Wednesday, July 10, 2013

320 Main Employee Spotlight: Kim

If you're a 320 Main regular then you know Kim. She's the feisty blonde that looks like she walked right out of a Southern California postcard. But don't let her pretty face fool you, she's got a tongue sharper than glass and wit with more bite than Mike Tyson. Oh and did we mention she's double majoring? Brains, beauty and a sense of humor, she's got it all - meet Kim:

Q: How long have you worked at 320 Main?
A: Longer than Becca and Jason! Seven-ish years. 

Q: Two words that best describe you:
A: Blunt, and driven.

Q: Favorite dish on the 320 Main menu?
A: The NY Block and pan seared scallops.

Q: What's your poison?
A: The Michigander.

Q: Best thing about 320 Main?
A: The staff. It's great working with great people. I couldn't ask for better friends and co-workers. And of course shiftys!

Q: When you're not working at 320 Main where can we find you?
A: At my other job or at the beach. 

Q: Do blondes really have more fun?
A: F*ck yeah!

Q: We hear you're a numbers whiz?
A: Yeah, I'm double majoring in Stats and Econ.

Q: What's one thing some people might not know about you?
A:  I want to go to 30 countries before I'm 30. I've got 8 down, and 22 to go!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Art Beyond the Glass featuring the work of 320 Main owner Jason Schiffer!

The Larkin Park
Come out and support 320 Main co-owner, Jason Schiffer, and the gang at this year's "Art Beyond the Glass"  showcase! Art Beyond the Glass will take place this Sunday June 30th at the Los Angeles Athletic Club and will feature some of the top bartenders in the area showing off their skills beyond the shakers and spirits. Jason Schiffer will be showing select paintings.

Don't fret, readers: there will still be spirits a-plenty! Jason will be preparing a punch featuring: Leblon Cachaça, lemon, lime, and house-made blueberry-cucumber-sage shrub. 320 Main bartender, Michelle Bearden will also be shakin down her drink "Larkin Park". This little number features: Aviation Gin, Nigori Sake, lemon juice, and Granny Smith apple. 

Art Beyond the Glass
Sunday, June 30, 2013
3:30pm – 7:30pm
Los Angeles Athletic Club
431 West Seventh Street, Los Angeles, CA

Friday, June 14, 2013

Panorama Punch

Seattle probably isn’t the first place you think of when someone starts talking about tropical drinks.

During the middle of the twentieth century, the Polynesian Pop movement that was usually just referred to as “Tiki” was in full-bloom across the USA. Seattle was not spared from the light of Tiki torches, rattan furniture, or rum-based libations with fun names. And when the 1962 World’s Fair came to Seattle, locals and tourists were treated to some fantastic drinks high in the famous Space Needle. One of those drinks was named the Panorama Punch.

Of course, in true Tiki style, there are different reports on how the drink was made. According to an old Trader Vic’s guide, the drink was made with rum, Cointreau, gin, and grenadine. Jeff “Beachbum” Berry reports that the recipe was actually concocted with rum, simple syrup, cranberry, orange, and lime juices, and blended with crushed ice for two people. The secretive nature of Tiki cocktail culture means that the absolute truth is probably out of reach (but also probably favors the Bum).

Panorama Punch 
1 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaican Rum
1 oz Clement VSOP Rhum Agricole 
2 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Cranberry Juice 
1/2 oz Lime Juice 
2/3 oz Orgeat

Shake with crushed ice and pour into a goblet. Garnish with mint. 

When we introduced Tiki Tuesdays at 320 Main, one of the drinks we were most excited to bring to the bar was our take on the Panorama Punch. It proved to be so popular that Jason and Dave put it on the regular menu so that you can sip the delectable drink any day of the week.

As noted in Beachbum’s BeachbumBerry Remixed, the Western Guest Magazine said the Panorama Punch, “ especially good for toasting the 21st Century or just about anything.”

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.


