30 April 2009


Yes, Rasika is the real deal. It was a special occasion, my bro's birthday, and so the hefty prices were not beyond the beyond, though I would hesitate making a habit out of it. The onion uttapam was unreal, the tandoori lamb chops fantastically tender and tasty, and the crispy spinach (flash-fried) in the palak chaat was simply astonishing, one of those "I've never had anything like this" deals. That being said: the chicken green masala was good-not-great, and ditto for the paneer. The dal makhani was oversold to me a bit - it was really good but I'm not sure the best I've ever had. The breads were very good, the chutneys and raita fine - Haandi does them all better. Rasika is an excellent restaurant, but guys, your Flash website is just crap.


I agree entirely with Spencer Ackerman - DCNoodles is one of, if not the, best bowls of soup in DC. The wide rice noodles with crab and fish dumplings in spicy soup is fantastic, but our entire party was happy with their orders - the drunken noodles and pumpkin empanada are especially good. And don't listen to the comments section over there - $12/14 is beyond worth it for this food, and unless you're willing to drive out to Falls Church you are not going to get a better Asian soup/noodle opportunity for a similar price in DC.

17 April 2009

Lavender Vodka Martini

Yes, that's right.


  • 1 3/4 oz. lavender-infused vodka
  • 1/4 oz. dry vermouth
  • splash of Alpenbitter
  • two dashes Angostura bitters


Combine with ice in shaker, shake, serve up


like a floral garden of booze. My revenge against this week's perfidious pollen.

Vodka Infusions

This post is a long-overdue follow-up to the series of experiments first referenced here. The results are in for the first rounds of schnappses, and they're relatively unambiguous. By far the best is the Horseradish Schnapps, recipe repeated below:

Horseradish Schnapps
  1. Wash, peel and slice a small piece of horseradish root.
  2. Put the slices in a clean glass jar with tight-fitting lid.
  3. Cover the root slices with clear, unflavoured vodka - 40% alcohol content (80 proof).
  4. Let steep for 3-4 days in a dark place at room temperature
  5. Shake lightly and taste from time to time.
  6. Strain and filter your infusion into a clean glass bottle or jar with tight-fitting lid.
  7. Let sit for a few days and enjoy. Storing in the freezer works well.
The only unambiguous failure of these infusions was the rosebuds - they just didn't take, other than giving a bit of a golden color to the vodka. That batch is currently infusing with a variety of other herbs - lavender and raspberry leaves - and I'll post updates on that when it's ready. There's also a straight-up lavender that's infusing, has imparted a great bluish color and lovely floral smell but not yet tasted. Other verdicts and directions (same as above save for time and quantities)

Solo Stars

  • Cardamom: takes about a week or so for the pods (5-6 per 500 mL) to get properly infused, and very well worth it. Very warming, lovely nose, goes down really smooth and mixes well with a few others below (I'll get to that) - good served room temp or chilled.
  • Clove: given how much harder they are, give the whole cloves (8 per 500 mL) about two weeks to infuse. Very nice golden color and definitely best served chilled.

Excellent Mixers

  • Ginger: You'd think this could carry it alone, but not quite. The palette of the ginger (half a small root section, sliced, two weeks) doesn't quite cover all the alcohol, so it's really best left as a compliment to others.
  • Chili: Fine as a shooter, but also lovely as a compliment to the horseradish in a dry, spicy martini. Several small chilis, two weeks.

Mixed Drinks

One great outfall of this is the Masalatini. Incredibly smooth and with a range of flavors you don't normally get in mixed drinks, I highly recommend keeping enough of each of these in stock to mix up a few of these.


  • 1 oz. cardamom schnapps
  • 1/2 oz. ginger schnapps
  • 1/2 oz. clove schnapps
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • several dashes bitters
  • Combine all in shaker with ice; mix thoroughly
  • Serve up
So now it's all down on paper. Pixels, rather. Another recipe upcoming soon.