Friday, September 27, 2013

Savoy Lounge in Crowne Plaza Hotel, Costa Mesa

Terrible, terrible, terrible.  I've been here before with a comparably sized group of about 30 people and had good service and good drink.  Not so on a recent Friday night (venue had extended happy hour for us so it's not like they didn't know we were coming).

I spot a guy and some space at the end of the bar opposite the entrance so make my way over there.  Wait patiently with him until female bartender brings him his drink and asks me what I want.  What kind of bourbons do you have?  Her response is to walk away and return to the other side of the bar and take some orders and make some some drinks.  When she makes her way back to me, she asks me again what I want.  I repeat my question and this time I get an answer albeit a pretty unsatisfactory one.  Waves her hand towards the high shelves behind her.  All I see (and can read) is Makers and Jack.  But what's that bottle behind?  She has to pull it down because she is so unfamiliar with her stock.   Makers 46.  And her reaction is to walk away again.  Finally comes back and I give my instructions; you know them by now.  

She pours some whiskey into a rocks glass with ice and I think that's what she's going to mix cocktail in.  But she just places it in front of me.  Oh, I asked for straight up and for a manhattan (vermouth).  She insists she put vermouth in it.  So she pours the whiskey into a cocktail glass and of course it doesn't fill up all the way.  So she just pours more (room temperature) whiskey into the glass and doesn't add more vermouth and, as you can tell, still doesn't fill up the glass
.  She has lemons on the bar but apparently has no idea how to make a twist.  Just put a cherry in it and we'll call it a day.  I get the check ($14.50), no water.  Can I have a really large glass of water.  I get a rocks glass.  The guy, meanwhile, is practically snorting his drink out of his nose because he is finding this so funny.

So we spot an empty table in the corner and have a very pleasant chat.  The some drunk comes over to flirt with the attractive Asian women next to me and they are having none of it, bangs into our table, and knocks my drink to the ground.  Broken glass on the floor and half a drink on my skirt.  

Terrible, terrible, terrible. I'm done and get out of there as quickly as I can.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Memphis at the Santora, Santa Ana

I have wanted to go check out some of the bars in new, trendy, downtown Santa Ana and finally got my chance back in July.  We arrive around 530 pm; the street and the bar at Memphis at Santora are empty.  There is one customer at the bar, a single guy, eating the most delicious smelling mussels.  My first issue is the stools don’t have back support.  Why do people even make these wretched, torturous things?  But at the bar we must sit.  There’s a young kid behind the bar.  I peruse the menu and discover that there is a Maker’s Mark or Old Overholt Manhattan on the happy hour menu.  I ask what else he’s got and out of nowhere, another bartender (yes, another kid; are they all kids?) appears and a lovely discussion ensues.  I’m looking to try something different.  He tells me he had a feeling about me right away and pulls down a bottle of Russell’s Bourbon and pours us both a shot.  He swigs his down.  I do not.  He tells me he never shakes his manhattans.  The cocktail turns out to be not as strong as I expect it to be, maybe a little sweet but very smooth going down.  

The first bartender is inquiring if he can leave early to go to San Francisco and gives us our food but forgets my friend's wine.  Bartender #2 asks what we ordered and quickly gets it.  Bartender #1 seems clueless and unconcerned and eventually makes his way around to our side of the bar and orders something to eat and stays there for as long as we are there.  Friend gets the beet salad and I get the crab cakes.  

Everything is very, very good.  Bartender #2, whose name is Jefferson, is having some kind of issue with one of the waitresses and makes it pretty obvious.  Then a bartender from another bar comes in to give Jefferson a bottle of something homemade.  Have no idea what it is but I get a shot of that too.  I liked this place; it's pretty and we got excellent service.  I went back a few weeks ago and got less than enthusiastic service from Jefferson but I blame it on the extremely grouchy person I was with.  I did discover on this second visit that they have a bourbon flight (4 for $20) so I guess I'll be going for a 3rd visit.