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White Smoke Texas smokehouse - anyone been?

Okay, I should have read the whole facebook page before my first reply. They sell the meats at Costco and National but they seem to still be planning to re-open a restaurant.

The facebook page tells the whole story of the fire and the closing. I wish them success!

Oct 20, 2014
tokyopix in Japan

White Smoke Texas smokehouse - anyone been?

I guess so. I think he might still be selling meat to/at Costco, or at least was according to the facebook page.

It's a shame. I miss the sides and cocktails. I grew very fond of the slaw, one of the green salads and the potato salad. And they had a small but really excellent cocktail list and the drinks were consistently well-executed. And Craig was very nice.

ETA: it says the meats went on sale at National Azabu as of yesterday.

Oct 20, 2014
tokyopix in Japan

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

These are currently back on Amazon for 39.96 (though not Prime eligible). I highly recommend them. The are simple and elegant and a really nice size and shape.

Oct 19, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Whiskies for Fall

Is it any good? Should I open it or pass it on?

Oct 09, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

The craft cocktail craze has jumped the shark

Could I ask you what Genepi des Alpes is? I see it at my local liqueur shop, but I've never seen it mentioned anywhere else before. What is the taste?

Oct 09, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

The craft cocktail craze has jumped the shark

I have to agree with other posters that this article doesn't say what the title of your post says at all. Like at all. It isn't talking about the "craft cocktail craze"; it's talking about restaurants with cocktail programs that are trying to follow the craft cocktail movement and are failing.

If it says anything about craft cocktails it says that at craft cocktail bars it is going very well, indeed, and, furthermore, that several restaurants also do well at offering such drinks (he mentions at least three). But many don't. He offers reasonable critique and suggests ways that the cocktail lists could be improved at the restaurants that aren't getting it.

None of that comments at all on the "craft cocktail craze" and it's shark-jumping status.

Oct 09, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Whiskies for Fall

Someone came to a party and brought me a bottle Johnnie Walker Platinum. Platinum? Never heard of it before. Perhaps I'll follow your lead and open it up and give it a go.

I know very little about whiskies, unfortunately, so I'm not much help with your original post. I will say that most of my experience is with Japanese whiskies and the few I've tasted have been quite good. The Hakushu Sherry Cask single malt was my favorite so far.

Oct 08, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

Since it's still pretty warm here in Tokyo, I'm drinking this right now!

Oct 08, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits
1

What's with all the lining up for hours for miserable, crappy food?

I'm so intrigued. I tried it once from the Chicago airport, but I must have missed what makes it so amazing. Maybe I just don't remember. What is the Chicago mix and why is it so great? Maybe I have to jump in the line some morning!

Oct 07, 2014
tokyopix in Japan

What's with all the lining up for hours for miserable, crappy food?

I walk through Omotesando every weekday morning. When it first opened the Magnolia line was epic. They even had the young ladies with their Magnolia signs on sticks to show the Magnolia waiters which line to join. As a transplant New Yorker I wanted to yell, "Good people of Tokyo, don't wait in line. The cupcakes suck!" Sure enough, after the first 2 weeks the line was gone. That was fast! But they are so bad, I'm glad to see people weren't fooled for long.

The Garrett's line and the other popcorn shop (KuKuRuZa or something like that) and Max Brenner still remain. And, of course, Flying Tiger. But from my observations, Garrett's is the winner. Always there regardless of weather and always pretty long.

Oct 02, 2014
tokyopix in Japan

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

I do have some $60+ a glass wine glasses. But those are crystal and blown and were wedding gifts. The ones I posted above are such a nice shape and size. They don't look as mass-produced as most regular stemware. I heart them. I'm sad if they are no longer available (or only available "1 used" for that price!).

Oct 02, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

And I'm quite happy with $6-7 a glass for a nice glass!

Sep 30, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

Just for you, I went back through my orders. I paid 39.96 for each set of six. Last order was this May. I'm not sure what that price is now, esp. as it says "1 used" but I've given these as gifts a couple times as well and they were always about $40/6. I see in the order my seller was Tabletop Style and I don't see it listed any longer.

"Set of 6 Nick & Nora Classic Cocktail Glasses
1 of: Set of 6 Nick & Nora Classic Cocktail Glasses
Sold by: TabletopStyle (seller profile)

Condition: New
$39.96"

The point was, those are the glasses in which my small drinks fit nicely.

Sep 30, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

I recently bought 12 of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Nick-Nora-Class...

They are a nice size and shape. They are 6 oz. so above the 4 oz. drink there is room so that the drink isn't sloshing over the side. I prefer these to the straight-sided versions for that reason as well. The drink doesn't come to the tippy top, but I don't like when it does so I'm quite happy.

I also have some regular old Libby's that are about the size you show and also work well for when I have a bigger crowd. I still don't like the straight-sided shape though.

Sep 30, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

I don't know. I wouldn't call this "mini". The cocktails I make and serve are always smaller than 7.5 oz. which is great because my carefully sourced cocktail glasses are smaller than 7.5 oz. so if not it would be....awkward.

I think of it as a civilized portion for a cocktail. The upsides for me:

- guests can sample several cocktails and not become drunk. I don't want a house full of drunks; I want a nice cocktail party where people are really tasting and enjoying the cocktails. I want the same at a nice bar. I'm not looking for buckets of booze for the buck.

- drinks don't get all room temp and yucky

- purely aesthetically, it's a nicer looking drink to have a neat "Nick and Nora" type glass with a carefully measured and mixed cocktail of good ingredients than a fish bowl of a cocktail glass spilling over the rim.

