The triumphant return of eating lunch at my desk – Lela’s Bisto on NW 23rd sells top rate banh mi with fresh salad sides. They also make fizzy house sodas.
Other days I circle the district on foot (inspired by “Wanderlust” a brilliant book authored by Rebecca Solnit) stopping at the library, heading South to Saint Patrick’s, ambling by the re-purposed grocery carts and suffering under the 405 bridge, eventually procuring lunch at the Q19 carts.
After dark I get down to business, most recently at the new Ava Gene’s, sister of The Woodsman, on SE Division.
This is a Zimmerman concoction of Gin, Pisco, Aperol, Punt e Mes, Grapefruit Peel. I feel like it should be served in a coupe but I also admit to being newly and completely bored by cocktail menus. So I did what any modern mortal would do when faced with indecision and ambivalence, I doubled down, ordered another pre-fab cocktail.
Zacapa Centenario, Becherovka, Bitters, Black truffle. What a broody drink, of course I enjoyed it but it didn’t shoot me to the moon the way a recent dealer’s choice at Teardrop did. That’s the night I learned pineapple juice, maple tinctures and liquids that have “shrub” in the title can CHANGE LIVES.
I’m not quite ready to discuss the food at Ava Gene’s, I veer a bit further from indecision towards confusion on that topic.
I am decisively decided on Ava Gene’s restroom facilities. Transcendent rooms that feel like sacred spaces, completely covered in marble, a balmy 45 degrees, almost completely dark save for a few small lights near the basin. A peaceful tomb-like quality. A proper antique soap carafe that you turn over in your hands. Amazing design. Whether you stop by for a 5 course meal, or a single cocktail, make sure to excuse yourself for a moment.
Up Next: I spend 3 days overdosing on Vitamin E to have a sense of smell for 48 hours. The last time I did this was nearly 10 years ago and I learned that old books have a smell. Game changer. I have various Tour Guides for the majority of this project but there is one epic experience that is so crucial, so central to my philosophy of food and drink, it is a mission I must face as God intended, alone.