You know, I pity bartenders who try to come up with new cocktails. I mean, even if they succeed, they'll probably be forgotten (or fighting for credit). And unless you use some crazy new liquor that's made from grass buffalo feed on or something, it's probably been done before. Like tonight, when I mixed up some Rye, Luxardo and Vya Sweet Vermouth. It was so good, I googled it. Something very similar has been done.
It was, of course, delightful. First of all, I should point out to JamesPh that the weather was wonderful (never got above 82 degrees, low humidity, no mosquitos) and he's crazy to purposely come here in the winter. Keegan's rules stated that no more than four people may join a team for trivia, and the Fraters bench was full, so I joined some crazy candidate for the state legislature and a guy who works for The Patriot radio stations in Minneapolis. The result? A tie between our team and the Fraters. If "Rocky" taught me anything, it's that a tie is a victory for the challenger, and I performed the appropriate victory dance. Okay, there was no dancing, but there was certainly celebration. Both teams got 24 answers out of 25, and we both missed the same question: What is a "peeler?" The answer? An Irish cop. Whodathunk.
Later in the evening, The Elder and I engaged in a spirited debate about freedom of the press, the aggressive use of force, and just a touch of just war theory. I don't believe either of us changed our minds, but it was a civilized and respectful interaction, particularly considering we just got done drinking at an Irish bar.
Atomizer gave me some smokes, and St. Paul was kind enough to pretend he remembered me after I told him who I was. At the end of the evening, I met several other bloggers from the Minneapolis area, including the friendly folks at Freedom Dogs, who gave me a t-shirt. Thanks, guys!
I'm coming back to Minneapolis in August, during the Minneapolis State Fair. I'll look forward to a trivia rematch at that time. Remember the second fight between Rocky and Apollo, guys. Next time, you're going down!
Oh, I almost forgot: The food and drink were great. Fish and chips were delicious and they had Power's Gold Label and Smithwick's Irish Ale on tap. Mr. and Mrs. Keegan hung out on the porch and chatted with us, and I got a free beer for winning (or, I guess, tying) at trivia. Thanks again to everyone!
Rhino Brian once again comes through with a great story about how British world cup fans are threatening to consume all of the beer in Germany.
Rhino Brian once again comes through with a
I've got a meeting with a customer in Palo Alto tomorrow, so I'm staying downtown at a really old hotel, very close to the Stanford campus. When I say really old hotel, I mean "no air conditioning and an elevator where you open the door yourself" kind of old. But it's got character. Deuce says that should be the slogan above the door: "No air conditioning, but lots of character."
Of course, we're in silicon valley, so of COURSE the hotel has Wi-Fi. No air conditioning, but the wireless internet access has a great signal. I checked in, called my wife and told her how to reach me, and booted up my MacBook to check my e-mail. After I was done (around 9:00pm) I headed next door to the English Pub (The Rose & Crown) I noticed on the way in. Sat down, got comfortable, and ordered a Fullers ESB (on tap!) and the Fish & Chips. But it was not to be - their kitchen closed at 9. NINE O'CLOCK???? I know it's summer, but we're practically across the street from Stanford. No food? That's just crazy talk.
I needed to eat, so I walked across the street to a neat diner/soda fountain. Ordered the Pastrami Reuben. The pastrami was quite good, but the swiss cheese was quite a bit stronger than I like. I'm really not a swiss cheese guy - I rarely order it on anything other than a Reuben. I've had a couple of REALLY good Pastrami Reubens in the last couple of weeks. Last Wednesday, I had a great one at this little New York-style deli near the Orange County airport. The week before, at a Cafe at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. So, frankly, I was a bit disappointed. I'm guessing the place had a good black & white malted, but once I ate, I was ready for a beer or three, so I headed back to the Rose & Crown.
Oh, I forgot to mention, great Wi-Fi access in the diner, and again at the Rose & Crown. Say what you will about Palo Alto, you won't lack for Internet access. But I have to say I'm kind of ambivalent about the town. Maybe it's just a bad night, but I had higher expectations. Fullers ESB on tap is great, but the bar's kind of a snooze. Staff are clearly American, and when you go to an English or Irish pub, you kind of prefer a first-generation immigrant. Or, at least, I do. And did I mention that the kitchen closes at 9:00pm? What kind of college town is this?
