Yeah, it’s a post. First one in in nearly six weeks! Try not to faint.
Every now and again one needs to take a little break, which I hope is understandable. I also hope you haven’t forgotten about this little weblog in the meantime — I’m sure many shiny things have come along in the last 42 days to distract you. Rest assured that posts will be picking up now.
So! One of the things I’ve been distracting myself with is a relatively new site I stumbled across thanks to the Ardent Spirits newsletter (which you should subscribe to if 1) you’re a lover of boozy things, and 2) you haven’t already done so). Kindred Cocktails is described as a “craft cocktail recipe database for enthusiasts & professionals,” which pretty much sums it up. It differs from CocktailDB in that the focus is on new recipes from craft bartenders rather than historic ones. There’s also a certain amount of moderation happening, so that you don’t end up with 2,500 cocktails created by college students that contain Jägermeister, cream and lemon juice and are called something like “The Puddle of Vomit” as you get in certain other add-to-it-yourself online drinks databases. There’s rather good stuff to be found here.
You can add your own creations, or creations from your favorite bartender that aren’t already in KC’s database. You can keep your own running cocktail recipe book on your profile, export recipes to CSV or plain text for insertion into your favorite database software, and more. (Hmm, wonder if we’ll see a Kindred Cocktails iOS app anytime. Ahem. Getting ahead of myself here, I’m sure!)
So go play around with it while I get my head out of my arse and start posting again. Cheers!
Yes, three posts in 24 hours. Try not to have a hawt attack ‘r somethin’.
Hallowe’en weekend is upon us! I love Hallowe’en! What’re we doing for Hallowe’en?
Wes is gone all weekend for work, I’m exceedingly lazy and don’t feel like coming up with a costume and have grown weary of all the hassle of going out to Santa Monica Boulevard. I’ll probably get stuff done around the house, and in the later evening we’ll have some seasonally appropriate cocktails, such as the Corpse Reviver No. 2, Satan’s Whiskers and the Zombie. (Hm. It occurs to me that I’ve never written up those last two. *make note for later*)
To make matters worse, for years we haven’t bothered decorating the house for Hallowe’en because for the first three years in a row at our house there were no trick-or-treaters. Either the few kids in our neighborhood don’t go out, or they’ve already finished by the time we get home. Now we don’t even bother with decorations or even buying any candy. (Last thing we need is big bowls of candy around the house with no one to eat them from us.) It’s a bummer — it’s fun to have trick-or-treaters come over. In Silver Lake near our friend Steve’s house there’s a block that gets hundreds, if not over a thousand kids trick or treating! What do we get?
Standing on our water meter, not a single trick-or-treater
Knocking now to put an end to my loud, horrendous snore
Nary even just one nipper dressing up as Jack the Ripper
Underneath the great Big Dipper, seeking candy at my door
“Zero visitors,” I muttered; the no-ones at my green front door
Will find candy … nevermore!
Oh wait, that reminds me … in a special treat from the shiny, shiny folks at Quantum Mechanix, we present you with a dramatic reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem “The Raven” — produced, directed and performed by John De Lancie:
We’ll also undoubtedly watch some scary movies this weekend (we have many), plus Sunday is the premiere of the new AMC series adaptation of the graphic novel The Walking Dead, which I’ve been looking forward to for months! I’ve been reading Robert Kirkman’s ongoing series for six years now, and the show has a lot going for it — director Frank Darabont, plus the great track record for dramatic series on AMC (“Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men”). Tune in on Sunday at 10pm (Eastern & Pacific), 9pm Central, and check out the above link for a ton of behind-the-scenes documentaries.
Yes, we’re all still alive over here — traveling again, and more. Let’s jump back in and talk about some important stuff. First …
Some of you may be familiar with Dan Baum’s excellent book Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans. It traces the true stories of nine New Orleanians from different parts of the city, vastly different circumstances and levels of New Orleans society and culture. Their stories begin 45 years ago with Hurricane Betsy and take them through the disaster of Katrina, the Federal Flood and beyond. It’s excellent, and I recommend it without reservation.
Some of you may also be fans of New Orleans singer and songwriter Paul Sanchez, who’s one of my very favorite musicians. Paul and his wife Shelly lost everything in the flood of nearly five years ago, but after having gone through the heartbreak and difficulties physical, emotional and financial have picked up and carried on with life in an amazing way. Paul’s life and singing are full of joy and love; he’s been making an amazing amount of music in the last five years, and it’s all terrific.
Let’s take a little musical interlude, shall we?
Paul’s been doing some writing with Los Angeles-based writer Colman DeKay over the last few years — they co-wrote the title track of Paul’s album Exit to Mystery Street and several other songs, and now they’re working on a project that’s got me very excited.
Colman and Paul have picked up the rights to adapt Nine Lives into a musical. I’ve heard several of the songs, and they are amazing. Truly amazing.
