Archive for the ‘Randomness’ Category

Airplane bottles aka minis

April 1, 2012

20120401-093722.jpg

Since we’re on a booze kick we might as well run with it for another day. Over the years I’ve been picking up these 50ml “airplane” bottles or mini’s to taste different bottles of alcohol(mostly tequila’s) and I’m always thrown by the range of tastes I get from them. Case in point, Avion, which we reviewed here. While I had posted a decent review of their juice, I had written Avion off as a bottle I keep around as I just never found it interesting. I felt it’s flavor profile was too “Americanized” like they filtered all the stuff that could have made it great, out. Recently I had a chance to taste it out of some airplane bottles and it was far different than I had remembered. When we tasted it from the mini’s, it took on a completely different profile, for the worse. All the ages had this weird salty, spiky agave vibe, especially the blanco which I had previously enjoyed. This and some previous tasting from mini’s got me thinking that they aren’t always the best way to review spirits, so I did some research.

It turns out, the internet told me that a lot of distilleries will bottle the different sized bottles at different times, say the 750ml’s first, liter’s, handles, and onto the mini’s. So it makes sense that the alcohol at the top of the vat can taste different than the bottom. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen as the distilleries aren’t exactly forthcoming about their processes, and rightfully so. Now I’ve had mini’s that I thoroughly enjoyed, both as introductions to the brand (treasure bottle Espolon) and samples of things I’ve had before (Casa Noble).

So where are we going with this? Don’t take a sampling of mini bottles as the end all be all of a brand. You owe it to your pallet to get a second taste from a different source. Now that I think about it, I’d be willing to do the same for brands I’ve had pours from at a bar. So I’m not rendering previous reviews as useless but as a reviewer I will do due diligence in having another pour before reviewing. I’d love to know your thoughts on tasting mini’s as well.

Salud!

The Tequila Whisperer

September 14, 2011

Would you take tequila recommendations for that guy? I sure as hell do. In fact, he’s guided my pallet to some stellar juice. I’ve been watching Lippy the Tequila Whisperer for about a year now and realized outside of mentioning him a few times throughout some tequila reviews here, I haven’t really given him his due. He’s incredibly knowledgeable about all things agave and has some of the most entertaining reviews, well ever. Each show is a great mix of music, pop culture, tequila, and chat that goes every direction you can imagine. His site is filled with archives that let you look at older shows but the real gold is in the live shows where you can log in and chat along with the Lip while he tastes this weeks victims. He answers all the fan questions and it allows the show to flow into new and exciting places. On top of all that he’s answered and guided a ton of my questions on purchases, tequila history, NOMs, etc. He really wants you to know and enjoy tequila as much as he does. Check it out, you wont be sorry. Live shows are Thursdays at 7pm pacific. See you in the chat.

Downtown Raleigh City Fest and Jiberra Tequila Bar

September 11, 2011


Last night we decided to run down to Raleigh for their CityFest series, Sebastian Bach was playing along with a couple of other bands. It was $5 bucks, how could you not go? It was a fun time, the shows were a blast and the music was wide ranging, from the styling of Bach’s hair metal and the beach music/70’s rock-pop of Nantucket to the opening bands nu-metal vibe and House of Fools jam band/folksy sound . Although nothing I listen to, a five dollar concert is a five dollar concert, I don’t care who’s playing.

 

 

As usual, the topic of drinking…and eating…and drinking some more came up. So afterwards we decided to talk the short walk to Jibarra, a tequila lounge. By the time we had gotten there, around 11pm it was all bar, dj, and dancing so we didn’t eat and didn’t drink…a lot. I had an hour ride home so I stuck with a single glass of Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia. This is a bottle I’ve heard such a wide range of opinions on and this was the first place that didn’t have it listed for $20+. Thankfully they served it properly in a large snifter with not a hint of lime or salt. At first I was just getting a ton of alcohol and caramel out of it but after letting it sit for about ten minutes it started to open up into a complex bloom of agave, caramel, oak and citrus. It had some great pearls and legs and had a nice entry with a touch of that alcohol bite and numbing. At first maybe a bit too much but it softened over time. I enjoyed it’s caramel and vanilla sweetness as well as it’s retention of agave without an overpowering oakiness. I believe these are aged in bourbon barrels as I was picking up a bit of bourbon but I’ll have to look into that further as a quick search didn’t bring the info I was looking for. It is rounded out by a slightly heated finish that has staying power and was quite enjoyable, as was the overall experience of drinking this.

