Sooo… Master Chef. Anybody out there watch the US version? I have to admit I haven’t. I haven’t seen the UK version, either. Just one of those things I haven’t gotten around to doing.
Still, a lot of people did tune in on monday night to hear Gordon Ramsay unleash his typical tirades of vitriol at unwitting contestants like this:
Ah yes, I can hear it now:
You stupid @#$@%ing @#%@er, get the @$&^&% out of my &(^$#* kitchen! *%%%^ me!
What? I’ve seen enough episodes of Kitchen Nightmares to have sussed out his entire vocabulary, and about 85% of it is in that one sentence. Maybe that’s why I don’t try Master Chef. No matter how talented the guy is, or how much he knows, he spends so much time screaming at people that they’re idiots, quickly followed by whines of “I’m just being ^$*%E$ing honest with you” when anyone gets up enough backbone to object to being treated so @$@^%ily, that I can’t really stand him.
I know it’s difficult to see at this size, but if you look carefully, you’ll see circles drawn over the picture, two each in red, yellow, and blue. The matching circles (well, and ovals, because a couple of them are more that shape) represent places where the film editing wizards have doubled the images of contestants to make the crowd look bigger than it actually was.
Seriously? You guys needed to do that?
No, I don’t hold Gordon personally responsible for this. I doubt he broke into the editing suite in the middle of the night to confuse and mislead America as to the popularity of his new-to-the-USA show. And it really doesn’t strike me as terribly important in the grand scheme of things. Certainly it’s no comparison to starving children or e coli breakouts.
So what is it? A reminder that even reality television isn’t very real. An amusing bit of trivia. Maybe even a way to fill space on a few blogs across the web.
Who knows? Maybe Gordon Ramsay’s television persona isn’t who he really is, either. Maybe there’s a kinder, gentler Gordon who knows how to moderate his tone and treat people with civility. Perhaps in real life – as opposed to reality shows – he’s as gentle as that lamb draped around his neck:
Our beloved raincoaster is taking a little vacation for a few more days. In the meantime, so as not to leave her loving minions hanging, I’ll be filling in. So fire up your stoves, pour yourselves a drink that makes you happy, and get ready for some good home cooking.
Speaking of substitutions, we’ve all made some while cooking. You know how it is. You get a yen for a particular food, get started cooking, and discover you’re out of an important ingredient for the dish.
I was about twelve when my mother taught me to make risotto. A couple weeks later, she had a meeting that ran over dinnertime and left me in charge of feeding the family. She told me to make risotto. No problemo, I assured her! My first attempt had been quite successful.
The one problem was that when it came time to get cooking, I ran into a slight hitch: I couldn’t find the rice for love nor money. To this day I have no clue where Mom had hidden the white and starchy, but it was not appearing to my wondering eyes.
The good peoples at the Bacardi Daiquiri have asked the Manolo to say the few carefully chosen words about how to properly enjoy the Fourth Day of July.
To be sweet and to be short, the best way to celebrate this auspicious Day of Independence is with the good friends, the grilled food, the refreshing drinks, and things that explode.
This is the ancient prescription for happiness laid down by our American ancestors many generations in the past. Indeed, we are told that in 1778, in the midst of the Revolutionary War, the General George Washington celebrated the Fourth of July with artillery salutes and the issuance to his soldiers of the double ration of rum, i.e. exploding things and rum!
And now the Manolo asks you, what better way to take your rum than in the form of the daiquiri?
“But, Manolo,” you are perhaps saying, “the daiquiri was not invented in 1778!”
To which the Manolo replies, “ORLY?”
Perhaps you have not heard of the colonial era drink known as the “rum shrub“, the essential parts of which were rum, lime juice, and sugar.
What is the daiquiri if not the refined version of the rum shrub?
Lime juice, sugar, and rum, shaken together and poured into the frosty glass. So cool and refreshing, tart and sweet, but not cloying. The perfect drink for the hot summer’s day of celebration, and approved of by George Washington himself!
The Manolo urges you to rediscover the daiquiri for the Fourth of July: Bacardi Hand-Shaken Daiquiri!
P.S. This summer, rediscover the daiquiri. Bacardi Hand Shaken Daiquiri is the perfect addition to any summer get-together — fun, delicious, and ready to pour. Bacardi Hand Shaken Daiquiri is made with Bacardi Superior Rum, tangy lime and sugar. It is a perfectly balanced cocktail that is not too sour and not too sweet.
