Random Martini Quote of the Day

Sinatra: “Let me fix you a Martini that’s pure magic.”
Martin:  “It may not make life’s problems disappear, but it’ll certainly reduce their size.”

 

Dean Martin     sinatra

Looking for more outstanding “Martini Quotes”?  I believe we have the best collection of Martini quotes anywhere!   If you haven’t checked it out recently you should!   Click the link: Martini Quotes.

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The Gambling Cowboy, Temecula, CA

gambling-cowboy

So you’ve trekked down to Temecula in Riverside County and had a wonderful day in the sun sampling a myriad of local wines at the multitude of wineries that line the valley and now you want to kick back someplace and cap the day with a Martini and a steak.   I have a suggestion for you, The Gambling Cowboy Chophouse and Saloon!

It is located on 5th street in “Old Town” Temecula, just off Interstate 15.   It is just off the street on the third floor of a rustic building that looks a lot like an old barn.   The inside of the restaurant is spacious, warm, and inviting.  The decor is, exactly as you would expect…. a cowboy saloon.

I will note one feature that I really like …. their etched glass panel cutting through the dining hall.  It is beautiful.  Sadly its also a bit of a challenge to photograph.  You’ll have to enhance the photo with your imagination … or go take a look!

gambling-cowboy-etched-glass

The food is indeed very good with a definite emphasis on, as you might guess, steaks.  But there are also seafood and chicken choices as well an assortment of salads.  Their Martinis are also very good: well chilled, ample, and served quickly.  After a day in the sun their Martini was very much needed and hit the spot perfectly.

The Martini stem the Gambling Cowboy uses is a bit unusual, as you can see in the photo above.  Those of you who know me would expect me to blast this based on my prior posts such as Thoughts on Stemware, Part Three and To Stem or Not to Stem.  But this one I sort of like.  Certainly not traditional but, more importantly, it is not trendy.

Martini Glass Upright  Overall the Gambling Cowboy gets one stem for its very good Martini that is most welcome after a hot day in Temecula!

For Gin selection The Gambling Cowboy only gets a C.  Their selection includes the “Big 5” as I like to call it: Tanqueray, Tanqueray Ten, Bombay, Bombay Sapphire, Hendricks and also Beefeater.

For more information:  http://www.ilovethecowboy.com/

The Perfect Martini “How To”s Collected

martini-with-twist

Over the course of the almost two years that I’ve been writing this blog I’ve posted many random martini quotes, several reviews of restaurant and bars, made opinionated comments about stemware, and expounded on my pet peeves.  And, of course, I’ve also written extensively on what I believe makes a great Martini.  But these “How To” posts are scattered throughout this website and are hard to find.   No Longer!

Here, finally, is a compendium of links to the “How To” articles of Martini Making.  These describe my thoughts and beliefs of making the “Perfect Martini”.  Or to be most precise, my perfect martini.   The posts describe more than just the recipe and process of assembling the finest cocktail, but give some of the technical background of ‘what’ and ‘why’.

So here below for the first time are assembled the heart of Martini Magic…..

Here’s where we start, the art of creation:
The Perfect Martini Process

This link will help you find the answer to the age old question that keeps us awake at nights …. is Shaken really better than Stirred?   And why?
Shaken vs. Stirred Revisited: Conclusion.

If you just want to really know what they mean when some Gin snob warns you about ‘Bruising’, here’s the real deal.  (Hint; its not what you think.  But then, it’s not what they think either!)
Shaken vs. Stirred Revisited : Bruising

Are there really differences between Shaking and Stirring??? Yes!  And here are the two most significant differences.
Shaken vs. Stirred Revisited: Dilution
Shaken vs. Stirred Revisited: Temperature.

Finally, does Shaking taste better?  Read below to find out.
Shaken vs. Stirred Revisited: Taste

Cold Ice is critical to making the perfect Martini.  If you’re confused about the difference between warm and cold ice, check this out.
Cold Ice Please!

Of course a great Martini needs a suitable container from which to sip this marvelous beverage.   Here are a few thoughts on stemware.
Thoughts on Stemware, Part One
Thoughts on Stemware, Part Two
Thoughts on Stemware, Part Three
And even…..
To Stem or Not to Stem

As always, comments are very welcome.  Please let me know what you think especially if you disagree with my comments.

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Random Martini Quote of the Day

Backyard Martinis

“There is no sugar in a martini; no egg whites, no black and white rums, no shaved almonds, no fruit juice, no chocolate, and no spices…. It is a clear, clean, cold, pure, honest drink …”
Donald G. Smith, Wall Street Journal

 

Another great quote that has previously appeared in this Blog.   I think this is especially true with the current trend (fad) of ‘candy’ martinis.  You can read my comments on the subject in previous posts.  Or you can click the following links ….

The Martini, Part Two
Egg Nog Martini??? Really?
St. Patrick’s Day next week!

