I sometimes get weird ideas for new cocktails. The most recent one concerned umami, which gets much less attention than fellow flavors bitter, sour, sweet and salty. Foods with umami include mushrooms, bacon, ripe tomatoes, Roquefort cheese, Worcestershire sauce, seaweed, truffles, Parmesan, soy sauce and anchovies. My goal was to utilize some of these items to create a drink called the Whammy Bammy, Thank You Umami and bartender Paul Mathew at FLAMME agreed to play along.
I infused one gin and three vodkas with items like roasted tomatoes, dried mushrooms and seaweed, made a few umami-flavored “rims” with MSG — also associated with umami — instead of salt, and took them to Flamme. Full report soon, but not surprisingly some drinks were pretty bad, although the Bloody Mary with roasted tomato- and mushroom-infused gin and tomato rim was tasty.
We were just wrapping up at Flamme when an SMS came in from SCT to head to BAR VELOCE, which is in 1949: The Hidden City and one of a half-dozen wine joints to open in the Sanlitun-Gongti area in past few months. We relaxed outside and drank Chianti. Krishna Hathaway at Veloce said the place has some 15 wines by the glass, including Sherry. He also informed me that Sherry is becoming more popular. In cities such as New York, London and Seattle. Hmmm. If people in Beijing feel compelled to emulate other cities, and those are our three picks, can we go with Seattle?
Speaking of wine bars, it looks like business at another newcomer, THE LOOP, is steadily growing. There was a good buzz in this place on Wednesday night when I stopped by to share a bottle of Chinese wine with owner Weiley Lu, who has been tasting interesting stuff of late, including Chenin Blanc from Zimbabwe. We tried Lei Ren Shou, yet another wine from Ningxia that is worth a try.
The nomenclature at newbie DIE PUB has seen a quick death as have the hopes of gamers who might have considered that facade to evoke a slight Dungeons and Dragons vibe and the name to possibly refer to the singular of dice. Nope. The place is already under the name D Pub. Call me crazy, but I have a feeling it is not run by the same guys behind D Lounge. You can find it on the northeast corner of the building that houses Youth Club, The Tree, Fish Nation, Smuggler’s and 99 Degrees.
About 10 meters away, however, is a massive new place with the affirming name of BIG LIVE. This one is in the former Jingkelong supermarket space, includes a sizable bar, a mess of of tables and chairs, a stage, and music at a high decibel level. You’ll find it across from perpetually packed 1F. And I have a feeling that it might also change its name, using a “D” in place of that “L”.