Thursday, May 21, 2009
246 N 8th Street
Needing a break from riding our bikes around in the heat, we decided to pop into Red Feather to sample their martini offerings. They actually are only serving one martini and have two cocktails.
The line up:
Plymouth Gin, Vya Dry Vermouth, Olive
Absolut Vodka, Fresh Ginger, Fresh Lemon, Pineapple, Housemade Ginger Ale
Tequila, Cointreau, Fresh Lime, Fresh Grapefruit, Farm Fresh Egg White, Rhubarb Bitters
Since Plymouth Gin is one of my faves, I was delighted to see it for the martini selection. The Quintesence was tasty but it was not an award winner. It is certainly a drink I would order again but it didn’t have any distinguishing qualities. It was just another martini in my book- a good, solid martini.
The Tolerance Juice was fantastic. The ginger was a great highlight of the drink and really came through in the finish. There was certainly a lot going on in this drink and took a few sips to really break it down but tasty anyway! I saw them make this drink and the Ginger Ale was not homemade but Seagram’s brand.
The Dejabrew was too weird for me. I am not a big fan of the frothy egg white. It creeps me out a little. The other problem with this drink is the over powering tequila. The tequila really over shadowed the delicate flavors in the drink.
We can’t say too much about the service as we only ordered up one round of drinks and no food, so our order was pretty simple and we didn’t stay long.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
855 W Broad Street
We were kind of surprised to see Bonefish on the list of locations as it is not a locally owned restaurant but we were ready to try it out none-the-less. We immediately requested a seat on the patio since it was a perfect day. Our server made us laugh from the very beginning with her quick wit. She let us have it at every opportunity. We loved her!
But let’s get to the drinks:
Titos unfiltered Vodka and Chivas Scotch shaken to create a smoky clean finish. Garnished with a chipotle stuffed olive.
American Honey Manhattan accompanied with a splash of Butterscotch liquor, garnished with a sweet honeyed rim.
Absolut Vodka infused with cucumbers, lime juice, and crushed mint.
We immediately ordered up all three (luckily they still had one El Pepino left). While we waited for our drinks we perused the menu and reviewed our coupons. Two of us had coupons for some appetizers…plus it was happy hour (even on Sunday!). Huge bonus points already!
Back to the drinks. The Smokey….well I’m not sure I got that much “smoke” out of it but it did make me gasp a little from the scotch. I’m not a huge scotch fan though so that was my problem. After a few sips though, I didn’t seem to mind it so much. I guess it is an acquired taste. The chipotle stuffed olives were very spicy.
The Bandit was sneaky good. Who doesn’t like a rim of honey?? And the addition of the butterscotch, definitely yummy. I expected it to be sweeter but it was surprisingly balanced in sweetness and martini-ness.
The El Pepino was served on ice with a cucumber and mint sprig garnish. It was refreshing with the cucumber up front and a mint finish. It may have had a little too much cucumber though; a bit more subtleness would have been better.
Back to food. We ordered up all kinds of goodies from their happy hour menu (3-6pm and 9-close). They seriously had some great deals. 2 Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos for $4 (huge), ½ off coconut shrimp, calamari, and more! And it was all really good.
To sum up the martini mix off….their martinis were fine. To sum up their happy hour….we will definitely be back! And while they are a chain restaurant, we have decided that since they hire locals to staff it, it is still a place we can patron!
610 Grove Street
Stop 3 of Martini Mix-off 2009
I’d like to provide full disclosure from the beginning here. I’m not a huge fan of Bardenay. There vodka sucks…tastes like tequila which would be fine if I was ordering tequila but not when I’m ordering vodka. Plus the place is noisy and doesn’t have great energy flow. Ok, there I said it all, now moving on to Martinis!
This year they are mixing up:
Bardenay Gin, Bardenay Vodka, and Lillet Blanc “shaken not stirred”
The Sixth Sense
Absolut Citron, Six traditional spices, and a house prepared juice blend of watermelon, honeydew, and lemon
Absolut Peppar, Yellow Chartreuse, Yazi Ginger Vodka, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, Starbuck’s Coffee Liqueur, Oregon Chai, a float of cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
The Bardenay Bond was served with one of our favorite garnishes- the bleu cheese stuffed olive. Yum! This martini had an in-your-face alcohol taste. There wasn’t much subtleness to it at all, much like the recent Bond films, so appropriately named. It might be better just made with the gin since the vodka sucks.