The “Martini Quotes” page is, I believe, currently the best collection of Martini quotes anywhere!   If you haven’t checked it out recently you should!   Click the link: Martini Quotes.

If you like these posts and want to be notified by email when they come in, please subscribe to the blog…. over on the left column.     😉

Latest “Pet Peeve” of Martini Making

Pet Peeve

I recently had an odd experience that quickly escalated into a new “Pet Peeve”!

In case you missed it, I previously identified several “Pet Peeves”.  If you want a laugh you can look back at my previous post: Martini Making Pet Peeves.  If you want a teaser, one of my (minor) Martini Making Pet Peeves is not preparing the garnish first!

But back to my story.  I was at a local lounge on one of my travels and asked for a Martini while I sat comfortably watching some sporting event on the TV.  The Martini itself was good, if slightly small.  However the stem was excellently chilled from the bar refrigerator upon being served.

Having finished my first Martini I was easily convinced to have another.   The barkeep picked up my stem and I expected it to placed with the other dirty glassware.  But no, the barkeep took it over to the prep station and proceeded to use it for my next Martini!  I was instantly peeved.  Not only that, she used the same garnish!

What’s the point of placing your stems in a refrigerator and chilling them if you’re not going to use them?   Maybe you saved a couple of cents in electricity by not using a new chilled stem and not having to wash this one?

But the story goes on.  I had seen this happen just once or twice in the past and it immediately cuts my bar tip drastically.  But this time I was engrossed in the sports and didn’t want to leave the lounge.

So after finishing the second Martini, which was ok despite being served in the used and warm stem, I placed the stem on the bar back drop…. you know that small area behind the bartop which usually has a logo’d black plastic mat to contain splashed or spilled liquid.  (I’m sure there’s a name for it, I just don’t know what its called.)

When the bar keep came by I asked for another Martini.  She looked around a bit and spied my stem on the back drop.  Clearly off the bar top!  She picked it up and then proceeded to make my third Martin in the same stem.  With the same garnish!

Had I ever envisioned coming back to this place I would have said something to her or the manager.   Instead, she got a trivial tip for her efforts.  I do mean trivial!

 

 

 

Random Martini Quote of the Day

Ogden Nash

 

“There is something about a martini, Ere the dining and dancing begin, And to tell you the truth, It is not the vermouth – I think that perhaps it’s the gin.”
Ogden Nash

 

Our  “Martini Quotes” page has been re-organized!  If you haven’t checked it out recently you should!   There are several new quotes for your amusement.  Click the link: Martini Quotes.

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Bar Review: Traxx, Los Angeles, CA

320px-Los_Angeles_Union_Station_Sign

On a recent visit to downtown Los Angeles I found my way into a little bar called Traxx and was pleasantly surprised with the service, decor, and most importantly, the Marini.

Traxx is located within the beautiful and historic Union Station in Los Angeles.  Yes, the Amtrak / Metro Rail / Metrolink station.  Not where one would expect to find a quality bar.  But indeed this small and obscure bar is quite an oasis within the mad hustle and bustle of rail passengers rushing to & from the tracks, buses, taxis, and ubers.

Now one has to be careful that you find the bar and not the Traxx Restaurant.  The two are operated as a common entity, but they are physically separate.  I understand that the restaurant is really quite fine and their drinks come from the separate bar.  Alternatively, food orders at the bar come from the Restaurant kitchen.   But I have never had the good fortune to be at Union Station when the restaurant is open so I can only speak to the Bar itself.

The bar is just to the right as you enter the Station’s main entrance.  There are no large signs or neon lights inviting you in so its easy to miss if you’re rushing in to catch a train or rushing out to catch a taxi.  But if you slow down you’ll find it.

Once the original Telephone Room for all of Union Station, it is a time machine to a lost era.  Decorated in  gorgeous art deco wood, terra cotta, and marble tiled floors that spill out onto the main ticket concourse.  This is the classic atmosphere that catered to Bogart & Bacall, a backdrop of the classic golden days of Hollywood.   You can almost feel the ghosts of yesterday brush against you today

As for the Martini itself, they were excellent.  The stems were well chilled, the Martini was well shaken, poured immediately, and ample sized.  The barkeep was professional, friendly, and quite helpful.

Overall I give Traxx one Stem.  The criteria for two stems has always been “Worth a trip just to try the Martini”.  I can’t quite say that I would go there ONLY for the Martini.  But I would definitely go there for the Martini and the ambiance.

Martini Glass Upright

For selection Traxx gets a A.  Their Gins during my visit included Plymouth, Botanist, Bluecoat, Aviation, Few, Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, Bombay, Tanqueray, Hendricks, St. George Botanivore, St. George Terroir, and Monkey 47.