I actually hate the giant cocktail glasses at most places with the corresponding giant portions in them. I'd far rather drink a couple reasonable sized cocktails, enjoying them while they are cold, not tossing them back and missing all the taste. If people are downing martinis like shots, that's just the wrong crowd to market a more reasonable size drink to. Those people probably want either shots or drinks in giant cocktail classes called WXY-tini. I think many places do do smaller sizes (and certainly where I am the very nice, very "crafty" places do) and it is much appreciated. The few nice places I've been to in the US, like Pegu Club, also had smaller sizes and no one was complaining.

Sep 29, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

black burgers and other limited-edition and novelty items at fast-food establishments

I was looking at the big sign for them yesterday. I was thinking, they should swap out the black cheese for those lurid orange squares for a Halloween promotion.

Sep 20, 2014
tokyopix in Japan

Monkey 47 Gin

I had it last night in Tokyo 50/50 with Noilly Prat and I thought it was really nice. I haven't seen it on sale to see what the price point is here (for instance, Plymouth is super cheap here) but if it's even remotely reasonable I would definitely buy it.

Sep 16, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Desert Island Liquor Question

I'm not in Columbia, but I can tell you what I can't get here in Japan:

- all the various bitters available in the US including something as usual as Peychaud's

- St. Germain

- Pierre Ferrand Dry CuraƧao (I recently looked thinking I could but I was totally wrong. In fact, curacao is tough here)

- absinthe (only a couple brands and none of the good ones)

- Herbsaint

- maraschino (used to be able to get it and now it's disappeared)

That's off the top of my head. If you have a friend in the business you might think of your favs and see if they export to Columbia then you'd know for sure what you'd have no hope of getting (like St. G here).

Good luck with your move!

Jun 29, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

For anyone else on this quest, I finally found this which is helpful:

http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/li...

It turns out that my mistake was searching "4th of July cocktails", which was just giving me froo-froo red, white and blue stuff. I finally switched to searching "American cocktails" and I'm having more luck.

Is anyone else doing cocktails for the 4th?

Jun 27, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Okay, thanks for the additional info!

Jun 27, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Hee hee! "...scares the enamel off my teeth."

I hate to sound stupid, but could you elaborate on swizzle and swizzling? I've seen something about twirling the swizzle stick (is that the right term?) between your palms, but would I be adding another ingredient to the Golden Gate to make it a Golden Gate Swizzle?

Jun 26, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Thanks! This looks good. I'll put it into the try outs this weekend. I think I can get the Ferrand as I've seen their products in several places.

Many thanks!

Jun 26, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Would that be clearly West? It would certainly be convenient and popular I'm sure.

I also found the Golden Gate for West (Grand Marnier, Benedictine, Campari, grapefruit and lemon juice). Anyone ever tried one?

Detroit Daisy (rum, lime juice, grenadine and mint) could work for North but again I've never had one. Obviously need to use this weekend for try outs.

Jun 26, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Gin: Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Beefeater?

Oddly, here in expensive Tokyo, Plymouth recently went from around $15/bottle to $13!

Jun 25, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

maybe for West Coast something with Fernet. It's popular in SF, right?

Jun 25, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Thanks. Sounds interesting. I'm looking more for classics, but that certainly sounds festive!

Jun 25, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Thanks. I remember hearing old fashioned are different up there, is that right?

Jun 25, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Thanks! I hadn't heard of an Alaska before. That's a good one!

Jun 24, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

I'm an American expat in Tokyo. I'm having a 4th of July party and I'm looking for cocktail inspiration. Last year I did a menu meant to highlight American booze. I did bourbon drinks (mint julep, whiskey sour, brown derby); rye drinks (Manhattan variations: Manhattan, Park Slope, Brooklyn); a Tom Collins (for American hoaxes, a bit of a stretch on the theme but I wanted a gin drink) and a Papa Doble (for one of America's most famous expats).

This was a hit, but I need something new. Plus, I'll have more folks so 8 options is a lot for me to mix each individual drink as I do. The audience will be mostly Japanese, American, German and Indian nationals who come to these things regularly and are pretty open and amendable to trying all kinds of things.

I was thinking of trying to find 4-6 iconic American cocktails. Maybe something from N, S, E and W plus 2 extra? I thought maybe:

Manhattan (East coast)
Sazerac (South)
???? North
???? West

Or maybe Sazerac being very New Orleans could stand on it's own and perhaps a mint julep for the South? Or is there a better idea than a geographic theme?

Anyway, clearly I'm having menu writer's block and would appreciate any help. I definitely don't want to go red, white and blue or other gimmicky stuff. Just good, iconic cocktails that would say "America," and be not too, too fiddly to mix to order (e.g. I'm not going to attempt any tiki drinks for this party).

I'll be serving slightly Japanese influenced American BBQ food like burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, etc. I can get most booze here. The only think I can't get for sure is St. Germain, but I've brought a couple bottles back recently. Bitters are a bit limited here, but I have Angostura, Peychaud's and a couple others.

Thanks for any ideas!

Jun 24, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fruit shops in Tokyo

I agree with Robb S. If you're going to a specialty fruit store half the point is the high price. The fruits are beautiful and beautifully packaged. You could get a smaller item and not break the bank.

There's one in the Tokyo Midtown building B1 and one on the first floor of the Mitsui tower building where the Mandarin Oriental is in Nihonbashi. That one is called Sembikiya. They have a cafe where you can try some of the fruits.

May 23, 2014
tokyopix in Japan