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!