Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Taste of the Nation

Many thanks to Lance Mayhew for tix to Taste of the Nation, which I hit up with P-Co last night. There was so much great food from many of the best local restaurants, and fantastic wine and spirits. Also, I got to meet Lucy Brennan. It was all I could do not to ask for an autograph.

Some highlights:

Caprial’s Bistro
Pecan Blondies Layered with Chocolate Mousse and Topped with Sugar Honeycomb - I love blondies, and these were perfect and dense, with deep flavor from brown butter.

Grilled Monterey Bay Calamari Salad with Poached Kingfisher Potatoes, Castelvetrano Olives, Wild Greens and Piment d’Espelette Oil - the calamari was uncommonly tender and flavorful, and the whole dish tasted so fresh and pretty - it made me get excited about squid again.

Salmon Tartare with Absinthe and Crème Fraiche - Absinthe is getting really trendy but its herbiness worked really well here.

Pazzo Ristorante
Fig Bellinis; Cold-Smoked Marlin-Wrapped Asparagus - Did you know Pazzo makes their own bitters? They were in the bellinis.

House Spirits
Corpse Reviver #2 - I love this drink. It makes me think of a bride rising from the dead.

Sake One
Moonstone Asian Pear sake (pictured) - I was skeptical but this is a well-executed sake. It's not sweet or cloying, and the pear melts into the creamy, round, mellow flavor of the sake creating a deep, complex yumminess.

P.S. Taste of the Nation is a benefit that fights hunger. You can also fight hunger for free by clicking at The Hunger Site.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Aviation Blooms

Violette, impossible to find not all that long ago, has been back for awhile, but for whatever reason I haven't crossed paths with it much - probably because whenever I'm at 50 Plates I feel compelled to order a daiquiri, and whenever I'm at Ten 01 I usually end up with something closer to brown.

All this by way of not embarrassing myself when I say that upon finally cozying up to a Violette-laced Aviation last week, I rediscovered one of my old favorite cocktails, in a completely new light. With Violette, the Aviation has all of the fresh-bitter complexity, with an added delicate prettiness creating a fuller, more decadent flavor profile. It's like hearing a new album by one of your favorite bands, or seeing a good friend dressed up fancy for the first time. And the cocktail turns the most exquisite color. Definitely worth the wait, and a reminder that I’ve really got to drink more often.