I mentioned recently that I ‘ve been doing some writing and photos for HeardAbout, and since then, they posted a video of me rambling about drinking in San Francisco. For once, I don’t hate how I sound on tape, so here it is.
Ending my Lunar New Year Party with Bitter Orange Jello Shots was a hit, so I will pass along this simple recipe.
Bitter Orange Jello Slices
- 6 oranges
- 2 cups boiling water
- 6 oz. package of orange Jello
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 1 1/4 cups chilled vodka
- 1/4 cup orange bitters (I used Angostura brand)
1. Slice oranges in half across the navel. Cut a slit in the pith near the navel, where it is strongest.
2. Slide the end of a metal spoon between skin and fruit to remove cleanly and reserve fruit for another use.
3. Bring water to a boil, and remove from heat.
4. Stir Jello into hot water until dissolved, then stir in cold water , vodka and bitters.
5. Set orange peel halves into shallow cups on a tray so that the edges are level and fill with jello liquid to the rim.
6. Let cool overnight in the refrigerator and slice each half into thirds with two vertical cuts.
I’ve been writing about my favorite dishes around San Francisco on HeardAbout.com for a while, and while hanging out with the founder and editor one afternoon, I persuaded them that cocktails would be a great addition to their culinary site, so you can check my out some of my favorite San Francisco cocktails on my HeardAbout profile.
HeardAbout also has a new iPhone App (and they promised me Android coming soon)
“Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives… and to the “good life”, whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman
The most fascinating new product at this year’s Winter Fancy Food Show (at least from the drinking persective), is apparently a quarter-century old, but I hadn’t heard of it until a December.
I was planning another peaceful New Year’s eve in Manhattan at Death and Company, when a friend called to suggest that I drop everything and fly to West Texas to see a minor country music legend play a show at a tiny honky tonk bar in a little town, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so how could I say no? The show was excellent, and despite the obscurity, David Byrne showed up around 11:00. But I digress.
Every convenience store, liquor store, grocery store and fireworks stand across Texas had a display of Beer Salt, petite plastic shakers in the shape of a long-neck filled with flavored salt. It was even saw it on several bars in Austin and Houston.
My first response was revulsion, then two thoughts crossed my mind. First, my father used to put salt in his Bud Light, but I never knew if this was entirely for flavor or if it was just to execute his favorite magic trick. Second, we put salt on the rims of margaritas, and even closer, on micheladas. For any purist who has been scoffing from the start of the paragraph, contain yourself, because I would wager that when it comes to food, you salt just about everything. It’s a flavor enhancer, and our bodies crave it, so we are biologically predisposed to enjoy it.
I wouldn’t use this with a dark, full-bodied craft beer, but with any brew you might have sucked down at a keg party, it works quite nicely. Beyond that, all three flavors are great for sprinkling on an avocado.
Ice Cream Bar (815 Cole St. at Frederick), a throwback to the 1930’s soda fountain/ice cream parlor is just about to open in Cole Valley, and while the ice cream sundaes deserve their own write-up, the soda program from Texas/Rickhouse barman Russell Davis is mind-boggling.
Everything on the menu is reconstructed from century-old recipes. More than a dozen flavored syrups are made with fresh produce and without cooking to preserve the crisp flavors and silky smoothness, and they offer two dozen house-made extracts and over 75 house-made tinctures to be incorporated into a custom frappe, float, milkshake, malt, crush, phosphate, lactart, egg cream or soda. There is no other place creating these drinks in this way, but I expect the success of Ice Cream Bar will launch retro lunch counters and convince cocktail bars all over the country to start in-house soda programs in the very near future.
The amount of effort that goes into every drink is remarkable. They whip cream in a shaker, and what’s more, milkshakes are made not with ice cream, but by shaking raw eggs and cream with hand carved blocks of ice!
They don’t have a liquor license (although a beer and wine license is pending), but if one were to perhaps, theoretically sneak a flask into ICB, the possibilities would defy the imagination. Having just tasted the entire menu, I recommend the following hypothetical boozey enhancements:
Peche No. 3 (cherry and anise frappe) – St. George Absinthe
Too Good to be True (butterscotch malted) – Pappy Van Winkle 15 year (keeping in the spirit of the name)
House Built Tonic – Plymouth Gin (it’s a no-brainer)
My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend (roasted pineapple and pink peppercorn lactart) – Malibu (and I feel no shame)
Russel’s Sassafras Root Beer – (going out on a limb here) Smith and Cross Rum
Breakfast Soda (orange thyme crush) – Siete Leguas Blanco Tequila
For Bobby Long (chocolate hellfire phosphate) – Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
Touch of Grey (creamed candy capped mushroom phosphate) – Remy Martin Cognac 1738 Accord Royale(because mushroom soda is already so absurd)
You can read my coverage on CitySip, which just launched in SF!
Note: I’m writing more for other food and beverage sites, so I will post links to those as they are released and I’ll try to post all about the other events I attended as time permits.