The entire time I wasn’t sold on this being a $90+ bottle, in fact the prices for it are all over the place. I’ve seen as low as $75 and as high as $150. I can easily say you would be overpaying at anywhere in that range. If this was $45-55 I would purchase it no questions asked but frankly there are anejo’s that are far better for way less green. 3 outta 5

Jibarra was a nice place but I couldn’t really get a vibe from it as a tequila bar or restaurant as it was club time when we walked in. They had a DJ spinning with disco lights and so forth which is why my pics came out like crap. Next time we’ll head back during the day for a proper review and go back for dancing at night.

-Another Raleigh sidenote, it looks like another tequila bar is headed your way shortly. Calavera, a tequila bar that is claiming to be serving “Killer Empanada’s” is set to open any day now. We drove by the location and I immediately jotted it down to memory for a later date. Greensboro’s not so hot on the tequila as Raleigh and Charlotte so I have a feeling we’ll be visiting these two towns frequently.

 

 

 

 

Hey…Worm!

September 7, 2011

If your into mezcal, this might be of some interest to you. While I’ve only recently tried my hand at drinking mezcal (which I love buy the way), my bottle is devoid of any worms, scorpions, or other marketing jive. The article is about a year old but the info is still valid

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209152303.htm

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Tryfonov Ievgenii

The epic educated vs uneducated arguement, but how do they drink?

August 29, 2011

We’ve all heard this line a million times, college folk don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground and those good ole boys cant build…whatever. This is an interesting tid bit of info found at thinkprogress.org

The article shows a chart of alcohol expenditures based on education levels. It is what it is.

http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2011/08/11/293295/more-educated-people-spend-more-on-booze/

This place is dead…

August 7, 2011

That new job I posted a few weeks back? Well they sent me to Italy for 3 weeks, sucks I know. I was about an hour north of Venice (Venezia if your Italian) and I was hoping to get some material for the page but as a friend told me, there is only “food” in Italy. I soon found out what he meant. I didn’t spot the first thing even closely related to Mexican culture outside of a bar labelled “Mexican Bar Trattoria” which is Mexican in name only. Turns out Italians like to name bars, restaurants, etc after a place with no connection to the place. Its still the same food found everywhere else.

I remained dry of tequila as well, one of the first places we ate at (Porco Loco in Sacile) was amazing. Fritto Misto, grappa, risotto, incredible. They actual had 3 tequila’s on the menu but no bottles were to be found. A few bars had bottles of Cuervo and Sauza but I dont drink mixto’s and the only bottle of 100% agave I saw was a bottle of Patron repo in a liquor store for about 80 euro, roughly $115 U.S. and that definitely ain’t worth it.

 

 

The closest meal I had was at La Contrade in Sacile, easily one of the best restaurants I had eaten at. They had a Tuna dish on top of grilled eggplant and topped with a roasted Anaheim pepper. Simple but out of this world. It was here that I developed a bit of a relationship with the owners. I spoke English (barely) with very little Italian, they Italian with little English but we both tried and laughed exchanging comments and questions. Both I and they were grateful at the attempts to speak the other language. I will definitely be back.

 

 

I did get out of the area and went to Venice on two separate occasions for some shopping and obviously site-seeing. The shopping here is exquisite and vies with the sights and uniqueness of the city. I didn’t do much tourist stops other than Saint Marco’s and I just walked abound the exterior in awe of the architecture not venturing inside. On a separate day I went to the Guggenheim. While small it was a treat and a nice break from walking up and down the canals.

 

 

It was a great trip for business and pleasure but now its back to business…and thats food and drink, Mexican style. This week I’ll be posting my eats at a small Torta’s shop in Greensboro and some tequila reviews as well. We are BACK and back on track so look out.

