Thursday, April 26, 2012

Weird Booze

In typical HuffPost fashion, the headline of this piece is, I’m pretty sure, wrong: Where they said “worst,” I think they must have meant “weird.” Mind you, some of these flavors might be truly awful — personally, I can’t imagine peanut butter as a flavor in vodka, jelly or no — but the article doesn’t even claim they taste bad; only that they seem odd to the author. Well, most of them seem odd to me, too (actually, the whole concept of flavored vodka seems odd to me, but that’s a whole different rant), but many — bubble gum, cake, fluffed marshmallow, cotton candy, etc. — are simply “cute” variations on sweet and/or creamy. Several of them, though, I find intriguing:
  • I came across a bottle of Bakon bacon-flavored vodka in the liquor store, and I just couldn’t resist buying it. I know the whole business of bacon obsession is kind of “so last month,” but I’m nothing if not a trailing-edge foodie.
  • The smoked salmon vodka seems like it’d be ideal for a variety of takes on the Bloody Mary (and I promise I thought that even before I noticed it says so right on the label.
  • I have so got to find a bottle of the Green Geisha wasabi-flavored vodka! The cocktail is already coming together in my head: Chilled wasabi vodka with a piece of toro sashimi as an edible garnish, with a clump of fish roe (or, perhaps, faux fish roe made from spherified whisky) and a drop of soy sauce (in lieu of bitters) artfully swirled into the drink. Yummmm….
Seriously, way too many people automatically equate weird with worst; in fact, weird is, I confidently insist, good!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dining Out (Quick Take): The Golden Lamb Buttery

This will be brief, because it's late and I have to get to bed, but I had to take a moment to enthuse about the dinner I just had at the Golden Lamb Buttery in Brooklyn, CT, where I was a guest at a hosted dinner.

Honestly, the long drive from work in East Hartford to Hillandale Farm in Brooklyn would've been worth it even without the great food, because eastern Connecticut is almost shockingly beautiful this time of year... but the food was truly exceptional: I was tempted by the roasted wild salmon with mussels and scallops, but in the end I went for the chateaubriand served with a thyme goat cheese bread pudding and shaved asparagus, and I wasn't sorry: The beef tenderloin was perfectly cooked and seasoned, and the savory bread pudding was an unexpectedly delightful accompaniment.

As good as the entree was, though (and the coconut custard dessert, too), the real star of the meal was the soup, a sunchoke and cauliflower bisque that was, by everyone's account, stunningly delicious.

The Golden Lamb is open for single-seating prix-fixe dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings, and lunch is served Tuesday through Saturday, from noon through 2:30pm. I know I plan to be back!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The True Test of a Spacefaring Civilization

Aside from food and drink, one of my other enthusiasms is space exploration. One of the things we space cadets dream about is a spacefaring civilization... which is to say, a future in which space travel is not an exotic pursuit, but routine and fully integrated into human life in the way air and sea travel are today.

Not unrelated to food and (especially) drink, this is a step in the right direction!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stay Thirsty, My (Spying) Friend!

I admit, I clicked on this story recommending beers for James Bond to drink expecting the obvious joke: Since The Most Interesting Man in the World1 is so clearly inspired by the suave-yet-manly movie spy (or perhaps by the love child of 007 and Ernest Hemingway), I wondered if Dos Equis would make Jim Galligan’s list of alternatives to the (rather disappointing) Heineken that 007 will reportedly quaff in the upcoming Skyfall.

Happily, Galligan doesn’t go for the easy choice, and his list looks interesting. I’m only familiar with one of his five choices, but that one — the top-listed (I’m choosing to ignore Galligan’s “in no particular order” disclaimer) Innis & Gunn Scottish Ale — is one of my favorites. In fact, one of the several reasons I so like Wood ‘n’ Tap is that their generally excellent beer list includes Innis & Gunn (a couple different colors of it, in fact).

I admit I’m not familiar with the other four beers on Galligan’s list, and their descriptions, while intriguing, don’t seem to put them in the range of beer types I would normally seek out. Based on the presence of Innis & Gunn on the list, though, I plan to make it my mission (should I choose to accept it… wait, wrong pop-media spies!) to track them down and taste them. I’ll report back.

In the meantime, I should say that I agree with Galligan’s basic premise: He’s James Frickin’ Bond, and he needs to drink a less pedestrian beer than Heineken. I was too young during the original heyday of the Bond movies to really know what constituted the avant garde in food, drink, cars, fashion, etc., but my sense was that Connery’s Bond was, if not on the bleeding edge, at least avant garde in a middle-class, “Playboy Advisor” sense. Nobody whose favorite casino game is baccarat should, it seems to me, drink a beer that you can easily find at any supermarket.

1 I’m in the habit of sprinkling the ™, ®, and © symbols through my various internet postings ironically, but in this case, the phrase may very well really be a trademark!