Kansas City, opinion, cocktails, snark.

November 28, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, Jack Rose.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — akcb @ 11:27 pm

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If you find yourself with a few minutes to spare, as I did this afternoon, here’s a thing to drink: the Jack Rose cocktail. I picked up the new Dale DeGroff book, The Essential Cocktail, on an impromptu shopping trip with Scoots last weekend (also, we ended up at the Brick for breakfast, and damn if it wasn’t quite good; more folks should check that out as the place was deserted). It’s quite a good book, with each page devoted to one recipe and often, a subsequent page to variations. The Jack Rose caught my eye for several reasons. It calls for applejack, one of my favorite liquors and for grenadine. The grenadine comes with an admonition against Rose’s and other ready-made products as little more than synthetic flavoring, sugar & preservatives and later in the book a recipe is provided for homemade grenadine.

So, this afternoon I decided to whip up a batch of grenadine. The recipe calls for whacking 3 pomegranates with a wooden spoon, lightly pressing them to release the juice and straining the juice prior to assembling the grenadine. I really wasn’t feeling an afternoon spent chasing little red bb’s around the kitchen and 409ing the subsequent stains to counter and floor, so I opted for POM Wonderful (100% pomegranate juice, pasteurized). It really couldn’t be easier: mix 1 part rich simple syrup (basically 1 part water, 2 parts sugar, heated to dissolve sugar) to 2 parts pomegranate juice.

After picking up The Husband, I assembled the first Jack Rose.

  • 1.5 oz applejack (I used Laird’s 100 proof apple brandy, bottled in bond)
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, heated to dissolve; it keeps in the fridge for about a week)
  • 1/4 oz grenadine
  • marashino cherry or apple wedge (or both) for garnish

Shake over ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish & serve.

For the first one, I followed the recipe and it was quite a lovely shade of pink and had good body. For the second, I ignored the “always shake if the recipe includes a citrus juice” rule and just mixed the cocktail in an old-fashioned glass over ice and gave it a stir. It, too, was delicious.

Next up, I’ll be making homemade maraschino cherries now that I’m seeing Luxardo’s Maraschino liqueur every damn where.

Also, I asked the guy at Gomer’s to see if he could order St. Germain’s Elderflower Cordial, Velvet Falernum, Angostura Orange Bitters and Canton Ginger Liqueur. If anybody’s seen these anywhere in the city, drop me a comment. I can order them on the internets, but would like to my part to create a demand locally.

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I loves my dogs, god knows I do…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — akcb @ 5:23 pm

I’m ready to drive two dogs and one cat into a lake and blame it on a black man. Beebs and Shmo have been tearing around the house at warp speed all morning. It’s quasi-precious in that A) they’re playing in a way The Doo (aka The Good One) and Beebs never did and B) greyhounds just look so darn cute when they’re playing tug o’ war with a knotty rope and pouncing on squeaky toys. Or one of my sneakers as was the case this morning. But it’s not all BJs and roses.

1) Shmo disappeared upstairs. I followed shortly thereafter to discover Beebs standing in the hall with her squeaky Cheesy Poofs toy and Shmo standing in the hall taking a piss. He wagged his tail a bit when he saw me. I shouted ‘bad dog’ and grabbed his collar and hauled him outside where he finished his bidness. I begrudgingly praised him. In we went. While I was mopping up the mess upstairs, The Doo wandered up. I swear to Jeebus she looked at me, looked at the mess, looked back at me and rolled her eyes and sighed. A gallon of Nature’s Miracle doesn’t go as far as one might think when training a just-off-the-track hound.

2) At some point during the morning, the cat pulled an Exorcist number and spray-coated the comforter with vomit. He’s old and much can be forgiven, but after the thunk-thunk-thunk of playful hounds zipping through the house, the pee incident and just general under-footedness, I was not amused.

It’s enough to make a body want a slug of bourbon at 10am.

