ER

Good times

Dear Reader,

We are living in good times, and very interesting times.

While the wannabe president of the US is de-constructing himself more than the government every day, last week Chelsea Manning was released. Pardoning her was one of the things, President Obama got right. Late, but nevertheless he got it.

And in somewhat related news, the Swedish government stopped the investigation against Julian Assange. They didn’t end the prosecution, but at least will revoke the arrest warrant. Now the ball is in the British field. They still have an arrest warrant for Assange, because he skipped bail. Will the British government do the right thing now? I am not holding my breath.

How did I celebrate the good news? With a bottle of Los Vascos, mentioned on diablog earlier. This time I sampled the 2013, it is lovely. A case is ordered.

No light without shadow. In what seems to be a race to the bottom the British prime minister, Mrs. Mayhem, announced, that the UK will get its own, fully government controlled and regulated internet.

Wait, what?

Obviously, Mrs. Mayhem takes her policies from China and North Korea. The two countries I can think of, that want to block unwanted content completely. Freedom of speech? Freedom of expression? A healthy debate? For Mrs. Mayhem these seem to be totally overrated. Human rights? Freedom of the press? Naa, Mrs. Mayhem feels a lot better without. And so should you, according to her. Equally, you should feel better with the government having all your passwords. Or get charged as a terrorist. What lovely people you Brits elected there.

On a side note, not even China can filter everything successfully. How Mrs. Mayhem wants to accomplish that technically, is beyond me. Because as John Gilmore said:

The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

And the Brexiteers thought, getting out of the European Court of Human Rights would be good. No additional money for the NHS, no more free speech, job losses, increased inflation, how is that Brexit thing going for you so far? I constantly have to think of the man, who jumped from a skyscraper and while falling screamed: so far so good.

It will be interesting to see in June, whether you Brits are sheep. Vote Tory and get fleeced. Or maybe you’ll get it right this time? Again, not holding my breath, but setting a bottle aside to celebrate.

Stay sane,

Engine Room

 

 

ER

aperitif before brunch

Dear Reader,

I apologize for yet another pointless propaganda post earlier on diablog. Let’s leave it to John Oliver to answer Philippa. Not that it helps, as Philippa is proof, Brexit supporters are immune to reason, facts, and common sense. At least this video is entertaining and thus worth your time:

Moving on, as this post is about pastis.

The anis based aperitif has lost some of its popularity. I blame the two market leaders for it, Pernod and Ricard. Both are coming from the same company by now, both are poor examples of this beverage.

Here is an alternative, which I am certain you will enjoy:

Pastis_Henri_Bardouin

Henri Bardouin is the nicest and smoothest pastis, I have found so far. The anis is balanced very well with a lot of other herbs and spices. It is a refreshing drink, perfect fore Sunday brunch.

Like the other drinks I recommend, Henri Bardouin passes the sample at room temperature test. It is even better with some cold water added.

Enjoy,

Engine Room

ER

Craft beer since 1845

Dear Reader,

The headline is almost a verbatim copy, taken from a German family owned brewery. Their slogan: craft beer since 1862. I changed the numbers to fit an English brewery, Fullers. More about them later.

First, let’s get to craft beer, or the recent hype about it.

For many decades the brewery industry went through a phase of consolidation. On a global scale this is ongoing. The No. 1 brewing concern, Anheuser Bush InBev, itself a result of countless mergers and acquisitions, wants to merge with the No. 2, SAB Miller, again a conglomerate of many breweries. Together the two companies will have a market share of 30% globally.

In the late 20th century, enough people got upset with what some call TV beers. Those beers, heavily advertised on TV, had become tasteless. To appeal to the masses, the brewers dropped all character and taste. The running joke then was:

What does American beer have in common with having sex in a canoe?

Both is fucking close to water.

Today the jokes go like this:

Yet, even then you could find tasty beers in America. Avoiding the watery beverages pretending to be beer like Budwiser, Coors, Miller, etc.,  my favorites were Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Brooklyn Lager, Samuel Adams, and the imported Bass Ale. And in Europe you could find fine beers almost everywhere. Avoiding the TV beers like Carlsberg (Denmark), Heineken (The Netherlands), Kronenbourg (France), Warsteiner (Germany), there were hundreds if not thousands of great beers.

So in the late 90s people in significant numbers dropped those TV beers in favor of products from what was called micro breweries. And during the 2000s the trend went from micro breweries to craft beer. As a result you can now find thousands of beers. Many of those are really bad, a few are really excellent.

