In typical fashion, our vacation rituals in this charming city quickly evolved into long walks, prohibition era cocktails and scintillatingly good food. After a day spent sleuthing and photographing the city, it was exciting to dress up and start the night in the cool vibe of The Gin Joint, where the motto was, "Drink Proper. Speak Easy." Sultry booths, funky lighting and cabinets made of urban chain link, set the tone for classic Americana libations.
The smoked maple old fashioned, made with bonded rye whiskey and black walnut bitters, served with one crystal clear sphere of ice, was sexy looking, smooth, and smoky on the pallet. The hint of black walnut bitters added what reminded me of a pecan pie undertone and a spicy bouquet on the nose. While the old fashioned oozed of 1950's seduction and made you want to settle deeper into the booth, the Jalisco Pharmacy was fresh and exciting, almost encouraging you to call all of your friends for a deck party. Tequila mixed with lemon, ginger, honey and mezcal, created a nuanced and refreshing drink, that will no doubt become a summer classic.
|The Gin Joint|
Ravenous after a long walk, we wasted no time ordering the pickled shrimp salad as a starter. Served in an unassuming jelly jar, it was one of the most flavorful, fresh dishes I have ever consumed; cold, lightly pickled shrimp were layered generously with, chick peas, cippolini onions, fennel, and colorful baby sorrel sprouts all smothered in a tangy dressing making for a crunchy forkful and a fight for the last bite.
For dessert we could not resist the rice pudding. Served warm, topped with crunchy oats, it was loose, barely sweet, a little al dente and seemed completely made to order just for us.
|Crispy New Potatoes|
Finally, the dish that without question won the "best of the vacation week," and at a bargain price, was the bowl-o-noodle. Shredded, crispy Keegan Filion pork, a soft boiled farm egg, spicy and crunchy kimchi, sesame greens, and pickled wild mushrooms, nestled on noodles in a comforting pork broth. The egg, when split open, infused the broth with yolk making a thick, rich texture that coated the tongue. Each bite was different from the last, the flavors layering and the textures dancing.
While we should have ended on that note of nirvana, I am glad we pushed through to experience the chocolate budino. A rich chocolate cold pot de creme type base was covered in chopped pistachios, sea salt and smothered in a layer of olive oil. The rather plain look of the dish belied the brilliant flavor and texture; sweet and salt played off one another while the pistachios crunched and the olive oil coated everything on the palette giving it a feeling of elegance. This dish is everything you love about chocolate covered pretzels, but dressed up in a ball gown. Mercy!