In other news, I told The Husband I wanted to keep Shmo. When he’s not voiding himself on my carpet, he’s an awesome dog and Beebs and he are pretty much inseparable. I worry about her eventual separation anxiety. As you might imagine, this was not well received. We’ll see who wins the war. I may have a different perspective next week. Meanwhile, they’re adorable when they’re asleep:

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November 25, 2008

Kansas City PSA: Maximus Chocolate Wine Sauce available at Riverside Red-X

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — akcb @ 8:54 pm

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If you havent’ tried it, this is the shiz. A combination of gorgeous cabernet sauvignon and rich dark chocolate, it’s the most decadent chocolate sauce I’ve ever had. It’s fantastic over ice cream or cheesecake, or frankly eaten directly from the bottle. Red-X is, I think, the only place that sells this aside from the Bennett-Lane winery,¬† and they usually sell out pretty quickly, so hurry and stock up for the holidays.

Countdown to Thanksgiving: cranberry relish.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — akcb @ 2:44 am

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My family doesn’t do cooked cranberry sauces. This is the the cranberry dish in our house. My granny made it, my mother makes and now so do I. It’s ridiculously easy and can be made several days in advance and tastes even better as it ages. Also, you get to use a meat grinder! Or the equivalent Kitchenaid attachment. I suppose you could use a food processor though I can’t vouch for the results.

  • 1 12oz bag cranberries
  • 1 unpeeled orange, preferably seedless
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Slice orange into eigths. Remove seeds if not seedless. Run cranberries and orange pieces through fine blade of a meat grinder. Mix in sugar and as many chopped pecans as you like. Chill and store covered in fridge until ready to eat. You can serve in a cut crystal bowl or vintage tupperware, preferably one in burnt orange. These are your only options.

November 20, 2008

Posting some links because its been awhile since I posted some links.

Filed under: Uncategorized — akcb @ 4:22 am

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It’s taken me some time to catch up on my blog reading, but my readers finally down to 130 or so posts now from several thousand. And…

  • I totally missed the throwdown between Midtown Miscreant and Kansas City’s favorite homophobic grifter crimefighter, Alonzo Washington. In short, the Miscreant comes out on top and Washington ends up looking like a huge asshole. Here’s how it started, here’s the rebuttal and here’s the final word from MM.
  • Does anybody know if there’s a local liquor store carrying Fernet-Branca? The more I read, the more I want to try it.
  • PHB presents the case against allowing the majority to vote on civil rights. When will you end up in the minority?
  • Wonder why the terrorists hate us? Wonder if Nick Sloan really believes that? Wonder about the douchiest soft lede to a post I’ve read in awhile? Wonder no more.
  • Read this and tell me you don’t regret messing around with college and a career with a health plan and 401k.

Boycott?

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Attention, local fags, dykes, bisexuals, trannies, queer-identified & questioning, etc., etc., ad nauseum: if you’re still feeling pumped up and full of power after the amazing rally on the Plaza this past weekend, you can turn your anger & attention to a couple of civil-rights stripping businesses with representation here in town.

Normally, I think boycotts are a waste of time, but every once in awhile they work. If you’re in the mood to picket and/or boycott, have at it.

Sprint Center
(Anschutz ¬†Entertainment), headed by right-wing conservative Christofacist d-bag (and Kansas native, natch), Phillip Anschutz. This is a toughie, cuz we mo’s love a show, but Anschutz made large donation in support of Colorado’s Amendment 2 a number of years ago. And since the Celine Dion show has been postponed AND they’re offering your money back on that ticket from your original point of purchase, what an awesome time to say “thanks but no thanks” to an asshole.

Cinemark Theaters. Tough, too. The Plaza Cinemark is awesome because a) it admits no one under 16 without a parent or guardian with a ticket for the same show and 2) they have that fantastic VIP room. However, the owner of Cinemark made a $9,999 donation to California’s proposition 8, a measure which passed banning marriage for same-sex couples after same-sex marriage had been deemed constitutional by the state’s Supreme Court.

Thanks Mo, for the tip.

Countdown to Thanksgiving: green beans with bacon and onion.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — akcb @ 1:57 am

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I adore fresh green beans cooked until crisp-tender. These are not those beans. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely start this recipe with fresh green beans, or frozen if you like; the proportions will be a bit different. But time’s at a premium during the holiday, and snapping and cutting several pounds of green beans definitely infringes on my me-time. Mom always uses home-canned green beans for this, but the good folks at the Jolly Green Giant put out a fine product as well.

