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Everything posted by birder53

  1. birder53

    The Last Word

    I had the great pleasure to drink at the Zig Zag Cafe on not one, but two nights during my vacation to Seattle and environs last week. Thanks first to Drinkboy, Robert Hess, for letting us know we could get an Aviation there. We got a whole lot more! Owners Kacy and Ben, along with Murray Stenson and Eamon, served up wonderful drinks and great conversation. I had my Aviation (wonderful ) followed by a Trident and then Murray suggested a Last Word. For those who love maraschino liqueur, I think this is even better than the Aviation! Murray said he found it in a book. When I tried googling it all I got were some foreign sites. Anyway, here is Murray's Last Word: 1/2 oz Gin 1/2 oz Green Chartreuse 1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur 1/2 oz lime juice Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Enjoy! We also had the pleasure of meeting and drinking with Robert Hess and yes, the man really does carry his own supply of bitters around with him. They take their drinks very seriously at Zig Zag and Robert puts them to the test. We also had wonderful Brandy Crustas, Pegu, McKoy, Old Fashioned, tasted several gins, chartreuse, strega and absinthe - served the proper way - flaming and all! The only sad part of the trip was that Murray was off Saturday night, our last night! It's a long ride from NJ to Seattle, but I have to find a reason to do it again soon.
  2. birder53


    After being loyal to Dannon yogurt for over 25 years, I am searching for a new brand. I did try making my own back in the '70s with my Salton yogurt maker, but it never seemed as good as what Dannon was making. They have added thickeners and lost that great yogurt "bite" they used to have. Yogurt has always been an easy breakfast and/or lunch for me, so I need to find a replacement. Any suggestions? What brands do you enjoy?
  3. birder53

    The Caipirinha

    Finally tried my muddler! The photos in "The Craft of the Cocktail" of the CAIPIRINHA were enough to inspire me. I tried the Caipirinha Cherry, made with four pitted sour cherries in addition to the following. I used the Amerani Fabrini cherries. This is a great warm weather drink. 2 oz. Cachaca 1 oz. Simple Syrup or tsp. of sugar 1/2 Lime quartered. Place lime quarters in the bottom of mixing glass, add the syrup and muddle extracting the juice and the oil in the skin from the lime quarters. Chill a rocks glass with cracked ice. Add Cachaca to the mixture in the mixing glass and dump the ice into the mixing glass and shake well. Pour the entire contents of the mixing glass back into the chilled rocks glass and serve.
  4. birder53

    Peach Cobbler

    I've been looking at recipes for peach cobblers. Friends are coming for dinner this weekend and she always serves up a freshly baked dessert using the fruits of the season. I figured I could bake something really simple. My mixer died and the food processor is small, so the recipe needs to be something requiring neither. There are several recipes on the food network that might work. Some require peeling the peaches and others don't. Any thoughts on this? Also, some cook the peaches first while the easiest recipes do not. Pros and cons? When a "baking dish" is called for, is that pyrex? Help! I can put together a great dinner menu, but once the dessert calls for more than the local bakery's cannollis I'm in way over my head.
  5. birder53

    Best Cocktail Recipe Website?

    I agree. CocktailDB is good for looking up recipes but just because a recipe is included doesn't mean it's a good drink. For someone new to cocktails, this could end badly. In addition to my collection of books, I like Drhnkboy Robert Hess includes recipes for drinks that he likes and has adjusted the recipes to his liking. I find I like most of what he suggests. I also enjoy Eric's Savoy Cocktails where he painstakingly tries to replicate every recipe and then lets you know how he liked the drink. He started the process here but continues at Underhill-Lounge He has been a good source of new drinks that have stayed in the house rotation. Folks who are new to cocktails just need to know that bad recipes are a waste of good booze so try to find a source that actually makes the drink before printing the recipe and provides a suitable warning where necessary.
  6. Wegmans! I miss Wegmans more than any family or friends from NJ. The variety and quality of items they sell always inspired me to cook new things. We have Whole Foods in Santa Fe but the prices are obscene and I just don't get inspired. On the other hand, I can't imagine life without 'red and green'!
  7. birder53

    What do you go through most?

    This winter has seen lots of Manhattans, so lots of Makers Mark and M&R Sweet Vermouth.
  8. birder53


    Wegman's had a Spicy Red Lentil Chili soup at their soup bar which I loved. The recipe is on their web site Spicy Red Lentil Chili Soup Finally made it last night, with lots of tweaks, and it really was as good as I remembered it. Just the thing to take off the chill as we deal with the remains of three snowstorms this week!
  9. birder53

    Sauce for Pork?

    This Orange Balsamic Sauce is quick and easy. Great with grilled pork tenderloin.
  10. Growing up Irish in Brooklyn, gravy was made with the drippings of every roasted meat. Wondra was carefully worked into the drippings and water used to cook the vegetables was kept to add to the mix. It was always brown and if it wasn't brown enough, a little Gravy Master was added to get the color just right. My husband grew up in an Italian household and the gravy served with a roast was just the grease and drippings from the pan. His family didn't like the gravy that I made for a Thanksgiving dinner because it wasn't what their mother made. I never saw white gravy until I was on a vacation in Florida. That was the first I had heard of chicken fried steak. White gravy just doesn't look appetizing to me so I have never tried it. Out here in NM we don't do gravy - we have 'red or green'.
  11. Stop worrying! You only have to do it if you are moving out of your apartment or selling your house - hopefully just once in a lifetime. How funny! We had a self-clean oven that I never cleaned until it was time to sell the house. Once I saw what a nice job it did and how easy it was, I regret that I left such a mess for so many years.
  12. birder53

