I'm just back from dinner at the new Craigie Street Bistrot location/ upgrade, Craigie on Main, and it exceeded all possible expectations.
Holy shit. I said it again.
Sat by myself at what they call "stadium seating", which is a four seat counter that gives one a first hand view of the entire dinner service operation. The kitchen (except for the dish station) is completely exposed, meaning you can sit down and watch your meal being prepared at every step.
I had intended to sit at the bar but there was a wait of up to an hour so I said fuck that shit and took a seat at the counter. Sipping on a camino, (manhattan variation) which is a Tom Schlesinger original, I checked out the menu. Everything looked great. I am vegetarian with about 800 food allergies, so my choices are always limited when dining out. I had been to the Craigie Street Bistrot a couple times and they were aware of and sympathetic to my allergies and dietary restrictions.
First course was potage of macomber turnips with curry oil and crispy pork jowls, which I obviously went without. The soup itself was great, lovely texture, nice and hot, served with a nicely sized spoon larger than your typical soup spoon, which I appreciated. Curry oil was good but there wasn't enough for it to work as a major component of the soup, more like it was an accent for a few spoonfuls. Enjoyed a glass of vouvray with that, my choice and the server enthusiastically agreed with me.
Second course was the buckwheat polenta with foraged mushrooms and carrot jus. God damn that shit was good. Went with a glass of Bordeaux Supérieur Domaine de Courteillac, per the server's recommendation. My only previous experiences with buckwheat had been old SNL skits and some buckwheat pancakes that I had somewhere once.
Dessert was ginger pain perdue with young ginger ice cream and cranberries. I had a Prospect Park with that and it went well.
Dinner without tip was $92, which was well worth it for three courses, two cocktails and two glasses of wine. Craigie on Main is the real deal, there is no other place like this in Boston and if there is somewhere else like this in this country I'd like to know so that I can go there.
i know a lot of people who drink a lot. alcoholics, drunks, whatever one wants to be called, i could care less. i worked at a club for a few years and some of the people who worked and hung out there would claim to experience blackouts induced by too much alcohol. i didn't always believe them, often because the supposed blackout always was spoken of after someone told them they had done something really shitty and obnoxious the night before.
"it must have been all the maker's i had"
"oh i shouldn't have done those shots with the band".
these kinds of excuses were offered after having gotten in a fist fight with someone or calling their friend's girlfriend a cunt or trying to fuck their friend's girlfriend, either before or after calling her a cunt. that kind of bullshit behavior was often excused by the swearing up and down of no recollection. no one wanted to call bullshit on anyone else playing the blackout card, because then they wouldn't be able to do the same.
it seemed too convenient. i did believe that it was possible, the blackout, but that was nothing i had ever experienced. i am aware of my limits when it comes to alcohol, and i respect them very much because it takes me a full day, at least, to recover and feel normal after drinking too much. "too much" for me is somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-7 drinks, depending on what i'm having. i am on the thin side and don't metabolize alcohol that well anyway. i also don't like getting totally fucked up and being that person. that being understood, occasionally said limits are ignored.
the first time this resulted in a blackout was about two months ago. i was at eastern standard to check out the bartender exchange with the new york bar please don't tell. i met up with a some friends at the bar, and daniel (from pdt) made us some drinks. my first was some kind of martini variation, i forget already what it was, but gin based. it was damn good, and down the hatch it went. i had another, this one was poured by bob and was a rye based cocktail. bob is one of my favorite bartenders in the city, always happy to take the time to talk with me about whatever i'm drinking and answer the questions i have. i've learned a lot from various bartenders around town in this manner, ordering a drink and then talking with them about the ratio, variations, qualities of different brands of the same spirit and whatever other relevant information i can think to squeeze out of them.
while i was hanging out at the bar, i decided that i would go to new york, if i could get the next day off, and go to pdt and have some drinks with kevin, who was the eastern standard representative, and another of my favorite bartenders. i called the other bartender at my work and he agreed to switch shifts so that i could drive down and get some drinks.
drink number two was gone. i was eating a beet salad and baked raclette, so i had some wine. two glasses.
from there i went to deep ellum. at this point i was not making the best choices. sat down at the bar, and the bartender asked me if i wanted a beer that she had just opened by mistake. i said "why not?". it was some type of lagunitas, is all i'm sure of. again, my recollection of what exactly i had that night is cloudy. it was between 8 and 9% alcohol, i do remember that, though. i drank most of it, then stumbled out the door. the last thing i remembered from that night was walking away from deep ellum, which is three blocks from my house, so i'm guessing i went straight home, but can't be sure.
the next thing i can recall is waking up in the morning. in bed, undressed, not feeling like i drank too much. i felt fine. it didn't occur to me that i didn't remember going to bed until i ran into my roommate two days later and he asked me if i was still going to new york.
"no, that didn't work out. wait, when did i tell you i was going to new york?"
"monday night. you said you were going down there and then we talked about your ex-girlfriend; you said that you could probably have sex with her but you weren't sure if you were going to."
"for real? i have no memory at all of seeing you. i said that? i didn't think i was that drunk..."
