The Kids are Alright.

•February 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This past Super Bowl Sunday, the country was slightly overrun with “Bacon Explosion” Mania. (via bbqaddicts)

It’s big, it’s ugly, it was DELICIOUS.

What it also was/is, is a connection to a centuries-old culinary tradition most likely unknown to the consumers of the aforementioned Explosion.

See (in VERY simple terms, forgive the spartan-ness of this description, Mr. Escoffier,) taking ground meat, seasoning it, and stuffing it into fat or cured fatty products, then cooking it slowly at a low temperature, is the backbone of making pat&eacute, terrines, and more.

Now, if that culinary monstrosity had been called “The Pat&eacute Explosion,” I’m guessing response would have been less mob-like. But, like a parent who grins inwardly upon secretly feeding their child brussels sprouts, mushrooms, or broccoli, I welcome a new age of culinary exposition and expression. Let them eat Pat&eacute, and let them shout its praises from the tallest building.

None of this would make any sense to me without the writings of one Michael Ruhlman. A master of uncomplicated, engaging prose, Ruhlman (as he is known to a fierce compatriot, Anthony Bourdain) wrote Charcuterie in an attempt to reinvigorate an otherwise waning school of (food) thought. Highly worth the read, and who knows – those who don’t dig on swine may find themselves unconsciously buying meat grinders and lengths of casing in an attempt to replicate the recipes described therein.

So hail to the Ch(i)ef, and screw the Steelers. The return of the terrine will be a magnificent event, helped along with newfound converts to this centuries-old, Super Bowl-approved masterpiece.

A sudden tack…

•December 15, 2008 • 4 Comments

I’m changing the focus of this blog.

I’ll still write about drinks and schtuff, but I’d like to focus on other things going forward.

By Fall 2012, I aim to have researched, developed, and opened a restaurant/bar of my own. Not ON my own, just OF my own. Collin Davis, a friend I met through my buddy John and an accomplished cook, wants to be involved as well, and given our similar outlook on the industry and what the future holds, I think we can make something truly great.

I realize the challenge this presents — opening a restaurant is quite possibly one of the riskiest business ventures to undertake, period. The “80 percent of restaurants fail within a year of opening” statistic is scary, and for the most part, true. There’s no way to successfully complete this task with just the two of us. We need all the help we can get, whether it comes in the form of hard work, long hours, or cold hard cash.

Having been out of the service world for the better part of a year, I find myself longing for that experience, but recognize the importance of remaining rational and controlled in my thinking. Getting impulsive and hasty in this business is a quick way to sink yourself before even beginning.

Who do I want coming to this restaurant? Anyone. Everyone. But more specifically, I want people who care simply about a wonderful meal, who care about the history and future of food and drink, who have educated themselves and want to be educated by others, and who have decided that in this all-too uncertain world, an unyielding constant and source of comfort is how we treat ourselves.

Do I know these people? Yes, of course. I also know that they exist all over this country and the world, waiting to connect with those like them, and when minds like that meet (meat,) it creates an aura that fills me with joy and contentment. I don’t care if you’re drinking PBR when I’m drinking a ’61 Margaux, because I know that someday our roles will reverse, and we’ll still like each other the same.

So that’s that. With any luck, this blog will fill with my musings, thoughts, troubles, dreams, hopes, gripes, and shames about this new idea. And with some more luck, the day will come when I’ve invited Friends and Family to the pre-opening day of my (our) restaurant, and with a full stomach and a happy heart, embark on the Floating Island of my life, letting the current of Bordelaise take me wherever it can reach.


•November 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Tucked under an unassuming brick office building lies Boston’s newest (and greatest) little secret. The latest creation from the power team of Barbara Lynch and John Gertsen, Drink answers the prayers of any god-fearing, food and spirit loving Bostonian.

There’s no drink menu- tell your friendly host, who could turn out to be Boston native-by-way-of-San-Francisco Josey Packard. A BIG welcome home, Ms. P! Anyone need more info? Google her.

The 8-item nibble-filled menu will satisfy your senses, but not stuff your stomach or drain your wallet. All cocktails are 10 dollars, a pittance considering the technology and knowledge residing in this otherwise humble basement.

