Bar Review: Kendall’s Brasserie & Bar, Los Angeles, CA

I think I have a new favorite Martini Bar!

Not long ago I was in Downtown Los Angeles looking for a place to stop in and quench my thirst.  I wasn’t really looking for a high end restaurant, more of a neighborhood bar.   However, I did end up at a very nice restaurant, stopping at Kendall’s Brasserie & Bar and I’m very glad I did.

I am familiar with Kendall’s having eaten there several times over the years before various events a that the Los Angeles Music Center.  Kendall’s is located on the ground floor below the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

I did not eat a meal at my recent visit though I can attest that their food has, in the past, always been excellent.  I have no reason to doubt that it remains so.

But I did have a Martini, in fact a couple.  I have to admit that I did not order my usual Bombay Sapphire as my ‘control’ drink.  I was impressed with the number and selection of gins they had.  So, not wanting to drink to the point of oblivion and still wanting to try some of these gins, I skipped the Sapphire.   Instead I tried the “Perry’s Tot Navy Strength” and “Dorothy Parker” from the New York Distilling Company.

They were both very good, thought I especially liked the Perry’s Tot.  As its ‘navy strength’ (114 proof) it is bold!  The taste is predominantly Juniper but with some nice citrus notes and a bit of sweetness to round it out.  Excellent for a Martini or even a G&T, if your’re so inclined.

The Dorothy Parker was more delicate.  There is still Juniper dominating the flavor but with a lot more floral elements and a touch of spice.  An excellent Martini if one prefers a more floral taste.

Not wanting to stumble around LA, I only had those two Martinis.  I will definitely return to try some of the other gin options that are available.  For that reason Kendall’s gets two Martini stems.  Martini Glass UprightMartini Glass Upright


For Selection Kendall’s earns an A:
Their collection of gins on the day I visited included the following:  New York Distilling Company’s “Perry’s Tot” Navy Strength and “Dorothy Parker”, Beefeater 24, Bombay, Bombay Sapphire, Plymouth, Aviation, Oxley, St. George Terroir, Tanqueray Malacca, Ford’s, Edinburgh, & Martin Miller.  Their collection does change periodically.

Their web site is:

Random Martini Quote of the Day

Rain Cloud

“I must get out of these wet clothes and into a dry Martini…”


This is one of my favorite quotes and one 0f the most well known world wide.  Apparently is it also one of the most often utilized because it has been attributed, at one time or another, to all of the following:    Mae West, Clark Gable, Robert Benchley, Charles Woolcott, Billy Wilder, Charles Butterworth, and Alexander Woolcott!!


For more fun Martini quotes check out the appropriately titled “Martini Quotes” page, or click the link: Martini Quotes.

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Shaken, Stirred, or Smashed???

Not long ago while on travel I stopped in at a fine restaurant for a ‘nite cap’ on my way ‘home’, i.e., the current hotel.  I ordered my usual dry Sapphire martini.

The bartender took a stem from the freezer and placed in on the bar.  Next he took a metal shaker, put ice in it, and then poured in the gin.  Finally instead of putting the top on the shaker he took out a long stirring spoon.  At this point I thought he was going to stir the drink.  Not a problem, I always let the local barkeep make the Martini at his discretion.  At least the first one.  😉

To my amusement and surprise he proceed to pound the ice with the spoon.  Sort of like a muddler with mint for a Mojito, but with much more enthusiasm.

When he served the martini I jokingly asked if that was considered “Shaken or Stirred”.  He smiled and responded with “Well, more like smashed or crushed”.  He went on to explain that this establishment liked to serve their Martinis with a thin layer of crushed ice on the surface of the drink and this was the best way to achieve that effect.  I think he referred to it as the ‘ice rink’ style.

Personally I don’t mind a few ice chips floating in the martini.  Not sure about a full layer of chips though.   And I think you could easily do that with vigorously shaking the Martini as well.  Having said that, the Martini was excellent.

Random Martini Quote of the Day

I’m not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube. I’m talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness, insight, comfort; redemption and absolution. I’m talking MARTINI


Those of you with good memory may wonder if this is a repeat.  It is, way back in June this was the very first Random Martini Quote for the Day.  This is one of my very favorite Martini Quotes.