What people seem to have forgotten, many excellent beers have been around for centuries. Bass Ale, the oldest English trademark, is a prime example. There is no need to try all those craft beers, if you have proven beer champions.

And that brings me back to Fullers. On a recent trip I had the great pleasure of tasting their beers. The result: their London Pride is delicious. And their London Porter is brilliant.

Fullers has been around since 1845 and London Porter is the mother of all porters. And – to my surprise – it is the mother of all stouts, including world famous TV beer Guiness. If you like Guiness, I encourage you to try a London Porter. It is so much better.

London Porter is a very tasty beer, excellent in winter. And it goes extremely well with your steak, or game, or a any rich meal. Occasionally I now substitute red wine with a London Porter. It is that good.

Next time you want to try one of those fancy craft beers, why don’t you try one of those old, proven, classic, beers. Crafted since 1845. And many even longer.

Cheers,

Engine Room

ER

2nd living room abroad

Dear Reader,

With limit living space in NY and a general preference for going out – instead of being homely – comes something I call 2nd living room. And I have more than a few of those.

During a visit to London, where Glynsky showed me around, I found one spot, that would become my 2nd living room. If I lived in the area, of course.

The area in question is Maida Vale. The atmosphere resembles Gramercy, one of my favorite residential areas in Manhattan. Glynsky showed me Little Venice, part of Maida Vale first. And then we looked for a place to have lunch.

When passing this place:

warrington-00

I noticed a sign: Cash Only. And I said: We have to go there.

Glynsky asked why, and I explained. If today a place can afford to kiss good bye to all credit card business, it must be worth visiting. From the top of my head I know only one place in NYC, that does, and that is the world’s best steak house, Peter Luger.

So we went there, and this is what we found:

Continue reading

ER

Amateur night

Dear Reader,

If you come to NY, please come prepared. The reason I am asking you, kindly, is what I call an amateur night.

I had visitors. From out of town. Big eyes. Big mouth. “Show us The City. We can take it.”

So, we started the night at McSorley’s, with a few beers. Side note, McSorley’s has the most beautiful Irish women in town. Just beware of their brothers. And it is the oldest Irish tavern here.

On to a few Bass Ales. I know, you English pretty much gave up on it. I still love it. Next, a few Brooklyn Lager. There is a reason you come to NY. Have the local brew. And then I needed something stronger.

So I ordered a few Singleton. My company skipped that, I had them all. Next up, The Balvenie. Again, I had to drink that one alone. That’s when I asked my guests: “Why don’t you take advantage of your hotel rooms?”

They accepted quickly and gladly. Which left me with a bottle of Barbera D’ Alba. All by myself. Life is good.

If you come to NY, I beg you, come prepared. No amateurs, please. This is a professional town.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

ER

We agree, Glynsky is late

Dear Reader,

The headline is somewhat wrong and misleading. There should be a period instead of a comma. I am pointing this out, because of the recent struggle with spelling, missing words, grammar, and reading properly here on diablog.

Back to the points, what do Glynsky and I agree upon? First, that Glynky’s latest recommendation here, Angel’s Share, is a great movie. Secondly, that Glynsky misspelled the title, missing the apostrophe in Angel’s.

But then, as the famous xkcd pointed out a long time ago:

There is always someone wrong on the internet.

On to why our dear Glynsky is late, I might add, as usual. Because I recommended the movie three (3 !) years ago. On October 28, 2012, I wrote Enjoy Responsibly, with the movie title even in the headline. Been there. Done that.

In related news, I went to Glasgow not too long ago. I know, the English aren’t fond of the Scots. But I get along with Scots very well, and have zero problems with their accent. Glasgow seems to be a great city, and it has very very friendly people. Hopefully I will be back soon. I’ll let you know. In the meantime, from Glasgow:

Simple Minds – Promised you a miracle

Keep on rolling,

Engine Room

ER

Gold of the Gascogne

Dear Reader,

In line with this post, here is another drink worth your attention. Again, it was introduced by friends while visiting.

Clotte de Manon comes from the best sites of the Armagnac region within the Gascogne:

Armagnac-Clotte-de-Manon-1
Armagnac is known since 1461. It is distilled continuously only once, different to Cognac for example. Armagnac is aged only in new oak barrels made of black oak from the Gascogne.

Another specialty, the fruit wine used as basis for Armagnac cannot be sulfurated, or otherwise altered, or have additives. Armagnac is as pure as it gets. Which makes it better than Cognac in my book.

And this Armangac is perfect after a good meal, or with a good cigar.

Enjoy,

Engine Room