Friday, September 9, 2011

Buvare: Tiki Ti +

The Table Set has already led to some super fun conversation topics... How to sneak a bar in your luggage, cooking an ostrich egg, octopus for breakfast, and if it's OK to wine and dine.. yourself. (Of course it is).
But the most gratifying topic for me so far has been this week's Tiki episode. Tiki has long been a passion of mine, seeded by Disneyland, but really warming up a decade ago bartending an annual summer tiki party thrown by my parents in our backyard (complete with Kalua Pig), and being of age to enter Tucson's infamous Kon Tiki.

As part of our "research" for this podcast episode, Greg, Andy and I decided we really must meet up for happy hour at the second happiest place on earth, Los Feliz's legendary Tiki Ti.

Opened in 1961 by Ray Buhen, a former bartender at the original tiki bar Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood, the Tiki Ti has remained a family legacy, still run Mike Sr. (below) and Mike Jr. Buhen. A tried and true relic, Tiki Ti has outlasted all of its kind in Hollywood and is an worldwide icon - and the closest taste one can get today to Don's original "Rum Rhapsodies."

Can't decide between the 90 tropical drinks on menu? Leave it up to the fate of the wheel! Andy did!

I started proper with a bracing, scurvy-fighting Navy Grog.

Greg survived the Blood and Sand, poured to the chants of "Toro! Toro! Toro!" from the bar.

Round two: Three Mai Tais, please (the real kind!).

As further research for this podcast episode, Greg gained us access to a private home tiki bar built from scratch in an Echo Park basement. I literally almost fell over when we walked inside. It is basically the culmination of all that is tiki holy. Andy put together this video about our experience.

Curious what drink I made? Well that friends would be a Jumbee Bumbo. A whosit? Yep. Naming a tiki drink is a bit like trying to land a domain name. It's probably taken, or ridiculous. But I think this name fits the stormy, spicy, potent punch well. A Jumbee is a malevolent mythological spirit in the folklore of some Caribbean countries, mostly in the Lesser Antilles. Bumbo was a popular potable in the Caribbean during the era of piracy largely because it tasted better than the Royal Navy's Grog, a classic punch of rum, water, sugar, and nutmeg. So... basically it be Ghost Grog!

Jumbee Bumbo

1 oz Mount Gay Eclipse Barbados Rum
1 oz Kraken Black Spiced Rum
1/2 oz orgeat
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz fresh orange juice
1 barspoon hibiscus syrup*
cinnamon stick

Combine liquids in a cocktail shaker over ice. Crack the cinnamon stick and add. Shake and double strain into an old-fashioned glass or tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Dust with fresh grated nutmeg and garnish with shaved orange peel. And a blue maraschino cherry should you have one!

*For hibiscus syrup, stir equal parts evaporated cane juice (or sugar) and water over moderate heat until dissolved. Remove from heat, add dried hibiscus blossoms and cover for 10 minutes. Strain and cool. Keep in the refrigerator.

Listen to the Table Set talk TIKI here!
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gala Parfait: Pool Party

I've never been good at juggling.
At some point I guess I just stopped trying because after bruising so much fruit, I thought hey better to just eat this apple.
But in life I grew pretty adept at it. An over-achieving high school student who opted for a full college course load plus three jobs, sometimes a band... to a full-time career, a food blog, busy lifestyle... and sometimes a band. But age and energy are funny things. I remember when five hours of sleep was enough, and hangovers lasted but a few pesky morning hours. I recall lightning quick reflexes and prose that spilt from the pen with ease.

You may have noticed the Chocolate of Meats lightening in load. I suppose that's natural. Sure, life gets in the way sometimes, but also it's become a saturated market - The numbers don't tug at my conscience to use this forum to keep my public up to date with every happening about town (but that's what Twitter is for, right?). I enjoy it when I can, or when the experience rings with a truth I am called to share. I'm looking at blogger responsibility in a new light.

So back to juggling. If you follow ChocoMeat then you've also probably noticed me increasingly mention my podcast The Table Set with Greg of Sippitysup and Andy of Wind Attack. We were invited to participate in this venture by the venerable Joy the Baker, which in all honesty is when I threw out the analytics and stopped questioning whether I had something to offer the world or not. Of course I did, and no longer just through my bourbon-stained blog. Thank you, Homefries.

The point of all of this, really, was to express that The Table Set has been allowing me to explore ChocoMeat's interests on a larger scale. Now once a week I get to talk about parties. Thoughtful entertaining, from small to large scale. Creating experiences. And of course what drink to pair it all with.

Our premiere podcast was about throwing a winning pool party. So when we discussed actually throwing a first-ever Table Set event to tie up summer, what better way?? Check it out.

For the party, I whipped up this version of the San Francisco prohibition classic Pisco Punch, made by infusing Pisco (a strong Peruvian spirit made from distilling fermented grapes) with fresh pineapple in place of traditional pineapple gum syrup. While you can discard the pineapple after infusing the Pisco, if you want a REAL party, toss them in the punch bowl like I did. Just warn your guests!

Pisco Punch
Adapted from Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club via New York Magazine

2 (750-ml) bottles of pisco capel
2 pineapples
4 limes, zested
32 oz simple syrup, chilled
2 white grapefruit
32 oz fresh lemon juice
2 l club soda
mint sprigs for garnish, optional
fresh hibiscus blossoms for garnish, optional

Make the pineapple Pisco: Cut pineapple into 1/2-inch chunks, and put into a large covered jar. Add the Pisco. Cover, shake to agitate, and refrigerate for 3 days.
Make the lime syrup: Add the lime zest to 16 ounces of cold simple syrup. Cover, shake to agitate, and refrigerate for 24 hours. Strain away zest and store in refrigerator.
Make the grapefruit syrup: Add the grapefruit zest to remaining 16 ounces of cold simple syrup. Cover, shake to agitate, and refrigerate for 24 hours. Strain away zest and store in refrigerator.
Make the punch: In large bowl, combine pineapple infused Pisco and all of the pineapple chunks, lime syrup, grapefruit syrup, and lemon juice. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Pour in the club soda and add a large ice block into bowl just before serving. Garnish with mint sprigs and fresh hibiscus blossoms.

Listen to the Table Set here!
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