Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bad-tini, Part Two: Big-Haired Jersey Bar Reviews

Instead, I opted to simply not accept the situation. When I spoke, I moved my body to adopt an open posture, facing everyone at the table and including them all as my listeners. As the girl turned her gaze toward her plate or toward her friends, I directed polite, friendly questions at her. I kept a smile on my face and tried to make eye contact. I faked oblivion in response to her frowns which, as I persisted in not taking the hint, turned to glares.

Our food and drinks began to arrive. My nasturtium martini tasted like mixed fruit juice and high fructose corn syrup. There was none of the allyl isothiocyanate-kick that "nasturtium" in the title suggested. My martini tasted, as some online reviewers have so aptly described this bar's offerings, like Capri Sun. It tasted like it had as much liquor in it as a Capri Sun, too.

Next, my food. I'd ordered tuna sliders off the Happy Hour menu. I received two unremarkable tuna burgers embraced by stale bread. My allyl isothiocyanate* craving was not to be satisfied here; the "wasabi aioli" alleged to crown the tuna burgers tasted like runny Hellman's. (Best Foods, for you West Coasters.) It was only on the second sandwich that I could located the advertised pickled ginger slices.

The decor, which my companions for the evening had admired, has been described by Yelp reviewers as "hipster," "vampire," and "goth." The entire interior was painted black. The tables were rectangular. The central theme seemed to be straight lines and right angles. The dim lighting gave everything a red cast so that it was hard to tell what color the bar's patrons were wearing. I can see where "vampire" and "goth" come from, but not "hipster." I associate "hipster" with my side of the river or bars like this. I include the descriptor anyway, since so many reviewers used it, even if I don't personally agree. It wouldn't be the first time I was mistaken about what's considered "hipster."

After finishing my food and martini, I went to the restroom, the decor of which consistently represented the theme of darkness and rectangles. Here I could detect the music. It was primarily drum machine. Constant drum machine. It sounded like runway music for an imaginary fashion show, like the canned music a network news station might play in the introduction montage for a "fashion show" segment.

In the solitude and relative quiet of the bathroom stall, I could regain perspective. I was not having fun and I was the subject of a definite snub. The snubber's rudeness had escalated as I continually refused to fade into the background. I feigned naive oblivion; I barreled through her unfriendliness like a clumsy, slobbering golden retriever who offers more affection than she seeks. Still, this was exhausting. If I left now, I could use the same bus ticket to go home, saving two bucks.

Part One / Part Three / Home

* Allyl isothiocyanate is the chemical that gives wasabi, horseradish, and other mustards their heat. See Wikipedia's entry.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Hey,
This is Jen (as known through Tiffany Slotwinski). I've just been reading through your blog here (great extended descriptions, especially about the mean girl's face and how you wish it could be messy). Just wanted to pass on a tip regarding flower-flavored drinks and sweetness - most of the flower flavor in these drinks comes from syrup (like rose syrup, hibiscus syrup, whatever flower syrup) and the syrups are usually commercially made with artificial flavors and a lot of sweeteners. Occasionally, but rarely, the flavor will be a creme de ____ such as the case of creme de violette (which is my new favorite vodka friend btw). if you get teh martini flavor from a creme de ___ you only need the slightest bit of it to properly flavor the drink without making it too sweet. For syrup drinks, your best bet is to either go somewhere that makes house syrups with real sugar in controlled amounts or use flower water instead (like rose water) since it is not made with sugar. Also the addition of a little bit of lemon juice can counter-act sweetness in such cocktails and used in small amounts won't overpower the drink with lemon flavor.
You should also try this new liquor mixed with vodka for a martini - Canton ginger liquor. It has cognac in it so its a little sweet, but not so much when mixed with vodka.
If there's any Indian grocery or spice stores around you they are usually the best places to get a weird assortment of flower waters and syrups.
Peace Out!
-Jen