Absinthe Taste Test: Are New Brands the Real Deal?
A second brand of wormwood absinthe has been approved for U.S. sale (Lucid being the first). Yves Kubler, the fourth-generation distiller of Swiss Absinthe Superieure Kubler, told us he got permission to import his product after five years of haggling with the U.S. government (the turning point was when the Swiss embassy intervened). All the while, he says, he refused to tweak the recipe from what his family produced in 1875. For help determining which brand is more worthy of ingestion (and to gauge their authenticity), we invited the Green Fairy, an underground authority who for years has sold his own home-brewed absinthe in elaborate kits, to taste-test them. Are either of them good enough to put him out of business?
Doug E. Fresh Bringing Boxes of Chicken and Waffles to HarlemHarlem: Doug E. Fresh’s chicken-and-waffles restaurant is opening on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard at 132nd Street. [Uptown Flavor]
Long Island City: It was an orgy of animal fats at Saturday’s burger bash at Water Taxi Beach, as this slideshow dramatically demonstrates. [Off the Broiler]
Park Slope: Hotel Le Bleu (and its rooftop restaurant, Vue) has pushed back its opening to August 13. [NewYorkology]
Upper West Side: Grom has been stealing Beard Papa’s thunder, but the latter’s mango ice shower is just as refreshing as any gelato. And cheaper. [Ed Levine Eats]
West Village: Jody Williams’s new wine bar, Gottino, is coming along nicely on Greenwich Avenue. [Eater]
Williamsburg: The grubby Chinese place on Bedford Avenue by North 7th Street is turning Japanese. [Lost City]
The New York Diet
Performer Julie Atlas Muz Eats Chocolate Chips at 5 A.M.
If you’ve seen Julie Atlas Muz’s genre-bucking burlesque acts (a couple of which she’s performing throughout the summer at Absinthe), you know she has a thing for food. The blonde dynamo has subjected sausages and ice-cream cones to unspeakable acts. “It’s much better if you use ghetto ice cream,” she says of incorporating the latter. “I prefer old-school frozen popsicles that are stuck to the back of the freezer at the bodegas.” But what does she actually eat? Nothing at all till 4 p.m., it turns out.
Restaurants Sue to Keep Calorie Info Out of Sight; Online Reservations DominateThe New York State Restaurant Association sues the city to stop having to reveal calorie information. [Nation’s Restaurant News]
The days of making, and keeping, reservations off-line are over: OpenTable has come to dominate the restaurant business. [NYT]
In a Times op-ed, the Zagats plead for real regional Chinese cooking to come and save us from egg foo yong. It would be a revelation, they say — “Imagine … what it would be like to discover for the first time Memphis-style barbecue, New York deli food, soul food and Creole, Tex-Mex, Southwestern, California and Hawaiian cuisines all at once.” [NYT]
Absinthe Arrives in New York, and We Start Drinking It ImmediatelyA while back we gave you the heads-up that wormwood absinthe was coming to town. We are giddy (read blotto from absinthe) to report that the green fairy has touched down at certain liquor stores. “Lucid Absinthe has come in and is on the shelf, ready to go,” is the good word, via e-mail, from LeNell’s. Yesterday we called our local hookup, Park Avenue Liquor Shop, and were told, “We got twelve bottles in this morning. It just went like water.” Luckily we were able to get our trembling hands on the last $65 bottle (relax, Deutsche Bankers — the store is expecting six more today) and glub some of the stuff down at our desk (or desks? There are two of them now). Though it’s best diluted with water, we drank it straight (the building’s fire marshal wasn’t having the fire-and-sugar thing), and we can tell you the slightly syrupy stuff tastes like a much-spicier, somewhat-woodier version of Pernod, with a killer sinus finish. And so Grub Street enters its “blue period”…
Earlier: Absinthe Feels So Good When It Hits the U.S. Market
Ride the White LightningYesterday we reported that a legal form of absinthe is hitting the U.S. market this month (among connoisseurs it’s no secret that certain purists around town have been discreetly serving wormwood absinthe all along in cocktails such as the Sazerac). But what about that other banned booze — moonshine? Though it won’t be legalized anytime soon, let’s just say there’s a saloon in Brooklyn that will pull it from under the bar if you ask nicely. We were recently treated to a few eye-popping, sinus-destroying shots, poured from the obligatory Mason jar, of what we were assured was the real deal, and when we called later to request it for a friend’s birthday party, we were told we’d be taken care of again. We won’t give away the place’s identity, but we will tell you to look for a bulldog.
Absinthe Feels So Good When It Hits the U.S. Market
As any frat boy can tell you, absinthe, the spirit of choice for Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Verlaine, was banned here in 1912 following rumors that its primary ingredient, grand wormwood, contained a psychosis-inducing hallucinogen called thujone — but now a Manhasset distributor Lucid has convinced the U.S. Alcohol-Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau that the green fairy is just as safe as any other liver-pickling, brain-shrinking alcohol on the market (even if the 124-proof booze’s alcohol content is more than 50 percent greater than that of vodka, rum, and most whiskeys).