Tuesday, May 17, 2005

It's been a while since I've posted properly here, I know. And writing a proper post might only draw attention to how remiss I've been of late. Still, I'm going to suck it up, drive by the shame and just tell you all about Cleveland or, at least, about Ohio's fourth largest liquor store which is located in Cleveland.

You see, having been to Cleveland a couple of years ago, I have done all there is to do in that fair city, so felt no compunction about not going to any museums, science centers or halls of fame and was free to concentrate on eating, drinking and liquor shopping.

I chose our hotel so we would be close by the Warehouse District and the fourth largest liquor store in Ohio, and can report with some smug self-satisfaction that I never wandered outside of the four square blocks in which all this grandeur is contained. Now, everyone must want to know about the three larger liquor stores in Ohio but I am sorry to say, I am as uninformed on the matter as any random reader. I suspect the suburbs of Cleveland hold some of the answers.

However, I can tell you that you are not allowed to browse in the Sixth Street Market (said liquor store) and must be accompanied into very cramped aisles of crowded shelves so you can choose your purchase. Makes you appreciate the LCBO and how much more money must be made off browseres who are allowed to freely peruse and get caught up in impulse purchases. Although, to be fair, the Sixth Street Market's selection of tequila is far superior to the local liquor store.

We picked up a Corralejo Anejo, and a couple of fairly standard stock choices: a Herradura Anejo and a bottle of Cazadores Reposado. Just in time too, there's only a couple of ounces of all three of those bottles left in my liquor cabinet.

Our most exciting purchase though, was of a French Gin by the name of Magellan. Doesn't seem like the most obvious name for a French gin to me but I'm less interested in the name than its other qualities. So, this weekend we plan to pit it against Junipero which has been smuggled in for us from Chicago. The winner of the Gin Smackdown! will have to move up the tournament ladder to fight the defending champion Hendrick's. I'll be shocked if the French gin named after the Portuguese explorer will make it past the first level, but I'm giving almost even odds on the longshot from California. It's made by Anchor Brewing which I understand is a very good sign, has some good buzz, has won some awards, comes in a nice bottle and well, I just want to like it, okay?

But more about that later. I had a nice, if slightly too sweet Caipirinha at the Brasa Brazilian steakhouse, followed by a first-rate churrasqueria-style dinner with the best salad bar of that type I had been to, ever. My only complaint was a lack of music and that the meat came out a little too fast. Although we were in the second seating, the pace with which the "gauchos" served up each new roast was frentic. You were barely into your filet when the top sirloin arrived. Clearly, this was a strategy to turn the tables over at least once per evening and I just don't think a place like that should try for more than one seating in a night. Charge more if you must, perhaps add a floor show as the Red Violin in Toronto does, but please slow down the pace.

All I can remember from the Rio de Janeiro meat joints is that I loved them - nothing more specific - but I clearly remember that in Mexico we had time to eat what was on our plates before the next selection came around.

At any rate, back to the grind. Will post again with the results of the Gin Smackdown!