Sangrita- Tequila’s best friend

February 17, 2011

The unofficial tequila week continues. If you’ve got it, run with it. There is a drink that is meant to be drunk while enjoying your tequila called Sangrita, not sangria. Its usually tomato based and has no alcohol in it, although I could see it being the base for a killer Bloody Mary using tequila. Its a perfect blend of savory, sweet, salty and spicy. It’ll make more sense when you whip up a batch and proceed to finish every drop. I’ve had it a few different times but when I was searching for recipes the one below is the best I’ve had. This recipe comes way from http://www.tastetequila.com who was given it by the bartender at SFT tequila bar in Mexico. So here goes and enjoy

Sangrita de Miguel
2 cups of tomato juice
1/4 cup of orange juice
1 tbsp grenadine
5 tsp soy sauce
3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
Ground pepper
Salt

Garry Owen Dining Facility

January 22, 2011

This review could be considered international if it wasn’t on a US military base which is considered soveriegn territory thereby making it no more foreign then the Taco Bell around the corner. Coincidentally Taco Bell may actually be of higher quality and authenticity. This plethora of Mexican cuisine is cooked in an American dining facility located on a base in Iraq by sub-contracted Indian workers. I know it seems bizarre but let us remember that this food is reminiscent of an elementary school meal that would be traded in its entirety for the option to lick a Hostess cupcake wrapper.

Seen in the picture is the full assortment; chicken and beef enchiladas, quesadillas, mexican rice, refried beans, fajita chicken and steak, and burritos all ordered off the main line. The sauces were donated by CA Johns and are by far the highest quality items in the picture and all are highly recommended. I only apologize that the sauces had to lower their expectations and be used on such subpar food. There is also cornbread which may have actually been left over from 1985 which is just a guess since carbon dating was out of our labs price range. If served next week it would probably be titled hard tack and have better usage for an exploration voyage in the galley of a Mayflower reconstruction.

All delectable foods maintain the same general flavor with overpowering and bold tastes of cheese (shredded blend) and are best used as vessels to deliver a condiment or sauce as opossed to actually being a desired taste. The aftertaste is pleasant but the body does not agree with the palate and tends to want to reject the cuisine. Ensure a restroom (fully stocked with TP and air freshener) is nearby. Over all I give the variety of foods a plus but quantity is never a substitute for quality in my eyes so I will have to give any item a generous 0.5 cachacas out of 5. Personal recommendations are to skip the mainline all together and move to the sandwich bar.

Beverages are in abbundance however the only alcoholic choice is O’douls. If margaritas were offered it might make the meal more pleasant however they would probably be a heavy sweet and sour mix concoction that would only add to the stomach pains, discomfort, and flatulence that this meal delivers.

Did someone say Beer and Mussels? -Monks Belgian Cafe

September 22, 2010

I usually dont do this but this week I’m in Philly for work and last night was my first night out on the town. I would’ve searched for a  taqueria but I’m just not getting that vibe from Philly yet. In doing some searching I came across Monks Cafe and Beer Emporium. Two words, Beer and Mussels and thats all I need to hear. I’m a mussel addict, and I’ve actually been trying to come up with a recipe for mussels to post here but I love to cook them in shallots and wine too much to veer from my recipe, next time I suppose.

So we made the walk from the hotel through Philly’s center city through town hall where the Symphony was playing…pleasant surprise! It was about 12 blocks and in hindsight I’m glad we walked. The weather was great, it was a nice clear evening, and the walk home cured the gorging that took place earlier. The warm red neon sign out front greeted us from across the street and lured us in by displaying vintage bottles of Belgian brews. Walking in I immediately walked to the back to find the restroom only to take a wrong turn and end up at the Back bar. I was righted in going back to the front and taking a u-turn to find a bathroom that was sized right at home on the airplane I rode to Philly on. Walking back up front we were greeted by the hostess who seated us a table with a German couple completing the city eating experience of shared tables, meandering walkways, tiny bathrooms and brownstone entrances that are pretty much unavailable in Atlanta.

