Bottle of Swan
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  • February19th

    Tiki?

    Posted in: Miscellany, Recipes

    Special thanks to the Pagan Pegu Blog!

    It figures. The instant I decide it’s time to test drive MXMO for myself…

    Look. It isn’t that I’ve had my Tiki license revoked. I just never thought  to get it. I was busy. There’s only one photo that I’m aware of, where I’m even rocking the Hawaiian shirt, and that was required for the wedding party. My daily dose of Tiki comes from my neighbors’ dog, who goes by the name of…Tiki.

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  • January28th

    The Vendetta

    Posted in: Recipes


    Consider this for a second. According to research that is reliable enough for me, 70% of all restaurants opened, will not live beyond ten years. This outfit that employs me, has been banging it out for thirty eight years. That’s thirty eight years. Some countries don’t live that long. Over that course of time, this place has fed the population of any number of major American cities. There are no secrets to that level of success. No amount of luck keeps you around that long. In the end, it’s all about unblinking focus and dedication, service…and really good product. So why is it then, I can’t find something to eat around here?

    Well…this isn’t a health food store. Nose to tail, it’s a steakhouse. Aside from the necessary tasting of sauces, soups and specials daily, my eating habits at work can best be described as…guarded. It’s the old “too much of a good thing”, thing. Could I eat a filet every day?  A big, fat lobster? You betchya. But I don’t, and I won’t. And you wouldn’t either, unless you like the sound of major arteries slamming shut, or being mistaken for a bounce house. But I’m starving here. Let’s go and see what my Mexican connection can do.

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  • January13th


    My first bar memory?  A hunting lodge, in the Poconos. I was maybe nine years old, sitting at the bar, surrounded by the psycho stepfather and a few of his cronies. Everyone in the place was burning a cigarette, including the lady behind the bar. All these hunters are wearing hats, black and red…eh…hunter hats. Indoors! (some stuff, just won’t die)  The lady behind the bar, she had something on her head, but it wasn’t a hat. She was really nice to me. “You want another soda, sweetie?”  Yeah…nice lady. These hunters are all lined up, elbow to elbow on the bar, screaming and swearing at each other. I knew they weren’t mad because they were all laughing. Man, that place was loud.  All of sudden, this nice lady turns to these hunters and shouts…

    Frank?…Frank!!!  This nice, tiny lady, with that world class Beehive, barks, “If I gotta hear you tell that bullshit story again, you’re buying another drink!” These grown men, blue collar to the core, fall silent.

    “Okay “, Frank says, “we’ll take another round of ponies, and gimme another Old Fashioned! Hey kid…ya want an old fashioned?”I guess I knew, somehow, it was whiskey.

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  • December14th


    We’d like to send out our warmest holiday wishes from beautiful, sunny southern California, where, as of this morning, December 14, 2011, we bask in the glow of being rated the worst run state in the union. That’s right, came in dead last. Makes you wonder what those soulless, elected chumps did with that $390 I gave them for a speeding ticket six months ago. How can you take something as perfect as freeway fundraising and turn it into a loss? Who knows? But, ‘tis the season of joy, so good wishes to them also.

    We used to throw a tree trimming party every year in the Swan household. It started out with six or so good friends, eating simple food and drinking Hot Apple Pies, decorating a tree. It grew over the next eight years into a well dressed, well fed, booze soaked rave up, of sixty to seventy people, using every corner of our 1100 square feet of living space. The unspoken cover charge the first couple of years, was an ornament for the tree. As the mob rule of our restaurant and bar friends took over, the cover changed from ornaments, to bottles of Tuaca. We were absolutely buried in the stuff. What to do? World class parties, followed by world class hangovers. It’s been a few years since our last Christmas party, and I am still occasionally asked why we stopped. I just smile, knowing that we left them wanting more. Tell you the truth, when we started seeing people we didn’t recognize, it started feeling workish. At that point, it became easy to live without. What I can’t live without though, is the smell of that hot cider washing over the neighborhood.

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  • October8th

    Working in a restaurant that seats two hundred, with a bar that has another hundred, brings…let’s say…exposure. To all of it.

    If you do your job well, you get to enjoy that steady flow of humanity. Locals, tourists, fashionistas, fashion challenged, outrageously generous, incredibly stiff, eternally gracious, crudely belligerent, radiantly healthy… Wait a minute.
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  • September19th


    Indian summer. Oh Yeah. Eighty degrees, soft breeze pushing yesterdays’ smog out towards Catalina.Yeah…shaping up to be a perfect southern California, autumn day. Well, maybe not, for those residents of Catalina. They just may be thinking, for a bitter moment, as they’re being choked out from exposure to airborne industrial waste, “Whose bright idea was it, to move to an island twenty seven miles out in the Pacific?”

    Sorry…not my problem.

    Let’s talk about the “bitter” thing.

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  • August6th


    Close as I can remember, our Nana moved in when I was eight or nine. Mom, due to paternal default, had long since been elevated to the role of “Matriarch”. Say that word, out loud. It sounds so…Regal. Tell you what. Absent a drop of blueblood, dragging around six kids, and working full time to keep roof, clothing, and food current…reality, cancels regality. In this case, matriarch is just a fancy word for…Slave. Carrying that kind of load, you would think Mom could have produced at least one booze soaked effort. Wrong. I’ve never seen her finish a glass of wine. So, as it is with twins, we’ll skip generations, and move on to my Nana. Of all Nana gave to her family, which was everything, you need to thank her for the one thing she gave, indirectly, to the entire world. And here it is. “The Nana Rule”.

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  • July16th

    I feel compelled to contribute my two cents, on the subject of…the Martini.  Now, before your brain starts shifting to, “Great, another genius take on a three ingredient cocktail…where’s my gun?”  Look, take a pill. I love the occasional Martini. Two per year is my quota. If that doesn’t put it anywhere close to my top ten , so what . I know when I want it, and I know where to get it. Due diligence is key .The question, “Do you make a good Martini?” should never be asked. It’s self destructive…a coin flip, at best. That’s right! Even now, in this enlightened era, there is a fifty percent chance, you’ll get a…“Not a problem”, followed by a… barely chilled glass of dead frog preservative. Like I said, two cents worth. Know when you want it, know where to get it.

    Ok…Started with a buck, $.98 left. I’ll spend it.

    TINI!  Those two syllables? Now that’s something I can hate. Read More

  • July13th

    Let’s get this one out in the open, real quick. I’ve never been paid a dime to write anything, save for a training manual retro fit, years ago. It was a big deal, though. It earned me the equivalent of, a tank of gas. However, a younger friend convinced me, considering my twenty plus years of food and beverage experience, that, I must have some tales to tell. After two years of kicking dirt on the idea, I caved. Keep in mind, I have no illusions concerning my literary talents. I’ll give what I have, some knowledge, perception, opinion, and hopefully, humor. And when I wade into a subject that needs more than I can give, I’ll do what every good MFIC should…call the bullpen, and bring in the lefty!

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