Photography by Ryan Brekke
I know drinks have their secrets, but I have mine, too. Staring into the amber fog and coiling lemon twist of my Glasgow ($12) I can feel it begging me to reveal something confidential. Tell me about yourself first, I say. It mumbles its ingredients: scotch, vermouth, absinthe, bitters. That’s nothing, I respond. Even the menu could tell me that. Tell me something I don’t know. OK, the cocktail says, assuming the seducer’s voice. I haunt low-lit lounges with the sweet, rolling flavor of cherries. I’m fluent in the earthy taste of anise and conversational in the aroma of lemon. I hold the Glasgow eye level and rub my chin. That’s no secret either. Tell me something special. From its martini glass the Glasgow glints with mischief. OK, I’ll tell you one more thing. The liquor leans to the edge of the glass and whispers, I was once even in a feature story for the October 1937 issue of Esquire. Vain, self-loving drink, I give up! No more of your mystery; I’m ending this now! I take a long sip and immediately eat my words. The scotch’s smoke clouds my eyes, anise-rich absinthe and dry vermouth stretch out on my tongue, while a gentle frost builds along my throat as if to tell me to keep quiet. I’ve just been told a secret, a glorious one, but there’s no way I’m keeping it.
Eggplant Parmesan Pasty
It’s easy to regret becoming a writer when you write about food, especially when the food shows up in your dreams, and that’s no joke either. The night after tasting the Eggplant Parmesan Pasty ($10) I dreamt that I was back at Cornish Pasty Co. with dozens of these gliding by on tables all around me. It’s true I’ve tried several things off their menu since they moved to the Arts District, but neither my words nor my dreams can do justice to what it was like the first time I saw it, a stuffed pocket of bread, golden, flaking, cut in half and stacked like cross and rosary. Obviously, these things were invented as food for miners, because its diced broccoli, eggplant and zucchini glow like gems pulled from the deep. Drenched in marinara sauce, they even seem ruby studded. And like a final struggle against the treachery of my fork, a long string of white Parmesan cheese stretches across the plate. But there’s no stopping me. Once I taste it, I dig in. Veggies and cheese fill my stomach, feed my imagination, because imagination is the chief ingredient in these pasties, which proves something I’ve come to believe: to open a restaurant in downtown, where originality and culture nearly eclipse the Strip, you need to be creative beyond dreams.