Coming Soon…


Another month in the books, another to look ahead to. I’ve spend most of June outside Minnesota (and won’t be back for a few days yet). I’ll then be staying put for about two weeks before taking off again—this time for work. On the food front I’ll finish catching up on my backlog of Twin Cities restaurant reports: my second dinner at Khaluna, lunch at Orale and dinner at Myriel are what remain of that backlog. Not sure yet what the fourth Twin Cities restaurant report will cover. And at some point, I’ll also start posting quick roundups of some meals from our June travels. Also coming soon is my next quarterly round-up of favourite dishes eaten in the Twin Cities, from the beginning of April through the end of June. And one final food-related thing to keep an eye out for: this weekend I’ll post the poll to select the recipes I’ll post in July.

On the booze front there’ll be the usual complement of three reviews a week. As always, you can help me finalize that list by making nominations from the long list below. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


Here is your customary look ahead to the coming month on the blog. We’ll be traveling for a big chunk of the month, heading off soon to Los Angeles for a bit and then to Hawaii for another bit before returning to Minnesota in early July. There probably won’t be much sign of that on the blog this month though—maybe a quick restaurant report or two from Los Angeles. I still have a backlog of Minnesota restaurant reports to work through and those will probably take me through all the Tuesdays of the month. Recipes will be posted on Thursdays as usual (see the poll I posted this weekend for the five recipes that’ll be coming this month). I’m also hoping to get to the next edition of my round-ups of writing on South Asian food. And, of course, there’ll be the usual three whisky reviews per week. I have a bunch of potential themes—single distilleries, regions, cask types, profiles, age—and as always I invite you to help me select the month’s reviews by nominating the ones you’re most interested in from the long list below to the short list. Continue reading

Coming Soon…

Yesterday I posted the poll to select recipes for May—that’ll be up for a few days if you haven’t yet voted. Here now is the usual look ahead to the month in whisky reviews and restaurant reports. It’s a mixed bunch of potential booze reviews this month—all single malt Scotch but otherwise pretty varied. Unusually for me, there’s not much peat—and no heavy peat—in the list (there was a fair bit of that in April); and also unusually, there are quite a few official distillery releases, some of fairly recent provenance. Lots of potential themed weeks here: single distillery runs for Ben Nevis, Craigellachie, Highland Park and Mortlach; a week or two of offical releases; a week or two of Glens; a week of whiskies in their 20s; a week of young whiskies; etc. As always please make your nominations to the shortlist in the comments below. On the Twin Cities restaurant front you can expect reports on meals at Khaluna, and 112 Eatery. St. Paul will probably be represented by Kyatchi and possibly Mryriel. There’ll also be a report on the return of my favourite lunch deal in Minnesota. And I’ll try to finally finish up my Delhi reports from March as well. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


Hey, it’s April 1, the day every year that comedy goes to whisky blogs to die. I have no prank or joke post for you. As you know, I am famously anti-fun. What I do have is the usual long list of potential whisky reviews and an invitation to nominate some from that list to the shortlist of likely reviews. Thanks to my Delhi trip in the middle of March, I am going into April with no reviews already written and so the list is truly wide open. I do owe the Ben Nevis reviews, which have been banging around in these lists for some months now and there is a very good chance all three of those will be posted. As for the rest, everything is in play: a week of mezcal, a week of port cask whiskies, a week of Highland Park, a week of sherry cask whiskies, a week of heavily peated whiskies, a week of Speyside whiskies and so on. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


Hey, it’s March. The blog will turn 9 towards the end of the month. Which means the Bowmore in the list below will be reviewed for sure—it’s a tradition in these parts. But it won’t be all March business as usual: I am off to Delhi for two weeks in just about 10 days. It’ll be my first time in India—or anywhere outside the US, for that matter—since we came back from Delhi a month before the pandemic closures hit the US in 2020. I am very much looking forward to seeing family and friends again. And, of course, also to eating some good food at home and out. What this also means is that the food content might vary a bit this month. I will have at least two reviews of Twin Cities restaurants and I will probably supplement them with Delhi meals towards the end of the month. And there will be no recipe poll this month. Instead I will clear some of my backlog and probably supplement those recipes with some things cooked in Delhi—I’m looking forward to spending some time in the kitchen with my mother and her cook. So the food stuff is a bit up in the air. But there will be the usual complement of booze reviews. If you get your nominations in early I will either get those reviews done before I go or take some samples with me to drink and review in Delhi. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


The look ahead to February blah blah blah.