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*****   Rating Definitions   ****

More on Union Station:

Union Station is definitely worth a visit.  This opulent station was build in 1939 and combines Spanish Colonial, Art Deco, and Streamline Moderne Architecture that represent California’s heritage and future ambitions.

The lower parts of the interior walls are covered in travertine marble and the floor in the large rooms is terra cotta with a central strip of inlaid marble (including travertine, somewhat unusual in floors since it is soft). The ceiling in the waiting room has the appearance of wood, but is actually made of steel.

02-union-stationUnion-Station-LA-Waiting-Ro

It was built to consolidate rail services from the three main passenger railroads serving Los Angeles at that time (the Union Pacific, Santa Fe, and Southern Pacific).   Conceived on a grand scale, Union Station became known as the “Last of the Great Railway Stations” built in the United States and remains the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States.  It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

UP-Logo SP-Logo ATSF-Logo

Today, the station is the major transportation hub for Southern California, serving almost 110,000 passengers a day.   In addition to being the origin of Amtrak’s three long distance trains (the Coast Starlight to Seattle, the Southwest Chief and “Texas Eagle” to Chicago, and the Sunset Limited to New Orleans), it also serves Amtrak’s California Pacific Surfliner regional trains which run frequently to/from San Diego north to either Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo. The station is also the hub of the Metrolink commuter trains and serves as a stop on the Metro Rail system.

Bar Review: Bistango, Irvine, CA

Bistango Bar Small

I recently found myself at Bistango, a well reviewed Orange County Restaurant serving “New American” cuisine.  It has earned ratings of 4.3 on Yelp, 4.4 on both Open Table and Facebook, and 24 on Zagat.  Sadly I have only had a limited selection of the food, but what I had was excellent.

The best way I can describe the decor here is “Modern Neutral”.   It is open, airy, clean, and crisp.  There are contemporary artist’s works decorating the walls which are a mix of oranges, reds, and browns.  Sort of a southwest “earthy” scheme.  It is not exciting, but not boring; not avant-garde, but certainly not stale. Overall very comfortable, relaxed, and inviting.

The bar is just to the right as you enter, clearly inviting one to sit and enjoy a beverage of your choice.  They have a live entertainment in the evenings and there’s a small dance floor which did get some use.  There is also an outside patio if you prefer your meal or drink in the open air.

Of course, my choice is a Martini which at Bistango are really very good.  Mine was ample, nicely prepared, shaken just enough so that the drink was very well chilled but not overly diluted, and served promptly, efficiently, and cheerfully.  If you’re not interested in a Martini, the bar overall is well stocked with a nice selection of ports, whiskeys, spirits, and cognacs.

I do have to point out that on my most recent visit I did have the unfortunate experience that the stem had not been chilled in any manor … not refrigerated and no effort made to chill it with ice and water prior to pouring the drink.  I hope this was a simple oversight because on my previous visits the stems were properly prechilled.

Overall I would highly recommend Bistango and I certainly intend to return.  It is also just a few blocks away from John Wayne International Airport which brings one to think it would be a nice stop for a ‘just landed’ or ‘Bon Voyage’ Martini.

For a final grade I give Bistango one stem:  Martini Glass Upright

For Gin selection Bistango gets an A-.  They have a very nice selection with several different styles of Gin including a couple unusual choices.  Tru Organic specifically comes to mind, though I didn’t get a chance to sample it.  Choices this day were:  Bluecoat, Hendricks’, Botanist Islay, Ford’s, Sloane’s, Tru Organic, Bombay, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, Beefeater, No. 3 London, Nolet’s.

If you’re curious about the nightly entertainment or the menus, you can find them here: www.bistango.com

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*****   Rating Definitions   ****

Happy National Martini Day!

Martini by the Fire

Today, June 19th, is National Martini Day! It is also Father’s Day!  A coincidence?  I think not!  Sounds like a perfect combination …. so celebrate with your father and a Martini.

H.L. Mencken described the Martini as “perfect as a sonnet” and Herman Wouk said a great Martini “sort of tastes like it isn’t there at all, just a cold cloud.”  With such outstanding endorsements, what more can I say! Enjoy!
Keep Calm

Celebrate Safely.
Remember the advice of Dean Martin:  “If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t even putt.”

Dean Martin

 

The quotes above, and many more, can be found on my “Martini Quotes” page.

We’re on Pinterest!

Backyard Martinis         Well, the photos are!!

The photos that have appeared on this blog are now posted on Pinterest.   So if you saw something you wanted to copy, or see again, take a look at our Pinterest Board cleverly titled “Martini Photos”.  Photos from future blog posting will be added to the board as well.

In addition, any interesting Martini related photos that I take for future blog postings will end up on the board as well.  And anyone who would like to offer their Martini Photos for the collection would greatly welcomed.

https://www.pinterest.com/PerfectMartini/
All photos are mine, or friends of mine, and may be freely copied.