Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Frisco

Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by Niall Kennedy, on flickr.
One of the features of the craft cocktail revolution that is intriguing to me is the search for the original recipe of a cocktail. Now, I'm not a fetishist for authenticity, either in my cocktails or elsewhere, so it's all a bit mysterious to me. But I admire their enthusiasm and dedication to tracking down the One True Recipe. This New York Times article actually provides a good example of trying to balance the quest for authenticity with the quest for a tasty beverage. Unlike noir classics, which start with a girl, this starts with a drink:
Last month I dined in a Los Angeles restaurant called Test Kitchen, which provides space for chefs from other establishments to try out new menus or put dishes through trial runs. On the night I was there the proprietors of Red Medicine, a progressive Vietnamese place that was getting ready to open, were introducing their food and cocktails, including a drink identified as the No. 15 and described as a mix of rye, Bénédictine and lemon. I had a No. 15 early in the seven-course dinner and several more as the meal unfolded because the drink so nicely matched the food and so beautifully hit the spot.
Of course, like any good journalist, Bruni needs to get to the bottom of this cocktail. He quickly found out that the No. 15 was a Frisco. Or like a Frisco. After a bit of research, he finds that the Frisco is spoken of in a variety of ways. The principal question is whether it's made from bourbon or rye.

The answer is vague and depends on how far you travel back in time. This I learned from Jim Meehan, a cocktail sage at PDT in the East Village. When I called him about the Frisco, he was immediately familiar with it, though like Ms. Saunders he went through a moment of rye-bourbon befuddlement, which he was determined to resolve.
“Call me back in 45 minutes,” he said.
That was all the time he needed to riffle through his research books and place a few strategic calls of his own. He said that a Frisco recipe from the early part of the 20th century mentioned whiskey without specifying what type, and Bénédictine. Frisco recipes from the 1940s, he said, specifically call for bourbon.
But it doesn't end there! Bruni tries a number of combinations of rye, bourbon, Bénédictine, and lemon juice,  and in his opinion, it's 1.5 oz of rye, 1/4 oz Bénédictine, and 1/2 oz lemon juice. Just for the ease of measuring (really!), I'm going to try the second suggested recipe of 2 oz rye, 1/2 oz Bénédictine, and 1/2 oz lemon juice.

What a great drink! The lemon juice, Bénédictine, and rye all blend together really well, with the lemon juice removing the sweetness of the Bénédictine, and the rye providing an excellent base. If I had any complaints, it would be that this drink is a bit acerbic. When I try it again, I might use Bruni's recipe, but switch the proportion of the Bénédictine and the lemon juice. Alternatively, you could try using Meyer lemons in place of the lemon juice.

Small Plates 05.31.12

Rumors looks like it's getting a new floor. Probably a good idea. [PoP]

Pho 14 is opening a new place in Adams Morgan. [Young & Hungry]

Panera in Columbia Heights has a new patio starting this weekend. [New Columbia Heights]

There's a new cocktail lounge coming to Penn Quarter near Fuel. [PoP]

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Trinidad Sour

I recently made some orgeat, and in researching drinks to use it in, I came across a number of intriguing options. One of the most intriguing was the Trinidad Sour. You rarely see drinks that require any more than a few dashes of non-potable bitters, let alone a full ounce. There's a reason they're called non-potable! But I figured I should give it a shot.

It turned out really well. The sweetness of the orgeat compensates for the bitterness of the bitters, and the sourness of the lemon juice makes quite a complex drink. It tastes very herbal, with a sour aftertaste (but in a fun way!) A very nice drink, and a good change from the ordinary. Recipe after the jump.