Nothing interesting on the stereo. I've been catching up on podcasts on my iPod Nano. Mostly Penn Jillette and Coverville. I'll do another post some other time about my favorite podcasts, but those two are definitely on the list.
Alright, if anything my awkward prose has conveyed the ambivilence I feel about this town. You're welcome.
1. I still hate Las Vegas
2. I still hate "expo" or "showcase" events
3. I will drink Sam Adams, but only if it's free
4. Lots and lots of Sam Adams
5. Penn & Teller kick ass
6. The fact that retroactive taxation is neither fair nor constitutional won't stop the government from engaging in it
7. The Stage Deli has the best pastrami East of Orange County (where The Hat still reigns supreme)
Oh, great. I have to dig up some green. I may have some trousers that are actually pressed. Remember, though, it's amateur night. So be careful out there and "May you always have walls for the winds, A roof for the rain, Tea beside the fire, Laughter to cheer you, Those you love near you, And all your heart may desire."
* Powers Gold Label (TM) is the official Irish Whiskey (TM) of the Infinite Monkeys (TM). Please drink Powers moderately. Unlike RobbL (TM), who goes through a case (TM) a week.
I'm not terribly experienced with this sort of thing, so this drink probably already has another name, but just in case:
Dread Pirate Roberts
1.5 oz. Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum
1.5 oz. Kahlua
3 oz. Half-and-Half
Pour over crushed ice and stir. One serving.
We had friends over, and I made White Russians while we all watched The Big Lebowski. The next night, I looked over and noticed the bottle of Captain Morgan's they had brought, and decided to substitute the Captain for vodka, and voila!
In fact, I think I'll have another right now.
Poland and Hungary are fighting over the definition of vodka. This is serious business, as Paul Belien explains, with far reaching implications: "The European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg ruled that the American brewer Anheuser-Busch is not allowed to use its Budweiser brand name in Portugal (or anywhere else in the EU)." What does beer have to do with vodka? It's all about the regulations, people -- who regulates, and who gets regulated.
This BBC article looks like it came straight out of The Onion.
Happy Birthday to Teddy Kennedy. 74 happy years of tax and spend drunken debauchery.
Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.
Take me down to Mutt Lynch's.
Take me down to the pub.
Buy me a schooner of Boddington's.
Brian's driving, I'll need more than one.
As we watch Canadians curling
On one of ten flat-screen TV's.
We'll eat wings, drink, and watch the sun sink
At Mutt Lynch's, please!
Notes from the official site of Groundhog Day:
Punxsutawney Phil gets his longevity (120 years) from drinking "groundhog punch," a secret recipe. Phil takes one sip every summer at the Groundhog Picnic and it magically gives him seven more years of life.
During Prohibition Phil threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter on the community if he wasn't allowed a drink.
I know. It's not really news and this isn't really commentary. I just so enjoy typing "Gobbler's Knob."
So, I'm googling about for some information on the affects of alcohol on seratonin levels in the brain (just for academic purposes, of course...) and one of the first results is this page about how to have a more pleasant comedown from taking Ecstasy. In the "Water? Isotonic Drinks?" section, they use a phrase I've never seen before: "caning the fags." I assume this means smoking a lot of cigarettes, but I'm not 100% sure. It did give me a very juvenile giggle, though.
I just love watching when Monkey Menken gets drunk and starts hitting on other blogs (see below). Of course, no one can hold a candle to the original punch drunk pundits. And the Atomizer, who, clearly can't be called a pundit, but has, like me, recently realized that he wishes he could quit his new iPod.
