Checking Out The Parish With Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Fried Chicken, Grilled Peaches, Tomatoes & Currant Vinaigrette

My 2-day crash course in all restaurants Casey Lane was a bit of an accident. I scheduled a business brunch at Tasting Kitchen on Venice’s Abbott Kinney while not realizing that a media lunch at his new, cross-town joint, The Parish, was to take place the next day. But I found no coincidence in the fact that both places serve stellar food – Downtown Los Angeles should be so lucky to receive such an addition by Casey, who brought the concept of farm-to-table to fruition before the term got hackneyed. (Soon, Melrose will get their own dosage in Itri, a pasta shop.)

Scotch Lace with Glenrothes Select Reserve

While I missed the one-month-ago opening since it was during Tales of the Cocktail, I was lucky to have gotten my first taste at a Glenrothes Scotch Whisky lunch. (As this was a special event, The Parish isn’t open for lunch – but it seems as though they are aiming for breakfast service in the near future.) What a treat it was to have tasted The Parish’s stellar food alongside one of the top three Single Speyside Malts in different vintages: 1998, 1988 and, ultimately, the 1978.

We started out with a Scotch Lace, John Coltharp’s variation on a whisky sour, but utilizing Glenrothes Select Reserve with a splash of Rose. It was super refreshing (especially since I had Metro’ed and biked there) without much tartness at all.

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Loaded Bar Serves Up Frysmith With a Side of Rock

Loaded Bar

I love a delicious, complex cocktail as much as the next guy but sometimes you just want something that’s a little more simple. Rugged. Or even rough.

Poor Picture of Frysmith Kimchi Fries ($7, or $8.50 for "Loaded" version with pork belly)

Thankfully, I live in Hollywood so I have plenty of selection to suit my needs and desires of the moment. And yeah, I was craving something a lot less maintenance than a $14 hand-crafted cocktail plus an easy snack that would satisfy my belly. So I decided to check out Frysmith’s new cover band, Loaded Rock Bar on Hollywood Blvd, which serves up their menu without the gas ‘n go truck and with the stationary bar seating, lone flatscreen and nostalgic-to-the-80’s, rocker-esque soundtrack.

I’ll admit: The key is visiting on Call Whiskey Wednesdays, whereby all call whiskey is $3 per shot (If you prefer Jager, go on Mondays; tequila and Tecates, go on Thursdays). And so Makers it was, for me, which accompanied an order of Loaded Kimchi Fries with pork belly.

Beautiful. The fries were of a perfect crisp and the kimchi was more respectable than I’d honestly give a rock bar credit for. It would be hard to say if they’d be even better if cooked on the original truck. Thank you, Loaded, for proving me wrong. It’s apparent that the place provides its customers with a solid bar-going experience without the BS. They also have a cheap food menu besides the Frysmith menu, which I have yet to try, but which also comes with little risk ($5 for a burger on Hollywood Blvd? Wow!). But if you’re not hungry, count on Loaded for the whiskeys and bourbons – including even Death’s Door White Whiskey, Woodford Reserve and Basil Hayden ($7 ea). Or Macallan 12 for $8, if you were thinking something sweeter. Highland Park 12 and even Balvenie 12 are even $8 per pour.

Thinking about fitting in? A $5 PBR 24-oz pounder should be right up your alley. If you want to play middle-of-the-aisle, they also have $4 bottled Red Stripe. Are you a daytime drinker? All drinks are 2 for $1 more from 11 AM – 7 PM. Whoa.

Not bad for a rock bar with fake Marshall Loaded amps lining the back wall.

6377 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

Balblair All-Vintage Single Malt Scotch Arrives on U.S. Shores With Fanfare

Getting a taste of Balblair 97 vintage

I can always use a lesson in single malt Scotch – it’s a chance to widen my experience and palate, and let’s face it: I’m partial to it. A few weeks ago, I tried Balblair – the distillery of which dates back to 1749 – for the first time. So did many other Americans since it just got introduced to the U.S. market. It was a privilege to be amongst the first to partake and celebrate. Incidentally, I met a few members from the Los Angeles Whiskey Society. Indeed, whiskey – or more specifically Highland Single Malt Scotch – brings us all together.

Balblair is a Highland Single Malt and the only that is all-vintage (older than 10 years). The 1991 ($129.99) and 1997 ($64.99) are the first two vintages available here, and needless to say – I thought the 1997 was very good but was very impressed by the 1991 vintage. Both have an ABV of 43% and are full-bodied. In the 1997, I experienced a rather spicy nose as well as a few citrus notes. The taste gave off much oak as well as spice – and some vanilla. The 1991, on the other hand, was a bit more sweet on the nose as well as taste with warmer notes overall than the 1997, even giving off the essence of toffee. Very delicious.

If I had occasion to give a generous gift to a seasoned whiskey drinker – I’d certainly pick up one of these bottles. Since it’s new to our market, your giftee will appreciate both your expertise and good taste. 😉 If you want to sip here in the city, try The Edison, Checkers and The Thirsty Crow (thanks to Maya of ShopEatSleep for that tip).

Further reading:
Loving Scotch Like Ron Burgundy – ShopEatSleep

Tasting the World’s Only Vintage Single Malt Scotch – Gourmet Pigs

Trying Balblair Highland Scotch – Tara Met Blog

The Balblair tasting was held at:

Edison Downtown
108 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012-1585

Wed – Fri: 5 PM – 2 AM
Sat: 8 PM – 2 AM

Getting Cozy With The Macallan

I’d always been a vodka-tonic kind of person. Clear has been where it’s at. Like so many others, I started with the sweet, girly drinks (Amaretto Sours in college, anyone?) and when I finally realized there’s a better part of me that experiences narcoleptic tendencies I naturally stuck to the clear drinks unless absolutely special. No juice and therefore sugar. It was the safe bet with nil “crash agents” in the ingredients.

Having only one drink regardless of where you go is like having a one-track mind. You could be missing out on really good stuff by people who knew what they were doing. It was my turn to learn the goods. Time to grow up.

Not that much. Maybe I’ll just say it was time to open my mind. And it started with the first time I’ve ever had The Macallan.

And then came the opportunity to host a tasting of The Macallan in Whist at The Viceroy in Santa Monica. Brand Ambassador Eden Algie graciously gave us a lesson in appreciating single-malt Scotch. Bloggers CarolineOnCrack, H.C. of L.A. and O.C. Foodventures, Maya of ShopEatSleep and Julie Wolfson of LAist were on hand to learn and enjoy as were a handful of my friends.

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Macallan & Rankin: Bringing Scotch Together With Photography

There was no better place than M+B Gallery off Melrose to hold the launch of a collaborative effort between world-renowned, Glasgow-born photographer John Rankin and premium single-malt Scotch maker Macallan. Attendees decked out in black & white complimented large versions of polaroid art mounted upon gallery walls. The first series of Macallan’s Masters of Photography concept yielded a limited edition 1000 bottles featuring Rankin polaroid art labeling Macallan Fine Oak 30-year Scotch Whiskey (a bottle of which would set you back $1695). Owners of the bottles may even register their bottle online with Macallan.

No matter. If I couldn’t, wouldn’t buy a bottle myself I’d at least learn how exactly to appreciate premium single-malt scotch. Then and there. And bless those bartenders, who were quite a help. Suggestions made included combinations with ginger beer or honey and mint, or a bit of water. Of course, I couldn’t do the tasting party justice if I didn’t at least try it straight-up, especially the 30-year aged.

I’m not a Scotch drinker, but heck if that wasn’t supremely smooth, delicious Scotch. Cheers to that. I am certainly a premium Scotch drinker now! Delicious.

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