Small Plates: 05.30.12

Bistro Bohem, in Shaw
The new ramen shop in Adams Morgan, Sakuramen, is a great step forward. [Serious Eats]

Daikaya Ramen Shop is making progress next to Graffiato. [PoP]

Board game bar The Board Room is scheduled to open in August in Dupont. [Washingtonian]

Pig-centric restaurant The Pig now has a pig's blood ice cream sundae. [Young & Hungry]

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Small Plates: 05.29.12

A Belgian bistro will be coming to the old Duchess & the Queen spot in Adams Morgan. [PoP]

DC Reynolds is now open for lunch from 12-3 and has a great happy hour. [New Columbia Heights]

So, Pecan Oil is apparently the new superoil. Low in saturated fat, and you can deep fry with it. [Serious Eats]

Paint and drink spot Merlot's Masterpiece is coming to U St. [PoP]

Friday, May 25, 2012

Small Plates: 05.25.12

Pitango Gelato is kicking it up a notch with their new Brioche Con Gelato. [Serious Eats]

Gina has a name for her soda shop in Union Market: Buffalo and Bergen. [Washingtonian]

Shockingly, POM pomegranate juice does not cure cancer or save dolphins. [The Atlantic]

Casa Nonna, located south of Dupont Circle, closed this week. [Young & Hungry]

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fall-ing for Hemmingway

Now that I finally have some homemade Orgeat, I figured I should use it in a cocktail. There are lots of options. I wanted to save the traditional Mai Tai for when my wife was around, and for some reason, a lot of the other recipes I have laying around call for obscene amount of Angostura bitters. But the Plate recently posted a recipe that called for a reasonable amount of Angostura bitters. I still don't have any, but I'm more willing to substitute when an ingredient isn't a full ounce.

The first thing I noticed about this drink is how sweet it is. It's very good, and the lime juice helps balance it out, but between the rum and the orgeat, it's really sweet. After the sweetness, the main flavor I get is the allspice dram. I think I can take some nuts between the sweetness and the allspice, but that could just be my imagination. If I make this again, I'll probably up the lime juice to an ounce, or perhaps add more bitters. Recipe after the jump.

Small Plates: 05.24.12

New York Ave Beach Bar is opening this weekend, and it looks fabulous! [Eater]

Apparently chefs are superstitious. Wouldn't a priest and a lama cancel out? [Young & Hungry]

There's a new Ethiopian restaurant near O St and 9th, Chercher. [PoP]

Momofuku has moved to duck rather than beef or pork due to rising prices. [Ezra Klein]

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beer-braised Scallops

I was going to eat dinner at Elephant & Castle, because that's where I was doing trivia, but it seemed like a bad idea. So I poked around Yes! Organic Market, and found a lovely looking package of scallops. Not only that, but I also found a nice large-format beer, Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, so I figured, let's do some beer-braised scallops.

My first step is browning the scallops, since this isn't going to happen once there is liquid in the pan. I put in about 1 tbsp of butter, and browned them for about a minute on each side, give or take. Then I added some beer, turned down the heat, and let the scallops simmer for 2 minutes. After the scallops were done, I took them out and added some more beer and some garlic, as well as some fresh oregano, since I got some from the CSA. I figured I might as well throw in some savory and some fennel, because it's basically like mussels, right? I reduced it a bit, and it was ready!

The scallops turned out great. The sauce actually tasted a bit like a beef broth, despite the absence of any sort of meat in it. It was not as reduced as I had hoped, but that describes just about all of my sauces. I should perhaps have added some butter after removing the scallops. The scallops themselves were nice and tender with just the right amount of give to them. This is what I like about scallops, their flexibility, and these certainly didn't disappoint.

La Rosita

Ah, spring, that time of year when a young man's thoughts turn to tequila. I don't drink tequila particularly often, but while I associate it with spring and summer, I drink it year-round. It's too nice of a brown liquor not to drink during the winter. I like a good margarita as much as the next guy, but from time to time, it's fun to do something different. Michael Dietsch posted a drink on his blog, Dash of Bitters, that sounded good to me, in large part due to it's inclusion of Campari.

I like the drink. The tequila is powerful enough to stand up to the Campari, though it would be interesting to try with some Aperol instead. Between the Campari and the tequila, it's quite boozy, and not very sweet. Dietsch describes it as slightly herbal, lightly bitter. It's certainly not a drink if you don't love Campari and tequila both. Fortunately, I do, and the slight amount of herbaceousness that comes through is a nice change from your typical light on the palate summertime drinks. Recipe after the jump.