In this instance, the negatives in question are Raynal VSOP and Domaine Ste. Michelle. The drink is a modified Champagne cocktail. Obviously, you cannot have a Champagne cocktail without champagne. (Domaine Ste. Michelle is produced in the great state of Washington, not France.) And I'm fresh out of the real stuff. Also, I'm using Fee's orange bitters instead of the traditional Angostura. Truth is, the primary ingredients here are third-rate. They're merely "OK." Not spectacular, but decent for the price. Raynal can be found at Trader Joe's for $9.99 and the bubbly can be had on sale for $8 or less at any reputable grocery store.
Now, the latest Difford's Guide describes the classic Champagne cocktail as "overrated," but I think that's unfair. Given a ratio of about 3 to 1, and without overdoing the sugar (a matter of taste, to be sure), it's a perfectly fine drink.
For many variations on the Champagne cocktail, I recommend "Champagne Cocktails," by Anistatia R. Miller and Jared Brown. And for a fine Champagne cocktail, pay a visit to Napoleon's at Paris Las Vegas. Or my house. 'Cause I know how to make a French 75 without having to click on that link.
Could be, although it's highly unlikely. But these bears sure do like grapes.
Personally, I think the initiative and referendum are for the birds. With very few exceptions, legislation by plebescite is a disaster. Witness California's patchwork constitution. And yet, if I find myself confronted with a petition for this measure, I may well sign.
Connor Vlakancic said he drank diluted wine and apricot brandy as a child. He allowed his own son to drink alcohol in moderation.
And now he thinks all children in California should be able to sip alcohol when supervised by their own parents.
The measure is eminently sensible. So much so, I cannot imagine why it requires an initiative. No, actually, I can. I hope it makes the same ballot as Rob Reiner's latest utopian scheme. Might I suggest that Mr. Vlakancic circulate his petition in neighborhood saloons? He should have his 400,000 signatures in no time.
I have seen the future of the Internet. And it is Tiki Bar TV. Four or five minutes of silliness, a gorgeous brunette, and a cocktail recipe, too. Watch everything, but especially episodes 6-9.
But I wonder. Can this enterprise endure into the winter months? I'm sipping on scotch, on account of the chill (temps here have dipped into the mid-60s). My rum supply is perilously low, my limes are overripe, and my mint is dead or dying. As an ex-monkey liked to say, for every drink, there is a season.. We're in brown liquor season now. Dark rum, I suppose, would suffice. As long as it is the proper dark rum. But, truth is, that's a stretch. It's whiskey season! Tiki that!
These folks need to get out more. Hell, this was nothing more than a Tuesday night at Dennis Rodman's house when he was with the Lakers. And lets not get started with Kobe.
The chattering classes here are up in arms over the scandal. However, my unscientific survey of one waitress at Keys Cafe tells me that the people really don't care.
They are millionaire professional atheletes in the 20's and 30's.
Sex? Hookers? Umm, yes.
But the highlight of the whole "scandal" is Chad the Elder from Fraters Libertas on Northern Alliance Radio saying
"The local skanks aren't good enough."
Heard on the Bob & Tom Show today a great name for a bar.
The 13th Step.
Yes, MAAD and AA would go absolutely nuts. But you can't buy that kind of free publicity!
The 13th Step. I like it.
Naturally, I demand a second opinion. And another double whiskey, please.
(And how in Hell am I supposed to take seriously any quiz that cannot spell "poison" correctly?)
| You scored as Posion. Your death will be by poison, probably because you are a glutton and are around so many people that it would be easy to get away with it. Several important people in history share your fate.|
I've been working in Anaheim a couple of days per week for the last month or so. Hopefully, this will be my last week here. I say "hopefully" because it would mean the project was completed without significant trouble, not because I don't enjoy spending July in Orange County rather than Phoenix, the land of blazing mid-summer heat.
Current Song: "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" by Wang Chung
Current Drink: J. T. Schmid's India Pale Ale
I'm having dinner and beers at a grill & brewpub called "J. T. Schmid's" on Katella & CA-57, right across from the Arrowhead Pond, where the Mighty Ducks play hockey, and just a stone's throw away from Edison Field. I don't like American League baseball, by and large, but I do like the Angels. If all goes well tomorrow at work, I'm going to reward myself with a trip to the ballpark tomorrow night.
