Back from my trip Monday, rested and ready to plunge into projects. First, some news.
A new restaurant opening tomorrow called Toast at SE 52nd and Steele. This is the previous location of Angie’s Bad Ass Video, so this should be an improvement. Brunch and dinner Wednesday – Saturday. It is owned by industry veteran Donald Kotler of Southpark, Vindalho and Giorgios. I’ll have the menu posted later today.
In case you haven’t had enough, it seems cupcakes are still hot. According to this LA Times article, the cupcake boom is far from over, with at least a few more years to go.Stephanie Samuels, owner of Angel Food Bakery in Chicago, concurred — and she even tried not selling them when she opened her business two years ago. But customers kept looking past Samuels’ delectable cakes, and pies, and tarts, and asked for … cupcakes. “I caved,” Samuels admitted, laughing. “There are certain retro desserts that I sell a lot of, but really the biggest sellers are the cupcakes.”
Moving on, we turn to cocktail ingredients. The Washington Post just ran a large article on the trend towards making bitters, mixers, etc. from scratch, rather than using those horrible premixed concoctions. In an article titled “Be A Bold Mixmaster” (free membership required), they talk in length about making everything from martini onions, cherries, and tonic water. They even mention infused rums.
Falernum is another story. No one, it seems, can obtain the infused rum unless they make it themselves. Yet a half-century ago, falernum was a tiki-bar staple in drinks such as the zombie, the mai tai and the rum swizzle.
I soaked lime peels, cloves and almonds in sugar and white rum, which I let sit in a covered glass pitcher in the sun for three days. When I opened the container again, the aroma was heavenly. Mixed in a rum swizzle with dark rum and lime and pineapple juices, my homemade falernum added a mysterious tanginess and notes of clove that balanced any syrupy sweetness.
In my opinion Portland is a great cocktail town. We have Lucy Brennan of 820/Mint, who made a name for herself inventing new types of cocktails with herbs, Kevin Ludwig, voted best bartender in Portland by PFD readers (who seems to have vanished), and the folks at Teardrop who make their own mixers, bitters, and infusions – including falernum – also mentioned in the Washington Post article, which is a rum infusion used in mai tais. Their version is… really… good. Hmm… After a week with nothing but wine to drink, I need to make the rounds again.
Whole Foods Cleared to Buy Wild Oats Chain. The FTC was trying to block Whole Foods bid for Wild Oats, but today a Federal Appeals Court cleared the way for the sale. From MSNBC, “They claimed that if the two companies combine, it would mean less competition and higher prices for premium and organic food.” Maybe everywhere else, but here they have a healthy competitor in New Seasons.More from MSNBC:
[Judge] Friedman made no mention in his ruling of several notorious e-mails and other documents written by Whole Foods chief executive John Mackey that the FTC cited in its effort to block the deal.
For example, Mackey said in a February e-mail to a company board member that the acquisition would enable Whole Foods to “avoid nasty price wars” with Wild Oats in several cities.
If you haven’t seen the site, Cooking Up a Story has some well produced food-related videos, some right from Oregon. I’ve managed to lose quite a bit of time browsing the site. It is also interesting seeing how they have integrated with YouTube. Here is a link directly to a video called Winery in Winter, a story about what happens at Penner Ash Wine Cellars during the winter.