P.P.S. Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and compensation was provided by Bacardi via Glam Media
P.P.P.S. The opinions expressed herein are those of the Manolo and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Bacardi
Which could mean anything, really. If you’re in the American South, it means one thing. If you’re in England, it means quite another. And of course, if you’re in fashion blogging it means that thing Lindsay Lohan and those starlets on Gossip Girl are always nearly revealing in their miniskirts.
But this group of rocking seniors (“I’M NOT HOMELESS!”) known as Toasters ‘n Moose want you to taste theirs. I defy you not to go directly to the food court after giving this a listen.
Really, you can keep your glitter ponies and your balloon-bending clowns. Matt Stache is the best entertainment a party could have. Also handy in case of zombie invasion, as he comes with more weaponry than G.I. Joe ever dreamed of. Here’s the latest in the Will It Saber series from our bubbly good buddy, which we feature because it’s great fun and NOT AT ALL because we got a shout-out in the video. Not at all.
We can’t find exactly that spear head on Amazon, but this Cold Steel Assegai‘s pretty close:
And I don’t know why, but when you search Amazon for Spear Head, you also get these Naughty Monkey Clogs, so what the hell. SHOES!
Rogers' Chocolates in Victoria. No they do NOT have wasabi cream, you postmodernist asshole!
Well, the fact is you’re probably right: Victoria is as quiet as a city can be and still be a city, and quite a delightful exception to the usual urban bustlitude it is, too. The fiercest competition in town is rhododendron-and-herbaceous-border-based, and all the pedestrian crossing lights are extra-long, to accommodate the mobility-impaired and the just plain meandering, which often enough includes your faithful foodie and drinkie blogger right here.
And it did, just a couple of days ago. Accommodate me, that is, and that to a positively decadent degree; my suite at the Parkside had not one but two fireplaces, two big screen tv’s, and two bathrooms. For one person. I felt like inviting people over for a pee or something, not to mention enjoying the view from the bathtub, although that invitation might be limited to Viggo Mortensen and Julian Assange and while it might be a tight fit I’m more than willing to try it. It had to be said.
But where was I?
Parkside Victoria sweet suite!
Parkside Victoria sweet suite has a suite view!
Now, I don’t know about you. I only know about me. And why? Because you hardly EVER use the comment box, not that I’ve taken it to heart. Oh, no. Not that the comments box and I stare at one another in the darkness, asking where we went wrong, where the silence comes from, is it me, is it you, is it the XML-PRC?
Not at all. But where was I?
Victoria. Oh yes, I was in Victoria. Well, let me tell you something about Victoria you don’t know (I won’t tell you everything you don’t know, because we’d be here for the next 45 minutes, easy, and I bet it’s feeling like that already). I’m going to tell you that when it comes to foodie culture, this pleasantly placid BC burg has your city beat.
NYC, Montreal, Chicago, pack your knives and go…
I went to a foodie/drinkie dinner in honour of Tom Bulleit of Bulleit’s Bourbon in Victoria and as everyone gathered around the table (some two dozen, unless I’ve forgotten how to count past ten without taking my socks off and that’s always a possibility, particularly at a bourbon dinner) it rapidly became evident I was the least foodie person present. One fellow pulled out five or six baggies full of white powder – Hoo boy, it’s party time, you’re thinking, and you’re not exactly wrong, but while the baggies were a cause of great excitement among the assembled partiers, they were filled with an unexpected substance: sea salt. It was sea salt he’d collected from different harbours all up and down Vancouver Island, as many shades of white as the Innu have words for snow. And my friend Janice pulled out her latest batch of House Made bitters (she makes everything from chai bitters to rhubarb bitters to celery bitters for your morning Bloody Mary), and so it went from the fellow who collects knives over 100 years old to the fellow who distills dandelion brandy until it got to me and I said, “I don’t actually make anything, but I consume exceptionally well” and that seemed to be enough. Hey, what’s a symphony without an audience, eh?
That dinner, which I should have written up at the time but will get to sooner or later, took place, like many of the best occasions, at Clive’s Classic Lounge in the Chateau Victoria, within stumbling distance of the Inner Harbour. I adore this place, but it’s not just me who loves Clive’s: Tales of the Cocktail, the internationally recognized cocktail snobbery and standards organization has just named Clive’s one of the four best hotel bars in the world, along with the Artesian and the Savoy in London and Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon.
