Coming Soon…


And so it’s November. Before looking ahead to the month to come, let’s take a look back at the month just past. October was once again a busy month on the blog, traffic-wise. Which were the top 10 most viewed posts? From #1 to #10 they were: On’s Kitchen VIII; Favourite Dishes Eaten in the Twin Cities Metro: July 1-September 30, 2022; Bolé; Demi II; Mushoor Dal (No Tadka); Eating at Mercado Central; Baingan “Bharta”; A Highly Subjective Ranking of Indian Restaurants in the Twin Cities Metro Area; A Guide to Ordering at Grand Szechuan; The Red Death. That’s 10/10 food posts, with four restaurant reviews, three more posts about restaurants, and three recipes. The first spirits review came in just outside the top 10 with the Kilkerran 8, Batch 6 sitting at #11. All told there were only 14 spirits-related posts (13 reviews and one post on some shenanigans at Loch Lomond) in the top 50. But I didn’t get where I am today [nowhere] by following trends and so I will continue to post three booze reviews a week. You can, as always, help me select them by nominating what you’re most interested in to the shortlist via the comments below. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


There was a lot of traffic to the blog in September. What were people reading? The top 10 most viewed posts were the following: 1) Ha Tien Super Market; 2) Dosa; 3) Los Ocampo Restaurant and Bar; 4) Baingan “Bharta”; 5) Restaurant Alma, August 2022; 6) Terzo; 7) Black Caviar Dal; 8) Quetzal; 9) A Highly Subjective Ranking of Indian Restaurants in the Twin Cities Metro; 10) Owamni.

That’s 10/10 food-related posts: six restaurant reviews, two recipes, one look at a grocery store, and one ranking of restaurants. The first whisky review comes in at #17 (Undisclosed Island, Water of Life Film). And there are only three whisky-related posts in the top 25 and only six in the top 50 most viewed posts. Despite the evidence, however, I still consider this a whisky blog. Accordingly, I will have the usual slate of reviews for you again this month: three a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The usual long list of candidates is below and you are, as always, invited to nominate things you’re interested in to the shortlist. It was noted last month that there were no official releases in that long list. This month has quite a lot of them. This is merely coincidental. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


The summer comes to an end soon and the high season at work is about to kick off. On the blog, though, little will change. I’ll still have three whisky reviews a week interspersed with recipes and restaurant reviews. Minnesota reviews will be posted on Tuesdays as usual; on the weekends I’ll be posting meal reports from my travels in the summer till I’ve caught up with that backlog. It might take the whole of this month to do that. I have, however, caught up with my Minnesota restaurant review backlog. We have no reservations yet for dinner out in September and no set plans yet for even this coming weekend. So it’s an open book there. On the cooking front, there will be four recipes again this month, on Thursdays. I’ll be posting the poll to select those recipes in a few hours time—it’ll stay open through the weekend. To help me choose the whiskies to review this month all you have to do, as always, is respond in the comments below and let me know which ones you’d like to promote from the long list that follows to the short list. I think I got to all the requests in August and will try my best to do so again in September—as long as I can construct coherent themed weeks from the candidates. Odds are good though that I will do a Caol Ila week as I’ve been wanting to review that trio for a while. The rest are all up in the air—so have at them. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


It’s been a busy summer of travel so far. We were in Los Angeles and then Hawaii from early-mid June through early July. And then I was off by myself on work in Ireland for a week. But I’m back in Southern Minnesota now and not planning to go anywhere for the next several months. My vegetable plot in the community garden is the place I’ll be spending most of my time outside the house in August. By the end of August I should have mostly caught up with my backlog of meal reports from Los Angeles and Hawaii. A good thing too as I have a few lined up from Ireland as well. And, of course, we’ll be eating out here in Minnesota too. I’m planning to keep things mostly casual on that front this month. Thursdays will see recipe posts as usual. If you haven’t yet voted in this month’s poll, you have a few more hours to register any preferences. Continue reading

August’s Recipes: A Poll


I’m afraid that I am indeed too out of it after my travel home to get any whisky tasting done. And so there won’t be a third whisky review this week. I’ll make it up later with a bonus Speyside review. And as I don’t have the energy right now to resize meal photographs either, I’m not putting up an extra restaurant report in place of the whisky review. Instead, here is the poll to help me select the recipes that I’ll post on the blog in August. There are six contenders for four spots again this month. Two are holdovers from previous polls—one  seemingly a perennial long shot, but I’m an optimistic guy. Of the four new recipes on the poll three are vegetarian which means half of this month’s poll is vegetarian—and indeed vegan. If you bemoan the lack of such recipes on my blog in most months here’s your opportunity to ensure August’s recipes will be almost all vegetarian. Continue reading

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