The first step is to make a CD of the songs, then … “all the way to Broadway,” as Threadhead Records founder Chris Joseph says. Let’s hear a bit more about the project from Chris and Paul:
In order to do this, they’re going to need some money.
Threadhead Records is perhaps the world’s first non-profit, volunteer-run record label. Their sole aim is to raise funding to help get great New Orleans musicians make records and get them out to the people. Threadhead needs our help with this one, folks — it’s a big project.
Fortunately they’re in line for a $50,000 grant from Pepsi’s “Refresh Project,” but in order for them to be eligible for the money, they need our votes! Go to this URL:
Register at the site. Don’t worry about spam — I’ve been participating in this for a while and I haven’t gotten any. Once you’re registered, vote for the Nine Lives Project. The important thing to remember is that once you click “vote for the project” you’ll be redirected to a login screen. Once you register and log in you will be redirected back to the main page, where you HAVE to click, “vote for the project” AGAIN in order for your vote to count. This is really important — a lot of votes went uncounted until people realized this!
It’s getting down to the wire; only the top ten get the cash and Nine Lives has been as low as #15. We’re up to #8 as of today, so we need to keep the momentum rolling.
UPDATE! Dan Baum himself visited the comments section (wow!) and said that you can vote TEN times a day, as long as you let an hour or so go between votes. So vote early and often! Vote now, and tomorrow, and every day until the end of the month. It’s legal! It’s not as if it were a congressional election in St. Bernard Parish or something.
If we’re successful you’ll be rewarded with a monumental work of New Orleans music, telling some great stories with some great songs. One of the things that’s helped people through the last five years in New Orleans is a ton of great music — mo’ music, mo’ betta!
If you’ve been attentding any of Paul’s recent shows you may well have heard versions of some of the songs. You can also preview one of the songs at Paul’s site — scroll through the music player at the bottom of the browser window until you get to one called “Feel Like A Lady,” with vocals by John Boutté (the song is based on the story of JoAnn from the book and captures one of the character’s pivotal scenes beautifully).
You may recall that last month I wrote about an ongoing cocktail competition at Drago Centro restaurant in downtown L.A., The People’s Cocktail Contest. It went on for four weeks — each week a theme ingredient was announced, recipes were submitted through the week, and during the weekend one recipe was selected by Michael Shearin, their sommelier/beverage director and Jaymee Mandeville, their head bartender, to continue through the finals. The winning cocktail gets added to the restaurant’s cocktail menu. The preliminaries are now closed, the four final cocktails have been selected, and it’s time for the face-off!
The finals for the People’s Cocktail Contest will be held at Drago Centro, 525 S. Flower St. this Wednesday the 30th starting sometime after 6pm. I don’t have a hard start time, but that’s when they asked me to arrive. [UPDATE: Judging begins at 7pm!] I suspect there’ll be a certain amount of cat-herding involved to get everyone there, set up and ready to roll. They’ll also be unveiling their new summer cocktail menu at the event, so there’ll be plenty of good stuff to try.
This is going to be such a blast, especially because two of the other three finalists are friends of mine. I’m looking forward to meeting Jeni, week four’s finalist, too; her blog is full of gorgeous food photos.
If you can’t attend the final face-off you can still play along at home; make the cocktails and see which one’s your favorite. I posted the recipe for my cocktail entry in Week 1: Blueberry, the Bell’aspetto, last month. Here are the other three finalists’ cocktail recipes, pulled from Drago Centro’s Twitter feed (no pictures of the drinks, alas; I was too lazy):
looka, <lʊ´-kə> dialect, v.
1. The imperative form of the verb "look," in the spoken vernacular of New Orleans. It is usually employed when the speaker wishes to call one's attention to something, or to what one is about to say.
2. --n. Chuck Taggart's weblog¹, est. 1999, with contributions by Wesly Moore, updated (almost) daily (except when it's not), focusing on cocktails and spirits, food and other drink, music, New Orleans and Louisiana culture ... and occasionally movies, books, sf, public radio, media and culture, travel, Macs, humor and amusements, reviews, news of the reality-based community, wry observations, complaints, the authors' lives and opinions, witty and/or smart-arsed comments and whatever else tickles the authors' fancy.
This weblog is part of The Gumbo Pages, by the way. It's big and unwieldy and full of all kinds of fun food, drink and New Orleans stuff. Check it out.
"Doctors, Professors, Kings and Queens: The Big Ol' Box of New Orleans" is a 4-CD box set celebrating the joy and diversity of the New Orleans music scene, from R&B to jazz to funk to Latin to blues to zydeco to klezmer (!) and more, including a full-size, 80-page book.
Produced, compiled and annotated by Chuck Taggart (hey, that's me!), liner notes by Mary Herczog (author of Frommer's New Orleans) and myself. Click here to read more about it!