It’s no secret to Homefries listeners, but our skipper is leaving the Best Coast for the French Quarter! Before she packed up her kitchen and drugged her cat to road trip to beignet land, The Table Set was lucky enough to snatch Joy for one last fireside game night – For now, that is. (NOLA field trip, anyone?)
But before we get to that, the guys’ dance cards have been FULL these dwindling winter weeks. Nathan was excited to attend Southern California’s inaugural cocktail conference Golden State of Cocktails. And where better to hold it? Downtown LA has been the talk of the proverbial town, and this bar-star-studded love fest exemplified just why the City of Angels holds the mixology it card.
From spirit brand immersion rooms, blind rum tastings, whiskey blending and DIY aromatic bitters making workshops to consulting do’s and don’ts, bar design and legal practices, GSC had something for everyone, from the seasoned bar veterans and business owners to homespun enthusiasts. Highlight tastings included La Quintinye Vermouth Royal and Giffard Depuis 1885 Crèmes de fruits line, especially the Cognac-based Banane du Brésil – Finally! A [delicious] banana liqueur one can sip above the counter. Nathan’s favorite lab was Tech Toys: Making Drinks With Science hosted by local treasures Alex Day (Honeycut) and Gabriella Mlynarczyk (ink.). Fancy centrifuge clarified juice, sous vide syrups, and vacuum infusions are all fine, but Mlynarczyk demonstrated how a handy isi whip or soda siphon can garner equally impressive modernist cocktails -affordably- at home.
Andy did it again. And his latest pop-up project takes a favorite subject of The Table Set from the thatched bar to the dining table. For his debut tiki supper club, The Coconut Club, Andy teamed up with Nathan and previous TTS guest Elana for a South Seas-inspired high-end, intimate dining experience.
The playful menu included an epic Pupu Platter trio (Duck Bao, Fried Coconut Chicken Wingz and Coconut Braised Yam), a Mu’umu’u cocktail in a fresh coconut, Hawaiian Sweet Bread & pineapple butter, Chicken Tiki Marsala soup, a filet and uni Surf, Turf and Earth entrée, Chai Tai dessert cocktail, and a flaming Pineapple Inside Out VOLCANO Cake. Some fantastic images and review can be seen here, and check out the video below made by The Great Company.
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To prepare for this month’s Indian-inspired spread, the guys piled into Greg’s car for another field trip, this time to Artesia, CA’s Little India community.
Second breakfast came in the form of crispy dosas and steaming chai at Udupi Palace. For sweets to take home, we checked out the colorful case at Surati Farsan Mart for a selection of Barfi, Kaju Katli, Penda, Ladoo, and Jalebi. Savory snacks and spices filled the shelves at Pioneer Cash and Carry. On our way home, we stopped for inspiration at Badmaash, downtown LA’s first (only?) Indian gastropub. Alas, they were closed that day, but Atwater Village’s India Sweets and Spices came to the rescue with roasted chickpeas, lassi and fresh herbs.
For game night, we decided to keep the spread light and snacky, with salty bites from our field trip, candied fennel seeds, Andy made rose-scented Kaju Barfi, and Greg made sweet/savory Almond and Saffron Pies.
Of course, it’s not a Table Set party without cocktails, and Nathan used some exotic ingredients from the Indian market in his creations, both straddling the savory line. The Evil Eye demonstrates the smoky flavor profile of black cardamom and peppery nose of curry leaf, while the Bombay Fizz uses salted lassi as its base for a curiously refreshing sipper.
Parcheesi, however, is what this game night was really all about. Created in India circa 500 AD, the board game is oft called Royal Game of India because royalty played by using colorfully-dressed servants as game pieces on large outdoor boards. It really just reminded Andy of fancy Sorry!. Despite Greg’s confidence and Joy’s strategy, Andy won in the end. Nathan didn’t come close, and coincidentally ate far too many snacks.
Joy! Los Angeles will certainly miss you. But prepare your Louisiana table, you can also be sure The Table Set will come for you before you know it!