August 2009

Summer Cocktail Watch: Macallan Cooler (and Ice Balls) Abacus, Dallas.

I LOVE the Scotch whiskey. In fact, close friends know that I refer to a particular blend as a comfort food. When in a more discerning mood, single malts are de rigueur… and necessary. Amongst the most famous, one finds excellence: The Macallan. Burying the lead of a post to come, I can affirm that – after considerable research – Macallan Fine Oak 17 Year Old is about as good as you are gonna get – yum. (Strangely, the brand’s site now shows an 18 yr. in place of the 17 – research time.) 

Where was I… Oh! So, The Macallan had a promo event at Abacus recently – featuring a new cocktail by bar manager Stewart Jones, the Macallan Cooler: Macallan Single Malt Whisky, Cointreau, Regan’s Orange Bitters, Mint, Lemon Juice, Lime, Ginger Ale. We could debate all day about the best use of this spirit, but this cocktail WAS delicious.

Ab_Pano_01 Abacus Cocktail - 5 

^ The bar at Abacus; and the Macallan Cooler.

Meanwhile: there was other action at the Macallan table. They are marketing “The Perfect Serve,” a compromise in the ongoing debate regarding ice usage with scotch (I generally prefer a wee bit). Here, The Macallan has taken inspiration from the Japanese tradition of serving fine spirits over a single, hand carved sphere of ice. My friend Yosuke Fukuda, now at Tei-An, first introduced me to this presentation while at Moosh:


Moosh Ice - 2 Moosh Ice3
^ He used to claim he slaved 20 minutes over each sphere, but recently he admitted to taking some artistic license there. While Yosuke will serve you a hand carved sphere at the bar at Tei-An (if you ask nicely) – The Macallan people are using one of these nifty devices (also Japanese) to achieve the effect in a flash:


Abacus Cocktail - 1 Abacus Cocktail - 2


A block of ice is placed above the lower mold; the upper mold (preferably lifted from a warm bath) is placed above and a weight applied. In a matter of seconds the ice ball is formed – nifty.


Abacus Cocktail - 4 Abacus Cocktail - 6


The idea is that the perfectly efficient shape of the sphere allows the ice to chill the beverage without diluting it as quickly as chipped ice. Whatever – it’s cool anyways.

Because She Can.

Today is the birthday of my lovely and talented friend, Carol.

You people like blogs…? Don't even start with me…

Find her here: Alinea at Home …and, previously, here: The French Laundry at Home …and share the love.

TheBrad ♥ TheCarol.  HB, Kiddo.


^ another day at the office; and our "Twilight" promo snap… (Guess the venue…)

Summer Cocktail Watch: Chef’s Pink Lemonade – The Grape, Dallas

…and we have a new contender. Here's a fine option for sipping on the patio on a Sunday or Monday, awaiting your very own taste of Texas Monthly's "The Best Burger in Texas."


Chef/owner Brian Luscher's Chef's Pink Lemonade:

Grape_Pink2 Grape_Pink3

Brian says "I didn't want to use Vodka, so it's Lemons, Raspberries, Sugar, Salt and Rum." Garnished with Mint and a Lemon Gel Candy Slice. The presentation in a Kerr jar earns this one a gold star. Kudos.

Summer Cocktail Watch: Jalapeño-Cucumber Margarita – Love Shack

After checking out the "For the Love of Lamb" gorge-fest behind Tim Love's new Love Shack Location at the So7 development in Ft. Worth, we wandered onto the patio for a few of these Jalapeño-Cucumber Margaritas:

Love_Shack_So711 Love_Shack_So712

Very refreshing, not cloyingly sweet, nice bite – this rates highly on my summer list.

First Look: Tim Love’s Love Shack So7 + Lamb Burger Cook-Off

I'm not snobby about it, it's just that I rarely spontaneously drive to Ft. Worth to eat. I tipped off some friends that were planning to be in FW on Sunday about the "For the Love of Lamb" event that was coinciding with the official opening of Tim Love's latest Love Shack at So7 (SW corner of 7th and Museum Way – the street address of 817 Matisse doesn't show up on map searches yet!) 

I was lounging around my pad on Sunday, trying to motivate, when a series of slobber inducing texts started to arrive. "Get over here, there's so much lamb… ahhh… ahhhh!" Fine – road trip sounds like the ticket anyway.


^ The enclosed patio at Love Shack So7. Lots of room, and hopscotch and washers for the kiddos.

Love_Shack_So713 Love_Shack_So701

^ It was 100°, but the place was opened up. I found the remedy for that (here). You can sit around the central bar, inside and out. Basically the same menu from the original location in the Stockyards.

Meanwhile: there was free lamb to be had! Along with the American Lamb people, Tim hosted Blaine Staniford (Grace), Jason Boso (Twisted Root), Jon Bonnell (Bonnell's), Aaron Staudenmaier & TJ Lengnick (Abacus), Scott Freeman (The Porch), and Scott Romano (Charlie Palmer at the Joule). Each made a Lamb "Burger," with the assembled masses voting in a cheer-off. The event also featured a couple of those Top Chef dudes doing a demonstration (Ilan Hall and Richard Blais).


^ The Burger Chefs. Here are some of the contending creations:

Love_Shack_So704 Love_Shack_So708

Love_Shack_So707 Love_Shack_So705

Love_Shack_So706 Love_Shack_So710

Love_Shack_So7b1 Love_Shack_So7a1

^ Blaine Staniford's was crrrraazzy. You can read the fixin's above, but they added fried quail egg as well! (Thanks, Pete, for the photo of this one.)

And the winner:

Love_Shack_So709 Love_Shack_So702

^ Jon Bonnell of Bonnell's and his winning Bacon Wrapped Roasted Lamb Tenderloin Slider w/ Guacamole. It was delicious! (I'm sure his terrific Buffalo Trace Bourbon Mint Juleps didn't influence the judging.)

Love Shack So7 on Urbanspoon

Summer Cocktail Watch: Masaryk, Addison

It was all blustery looking as I walked over to Masaryk this evening, then the sun came out and it was still only 88°. Cocktails!

Mazaryk_Cocktails1 Mazaryk_Cocktails2

They have some well made Custom Ritas here at Masaryk Modern Mexican Kitchen. Today I opted for the Metrosexual (mostly to see what kind of crazy Google searches I show up in.) Corzo Silver Tequila, Gran Torres Orange Liqueur, Sangria, Lime Juice, Ice. It's sweet, but not too. I could have a couple of these here and there.

Mazaryk_Cocktails3 Mazaryk_Cocktails4

My buddy ordered his usual "Top Shelf Frozen." It's good. Better get some Huaraches for good measure! Huaraches Merced: Corn Masa Discs / Black Beans / Pulled Pork Chille Pasilla / Crema / Queso Fresco / Shoots.