Small Plates: 05.23.12

I'm kind of excited about the grilled cheese bar coming to Ripple. [Washingtonian]

Patents gone wild: Oklahoma State University wants to patent a cut of steak. [Yglesias]

Victor Albisu, recently of BLT Steak, is opening a taqueria in Falls Church. [Young & Hungry]

Café Sorriso now open in Woodley Park. They're serving gelato and sandwiches. [PoP]

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pork Tenderloin with Ginger-Rum Marinade

We bought some pork tenderloin earlier this week, with which my wife made a lovely meal, but there was too much for just one meal, so we froze half of it. Now that the weekend has arrived, it's time to grill, and I figured I'd try my hand at grilling this great cut of meat. Now, I also bought some rum a few days ago. After poking around the internet for a while, I found a great recipe for a Ginger-Rum Marinade.

I'm not sure what type of rum would be best in this recipe, but I just bought some Kraken dark spiced rum, so that's what went into it. Rum always has me thinking of the Carribean, and the pineapple juice just encourages those sorts of thoughts, so I added some Allspice to the marinade. I also added some smoked sea salt, just to help the marinade penetrate and maybe give it a bit more smokiness. My little grill could use all the help it can get! So I let it sit for a few hours, then got ready to grill.

Once the grill heated up, I put the tenderloin on for four minutes a side. I'd grill a steak of similar thickness for about 12 to 13 minutes, and pork should be cooked a bit longer than steak, so 16 minutes seems about right. I also made sure to baste it at regular intervals with the remainder of the marinade. It turned out perhaps a trifle overcooked, but was still really juicy. You could definitely taste the pineapple, but it was more refreshing than overpowering. A very good marinade. Recipe after the jump:

Bistro la Bonne expanding

Photo by Angela N. on flickr
The other night I went to my favorite mussel place, Bistro la Bonne. They have a new expanded mussel menu, all of which are very tasty, and it's only $15 for moules frites and a beer during happy hour. I'm not sure they're quite as good as Bistrot du Coin or Granville Moore's, but they're in the same ballpark, and they're a lot closer to where I live. It looked like they were doing some construction, so I asked the bartender what was going on. Apparently, they're going to open up the second floor and turn it into a dedicated mussel bar! Very exciting, and I'll let you know how it is once it opens.

Small Plates: 05.22.12

Sakuramen opens today, bringing ramen to Adams Morgan. [PoP]

El Chucho's, the Columbia Heights Cocina from Jackie Greenbaum, expects to open June 10. [DCist]

The new Young & Hungry writer, Jessica Sidman, explains why she is not anonymous. [Young & Hungry]

District Taco finally makes good on its name, opens store in Penn Quarter. [Washingtonian]

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tenser's Transformation

A bit stressed out and need a break? This drink will transform you into a beach bum, a guy relaxing in a lounge chair, and probably wearing a Hawaiian shirt. The flavor is definitely tiki, fruity and floral with a hint of spice from the bitters and the spiced rum. Adding a bit of lime juice would class it up, but as it stands, Tenser's Transformation is smooth and easy-drinking. Recipe after the jump.

Small Plates: 05.20.12

Finally, a homebrew shop inside of the district! 3 Stars is looking to open in early June. [Young & Hungry]

Most open White House ever decides that the First Lady's dishes should be top-secret. [Washingtonian]

Columbia Room is in the running for best cocktail bar; Derek Brown, for Bartender of the Year. [Washingtonian]

Heinz has a new ketchup out for the first time in ten years; looks more promising than green ketchup. [Serious Eats]

Friday, May 18, 2012

Small Plates: 05.18.12

Chef Geoff decided against a bacon themed restaurant, but is going with a bacon menu. [Washingtonian]

Young & Hungry tells us all about ramps, just after ramp season ends. [Young & Hungry]

Maryland brewer DuClaw is coming to DC. May 24 try them at Big Hunt. [PoP]

Tim Carman has an early look at Bandolero, from Mike Isabella. Looks awesome! [WaPo]

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Small Plates: 05.17.12

So I was wrong. Rumor is, 4 Ps will be an 'upscale' Irish pub. [PoP]