Monday, April 29, 2013

The Old Cuban

It’s like a Mojito, only turned up to eleven!

This was the reaction I got from the first person I ever handed an Old Cuban. It’s not entirely incorrect.

At the famous Pegu Club in New York, Audrey Saunders forged a reputation for brilliance and cocktail program excellence that is hard to even contemplate matching. There is a reputation of exactness and consistency that is well earned - and this comes through in the excellence of this cocktail.

The recipe calls for aged rum, lime juice, mint, bitters, and champagne, and it is as brilliant as it appears inevitable. If the Mojito is a drink for beach parties, the Old Cuban is one for elegant soirees on your yacht.

Old Cuban
1 1/2 oz Aged Rum (Santa Teresa Claro)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
6 Mint Leaves

Add all but champagne to a shaker. Muddle mint. Shake with ice. Strain into chilled coupe glass and top with champagne.

In New York, Audrey and her crew make the Old Cuban with Bacardi 8. At 320 Main, we’ve gone with Santa Teresa Claro - a lightly aged rum from Venezuela that many people say is the closest rum you’ll find in the US to Havana Club from Cuba. Pegu Club also garnishes with a sugar-coated vanilla bean whereas we opted for a simple mint leaf.

Refined and refreshing at the same time, the Old Cuban takes the Mojito’s combination of tart, sweet, and effervescence and adds character through the age of the rum, the complexity of the bitters, and the style of champagne.

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.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Duroc Stuffed Pork Chop

Brie, Granny Smith Apple, Caramel Apple Sauce, Sweet Potato Puree
A pork chop is pork – meat from that magical animal that also gives us bacon, ham, and baby back ribs – that’s been chopped at a 90-degree angle from the spine of the swine. Depending on the chop, you’ll find a vertebrae or rib bone to provide a nice hand-hold for eating your delicious dinner.

But you probably know all of that. The odds are pretty strong that you’ve had a pork chop some time. Come to 320 Main, and you’ll be eating Duroc pork chops.

Durocs are a breed of red hog that was developed in New England around 1820. Legend says that the hogs are named for their breeder’s favorite horse, whose name was Duroc. The breed quickly caught on as a show pig as well as a source of good, lean pork. Famers, like the Compart Family Farms where we source our pork chops, gravitated to the hearty swine with a reputation for excellent marbling and low drip-loss.

Thinking of pork chops will inevitably lead to thinking of apples or applesauce. In fact, pairing pork with apples is about as natural as food pairings come. You can go as far back as the 1st Century in Rome and find recipes like minutal atianum, a ragout made with pork and containing apples.

The 320 Main pork chop is stuffed with Brie and Granny Smith Apple, topped with a caramel apple sauce, and served over a sweet potato puree. The massive chop is loaded with flavors: rich, crisp, savory, and sweet – and pairs beautifully with a classic like an Old Fashioned or a signature cocktail like the Crippled Creek.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


These are probably not the first words that come to mind when someone uses the word “zombie” these days. Most people probably begin to talk about their favorite scenes from John Romero or that TV show on AMC.

Find a good bartender though, and ask them about a Zombie. That twinkle you see in their eyes (or is that dread?) is a brain cycling through a list of ingredients a mile long, and a cocktail history that can match it.

Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt was born in Texas in 1907. It seems like an unlikely name and birthplace for the person largely held as being responsible for the Polynesian pop-culture phenomenon known as “Tiki” - but that’s probably why he eventually changed his name to Donn Beach better known as Don The Beachcomber.

Gantt travelled the world as something of a vagabond - visiting places in the South Pacific and the Caribbean specifically - before finding himself in Los Angeles in the early 1930’s. It was there that he took over a small shop and turned it into a bar: Don’s Beachcomber Cafe.

The future Don had very little money, but he had picked up a thing or two about rum punches while in Jamaica, and rum happened to be dirt cheap at the time. So combining his incredible charm, cheap but exotic rum, and the base of Jamaican Planter’s punch, he began building an empire drink by drink. Of his most famous creations, the Zombie may rule the roost.

