A Manhattan is an excellent cocktail, with much more flavor than the standard vodka or gin martini, and I believe the balance of sweet, bitter and sour has the potential to activate the palate in preparation for dinner much more effectively than these other pre-dinner classics.
When I was in school on the south-side of the Chicago, a bunch of students and I made the pilgrimage to Russell’s to get what we were told was the best BBQ around. And it was pretty good. In 1976. Since then, the Chicagoland area has seen an explosion of exceptional BBQ places. And yet, every now and again, I have a hankering for the ribs of Russell’s.
I stop by the Irish Shop every year around this time. Like a startling number of Americans (I’ve heard estimates of over 70%), I claim some Irish ancestry, but it’s only around St. Patrick’s Day that I feel the urge to indulge my Irish side.
In Taiwan recently, I found myself watching my Asian tablemates at dinner, trying to mimic the way they did things, just to see how it would feel, just to see if, maybe, I couldn’t find a better way to do what most of us do three (or usually more) times every day.