And it was at Clive’s that I found myself the other night, for any night that I am in Victoria it’s a better than fair bet I’ll be at Clive’s. And what did I do there? I stole the menu, of course.
These menus, they’re like gold. Bartenders in Vancouver bid for them in cocktails. I got the last one up to three Negronis, and that from a bartender who hates to mix anything more complicated than scotch on the rocks. They do, of course, have “PLEASE FEEL FREE TO TAKE THIS MENU” on the back, but I like to pretend there’s evildoing in it: a splash of nefariousness makes the drinks taste better. Okay, Vancouver, what am I bid for this latest menu, which contains a spread of tiki drinks, both classic and “antiki”? Use your words, Vangroover: put them in the comments box!
Now, there are few things I love as much as a good tiki drink, and few things are as abused in this cruel world as the palate of the tiki drink fancier ( #firstworldproblems ). I remember a holiday in Oahu where I drank at a different bar every night just to see what they hell they’d put in their Mai Tai: anything from gin and pineapple juice to a flower that smelled like rotting liver and a grass leaf from the waitress’s skirt (that just can’t be sanitary, can it?). If you’re ever stuck in Oahu, play the Mai Tai lottery and you’ll never be bored (although you may be queasy).
But back to good tiki drinks, and one specifically, from the Antiki side of the menu at Clive’s: the Holy Hand Grenade.
Now, I defy anyone with an ounce of Nerd Pride to flip past a drink named after a Monty Python bit without ordering it, although the Dead Parrot might be a challenge, not to mention Spam. Naturally, a table full of bloggers fresh from the Social Media Conference had to sample such a geeky delight, and here it is: a world exclusive as far as I know, and believe me, I know better than to actually ask, because then someone might tell me it wasn’t, and if Almighty Google doesn’t tell me so then LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU, so here it is, a world exclusive: the original Holy Hand Grenade by Nate Caudle of Clive’s Classic Lounge in Victoria. And yes, it’s in metric: nerds LOVE the metric system, duh!
1oz Green Chartreuse (OUNCE? what is this, Nate? Are you going bilingual on me or something?)
20 ml Appelkorn
20ml Chestnut Syrup
20ml Lime Juice
Shake and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with a cross made of palm leaf.
This is absolutely effective against vicious bunnies that are terrorizing the countryside, whether escaped from a Monty Python skit or from Hef’s mansion. After a couple of these, that bunny will be thumping you on the back and telling you what a fine, fine person you are and how did he not notice it in all these years?
How tasty is this thing? Well, as with all good cocktails that aren’t pousse cafes, it gives the impression of being one perfect thing, rather than an assemblage of ingredients. You’d be hard-pressed to identify any of the ingredients here, actually, and it comes across light enough that you could be excused for thinking it wasn’t a bourbon drink at all. Given the varied sweetnesses of which it is concocted, it’s surprisingly light and refreshing, with a mellowed citrus taste and a complex, warm and earthy aroma and aftertaste which is unusual in a drink this summery. It’s perfect for sitting on a patio or lanai, enjoying the scenery or maybe a paperback of something amusing by nerd god Terry Pratchett.
In fact, I have a strong feeling this would have turned Frank from Donnie Darko into Harvey of, uh, Harvey, in no time at all.
Start with: one bottle of imported, yummy beverage (beer is used for demonstration purposes, but any non-twistoff metal capped beverage will work, Orangina or Newcastle Brown, we’re equal-opportunity drinkers in the Manolosphere) and one piece of paper.
You may doodle on the paper if you wish, but not passionately. Structural integrity is important!
Now fold as demonstrated in this video, leverage against your fingers, and wallah! Apply contents of bottle to back of throat and enjoy!
Of course, if you’re lost without your accoutrements, we recommend one of the following:
The multifunctional carabiner bottle opener, very useful on your next expedition, even if it’s only to the mall.
If that’s not your style, how about this one:
This sleek bottle opener is more James Bond than Jon Krakauer, so save it for opening your more upscale bevvies.
Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Mr. Manolo Blahnik. This website is not affiliated in any way with Mr. Manolo Blahnik, any products bearing the federally registered trademarks MANOLO®, BLAHNIK® or MANOLO BLAHNIK®, or any licensee of said federally registered trademarks. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the author.