terça-feira, 22 de abril de 2014

Mixstrology: Taurus

Enlarge Credit: Ben Shadis

Welcome to Mixstrology, SAVEUR's monthly series where astrologer/bartender Patricia Clark Hippolyte provides a cocktail prescription for each sign of the zodiac. This month: Taurus.

Taurus, I live and die for my time with you—live for the chow-down, and die from overeating. It's as if I’m an honorary Taurus. I most often return from our culinary excursions uncomfortably engorged, only to wake up starving and dehydrated. I find myself both proud and disgusted with my performance, a feeling that luckily dissolves after a day of salad and a nice shot of chlorophyll. You are solid, deliberate, fixed in your ways, motivated by food and money, and fueled by the desire principle. That's why I created an over-the-top cocktail with a Taurus-pleasing combination of caramel cream liqueur, vodka, a bacon-popcorn simple syrup, and a scotch float; it's the perfect marriage of salty, smoky, and sweet. Eating and drinking at the same time—what more could a Taurus ask for?

Prairie Gold Cocktail Enlarge Credit: Laura Sant See the recipe for the Prairie Gold »

As for the rest of the zodiac, try these sign-appropriate variations:


With your ruling planet Mercury and transiting Pluto doing the dance, this will allow you to stay very focused on work plans: vodka, iced tea, and bacon-popcorn simple syrup.


The planets are telling you to open your eyes to unexplored possibilities that take you into new places and into contact with new folks. Get your ducks in a row so when Mars goes direct you will be prepared to move forward smoothly and efficiently with the right people by your side. Same ingredients as the original; just add some mexican mole bitters.


Now that Jupiter is moving toward your domestic sphere, go forward with implementing those changes in your home that you’ve been thinking about. Make it the castle you’ve always wanted. Keep it fresh and direct with tequila, bacon-popcorn simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice.


Mars retrograding in Libra isn’t helping you get control of financial affairs; however, in mid-May Mars will go direct, allowing you to get your arms around the issues much easier. I promise nothing but ease and harmony. Go for vodka, simple syrup, and a splash of Aperol.


The change Uranus brings can result in greater freedom and independence, allowing you to break away from old routines, habits, and restrictions. Pluto, on the other hand, frequently brings endings and closure, but will also bring around renewal. Mix bourbon, bacon-popcorn simple syrup, and some unsweetened iced tea.


All of the hard work you've put in begins to pay off and is rewarded—or at the very least, recognized. Saturn is keeping you focused and with Mars going direct, goals that recently lay dormant will now emerge. Meat and potatoes and a little veg for you: Drop the caramel cream and add bloody mary mix.


After a long and rough winter, mid-May should serve you well: The planet of getting things done goes direct, meaning all those roadblocks you’ve been running into will hit the bricks. Sayonara. Have a little taste of breakfast—the most important meal—by omitting the scotch and adding a couple ounces of iced coffee.


Do your best to stay away from confrontations; they truly won’t serve your interests. This is an isolating transit for you so my recommendation shouldn't be a tough one: rye, cold-brew coffee, bacon-popcorn simple syrup, and a squeeze of lemon.


Uranus in Aries is always going to send you hurtling in a new direction socially and there is something about the process which is always bumpy, but who loves unpredictability more than you? Sub butterscotch liqueur for the caramel, shake well, then add club soda.


99 bottles of beer on the wall...and you’d drink them all. Neptune is not helping you to see boundaries clearly, however Saturn is and he’s helping hold down the fort. Quite a balancing act; keep it up with mezcal, caramel cream, bacon-popcorn simple syrup, and a paper umbrella.


Aries! Still feeling energized, I hope. Venus in your sign will have you feeling impulsive and craving adventure around the first week in May. With Uranus and Pluto still skulking about, keep a cool head to avoid any unwanted showdowns. Go for vodka and bacon-popcorn simple syrup with a dash of black pepper bitters.

Patricia Clark Hippolyte is a New York-based astrologer and bartender.

The Brew: Bière de Mars

Enlarge Credit: Aaron Lloyd Barr Spring has finally arrived in New York City; not long ago, I spent a lazy Sunday in the park near my apartment playing ladder golf with friends and picnicking in the sunshine. The almost-frozen Budweiser tallboys that someone had stashed in the cooler felt just right for the moment, but as I reached for one I felt my inner craft beer nerd wishing that I had something a little more flavorful, more alluring. I wanted a bière de Mars, a bracing, effervescent springtime ale that originated not in outer space but in nineteenth-century northeast France.

Translating literally to "March Beer," bière de Mars is native to Alsace, where cool, slow winter fermentation produces superbly clean ales for the spring, similar to the refreshing maibocks of neighboring Germany. The style is closely related to Belgian saisons and French bières de garde, but is typically lower in alcohol and somewhat drier than its more popular cousins. They’re commonly amber to blondish in color with fresh hop aromas that can be floral, perfumed, or fruity. Some are brewed with earthy yeast strains that impart a crisp but barnyard-y finish.