The poll to select recipes for the month ahead already closed yesterday—check the top four vote getters on that poll to see which this month’s recipes will be. On the restaurant front, I’ll be finishing up my Los Angeles meal reports over the next two weekends. We may also return to in-person dining in Minnesota this month. We have reservations at Owamni in Minneapolis at the end of the month. But with omicron apparently having peaked in Minnesota and with proof of vaccination now required to dine indoors in both Minneapolis and St. Paul we might venture indoors even before then. Let’s see how it goes. Oh yes, I also hope to finally post the latest entry in my universally beloved “Covering the Coverage of Indian Food” series. I pretty much know what I want to spotlight—it’s just a matter of finding time to sit down to write it (and my midterm break is on the horizon). Continue reading

Coming Soon…


Yesterday I published my look back at 2021 on the blog. Today I have for you the customary look at the month ahead. This post contains both the usual long list of potential whisky reviews to be posted on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays and the poll to select recipes to be posted on Thursdays. As always, make your nominations for the whisky reviews in the comments below; and vote for up to four recipes in the poll. Tuesdays will continue to feature restaurant write-ups. And through January there will likely be a bonus restaurant write-up during the weekends as well. This because I have a large backlog of reports from our recent Los Angeles trip and don’t want to still be posting them in March. Having eaten out so much in Los Angeles—where outdoor seating and a proof of vaccination requirement for dining in were both common—I’m not sure if we’re going to be eating out at all now for a while but I hope to get back to Twin Cities metro takeout reports soon. Continue reading

Looking Back at 2021 on the Blog


I started last year’s version of this post by saying, “I hope 2021 will not be like 2020 for too long”. This year I will not make any forward-looking statements.

We were lucky in 2021 in our household and extended family—in the US, India and Korea. Others we know were not. If 2021 didn’t mean a return to normalcy in our everyday lives—though we almost achieved it in patches—the blog kept chugging on normally. At the start of the pandemic in the US in 2020 I’d thought it unlikely I’d keep at it but in both years it’s been the routine I’ve clung to. Approaching its ninth anniversary in March, I think it’s safe to say the blog will make it to its 10 anniversary in 2023 (assuming I do as well). Readers don’t seem to be losing interest either—though it is very likely that in the last 2-3 years my old whisky readership has largely been replaced by a food readership. At least that’s what the numbers continue to suggest. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


And so we’re almost at the end of the year. Even as things begin to look uncertain again on the pandemic front with the new Covid variant, we’re finally as a family all completely vaccinated—with the missus and I having received our boosters to boot. And we’re finally about to take a trip on a plane. We have tickets to go back to Los Angeles for 10 days at the end of the month. The boys and their halmoni haven’t seen each other in almost exactly two years and it’ll be good to be able to fix that. It’ll also be good to be able to eat out a little more freely in Los Angeles, where restaurants are subject to a vaccine mandate for in-person dining. This is very much not the case in Minnesota, even though our infection numbers are still very high. Nonetheless, given our fully vaccinated status the missus and I are stepping back out into the in-person dining world here as well. We have reservations at Petite Leon this weekend. Hopefully, no further Omicron news will emerge between now and then to call them into question as happened the last time we had reservations there (early September, Delta). Continue reading

Some Things to Buy for the Food and Drink Enthusiast in Your Life (Who May be You)


I like believing in the fantasy that people actually take my advice on things even to the point of spending money in the process. Accordingly, here is a list of suggestions of things to buy for people you know who enjoy food and drink or to talk about meaningfully within earshot of people who might possibly buy them for you. In the common parlance I believe this genre of post is known as a “gift guide”. I have opinions on many other genres of things that you could spend your or other people’s money on but I will restrict this to the categories that are likely to be of interest to people reading this blog: food and drink.

