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The Thousand Kyoto

November 28, 2019

Outside art at The Thousand

The brand spanking new hotel called The Thousand in Kyoto is a high design treat. Open, artful, tasteful, and gorgeous. We arrived via Shinkansen from Tokyo and walked the few hundred feet to the hotel. We had some tea.

Green Tea at The Thousand Tea Room

Yoshi meets the progeny

Kubota Ramen

Our first order of business was meeting Yoshi (@kemono4shikazu) who NPS met last time around in Kyoto. Yoshi is a delightful person. He took us to Kubota Ramen, a great way to start out a visit to Kyoto.

We stopped by Saredo coffee on the way back to check in.

Check out Yoshi’s super terrific band!

We booked an incredible Japanese style suite at The Thousand and were assigned 803. An amazing room indeed!

Leave your shoes in the anteroom

Pile your suitcases by the closet

Suite 803

The suite features a terrace overlooking the train station.

Of course the shower here is NPS approved.

The shower room includes a tub

And also of course, the toilet is complicated (and plugs in for power). Not sure what

Plug in your toilet

Not sure we even want to know what “pulsate” does.

After stashing our stuff and a short respite, we headed out to Nishiki market for some consumer spending.

Bees Knees Kyoto is a great bar

As it was cocktail hour, we stopped in at the incomparable Bees Knees bar. Great cocktails and super people. We had some Japanese renditions of classics (CR#2, Last Word, Aperol Spritz), and then it was
off to dinner.

We wandered into Steak and Wine Ginjiro for a very touristy meal of Kobe beef and bad wine. These kinds of restaurants pervade Nishi-kiyacho Ally and can probably be safely skipped. The food was good nonetheless.

Table art at Ginjiro

Never flown

Kobe

Our attempt to visit the French bar was thwarted by crowds of tourists so we had some ice cream and refactored our plan. Next we went to Nokishita711 for some gin. Simply put, Nokishita711 is a very strange place. NPS is not so sure whether that is good or bad. A “root of all evil” cocktail was interesting indeed. But the whole scene is just a little too too.

Nokishita711

Um, a cocktail?

And then for the last few cocktails and shots of the evening, it was back to Bees Knees. We had a few with the owner. Too many shots later, we somehow managed to make it home.

We bow to the owner of Bees Knees

Sazaracs

Sleeping in late was mandatory after the raging party at Bees Knees. It was all those extra shots all around that did it.

The good news is that there is no more perfect food to cure a hangover than ramen. In Japan, evemn commercial ramen is great.

A visit to Fushimi Inari in the late afternoon put us at the top in perfect time for sunset. Magical. See lots of pictures and videos on apothecaryshed.

Get a fried chicken dinner at Sugar Hill. Delicious.

The gym at The Thousand is pretty standard issue for a hotel. Seems bigger because of mirrors. Up early to work out is good.

Breakfast on day two Kyoto was at Kawa Cafe, a French/Japanese fusion place right on the river. Highly recommended (though it is rather strange that a cafe can’t make a macchiato!).

Kawa visitors

Deliciousness at the Kawa Cafe

The walk back down was beautiful.

Walking Kyoto

In fact, being in Kyoto for autumn is a thing. Do it!

Autumn in Kyoto is gorgeous

The obligatory trip to Arashiyama included the temple gardens. Should have done that last time!

Bamboo for you

Arishayama Shadow

Obu cafe is worth a visit.

Lunch in touristland

Excellent espresso in Japan can be found at Karusa Kyoto.

Best coffee in Kyoto?! Could well be.

The Straight bar makes an excellent Japanese Negroni.

A once (or twice) in a lifetime experience involves dinner at Pontocho Misoguigawa. Just wow.

Dinner at Pontocho Misoguigawa is not to be missed.

And to top off the evening, some jazz and a Gin Rickey at Hello Dolly.

Hello Dolly jazz

A gin rickey (DC’s signature drink) in Japan

Mount Fuji from the Shinkansen. See more on apothecaryshed.

Fuji

Kyoto, NPS will be back for sure!!

Five very impressive showerheads for The Thousand Kyoto

Though NPS has lost track of just how many times we’ve stayed at the Grant Street Inn, our previous visit seems to have been in October 2015! Whoa. Well, it’s nice to be back.

The good news is that room 30 was available (or rather, became available) for this visit. Thanks to the staff for freeing it up!

The fireplace in 30 no longer seems to function

The bed, on the other hand, functions just fine.

Still no opportunity to try out this hot tub thing

The plastic shower can be forgiven due to the hot tub thing. We guess.

It was a nostalgic visit this time, back to the town where NPS went to grad school. The weather was awful, rainy and chilly, so, as a result, much time was spent inside.

A new cocktail club in town called C3 Bar is worth a visit. Had to teach them how to make a Lion’s Tail, but they did a fine job. The food is good and beats the kind of weird suburban location hands down.

A visit to the Irish Lion was an absolute blast as always. So much laughter! And great Sazaracs made with Whistlepig 10 rye.

Back up to four showerheads for the Grant Street Inn. One of these years, maybe the hot tub will come into play.

R2 Wine Luncheon Take 3

March 12, 2018

There are rumored to be more wine luncheons than those that we can attend, but rumor is just rumor unless there is photographic evidence. The latest incarnation that can be shown to exist happened in LA on March 9th. The target was Little Sister.

As you can see, nobody enjoyed themselves, least of all Donnie.

Also there was not enough wine.

The weather was terrible. Cold and snowy.

Obviously, we drove the waitress completely insane.

The food was delicious, a fusion of Asian and American (kind of like that helicopter sound that immediately brings to mind Vietnam).

Many courses, only one of which included shakey beef.

There was little wine.

Pinot noir from the wine club.

There was big wine.

Pinot noir from the cellar.

