Monday, March 29, 2010

3.24.2010 - Luke's Joint (Arcata, CA)

I had the pleasure of going to Luke's Joint for the first time today. I had only heard good things about the place and had been dying to go and try what looked like some pretty succulent fare.

I got what was cleverly titled the Great Cornbowlio. Essentially, it was a piece of their homemade cornbread topped with coleslaw which is then topped with pulled pork. This is served with the soup du jour (that day it was a broth-based beef soup with vegetables). The cornbread and coleslaw were fantastic, but the pork was a bit dry, however flavorful. I couldn't quite tell if the pork had been cooked to perfection and then left out in a warming pan all day or if it had been dry from the beginning; I suspect, and hope for, the former. I got the chance to also taste their biscuits in gravy. They were good though I would probably never order them. The biscuits were light and tasty, but the gravy was too busy with bits of vegetable and the like. It seemed to be trying to be something it's not; sometimes really good basic gravy is indeed best. My friend and I went on to share the chocolate mouse with white chocolate and raspberry sauce. Though I don't normally like anything about white chocolate, there is nothing bad I can say about this mousse. It was delicious. In fact, all their baked items looked really good.

I want to and will go back.

Luke's Joint
887 H Street
Arcata, CA 95521

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

3.23.2010 - Whiskey Tasting

Yes! This was great! Somehow I convinced some friends to come with me to a whiskey tasting at one of the local casinos, Cher-ae Heights. The tasting itself was put on by Myrtlewood Liquors and John's Fine Cigars and featured a "Whiskey Master" (one of, apparently, only 17 in the world) who is pretty much a liquor distributing company representative who- through that distributing company- represents the drinks giant Diageo, which, in turn, owns brands like Johnnie Walker, Bushmills, Oban, Dalwhinnie and Lagavulin, among many others. Nontheless, he seemed very nonpartisan about which whiskeys to drink; he thought they were all good. He was definitely a good speaker and was knowledgeable; he provided some clever anecdotes and witticisms and guided us through some of the whiskey making and tasting processes. The tasting also included a five course meal that consisted of grilled shrimp with risotto, Brie en croute with microgreens, crispy duck springrolls, roasted lamb chops with coffee and chocolate, and bread pudding with a whiskey caramel sauce. The food was good, but relatively uninspired and was scant and sparse. Notably my favorites were the Brie and bread pudding.

Below is the list of the whiskey we were able to taste. Surprises included serving chilled Johnnie Walker Gold at 28 degrees- it was great and delicious, mellowed the flavors and smoothed out the feel- and how much the bourbon stood out from the others. I came overly enthusiastic about tasting the Johnnie Walker Blue and left largely the same way about how great it was, but intrigued me further were the Oban, Dalwhinnie, and Talisker Distiller's Editions. They were all complex, but different and drinkable.

Johnnie Walker Blue
Johnnie Walker Gold 18 Year
Dalwhinnie 15 Year
Dalwhinnie Distiller's Edition
Oban 14 Year
Oban Distiller's Edition
Bushmill's 16 Year
Glenkinchie 12 Year
Talisker 10 Year
Talisker Distiller's Edition
Bulleit Bourbon
Crown Royal Cask 16