    Flavored Nuts

    My sister-in-law gave me a recipe for spiced almonds which calls for egg whites. They do moisten the nuts and help the seasonings to adhere. It might be a Weight Watchers recipe which would explain using egg whites instead of butter or some other oil. I don't know if they created a crispy coating, but they did help the get a good coating on all the nuts.
  13. birder53

    The Bitter Truth

    Thanks! Somehow I never bothered to look at CocktailKingdom's site, thinking it was overseas.
  14. birder53

    The Bitter Truth

    So, what's the verdict on TBT? My niece is working in Germany this summer and might be able to bring some back for me. Now that you all have had some time to play with them, which ones would you recommend?
  15. Manhattan - true comfort food in a glass
  16. Perfect! Just add a cup of coffee from the roaster next to the cookie stand and you're ready to roll. DeNics roast pork with broccoli rabe is the best!
  17. I agree on Pasqual's. The grilled chicken breast sandwich with carmelized onions and manchego on chili corn bread is the one dish I go there for. It's overpriced but you won't find anything else like it in town. My favorite breakfast is Buenos Dias (two eggs over easy, green) at The Pantry on Cerillos Road. They make the best breakfast potatoes in town! The coffee isn't great but that dish holds me until dinner! I'm not a fan of their red but lots of folks are. What about lunch at Santacafe? The patio is lovely and the fried calamari it terrific!
  18. I like The Shed and La Choza for margaritas and the green chile stew. The rest of the menu just isn't that interesting to me. The green chile stew is the best I have ever had and is not for the feint of heart!
  19. birder53

    Garbage Disposals

    We want to replace our kitchen sink. The current sink has double bowls, with the left bowl being smaller and shallower than the large bowl. There is a garbage disposal attached to the smaller bowl which we disconnected. Why? We have a septic tank here and the previous owners of the home told us they never used the disposal unit to avoid overloading the septic system. They composted and so do we. In terms of making changes that effect future resale values, do you think a disposal unit is necessary or not? We would like to remove the unit and replace the current sink with a deeper single bowl sink. What experience has anyone had using disposal units in conjunction with septic systems? A lot of folks mentioned disposal units in the kitchen sink topic. Does everyone use theirs and do you care if your kitchen has one or not?
  20. Back when we were in highschool, we used to make the Kraft version as a snack. Mom only served it as a side, even when she made her own from scratch. There is a restaurant in Santa Fe, Celebrations, that serves it with shrimp as a main course. I love it and would eat it as a side or main anyday!
  21. birder53

    New restaurant menu help

    What about breakfast? Truly great home fries make breakfast for me. Will breakfast be available all day? For lunch - wonderful soups and a great grilled cheese sandwich. There is a place in Santa Fe that does a great grilled cheese with asiago, carmelized onions and a terrific hot and sweet mustard.
  22. When I called Thai Thai yesterday to make a reservation for that evening, the woman who answered said they no longer take reservations for parties of two on Friday and Saturday nights. She said it was a change that Tony (the owner) had been wanting to make for while. I said I was disappointed to hear of the change and if I arrived and found I had to wait a long time I would probably not be dining there very often. She assured me that there wouldn't be much of a wait, that the tables turn quickly. Now, we've been very happily dining at Thai Thai for at least six years and were grateful that we could always seem to get a reservation for two at 6:00 on a Saturday, even by calling at 2:00 that same day. It's a very popular place and empty tables are hard to find even at that early hour. We decided to go anyway since we wanted to stop in at Liquor World next door (great prices on Plymouth Gin and Makers Mark bourbon!) So, we arrive at 6:00 and see our usual table by the window is taken. As we enter, I see most of the two tops are filled. The owner is nowhere to be seen. An unsmiling woman is at the front as hostess along with one of the servers we know. Our normally cheerful server takes us to the table that old stone face has decided we shall have. It is on the end of a busy intersection with heavy traffic to and from the kitchen. We decline and say we will wait, as we see another two top getting ready to leave. We follow her back to the front and she tells the hostess we did not want the table. She sends us to another table which was fine and was empty when we first arrived. I kept watching the hostess for any hint of a smile. Not even a glimmer! I tell hubby that this is very wrong and Tony must have sold the place. When our server comes with menus, we ask about Tony. He has sold Thai Thai and opened a new place on Rt. 18 in Old Bridge. She assures us that the same chef is in the kitchen here. The food was good, as usual. The big difference was the dour attitude of the staff. Everyone was usually very bright and cheerful here, notably so. Smiles were hard to find last night. The one server who had been with the previous owner the longest indicates that she had to stay there. Transition agreement?? But she is not happy. It's disturbing to see how things have changed here. The hostess looks mean, like she'd really like to hit someone. It's hard to believe she is the first and last one you see here now. I wonder how long it will take before changes in the food start to show up.
  23. Maria's has an extensive tequila collection but, in my opinion, a margarita should be made with freshly squeezed lime juice, which you won't get at Maria's. They make their margaritas with lemon juice.
  24. birder53

    Drinks! (2007–2009)

    From the weekend edition of the WSJ. Union Club Cocktail 2 oz bourbon 1/2 oz maraschino liquer 1/2 oz Campari 1 1/2 oz orange juice I like all the ingredients but the end result was lacking something. Maybe going 1/2 lemon juice here might liven this combo up. UPDATE Tried it a second time going with half & half lemon and oj. Much brighter flavors!
  25. Okay, I said it, and I'll say it again. To me, cloudberries taste like the smell of chamisa, or like a kindergarten classroom full of sniffly, coughing kids; a funky smell like sweet little animal kisses. From the Wikipediaentry for cloudberries: ← For those of you who are not familiar with chamisa, check out this article from the NY Times Chamisa Chrysothamnus nauseosus!