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danimal57's Profile

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What Hemingway was talking about...

BigLizard,
I've got no problem with frozen drinks on a hot day, but a good Hemingway Daiquiri is a fine thing Rum, lime and sweetner. You can't go wrong. It never hurts to experiment with different rums and different citrus, either. We get lots of lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit around here, so you can mix up some nice daiquiri-like drinks to serve around the pool on a hot summer day. A splash of bitters is a nice addition, too.

Dan

Dec 30, 2007
danimal57 in Spirits

Rum

Nick,
One Barrel from Belize.

Dan

Dec 30, 2007
danimal57 in Spirits

Favorite "Unknown Restaurants" - Phoenix

jcoz23,
thanks for the pasty kitchen. I didn't think you could get pasties here. Too bad they're so overpriced.

Dan

Dec 30, 2007
danimal57 in Phoenix

Bringing Absinthe back to the US?

Kzukor,
I'm a rumrunner, and since I'm in the boozness I'm exposed to some of the hot topics in the industry. According to the TTB, only thujone-free (less than 10ppm) absinthe can be labeled and sold in the USA. According to US Customs, you can't import it. I'll add links to the government websites that support these claims.

From what I hear, there are new brands being introduced into the US that meet the TTB regulations. If what I'm told is correct, virtually all absinthe meets the thujone-free clause. I hear that at more than ten parts per million the stuff becomes undrinkable, but the labs at the ATF (precursor to the TTB) were not equipped to analyze such small amounts. That resulted in a virtual ban on absinthe until now, but since the testing facilityes have been upgraded absinthe is just about legal in the US.

"Just about" is vague enough that you could probably talk your way past a CBP guy at the airport in the unlikely event that you're hassled. Remember, the Customs & Border Protection folks are so busy trying to prevent imports from Cuba that they don't have much time to devote to much else. Liquor has to go into your checked luggage, obviously, and you probably don't want to list "absinthe" on your customs form.

Myself, I wouldn't even try. I like scooting through customs without drama. I don't want to get into a hassle at the border that could jepoardize my stack of liquor licenses and permits, especailly over something like absinthe. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Dan

http://www.ttb.gov/industry_circulars/archives/2007/2007_05.html

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vac...

Dec 29, 2007
danimal57 in Spirits

Belize Recos? [moved from General Chowhounding]

ktmoomau,
I'd go to the Blue Water Grill. Their seafood is, predictably, excellent. Their steaks are surprisingly good.

Dan

Dec 29, 2007
danimal57 in Latin America & Caribbean

Belize Recos? [moved from General Chowhounding]

Nick and Natalie,
try the Rainbow on Caulker. Good food, family run. Service is on "island time", but if you're in a hurry you're going to the wrong country.

Dan

Dec 29, 2007
danimal57 in Latin America & Caribbean

Mel's Drive In opens in Seal Beach

My family has lived in the area for years, and we all wanted to see the Parasol survive. It didn't. The Parasol, sometimes called "the Parasite" by locals, is extinct, replaced by Mel's Drive In. Mel's interior is apparently designed to pay homage to the movie "American Grafiti". I had expected a 1950s revival, but the emphasis seems to be the movie about 50s nostalgia, not the 50s themselves. There are framed photographs showing the movie set and other doo-dads from the movie everywhere. Odd.

I took my mom there for breakfast one morning after Christmas. The place was busy. The place was NOISY. The architecture of the Parasol building is domed, somewhat like being under an umbrella. The Parasite had an acoustic ceiling, if I remember correctly, and without the dampening material the noise level under the dome structure is deafening. My mom and I were squeezed into a little table, but even though we were close together we couldn't converse.

We had regular breakfast stuff to eat, something a faux-50s diner should be able to do regularly. No surprise, the food was okay. My omlelette was good, although it was puny. Mom's waffle looked overcooked to me. I was a hash slinger in my youth, and to me her waffle, singular, looked small, thin and cooked to that toughness that only an overcooked Krusteze waffle can have. If you can't cut a waffle with the edge of your fork, something's wrong. It cost $7, too, for a little waffle.

There's no justification for reduced portions at breakfast. Both our meals were kid-sized, but what's a few ounces of Krusteze pancake & waffle mix cost in bulk? Almost nothing. Same thing with eggs, the cost of serving a big omelette is virtually the same as serving a miniature one. Materials cost less than 10% of breakfast, so eat hearty. My philosophy when I was cooking breakfasts was to send the customers out full. Spend the extra nickle for one more egg and your customers will be happy. Save the nickle and your customers will remember.

The staff at Mel's was great. They were quick, professional and polite. The men's restroom has moved to the opposite end of the restaurant, and it's as big as a Tokyo hotel room. There's a jukebox that plays, no surprise here, 50s hits. They even have faux-50s mini jukeboxes at your table, so you can select oldies without getting up and walking to the big jukebox. You can't hear it over the racket, though.

The summary? Mel's is okay, especially if you really, really liked American Grafiti. It serves predictable food in a predictable atmosphere, neither of which are better than average. It'll never be the Parasol, which had big, cheap meals in an authentic 1960s atmosphere with surly old coots from Leisure World crowded in for the early bird special. I'll be back, for sure, since it's walking distance from Mom's house. I sure wouldn't go out of my way, however.

Dec 29, 2007
danimal57 in Los Angeles Area