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I wanted to like the Peter Kern Library. I do like the space. I certainly like the idea of craft cocktails being served in Knoxville. Heck, I was going to open my own bar just a few doors down from there about 10 years ago. However, the drinks here just miss the mark.
On our first visit, we tried a few drinks. My first I could not finish and so we traded. I didn’t really love the other one either. Neither of us loved our second round. But we liked the place and the attempt and our server and recommended it to friends.
Our second visit was a shock. We heard the head bartender was there and we were excited to talk shop with someone who maybe knew more than the typical hi-ball server.
I was probably a little less enamored of the place and so I was realizing every recipe was on the sweet side. Muddled fruit, honey and Crème de Violette. The only tart drink we tried last time and even my tart loving wife didn’t care for it. I realized none of these drinks looked appealing.
Ah, there is a “Classics” section with an “Old Fashioned” and a “Sazerac”. I decide on an Old Fashioned, but having been served in the last few years in typical places, I asked if they muddled oranges in them and could I have mine without orange fruit. The classic recipe calls for lemon peel, though I was served a fantastic version at The Gin Joint in Charleston with orange peel and it was great. But this made our bartender angry and I could either have it her way, which would be the best one I ever had, or I could have it my way. I felt like I might have been asked to leave if I wasn’t sitting with her regular customers, who I had told to come there in the first place. I wanted it my way. Or, well, the right way. I wanted the classic. No fruit.
What I got was okay. Not a craft cocktail. Not bad, but nothing beyond what I could tell the bartender to make me at the bar at the Holiday Inn Express.
I sampled all the drinks ordered and found nothing to be very good. My wife’s two drinks were forced down and she likely would have not finished if we weren’t with friends and obliged to stay longer than we wanted.
The drink list is overly sweet, and those that are not sweet are super hot or overly weird and just too strong in their flavors. Nothing was balanced. Nothing was tart in a good way. And nothing much was bigger than about 3 ounces. It all seemed to be 3 ounce cocktails served up.
The attitude was unforgivable.
I suppose I should go easy on the home town place that is trying, but, how will they improve? I am not going to take my cocktail nerd friends there. We’ll just go to my house and have good drinks instead. Should the bartenders at PKL visit some of the other good bars around and revise their palette and recipes, I’ll give them another chance. For now, they need to start over. Leave the décor, toss the recipes.
I suppose this proves that Knoxville will support good cocktails. If they are filling this small space to capacity on weekend nights, a better option might do more business.
Just a bump so you know I finally added images of this fantastic Lustron home here in Knoxville.
I was proud to share some of my Mai-Kai research at the Mai-Kai during Hukilau this year. My presentation went over well and several said it brought tears to their eyes. A good sign. There were a dozen or so Mai-Kai veterans there who gave me lots of info to move forward with. And after my talk, I was interviewed for an NPR piece. If you have not heard it, then here it is: Mai-Kai and Hukilau on NPR.
Unfortunately, Cancun is greatly changed.
So many of the things I thought I knew have become wrong.
It used to be true that if you converted your US dollars to pesos, you’d end up your trip with 20%+ more money than if you used US dollars there. Now, it is the opposite. Most things are priced in US dollars and pesos and if you do the math, you’d find you were being screwed using dollars. Now you are screwed using pesos.
It used to be true that the prices in the hotel zone were very high and if you went downtown, you would see a near 50% price cut immediately and could bargain for better. Now the mall in the hotel zone has near the same prices, and maybe better than at the downtown markets.
It used to be that the hotel zone markets like Coral Negro were full of the most aggressive, awful people you ever were around. Being in there makes you sick. Market 28 downtown was a great relief where you could shop in peace and enjoy your time. No more. Now Market 28 is as obnoxious as Coral Negro.
Restaurants downtown are more expensive than the hotel zone.
The bus is now 15 pesos per trip, not 6.5. So a trip anywhere for 2 will cost you a much more noticable 60 pesos. The taxis are looking more okay.
Cancun always had lots of people trying to get your attention. Trying to sell you a tour or to get you to look at their goods. You either ignore them or say “no, gracious” and move on. But now it is at a fever pitch and unavoidable. Even when we sat at a table eating, we had to say no to 4 or 5 people trying to sell us things, along with the people in the restaurant wanting to take your picture and sell it to you.
Yes, it is beautiful. On the beach at our hotel was great. But most of the public places in Cancun are now unbearable.
I took my last trip to Cancun. We discovered Playa del Carmen, and that is where we will go next time. More like the way downtown Cancun used to be.
I can highly recommend the Ambiance Villas hotel and Locanda Paolo restaurant. And Walmart for pastries and fresh fruit.
After an unexpected need to move to a new server, I have been slowly getting all my sites and their parts back working. This blog is still not done. A newer version of Word Press has the feeds at a new address, so, if you subscribed to the feed before, you may have to do it again to get my blathers. I also need to reinstall the style here… Lots of work yet to do.
One thing I wanted to get back first, that was the most daunting wash the Grogalizer. Lots of custom made PHP code with a MySQL background. A few evenings work has gotten one piece after another back working. Tonight I think it is all back working.
Give it a try and let me know if you find any problems. I’ve even seen The Bum himself logging in, so, I am proud of my creation!
I brought up getting bags of crushed ice before in preparation for a luau. Crushed ice is as much a part of a proper tropical cocktail as fresh mint and rum. But when you are mixing for 40, it’s hard to get that much proper ice.
I found a new solution. Sonic Drive-Ins. They are not in all the country, but they are pretty widespread. And that fine ice they use for their drinks is available by the bag. That is a great solution.
I am guessing a lot of you are into the same sort of weird music I am. Lounge, but not really the normal sort of lounge. Stuff that strays just enough to give you a sly little smile. So I wanted to share with you perhaps my all time favorite CD. I have owned and listened to about every lounge CD out there and tons of records. This particualr CD I keep going back to. I put it in the player and I worry. “Will this be the day? Will this be the playing that I can no longer tolerate this CD?” No. That has yet to happen. Every time I play it, I just flat enjoy it. I think you will too.
So, ignore the many other CDs out there and buy this one. I have waded through them for you. And if you enjoy it like I think you will, let me know. Maybe I have a few other suggestions for you in the future.
Click the cover to get your very own copy.
Thank you dear for the drinks! Our lovely server who danced in the dinner show later.
This Hukilau was very different to me. I took a friend with me, and what that meant was that I had no obligations and was able to spend lots of time talking to and getting to know the many wonderful people that come to Hukilau. It is these very people that made the event worth doing year after year though I lost money (sometimes lots of it!) on what was essentially a year long job. The stress and work was worth having these great people come together and have such a wonderful time. I met more people by Thursday afternoon than I think I had in the previous 4 years.
It is always a great day when you can spend time in the Mai Kai, but exploring it with Otto Von Stroheim and playing around with Bamboo Ben and Holden Westland and King Kukulele in the Mai Kai is way better. Sharing it with people who love it the way I do is fantastic.
Bre-Elle as the Mermaid was a treasure.
Pablus on stage at the Mai Kai stopping everything with the power of his song and his sweet voice was amazing. I am lucky to have him come around and sing in my Hapa Haole Hideaway regularly, so I know his magic. Everybody tasted it then.
Tiki Diablo and Basement Kahuna carving
Basement Kahuna and I already have plans to make next year even better!