This is a slightly longer list than I furnished the last time I did one of these. As with the last list, please be aware that any purchase links to Amazon will earn me a few cents. The good news is that the suggestions are good even if you don’t purchase them from Amazon—and in the case of books available in the US I also include links to our town’s excellent indie bookstore, Content, who ship all over the US. Okay, let’s get to it. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


The first half of October was fairly warm around these parts but we’re now a few frosts into a chilly fall; and winter is clearly on its way. Now that we have a working fireplace again there’ll be a fair bit of whisky consumed in front of a fire—though not the ones being tasted for review (those will be consumed far away from any nose-cancelling aromas). Alas, the cold weather is less compatible with eating out. In October we ate dinner on a few heated patios and lunch in the sun on another. I’m not sure how much more of that we’ll be able to do before the real cold gets here. On the other hand, odds seem good that our younger boy will finally have received both his Covid shots by the end of the month and so if numbers in Minnesota continue to get better we will probably start eating inside restaurants again in December. That’s the current hopeful thinking anyway. In the meantime, if you are in the Twin Cities metro please hit me with recommendations of places that do still have heated outdoor heating for November. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


It’s hard to believe that we’re approaching the end of 2021. Here in southern Minnesota that’s partly because it doesn’t feel like it’s October yet. Yes, colours are beginning to change on trees and bushes but it’s still pretty warm out by our standards—this past week saw a couple of days with maximums in the 80s and we seem to have maximums in the 70s to look forward to for at least the next 10 days. As for the pandemic it’s hard to know where we are for sure. On the one hand, it’s clear that the vaccines are very protective against both infection and serious complications in case of breakthrough infection; on the other, cases are once again rising in our county. And so even though three of the four of us are fully vaccinated we are going to continue to be quite cautious until the fourth is as well. There was some hope that might be a possibility before Halloween but now we’re hoping it’ll happen before Thanksgiving. Until then meal reports will continue to be a mix of outdoor dining at restaurants and pandemic takeout reports. Whisky drinking and reviewing will not be affected, of course, by the weather. Though my consumption is lower than ever, I’m still good for three reviews a week. Continue reading

A Recipe Booklet (and a Welcome to New Readers)


I am being told I should do a better job of self-promotion and so here it is. After many years of saying (truthfully) that I have no financial relationship with Rancho Gordo I have now developed a small one. I have written a digital booklet of bean recipes for Rancho Gordo that was “published” last week and announced to those who receive their occasional newsletters and follow Rancho Gordo’s founder/head honcho, Steve Sando on Twitter. And now I am telling you about it here as well. The booklet contains six bean recipes. It’s titled “Indian Bean Recipes: Traditional and Not-So Traditional”. Four of the six recipes have already appeared on the blog. The other two have not and probably will not and so you will have to download the booklet here to see them. The good news is the booklet is free for you to download and since I was paid upfront you will not be putting money in my pocket by downloading it.

As a result of Steve kindly putting a link to the blog in the newsletter announcing the booklet I also seem to have a fair number of new readers and so I thought would offer a brief overview of how the blog works. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


Summer is almost over and I am just about two weeks away from the busy season at work starting back up. Not that you’ll be able to tell from the blog. I’ll have my usual complement of whisky reviews (on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays), restaurant write-ups (Tuesdays and occasionally on weekends) and recipes (Thursdays). Who the whisky reviews are for—beyond serving as a repository of my tasting notes for my own archive—I’m not quite sure. I continue to post reviews at the same clip I’ve maintained for several years now but each year my whisky readership seems to dip even as my food readership seems to grow. Ah well, so it goes.