In 1934 Don unleashed a mixture of four full ounces of rum including a full ounce of overproof rum - on the world. The drink was potent already - but, using his knack for flair, Don made it even more mysterious and alluring by declaring right on the menu that no customer was allowed to have more than two zombies because it was just so strong.

Zombie (1934)
1 ½ oz Jamaican Rum
1 ½ oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum
1 oz 151 Demerara Rum
¾ oz Lime Juice
½ oz Falernum
½ oz Don’s Mix*
1 tsp Grenadine
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Absinthe

Blend with ¾ cup of crushed ice for 5 seconds. Pour into a chimney glass and top with crushed ice. Garnish with fresh mint. 

There’s even a story - almost certainly too amazing to be true - that Don once had a run in with the mob over the Zombie. As the story goes, two mobsters wandered into Don’s one night and had two zombies a piece. When one of them tried to order a third, Don refused, and things got a bit heated. To cool things off, Don suggested that the mobsters come back the next night and if they could drink three zombies, he’d give them his bar.

The mobsters returned the next night, Don made them each their first zombie, then their second, and then their third. Before getting even halfway through their third round of drinks, both men collapsed on the bar - leaving Don victorious.

Per the legend, Don had won rather nefariously. Rather than making the drink according to his regular recipe, Don had added glycerine to the mixture - a move that was guaranteed to ensure that the drinks acted much faster on the mobsters than they normally would have.

Over time, many of Don’s recipes - even recipes for INGREDIENTS in his drinks - were lost. It took dedicated historians and drinkers to bring them back. Most of all, we have Jeff “Beachbum” Berry to thank for bringing the modern world not just the Zombie (for which he found numerous recipes), but the original, 1934 Zombie punch recipe (you should really get a copy of Jeff’s book, Sippin’ Safari to get not only the recipes, but the stories behind finding them).

Thanks to Jeff’s hard work, at 320 Main, we can serve you Zombies that we feel honor Don’s hard work and absolute boozy genius. Of course, we lack the blender that the recipe calls for, so we make do by shaking with crushed ice until our arms scream for mercy and our hands freeze to the tins - sacrifices well worth the smiles of the Tiki gods.

*Don’s Mix is a mixture of grapefruit juice and cinnamon syrup. You can make your own, or you can do what we do and order it from B.G. Reynolds’ Syrups and have it at the ready for all of your Tiki needs!

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.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Sazerac

The Sazerac at 320 Main

Can a cocktail capture the essence of an entire city and its culture?

When people think of New Orleans, probably the first thing they think of is the Hurricane -­ a mixture of passion fruit and rum served out of a curvy glass that is probably festooned with beads that have been earned in ways that aren’t appropriate to discuss here. Certainly the Hurricane may capture the devil-may-­care attitude of a French Quarter bursting with tourists looking for a good time, but some would argue that a better capsule of the Big Easy would be the Sazerac.

The history of the Sazerac is clouded in the haze of history, buried amongst a host of tall tales and big personalities. It is the amalgamation of ingredients plucked from people like Antoine Peychaud - a Creole pharmacist whose aromatic bitters were sold for various stomach maladies and are still a staple of any serious cocktail bar today -­ and Sewell Taylor, who was the sole importer of a brand of cognac known as Sazerac-­de-­Forge et Fils (they weren’t great at naming things simply back then).

Prior to moving into the importation business, Taylor had sold his “coffee house” ­ a euphemism for “bar” that was popular at the time ­- which came to be owned by a man named Aaron Bird. It was most likely Bird who began to mix a concoction of Sazerac cognac, sugar, and a local bitters made by Peychaud, and sold it as the Sazerac Cocktail.