Though bière de Mars is still brewed in Alsace today, many of my favorite beers made in this style are modern variations produced by American brewers. Of these, one of the most refreshing I've had is Martian Spring from Strangeways Brewing in Richmond, Virginia. Head brewer Mike Hiller uses a glut of American hops including Simcoe, Citra, and Centennial to produce an aromatic farmhouse ale with pungent citrus and tropical fruit notes. The beer’s prickly carbonation creates a clean, snappy finish that would have been perfect with our haphazard picnic of spicy Calabrian salami, aged New York cheddar, and store-bought chips and guac. With some better planning we might have served it with a bright salad of fresh haricots verts and sharp green garlic, or alongside a baguette with some gooey young cheeses.

The beer’s prickly carbonation creates a clean, snappy finish that would have been perfect with our haphazard picnic

In sharp contrast to Martian Spring’s refreshing fruitiness is Jolly Pumpkin’s robust bière de Mars from Michigan, one of my other favorite spring brews. Taking more cues from Belgium than from France, this beer boasts aromas of tart cherries, musty grapes, and rich leather. Strong oaky flavors arise from several months spent in the barrel, where the brewery’s signature blend of Brettanomyces yeast and souring bacteria creates a complex melee of funk and tartness. The delicate carbonation and pleasant astringency make it less suited for a sunlit picnic than for an intimate dinner party where roasted lamb with spring radishes might make an appearance.

One of the oldest American-style bières de Mars comes from Fort Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Company. Part of New Belgium’s popular Lips of Faith series of limited specialty brews, the bright orange ale balances the sweetness of bready malts with a kick of tart citrus. Notes of lemon and herbs saturate the nose and palate while the finish is all bone-dry minerality, making the beer a great match for raw bar-style seafood or a fava bean and pecorino salad.

All of these beers have limited availability and required some extra legwork to find. But the hunt is worth it for their unique flavors, their refreshing qualities, and the fact that they're designed for this very seasonal moment. I’ll be drinking them all springtime long.

Strangeways Martian Spring ($12), Jolly Pumpkin Bière de Mars ($14), and New Belgium Bière de Mars ($10) are available at specialty craft beer shops and bars. Search BeerMenus to find where they’re available near you.

Justin Kennedy is a New York City-based food writer and all-around good drinker.

From Western Waters

feature-from-western-waters-parmesan-crusted-halibut-1200x800-i164 Enlarge Credit: Ingalls Photography

U.S. 101—a two-lane road that snakes through California, Oregon, and Washington, nearly all of it along the Pacific—might be the most sublime drive in America, especially the 363-mile segment that runs along the Oregon coast, where we traveled last spring. As we traversed cliffside expanses, we spied pods of gray whales passing by in ocean waters. When the road dipped down to sea level, we stopped to ride horses between towering dunes and rocky shoreline on a broad beach studded by colossal basalt rock formations.

We had always wanted to visit this part of the country. We knew it as the place our dear friend the late James Beard loved so much. Long ago, the famed American culinarian regaled us with reminiscences of summer trips from his family's Portland home to a beach cabin in the oceanside town of Gearhart. It was there, he told us, that he learned to savor wild berries, hazelnuts, and salmon—silvery coho and the mighty Chinook, the Pacific's largest salmon species, caught in the ocean or in the region's rivers during their treacherous upstream migrations to spawn.

feature-from-western-waters-south-beach-seafood-500x750-i164 Enlarge Credit: Corey Arnold But salmon is just part of the state's seafood bounty. Oregon also offers halibut, albacore tuna, whiting, clams, oysters, shrimp, and, best of all, Dungeness crab. Though named after the town of Dungeness in Washington, this wide-bodied crustacean is found in abundance in Oregon. And, from an economic standpoint, it's the state's most important catch. Not even considered food until the late 19th century, Dungeness crabs are now trapped from December through mid-August, their sweet, tender meat served in everything from chowders to savory dips. We were eager to sample it all.

We concentrated our journey in the upper third of the state, driving from the mouth of the Yaquina River north to the great Columbia at Oregon's northern border; it's a portion of coastline that lies within an accessible two-hour drive from Portland. In South Beach, where the Yaquina spills into its bay, we gobbled lunch at South Beach Seafood, a fish market attached to a 24-hour convenience store selling an immense inventory of energy drinks and beer. The ultra-casual café on the premises serves impeccable Dungeness crab, cooked straight off the boat in cauldrons by the highway out front. Their shelled meat is sold in pearly lumps piled into a plastic cup, alongside a wedge of lemon and some optional horseradish-heavy hot sauce. Taking a seat at a picnic table, we enjoyed ours the way Beard once told us to—unadorned.

