Hungover. With delight, that is, at seeing our homeboy and “celebrity bartender” Jeffrey Morgenthaler come home last night, the prodigal son, to sling a few drinks at our new favorite Bar 201. He couldn’t have done it without us. Let’s just face facts: it was a lovefest. So many people there to welcome him back made the bar absolutely effervescent with glee. A good time was had by all. A special menu with drinks that ranged from the amended (the East of Eden #2, a gossamery concoction of gin, St. Germain elderflower, lemon and Pinot Gris reduction), the sweet (a peach syrup mint julep), the totally excellent (Remember the Maine, with rye, cherry heering, and absinthe), and the floozie (the Caneflower, with aperol, cachaca, and St. Germaine). Rico says that some of these will remain on the menu. Some? All? I forget.
Present: many local celebrities of a certain stripe, including Elliot Martínez, whom I greeted with a complaint about BoozeWeek’s My Space page. Kind of an obnoxious way to meet someone, and I’m sorry, but I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this ‘zine for, like, ever, and I’m too old to be at the right place at the right time. This budding liquor rag now has a plain, grown-up WordPress blog. YAY. Good luck, guys! The ‘zine and blog look great (but yikes, copyedit sheer genius, please) and I’m going to subscribe. This means I’ll never have to leave my house again. If I keep going around being an asshole, I’m sure I won’t want to risk the streets of the Whiteaker.
Chinoiserie. East Meets West on E. 13th doesn’t have a secret Chinese menu other than a few items on a whiteboard next to the cash register, but they have some rather good chive and shrimp dumplings listed. We were also able to order some dishes that weren’t on the menu, thanks to our (read: not mine) Chinese prowess. Tasty green beans with pork belly, see above. Ask for ’em by name.
Spicy! Another Asian restaurant stretching toward sort-of-not Americanized, have you visited the newest Korean restaurant in town? Café Arirang on E. Broadway near Ferry St. Bridge has a weird location, but the food is good, and it is close to the university. The owner makes her own kimchi, and there are several Korean standards. My picture isn’t the best, sorry, but witness the spicy pork, two of the three (more please!) banchan dishes of kimchi, miso, and a forgettable tempura done in panko.
The new Cornucopia downtown is cute, with a warm design and friendly, if not exactly attentive, atmosphere. The space is much more, well, spacious than the original. Sadly, the dip for the French dip has not changed. I don’t know if it’s just too much bouillon per cup, but it’s so salty it is almost inedible. Other than that, no complaints other than I wish they had thought to liven up the menu a bit. We didn’t try the cocktails, but I was surprised and suspicious they were more fancy than a burger place might call for, not to mention more expensive.
Pupusas, delicious pupusas, can be had at a cart on 1st around Washington, a reliable source tells me. Maybe everyone knows this but yours truly. I sure am glad I do now. These Central American disks of masa (corn meal) filled with cheese or other goodies are served with a fresh salad. Eugenia Bob says check ’em out. I’ll be there in line behind you.
I had no idea I’d be missing so much in a mere month away! What else has happened on the food scene since I’ve been gone? I’m still waiting to try the new gyro place on W. 11th: 5-buck gyros that spill out of the pita bread in bountiful meatiness, whoa! Can’t beat that bizness.