Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Beginning a month of brunches and hanging out with Jay Hepburn

or My plans to drink more Bloody Marys this month than I probably have my entire life

March 1

My grand plan to make March a month of brunches got off to a sad start. My faithful camera finally gave up the ghost so I couldn't grab any photos. I also attempted to catch the brunch over at Macao, but ended up crossing the threshold just minutes after brunch time ended and the magical limited brunch hours of 3pm-5pm began.

Thankfully, it wasn't all a wash, since Jovi behind the bar still served me a Bloody Marta. You can still get drinks of the brunch menu during limited brunch, but for food you have a choice between a small handful of items like chicken dumpling, congee two ways or the mushroom croquettes that I had. If your looking for heartier fare, though, be sure to stop by during brunch hours so you can have some of the grill herb-marinated steak or the linguica with piquillo and potato hash and poached eggs.

The Bloody Marta's made with Luksusowa vodka and a home-made spicy sangrita with ingredients like tomato juice, lemon juice and even orange juice. It even had toothsome bits of real cracked black peppercorns. Very food friendly. I kind of wanted to dip my croquettes into it.

The brunch cocktail menu also features other cocktails like the Portonic and Blood Peach Bellini, which are both available on the regular menu. However, rather than paying $11 or $14, respectively, for the two drinks like you would during regular hours, all drinks on the brunch menu cost $9.

I told Jovi that I'd stop by again next time to make it in for real brunch, but it was probably a good thing that I didn't arrive early enough to get a good running start on the day's drinking.

The thing is I'd spent Friday with friends at Pegu Club, bothering Kenta Goto with questions about this and that since I'd been out of it lately. I downed a Red Pepper, Red Pepper, then an Earl Grey Marteani (always good), a small Good Night Irene that Kenta rustled up for me, and ended everything with an Applejack Cobbler.

So I was trying to pace myself on Sunday because I was meeting with Jay Hepburn of Oh Gosh! at Tailor. Jay's been in New York before, but he hadn't visited Tailor, so we figured we'd start our evening out there. I put my life in bartender Ludo's hands and told him that I'd already started off my day with a Bloody Mary type drink, so if he'd be so kind as to suggest what else I should be drinking so that I won't be hurting, I'd be much obliged.

The first drink I got was a Pine Needle Margarita. Ludo explained that the pine needles and tequila were vacuum sealed then tossed in boiling water to speed up the process. And since I'd had a Bloody Mary, he then suggested that I try out the Agua Verde. A Kermit-hued take on the Bloody Mary thanks to green ingredients like tomatillo, habanero and cilantro.

Ludo also served me and Jay two different "shots". I particularly liked the Cucumber Collins shot with a little cucumber sliver in it.

Jay and I decided to move venues at that point. A light sprinkling of snow fell on us as we twined our way through Soho, Chinatown and the Lower East Side trying to figure out where to go next. We joked about the Snow That Ate London, and ran into a speedbump or two. Neither of us had been to Apotheke before, so we figured why not go try and check it out. Only we discovered that...Apotheke's closed on Sundays? Really? I mean, maybe it was just pretending to be closed and as soon as we rounded a corner it'd jump out yelling, "Boogedy boogedy boo!!!" then say, "Nah, I'm just messin', come right this way." It easily could've been a case of me missing out on the joke, but I'm going to put on my best Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford and say, it ain't my first time at the rodeo. I've seen plenty of interesting ways to enter a bar, but crawling under a shutter at half-mast doesn't seem all that appealing, so I'm going to go ahead and believe the closed on Sundays theory. If that's true, anybody out there got details on how recent this development is? Because that's interesting...

Either way, we ended up at Clover Club, talking about our favorite shows like The Mighty Boosh, Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge ("Ah-HAAAA") and how incestuous British comedy world seems to be. The conversation grew exceedingly difficult, because for some unfathomable reason, we were both having a hard time remembering names and had to resort to clever descriptors like, "You know, Noel Fielding's brother? He played the shaman in The Mighty Boosh...argh, why can't I remember his name??" I really can't imagine what could've affected our memories.

Brad, our bartender at Clover Club, made us drinks and saved puppies at the same time. OK, well, maybe not the latter, but I told him I'd write that he saved puppies or something like that because of the great service and good drinks.

I had a Rope and Rose (strawberry and pineapple infused Peruvian pisco, lime and elderflower liqueur), which tasted and smelled absolutely lovely, and a Sour Cherry Fizz (Speyside scotch, housemade sour cherry preserve, lemon, soda).

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