Had a big night out on Friday. Two excellent friends were in town from San Francisco for the night. We started with cocktails and cheese in the apartment. Because it was a special occasion, we broke out the champagne. I am thinking of naming my first born French 75 after this celebratory delight:
2 tsp sugar
1 ounce lemon juice
2 ounces gin
Shake all but the Champagne in an iced cocktail shaker. Pour into a champagne flute. Stir gently and garnish with a cherry.
(will post a picture tomorrow - it doesn't seem to be working tonight.)
The second cocktail was a Champagne Cocktail where you place a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, pour in four dashes of Angostura bitters and top with champagne. This drink really grew on me. At first I liked it, but it wasn't a standout. But as the sugar dissolved, the warmth and spiciness of the bitters played off the sugar and melted into a drink with so much depth and flavor.
We paired all of this with some cheeses from Murray's Cheese in Grand Central - a favorite spot of mine in the city. I asked the man behind the counter for some advice, which is always a good call. We ended up with a mild but tangy goat cheese, a creamy blue that melted as soon as I took it out of the wrapper, and a sheep's milk from Vermont that was mellow and firm. As accompaniments, we had quince paste and sliced apple. So good. (I'll post tomorrow with the names of the cheeses, I tossed the wrappers and forgot to write them down beforehand.)
Sufficiently cocktailed, we headed out to dinner at Schiller's Liquor Bar. Arriving at the restaurant 15 minutes late, we were greeted with a 40 minute wait. This was ok for three reasons, first it gave us time to digest all of the cheese, second we had enough time to enjoy the hipster circus that is the lower east side. And finally, we could catch up on each other's lives before stepping into the deafening din of the restaurant. Seriously this restaurant is loud.
We were crowded into a tiny table and I must have elbowed about 20 skinnyjean-clad rear ends. The food was just ok. We had lemon and garlic shrimp and calamari for an appetizer. For dinner I had the steak frites which were fine. The fries were actually very good and the house butter on the steak was great. But really, when is butter not good?
I did love the cheap wine that they serve and also the service was surprisingly excellent considering the crowd. And of course, the company was sublime!
After dinner, we headed to the Pegu Club for some more drinks. As always with this bar, the drinks were well made and did not disappoint. I had a gin, peach and jasmine fizz and then the last drink I don't remember that well, gin, cognac, lemon and soda water I think....hmmm, can we say one too many?
Oh, did I mention that we got back to the apartment at 3am and that I had to be on a train to work at 7am? Not smart.
But so worth it to catch up with old friends. On the eve of a terrible anniversary, that sentiment was never more true to me.