The Sazerac continued to evolve as New Orleans continued to grow as a mixture of French, Creole, and American culture. After a few decades of changing hands, The Sazerac House, as it had come to be known, came under the stewardship of Thomas Handy. By this time the cocktail had evolved to include a dash of absinthe, often as a rinse added to the glass in which the drink was served. Handy’s time roughly coincided with an epidemic that devastated the French wine industry, and thus rendered cognac nearly impossible to come by. Being a man who didn’t want to give up on the house cocktail, Handy is often credited with replacing the cognac with American-­made rye whiskey. When absinthe was banned in the United States, the still­-legal Herbsaint pastis ­ - produced right in New Orleans,­ was used in its place.

Perseverance through changing culture, laws, and refusing to be washed away by hurricanes? How could the Sazerac NOT be the embodiment of New Orleans?

At 320 Main, we try to honor the tradition of the drink and make a Sazerac that will have you ordering gumbo and wearing linen suits.

2 oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey
2 tsp Rich Simple Syrup
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters 

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Chill a double old fashioned glass and set aside. Mix ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice until cold. Rinse the old fashioned glass with absinthe, strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

At the end, your drink is spicy, sweet, and rich -­ everything you’d expect from New Orleans.

For more information and history on the Sazerac, check out Chuck Taggart’s article over at Gumbo Pages, or pick up a copy of David Wondrich’s masterful Imbibe!

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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The New 320 Main Lunch Menu

Salami Picante Flatbread
Lunch may be my favorite meal of the day.

If you really think about it, there are some serious social rituals associated with breakfast and dinner, but lunch suffers from no real boundaries. You can have something light without people wondering if you’re on a diet, or you can have something heavy without people wondering how you’ll survive the day. You can have a sandwich. You can have soup. You can have pizza, burgers, chicken, pasta – the list just sort of goes on.

Beet Salad

And why shouldn’t it? There should be a meal with no compromise.

320 Main recently unveiled a new lunch menu that captures the flexible deliciousness of everyone’s mid-day meal perfectly with a variety of delectable dishes at prices designed to keep your wallet fat.

Fish & Chips

For the hungry person looking for a salad, you have options ranging from a Caesar or arugula salad to caprese antipasto with heirloom tomato and artichoke or our beet salad with roasted beets, herb goat cheese, macadamia nuts, and baby mache with a truffle vinaigrette dressing. 

“Yes,” you’re thinking. “Those salads do all look tasty, but what if I want a salad with more umph?”

You asked for it? You got it. Take any salad on the lunch menu and you can add grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon, or steak – or any combination – to your salad for just a few bucks more. THAT is how you salad. 

Caprese Antipasto

If you’re more of a pizza person, there are flatbreads to choose from. Our truffle crispy kale and mushroom flatbread is earthy and cheesy, but if you want something that’s a bit spicier, you can always turn to our new Salami Picante Flatbread (pictured at top) with spicy salami, red Fresno chilies, and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.

Looking for something filling and a little decadent? It’s hard to go wrong with a crock of hot mac’n’cheese baked with cheddar, mozzarella, bleu, and swiss cheeses – especially when you can add roasted duck for only $2 more. Or opt instead for our new fish and chips with beer-battered cod and our house-made fries. 

Bacon Cheddar Sliders

Of course, no lunch list is complete without sandwiches. Sandwiches are what civilization was founded on, and we won’t stand in the way of civilization. Old standbys like the meatloaf sandwich, French Dip (either with prime rib or lamb shoulder), grilled portobello mushroom burger, or a grilled cheese sandwich served with tomato soup still offer themselves up on the menu. We’ve added our new bacon cheddar sliders with cheddar, bacon, and caramelized onions to the lunchtime specials. Oh, and some little sandwich made with cold lobster salad. You know, because that’s just how we lobster roll. (Thank you! I’ll be here all week!) 

Any of these options can be yours and all of them come with a FREE draft beer, house wine from Snapdragon, or a refillable soft drink.

Lunch. Who cares about dinner?

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.

January Centerfold: Spicy Tuna Tartar