Green beans with bacon & onion

For each 15oz can of green beans, you’ll need 1 slice of bacon and 2-3 tablespoons of yellow onion chopped medium.

Cut the bacon into smallish pieces, I usually chop it in half lengthwise and then cut each of those strips into pieces about a quarter of an inch across. In a saucepan or small dutch oven over medium heat, fry the bacon until just done but not crispy. Scoot it to one side of the pan and add the onions. You can drain as much of the bacon grease as you like at this point, depending on how many slices you cooked. A whole onion takes about 2 tbsp of grease, so if you’re just doing a can or two, you can easily get by with one tablespoon of grease. Saute the onion until it turns translucent. Add the beans and liquid from the can. You want the liquid to come to just the top of the beans, so add extra water or chicken stock if you need it. Season with a pinch or two of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer partially covered for an hour. Or two. Or as much as three. Just stir occaisionally and check to make sure the liquid hasn’t boiled away, adding extra if needed. When ready to serve, check seasoning.

Until I was in high school, I didn’t realize green beans could be cooked any other way.

Goddamnit. Or why I won’t be visiting City Tavern again in the near future.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — akcb @ 12:09 am

They fired Shawn Moriarty. As both my regular readers may remember, in the not too distant past I declared him the best bartender in the city. The cheese did not stand alone here. Even people who don’t really care about a well-made cocktail recognized the skill and craft he brought to the bar. From Fat City:

City Tavern owner Dan Clothier said it was one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do. In fact, he told me was sick just thinking about telling Moriarty he was fired. “John is a superior bartender,” he said. “But it was time for City Tavern to re-invent itself and the bar was like a separate business. It was always at odds with what we were trying to do in the dining room. It was like two rooms with completely different personalities. I had an opportunity to change that.”

Yeah, the bar was always packed; the restaurant not so much. I hope it works out for them. I can think of at least three customers who will be visiting with far less regularity.

Moriarty had been with City Tavern since it opened in 2002. He seemed nonplussed by his dismissal, but he’s been a professional bartender for 17 years, so he knows how the industry works. A couple of local venues are already vying for his services.

If anyone gets wind of where he lands, drop a comment.

November 18, 2008

A good day.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — akcb @ 3:43 am

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Shmo, oblivous to Bebe’s charms.

Good stuff happened today.

Shmo learned stairs on his own. When I left home from my lunchtime visit, there were three grumpy muzzled faces downstairs. When I came home, there were three happy muzzled faces upstairs. We’ve been working on stairs since Friday night and had made it past the quaking-in-fear stage, but not to a point where he was ready to tackle them without loving support and guidance. I guess when he realized the girls were going back upstairs to sack out in bed, he decided to conquer his fear and head up with them. I’m a very proud foster-papa.

This afternoon a co-worker and I complained about the lack of heat emanating from the registers near our desk. In short order, a gentleman from facilities services arrived to remedy the sad situation. I commented that it was now toasty like a campfire and we should make s’mores. It struck me that it was an idea whose time had come. So tonight, I made s’mores, toasting the marshmallows over the gas burner on the stove and softening the chocolate in the microwave. We ate them over the sink with Scoots & Mrs. Scoots who’d come to see the new arrival. Sometimes the simple pleasures are the best.

On tap for tomorrow, more Shmo-training & a trip to Red-X and/or Mega-Liquor Mart at 119th & Fallow Field for an apricot brandy or an apricot eau de vie so I can try this delightful cocktail recipe. That apricot-flavored stuff at the Berbiglia is not to be trusted. No apricots were harmed in its making.

November 16, 2008

Teh ghey and friends: from today’s “Join the Impact” rally on the Plaza.

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LA, Ladybird & Mo

We arrived too late for the rally and missed most of the speakers. Under the impression Mo was handling the sign-work, I delivered my sign request earlier in the week. Upon arrival I discovered a bag of markers and some posterboard, so on a park bench Leigh Anne & I did a half-assed job and produced this not-very-attractive but funny sign. Totally lifted that slogan from the internets.

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LA is holding a sign someone passed her as they left. I kinda get, though it could’ve been expressed more clearly. I guess it’s the sentiment that counts.

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