There was plenty of wine.

The selection

Then all of a sudden we were on a quest. First to the Athletic Club of LA. Very old school, but willing to learn how to make a Corpse Reviver #2.

Then to Miro (under an Italian eatery), which was very suave but still willing to make a great Sazarac with Willet Family Reserve 12 year old rye. Perfection.

Sazarac (with only ywo dashes of Peychauds)

Then to dinner, where the political state of Virginia became a problem for some of us with an overly sized buzz. No GOP weenie has been elected to state wide office since 2009 in Virginia DAMN IT! And that was before the sheer idiocy of fake president Twump.

Dinner was somewhere near these very tall buildings

Then to Cafe D’oro in Santa Monica to hang with Vincenzo and drink whatever the dealer dealt.

Dealer’s choice (mezcal)

By 1am we were back at the Georgian Hotel, a good thing since our departure was slated at 5am sharp.

Would we do it again? Of course.

Jacques Bezuidenhout’s fantastic new project is not yet open to the public, but when it is, it is going to be excellent. As a first stop on Thursday madness, a visit to the newly renovated space fit the bill perfectly. Such a Forgery!

What? No ice machines or bar sink plumbing yet? That’s OK. Tequila cheekies may be better than a fancy cocktail as starter fuel anyway.

A highly documented moment.

Not a selfie

Not a selfie

Forgery is beautiful inside. Here is a little eye appetizer.

Stocking underway

Stocking underway

One day this will be packed with excellent spirits

One day this will be packed with excellent spirits

Of course the real beauty of Forgery will be cocktail excellence. Another great reason to visit San Francisco more often.

Thursday madness moved on to excellent sazaracs at the Boxing Room with some oysters, fried chicken, and gumbo. Wash it all down with some very good bottles of wine and then liftoff. Rolling blackouts may have occurred (we’ll never tell), a phenomenon enhanced by a visit to Smugglers Cove.

Glassaholic: Sazarac

February 14, 2014

A venerable old drink that some claim may be the first cocktail ever, from the Big Easy, we present the Sazarac. I’m making this one with top shelf unobtainium elixer—Sazarac 18—the best Rye in the world. Note that the Sazarac is great with almost every Rye, though, so get some Old Overholt and make one yourself.

Its worth saying that though this drink seems very simple, making it properly takes real practice. Don’t give up if your first few attempts suck! Measure carefully. You’ll see what I mean when you read the instructions below.

Sazarac
3 oz Rye
1 t simple syrup
4 generous dashes Peychaud’s bitters
absinthe rinse
while drinking glass is icing down, mix the sugar, rye and bitters in another ice packed container. coat the drinking glass carefully with absinthe (discarding the extra). put in a huge ice cube. stir down the liquid in the mixing glass. strain into the drinking glass. squeeze a generous slice of lemon peel over the glass, wiping the edges. drop in.

Long ago in a galaxy far far away Joe Capalbo set the Kimpton hook by paying attention. Since that time, Joe has moved up the food chain, running the Onyx across town, and recently coming back as the General Manager of my Boston home away from home, the Hotel Marlowe.

Joe has been good to his word. He even listens to Where’s Aubrey. That’s above and beyond the call of duty.

Another personal note from Joe, this one featuring a song title.

Another personal note from Joe, this one featuring a song title.

The welcome setup in 621 reminds me of a miniature version of Christmas morning. Fun. Thanks Joe.

High information welcome package.

High information welcome package.

One of the four featured local craft cocktail bars mentioned above is Craigie on Main, which I can attest has a superior bar and some very skilled people working behind it. The coup de grace of a great bar is a real sazarac capability. The sazarac, though simple in concept, is always a very tricky drink to get just right. At Craigie they do it right (and they surprise you with it with a comped delivery after a delicious meal). Also of note is the fantastic wine list at Craigie. We enjoyed a stellar a 2010 Nit de Nin Priorat. The food was very good as well.

Craigie on Main makes a Mellow Yellow as follows:
1.5 Buffalo Trace bourbon
.5 Yellow chartreuse
.5 Becherovka (a new one on me, see below)
.25 Apricot liqueur
dash Regan’s orange bitters
Stir. Express orange peel and drop in.

Becherovka is a cinnamon bitters from the Czech Republic

Becherovka is a cinnamon bitters from the Czech Republic

Back at the Marlowe, some pictures from 621.

Glass shower de riguer

Glass shower de riguer

Bedroom

Bedroom

Bathroom mirror (mirror).

Bathroom mirror (mirror).

Telescope room.

Telescope room.

But wait, there’s more. Day2 the plan was to bar hop with Kimpton bar strategist and Tequila master Jacques Bezuidenhout and his trusty associate Ken. It was a dangerous plan and well executed.

We started at the Blue Room with a very good meal indeed. Their bar program is really looking up these days, and the space is nicely spruced up. Then it was off to drink for the best visit ever. Ezra Star was in the house and surprised that Jacques and I arrived together. (The planet is really small.) She joined us for some tequila after her shift. The highlight of the evening other than the company was a tour of the entire incredible kitchen drink/sportello/menton trifecta by Barbara Lynch’s very natty GM John. Amazing place and excellent tour. And somehow I now seem to owe Josey Packard a bottle of Amer Picon?!

Suffice it to say that 6:30am rolled around way too early.

Five showerheads and a very high bar indeed for the Hotel Marlowe and my favorite Kimpton GM Joe Capalbo.

In flying news, United saw fit to upgrade me on two of three legs for this trip. I’ll be checking a bag from Boston, because I was given a bottle of Rhum to bring home to the bar. (Directions are: 1/8 oz lime with pure cane sugar and 2 oz rhum – or so.)

Rhum Agricole from Guadeloupe.

Rhum Agricole from Guadeloupe.