Returning to my beloved New Orleans, a city I’ve explored extensively via a path laden with jazz, Dixieland, Zydeco, Ramos Gin Fizzes, Sazeracs, Cajun and Creole food, there were ever more finds, both new and classic. The sweltering humid heat of July during Tales of the Cocktail is not ideal weather to fill up on po boys and boudin, but I managed, and in so doing, savored more of the soul of this most soulful of places.
Though I returned to modern day favorites like Cochon (rabbit and dumplings, boudin and fried alligator, thank you) or ordered appetizers and drinks at the bar at brand new Criollo in the Hotel Monteleone, following are restaurants I’d add to my already long, Nola neighborhood lists – and only one real disappointment.
More than 50 places in one week… I may not have covered all of Portland this May, but I certainly made a dent. So much so that my Portland reviews are broken up in a four part series. Soaking wet half the week, I biked out to neighborhoods East, West, and North with my usual (if grumpy, cold, and irritable) tenacity to dig in and taste the soul and breadth of a place rather than its veneer. Join me as I drink, and eat, my way through the rainy town up north.
As cocktail bars are required to serve food in Portland, cocktails and food are intertwined – and strong – at many a locale. Though I separate out cocktails and restaurants, there are numerous places where both are worth making your way to so you’ll see some restaurants listed here and in next issue’s Portland restaurant article.
An array of new liquor tastes, and a Whiskyfest recap
NAVY STRENGTH GIN REACHES US SHORES
Unforgettable: my journey to the south of England town of Plymouth and its legendary distillery with Master Distiller Sean Harrison. Possibly the most beautiful distillery I’ve yet visited. I relished drinking Plymouth Navy Strength ($34.99) while in the UK, a bracing version of their classic gin at 57% ABV/114 proof, the preferred gin of the British Royal Navy.
Though still smooth like Plymouth gin, Navy Strength packs a greater botanical punch, enlivening cocktails. The good news is it finally arrived to the US merely weeks ago in September so drink up.
Inside scoop from Anchor Distilling: A new clear hops spirit, line of Japanese whiskies, rooftop bar, world's most extensive cocktail book library, and more
Anchor Distilling is a local treasure. Fritz Maytag pioneered craft beer and craft spirits in America long before most were even thinking about it. Tracing back Fritz' brewing days to the 1960s puts San Francisco squarely on the map as a leader and trendsetter in beer, while in spirits Fritz -- alongside Jorg Rupf at St. George, and Hubert Germain-Robin of Germain-Robin -- were all pioneering American craft spirits here in Northern California decades before the current renaissance.
APPETITE Not since State Bird Provisions and AQ opened towards the end of 2011 have I been as excited about an opening. Evan and Sarah Rich's new Rich Table is, kinks and all, even in the first month, well-rounded and satisfying. With efficient, informed service, reasonably priced wine list, few but well-crafted cocktails, a comfortable dining room with rustic-urban decor, and most importantly, a number of exquisite dishes, Rich Table is primed for greatness.Read more »
APPETITE Most memorable restaurants boasts an overarching standard of quality to their menus. Other times, one dreams of specific items from certain spots. Here are a few places worth trekking out to for unique dream dishes.