As you can see above, the music is awful here, but everything else is good. They brew their own beer here, and the IPA is hoppy & bitter, just as it should be. It also packs a punch - 6.9% alcohol content. Fortunately, my hotel is literally right across the street (Schmid's actually provides room service there) so I can enjoy that extra beer or two.
I ordered the "Chop House Burger," which I've had before. It's a 12 ounce burger, thick and juicy. It rivals the burgers at Houston's, which IMO are the best chain-restaurant hamburgers in existence. Instead of fries, I ordered asparagus, which they also do a good job with. On previous visits, I've also enjoyed their Fish & Chips. The only dish I have had that was sub-par is their Jambalaya, which was, for lack of a better word, way too "California" for my tastes. I mean, they put fresh chopped tomato on top. I can't imagine being served Jambalaya in some hole-in-the-wall outside of Baton Rouge with fresh tomatoes. More than likely, the sauce would have been simmering for about a week prior to my visit.
Current Song: Some contemporary R&B crap
The restaurant/bar is really nice here. There's a large patio outside where they frequently have live music. Inside, televisions encircle the dining area and bar. The large projection screen is showing the Dodgers-Rockies game live, and a couple of the smaller screens are showing a re-run of today's Angels-Twins game and some other sporting events. There are lots of booths, so I'm able to sit comfortably even though I'm by myself.
Dinner just got here - back in a minute...
I'm just going to stop reporting the songs, because they're all crap, and I don't know what most of them are, anyway.
Question: How much does it suck to be Todd Helton? He just hit his 22nd double of the season, and he's stuck playing for the NL West's equivalent of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He's gotta be counting the days until he's a free agent like some prisoner in the movies, scratching them onto the wall of his locker.
The burger was excellent. I scarfed it down like I hadn't eaten in days. And the asparagus was cooked perfectly - tender, but not stringy. I'm still sipping my first beer, if that's any indication as to how good the meal was. Now I have to decide if I'm going to stick around, let my meal settle, and have one of their desserts.
A couple of weeks ago, I had dinner with the guy who (Lord willing and the creek don't rise) will be my boss in a few weeks' time. I'm not saying the name of the company I'll be joining, but their color scheme is the same as this weblog.
Timeout: Jessica Simpson is doing a HORRIBLE cover of an already wretched song, "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". I guess this is from the "Dukes of Hazzard" movie soundtrack. Make it stop! Make it stop!
Okay, anyway, I'm having dinner here a couple of weeks ago, and my future boss orders this warm brownie & ice cream dessert that I was dying to try, but didn't. Tonight, I may give in. It looked fantastic. So the decision is: Beer #2, or Brownie.
I'm leaning toward the latter, because I've got some good booze back in my hotel room. My plane landed at SNA at 4:30pm today. Hint for travelers who are coming to the Los Angeles metropolitan area: Don't take a flight that will put you on the road at rush hour, if you can possibly avoid it. But, making lemonade, I decided to stop at the Santa Ana Wine Club and pick up some goodies. I got three bottles of wine (I'll list them when I get back to the hotel) and a bottle of Victory "Golden Monkey" ale. I couldn't resist, of course. It's a Belgian-style triple-fermented ale bottled under pressure with a champagne cork. And it has "monkey" in the name.
Dodgers just pulled off a nice double play in the bottom of the 8th. They're leading 9-3. This has been a really weird season for the NL West. I don't think anyone imagined at the end of last season that the San Diego Padres would be leading the division, or that the Giants would be in fourth place. The Diamondbacks and Dodgers have been trading off in the number two spot, with the D'Backs currently holding that position down. Pretty encouraging for a team that set a major league record for earliest numerical playoff elimination just last year.
Last night's Diamondbacks-Cardinals game was a good example of why I love the baseball, and particularly the "real" baseball that only the National League plays. Even in a game where you know before it starts who's probably going to win (the Cardinals have the best record in baseball this year, and have been positively dominant), you can still look forward to watching some truly exciting moments. Last night, it was pitcher Sean Estes hitting a solid triple when he came up to bat in the third inning, and getting knocked in on a sacrifice fly by Craig Counsell.
