Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Three, at least I’m pretty sure it’s day three. It’s starting to blur together. This morning is my turn to be a bit lost to the world. I am in a bit of a towel induced fugue, I miss a tasting room or two, maybe it was three, who knows anymore. I slowly pry myself out of bed and sit in the shower for a good 15 minutes, very thankful that I have a stock of water, Gatorade, and 5-Hour Energy in my room. I fortify myself, grab a slug of rum and then make my way to Antoine’s for a lunch hosted by Bulleit Bourbon. Into my haze comes the bright whirlwind of awesome called Hollis Bulleit. Remember the song Jump in the Line made famous by Harry Belafonte in Bettlejuice? She’s definitely a hurricane in all kinds of weather, she sweeps into a room and instantly the energy level is turned up to eleven.
Category Archives: Food
Tales of the Cocktail 2010, let the madness, sleep deprivation, gluttony, learning, and competitive toasting begin. Technically it wasn’t officially Tales yet. Tuesday is Tales Day -1, but this is when the majority of attendees start to arrive. Arriving on the train that morning from Houston, as soon as we passed into city limits Mindy Kucan, John Hearns, and I all promptly took shot of Fernet Branca to toast our arrival. After all, we must be cliché as bartenders and cocktail geeks and suck down some of the dark stuff.
By the way, there is nothing like train travel, it’s decadent, relaxing, lets you do nothing but kick back, perhaps have a drink or three, sleep, and in general just pause for a little bit because you are not going anywhere else. I absolutely recommend train travel whenever possible.
The next installment of I swear there’s good Chinese food in Seattle. Nitpickers, if you want to be exact this one is also outside of city limits, suck it. Fu Man Dumpling House in Shoreline, the menu is small, the sauce is garlicky, and the dumplings, hamburgers, and wraps are really damn good.
Let me clarify hamburgers and wraps first, no they are not what you think of coming from McDonald’s or Applebee’s or any other Western restaurant. The hamburgers are really a type of bao, but stuffed with a huge meatball, and pan fried. When you cut it open a flood of meat juicy goodness pours forth, making a glorious mess. You bite into it and the slightly sweet dough is just dense enough to deliver a chunk of moist meatball to your mouth. (I’m making myself hungry and I’m typing this on an airplane, this may have been a mistake.) It’s firm, but not hard, well seasoned meatbally goodness, and yes meatbally is a word.
Opening Day, a new season starts, all baseball fans for one day can all be equally hopeful for their team’s chances. All things are still possible. Those off-season moves are all going to be strokes of genius. New players will be All-Stars, rookies will all be phenoms, fields will be newly manicured, and there will be new food at the ballpark. I love going to the stadium to watch a game, heckle Yankees fans, have an overpriced beer, and partake of stadium fare.
When I was a kid, your choices at the ballpark were hot dogs, peanuts, chips, burgers, nachos, and if you were sitting in the really expensive seats crappy over-cooked steaks in Styrofoam boxes. Obviously, things have changed over the years. Now it’s a common occurrence to have sushi, teriyaki, bad Chinese food, bad Mexican food, and if you’re in Baltimore, a crab boil in addition to hot dogs, burgers, cracker jacks, and peanuts. So it was pretty exciting to get an invite to try out the new offerings at the home of the Seattle Mariners, Safeco Field. The preview happened appropriately enough on Opening Day while the team was on the road.
Walking through the aisles of any Asian supermarket you’ll often see similar if not damn near identical packaging on similar items on the shelves. As near as I can tell, you haven’t created a successful product in Asia until you have people trying to imitate as closely as possible at least by having similar packaging or just flat out copying the name. I think Seattle chocolatier Fran’s has really hit the big time. Behold, Fran chocolate coated cookie sticks.
They’re actually pretty good, richer in chocolate flavour than Pocky. I just think it’s funny is all. I love Asian marketing.
I love the Olympics. No ifs, ands, or buts. Flat out I love the Olympics. I consume huge amounts of coverage, my Tivo groans under the metric butt-ton of programming I tell it to record. I make time in my day to watch all of that programming, I even watch some of the puff pieces that get tossed into the coverage. Not all of them, but some of them. I watch more TV during the two weeks of the Olympics than I do all the rest of the year. Thankfully it only comes once every two years. With the 2010 Winter Games in my backyard practically, I would have been absolutely bereft if I had not gotten a chance to go.
Everyone and their brother, sister, cousin, aunt, uncle, and babysitter has gone on and on about the lack of good Chinese food in Seattle. Now, I am not going to blow smoke up your ass but enough already. Yes, Vancouver is way better, LA blows us out of the water, San Francisco kicks butt. You know what? Stop it with the negativity already. True we have no top to bottom great Chinese restaurants in Seattle. What we do have are restaurants that can do a really good job of a few to several dishes at each one, and you know what? That’s good enough for me.
I don’t need an epiphany every time I go out for Chinese food. I don’t even always need to be blown away. What I do need is to satisfy a craving when I do go out in search of something Chinese. Whether that craving is specific or generalised, with just a little effort I can usually satisfy it. Instead of lamenting what we don’t have constantly, why not take a happier approach? Seek out the dishes that you want at the places that do them well. Don’t try to get them all in one place.
I especially love a few dishes, dumplings, Szechuan Beef Noodle Soup, pork belly with preserved veggies, and spicy chitterling and pickled mustard green hot pot. There are places in Seattle where you can get perfectly good, even great renditions of these things. Can you find them all in one place? Oh, hell no. The next obvious question is, where do you go then loudmouth? Fine, here’s the first. Continue reading