January 28, 2012

Cocktail Time

Since I posted last week on my new favorite beer, Heavy Seas, I figured I'd continue on the non-wine theme and give equal time to the hard stuff. I've spent some time recently, no doubt to do the influence of ThirstySouth and others, exploring cocktails a bit more.

One of my new favorites, thanks again to ThirstySouth for the recommendation, is The Boulevardier. The term Boulevardier was first used in the late 19th century to describe men who frequented the hip Parisian boulevards. The Boulevardier cocktail dates back to the time of prohibition and is basically a straight-up mix of bourbon (or rye), vermouth, and an aperitif like Campari or Aperol. As you can see from the pic above, I used Aperol and rye. The Rye I used is a small-production Rye from 1512 Barbershop out of San Francisco that is very aromatic and makes a tasty cocktail.
Another standby cocktail of mine is the Manhattan. I know, not terribly original, right? However, I recently tried the Redemption High-Rye Bourbon, and Fee Brothers Whiskey-Barrel aged bitters in my Manhattan. At 38% rye, the Redemption high-rye bourbon approaches the threshold for rye in a liquor that can still be classified as a bourbon. The rye and the whiskey-barrel bitters add a nice, dry-spicyness to a classic Manhattan. The Redemption (a nice buy around $20) and Fee Brothers bitters (at $10, double the price of traditional bitters) can be found around town at Tower or Toco Giant in Druid Hills.

January 24, 2012

Drinking Like the 1%

Browse these fine French wines today.

Considering I recently posted on proletariat drinking, I figured I should give equal time to drinking like the 1%.  I'm not going to spell out what drinking like the 1% means, you can use your imagination. On this night, we were actually probably drinking like the .001%, but that's another story. 
This drinking was occurred recently when I got together with some of the usual local suspects for an evening of homemade 'clean-cycle' pizza and some really great wines. Several of the wines were truly exceptional; I feel lucky to drink such wines from time-to-time. As was stated in recent comments on my buddy EatItAtlanta's blog, I don't know if there is much use in posting about the wines in my post here. The truth is, these are wines that most people would probably never spend the money on, nor are these wines readily available even if one wanted to buy a bottle.
That being said, it is fun to share wines with wine geeks that have access to and appreciation of sublime wines. It says something when the 1989 Aldo Conterno Barolo pictured above is just another wine on our Tuesday night. An embarrassment of riches? Perhaps. But, you only get to do this ride once, might as well drink good wine occasionally.   
The pizza was pretty damn good, too. You can make pizza like this at home, too. Just break the locking mechanism on your oven door and cook the pizza on the clean cycle, which will get the oven up around 850-900 degrees. Be careful, though, that's hot, and a even a drop of sauce or cheese at that temp will shatter glass and burn you real good. One taste of the pizza, though, and you'll probably consider it worth the risk.

January 20, 2012

Beer Time: Heavy Seas

I don't do much posting about beer, outside of recognizing the genesis of a Decatur beer like Wild Heaven, and appreciating the local Growler craze of 2011. However, I do enjoy a good beer and was prompted into this post by a new favorite brewery of mine, Heavy Seas. Heavy Seas is brewed in Baltimore by Clipper City Brewing and has been cranking out beer since 1994. They have a rather extensive portfolio of brews, from full bodied ales, to stouts and pilsners, as well as numerous limited distribution seasonal brews.
A couple of my favorites right now are from the Pyrate Fleet. The Small Craft Warning Uber Pilsner, a lighter bodied, but very complex pilsner that is easy drinking, but matches well with rich and spicy foods. I'm also growing to really like the Peg Leg Imperial Stout, which is a full-bodied, winter beer that goes well with hearty dishes and even chocolate desserts. This one clocks in at 8% abv. 
The Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA is pretty popular these days, too. It's a full-bodied, hoppy IPA that any craft IPA fan would like. Heavy Seas beers are widely available around ATL at shops like Tower Wine & Spirits and Greene's.

January 15, 2012

Home Cooking: Bo Ssam

I'm going to try to do a better job of posting about my home cooking in 2012. I often get caught up in cooking and neglect to take pics or reflect on what I do in the kitchen.

