Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Month of brunches: Prune

March 7

I could already see the crowds waiting for their seats half a block away before I even got to Prune's front door.

Since I was on my own, I realized seating would probably be a little tricky for me and I was given an hour and a half wait time. I was impressed because I was actually expecting it to be more. Man, people in New York love their brunches.

Don't get me wrong, I do too. Well, it's probably more correct to say that I like breakfast foods, period. I skim over all the sandwiches and things on a brunch menu and zero in on anything with eggs, or pancakes and waffles. I've had bowls of cereal for dinner not out of necessity but as a preference. Anytime of the day I will eat breakfast.

But my familiarity with brunch cocktails? I mean, I knew what kinds there are and have tried them before, but to be completely honest, my breakfast beverage of choice always was an ice cold cola. With more ice. Perks me right up. However, I recently had a very intense hankering for a Bloody Mary and so I decided to harness this hankering to try out different brunch cocktails and make myself wake up like I'm actually some kind of morning person or something.

Prune's brunch menu features several versions of the Bloody Mary. I counted 10. The number probably gets bumped up by one if you count that the Bullshot (vodka, beef bouillon, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce) is also available as a Bloody Bull (with added bloody mix).

The lineup also features the likes of The Deadly (classic Bloody Mary with vodka, but with a splash of tequila as well) and the Green Lake (vodka and wasabi with a beef jerky swizzler).

When I asked which one was popular, the answer I got was, "Today it was the Danish."

So that's what I ordered. It's made with aquavit and comes with a bushy sprig of fennel draping over your drink like a poetic weeping willow out of the mists of literature and several pickled white anchovies speared through with a wooden skewer.

I nibbled at the anchovies and sipped at the drink. As I took photos I noticed a mysterious, small container of another liquid. I was to learn that Bloody Marys at Prune also come with a beer chaser. I was told, "It's a Midwestern thing." No objections from me.

Actually, the beer chaser (in this case, a little under a shot glass amount of Red Stripe) works. The flavors compliment each other. On one level, the beer helps sort of clear your mouth out in a way. On another, the flavors of the beer tasted particularly more crisp and were amplified.

I ordered another, this time going with the Chicago Matchbox. I probably don't eat entirely enough veggies, and if you don't think the bloody mix is providing quite the amount necessary to fill whatever serving size of vegetables you need to consume that day, I'd say order this. It comes with skewer stick of pickled Brussels sprout and baby white turnip. And I was fishing pickled green beans and caper berries out of the drink to nibble on. These veggies that are pickled on the premises. For those of you constantly vigilant against the threat of scurvy, never fear, the drink is made with a homemade lemon vodka.

The bloody mix also looked homemade, the bottom of my glass was chock full of bits and pieces that hinted at flavor that doesn't come from a premix and I could chew bits of black pepper.

All of the Bloody Marys are priced at $9, and the separate brunchtime drinks menu also features additional beverages. There's a section of champagne cocktails with the familiar mimosa making an appearance. Other champagne cocktails configurations I made note of was one that called for Belle de Brillet and another called the Classic Cocktail that is made with that, of course, classic combo of champagne, sugar cube and angostura bitters.

For those who don't want to be greeted by alcohol with their first meal of the day, there's the essential coffee or tea. Being caffeinated isn't really your thing or not really feeling either? Why not try some steamed almond milk Ovaltine (served hot or cold)? The last two seemed pretty genius since it provides an alternative for the kiddies who are probably usually limited to fresh squeezed juices at brunches, which Prune also serves.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pretty, pretty pictures on your drink

Speaking of the Rust Belt in the last entry, today Don Lee emailed me some photos of a stencil that PDT is using for that drink.

"Mine didn't have a stencil =(," I emailed back, though I added that even without it, I enjoyed how the spray of color from the angostura bitters looked on top of the drink. I missed out on seeing the stencil because I visited a little too early to enjoy this new way of styling drinks.

Don emailed, "I made a prototype of the PDT logo stencil a couple weeks ago but then the filters for the laser had to be replaced so we weren't able to make them for use at the bar until last Thursday. We've been using them for the rust belt since Friday.

Don created the 1/16", clear acrylic stencil with help from NYC Resistor, a project group that also does work with [Dr. Evil voice]"frickin' laser beams"[/Dr. Evil voice]. Ahem, I mean laser cutting and stuff.

Oh, no, they even have an Etsy store. Must. Resist. Excess. Purchases.

Don has some photos of other concepts for stencils "to explore various ways the top of a drink could be used as a 'canvas'."

"Branding with our own logo is cool but I eventually want to use these stencils to provoke people to think. Magritte's 'Ceci n'est pas une pipe' was the obvious art historical inspiration so I tried doing that on top of a drink as well. The bold punctuations and emoticon was inspired by the documentary Helvetica."

Art and typography nerdery with your drinks. Love it.