I went back to Austin, Texas last week for Passover. It's the town I grew up in, and thus naturally where I learned to drink. I'm going to follow with a couple of posts about my visit--my first in two years--and reflections on the drinking I did then versus what I do now.
As baseball season approaches we’re all aware of the myriad places around the ballpark to drink Vodka drinks (e.g. Paragon), stand and chatter in claustrophobic throngs (Momo’s), etc. But just a block down from where you can guzzle margaritas (Tres Agaves), there is now a place to sip Sauvignon Blanc, munch on risotto balls and rhapsodize about Pinot Noir. The name of the place is District and it brings a touch of sophistication to a neighborhood that needed it.
As I became older and more conscious of foods, though, I became fearful of store-bought egg nog. Its third and fourth ingredients were high fructose corn syrup and just plain corn syrup, with artificial flavors, salt and something called carrageenan thrown in for good measure. It’s unnatural viscosity started to seem creepy, and I stopped drinking it.
Bartenders around town have been reporting a heightened frequency of orders for the Vesper. This is no doubt because of the popularity of the new James Bond film, which is said to present a harder, more serious Bond instead of that wry, wisecracking guy we all started to hate (I have yet to see the film).
Welcome to the drinking blog. Every week, I'll be corresponding in this space about all the fun one can have in this town when it comes to imbibing.
One such place—a new spot in the Haight called The Alembic (www.alembicbar.com)—might be technically considered a restaurant with a bar, but in fact it is the opposite. Most of the long, narrow space is dominated by a long and generous bar, while the dining area is civilly kept small and to the rear.