Archive | April, 2014

Return To Amor Y Amargo

29 Apr

I first visited Amor Y Amargo nearly 4 years ago and the experience as so bad I had no intention of ever going back. A very drunk and sloppy bar maid meant the drinks were poor and the service poorer. But now some time has passed we figured we’d give it another go.

This time we tried a gin & tonic and a Di Pompelmo. The drinks were a lot better- great in fact- but the bar seems to suffer from its own success as it was packed yet uninviting. It seemed its reputation and hipster-vibe was enough to fill it and no-one seemed interested in making us welcome (we had to search and ask multiple times for menus) and after just one drink (we planned on more but gave up after many attempts to order another) we headed off to find somewhere where the drinks may not be as good but at least we were wanted.

It was such a shame as a bar specialising in bitter drinks and amaro is just the type of place I’d love to visit more whilst exploring their menu and bottles but I guess two bad visits is enough to convince me not to try again.

 

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Saxon + Parole

28 Apr

Since first discovering  Saxon + Parole  nearly 4 years ago we just can’t seem to stay away from here.

Tonight we vere on our way back when we popped in for a drink and a snack and bam- some of the best food and drink we’ve ever had.

Give me a place that makes a celery gimlet and specially flavoured butter to match the bread, then serves it alongside specially chosen salt, and that’s a place that has my heart.

Killer bread, butter and salt plus a celery gimlet

Killer bread, butter and salt plus a celery gimlet

 

Sliders!

25 Apr

Last year we were delighted to discover Mark Burger in Manhattan, New York.

 

Sliders and Guinness milkshake

Sliders and Guinness milkshake

Over the course of our trip we dined many times on sliders, and Guinness milkshakes, and on the first evening of our trip back this year it seemed fitting to begin our visit to the city exactly as we left it last time.

The internet is full of recipes for making your on Guinness milkshake and most involve boiling Guinness to reduce it to a syrup, adding sugar if desired, and combining this with ice-cream in a blender.

Being far too lazy for that, and wanting more of the taste of Guinness,  I had a lot of success last year simpy adding the stout to ice-cream and blending.

I can also report that it also works well, and is very popular, with Amaretto, Baileys… and more.

 

Give it a try and make your summer!

Marshmallow Making

21 Apr

Mr Bitter is a very patient and understanding and seeing as last year for his birthday we took him cupcake decorating this year he knew he was in for just as exciting a treat.

So off we headed to a surprise marshmallow making course held by The Robin Collective at Drink, Shop & Do where we had a partially succesful but very sticky afternoon.

The sugar overdose and gooeyness of the day was a bit much to handle by the end but we had fun and I’m not put of marshmallow making- if anything I’m just spurred on to root out my book on the subject and try making some  more…

The ingredients and goodies awaiting our arrival

The ingredients and goodies awaiting our arrival

 

The information we were given

The information we were given

An Easter bunny?!?!

An Easter bunny?!?!

Crushing more sugar to coat our creations

Crushing more sugar to coat our creations

Hmm

Hmm

Vestal Voyages

18 Apr

An evening out with The London Cocktail Society and Vestal Voyages tonight to experience the vodka and distill some gin- a perfect plan for an evening. Sadly they managed to run out of gin and rum which meant cocktail choice was very limited but we made the most of it on our cruise along the canal and through a 1/2 mile tunnel.

 

The boat we journeyed on

The boat we journeyed on

The Still

The Still

The view inside the tunnel

The view inside the tunnel

 

 

 

 

Bistro Campagne Chicago

4 Apr

Tonight I visited the lovely Bistro Campagne in Chicago with friends.

The food was delicious, I started with Steak Tartare and finished with exceptional Steak Frites all washed down with a cocktail filled with vodka and grapefruit to add a refreshing and tasteful touch to the evening.

 

bistro campagne-04-04-14-a

 

bistro campagne-04-04-14-b

 

 

 

Aviary Chicago

3 Apr

For a long time now I have wanted to visit Aviary in Chicago and tonight I finally got the opportunity.

I first heard of them through a project on Kickstarter to support the production of the Portholes they serve some of their drinks in. Sadly my Porthole is still boxed up and waiting for me to get a chance to use it but soon I’ll have fun with it.

There were 4 of us who made it tonight and we all opted for the fixed price  menu (just $50 for 3 drinks) which seemed a good choice as the drinks were designed to follow one another and lead us through 3 complementary courses.

fixed price menu

The fixed price menu

First up most of us chose a Yuzu (dandelion, white pepper, camomile and gin) which was spritzed with a fragrant spray as it was served. It was the perfect choice right from the first smell. The intense scent of spring transported us all to another weather zone and immediately the world seemed brighter and full of hope. Fortunately the taste backed up the smell and I relaxed knowing a visit here had been worth the wait.

Yuzu cocktail

Yuzu cocktail

My second drink was a Dusty Loafer – For Henry (angostura, Kola, Tequila) and was sold to me as being ‘spirit forward’ (which is my new favourite phrase and serves as short hand for ‘boozy’). It didn’t disappoint. Right from its serving in a smoke filled casket whose scent evoked leather, old libraries and cigar smoke, to its taste which captured all of those and was definitely spirit forward- in a good way.

The casket the Dusty Loafer came in

The casket the Dusty Loafer came in

 

The Dusty Loafer

The Dusty Loafer

My last drink of the night was an Argentinian Soda Jerk (lime, Port, Fernet, Coke) which came in a cola bottle and was a tasty end to the night.

Argentinian Soda Jerk

Argentinian Soda Jerk

Partway through the evening we ordered food and, as as you would expect, it was delicious and full of flavour but our one criticism of the night was that it was so little- especially when serving drinks that are ‘spirit forward’. We only indulged in the 3 cocktail menu and we all needed more food to soak up the alcohol- any more drinks would not have been a good idea. But it wasn’t enough of a complaint to impact the evening- we all just agreed that next time we’d go for dinner first instead.

Egg Drop soup- made with a raw quail egg and served with a miniature spoon

Egg Drop soup- made with a raw quail egg and served with a miniature spoon

 

Pork Rind- served in a vase and as big as a head!

Pork Rind- served in a vase and as big as a head!

All in all would I go back? In a second! Not only are the drinks fabulous but the whole evening with an event with the serving and serving of the drinks adding to the experience- I heartily recommend it

Some of the drinks were flamed before serving

Some of the drinks were flamed before serving

 

 

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