If you’ve got 5 minutes, look it up, and block out at least an hour to savor everything this establishment has to offer. Then do it again, and again, and again.

With the death of the B-Side Lounge, considered by most to be the birthplace and training grounds for the men and women who stand behind this city’s best bars, a giant hole opened. And with timing unmatched by even the most skilled illusionists, Drink sprang forth, and ushered in a new era in Boston’s culinary lifetime.

Drink is located at 348 Congress St, Boston MA.

A Thank You, and hopefully The Return of the Son of the Crispy Pig

•July 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Thanks to all of you out there. I’ve had more than my fair share of “where are the new post/video(s)” questions in the past couple weeks, and I really appreciate it.

For me, writing is fun when something moves me enough to want to express my thoughts about it. That isn’t to say that I’ve been unmoved for the past howevermany months, but more to explain the thought process behind the creation of a post.

The videos are fun because I love connecting with people, teaching new things, learning new things, and best of all, reaching beyond the confines of a bar, my house, or even my city.

So, my task to you is this: Write some comments with things/drinks/subjects/rants/raves that you have, and I’ll add them to my queue of material. I’ve got a couple fun ideas in the pipeline, but I REALLY like hearing from you (everyone.) No subject, task, or question is taboo or stupid, and I’ll honor any request to the highest degree I’m able.

So thanks again, world, and to the individuals who’ve approached me. You know who you are, and I really appreciate the time you take to check out my contributions to the vastness that is the internet and world culture (especially when alcohol is involved.)

‘Till soon,

The Crispy Pig

Hey there stranger…

•November 3, 2007 • Leave a Comment

So its been almost 2 months since my last post, and I’m still trying to figure out the impetus behind my apathy. But that’s not important.

Bartending in Boston is tough. The places you want to work never have jobs, and its even more embarassing when you cant get a job pouring beers at the neighborhood watering hole.

So, I faithfully toil on at my job outside the city, outside the last vestige of creativity (read: Cambridge), and attempt to peddle my wares and a bit of knowledge to the sleepy folks that occupy the surrounding suburbs. Luckily, I find enough interesting and interested people every night to keep me from falling into a creative coma.

Take the recent Red Sox World Series Victory. I created a cocktail that I named “Sangre de Vive”, but to ease the minds of our hesitant customers, we coined it “Sox over the Rocks”. The description of the drink wasn’t even neccessary, because hearing that name threw people into a cocktail-swilling frenzy. The 4 games of the World Series marked the first 4 nights that a daily special outsold our most popular cocktails. Ever. And while people may not have known what they were drinking, they LOVED it.

Usually, I’d rant and rave about people missing the forest for the trees, how they can’t appreciate the time and effort that goes into creating a mix of flavors that work together without muddying themselves, how they’re esentially buying into a short-lived craze. But I didn’t, and it felt good. Seeing the slips pop up one after the other, calling for the creation I’d thrown together not two hours before made me happy. And that was enough.

I’ve been out and about, and I’d love to tell you some more about that, but I think I just strained my brain putting all these words together into sentences and paragraphs.



“Sangre de Vive”, or Sox over the Rocks

1 oz Blood Orange Juce, strained.

1 oz Benedictine

1 oz Bombay Gin

1/4 oz Homemade Grenadine

1/4 oz Fresh Lime Juce

5 mint leaves

First hand-muddle the mint, being careful not to shred it, just to pound it. Add it, along with the other ingredients to a dry shaker tin. Add ice, and shake hard. Strain over fresh rocks in a pre-chilled double rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

To my overseas buddy(ies)

•September 11, 2007 • 1 Comment

Eggwhite or Eggyolk-based cocktails are beginning to flow more easily past the lips of the cocktailers in this town. However, that does not mean that everyone knows how to make them. So, here’s a quick recipe because an expat-friend of mine needs a little refresher course in the almighty Pisco Sour.


2 oz Pisco

1 oz Lemon Juice

1 oz Simple Syrup

1 Egg White

Shake the Egg White separately at first, for no less than 20 or 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and fill your shaker with ice. Shake HARD for about 75 seconds, and strain into a rocks or double rocks glass.

