It’s Five o’ Clock (or Six o’ Clock) Somewhere

June 27th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, HG is a great fan of the cocktail hour. In HG’s younger days, 5PM began the imbibing of extra dry gin martinis (known as “icy steelies” or “silver bullets”). HG recalls knocking off three super sized cocktail hour martinis at Michael’s Pub, the Hotel Drake Bar and the Russian Tea Room (in that vodka proud room, 100 proof vodka instead of gin), and remaining upright and in command (relatively) of talking and good manners. The martini diet made HG amorous and led to adventures (good and bad). Dorothy Parker summed up this aspect of martini drinking: “One martini. Two at most. Three, I’m under the table. Four, I’m under the host”. Now in his late 80’s, HG has pushed the cocktail hour to 6PM. Being still in love with BSK, wife of almost 53 years, HG is not adventurous but relishes 6PM cocktail hour with the delightful woman. BSK is a devotee of white wine with a splash of Aperol, ice and a lemon squeeze. HG sticks to stronger drink. PEI distilled Myriad View gin (wonderful botanicals) with Pernod or Campari. Negroni composed of one-third Jack Daniel’s, one third dry vermouth, one third sweet vermouth, lemon juice. Vodka with Campari. Tequila, half and half with dry vermouth, lots of lime juice. 6PM begins sunset over the sea. Since PEI is far north, the sunset drama continues until 10PM. Miles Davis music adds another dimension to alcohol-fueled pleasure. Don’t miss those traditional, abundant martinis.


Cocktail Discoveries

May 6th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Joy in the HG household. HG has discovered a new pre-dinner cocktail: The Vesper Martini. This has become a favorite in Santa Fe’s hip sipping circles. Here’s how you do it. Fill a shaker with ice. Add one part vodka and one part gin. A modest splash of Lillet (the French, slightly sweet aperitif wine). Pour into a (pre-chilled in the freezer, of course) martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. A lovely, lethal drink with a nice French accent.

HG has also made some good, inexpensive wine discoveries. Italy’s Contadino sparkling Pinot Grigio (BSK’s pre-dinner choice) which is wonderful drunk straight or mixed with Aperol in the classic Venetian “Spriss.” Also, Argentina’s Trivento Reserve Malbec tickles the HG palate with a spicy complexity.

Sidney Kaye And HG’s RTR Charge Account.

May 8th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has posted before about the wonders of the Russian Tea Room when it was run by the late, great Sidney Kaye. HG had a charge account at RTR and since his offices were directly across the street from the restaurant, HG lunched there at least three times a week. There was also an occasional blini-red caviar-melted butter-sour cream weekend brunch. A few sumptuous dinners here and there, not to mention a good number of after work vodkas at the bar. In time HG’s tab began to resemble the national debt. Then, for some reason, monthly statements stopped coming. Guilty HG phoned Sidney. Here’s Sidney’s response: “Goddamn bookkeeper. Can’t anybody do anything right? I should fire everyone and start all over again. You owe me money? So what? You’re the least of my worries. Goodbye,” Hangs up.

HG kept eating and charging.

Living Well Is The Best Revenge

May 4th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

In the early years of their marriage, HG and BSK often suffered from the money shorts. This did not prevent the Young Marrieds (and recent parents) from living very well. Indeed, when wallets were empty, HG and BSK went to the sumptuous Oak Room of the Plaza Hotel where HG had a charge account. The Oak Room radiated chic and old fashioned glamour. HG and BSK once dined at a table next to one occupied by Cary Grant and a merry party. It was a fitting setting for that most debonair of movie stars.

And what was on the menu for impecunious but happy HG and BSK? Beverages: Icy vodka martinis (for HG), carafes of the very good house Chablis and house burgundy (for BSK and HG) . First course: Thinly sliced Scottish smoked salmon with capers, lemon and olive oil. Buttered brown bread. Main: Tournedos (rare chunks of the center of beef tenderloin) in a fragrant wine sauce. Sides: Souffle potatoes wrapped in a linen napkin and served in a silver dish. Braised celery topped with beef marrow. Dessert: Chocolate pots de creme. Truly luxe dining. And, the Plaza never murmured when it took HG six months to pay the bill.

Mussels: Look For That PEI Identity.

May 3rd, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Mussels are a splendid food. Relatively inexpensive. Tasty. Healthy. But, heed HG: Only Prince Edward Island Mussels are worth eating. Like the Island itself, PEI mussels are a gentle taste underscored by a firm body. They are invariably sand and grit free and their mellow flavor marries perfectly with myriad sauces and preparations. Maine mussels seem to lack substance. New Zealand mussels are over sized and tasteless.

Here’s how HG prepares mussels: Soften onions and garlic in a spacious saute pan. When soft, add the mussels. Add a bottle of clam juice (or some fish stock if you have it) and some white wine. Mix with salt and red pepper flakes plus chopped Italian parsley. Cover. Turn up heat to moderate high and cook until the mussels are open. Top with some more parsley. You can serve these as a starter with some crusty bread to sop up the sauce; for something more substantial, cook some linguine and add the pasta to the steamed mussels.

Always cook more mussels than you can eat. Take the left overs out of their shells and refrigerate. Next day mix them with some mustard mayonnaise. You’ve got a great lunch or dinner appetizer.

The frozen in time New York bistro, Le Veau D’or, always served a big freebie of mussels in mustard mayonnaise. In days of yore, HG would consume them with an icy martini. That would be followed by Beaujolais and steak frites. Nice workday lunch. If HG attempted it today, HG would be off to slumberland before putting down knife and fork.

Tasty Mr. Peanut

March 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Unchanging. Slightly retro. HG refers to Planters Salted Cocktail Peanuts. Crack open that pop-top lid and revel in whooosh of escaping air and fresh, peanut aroma. Grab a handful and yes, they’re nice with an ice cold martini. But, don’t stop there. These nuts have many delightful uses. HG likes to sprinkle them on a steaming bowl of congee. They are irreplaceable in a Tin Roof, the dessert of vanilla ice cream, Hershey’s chocolate syrup—and crunchy, salty peanuts. They are a splendid accompaniment to chicken curry. They are a nice addition to a chicken or beef or pork stir fry. When making a chicken salad with last night’s roast chicken add Planters to a dressing of mayonnaise and chutney. Make a place in your pantry for Planters’ unassuming, pleasant little treat.

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