Sunday, May 27, 2007

bon vivant \bon-vee-VONT\, noun:

A person with refined and sociable tastes, especially one who enjoys fine food and drink.
For the unregenerate "peasant" (the term that he often used about his mother, whom he despised) had gone there with the successful glass distributor, shrewd investor, versatile talker, and . . . bon vivant whose motto was "The best is good enough for me."
-- Ted Solotaroff, Truth Comes in Blows

Bon vivant comes from French bon, "good" (from Latin bonus) + vivant, present participle of vivre, "to live," from Latin vivere.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Top 10 List of Twins Names in 2006

Names of twins born in 2006
Rank Names Number
1Jacob, Joshua 67
2Matthew, Michael 54
3Daniel, David 52
4Ella, Emma 38
5Isaac, Isaiah 38
6Madison, Morgan 36
7Landon, Logan 35
8Taylor, Tyler 35
9Brandon, Bryan 34
10Christian, Christopher 33

Thanks Social Security Online for the info.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A reminder to all that at the bottom of The Mint Julep, you will find a cartoon from Newsbusters, which is updated daily. Unfortunately the bottom of this page is the most convenient, albeit highly inconspicuous, place to put a daily cartoon. This being the case, I have created this post to put today's cartoon in a bit more of a prominent place.

Monday, May 14, 2007

acrimony \AK-ruh-moh-nee\, noun:

Bitter, harsh, or biting sharpness, as of language, disposition, or manners.

In years to come, liturgical infighting ranked alongside disputed patents, contested fortunes, and savage political feuds as a source of McCormick family acrimony.
-- Richard Norton Smith, The Colonel

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dallas Trip

I just got back from a trip to Dallas. Normally while on the road, I end up staying in a place like the Marriot or a Hampton Inn, but our client hooked us up with a corporate rate at the swanky Hotel Zaza in uptown Dallas. Apparently it is frequented by celebrities - and that makes very good sense, for it catered to the customer's every whim. The rooms were double the size of your standard Hampton Inn, accentuated by full length sofas, 42" flat screen TVs, and bottles of oxygen for your personal use.

After checking in, my colleague and I headed over to Stephan Pyles for dinner. This was one of the better meals I have had a in very long time. The restaurant has a very nouveux, southwestern feel to it. We started off with a ceviche - Halibut with Avocados and Tomatillos, and a sampling of four unique types of gazpacho. I then ordered the Hoja Santa Salmon Packet on Golden Crabmeat Paella (see picture). By the way, this picture looks exactly like the dish I ate. It is hard to make out, but steamed salmon is actually wrapped in this lettuce-type wrap, and placed on a bed of rice and crab. It came out piping hot and was fantastic.

The whole dining experience was unbelievable, and the service exceptional. All in all, both the ZaZa and Stephen Pyle's were As. If ever in Dallas, I highly recommend both.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Annual Quintessential Mint Julep Post

With the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby tomorrow, I feel that it is my absolute duty as author of The Mint Julep, to write a post concerning that lovely libation that is the essence of Kentucky in May. Of course, I am talking about the Mint Julep.

Eric Felton from the Wall Street Journal paid the Mint Julep a tribute in his weekly "How's Your Drink?" column, citing Southern author Walker Percy's observations about the Julep.

But now on to the most important part of this post. Just as I did on this day, one year ago, and just as I did on this day two years ago, so too today will I include a letter, written from a Lieutenant in World War II, to a fellow comrade. The description of how to create this fine beverage is nothing less than awe-inspiring, and worth reading in whole. Please enjoy.

March 30, 1937

My dear General Connor,

Your letter requesting my formula for mixing mint juleps leaves me in the same position in which Captain Barber found himself when asked how he was able to carve the image of an elephant from a block of wood. He replied that it was a simple process consisting merely of whittling off the part that didn't look like an elephant.

The preparation of the quintessence of gentlemanly beverages can be described only in like terms. A mint julep is not the product of a FORMULA. It is a CEREMONY and must be performed by a gentleman possessing a true sense of the artistic, a deep reverence for the ingredients and a proper appreciation of the occasion. It is a rite that must not be entrusted to a novice, a statistician, nor a Yankee. It is a heritage of the old South, an emblem of hospitality and a vehicle in which noble minds can travel together upon the flower-strewn paths of happy and congenial thought.

So far as the mere mechanics of the operation are concerned, the procedure, stripped of its ceremonial embellishments, can be described as follows:

Go to a spring where cool, crystal-clear water bubbles from under a bank of dew-washed ferns. In a consecrated vessel, dip up a little water at the source. Follow the stream through its banks of green moss and wildflowers until it broadens and trickles through beds of mint growing in aromatic profusion and waving softly in the summer breezes. Gather the sweetest and most tender shoots and gently carry them home. Go to the sideboard and select a decanter of Kentucky Bourbon, distilled by a master hand, mellowed with age yet still vigorous and inspiring. An ancestral sugar bowl, a row of silver goblets, some spoons and some ice and you are ready to start.

In a canvas bag, pound twice as much ice as you think you will need. Make it fine as snow, keep it dry and do not allow it to degenerate into slush.

In each goblet, put a slightly heaping teaspoonful of granulated sugar, barely cover this with spring water and slightly bruise one mint leaf into this, leaving the spoon in the goblet. Then pour elixir from the decanter until the goblets are about one-fourth full. Fill the goblets with snowy ice, sprinkling in a small amount of sugar as you fill. Wipe the outsides of the goblets dry and embellish copiously with mint.

Then comes the important and delicate operation of frosting. By proper manipulation of the spoon, the ingredients are circulated and blended until Nature, wishing to take a further hand and add another of its beautiful phenomena, encrusts the whole in a glittering coat of white frost. Thus harmoniously blended by the deft touches of a skilled hand, you have a beverage eminently appropriate for honorable men and beautiful women.

When all is ready, assemble your guests on the porch or in the garden, where the aroma of the juleps will rise Heavenward and make the birds sing. Propose a worthy toast, raise the goblet to your lips, bury your nose in the mint, inhale a deep breath of its fragrance and sip the nectar of the gods.

Being overcome by thirst, I can write no further.

S.B. Buckner, Jr.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Legally Blonde

Last Sunday the show Legally Blonde opened on Broadway. Legally Blonde stars Laura Bundy, a talented actress from Lexington, KY. In fact, Laura and I went to the same school - she is three grades ahead of me. In any case, I happened to be up in New York last Sunday, and was on Broadway when Legally Blond let out. The picture heading this post is the one I took as everyone was leaving. It is supposed to be a good show. Here is a nice article from the Lexington Herald Leader about the show, and here is an AP review.