Like other outfits dotting the coast, South Beach Seafood uses hickory and alderwood to smoke salmon, tuna, sturgeon, sable, mussels, and oysters. Wild Chinook salmon is made into “candy” by glazing nuggets of its smoked pink flesh with pepper and brown sugar. Each firm, moist piece packs a provocative woods-meet-sea punch.

The following morning we headed over the Yaquina Bay Bridge to Newport, the self-proclaimed Dungeness Crab Capital of the World, and were immediately taken with the city's bustling harbor, which was filled with fishing boats unloading crabs, as well as salmon and halibut. It was here that Oregon's commercial seafood industry began in the mid-19th century, when prolific oyster beds became a source for restaurants in San Francisco. Oregon's coast is home to plenty of sustainable fishing operations, both small and large, that haul in, cure, can, and even cook their catches. Newport's main drag, Bay Boulevard, is lined with canneries, fish-packing plants, and a bounty of seafood restaurants and fishmongers. The best meals in town, we were told, could be had at opposite ends of the waterfront, at Local Ocean Seafoods and a place called Ocean Bleu @ Gino's, both seafood markets with adjacent eateries.

feature-from-western-waters-clam-risotto-with-grilled-shrimp-500x750-i164 Enlarge Credit: Ingalls Photography At Local Ocean Seafoods, we found each variety of fresh fish marked with a placard indicating which vessel had caught it and by which fishing technique: hook-and-line, purse seine, trawl, pots, longline. No farmed shrimp or salmon here! We perched at the counter facing a lively open kitchen and took in the aroma of a briny shrimp stock that sat bubbling in a great pot on the stovetop. As we watched the high-spirited staff compose beautiful plates of food, we were continually fed lagniappes: a sliver of grilled tuna, a seared scallop, a coconut prawn.

Local Ocean's house fish buyer, Amber Morris, a red-cheeked woman with an infectious smile who is known to regulars as the Fish Goddess, told us she keeps costs down and wares fresh by heading out to the docks each morning to buy directly from about 50 fishermen. As we downed cups of Dungeness crab soup glowing with roasted garlic and pulled hunks of snowy grilled halibut off wooden skewers that topped a brilliant panzanella salad, we sighed with pleasure, and the Fish Goddess beamed. There was just one dessert on the menu, and it was swoon-worthy: a “parfait” of lemon shortcake layered with berries, mangoes, and whipped cream.

Later that day we headed to Ocean Bleu @ Gino's. This modest little joint serves seafood sourced from boats berthed right across the street: tiny, sweet Yaquina oysters harvested just upriver; black cod, salmon, and sable, which are smoked in-house; Dungeness crabs delivered live to a seawater tank. We dug into Ocean Bleu's gooey warm dip of crab, sour cream, Monterrey Jack, and parmesan, followed by perfectly pan-fried crab cakes, their creamy filling leavened with whipped egg whites and bolstered by puréed scallops, and their golden crusts topped with spicy chipotle aïoli and cool pineapple salsa. Throwing caution to the wind, we ordered one more entrée: paprika-dusted grilled shrimp and whole Manila clams served in a creamy risotto infused with the mollusks' juice. Our shared food coma reaching its peak, we headed back to the hotel, beyond satiated but eager for the next day's journey: a two-hour drive to the village of Gearhart, James Beard's boyhood vacation spot.

Gearhart is home to about 1,500 people, a surprising number of whom crowd into a convivial coffee shop called Pacific Way Bakery & Cafe each morning. It's a tiny spot with a couple of chairs and counter stools, plus outdoor tables under which customers' dogs hunt for crumbs. We started the day here with pastries, coffee, and conversations with locals, who strongly suggested we come back for dinner. That evening we feasted on Pacific Way's hefty parmesan-crusted halibut fillets, the flavor of the flaky white fish punched up with a snappy parsley sauce. Served alongside sautéed broccoli rabe and mashed potatoes, their earthy, clean taste enhanced with roasted garlic and a touch of chicken stock, it was just the type of American comfort food Beard would have loved.

feature-from-western-waters-oregon-beach-basalt-rock-500x750-i164 Enlarge Credit: Corey Arnold

Our last stop, the city of Astoria, a mere 20 minutes away at the northernmost end of Oregon's coastal highway, lacks the dramatic natural charisma that defines so much of the state's oceanfront, but it has a gritty sea-town appeal all its own. A good example of this aesthetic is Bowpicker (the first syllable is pronounced like the front of a boat), a restaurant housed in a small dry-docked fishing vessel. As we shared our final meal of the trip, a simple order of fish and chips that turned out to consist of beer-battered hunks of albacore tuna coated in a crisp gossamer crust, we wondered aloud what made the batter so delicious. “It's a secret,” said a waitress, “but we don't know what the secret is.” We speculated that, perhaps like Ocean Bleu's crab cake, the batter was leavened by folding in egg whites. If the fried seafood of the Oregon coast shares this secret, we wouldn't be surprised; after all, it was a technique we learned ourselves years ago from an Oregon son named Beard.

See a travel guide to the Oregon coast »

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