Monday, December 31, 2012

the tuition riot

the tuition riot

jake parrott, senior beverage advisor, intended a march for equality but it didn't turn out that way.

the tuition riot

1.5oz salers
0.75oz fresh lime
0.5oz combier

shake with ice, strain, season with a grain or two of salt.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

department of dairy products

the stollen — most festive of teutonic baked goods — sits on the counter like a lumpy doorstop. part of journeyman's starving student assistance program, it is 51% butter. health dorks need not fret: it also contains cardamom, the world's third most precious spice and known to promote cardiovascular health.

stollen is an appropriate breakfast if your days are spent splitting cords of firewood as sleet pours down from a leaden sky.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

all roads

i have yet to meet a wine that does not like a dairied potato

it is my too-infrequent good fortune to be invited to home-cooked dinners with Pyrrhic guest lists, the kind filled with people whose discernment and taste are a source of pleasure and knowledge but are, by the same token, so refined that any attempt to contribute something to the table is an endeavour perilous to the ego. on these occasions, i sit in the corner taking notes, harmless, my ethnographic field training serving me well.

these are lovers of wine and the generous table who have been drinking widely, wisely, and secreting things away in their cellars for decades. tuesday night's table—small and richer than usual in fellow convivialists—was conducive to each person bringing interesting, delicious bottles, sometimes bottles quite a bit older than anyone without a cellar or an inheritance gets to drink. a magnum of bouzy champagne grower camille savès's carte blanche, a leoville-barton (1989), a pauillac (i forget the producer) from 1975, a hochheimer domdechaney riesling (1993), two rieslings from the late 1970s, a clos des couchereaux from jadot (1996, and with some years left in the bottle yet), and an unusual botrytised gruner veltliner from knoll (2004). i think a 2004 rebholz weissburgunder from im sonnenschein. there were others too.

over dinner, this country mouse pondered the opinion, voiced by some (though not many at the table), that "all roads lead to bordeaux." the leoville-barton was quite beautiful and surprisingly austere, with the characteristic green hatch chile fragrance; the pauillac was rich, soft, velvety, but with grip and power. contradictions are one source of complexity. you can see why captains of industry drink this stuff.

but: is bordeaux the telos of wine? maybe it's a matter of time but not for me, now. that clear, austere, cool burgundy, even before it finally opened up in the dregs of the bottle at the end of the night, was the one i poured myself when all eyes were on the potatoes. they were very good potatoes.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

the architecture of taste

tuna salad

update, september 2015: mile end's sandwiches now appear to be slipshod execution and heartbreak. look elsewhere for sandwich perfection.

cold tuna/red onion/celery salad with hot fried capers and cold celery leaf (+10 points), self-sauced with a warm soft-center egg and lemon aioli, on warm slices of (i think) raisin pumpernickel grilled in schmaltz on the inside faces only. from mile end sandwich on bond street, an establishment run by people who give a damn about the theory and practice of sandwiches.

toasting the bread on the inside face neatly solves the problem of the toasted outside face becoming too tough or crunchy to bite through without crushing the crumb underneath.* toasting in schmaltz means that the inside face takes a while to get soggy even under the pile of tuna salad. i strongly favour seasoning with sharp bursts of flavour, so the fried capers were particularly welcome. however, there was a bit too much salt sprinkled over the top of the egg (visible above), and i would find a way to put a tasty moisture barrier under salad and aioli to prevent the dressing from oozing out. but these are minor quibbles; this sandwich is a marvel of diverse temperatures, textures, and flavours.

this and mile end's chicken salad are the best sandwiches i've had in years. (yes, they leave even the very fine po'boys and muffulettas of new orleans in the dust. it's not their fault they weren't made by sandwich nerds.)

* architectonic problems like these should keep the owners of high-priced sandwich shops awake at night, yet we are continually beset by sandwiches with fatally flawed construction: breads so resilient that biting through them causes all the filling to splay out in disarray, tomatoes sliced too thickly to be severed in a single bite, fibrous vegetables left in large pieces, dressings of insufficient or excessive viscosity, meats cut along instead of across the grain. the list is depressingly long.