After looking at the menu online, I had pretty much determined a big ass pot of mussels and a couple beers made by monks who’ve vowed to remain speechless would be on par for the evening. My first beer was an Allagash White, possibly my favorite wit beer. I decided on an order of their Ghent Mussels, Saison Dupont (a killer beer on its own), parsley, carmelized leeks, bacon, bleu cheese & garlic. Although this was a tough choice with the mussels being available in a variety of stews from Thai Chili to White wine. We decided a Belgian bar was befit to an order of mussels cooked in something decidedly Beglian. Waiting for our order of mussels had the couple next to us ordering these fantastic looking burgers and a couple Corsendonk Pale Ales. It was inspiring enough to have some of that too. Since we were binging and it wasnt our dime (thanks company expense account!!!).

Upon getting our pot of mussels and a side of fries with a delightful bourbon aioli we ordered a round of burgers and Corsendonk’s too. I’ve never had mussels with any meat or cheese added but I’ve got to say I will no longer steer clear. It was just enough to impart some extra flavor into the broth as well as a nice addition when eating it with the mussels without being over powering. The mussels were also cooked perfectly and were fresh and the newly supplied Corsendonk’s we equally as good. This is definitely a beer I will be looking for back in Atlanta. It was slightly bitter like you would expect a pale ale to be but it was more complex with a fine nuttiness and hints of malt.

 

Along came the burgers along with some more thinly cut fries and more of the luscious bourbon aioli. The aioli had a nice spiciness to it and an array of other flavors than we pinned down to some garlic, lemon, vinegar, jalapeño and others. It made a nice complement to the fries which were nicely cooked and not overly greasy or crisp. Similar to the mussels being available in a bunch of different styles, the burgers followed this same methodology. The burgers had ingredients that were not your standard burger fare. Leeks, garlic, truffled cheeses, brocolli rabe and goat cheese to name a few. I decided on the Antwerp, which was sottocenare truffle cheese and shitake mushrooms. Outside of some greens bordering the plate there was no tomato, sliced onion or ketchup to be seen. This was very refreshing to see even though it limited your ability to dress your burger to your liking. Needless to say the burgers were as good as the mussels. All the flavors on mine worked tremendously together and was flavorful and juicy. The bun was a nice chewy farmhouse-esque bread that really rounded it out. A couple more Ale’s and were on our way back to the hotel which helped us walk off our gastro-destruction which was battling our guts. We walked by City Hall again but this time ventured out to peak at a few of the surrounding churches. A nightcap of Grand Marnier at the hotel bar was a nice finish to a killer evening.

From here on out if I’m ever in the great Philly area Monks Cafe will be hit with a vengeance. I cant wait to try more farmhouse ales, steamed mussels and eccentric burgers. I don’t care if the following hours are spent curled up in a ball wishing away the pain of a good solid beer and food binge. While the place was crowded on our tuesday night visit this place easily earns its 5 out of 5 chaka rating. Thankfully it isn’t a short drive away or I would be broke, full and fat.

Kicking Horse Coffee -Mexican

September 19, 2010

 

We’re coffee drinkers but not in the way that I want crude spewing from the pot and starting a multi-national billion dollar enterprise…or maybe I do? Anyhow, I tend to prefer medium roasts that have a bright somewhat acidic flavor that dont weigh me down. Costa Rican, Blue Mountain, and Kona blends are generally my favorites. They can be enjoyed anytime like in a to-go mug on the way to work, an sunday afternoon iced-coffee or an after dinner cup to compliment whatever sweet concoction I cook up.

That being said this Mexican blend by Kicking Horse is right up my alley. It’s high in flavor without being a cup of tar and the aroma throughout the house at 6am is intoxicating. Usually I buy some mid-grade Kona blend thats a light to medium roast but compared to this it was bland and lacked complex flavor.

I was introduced to it by Kevin at Stirling Coffee. He’s a bona-fide coffee guy and based on my past coffee choices he recommended this blend. I gotta say he was spot on in picking this. When I ordered from him he also spec’d a few other choices I really enjoyed too such as the Bugaboo. Between the Bugaboo and the Mexican, the Z-wrangler (which he also recommended) while a good cup couldn’t compare to these two, especially having them back to back. I highly recommend his company as the coffee was really fresh and his help in picking out blends I enjoy.

I know this isn’t exactly the standard post here but as Scotty likes to say, sometimes you gotta Shake it Up!