Garnish with a couple dashes of Angostura Bitters, and swirl to create a well-balanced top of the meringue.

Sorry to have been AWOL, but the stitches just came out of my finger, and typing is only now becoming easier. More posts to follow.

Everything’s Going Pear-Shaped

•August 24, 2007 • Leave a Comment

During this year’s CHOW’s Cocktail Square Off, that is. Report back here for developments on my as-now-secret cocktail concoction, which should fare incredibly well in the competition. They won’t know what hit them. But, they will know my name, blog address, and probably home address. So, maybe I should keep it civil.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Donovan

•August 22, 2007 • 2 Comments

(he’s in the middle. and he’s not the hot chick)

August 22nd, 2007. A day that will live in infamy for the sole reason that Samuel Edwin Donovan popped into this world 23 years ago today. Now, Sam is a tall, gangly man, but that hasn’t swayed him from embracing his Irish heritage and engaging in a spirited (no pun intended) pursuit of all that is good and alcoholic.

As far as I know, his poison is Jack Daniels, but I am confident that with a little easy (read:threatened with tire-slashing or castration) persuasion, I can turn him into a real true-to-life cocktail enthusiast.

On September 1st, Sam, Glen Ryan, Vijay Kotecha, and myself are moving into a house in JP that I am sure will spawn some of the greatest inventions, cocktailian or not, since Einstein did that thing for which he is so famous.

But for today, we celebrate the birth of the gangly one, and so I give you the recipe for a classic cocktail just recently served at the Chartreuse Cocktail Fest put on by LUPEC at Green Street. I couldnt make it that night, but it was rumored to be the most fun most people had enjoyed with their clothes on. So, I give you the


1oz Whiskey (jack, in sammys case)

1oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth

3/4oz lemon juice

3/4oz GREEN Chartreuse

2 dashes of your favorite Orange Bitters.

Thanks to Lauren at DrinkBoston for the recipe.

Shake and strain into a chilled glass.

Happy Birthday man.

Fresh, Seasonal Ingredients

•August 16, 2007 • 4 Comments

Instead of repeating the title, I want you to read it again. Preparing food and spirit with the freshest that nature has to offer yields the best results. I omit a few key items, like truffles and fatty tuna flown in from Tokyo’s fish market. Otherwise, if it was grown around where you live, use it.

My latest creation, a efferfesent celebration of summer, utilizes Arlington Farmer’s Market blackberries and basil from my own garden.

The Montgomery Fizz, as the masses (read: John and I) have grown to call it, speaks to the palate on a number of levels, with the sweet-tartness of the blackberries setting the stage for the supporting basil and lemon juice to both balance and round out the otherwise simple flavors of the drink. Now, when I think basil, it usually accompanies a plate of vine ripe tomatoes and fresh buffalo mozzarella. In that case, the basil stands on its own, a delightfully spicy herb that complements the milky cheese and sweet tomatoes.

In this drink, however, it lays quietly in the back, only doing so much as to lend an extra layer of body and complexity- like a jazz bassist- when present, almost unnoticeable, but when removed, the entire ensemble falls apart.

The final component is the DRY (note: Dry) sparkling wine, which lends a tangy and smile-widening bubble to the whole thing, and allows the blackberries to showcase their tart as well as their sweet side. Plus, who doesnt like sparkling wine?

Video to follow.


MxMO 18- The Lazy Monday

•August 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

My first attempt at Mixology Monday, this week hosted over at the Intoxicated Zodiac, is as follows.

Steep 3 large casually chopped fennel tops in 750ml of your favorite dry gin. No super-premium stuff with dozens of infusions of other flavors, because I want the fennel to stand out. Steep for 5-6 hours, then strain back into the bottle.

In a mixing glass, combine
2oz of the fennel gin,
3/4oz of Cointreau
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz simple syrup (1:1 recipe)
5 dashes Fee Brothers’ Orange Bitters

Add ice, shake, and strain into a chilled Coupe, or if none are available, 5 oz Cocktail glass.

Garnish with a slice of seedless Cucumber.

The name? Took me a while to figure it out, what with the cooling of the fennel, the sweetness of the Cointreau and the contrasting bitterness of the Mssrs. Fee.


I christen it the “Lazy Monday”