moment, though was when he found out we were from D.C. and took us outside the door to show us the Washington Post review of his restaurant hanging in the window! Those of you who know Washington know that just about *every* restaurant has a Washington Post review hanging in the window, even if the review says the food was horrible (naturally his review was very positive).

  15. Doesn't bother me as long as the intent is sincerely friendly - like any other kind of social interaction. But I've learned that some people have emotional or physical issues that go beyond simply not appreciating the gesture.

    The only time I can recall getting a massage with my meal was when I had a job investigating groundwater contamination in a small town in Indiana. The work was outdoors and physical. The well drillers insisted on having lunch every day at a little blue-collar bar with a nice looking waitress. This place served mashed potatoes and gravy with everything. My favorite was lasagna and garlic bread with a side of mashed potatoes ... but I digress.

    The waitress took a lot of stuff from the patrons and I made a point of being extremely polite to her. So after a somewhat rude remark from one of my coworkers she made it a point of giving me a shoulder rub. I assume it was at least in part to let him know she wasn't warming up to *him*. Gotta admit it was amusing and my aching muscles appreciated it.

  16. Just curious on everyone's thoughts on this....

    Is it right for a local/regional newspaper to give a bad review to a restaurant who has probably bought hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of advertising over the years?

    Care to give us the name of the restaurant and publication so we can check out the review ourselves? :wink:

  17. Nice work, Katie.

    I just finished " Service Included" wherein out heroine meets her lover at a diner and feels she has to carry her own maple syrup for the diner pancakes.  I'm naive and sheltered  and all, but that rocked me back on my heels. All I could think was: "Er, if you have to tote your Canadian Amber Grade B, you should be eating breakfast somewhere else."

    Same applies to tea. If you can't get a good cuppa, just order the coffee. If you can, give that tea- loving restaurant your business.

    Actually, I had a girlfriend who did that :biggrin:

    Seriously though, why would anyone care if a customer didn't want to use the Mrs Butterworth's? I mean, maybe if they flavored the corn syrup themselves...

    Could be just karma to balance the people who steal sugar packets. :rolleyes:

    Someone better tell the boys over on the cocktail forum to quit bringing their own bitters.

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