Showing posts with label soda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soda. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Voyager Bien: Disney World Dining part 4

This was the day I had been waiting for. World Showcase day at Epcot!
Situated around the massive World Showcase Lagoon, 11 countries are represented by pavilions distilling the essence of place through architecture, food, drink, shops, and even people (each pavilion is staffed through an exchange program with the corresponding country).
What made our embarkment all the more exciting was the [silly, albeit awesome] t-shirts my sister found online, stating "Drinking Around the World" on the front, with a checklist on the back... My father and I had a few goals for the day. And Epcot caters to such goals openly, with remarkable alcoholic options at every turn. Take that, Disneyland! Here you can wander about with a beer, bubbly, sake, or blended boozy beverage freely!
Just before the bridge to the World Showcase, a Coca-Cola sponsored shop is a fun stop for the all-ages contingent, featuring fountain sodas from around the globe. Some highlights include Italy's bitter Beverly (a shocking red palate-cleansing apertif soda), Germany's Mezzo Mix (a tangy blend of orange and cola, popularly mixed with beer), and Israel's Kinley (a crisp ancient blend of lemon, water, and honey).
Our alcoholic expedition began in Canada, where a beer cart offered Labalt Blue and Moosehead. A pint of the latter started things off...
The British barmaids at the Rose & Crown crowed at our shirts ("we've not seen those before! Brilliant!") and poured us tall Bass beers for our stroll, poking into a Twinings tea shop stocked with assorted exported sundries.
In the metropolitan Parisian sector, a frilly French drink was one of our faves, a Grand Mariner slush!
In Morocco we had some mini shawarma pitas and baklava with our Casa Lager Beer ("The original beer from Casablanca").
Japan was special... Sipping a sake and perusing the Tokyo-esque mall full of anime dolls, kimonos, pottery, and edible goodies was fun, but what won us over was the artist making incredible sculptural candy on the corner. She magically manipulated sugary rice paste into shimmering flamingos and dragons before our eyes...
By the end of her presentation I was feeling a little drunk and then lost my family in the shopping center. I was excited to see that in the back of the shop there's a tiny sake bar that does flights and tastings, but oh boy, I had to move on... Only halfway down the list!
We skipped America. Night was falling and it became clear we would need to be wheeled out if we drank THAT many drinks (my father and I were already on to sharing at this point, tipsy and giggling more than my nieces). And we drink in America everyday. A Budweiser product would not be necessary. We moved on to Italy, where a walk-up bar was making another lovely frozen concoction, here of limoncello, grappa, and lemon!
We had Spaten beers and sausages in Germany, and checked out the wine shop and Christmas market.
It was time to secure a viewing spot for the popular Epcot fireworks spectacular over the lagoon, so mom and I ran ahead to try to grab another snack and a couple more drinks to further the list. In China we picked up bbq pork bao, spring rolls and Tsingtao Beer from a stand.
My mother turned back and I continued making my way to Mexico (at the far end of the lagoon), for a cloying machine-made margarita, then grabbed a generic Australian IPA at "Trade-Post", a bizarre representation, seemingly for Africa and Down Under?? And ran back just in time for the rather impressive pyrotechnics show to start.
All and all, not too shabby. I'm not sure how I was standing, but somehow felt OK by the drive home (no, I was not driving). Of the WDW parks, Epcot clearly won the award for most adult-friendly and with the most eclectic on-the-go food options. 2 Thumbs up!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Super Bon!: Galco's Soda Pop Stop

My favorite LA neighborhood of late is definitely Highland Park, the residential, small towny Latin wedge of Northeast LA nestled in the shadow of the Mt. Washington, San Rafael, and Monterey Hills, and bridging South Pasadena, Eagle Rock and Downtown. It is one of the oldest settled areas of Los Angeles, and also one of the most scenic, home to "urban oasis" Occidental College, and hosting a quiet youthful cultural burgeoning, especially along York Blvd, with hits such as -aptly named- the York, Good Girl Dinette, Johnny's Bar, or the countless taco shops on wheels, like the infamous La Estrella Taco Truck.
The true hidden gem is a quaint aged supermarket housing the hugest selection of sodas... maybe anywhere! Behold Galco's Soda Pop Stop. With a historical seal of recognition from the city and countless appearances in print and on TV (AARP, Westways, and Sunset magazines, "Visiting With Huell Howser" on PBS, The Food Channel's "Unwrapped", CBS "Sunday Morning" and "Modern Marvels" on the History Channel), Galco's has been a Highland Park mainstay and attraction since the 1950s.Like a childhood dream, Galco's interior is a wondrous sight. An entire supermarket, shelves stocked with sodas of every flavor, color and origin. Produce cases lined with old time candies. It's the real Willy Wonka - a modest incarnation, but fully-flavored.A stack of cardboard crates near the door encourages you to start collecting as you explore, which is as much fun to dig into as enjoying the booty itself. From botanical (rose, violet, jasmine, cucumber) to Cheerwine to Colombian "Kola Champagne" to Moxie... if you've heard of it, Galco's probably has a case somewhere.Leninade wins my packaging design award, constructivist chic and tongue-in-cheek tart.Manhattan Special is one of my favorite discoveries - a real espresso coffee soda - The O.G. Coke Blak! Delicious sparkling espresso caffeine goodness. The neighboring Plantation Style Mint Julep is another popular Galco's selection, a sweet Kentucky virgin julep, ready to be enjoyed out of the bottle or mixed with your favorite bourbon.Dublin Dr. Pepper is an easy-to-overlook treasure, besides being the oldest Dr. Pepper bottler in the world, Dublin (Texas) Dr. Pepper also has the distinction of being bottled with Imperial Pure Cane Sugar - the original Dr. Pepper formula.Cuter than Martinelli's.Soda pop aside, Galco's also carries an impressive selection of over 500 different beers - The only place in town I found New Orleans' Abita brewery's seasonal beer this past Autumn, a delicious Pecan Harvest Ale (ace with Thanksgiving leftovers, thanks Galco's). Also the largest selection of Portland's Rogue Ales I've seen locally, including their ceramic carafe-housed XS Imperial collection.So what are some other top findings?
Though there are more than 100 ginger/root/birch brews to wade through, my favorite of the root variety so far is Chef Gale Gand's small batch Gale's Root Beer, with satisfying cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla layers. Other root goodies include Abita, old-school Faygo, Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer, and of course classic Dad's in the bottle.
A must for any Galco's visit is one or several of the Fentiman's family of products. Botanically brewed using 100% natural ingredients, Fentiman's produces top-quality apothecary elixirs, possibly best known for their invigorating Curiosity Cola (which I have found to be a magical hangover cure-all), but noteworthy are also their Shandy (0.5% ABV; the only Shandy brewed and bottled in the US) and Dandelion & Burdock brew.

The next time you're stumped entertaining out-of-towners, need an all-ages activity, first date plan, looking for a creative gift, or just plain thirsty... Take a drive to Highland Park and let John F. Nese and his staff brighten your day with a mix-n-match six pack o' sparkles.

5702 York Blvd. Highland Park, CA; 323.255.7115
The trophy shelf