Thursday, June 01, 2006

Champagne, and Bitter Anise at The Slanted Door

My firend Julian is in town, which means I do a lot less drinking at home and a lot more drinking at restaurants and bars.

This weekend we had a wonderful dinner at Rubicon, where we of course started with champagne. They don't list their wine list on the website, so I can't tell you what it was, however! But it was light and refreshing and worked well with the amuse bouches. I suppose since I mentioned the restaurant I should mention that I ate the scallops with pork belly. They were cooked perfectly. The pork belly was good, but we had recently been to the Pig Dinner at Manresa and I was a bit overly pigged, so I mostly tolerated it.

Later we went to The Bubble Lounge, where we had a glass of Krug Grand Cuvee. This champagne was totally different that the one we had started dinner with. It was stong and complex, and perhaps the best tasting champagne I've had. It had a distinctive flavor that I interpreted as dark chocolate. Reading online tasting notes, it seems that most agree with a nutty, toasty, caramel taste.

Yesterday we had dinner at The Slanted Door, which is a very popular Vietnamese restaurant in the SF Ferry building. Upon perusing the cocktail menu, I decide to go for a "Bitter Anise", which sounds a lot like a Sazerac minus the whiskey.
The description: Pernod, Peychaud's bitters, ginger ale and muddled lemon served on the rocks.
Interestingly, the lemon was peeled, so none of the zest was in the drink. It was on the whole a pale orangey pink. The smell was overwhelmingly anise, but the taste was a good blend of anise, bitter, and citrus. However, I found the strength of the anise a bit palate-numbing. After I finished the drink, I experimented by nibbling a section of the muddled lemon, and found it quite tasty. This may have been because of the numbness, though. We decided that it wasn't an ideal pre-dinner drink, but rather would make an excellent summer afternoon one.


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