For more fun Martini quotes check out the appropriately titled “Martini Quotes” page, or 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.     😉

The Perfect Martini Process, V1.0

Since this blog has existed I’ve advocated and supported the concept that your Perfect Martini is just that, yours.  My Perfect Martini is mine.  And the two may not be identical.   What is important is that we find that which works for each of us.

Having said that, I thought it time to share what I believe works best for me.  Interestingly over the course of the last year researching for this blog and writing about Martinis and Martini preparation my taste has ‘evolved’.  My preference has moved a bit drier and I’m garnishing with a twist much more often.  Lime if available.

Anyway, here is my process.  Note that I say ‘process’, not recipe.  The recipe is pretty simple:  3 ounces of chilled Bombay Sapphire Gin, a capful of Vermouth, and a twist.  But it is the process of putting that together that really makes the Perfect Martini.

The process starts with advanced preparation.  Put the bottle of Gin and your Martini stem in the freezer and the vermouth in the refrigerator.   IF you use a massive shaker, that should go in the freezer too.  This should be done well before you need to prepare the Martini.  (I just leave my gin in the freezer and vermouth in the fridge permanently.)

Then make the twist.  I always prepare the twist before the martini so that the martini doesn’t wait, and get warm, if I make the twist at the end of the process.  No, the twist will not wilt or dry out in the 90 seconds you make the Martini…. it will be just fine waiting for its grand entry at the end of the process.   This goes for olives, if you prefer them…. spear them before the martini.

Finally we start making the Martini proper.  Fill the shaker with about a cup of cold ice.   (See Cold Ice Please! for comments and description of “Cold Ice”).  Take the cap off the Vermouth bottle, fill it with Vermouth and put that in the shaker with the cold ice.  Swirl or shake the Vermouth and ice briefly and then drain the Vermouth.  Keep the ice, of course.

Next put 3 ounces of Bombay Sapphire Gin into the shaker.  (That’s 6 tablespoons or a 3/8 cup if you don’t have a jigger.)  Shake the shaker vigorously for about 10 seconds.   10 seconds is all you need to chill the liquid, any more and your just working your biceps, triceps, and delts.

Now, quickly remove the Martini stem from the freezer and pour the Martini from the shaker into the Stem.  Take the twist and lightly run the rind around the edge of the stem, squeeze a bit of the oils into the liquid, and drop it gently into the Martini.

Finally take the Martini out to the porch, sit comfortable, look at the sunset over the beach, and enjoy the Perfect Martini.


Random Martini Quote of the Day

See, in mixing the important thing is the rhythm.  Always have a rhythm in your shaking.  Now a Manhattan, you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time.  But a Martini, you always shake to waltz time.
Nick Charles, The Thin Man


For more fun Martini quotes check out the appropriately titled “Martini Quotes” page, or 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.     😉

Bar Review: P.F. Chang’s, Atlanta Airport

As you know, I don’t usually review chain restaurants.  Even those as nice as P.F. Chang’s.  You also might have noticed that I review a lot of bars on the two coasts.  Traveling back and forth I pass through Atlanta’s airport quite often.  Very Often!

Finding a place to eat and grab a Martini while transferring in an airport is rough.  Historically airport food has been mediocre, at best.  Thankfully times change and the options today are much better.  Atlanta Airport is certainly right there with “One Flew South” and others.

But I’m looking for a Martini, or two, between my flights and my choice is P.F. Chang’s. Which is located in the center of concourse A, upstairs.

There are several reasons.  First, the Martinis are good.  Not super, not great, but well chilled, abundant, and reasonably priced.  Second, I can sit at the bar and look out over the airport and watch the planes roll slowly by.  Well part of the airport anyway, ATL is pretty huge.

Third, the staff knows that people are in transit and they get your order to you quickly; food and drink.  Fouth, there is a power outlet between every other seat at the bar.  Perfect for charging your phone/iPad/Nexus or whatever.  Finally, the people there are really very friendly.

So P.F. Chang’s Atlanta Airport gets an ‘Honorable Mention’ in my review collection.  And one stem:  Martini Glass Upright

*****   Rating Definitions   ****