No Smoking & a Hibiscus Cocktail

Since the NO SMOKING law was passed in NJ (hey, if France can do it, anyone can!), more people are dining at the bar. No more stopping in for a drink and a smoke. Now it's stop in for a cocktail and a meal! It's a pleasure not having someone blow smoke in my face, mixing the aromas of nicotine with food.

Eating at the bar creates more revenue for the establishment as well as more work for the bartender. A bartender is now a waiter and food runner. He/she has to know about the daily specials, as well as making great cocktails and also taking care of the service bar for the rest of the restaurant. Not easy. No more time for being a psychologist and listening to my problems, they are just too busy. I guess I will have to go to a real shrink now!
Many restaurants in Manhattan will reserve seats at the bar for diners, a disadvantage for people wanting to stop in for a drink. Oh well, change is good.

We like to eat at the bar if it's just the 2 of us. You can eat light, without having to feel guilty about not ordering an entree or a full course dinner. You also get a better vibe of the place and sometimes meet interesting people. We always get into a good conversation with some character at the bar!

Saturday night we went to our favorite local hangout, Restaurant MC. The bar is small and intimate and the Sat. night bartender, Eric, always remembers our names, what my husband drinks, and likes to make up something special for me to try. Last time he made me a SPICY as hell Habanero Tequila margherita that kicked me in the ass, literally.
This weekend he made me a hibiscus cocktail (3 of them, in fact!). It was so good, I hope he remembers how to make it for the next time, because I am coming back for more!

Recipe for Hibiscus Cocktail:

2 lemon slices muddled w/a
handful of mint, muddled
2 squirts of hibiscus flower syrup (here is how to make it)
Stoli citron vodka (I can not tell you how much, depends on how you like it)
splash of club soda

I am also including a photograph of the delicious and unusual panzanella salad that I had. It was a long, toasted brioche crouton, topped w/ gorgeous Pennsylvania heirloom green, yellow & orange tomato slices, as well as shaved fennel. The long red phallic looking log is the tomato coulis, and there was a caper balsamic vinaigrette drizzled on top w/ a few dabs of basil pesto. Too pretty to eat, but I managed just fine!


Chef Jeena said…
I agree with you Stacey.

I hate cigarettes!

The only problem is now people are all stood outside smoking away so that when you walk down the street past the bars, pubs and restaurants you have to walk past clouds of smoke because all the smokers are stood outside! Argh!
Anonymous said…
It totally agree w/ you on this. I was annoyed a bit when New York City went smoke-free in 2003, but that was due to my liberal, 'government-is-making-all-decisions-for-us' mentality at that time. Now, five years later, i can not imagine having to come home from dinner or a drink out w/ my husband smelling like smoke. it's awesome!!

in fact, people used to go from the city to jersey just so they could drink at the same time! i can't imagine how the french are holding up with their new law. france makes me want to smoke - well it used to - but that was b/c everyone and their mother was doing it at the time!

thanks so much for your sweet and motivating comments on our blog!! i hope you'll visit us again and again!

amy @ we are never full
kat said…
I never thought about that but now that you say it I do notice more people eating at bars.
Brenda Adamson said…
Good for the no smoking policy. Austin went smoke free several years ago. We love cocktails too (Manhattans mostly) and the hibiscus drink looks great--I agree with the tomato coulis comment, re-design please!
sj said…
that drink looks heavenly :) And I am so glad more places are going smoke free... it's a good thing! :)