Exciting: Iron Gate Restaurant reopening. More exciting? It's got the chef from Vermillion. [PoP]

The Pig opens in Logan Circle on Thursday maybe. Guess what it serves. [Washingtonian]

Batali partner Joe Bastianich claims to have invented the everything bagel. [WaPo]

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Whiskey Sour

The Whiskey Sour is a drink I didn't try for a long time. Not for any good reason, but because I thought it was a girly drink. (Says something about the girls I typically drink with). But I picked up some egg whites, and to me, the whiskey sour is a good drink to add them to. So I tried it, and it tasted pretty good! The lemon transforms the whiskey into a much more refreshing drink, great for summertime. It's not something I drink a lot, but I've experimented with it a bit since then, and found that I really like using Meyer lemons instead of normal lemons for a little extra sweetness. If you only have normal lemons, just add a bit more simple syrup. Without the syrup, it's quite sour. The egg whites give it a smoother mouthfeel, which is a nice counter-balance to the tartness of the lemon, but they aren't actually essential to the flavor. Recipe after the jump.

Small Plates: 05.16.12

Did you know Elisir uses 26 pounds of chocolate every month? [The Plate]

Bandolero is scheduled to open May 24. If it's as good as Graffiato, I'm excited. [WaPo]

4 Ps Irish Bar in Cleveland Park looks like it's going to close next month, probably to be replaced by a Ruby Tuesday's. [PoP]

Apparently baby powder is sometimes made from babies. [The Dish]

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First CSA Delivery

Shaw's Tavern

We went to Shaw's Tavern the other day for a couple drinks and an appetizer. After such a long drama, it's nice to see it finally open. The decor is pretty nice, evoking 19th century tavern while being a bit more upscale. And that phrase describes the whole enterprise: "A bit more upscale." The menu is largely bar food type options, but a bit more upscale. We had the pork belly on grits with a fried egg along with a bowl of peanuts. The peanuts were also a bit more upscale -- they included cocoa nibs and lavender salt. The pork belly was great, full of nice fatty unctuousness and good, quality grits. The peanuts were less successful. The nibs settled to the bottom of the bowl, and the nuts were far too salty.

The drink selection is nice, though nothing to write home about. I had a Dirty Bastard from Founder's, and my wife had Chocolate City's Cerveza Nacional, both good beers. My biggest problem with Shaw's was the service. It wasn't bad, per se, other than ignoring us when we had empty beer glasses. It just left us cold; there wasn't much friendliness or warmth or even personality in the service. It's this that makes Shaw's Tavern, however nice the food is, our least favorite bar in Shaw.

Small Plates: 05.15.12

Howard Theatre
The new Paul Bakery near Farragut Square will open on June 4th. Can't wait! [PoP]

Standard is now serving smoked pig's head. Warning: pictures of smoked pig's head. [Young & Hungry]

New bar the Pinch has a burger topped with pulled duck, cheddar, and bacon. [Washingtonian]

Good wine requires sulfites. If you're into that sort of thing, look for sustainable farming. [Gray Report]

Friday, May 11, 2012

Small Plates: 05.11.12. Prince of Petworth Edition.

Former locksmith shop in Logan Circle to become B Too, by the owners of Belga Cafe. [PoP]

Café and wine bar TEL'VEH, located near Mt. Vernon Square, is looking great. [PoP]

Looks like construction is starting at Del Frisco's Grille in the old Les Halles spot. [PoP]

Dulcinea, near Howard University on Georgia, has gotten a liquor license. [PoP]

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Small Plates: 05.10.12

Horace & Dickies are bringing their fried whiting sandwich to Takoma. [WaPo]

Looking for an excuse to drink? Here are 10 ways to celebrate World Cocktail week. [Washingtonian]

Local Vine Cellar, at 425 11th St., is looking ready to open. [PoP]

And a slightly belated happy 30th birthday to El Tamarindo!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Small Plates: 05.09.12

Good Stuff Burgers soft opens in Crystal City. [Washingtonian]

New Thai restaurant coming to 9th and U. Thai-ger, because apparently Thai restaurants must have puns. [PoP]

