Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Drinking Vodka with Fame

Yesterday I discovered that it is very difficult to make “I’m going out for vodka” sound like anything other than “I have a serious drinking problem.” However, I assure everyone that if I had a real drinking problem that last sentence would have been followed by a favorable review of cough syrup as an emergency go to cocktail option and possibly some table dancing so I think we’re safe for now. And in my defense this vodka was fancy, and as we all know fancy = totally not a sign that you’re a boozer. This is all to say that inspired by a shared love for homemade beverages my friend Jason and I paid a visit to the Russian Vodka Room last night with a yen for sampling their reportedly very yummy infused vodkas.

The evening started with me going to the wrong Russian themed vodka emporium. It turns out that in an impressive move aimed at confusing tourists and locals alike the Russian Samovar is located directly across the street from the Russian Vodka Room and boasts a much larger sign proclaiming them the super duper kings of all things vodka. I do not actually know who rules the vodka-verse because I eventually figured out (thanks mostly to Jason’s instructions that our destination was located on the north side of the street) that the red awning’s grandiose claims aside, this was not where I was meant to get inebriated at this moment (but surly will be a place of future drinking even though Jason told me they have a mandatory coat check which seems crazy annoying).

Despite my brief foray into location confusion I still arrived at the designated bar well before my friend because in my typical crazy obsessed about time fashion I had left myself a good 20 minute buffer to ensure that I would not be late. It is times like this when my obsessive planning leads to still being on time despite a few bumps in the road that validate my crazy. So I took a seat at the bar and pulled out my book only to be immediately interrupted by the effeminate older man on my right. He had questions about email. About if I liked email better then the phone (“Yes, with email it is much more easily ignore the parts of the conversation that you don’t find interesting.”). About if I was a writer (“Ummm sort of? I write things but ‘writer’ seems to imply that I don’t suck which would be somewhat inaccurate”). About if I thought technology was ruining society (“I work for a software company and I’m just glad to be a part of the end times.”). He was not interested in letting me read my book. Or in ever ending our increasingly more and more boring conversation. Thankfully Jason strolled in at about 7:32 thus saving me from death by inebriated gay man and restoring my faith in other people’s abilities to arrive on time for events, of course he’s also a project manager so I probably shouldn’t use him as a yardstick for your average person.

So anyway, the vodka was great. I sampled the apple pomegranate and the peach apricot both of which were flavorful enough to make one quickly forget that she is drinking straight alcohol sans mixer and that she might want to focus on sipping. The peach apricot seemed to be the real winner as the fruit flavor was much more prominent but it’s possible that this opinion was overly influenced by the fact that I had the peach apricot combo second and thus was already well on my way to easily being able to enjoy booze that comes from a plastic jug. Jason went for the savory vodka experience and ordered the garlic pepper and dill followed by the horseradish. The GPD has the unfortunately aroma of pickle juice which was a bit of a turn off even for a girl who considers a bowl full of baby dills a reasonable dinner option. Smell aside GPD totally delivered in the flavor department -- the garlic taste was mellow with a pepper punch at the end, I can’t say I tasted any dill but I also didn’t miss it. As Jason had made the somewhat dubious decision to come to the vodka room with an empty stomach (As a much more well prepared drinker I choose to preparty with a can of soup) he ordered some home fries with mushrooms which I ate roughly half of because I cannot resist the lure of starch+fat. Despite my inability to stop picking at the plate of food as home fries go these were only so-so. The mushrooms were a nice touch as was the side of sour cream for dipping but these flourishes were overshadowed by the lack of a crispy outer coating on the potatoes themselves.

Mid our first fancy-glassed shot of fermented potato juice Jason alerted me to the presence of a celebrity in our midst. Evil scary Ben/Henry from Lost has just entered the bar! This was wonderful news because I knew it would afford me the opportunity to perpetuate the myth that living in New York City means constantly hobnobbing with the A-list. EB/H sat down at the end of the bar at least 10 feet from Jason and I which allowed us to talk about him at our leisure while maintaining the illusion of totally cool New Yorkers who are so used to hanging out with celebs that we can continue to drink our booze all casual like and openly glare at the tourist who decided to take a photo WITH FLASH of our very famous friend who is just trying to enjoy a quite night of boozing it up in a taxi-friendly city where he will not have to worry about living up to the Lost cast member stereotype of getting pulled over for a DUI.

You can consider this my official recommendation of the Russian Vodka Room. I cannot promise that visiting this joint will give you the opportunity to chill with TV stars if you’re not already a very hip New Yorker like myself but I can promise potent alcohol with just enough flavoring to make getting drunk enough that you *think* you see a few celebrities very easy to accomplish. And, as I always say, if you can’t have the real thing delusion is a handy substitute.

Random aside: while trying to avoid staring at the famous man Jason and I stumbled upon a very important linguistics question: What is the difference between an orchard and a grove? keep in mind that I'm pretty sure it goes "apple orchard" "olive grove" "pear orchard" "citrus grove." Please help, I already looked for answers on ye olde internet and have been let down (see here).


Lisa said...

Vodka was not meant to be savory. Tell this Jason character that I am suspicious. And fries with no crisp... yet you still recommend the place? Oxymoron! (loosely) This is getting out of hand.

alia said...

For excellent (and local) fries, may I recommend Mojave? (They just opened by the Ditmars train station)... Owen and I went there for lunch yesterday. ($11 price fixed lunch menu! woot!) no unsaturated fats were harmed in the making of my fries. (As Owen said, "You know they're good when they even taste good cold.") I couldn't vouch for the cold bit, since I'm afraid I devoured mine while they were still tepid. But crunchy tepid!

Deutlich said...

Now I'm craving alcohol in the worst way. And NY. Because it's been a while since I visited.

PrincessPolly said...

That's put me in the mood for alcohol. Good thing I'm already drinking vodka right now. On my own. (No, I don't have a drinking problem either . . .)

Bill Purdy said...

"...for a girl who considers a bowl full of baby dills a reasonable dinner option."

Wonderful turn of phrase there.

Furthermore... what's the difference between a creek and a brook?

amy said...

This may come as a surprise, seeing how I usually come off as so hip, but I am a huge nerd. Because of this, after reading an entry about *vodka* I think.."hmm... this is a perfect opportunity to pull out my Shorter OED and see if they can tell what the difference between an orchard and a grove is"

So here you go:
Orchard: Old English (~1149) and old High German origins. It originally meant "A garden for herbs and fruit trees" but evolved to mean "an enclosure for the cultivation of fruit treees"

Grove:Also Old English (~1149)and related to the German greave, meaning brushwood or thicket. It is defined as "A (small) wood; a group of trees, esp. giving shade, often deliberately planted as an avenue, walk, etc.; an orchard, esp of olives, citrus, fruit etc,

So, in conclusion: A grove is any collection of trees. An orchard is a type of grove.

If you need my nerdy services again, please let me know.

PresidentLBJ said...

I agree with Lisa...Vodka is the drink of the Ruskies, and we all know the Ruskies are unsavory people. Therefore, vodka should also be UN-savory!!!

And if Lady Bird served me fries-with-no-crisp, there'd be hell to pay in Johnson City. Are you still sure you recommend this Commie hang out?