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Wednesday
Aug272014

R.I.P. Pierre Laporte

David and I were very sad to learn last week that one of our newest Armagnac producers, Pierre Laporte from Domaine Pouchegu, recently passed away from cancer. Charles Neal and I knew he had been sick, which was why it had taken so long to get our 1986 vintage bottling together, but none of us understood the severity of the illness.

We will drink in your memory, Pierre! Your brandy is simply amazing and will continue to live on in the bottle.

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Aug262014

Photo of the Day: Beaujolais

One of the great parts about visiting Michel Couvreur in Burgundy this past Spring was that we got to go to Beaujolais and visit some of Charles Neal's wine producers. Rather than pinot noir, the Beaujolais wines are made from gamay—a juicy red varietal that makes utterly-drinkable expressions. We got to walk through the vineyards of Domaine de Colette just before sundown and look out into the rolling hills. Then we sat down, ate some Beef Bourguignon, and drank about ten bottles of Beaujolais to our heads!

I really, really want to go back next year. Beaujolais is like the Armagnac of French red wines: quality products, low prices, rustic personality. Good stuff (and that Couvreur K&L whisky should be landing any day now!).

-David Driscoll

Monday
Aug252014

Writing Every Day

If you're not embarrassed about something in your past, then you're either an incredibly careful and precocious person, or you're very inwardly-focused. I was formerly the latter (at least I like to think "formerly"), but today I feel a strong sense of resentment for my younger self; mainly, because I despise the qualities I once embodied when I encounter them in people today. I listen to people talk sometimes and I think, "Jesus, did I really sound like this at one point?" and then I remember the parties in high school, the desperate ploys for attention in college, and the clumsy encounters of my early twenties. There can be no embarrassment when you think everything you say is important.

I may be overly hard on myself at times about this issue, but at this point in my life I cannot stand listening to people babble on and on about their achievements, or about an award they won, or about where they graduated from, or how if it weren't for them...blah, blah, blah. Needless to say, that was me for most of my late teens and early twenties. I thought that when I told people something about myself they would inevitably see and admire the person I was describing. If I told them I was good at sports, they would think I was good at sports and nothing more. If I said I was smart and had read many important books, they would without a doubt believe that I had an intellectual mind. They would of course take all of my words at face value, and follow every minute detail I was describing, never for a second straying from the message I was broadcasting, because that's how the world worked for me back then: I talk and you listen.

Little did I know.

Today, when someone talks my ear off about how many trophy bottles they've tasted, or about how they've visited every major winery in Napa, I'm definitely not thinking about what a masterful grasp of wine this person must have. I'm thinking, "How much longer do I have to listen to this guy talk until he shuts up?" But that's not what they think I'm thinking. They think by telling me all of this impressive information that I'm internally wowed by what they have to say—that I'm hanging on every wordjust like I believed was the case concerning my own accolades all those years ago. But I'm not impressed, nor is anyone else for that matter. We're just politely waiting for you to finish. That's what people are really thinking when you talk about yourself in that manner. The fact that it took me almost thirty years to realize that is embarrassing.

So when people ask me today, "How do you find the time to write so often?" I say: it just comes naturally. But really what comes naturally is the internal fire that burns inside of me to distance myself from the past. Each post that I write is a chance for me to move beyond the selfish naiveté of my youth and into a more outwardly-focus. It's the reason there are no pictures of me on this blog. It's the reason I don't have a Twitter account or a Facebook page. It's why I so often write about manners, the attitudes on the internet, or terrible conversations I've eavesdropped upon.

I told someone earlier today, "We can never fully mature into adults until we remove whatever chips are on our shoulders." I have a giant chip on mine concerning my past, and it's that weight that motivates me to write this blog every day. I'm hoping that the spotlight my writing ultimately generates will force me to think about my remorse, and that each instance will serve as a reminder of what I am working towards.

Each day I log in and hope I can think of something to say about my personal experiences without the desperate need for validation from others.

Oh, I'm sorry, did you think this was a blog about alcohol? :)

-David Driscoll

Saturday
Aug232014

Retro Seagram's 7

...and, yes, if Diageo can continue to give me cheap things in awesome packages, I will buy them. $12 Seagram's 7 in a 1960s art deco bottle? Yes, please. The kitsch factor is off the charts!

-David Driscoll

Friday
Aug222014

Out and About

I finally made it over to Trou Normand the other night with David OG—the new restaurant from Bar Agricole owner and K&L friend Thad Vogler. However, this iPhone photo is about as grainy as my memory of the evening. Luckily, I do remember the one outstanding Jersey City cocktail I had (made with Calvados, as the entire place was inspired by Thad's visit with the Camut brothers and Charles Neal) and the awesome meat board that I stuffed my face with, hoping to soak up some of the high-proof pool of hooch swimming in my stomach. It's a fun place that offers a unique dichotomy of meats and rustic French spirits and you can walk there easily from the Embarcadero, so it's in an interesting spot.

The other place you HAVE to go if you're in Las Vegas is China Poblana, located in the Cosmopolitan, but it seems like I was late to the party on this one. Everyone I've told about it said, "Yeah, I've been there. It's awesome." My wife and I were there a few weeks ago and we can't wait to go back. It's not for everyone, but it seems like it was tailor made for us. Chinese food and Mexican food (not a fusion, mind you) on one menu, and only our favorite dishes cooked in a fancy, yet very authentic fashion. Even the drink menu is divided into two countries.

And I ordered every drink on that menu. No joke. All of them. Even the $18 gin and tonic with cilantro and marigold (it was worth it), and the Empress made with sochi, rice wine, and yuzu (Chinese restaurants, take note). The biggest treat was probably the "air salt" magarita that uses salty air in a canister to create a salty froth on top of the cocktail. Incredible. Salt is apparently "in" right now in the cocktail world, and this drink used it in an effective and creative way. 

We also ordered just about every food item on the menu. We stuffed our faces and drank like it was our last night on earth. The twenty-vegatable fried rice was incredible. As were the chilaquiles, the BBQ pork buns, the shrimp mojo with roasted poblano peppers, and the fifteen other small plates we gorged upon. 

An absolute must on any trip to Vegas. 

-David Driscoll