Portland, OR and Wine:
While Portland, Oregon has deservedly earned the reputation of being a beer or spirits city before wine, one of my greatest finds in the downtown area, just a dash up 12th Street from the plethora of alluring food carts, was a restaurant and wine bar fit for northern Europe. As described on its website, Gruner “draws on the affinity between the geographies of the Pacific Northwest and the alpine regions of northern Europe,” namely Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Romania. It just so happened that, many many time zones away, the EWBC was streaming live when I stumbled into Gruner for lunch on a busy Friday afternoon. Why not indulge in glass of vino!?
I happily elected the only Gruener Veltliner on the lunch menu available by the glass, a 2009 Stadt Krems of the Kremstal region. After consulting with wine guru Constance and her post on the Austrian Wine USA blog, I learned that this fresh and fruit-forward Gruener is part of a municipality of 52 vineyards in Austria. I’d recommend giving the Austrian Wine Blog a read to learn more about these particular Austrian vineyards.
While the food was hearty and flavorful, the service at Gruner during this particular visit was anything but memorable. What did help to end my visit on a pleasant note was the curious method of presenting my check in a worn paperback book. My particular novel was Weimar Culture by Peter Gay, a reflection of 20th century culture in Germany; even more to my pleasure, the first page I flipped to was Gay’s written portrait (along with images, too) of the 1920 expressionist thriller The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Loved it!
Boulder, CO and Beer:
While I certainly had heard the tales before making my first visit to Boulder, Colorado for the 1st Beer Bloggers Conference, I didn’t realize just how beer-centric this college mountain town is. Needless to say, I was both overwhelmed and impressed. In what was dubbed “The Night of Many Bottles”, I had the opportunity to try Denver-local Bush & Bull’s seasonal Royal Oil, a 12% ABV English-style barley wine called Royal Oil, which is aged for two years in whiskey barrels. Tasting like chocolate-covered cherries and oak from the whiskey barrels, this sweet, malty beer was among my favorite seasonal selection in the plethora of Colorado selections.
My other particularly favorite offering was, ironically, the last beer I sampled at BBC10 – the Agave Wheat from Breckenridge Brewery. While pale ales are by no means at the top of my beer-drinking list, this beer to me was completely refreshing and offered a light amount of hops that wasn’t too overbearing or bitter. Plus, the subtle flavoring of agave was right up my alley! Mix a glass 50-50 of Agave Wheat with orange juice and you have yourself a lip-smacking mimosa of sorts – from my picture, you can see it was the perfect "breakfast of champions" for the Sunday morning crowd! Now, about convincing Breckenridge Brewery to distribute to CT…
Beverly Hills, CA and Spirits:
What spirits do you say? Rum, rum, and more rum! That's what I found myself drinking after my adventures meandering through posh Beverly Hills along Wilshire Boulevard led me to the Trader Vic's Mai Tai Lounge poolside at the Beverly Hilton hotel. I pulled myself up to the bar and ordered - but what else? - the Victor "Trader Vic" Bergeron Original Mai Tai.
Trader Vic Mai Tai:
- 1 oz light rum
- 1 oz gold rum
- 1/2 oz orange curacao
- 1/2 oz orgeat syrup
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
- Float 1 oz dark rum
Build in a cocktail shaker and roll between the glass without straining. Garnish with speared cherry and pineapple chunk, and a mint sprig.
Boy, was that cocktail well worth the hype! I also found myself downing a Zombie shortly after my Mai Tai "mysteriously" disappeared; pictured to the right, it was a beautiful version of Donn the Beachcomber's classic of gold and dark rums and it vanished almost as quickly as that damned Mai Tai.
Phew! I have loved discovering all the different drinking trends around the country and hope to continue the adventure more soon! So what's coming up next in my imbibing adventures? Stay tuned to D4TH to find out!
Cheers for now!