21 January, 2011

This Week In Whisky

New Whisky in the News: According to the UK's Daily Mail, Panamanian-based Scotch Spirits has begun selling their whiskey in a 12 oz. aluminum can to their South American and Caribbean markets. The CEO stated, "The can is the perfect size to be shared between three people who can mix it with other things like cola." That was definitely the first thing that popped into my mind when I thought of a can of whisky. The dram may not be long for the grocery shelf, however, as the Scotch Whisky Association is looking into a ban of the product. Full story here.

Old Old Whisky in the News: In the early 1900s, Ernest Shackleton and his crew attempted to reach the South Pole. They didn't make it. So like any pioneers would, they left a few cases of spirits, including whisky, brandy and port, behind. And up until last year, the cases went unnoticed and stayed preserved in the Antarctic Ice. They were discovered and returned to Scotland and are set to be drunk for science's sake. Distillers are interested in learning about the whisky distillation process in the 19th century and are looking at possibly recreating it for mass consumption. Watch whisky blender Richard Paterson get his nose all up in a glass of the 100+ year old dram.

I spent last weekend with my friend Dennis in New York. He had a hankering for a flight of bourbon, so we looked around the interwebs for a suitable establishment. We settled on the Whiskey Ward, which by name alone seemed quite appropriate. Located in the Lower East Side, the bar lets you choose 3 spirits for 1 oz. tastings each. We chose 2 bourbons- Pappy Van Winkle 12 year and George T. Stagg- and a rye- High West. Both of the bourbons are distilled by Buffalo Trace, a fine maker of all things whiskey. The Pappy Van Winkle was a clear favorite for both of us. It had a deep red, amorous coloring and it had just the right amount of smoke in the finish. The George T. Stagg was heavier, both in look and in taste, and it lingered long in the palate. The High West Rye was a nice subtle complement to the more complex bourbons. I would recommend any of these spirits on a cold night, and I would readily return to The Whiskey Ward.

Finally, here is a video of a giant puppet walking stumbling around Dromore West, Co. Sligo, Ireland. I am almost positive whisky has something to do with this.

19 January, 2011

Number One Gastropub in Tri-State Area

Came across this listing for an executive chef on craigslist...

If you are the greatest thing since fermentation, if your food can outpace the world's greatest beers, we have a professional position for you.

You will head up the restaurant back of house operations preparing award winning food at a fair price with speedy courteous service. You will develop half the menu and the other half of the menu will be our proven successful recipes you will perfectly execute. You will manage kitchen P&L and get perfect scores on Health Inspections.

You can get in at the very beginning helping select the perfect equipment for an already built out location to ensure we are the number one Gastro pub in the Tri State Area. 

Wonder who's behind this project...and where the "already built out location" is...
And also what the heck does "food that can outpace the world's greatest beers" mean?

05 January, 2011

Saint-Sylvestre 2010, or NYE @ Bibou

Lori and I had the great fortune of getting seats at Bibou's New Years Eve dinner last Friday. It happened quite spontaneously. I was lunching with Brother Tim when he got a Twitter alert that they had a last minute cancellation. I was told it would be an 8 course meal with seatings at 5:30pm or 9:00pm. I opted for the 9pm, which turned out to be the better choice in my humble opinion.

It's difficult to choose standouts from an entire meal of incredible dishes. The amuse-bouche of hamachi, paddlefish caviar and creme fraiche was a great start. Followed very well by foie gras terrine with persimmon chutney. My favorites of the night, though, were the perfectly seared venison with mushroom fricassée, chestnut and celeriac puree, and the pumpkin bread, blue cheese and dried figs Mille-feuille for dessert. A full menu of the night is right below.

As 2011 approached, Charlotte brought out festive noisemakers and hats as well as complimentary champagne for everyone in attendance. The whole room rang out in cheers and celebration, the end to a night of true conviviality. But the night was only half over.

We took our time paying the bill and the room slowly emptied. Before we knew it, the restaurant was closed and we were still inside talking to Chef Pierre, Charlotte and the wait staff. I have never met such an honest, hardworking and hospitable group of people in all of my dining experiences. I had a hard time not gushing to Pierre about how much I loved everything. I think I used the word fantastic a few dozen times.

By the time we did leave it was well into the morning and we had to walk a bit to find a cab ride home. But we left with our spirits and stomachs full. Quite a way to begin a new year and a new decade.