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A Petaluma360 Blog

Barfly

Jeff Burkhart on culture, cocktails and class

Barfly: Ode to the waning days of the lime

THE STORM CLOUDS are gathering on the horizon. The air of change hangs heavy, pregnant and far reaching. Things are going to change in the cocktail world, probably for good, and not necessarily for the better. The coming month will be one to remember, especially with Cinco de Mayo only four weeks away. Mark my words. In that time it’s going to happen something like this: Customer: “I’ll have a margarita on the rocks with salt.” Bartender: “What kind of… Read More »

Barfly: There is harm in asking if the request is out of line

HE ARRIVED EARLIER than most. He carefully selected a seat facing the TV, adjusting his position several times. He then sat down and ordered dinner, carefully and well planned. “In 10 minutes can you put the game on?” he asked politely. It seemed to be the beginning of a perfect evening. He, by virtue of good planning, had a perfect seat to watch the game and a perfect spot to eat his dinner. Because of the peculiarities of our little… Read More »

Barfly: ‘Be like water’ holds true for much in life

I NOTICED the couple immediately, but it wasn’t because of her chestnut eyes or his stylish suit. It was because both of them appeared to be in their early 20s. How early remained to be seen. In a busy bar, things don’t always break down to first come, first served. “Be like water,” Bruce Lee once said. And in the fluidic environs of a bar, truer words have never been spoken. Water follows the path of least resistance, and so,… Read More »

Complex order vs complex people

‘A BELVEDERE, dry, twist of lime, super cold; a Ketel One, wet, three olives; two Bombays, one on the rocks, one with a twist and one with a blue cheese-stuffed olive; a Makers Mark old-fashioned, no sugar, add extra bitters and a lemon; and a Don Julio,” the man said without taking a breath. “Are the vodkas up or on the rocks? And are the Bombays Sapphire or regular? And do you want the Don Julio neat?” I asked. He… Read More »

To agave, or not to agave

‘YOU KNOW WHAT you should do?” a man I had never seen before asked me, unsolicited I might add. “What’s that?” I said, looking around at the milling Wednesday night crowd that indicates a bar doing well. “You should use agave nectar in your margaritas.” “We have agave nectar if you want it.” “No,” he said. “You should use it in your house margaritas, it makes them better and it’s all natural too.” “OK.” He then looked at me, as… Read More »

Barfly: Mixologist or bar chef? What about just Bartender?

IT WAS ONE of those  social gatherings where everyone stands around holding a glass of white wine in one hand while simultaneously balancing a small plate of pasta salad and cocktail shrimp in the other. I  had done my best with the shrimp and had almost secured a mouthful of pasta salad when a woman asked me what I did for a living. “I bartend,” I said between sips of white wine. “Oh,” she said, her glass and plate in constant… Read More »

Holiday P.I.A.

8 p.m. on Friday night. The busiest time of the busiest night of the week. And this wasn’t just any Friday night; it was the busiest Friday in the busiest month of the year. In the time it took me to register those thoughts at least half a dozen people began waving their arms frantically, as if in that mere second they would expire of thirst. For many who deal with the general public, they understand the travails of dealing… Read More »

A room with a view, not so great on Sept. 11

Called in to work on a Tuesday morning. What a drag. One of the drawbacks of the restaurant business are the odd hours. Of course that is also one of its many advantages too. When you work in the highest grossing restaurant in the nation ($37 million) you are going to have to make some sacrifices. Especially if that restaurant is in one of the City’s most iconic landmarks. This particular Tuesday it is breakfast for a group of insurance… Read More »

209

When I read the history of the local 209 Distillery I became intrigued. The story goes that one William Scheffler bought a patent for a new design of pot still in New York in 1870. Moving West he first set up a distillery at Krug winery in St. Helena and then in 1880, purchased his own winery there. Later, in 1882 he opened a licensed distillery on that property; Registered Distillery 209. That distillery won several awards (including a prestigious… Read More »

Staring into the abyss on Mothers Day

It was a sun shiny Mother’s Day, full of the promise of Spring. The birds were chirping, bright colored dresses uncovering legs seeing their first sunlight of the year dotted the restaurant. It was the calm before the storm. Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for many restaurants. Not true for fathers day but I’ll leave it up to you to assign whatever values you choose to that. Mother’s Day business looks a lot like a bell… Read More »