"yeah you were pretty drunk, we hung out for a little while, then you went to bed."
i thought back and tried to remember anything at all. i checked my phone and saw that i had called him at 12:40 am, which i didn't remember. as hard as i tried i couldn't remember anything past leaving deep ellum. my last memory was looking to my left, at the fence surrounding the construction site next door to the bar.
i was embarrassed, disgusted with myself, and also intrigued. i imagine blackout as a loss of control, of sorts. something i have been more interested in as i've gotten older. the letting go of what your waking consciousness wants. instead, you're on autopilot and won't deny yourself any impulse. i hope that that's what it's like. i have repeatedly said out loud that i would without hesitation take ghb if there was someone that would chaperone me and steer me clear from serious trouble. maybe they would just take me around and have me do things that they thought i should experience. a day designed by someone else, for me. things that i would never recall. theoretically.
would these be buried deep inside but still somehow affect me? like a long repressed memory you finally recover that helps you make sense of something you've always sensed, but couldn't make sense of. why you felt a certain way in someone's presence, or reacted to a specific aroma, or continually chose to fuck up your life for no apparent reason...
In continuing with what I was saying in an earlier post the things that I used to love are still great if not greater. That is if the sound guy at the Palladium in Worcester decides to find a new career or go back to sound guy school or wherever the fuck he didn't learn to do sound. A lot of what the sisters are is Andrew Eldrichs vocals which were mostly inaudible and barely comprehensible. I don't know shit about a sound board but I assume that turning everything to 11 is not the best way to run a deck. With that being said the show was what I would expect from these guys and the crowd was what I would expect from Worcester. A small sampling of old friends, a large sampling of people that looked vaguely familiar but I just couldn't remember from all of this shit. The music had the driving quality of most of the Sisters catalog, but the sound quality? The crowd seemed more excited during tracks off Vision Thing than Floodland or First and Last and Always which I though was weird, but hey, to each his own. A fun night overall and a great excuse for thirtysomethings to come out looking like this.
The Sisters of Mercy never toured when I was really into them in the nineties and I don't know If I would have been able to appreciate their whole show back then. Some of the kids last night looked to be as into the Sisters as I was, and to be able to stand aside as a passive observer was something I though best of all. Wondering if these kids really did think that the world was conspiring against them, or that the government really did owe them something, or that what they were experiencing was he most important thing in their lives.
I wonder if they really wanted to "keep warm, burn the rich".
the bijou is a cocktail that i've recently been introduced to, by the lovely nicole l., of eastern standard. i like the drink and have recommended it to one regular where i work. he liked it; enough to order the drink again on a later occasion. it's not for everyone, but it's damn good for the right person. as i was told, the pour is equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and green chartreuse, stirred with ice for a good while, so it gets nice and cold and waterized. what you get when it's cooled down enough is a beautiful amber colored mixture, with a nice and delicate nose. garnish with a lemon twist or not, it works either way.
anyway, i went to what will remain a bar and ordered a bijou, which was recognized but not immediately known by the bartender, which is fine. there are plenty drinks that i, as a novice bartender, (i use that term liberally to describe myself), kind of know, as in i have definitely heard of or read about the drink, but never poured one or only maybe once, never ordered one at any bar, and am definitely not sure of all of the actual ingredients and how it's measured, served and garnished.
for example, one drink that i have made, (i think only once), is a blood and sand. off the top of my head, it's scotch based, and i think is served up. i'll check the drinkboy link now to make sure.
getting back to the bijou, drinkboy says one thing, wikipedia says another, cocktaildb.com gives a third version. wiki's entry is really stupid, in the article it says garnish with a cherry, and there's a picture of what is supposedly a bijou, but when you look close you see that it's garnished with both an olive and a lemon twist. what the fuck is that shit? a discrepancy like that makes me want to disregard all of the actual information that is supplied. if you look closer, you see that the wiki recipe comes from a site called the cocktail doctor, and on that site the long island iced tea is listed as the number one drink. again, things like this all bring very strong doubts to my mind.
i think you can see where i'm going with this. there are so many people who think they know what they are talking about when it comes to drinks (and everything else...); i've found that most people don't know what they are talking about. i consider myself a novice, but what i do know i am sure of, and the rest i am glad to admit that i don't know, so instead of being over confident and giving someone what i think is the right drink, i instead pick up something new from them and try it out somewhere else, further down the road. i get people coming in all the time asking for a drink i haven't heard of. i make it for them how they describe, and they always love it. it's not always a drink i think is great, or even good, but it's the drink that they want, and that's what counts.
For some reason I find myself more and more interested in things from my past that don't have anything to do with where my life is currently. I don't know if it's just typical human development, but as I progress into my thirties I'm drawn more and more to the music I listened to in high school, the styles I wore, the things I read. I know Tom Robbins has written a lot more books since Jitterbug Perfume, but i can't seem to stop thinking about base notes or maybe taking some kind of continuing education class on becoming a perfumer. I know that I might be looked at strangely driving around with Bonzo's Montreux boomin out the trunk but theres just something about John Bonhams squeaky drum pedal that makes me wanna just fucking rock! This brings me to the Airwalk Prototype Reflex. The holy grail of my fledgling sneaker fetish. Not a day goes by that I'm not scouring Ebay for just one pair to pop up. Size isn't even important. I'll probably just look at them anyway. How could you risk dirtying the sickest sneakers ever?! The same sneakers I had in seventh grade. Somebody once told me that the person you really wanted to be when you were twelve is the person you end up being eventually. Kind of makes sense for me when you consider that I'm on my second Volkswagen and was previously a proud subscription holder of VW Trends magazine in sixth grade.