Jeff Black wins chicken-fried steak contest. Using rib-eye should be cheating. [WaPo]

Florida Avenue Grill has a new menu. Anyone try it yet? [PoP]

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Small Plates: 05.08.12

From the Hirschhorn

Jessica Sidman, new food writer for Young & Hungry, won't be anonymous. [WaPo]

Izakaya Seki aiming for early July opening. They'll be located at 11th and V. [PoP]

The Restaurant Owner's Association supports longer bar hours. [DCist]

A new bakery, BakeHouse, is coming to 14th and T. [U Street Girl]

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Green Bitch

When I first got a bottle of Green Chartreuse, I experimented with it like mad. There's really nothing quite like it, and I wanted to try it in a variety of settings. One of the things I learned is that strong flavors can balance each other out, creating a complex, layered drink. The Green Bitch demonstrates this nicely. Here, the mezcal and Chartreuse balance each other out, so the Cointreau dominates initially with a burst of orange. After that, you get waves of smokiness from the mezcal and herbs from the Chartreuse. It's quite good, though I suppose if I were inclined to tinker, I might decrease the amount of Cointreau so that it's less sweet. Recipe after the jump.

Small Plates: 05.03.12

From City Eats, a round-up of the best BBQ in the area. Need to add Acre 121. [The Plate]

Here's the menu of 'The Pig,' opening soon on 14th St near Logan Circle. [PoP]

Sundress Fest is coming again this Sunday, May 6th, to Wonderland Ballroom. [New Columbia Heights]

Le Caprice, in northern Columbia Heights, gets outdoor seating. Nice! [PoP]

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Small Plates 05.02.12

Acre 121, the best barbecue spot in Columbia Heights, is having a derby party Saturday. [New Columbia Heights]

The Pinch is set to open Friday in northern Columbia Heights. The pictures look great! [PoP]

Sunday the flour will fly at the Chicken Fried Steak Showdown at Black Jack. [We Love DC]

Room 11 is a step closer to expanding with their liquor license application. [PoP]

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tacklebox cum Bandelero to become Pulpo

Photo from Prince of Petworth.
Prince of Petworth reports that the Tacklebox in Cleveland Park will become Pulpo, a tapas restaurant, once Bandelero is done with their pop-up thing.
Early last week I mentioned that Tackle Box would not likely reopen after the Bandolero run in Cleveland Park. Thanks to everyone who shared the Tom Sietsema tweet:
“Owner of @Florianadc tells me he’s taking over @tackleboxdc site in Cleveland Park May 7 & turning it into Pulpo, (Octopus) a tapas bar.”
This is a bit disappointing. Not that I don't love octopus, but I'm not sure DC needs another tapas place, and Tacklebox seemed like a great fit for Cleveland Park, right in a price and style niche that was otherwise unserved there. 

Fancy Toast

The other weekend I was at Passenger for the best pork cheek nachos in town. They typically have a board with the drinks of the day; the last item on the board was an item called "French Toast," involving Cointreau, Kumquat jam, and walnuts. Chatting with my wife, I mistakenly thought this was a beverage. It was not. It was actual french toast. (Fortunately, I didn't order it. I think I had a Corpse Reviver.) But I was inspired to try and create a drink that would taste like fancy french toast.

I used cognac as the based, because I thought it would give it a some nice undertones, and because it's fancy. I used Cointreau, both because the french toast used Cointreau and to replicate some of the orange-ness of the kumquat. I used hazelnut liqueur for the nuttiness, and Benedictine for breadiness.

It turned out pretty much like I was expecting. Some maple flavor might be nice, for the syrup, but it's definitely reminiscent of french toast. It's pretty thick, sweet, and boozy, so even though it's very tasty, I probably couldn't drink more than one. There are nice nutty notes, and a bit of orange. Recipe after the jump.

Small Plates: 05.01.12

In France, they have Star Wars burgers, though apparently they're about as good with burgers as Germany. [Serious Eats]

District Noodles is coming to Glover Park. Finally they'll have pho. [PoP]

Nogne O apparently translates as "naked island." I say it translates as "delicious beer." [WaPo]