Wednesday, June 17, 2009

more good words

I came across this list of the 100 most beautiful words in English. Some are crap, but there are a few I should add to my list. Wherewithal definitely should have been on there already, but looks like the only overlap is Erstwhile, so given the tiny intersection with mine their list obviously can't be that great.

HT: Marginal Revolution

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pantagruel cocktail

Speaking of having a name and coming up with a drink to go with it, I suppose I should concoct a drink named Pantagruel. I'll post it when I figure it out. I predict it will be Cognac based, seems appropriate to have a French base spirit.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs

FreshDirect usually has pretty good produce, but the asparagus I got delivered a few days ago was really great; nice and thick and really tasty. So last night I took half of the bunch and roasted it in the oven with olive oil (saved from last time I made duck confit, mmm), salt, pepper, coarsely chopped garlic, diced shallots, a squeeze of lemon, some sprinkled parmigiano-reggiano, and dotted with butter for good measure. Oh, and a healthy pinch of pepper flakes. Topped with a couple poached eggs, and man was it tasty. Easily the best asparagus I've ever gotten my hands on, and perhaps the best I've had other than the monster ones topped with outlandish amounts of caviar we got at le Bristol in Paris a few months back. I ordered some more for tomorrow, hopefully they are as good, if you're in NY I'd recommend trying some. My new ones are destined for a date with my virgin grill that was delivered this morning.

Google My Maps on the iPhone!


Sweet, someone figured it out!

This is great; thanks, rino!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Google map of my favorite restaurants (and cocktail dens)

Here's a google map I keep to remind me of places I like, and some I want to try. The ones I have yet to try have the dots on the markers. There is also some method to the color coding, I'll put the legend below the map.

Now if only I can figure out how to get the google mymaps on my iphone, last I checked google said it was impossible.

View resturants in a larger map

Yellow - Very top favorites and will go anytime over and over
Green - on the fancier side
Light Blue - more casual
Red - BBQ
Maroon - Tapas/Spanish
Martini Glass - hmm?
Purple - there's one purple dude for a dessert place
Dark Blue - sushi (aka chinesey)

Dots indicate I've never tried yet, no dots I've been to at least once.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mixology Monday: Ginger

Ok, I started this whole blog because I wanted to throw my hat into the ring for this month's Mixology Monday. Don't know what that is?

Check here: Mixology Monday.

Hosted this month by RumDood.

I actually have two submissions, just because my two recent concoctions both fit the bill nicely. They are both instances of having the name first and coming up with a cocktail to match. In this case both recipes were inspired by some descriptive terms we have for a couple of our friends.


Ginger Balls
  • ¾ oz ginger infused vodka*
  • ¾ oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liquer
  • ½ oz Cherry Heering
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • 2 marasca cherries and one slice candied ginger for garnish
Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

A bit sweet, a bit tart, a bit spicy from the ginger, I thought it was nicely balanced and it seemed popular at the party, so I hope you like it.

* for ginger infused vodka, wrap a 2 inch chunk of fresh ginger in foil and bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes, then peel and slice into match sticks, then slip those into a 750 of vodka. It will be good after a few days, but I literally had one hiding in the back of my freezer for 5 years, and it was still great, and only recently met its fate after I came up with this drink and offered it at a cocktail party.

As far as I'm concerned, vodka is vodka, so use whatever you like, but you can see in the above pic I used Crystal Head vodka because I thought the bottle was cool and it was on sale when I got it, even though I'm sure I still overpaid for the neat vessel.

And my second submission:

The Chinesey
  • 1 ¾ oz Bulldog Gin**
  • ½ oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liquer
  • ½ oz sake
  • 3 dashes Fee Brother's Cherry Bitters
  • 1 dash Orange Flower Water
  • 1 Star Anise pod
Stir all ingredients with cold ice, fish out star anise and drop in chilled nick&nora glass, strain drink over star anise pod.

This is entirely another beast, but I thought balanced as well. A riff on a martini with the sake standing in for the vermouth to round out the edges of the gin, but with some sugar and spice from the Canton and a hint of fruit from the bitters to add some additional depth and complexity, along with the slightest whiff of anise from the garnish. And I think much more approachable than a martini for those not so fond of gin.

In our group, we (ok, just I) sometimes refer to one or a group of our Asian friends as "Chinesey", thus the combo of sake and other vaguely Asian flavors in this drink. Hey, I warned in my first post that stuff like this was liable to pop up, remember the part about "jovial drunkard characterized by rough, extravagant humor"?

**Bulldog is only yet available in the NY tri-state area, maybe a few other places, and some European cities, so if you don't have it use some other London Dry Gin with not too assertive juniper, but I think Bulldog works especially well in this one because it is flavored with poppy and dragon eye so fits with the Asian theme. I also played with 1.5-2.0 oz of gin and they all worked, depending on your fondness for gin, so there's some leeway there.

Good words list

If you're curious, here's my current list of good words, you'll notice I used several in my first post, but hey, I just looked at the list and they are by definition words I like:

does not suffer fools gladly
like Jimmy hoffa on a unicorn
prima facie
quiddity: the essence or nature of a thing
rollicking donnybrook
stands athwart
There is a saying – usually ironic – that “great minds think alike”. I immediately think of the come-back that “fools seldom differ”.

Maybe I'll use something from this list if I open a bar or restaurant someday.
Next up, trying to post with pics.

Pantagruel Explanation (and first test post)

Well, I've finally started a blog, the impetus for which you'll see in one of my next posts, but I feel I need to explain the blog's title which I pulled from the ether, so here goes...

Pantagruel is a word which at some point I saw somewhere and liked, so I noted it in my list of words which I like, currently residing on a google task list, before that on google notebook, previously in a chain of emails continually forwarded to myself, and probably initially on several scraps of paper. Anyway, today is the first day it actually came in useful.

So I looked up several because I didn't recall exactly their meaning, and Pantagruel struck my fancy. He's a character in the Gargantua and Pantagruel (hey, look at that, I paste something from wikipedia and it makes a link, cool) series of five 16th century novels by François Rabelais, not that I read them of course, but they sound like something I'd like if I read. So ignore any hidden implication that this choice may imply, since I'm not aware of it from my cursory skimming of the article. But these references to Pantagruel are what sold me:

1. (in Rabelais' Pantagruel) the huge son of Gargantua, represented as dealing with serious matters in a spirit of broad and somewhat cynical good humor.

and Pantagruel:
the boisterous, giant son of Gargantua in Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel: he is a jovial drunkard characterized by rough, extravagant humor

I think the second one you will find apropos when I get around to posting my aforementioned impetus to start this thing.

Oh, and pantagruel wasn't available, so I prepended another word from my list to the name, thus Wordsmithing Pantagruel.