BillB656's Profile

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Spring Training

Pink Pony has a new chef as of last Nov (?) and they are even better than before.

Mar 24, 2015
BillB656 in Phoenix

Crudo: still my favorite restaurant in Phoenix

So love Crudo. As you said, the food, the cocktails, all stellar.

Mar 24, 2015
BillB656 in Phoenix

Opinions on Arrogante Anejo tequila?

I've not had the anejo but I really enjoy sipping the Arrogante repo.

Mar 17, 2015
BillB656 in Spirits

TN: Cassoulet Dinner in the Napa Valley, 21 Feb. 2015 (eight wines)

The renowned Lou/BL dinner?

That dry furmint is an eye-opener. Their sparkler is pretty good too.

Mar 10, 2015
BillB656 in Wine

Discovering Tequila & I Like It!

Olmeca Altos is a great QPR for blanco and repo at ~$20. Espolon and El Jimador are decent for that price range too.

At a higher price point, I love Partida, Azunia, and Fortaleza blancos.

Feb 26, 2015
BillB656 in Spirits

Question for the Board: Should we stop talking about Old and New World wine?

Doesn't anyone use the Three Stooges scale anymore? ;-)

Feb 19, 2015
BillB656 in Wine
1

Ricard challenges meaning of ‘craft’ re: whisk(e)y

Went to a seminar at AZ Cocktail Week this past Saturday entitled "Defining Craft", chaired by Steve Olson with a panel including Eric Seed,Gaston Martinez, Ben Jones, Andi Fermen and others.

After 90mins of discussion, I can conclude that everyone on the panel had a completely different definition of what craft meant to them and their brands.

I think the statement from one of the presenters, "Craft is like porn. You know it when you see/taste it" summed it all up.

Feb 19, 2015
BillB656 in Spirits
2

Willamette Valley

St Innocent is one of my faves from the area. Tasting room is open until 5pm and is about 30mins from Dom Drouhin (another fave).

Feb 13, 2015
BillB656 in Wine

What bitters to use?

Great comments all around. One thing to think about is how bitters work. First they can provide aroma, particularly if they are dotted on top of a drink or used to mist a glass. Next they can provide front end flavor if used in sufficient amount or they can provide mid-palate or finish flavor components. And ya, they shouldn't (typically) add a perceived bitterness. But their true magic is how they can bring a drink together. Bitter additives suppress other components such as sour or sweetness. Through this suppression, the bitters can make the drink taste more harmonious. Say a drink is tasting a bit too sour. You can add more sugar or you can try a dash of bitters. Sugar will just add more sweet to try to level up to the sour. Bitters will suppress the high end sour more than it suppresses the sweet bringing it closer to where you want it to be (plus the bitters will add that flavor component).

wrt flavor, some bitters are designed for a more or less singular purpose. Many of the Fee's flavor bitters (lemon, lime, etc) are fairly focused in flavor component and serve a great purpose for adding that flavor. Bitters like Dr. Adam's Boker's Bitters can be much more "medicinal" and a) create a harmony in a drink....give me a Martinez with Boker's any day! and b) provide a fairly unfamiliar (compared to say, cherry) and subtle background flavor set that will set your drink apart.

Great idea about finding a bitters tasting bar! In addition to Boston Shaker, there is Napa Valley Distillery Vintage Bar Shop, Amor y Amargo NYC, Meadows (NYC and Portland), Vena's Fizz Shop in Portland ME, and I'm sure many others.

Feb 05, 2015
BillB656 in Spirits

Food Blogs/Writing in PHX Area

Yup...what Lolaclaire said. When I got to the Valley 8 yrs ago, CH was the place to learn. Now many of those people have migrated to PHXfoodnerds.

Jan 22, 2015
BillB656 in Phoenix

Ham

The Pork Shop in Queen Creek
http://theporkshopaz.com/

Dec 15, 2014
BillB656 in Phoenix

Food Rumors in the Merrimack Valley

Bishop's in Lawrence had pretty wonderful Lebanese food.
There is even a Facebook page for the original restaurant with a description of what the new place will be like:
https://www.facebook.com/bishopslawrence

Dec 02, 2014
BillB656 in Greater Boston Area

It is allocation season. What do you have coming?

Nothing from allocated lists. Just the usual November shipments from Rare Wine, Crush, and Selection Massale.

Oct 30, 2014
BillB656 in Wine

5 days at the Four Seasons Scottsdale. .

That's what I meant...the lunch place! The full restaurant is "Binkley's".

Not sure of other goodies up there these days.

Oct 29, 2014
BillB656 in Phoenix

5 days at the Four Seasons Scottsdale. .

If you are already thinking Cave Creek area, how about Bink's. Good food, patio with a view, and most importantly, full bar.

Oct 28, 2014
BillB656 in Phoenix

Dining Solo in Phoenix

Lots of decent choices in that area.
+1 for The Gladly. Some of our favorite comfort food in the city plus super drinks.
Others to look into:
walking distance...Christophers in the Biltmore plaza. French from a classic local chef.
Tarbells (full dining) or Tarbells Tavern on Camelback and 32nd St.
True Food Kitchen to satisfy that pesky health craving you have. ;-) It's a Sam Fox/Dr. Andrew Weil concept that they are taking national.
Bianco's at Town and Country is excellent
Donovan's has super happy hour deals. Not chef-driven local but good if you want to mix it up a bit.
mercbar across the street near Del Frisco makes some excellent drinks.