This weekend I made some Bo Ssam, riffing on the recipe in David Chang's Momofuku cookbook. While I've made many of the recipes in the Momofuku book over the past year or so, Eat It Atlanta turned me on to the Bo Ssam dish when we made it as part of our Rock Out with Your Stock Out party back in November. Ssam is a Korean dish; the word ssam translates literally to "wrapped."

Bo Ssam is traditionally a dish of slow-roasted pork wrapped in green, leafy lettuce and topped with various condiments. Chang's recipe includes topping it with his ginger-scallion dressing, spicy bean paste and kimchi. You can kewpie mayonnaise as well, though, I did not this time around.

I rubbed my butt(!) per Chang with brown sugar, granulated sugar, kosher salt, and smoked paprika (the smoked paprika is my twist) and put it in the fridge overnight. I then cooked the butt on my Big Green Egg for 8 hours at around 235 degrees.
Pork Butt at 8AM
Pork Butt at 3PM
Pork Butt at 6 PM
This is stuff is really addictive. You get the smoky-fatty pork with its crisp exterior and the bright ginger-scallion dressing and the kimchi adds a nice refreshing crunch. It's great for sharing around a table with folks who don't mind getting their hands dirty tearing into some tasty pork. 

January 9, 2012

Proletariat Drinking

Check out these great wines under $20 and save!
I lament from time to time that I cannot drink like a 1%er all the time. This was made quite clear to me recently as 2012 greeted me with some unexpected expenses. Perhaps I needed a little reminder that I am of the 99% and this should be reflected in my drinking. As much as I love Grand Cru Burgundy, and I do, I really can't afford to drink the stuff regularly. Hence, my 2012 started with some proletariat-style drinking.

What is proletariat drinking? It's drinking the wines of the people. I made that phrase up, but it means something to me. To me, wines of the people are working-class wines that are usually from less heralded wine regions, and hand-crafted by farmers who don't have expensive pr firms or distribution channels. They are not trophy wines, they are wines that are made for drinking, not chasing. These are wines you can buy for $15-$20.
Recently, I've been finding my wines of the people in the wines of the Loire Valley. The Catherine and Pierre Breton Chinon Beaumont is an excellent, earthy and funky Cabernet Franc from Chinon regardless of your political or philosophical leanings. As is the 2009 Domaine du Moulin Cheverny, another wine that tastes like the earth. I would recommend these wines highly to anyone interested in tasting some real wines that aren't mass-produced and overworked. They fact that they are relatively affordable is even better.

January 3, 2012

Road Trip Eats: B-Spot in Ohio

Well, I'm back. Despite an insane Monday that included just missing a 30 car pileup in Lexington, KY, and then abandoning our car in the midst of an ice-apocalypse in the Smoky Mountains outside of Knoxville, TN, we arrived home today after spending some time in northeast Ohio visiting family for the holidays.
While in Ohio, paid a visit to a couple of good restaurants, including a B Spot. The ubiquitous Michael Symon, Cleveland's gift to the culinary world (sorry Ruhlman!), is the mind behind the four B-Spots that are fixtures around NE Ohio these day.
What is a B-Spot? It's a burger joint. On steroids. Not unlike Atlantan Richard Blais' Flip, Symon's B Spot aims at upping the ante on the modern burgers, fries, and shakes shack. Sorry for the not great pics, I left my daughter in charge of photos this time. She's a foodie-in-training. 
The Lola Burger. Cooked medium rare topped with bacon, sunny side up egg, red onion, mayo.
Chicken wings in a rich, creamy garlic sauce topped with Parmesan. The should come with a warning from the American Heart Association.
Chili cheese fries.
Pickle Bar

Some of the stuff, like the onion rings and fries, were run-of-the-mill, but tasty. Good judgment kicked in and I passed on the vanilla bean, apple pie, and bacon milkshake with bourbon. Though, my kids loved the fresh mint and chocolate chip shake. Everything else was tasty, in a clog your arteries and swear-you-are-going-to-detox tomorrow kind of way.