Friday, April 22, 2011

Tijuana Bible, please.

After years of research - painstaking devotion really - I think I've finally found my favorite bar in New York City.

I know. Those are big britches to fill. But (lets just say)lots of cocktails, beers, shots, beer and shot combos, additional beer and bad decision combos, happy hours and late nights weighed into this final verdict.

Before I make any announcements I must also note that there's really a bar for every occasion in this great city. It's hard to pick one favorite because it depends on the drinker's mood, needs, company, etc. The great happy hour spot with frozen margs may not be appropriate for date night or I-have-friends-visiting night or We-just broke-up-and-I-want-whiskey-tonight night.

So when I say "favorite" I mean overall favorite- a consistently cool scene with a delicious beverage menu.

Drum roll puhlease, my favorite bar (at least for now) is Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Seems I had to travel to the far east (first stop off the L train from Manhattan) to find this wonderful little watering hole. Like all things in Williamsburg, it's pretty hipster. The bartenders are tattooed and stuffed into skinny jeans. I did spot a pompadour during my last visit. But, I promise the good makes up for the fedoras. And by good I mean cocktails. It's one of those schmancy mixologist bars where drinks are infused with elderflower, orange peels are zested and mortar and pestles are flipped around like forks.

The cocktail list is a little overwhelming (as everything looks fantastic) so I made the bartender pick my first drink. "I just don't like bitters" were my instructions. He served me an icy cold Cleopatra's Pearl: apricot and peach blossom liqueur, fresh lemon and Egyptian mint infused vodka. Tart, subtly sweet and crisp; it was a very good first impression.

Next visit, I demanded some tequila. The Tijuana Bible, specifically. Hotel Delmano doesn't put their cocktail list on the Internet and I'll admit my memory of this delicious spirit's exact ingredients is a bit fuzzy, but I can tell you it combined mescal, jalapeno and orange. The glass was lined in chili powder that may have burned a layer off my tongue but I was into it.

The bar offers a vintage Parisian vibe- dark wood, fogged mirrors, a long curvy bar cluttered with bottles, jars and blinking votive candles dripped over with wax. The DJ, on clunky turntables, plays old-timey French and Latin music. I was told a traditional Cuban salsa group sets up a few times a week too.

Hotel Delmano is cool but still cozy. Sophisticated but not exactly pretentious. The bartenders might take themselves a smudge too seriously, but the drinks they pour are impressive so I'll keep visiting. And you should too. For the sake of good research, of course.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

oopsy daisy

It was around noon Tuesday when a dozen pink roses arrived at my desk at work. My stomach fluttered with nerves as the delivery man handed me the giant bunch in front of my coworkers. Excited and embarrassed, I never know how to react when a gift is presented to me in public. I get a little awkward.

A tiny card was taped to the arrangement. My heart thumped as I read it out loud to my curious coworkers.

"Vanessa, Happy Birthday. Love, John"

I'm seeing a guy named Jon- not John. I noticed the discrepancy but quickly assumed it was simply misspelled. He must have called in the order and the florist got it wrong.

I really wasn't expecting flowers. It was flattering and too much. I called Jon immediately.

"Hey there," he answered.

"Oh my God Jon! You're adorable. The flowers are gorgeous. You really shouldn't have. I can't believe,"

"Vanessa," He cut me off mid-gush.

"I didn't send you flowers at work."

Nervous pause.

"Ha, stop it. They're so amazing," I continued, awkwardly, my stomach dropping.

"What does the card say?" He sounded serious.

"It says Love, John"

"How is it spelled?"

"John but I figured the florist misspelled it and I umm, wait, are you messing with me?"

"I'm sorry gal, it's not me."

I rushed off the phone, yanked the tiny card back off my desk and re-read it.

"Vanessa, Happy Birthday. Love, Julian." It was clear as day.

Julian is my bosses name. He was out of town and sent me flowers for my birthday. He would.

Jeez. Louis. In my awkward haste, my crazy brain changed the name (that was, in my defense, very sloppy!). Still, I'm an idiot.

I texted Jon an apology and explained who the flowers came from. Always a good sport, he laughed it off...and surprised me with gorgeous yellow tulips later that evening.

Silver lining to my ridiculous mistake: finally, something to blog about.