Monday, August 29, 2011

Cocktail Week / Working for a Living

Being in foodservice, I have never had what anyone would call a normal schedule.  Hours are usually very early.  When I started out I was a baker for many years with 4am not uncommon.  Now as a caterer midnight in not uncommon and weekends are a must.  In the entire year I might have 2 Saturdays off and those are when we're away on vacation.  This schedule is both good and bad.  On one hand it means very few concerts or shows and dinners out with friends are restricted to those that can adapt to our schedule, but on the other hand there are very few lines at Home Depot on Tuesday morning,  no wait at breakfast at our favorite restaurant, and cheaper hotel rooms when we take a "weekend" (ie Tuesday/Wednesday) away.

Which bring me to todays blog; Recently I was a bit bummed that there is an event coming up in September in SF that I really wanted to go to, but could not work the schedule around.  It is called Cocktail Week.  A festival of artisanal cocktails and mixes, this is very trendy in the culinary world and I would love to attend - though it is a week, it is mostly on , you got it, the weekend.  Luckily I discovered a special preview event that was being held just this last Wednesday, yes Wednesday!  It was at the Ferry building and it was just that, a preview tasting from the participating bars and restaurants.

There were 16 different bartenders pouring cocktails made with local fresh farmers market produce and the 16 different sponsored spirits.  The entrance fee got you 2 full size cocktails and 14 tastes plus 4 food tastings.  We put all of a weekend into one evening. 

Mr. PSC and I took the ferry over from Larkspur.  Always a pleasant trip across the bay and a nice responsible pause on the return trip before we got to the car.  I love the Ferry building in SF, full of great shops and vendors with wonderful selections of produce, meats, cheeses, teas... everything, plus several great places to eat.  So we arrived early and enjoyed a stroll around the market place, then a cocktail at Slanted Door, one our favorite places (which in retrospect was unwise being on the way to the a cocktail festival).  Then a lite dinner at another restaurant (see we're not totally irresponsible).  Then on to the festival...

There is too much to describe it all.  Great food and beverages, of course, but also expert bartenders who enjoyed talking about their creations and representatives from the sponsoring spirits who were also interesting to chat with.  But some just have to be mentioned...

The PBnJ, a pork belly and peach jam slider with arugula from The Monk's Kettle was our favorite.  And the Jambalaya Croquet won the voting for best of the night.

The winning cocktail was a Melon Milk Tequila punch.  Sounds awful doesn't it?  But very very good.

Also of note were two spirits.  We enjoyed the cocktails they made with them and if you ask nicely they'll give a small sample of the profiled spirit.  The new Belvedere Intense, an unfiltered vodka, was quite nice, a true sipping vodka with a little bit of a sweetness to the flavor profile.  Neither of us had ever had an unfiltered vodka before, interesting.  The other was the Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, an excellant flavor, something I'll have to track down and experiment with.

Belvedere Intense - a great unfiltered sipping vodka

The Melon Milk Punch with Tequila

PBandJ: Porkbelly and peach jam slider

Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur

A very pretty cocktail with Templeton Rye, I'm not a rye fan, but Jim thought it was quite nice.

Tsukunes Grilled Skewers were very tasty and paired well with the cocktailes.

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