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The Original Bond Martini

“James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat back in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.”
First line of Goldfinger

Apr 03, 2008
BigLizard in Spirits

What champagne works for cocktails?

I prefer champagne to champagne cocktails, so I only make champagne cocktails when I get a bottle I don't otherwise like. As you point out the subtleties are lost but it applies to both the good and bad.

Mar 26, 2008
BigLizard in Wine

Foods high in folic acid?

Also good on ice cream--particularly the toasted kind. I also took a prenatal multivitamin.
(BigLizard's wife)

Mar 25, 2008
BigLizard in General Topics

Trai Au

The old thread linked above allowed me to find a lot of extra info. Once I knew the more common names it's easy to find references to them. It seems strange that Fubonn uses the two most obscure names to describe them.

Anyway, to answer your question we were eating them raw. Now that I know they are considered toxic when raw it's a good thing they didn't taste too good;) I haven't tried boiling them yet, but thats the next step.

Jan 09, 2008
BigLizard in General Topics

drinking vinegars?

I found some Pinapple vinegar at Fubon to try. 1:4 ratio was way to strong for me but 1:10 was nice. I chose the pineapple because the ingredients were "Taiwan Pineapple" and nothing else. The only apple on the shelf listed "water, vinegar, artificial apple flavor." The artificial apple scared me off but maybe it would have been more dilute to begin with.

I then added 3 parts gin and found it to be drinkable but I'm not adding it to my normal repertoire.

Jan 08, 2008
BigLizard in General Topics

Trai Au

I found these in the produce section of Fubonn and had to have them. Of course, I had no idea what they were or what to do with them, but I trust in the powers of the world wide internet to see me through. At only $1.48/lb they’re a bargain even if they just end up as part of my voodoo death necklace. The label identifies them as “Bull Head / Trai Au.”

Clearly a Vietnamese name but google wasn’t all that helpful. We see two results in English and several in Vietnamese. I can’t read the latter and none of them look like recipes anyway so I concentrated on the former. One blogger also found them at Fubonn and didn’t have many hard facts to offer. The other found them at a market in Vietnam. He claims that the market lady told him that they were Trai Au and explained that they were Lotus Roots. Obviously he misunderstood. I know a lotus root when I see it and these things aren’t the least bit root like. I think they are thorns because they resemble the ant infested thorn bushes we fought our way through while hiking on Isla Providencia.

Cheyenne and I have prowled the markets of Vietnam ourselves and don’t recall having seen anything like it. Either they were out of season or they aren’t too common. Of course, we could have missed them while we were distracted by the live scorpions or the imitation cockroach extract (I kid you not, it’s called Ca Cuong).

They turn out to be pretty hard to get open. Forget about doing it by hand because of those spiky ends. A hammer works well but it doesn’t seem possible to remove the meat in one piece. I hit them until they break open then pry the insides out with a knife.

They are bland and mostly tasteless but very slightly bitter with the texture of mature coconut meat. I still don’t know what to do with them. It doesn’t seem worth the effort to eat them as nuts and I can’t imagine cooking with them either.

Blog post with photos at

Jan 08, 2008
BigLizard in General Topics

What Hemingway was talking about...

Another favorite rum drink of mine -- especially for when you don't have refrigeration or ice -- I call "Pink Rum" because it's just like a "Pink Gin." Which is just a neat rum with a generous shake of bitters. Peychaud's obviously makes the drink more pink, but one is more likely to have Angostura on hand.

Jan 01, 2008
BigLizard in Spirits

What Hemingway was talking about...

Wow. I haven't looked at chowhound in a long time and when I saw this on top I thought someone had nicked my nick. I stared at if for a few moments while the memories lifted through the clouds of my rum soaked brain before I realized it was my post. That was from back in the day before you had to log in to post. I rushed off to register and was relieved to find I could still use my old nick.

Anyway on a rummier note: After almost 2 years in Central America my rum of choice is now Flor de Caña (5 year) from Nicaragua.

Dec 29, 2007
BigLizard in Spirits