The Sixth Sense was a favorite of a few at the table. I found it to be a bit too fruity, or at least watermelon-y but I’m not a fan of watermelon. If you like sweet and you like fruity, you will like this one!
The Masala Martini was definitely unique. Upon the first sip, the chai flavor of the spices really comes out. Then suddenly the finish is this big spicy kick from the Absolut Peppar. Beautiful presentation of an Asian symbol made with a dusting of cinnamon on top. This is dessert in a glass.
Overall, we didn’t come to a unanimous choice at this location. Service was adequate. We did not order food. Not sure any of us would return specifically for any of the martini options.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
601 Main Street
Stop 2 of Martini mix-off 2009
My friends and I met for brunch, martinis, and bottomless mimosas on a fine Sunday morning. There is some nice seating outside but all the seats out of the sun were already taken so we opted for inside dining. The restaurant seemed short on staff initially when it took some time before seeing any staff but once they came out of hiding we received excellent service.
We were quite impressed with the brunch menu. While it was not a huge selection, it had just the right amount of options to please all. The prices were great as well, ranging from $5-$9 with excellent sized portions. Each of us raved about our dishes with not one negative remark to be had. Brunch, along with $6 bottomless mimosas is enough to make anyone happy….of course we didn’t stop there….we were there for martinis!
We ordered up one of each of the options:
Blue-By-You- (Classic Martini)
Magellan Gin served with a Kumquat garnish
Limonare (Cocktail category)
Seagrams Gin, Campari, Lemoncello, lemon sour, flamed lemon peel garnish
French Connection (Original martini)
Martell VS Cognac, Charteuse and Barenjager, Liquers, lime sour, honeycomb garnish
We thought we would like the French Connection the least but it turned out to be, hands down, the best! The combination was very odd but it worked so incredibly well together and had the perfect balance of the flavors. With just a little taste of the honeycomb and a sip of the cocktail, heaven emerges. So fantastic!
The idea behind the Blue-By-You is to take a sip, then a small bite of the kumquat, then another sip. The gin is actually made from Iris (and several other spices and botanicals) and the kumquat brings out its essence. The blue tint of the gin naturally occurs from the botanicals. The blue and orange contrast adds to its beautiful presentation. While it is a very good martini, it didn’t create a buzz at the table. I liked it but it hasn’t been my favorite.
The Limonare was different. Campari definitely is the predominant flavor in this beverage and unique for sure. This drink looked like it would be fruity but it was rather tart, almost bitter. Not to say this is a negative, just that it appeals to a select few…..I am not one of them.
This turned out to be a great stop on the list! Brunch at Pair will definitely happen again!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
705 Fulton Street
Stop 1 of the Martini Mix-Off 2009
This year’s mix-off maintains the Classic and Original categories while throwing in a cocktail category. This worked well when 3 of us participated at Tablerock Brew Pub. We each ordered a different drink and were able to sample all.
I ordered the Classic titled JudgSmails. It was made with British Dry Gin and Lillet. It had a sweetness to it not what I usually find in a classic martini. No garnish but I suggested a lemon or orange twist would be appropriate. This was a nice, smooth martini. The gin had a subtleness that I enjoyed as I do not care for the often over-powering juniper flavor of many gins.
Monica ordered the Original titled Lacey Vinderale. It was a combination of Tarragon infused Absolut (the event’s sponsor), Absolut Citron, and pink grapefruit juice. While I found the tarragon infusion to add great interest to this drink, the tartness was a bit overwhelming. It also appeared to only be regular grapefruit juice instead of pink which would probably help to greatly improve the cocktail. Again, this was not served with a garnish.
Fran is not a big fan of the martini, so she selected the Cocktail: Ty Webb. This lovely cocktail included Absolut, Chambord, Fume Blanc, and (supposedly) fresh grapes. Said grapes never did appear.....again, no garnish?!?! The glass did arrive sugar rimmed with cocktail on the rocks. The cocktail had a nice amount of sweetness to it and all the flavors were well balanced.
All-in-all we enjoyed our brief time at Tablerock Brew Pub. The service was decent, a bit confused at times, but fine just the same. It was nice having a patio to enjoy our cocktails and a bike rack for our rides. While the cocktails were all pleasant, I’m not sure they have what it takes to compete against some of the competition. And please, add some garnish!!