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Monday, May 30, 2011

April and May Cocktails

There were no April and May cocktails. More drinking starting tomorrow...

March Cocktail - Tom Collins

I'll admit the Tom Collins was a disappointment. Not a drink that I couldn't enjoy, but more or less a bland drink that I could never achieve balance within.

I bought Tom Gin specifically for this drink and then played with the other ingredients.

My final recipe included:
  • 2 oz. Tom Gin
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • sparkling water to fill
In a highball full of good ice, I added the ingredients, stirred and sipped. My feeling - fine, nothing great.

Locanda Vini e Olii Visit (4 of 12)

Last month, we visited arguably the most charming restaurant in all of Brooklyn. I'd been wanting to go there for ten years (before we even lived in Brooklyn). The restaurant: Locanda Vini e Olli.

What makes a restaurant charming (to me)? I thought about this a lot since our meal. There are probably five aspects that make a place charming:
  1. Lighting - The restaurant's lighting and the ambient lighting from the street create a cozy feel that doesn't feel forced. Everyone looks nice in this lighting and you can actually see everyone in the restaurant.
  2. Age - The restaurant walls, tables, wainscoting - all of it feels aged but not dated or beaten up. Many times you enter a restaurant and there are scuff marks on the bottoms of doors, the chairs and tables sit unevenly, and the paint looks worn. Not here. It all feels like a different time, but a very clean and organized different time.
  3. Graciousness - The staff inserted information and highlighted menu items in perfect balance. And the way they spoke to us made us feel in complete control.
  4. Flowers - A few, big bouquets make a space more charming.
  5. Wine service - The correct, impeccably clean wine glasses along with perfectly decanted and served wine makes a restaurant more charming.
We were fortunate to go with our friends - Drink & Eat. Great conversation and outstanding lectures on the importance of long-term care, country weekend living, and the plight of middle school.

So what did we eat. Well we had the tasting menu and it felt like we had everything at the restaurant. Among the many dishes were a series of tremendous pastas - including one made without wheat flour (chestnut flour instead). All were perfectly cooked and allowed the noodle to shine; the sauce just supported the noodle. We had marinated anchovies that were excellent - sweat, salty and a little fishy. And at the end we had a tremendous rare duck breast that nobody could finish.

Even the marinated olives tasted better than olives at specialty stores or other restaurants.

We enjoyed two bottles, allowing the captain to select the second bottle. He picked an excellent red that was priced right in-line with my first selection (that's a huge pet peeve of mine).

Locanda isn't cheap, but it's a great value. We had four tasting menus, 2 bottles of wine, tax & tip for $360 (for four).