A bit farther away (about 2 miles) is Crudo. Sit at the bar (barcrudo) and have some excellent food and some of the best drinks in town.
About this same distance from you is Lon's at the Hermosa Inn. Sit at the bar (The Last Drop Bar). Also good happy hour deals, solid menu, and drinks from the one and only Travis Nass.
Beckett's Table (32nd and Indian School), chef driven comfort food.

Oct 20, 2014
BillB656 in Phoenix
1

Fresh Margarita mix, ideas?

If you don't have time to make your own (and please please do, if you have time), Tommy's Margarita Mix is the way to go. Lime, agave nectar, water.

Sep 24, 2014
BillB656 in Spirits

ISO: Sweet, fruity sparkling red (more of a rose color) wine

+1 on the Bugey Cerdon
Renardat-Fache and Bottex have both been available locally.

Sep 24, 2014
BillB656 in Greater Boston Area

not so sweet/non fruity dark rum cocktails?

The Rum Old Fashioned isn't a bad way to go either...
2oz Appleton
1/4 oz Falernum
dash of bitters (I use our fig bitters)

Aug 26, 2014
BillB656 in Spirits

A Question About Stirring Martinis

Yes, but there are far too many variables in the "ice first" scenario that may not allow you to reach your assumption. Many of those variables are listed by The Big Crunch below.

For me, it's "safer" to put in ice after I've finished building. No worry about distractions, time delays for having to grab a new bottle, or simply taking my time in creating a new drink. I usually taste the drink before icing to make sure I like what is in the glass, particularly if I'm creating on the fly, and adjust as necessary. I wouldn't want the drink sitting in ice for however long it takes me to get the drink where I want it to be.

Aug 26, 2014
BillB656 in Spirits

A Question About Stirring Martinis

Not sure if your response was to me or not, JBL, but I agree with you on both points. Ice after the build allows you to have more control over the dilution.

Aug 26, 2014
BillB656 in Spirits

A Question About Stirring Martinis

Liquor first into the stirring glass then ice. That way there isn't dilution starting as you build the drink.

Aug 26, 2014
BillB656 in Spirits

1970s cocktail?

@kimfair1 I have those same Hafenreffer nightmares!

Aug 20, 2014
BillB656 in Spirits
1

Romantic dinner Camelback area recommendation please.

The revamped T. Cooks is quite good. Elements is always a hit. Tarbell's would also nicely fit your need. Haven't been to Lon's at the Hermosa Inn with the current chef (been plenty of times with past chefs) but the setting is fantastic.

Aug 20, 2014
BillB656 in Phoenix

Cheap Eats in Chandler/Mesa & Vincinity

A new (for me) fave is Millie's Cafe on Main St in Mesa. Wonderful and inexpensive Puerto Rican food (plus some Cuban as well). The pernil with yellow rice and pigeon peas is heartwarming.

Aug 20, 2014
BillB656 in Phoenix

1970s cocktail?

And Golden Cadillac would still be open? 8+) Trying to remember what donbert had on the menu there...Tequila Sunrise for sure.

LI Iced Tea. Cosmo is a '70's thing. Grasshopper. Sex on a Beach (or is this '80's?) Sloe Gin Fizz. Tom Collins.

Aug 13, 2014
BillB656 in Spirits

Oh please Arby's...

There was one in Stoneham on Rt 28 near Rapid Liquors in the late '70s. Too many drunken, late night, taco eating contests.

Aug 12, 2014
BillB656 in Greater Boston Area

When do you send a drink back?

Just read a very intriguing theory out of Tales this year (Beachbum / Martin Cate seminar) that the rum that Trader Vic called "Martinique rum" was more likely molasses-based vs. an agricole. In particular, Cate citing Vic's own 1942 description of Martinique rum as "...heavy in body, coffee-colored, very similar to Jamaica rums, but in many cases have the dry burned flavor of the Demerara.”

http://www.amountainofcrushedice.com/...

Aug 05, 2014
BillB656 in Spirits

Fermented alternative to tequila for margaritas?

We are occasionally asked to do a bitters tasting in places that can't sell/serve liquor (beer/wine only). We do a riff on Tommy's Margarita using a something like Mama's Yella Pils.
1oz lime juice
1oz agave syrup (1:1 agave nectar and water)
2 dashes of our mole bitters
shake, pour over ice, top with 2-3oz of pils. Another dash of bitters on top.

Aug 05, 2014
BillB656 in Spirits

PHX CHer in BOS to imbibe

Thanks to everyone for such excellent suggestions. We're at Logan now, heading home but I'll write up impressions soon. Getting to spend a couple of hours chatting with Jackson at Hawthorne (plus a slew of inventive, balanced drinks) was a highlight for sure. Didn't get to as many places as we'd hoped but very impressed overall.

Jul 29, 2014
BillB656 in Greater Boston Area