For those of you new to my blog since joining BoardingArea, “The High Life” is my series on food and spirits, similar to the occasional diversions you’ll read about at the Points, Miles, & Martinis Happy Hour. I try to keep them travel related because cuisine is a big reason I enjoy new destinations, but in truth they’re a break for me after writing the more complicated posts like this week’s series on fares and booking classes.
Lucky was complaining about his meal in Spain yesterday. Apparently he doesn’t like meat that looks like it used to be part of an animal, and in this case he was served the entire animal. Perhaps he can re-enter the ranks of carnivores by following Mark Zuckerberg’s approach and personally killing all the animals he eats.
It’s not really Lucky’s fault. We all have our food preferences, and his seem to have some good justification. I was certainly a picky eater before I started college and later began traveling around the world. Americanized Thai food freaked me out, and I wouldn’t go near an Indian tikka masala of all things. At some point I lost most of my shyness and just started eating whatever was put in front of me. I also started talking to whoever would listen. (Heck, I couldn’t even give a five-minute speech without shaking when I was 17, and now I chair a university lecture series at 27.)
But Lucky’s story reminded me of a particularly delicious meal I had with some of Megan’s friends a few weeks ago in Seattle. I know, not really a travel story, but we did trek all the way out to Capitol Hill, just about the complete opposite of where I live in quiet Maple Leaf and a place I generally avoid due to parking hell. That’s too bad because some of the best restaurants and bars are there, including Quinn’s Pub.
As we waited for her friends to arrive, I indulged at the bar with a “Missed Opportunity.” With a name like that, I obviously had to try one, and besides, it has gin. I love gin. It was delicious and refreshing, just as you’d expect. Sort of like a grownup’s sage lemonade.
I’m not exactly sure of the proportions because I didn’t see him make it. I also am embarrassed to admit I have no St. Germain in my extensive liquor collection, but it’s simple enough that I’m willing to completely guess on the recipe. One of you will have to let me know if it works or not.
- 2 oz. gin
- 3/4 oz. St. Germain
- 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
- Shake well and serve in a cocktail glass
Once we sat down to eat, the real treat awaited. Quinn’s is known not just for its great cocktails but also its novel food. At one time they served a foie gras corn dog and was boycotted for it by the PETA folks. It was good, but the flavor of the foie gras was pretty heavily obscured. Maybe not the best combination.
This night I saw an item on the menu I just had to have. Fried pig face nuggets. Oh yeah, baby! I love trying new foods. Although this wasn’t a new animal, it was at least a new part of an old favorite. And you can’t go wrong with a name like that. They were pretty good, but not all that different from a crab cake. A pig cake. I can live with that.
Since I’d finished my cocktail, I also needed another drink. Quinn’s has an extensive collection of whiskeys, and one feature I like is that they offer a flight of scotches for only $22. More than gin, I love scotch. Rather than springing for an entire bottle of something you’ve never heard of let alone tried, you can have a few tastes for not much more than a single glass.
I chose the Auchentoshan, Glenfiddich, and Highland Park. The first, again, because of the bizarre name (AW-shun-TAW-shun). The other two I’d just never had before and I was feeling lazy. I’d already gotten fairly drunk on Lagavulin over Christmas, so I figured I could pass on that for now even though it’s one of my favorites.
I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly…
~Ron Burgundy, in Anchor Man
It turned out my tastes were pretty much in line with what I ordered. The Auchentoshan was by far the best. I didn’t really care for the Highland Park. And the Glenfiddich… well, it wasn’t awful. It also didn’t really taste like anything. So now I’m on the lookout for a bottle of Auchentoshan the next time I visit family in California.