March Edison Radio Room Tonight

Globo Rojo #2 (Strawberries, Mezcal, Tawny Port & Bitters, Fruit, Smoke, Tannin)

It’s that time, again. Mixologists – mostly hailing from New York City - have flown in to show off their steez at The Edison in Downtown LA tonight. With Joe Brooke now firmly at the helm of The Edison’s cocktail program, there have been a few changes in protocol that we were made aware of at last night’s media preview. At tonight’s Radio Room, you will only be able to order each cocktail from the visiting mixologist who designed it via drink tickets at designated stations and servers. Edison staff will serve all other cocktails, food and beverages. An added perk on the food side as well: Christophe Happillon, who has for awhile now served oysters on the half-shell during Radio Room, will also have crab claws available!

Crab Claws by Christophe Happillon

Though most have flown in from the other coast, I enjoyed the cocktails from Seattle’s Zane Harris (of Rob Roy) probably the most. Last night at the media preview, the Globo Rojo #2 made me do a double-take with its smoky strawberry profile at the center. The other cocktail he brought us was the Vieux Cerde, made with 12-year Jameson, VSOP and a “drizzling” of Elisir M.P. Roux and bitters. It was truly a cocktail that made you think – in a good way – with a deep complexity that evolved the longer it lingered on your palate.

Following closeby as far as my favorite cocktails for the night were by Giuseppe Gonzales – currently at Dutch Kills and working on a new bar called Painkiller on the Lower East Side. The Wild Orchid (gin, almond, elderflower & red wine floater) and Infante (tequila, lime, orgeat, orange blossom water, nutmeg) both come from Dutch Kills and they were both incredibly refreshing in their own way. The red wine floater in the Wild Orchid, which is usually suspended when the drink made with crushed ice, added a bit of weight and color to what might otherwise be a lightweight concoction.  The Infante, which is Dutch Kills’ most popular cocktail, was like a sophisticated turn at the margarita – perfect with the added citrus of orange blossom and rounding out with a nutty finish from the freshly-grated nutmeg. Beautiful.

Zane Harris, Seattle

Don Lee, of Momofuku Ssam Bar fame, put together his Rite of Spring – which was a “fresh, seasonal take” on a classic Gibson. The base was vodka and also had rice vinegar, but with such a strong onion infusion in the cocktail, I thought gin might have blended better. Korean peppers further added complexity but I had a hard time with this particular vodka cocktail. Simon Ford (Pernod Ricard - New York & London), served up a cocktail named Good Morning, Vietnam, which featured gin, ginger and orange marmelade. I think by this time during the night (with yet another stop at First & Hope to come) my palate had gotten tired – as Maya swore she tasted the ginger, and I had tasted absolutely none. I tasted more lemon than anything, but it was still a welcome introduction to the Los Angeles spring to come.

Another bit of news: The Edison will have a new location in Manhattan in about 18 months. Now cocktail aficianados on the other coast won’t have to travel 3,000 miles to get their own dosage.

Cocktail menu ($14 each):

Wild Orchid (Giuseppe Gonzalez)
Infante (Giuseppe Gonzalez)
Rite of Spring (Don Lee)
Globo Rojo #2 (Zane Harris)
Vieux Cerde (Zane Harris)
Good Morning, Vietnam (Simon Ford)

Further reading:

Radio Room Preview Event & Announcing The Edison New York – Thirsty in LA

Preview of Tonight’s Radio Room at The Edison – LA & OC Foodventures

Q&A With Bartender Zane Harris – Food GPS

Q&A With Bartender Simon Ford – Food GPS

Tonight’s Radio Room at The Edison – ShopEatSleep

Sneak Preview of The Radio Room Tonight – Gourmet Pigs

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

8 PM

$10 entry

Radio Room at The Edison
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
108 W. 2nd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Papabubble Hard Candy: Made By Hand, Made With Love

This past weekend, I had the unique opportunity to attend a Papabubble candy-making workshop at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. After doing some online research, I learned that the only Papabubble shop in the U.S. is in New York City – Little Italy, to be exact – so I couldn’t wait to see the demonstration. Maybe the West Coast would finally get a taste of these hard goods.

White Chocolate-Dipped Mini Creme Brulée

When my girlfriend and I first arrived in Ojai, we couldn’t imagine a more beautiful setting within which to learn about candy. Apparently, Ojai Valley Inn is making a push to host chef-centered, educational programs for the public – something I can definitely get behind and am honored to have been a part of, for at least one event! So after we checked in to our posh room with a fireplace, we headed over to the workshop where desserts by Pastry Chef Salvatore Marcone met us – complete with coffees, teas and real hot cocoa (as in, melted chocolate). I would be remiss if I didn’t rave about how excellent these all were, including mini creme brulées dipped in white chocolate, lavender cheesecakes and gold flake-topped chocolate domes. And I can’t forget the lemon meringue tarts – with probably the best lemon meringue I’ve ever had in my life.

Chocolate Dome

Papabubble is handmade hard candy which is made through a very time-sensitive process beginning with pots of liquified sugar. I was delighted by the story of Chris and Rachel Grassi, two artists from New Mexico who co-own the American flagship in New York City, and the discovery of their love for candy-making while on an extended trek through Europe together. They learned from friends in Barcelona, and decided to bring the traditional European craft Stateside since they figured they “had to go home, eventually.” New York proved most conducive to their business plan and product, and today their Little Italy storefront hosts a most eclectic gathering of spectators intrigued by the sight of candy being made by hand.

Liquified sugar spread upon heated marble slab

When we arrived in the hotel banquet hall, we couldn’t see the extreme boiling action going on in the kitchen next door. When the pots were finally brought out, though, they went straight to a heated marble slab. Chris and Rachel then started spreading the melted sugar evenly across the slab while using metal bars to knead the sheets as they became thicker while cooling down. And then when it was solidified, the “clay” was transferred to a heated rubber mat to undergo continued stretching. Chris and Rachel continued to stretch and fold the warm putty repeatedly with respect to their separate colored shares. And then the molding began.

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