SF’s first annual WhiskyFest was a few weeks ago (you can read all about it in Jordan’s recap, WhiskyFest Report), and while I missed the event, I made up for it on Halloween. I had two stops that night—the latter one involving a costume—so I donned my magenta wig, painted on some makeup and ran to event number one—a whisky-pairing dinner at Absinthe for Suntory Yamazaki.
Jordan has always put a stress on its wines being food-friendly, so it was no surprise that as soon as our first glass of wine was in hand—a 2005 chardonnay—a parade of plates started streaming out of the kitchen. First up, a gelee of Japanese cucumber topped with Transmontanus Rex (aka Idaho white sturgeon) caviar. Fast on its heels came little pillows of Peruvian scallop served ceviche-style with salty caps of osetra caviar. I had three helpings, they were so good.
Garden tomato salad
The tomato is a complicated item. Its pronunciation isn’t the only conundrum—toe-may-toe or toe-mah-to? Many also wonder: Is it a fruit or a veggie?
Dried açaí, Milk of Millennia and VeeV neat
If you haven’t heard about açaí, it’s likely you’ve been living under a rock. After all, Oprah named it her #1 superfood, Dr. Perricone proclaims its anti-aging properties and The Washington Post deemed it “the new pomegranate.” Back in my ultra-healthy days, you’d catch me making smoothies with açaí; these days I’m more likely to be drinking cocktails with it—I’m banking on the hope that the antioxidant punch is still potent in its liquored-up form.
Like an alcohol-related hangover, the best cure is the hair of the dog—in this case, more traveling. Since most of us can’t ask our bosses for time off right after returning, the next best alternative is to treat yourself to your favorite vacation-like activities in your own hometown. The best thing about doing this is that you know all the good spots to hit.
Bartenders have been playing around with fresh herbs lately, so I decided to try my hand at it, using basil from my parents garden up in Sonoma, the handle of a wooden spoon as my muddler and some citron vodka as a start. From there, I looked for inspiration on Hangar One’s website, where they have a whole bevy of good cocktail recipes. My final—very popular, I might add—concoction was based on SF bartender David Nepove’s recipe called The Retreat. The only difference is that I only swirled each glass with a good dash of Pernod (the anise-flavor of Pernod perfectly reflects the basil), rather than go for a full ounce. I also added a bit of cointreau to the shaker. If you serve it on the rocks, top with club soda as Nepove does.