Okay, it's settled. Brownie with ice cream and coffee for me. Then back on Atkins tomorrow morning. :-)
That brings me back to the heat of Phoenix, and how to avoid it. We enjoyed a very mild spring this year, which means it didn't hit 100 until the middle of May. Unfortunately, it hit 110 about a week later. Things settle down for a June with highs in the mid 100's, which is very mild, believe it or not. But the last couple of weeks have been right around 110 every day. Fortunately, I've benefitted from the Providential confluence of good work and good in-laws. My wife's parents have a cabin in Pinetop, way up in the mountains around 7000 feet. So she and the girls headed up there about two weeks ago for some good weather. I was going to Orange County during the week, then I joined them for a couple of long weekends. So I got to miss out on the miserable weather, too.
Later this month, we'll be spending 10 days at Stormy Lake, just outside of Conover, Wisconsin, just about 15 minutes south of Land O' Lakes, Michigan. It's uninhabitable during the winter, but has some of the most beautiful summer weather you could ever imagine. 5-6 years ago, I was sitting in a fishing boat at dusk, and saw a bald eagle fly over the treeline, dip down to the lake, and fly away with a fish. I've lived in Arizona all of my life, so this was truly one of the most sublime moments I've ever experienced.
The Dodgers finished off the Rockies, and Houston beat the Padres, so the Dodgers will gain a full game in the NL West. I suppose it's too much to ask that the Diamondbacks would beat the Cardinals.
This brownie is gigantic. Round, over two inches thick, and about six inches in diameter. Served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and topped with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. The only thing I'd change would be to replace the syrup with thick fudge, like they use on a similar dessert at Black Angus. The coffee's not great, but it's not bad, either. Goes well with the dessert.
Current song: I don't know the title, but it's that "Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend that looked like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year..." song. Brad would know. He knows what all the hip kids are listening to these days. I'm clueless.
Brad's been very helpful keeping me in touch with the new music. A couple of weeks ago, he came over and we watched and listened to a bunch of new stuff. We watched the video for "Evil" by Interpol, which was really cool. I wound up getting both of their albums from eMusic. I also got the new Brian Eno album, which is great. eMusic rocks.
Time for the check. More navel-gazing back in the room...
As I said, it would be too much to ask for the D-Backs to actually win tonight. They lost, 2-1, to the Cardinals. Boo.
One more baseball comment: Cheers to Curt Schilling, who has volunteered to pitch out of the bullpen for the Red Sox. Classy move.
Alright, that's enough babbling from me. 'Night all.
If you are like me, you are not very... ah, liquid this week. This, of course, has nothing to do with the ravages of April 15. No, I'm broke this week because I'm a financial idiot who has little or no comprehension of such concepts as saving or investment.
But in the event that you were soaked this year by Uncle Sam, I have just the remedy...
The Income Tax Cocktail
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass and toast/lament the high price of freedom. Coincidentally, perhaps, the Income Tax bears an eerie similarity (different proportions, and minus the Grand Marnier) to Satan's Whiskers.
Hat tip: The Cocktail Database.
JB Doubtless posts his liquor shopping list. I think this is a great idea, and I encourage more of it from bloggers. I feel safe in saying this because Monkey Ben is on hiatus; if he posted his here, he'd probably crash our server.
JB needs to upgrade his taste in wine a bit, though. No doubt it's slim pickings in the frozen wastelands, but surely there's a few Italian, Spanish or even Australian wines available (and probably about the same price).
Seems rye whiskey is making a comeback. Thank God. The best Manhattans are made with rye, because it isn't as sweet as bourbon. For mixing, you can't go wrong with Old Overholt, which is reasonably priced and readily available. Of course, good rye can be consumed neat or on the rocks. Try Michter's. (Try the bourbon, too.)
So everyone from my office decides to cut work and go have coffee at Starbucks. Fortunately, I had already blown the day off and was at the Brew Pub next door. Man, I work with a bunch a candy-assed people. It's "the Holidays" for crying out loud. Coffee? Candy-ass yuppie scum.
I need another beer.