Below you will find the usual long list of potential whisky reviews. Let me know in the comments as usual if there are any you’d like to promote to the short list. On the food front, this month I’ll be finishing up my write-ups from our recent trip to Madison. Those will be posted on the weekends. During the week I’ll have more pandemic takeout reports from the Twin Cities metro. And tomorrow I’ll be posting a poll to select September’s recipes. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


Hard to believe the summer’s already over. This month saw us take our first post-covid steps towards pre-covid life as a family. We made a brief road trip to Kansas City—the meals from which I began to document yesterday. Next weekend we will be off to Madison, Wisconsin for another brief road trip, delta variant permitting (and I do hope it permits as our hotel reservations are nonrefundable). Unlike in Kansas City, I do not think we will be eating in anywhere unless a restaurant has outdoor seating. We will bring dinners back to our hotel room and take lunches to lakeside locations. Whisky drinking, thankfully, happens only in the secure confines of our own house and so the whisky reviews will continue unconstrained. This month I am in the unusual position of not having a single set of notes already written; and so I invite you especially fervently to nominate whiskies you’re more interested in from the long list below to the short list so I can make some decisions about what to review tonight. On the restaurant reviews front I will have a review on Tuesday from a fine dining restaurant in St. Paul. We also have reservations in a couple of weeks at another place in Minneapolis. The rest of the month’s regular restaurant reviews will be filled out by reports from more casual places in the Twin Cities metro. I hope to finish up the Kansas City reviews on the weekends—which means any Madison reviews will have to wait till September. There’ll also be a recipe a week as usual. Look later today for a poll to select which those will be. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


In June we ate our first meal at a restaurant since the pandemic began (outdoors at El Cubano). In July we are scheduled to eat our first meal inside a restaurant. No, not with the kids: the missus and I are booked in at Tenant in the middle of the month. On the booze reviews front it will continue to be business as usual. Three reviews a week, each week themed in one way or the other. Edradour Week will end on Friday. What follows after that will be highly influenced by any nominations you make from the long list to the shortlist.

Other than our Tenant meal I expect we’ll continue to do takeout most weekends. I really need to make some headway on my survey of North Indian-centric Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities metro. The plan is to hit up one of them this weekend: Namaste Indian Grill in Arden Hills. If there are others you’d recommend, please write in below. And I hope to continue my survey of immigrant markets as well. On the recipes front, I will do the poll to select recipes not on Twitter this month but right here on the blog. So if you’re interested in weighing in on that look for a poll very soon—probably on Saturday. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


And so it’s June. The school year is almost over and we are headed into the summer here in Minnesota with things slowly limping back to something resembling the pre-pandemic normal. By the end of Thursday three out of the four of us in our house will have received both doses of vaccine (the younger boy is too young). It feels strange to talk about our 12 yo getting fully vaccinated when I know people in my age group in India who still haven’t received their first dose. And it also feels odd thinking about a return to normalcy while the pandemic still rages in India (though the situation seems to be slowly improving). But it’s true that here in southern Minnesota at least we’re moving forward more hopefully. The kids are going to go to outdoor summer camps (though, having been housebound for more than a year and now having got used to it, they’re both resisting it) and we’ve begun to think about possibly doing a driving trip out of town in the second half of the summer. The boys and I have also planted our plot in the local community garden and are ardently hoping that the raccoons and deer won’t chomp or carry off most of our tomatoes as they did last year. Well, if that’s the worst that happens this summer I guess we’ll come out ahead. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


Here it is, the day you look forward to for 30 or 31 days (or 28 or occasionally 29): the day I tell you what might be coming up on the blog over the next month . Contain your excitement. As you may have noticed, I’ve of late been doing a lot of themed weeks of whisky reviews (in April I did a Loch Lomond week, a Springbank week, a highlands distilleries week and a sherry cask week). I have stolen this idea from, by which I mean I have been inspired by Michael Kravitz of Diving for Pearls who has been doing wonderful deep dives into distilleries—he currently has a Port Charlotte series going on. You should really read him regularly if you want good whisky reviews and good writing on whisky. But what the hell am I doing promoting the competition? I should be telling you what you can expect to find here in May. Continue reading