Monday, April 30, 2012

The Mai Tai

320 Main's Mai Tai

When one thinks of Tiki, they think of sailing around the South Pacific, sipping drinks out of pineapples or coconuts, and lounging around white, sandy beaches whilst the breeze gently presses its way through the palms overhead. Here at 320 Main we may not have the coconuts and pineapples, but we still have the beach and, more importantly, we have the Mai Tai – the King of Tiki Drinks.

The Mai Tai was created in 1944 by Victor Bergeron – better known as Trader Vic (yes, that Trader Vic). By that time, Trader Vic's had locations in Oakland and Seattle, modeled after successful Polynesian Palaces like Don The Beachcomber's.

Vic Bergeron a.k.a Trader Vic
To create the Mai Tai, Vic combined Jamaican rum, curaçao, lime juice, rock candy syrup, and orgeat – an almond syrup created in France. The drink – full of flavors funky, tart, and just enough sweetness – proved so delicious and became so popular that Vic's restaurants eventually depleted the entire world supply of the Wray & Nephew 17 Year Old rum (you can occasionally find bottles in private collections for as little as $56,000 today). Vic was forced to try to recreate the rum's distinctive flavor by combining other Jamaican rum with rum from Martinique.

Mai Tai
.75 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
.75 oz Rhum Clément VSOP
.75 oz House-Made Mai Tai Mix*
.75 oz Lime Juice
* Clément Creole Shrubb, house-made orgeat, and rich simple syrup

Shake with crushed ice and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a lime shell and fresh mint.

320 Main may not be the beating heart of Faux Polynesian Faire, but we can't help but tip our straw hats to Trader Vic and what may be his greatest creation and an experience that is sure to make you proclaim, “Mai tai roa ae!”*

*”Out of this world – the best!” in Tahitian

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare time, runs, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Crippled Creek

After a week of ridiculous winds and rain in Southern California, the forecast is finally looking up. Way up. Like, 70-and-80-degrees-without-a-thundercloud-in-sight up. The kind of "endless summer" we live in Orange County for. No one is more excited than Jason Schiffer and 320 Main that summer weather is back, and to welcome it properly they are introducing a brand new original drink: The Crippled Creek. 

The Crippled Creek has melon and citrus flavors as well as an overall savory quality that makes this drink unique and perfect for summer dining. Most people are surprised when they find out its unique ingredients. Cucumber, lemon and pomegranate are some of the more easily guessed at flavors of this drink when tasted. But what is that great savory quality of the Crippled Creek? That round funkiness that hugs the more recognizable fruitiness? You'll never guess, so I'll tell you: it's dijon mustard. How Jason managed to make a drink out of cucumbers and mustard taste tangy, fresh, and fruity is all a part of the magic of 320 Main. 

The Crippled Creek
1 1/2 oz Angel's Envy Bourbon
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pomegranate Molasses 
2 tsp Depaz Cane Syrup 
1/2 barspoon of Dijon Mustard
2 slices of Cucumber
Shake with large cocktail ice
Strain into Old Fashioned glass
Top with crushed ice
Garnish with cucumber slice and celery seed

Jason got the idea from a blog he read by Anvil Bar and Refuge. Anvil owner Bobby Heugel created a whole series of cocktails using his favorite condiment, mustard. The unique ingredient intrigued Jason, and being a natural-born experimenter he set out to concoct his own cocktail incorporating Dijon mustard. After much trial and error and a few final ingredients, the Crippled Creek was born. A drink perfect for summer.

Pairs Well With: The Roasted Bone Marrow or The Prime Rib

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Prime Rib Thursdays

What better way to ring in Friday and the start of the weekend than with 320 Main's Prime Rib special on Thursday nights?

The tender 12 oz. horseradish and garlic crusted Beef Prime Rib cut is served with horseradish cream sauce and beef au jus. On the side comes green bean almondine (aka green beans sauteed with almonds giving them a deliciously salty yet light flavor with an added crunch) and a baked potato with loaded compound butter. What is loaded compound butter, you ask? The butter of all butters, we say. This butter contains bacon, garlic, shallots AND chives. All this for only $28. 

Swing by, order a Crippled Creek or a Michigander, and let the woes of the previous week dissipate over a tender cut of grade A prime rib prepped to perfection by Head Chef James Wilschke. But don't be too lax in getting over there, because this crowd pleaser usually sells out by 8:00!

Pairs Well With: The Crippled Creek

Monday, April 2, 2012

Roasted Bone Marrow

The Roasted Bone Marrow

Don't let the name scare you from trying the newest addition to 320 Main's already killer list of appetizers. It's the perfect opportunity to fulfill your new year's resolution of "trying new things" without putting your life in jeopardy or contracting any diseases. This dish features a roasted beef bone served with fresh grilled french bread and a side of sweet-and-sour tamarind jam. 

Here's how it's done:

Grab the provided spoon and get in there. (Now's not the time for manners. Use your elbows.)
Scoop some of the soft marrow out. 
Spread it on the bread like you were buttering a piece of toast. 
Dip in tamarind jam.
Enjoy the ride to foodie heaven as all your prior fears and skepticism melt away like the delectable, buttery, salty, sweet flavors that are literally melting in your mouth.

The Bone Luge
It almost tastes like a rich bacon infused butter. Which is the exact reason so many prior skeptics now call this dish their favorite appetizer on the menu after trying it. To complete your day of new experiences, order the Roasted Bone Marrow with a Cool Runnings shot (made up of Smith & Cross Jamaican rum, Becherovka bitters from the Czech Republic, and Oloroso sherry) and try the Bone Luge. The Bone Luge phenomenon can be credited to Mr. Jacob Grier at Metrovino in Portland, Oregon.