First, a quick note: we are getting KILLED by comment spam lately – it’s all moderated, so y’all don’t see it, but it means if you comment on this and it goes to moderation, I might accidentally throw it out with the tons of crap comments. If you comment and it gets moderated, shoot me an e-mail! I’ll make sure it gets through, or perhaps just make fun of you or something.
Wow – June. It’s been a while since a post. I know I’ve been busy as heck, and Tales is coming up, so let’s get right to it.
I saw in Imbibe magazine a restaurant out near where I worked called “Mokomandy” – MOdern KOrean by MANDY. A coworker of mine who is getting really into cocktails recommended we go out there and check it out. Given that it’s a restaurant with what appears to be a promising cocktail program and does a combination of Korean and Cajun food?
Unfortunately, however, I’d have to drive, which means I’d have to be quite careful about how much I drink. My office is almost 30 miles away from my apartment, and there tends to be tons of cops about. I’m very, very careful about any sort of alcohol + driving, so I made it a point ahead of time to limit myself and drink lots of water.
The restaurant is very modern – which also means it can be loud. Fortunately for us it was pretty empty when we arrived there. We met the bartender, Kahrii, who was a really great, friendly guy, and struck up a conversation with him and one of the chefs.
I started with a Fuji Apple – Apfelkorn, Tuaca, Laird’s 7 1/2 year old apple brandy, and lemon juice. I’m a huge fan of Apfelkorn – heck, almost of any kind of apple alcohol – and a fan of Tuaca too. This drink was quite nice and I had to restrain myself from just knocking it back.
I switched up next to A New Twist on a Classic – Plymouth gin, Aperol, Fusion Rouge Verjus, and Fee’s Rhubarb Bitters. I ordered it because of the Fusion Rouge Verjus; that’s an alcohol-free drinkable vinegar. Weird, wacky stuff (he says in his best Johnny Carson voice) but I had to try it. It was definitely an interesting Negroni variation.
(The Negroni, of course, is probably my favorite cocktail currently and has been for a while. Even better, I love experimenting with variations of it. And now I want one. Damnation!)
I finished the night with a Sazerac variant: Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye, coffee syrup, orange and aromatic bitters, Lucid rinse. This was good, but I would’ve liked to try it with a different rye. Had I not had to drive, I might have done just that (and had the restaurant not gotten VERY LOUD at that point in the evening). Mokomandy is proud of their neighbor Catoctin Creek distillery, and features all of their products. I’m a fan of the gin and the rye spirit, but the Roundstone Rye, to me, has the funkiness of “too young” whiskey that hasn’t had a chance to mellow out. It needs more time, or like the Mosby’s Spirit (the rye spirit), less time. Only aging a whiskey a very short time is to its detriment, I feel, most of the time.
As for food, I had fresh cracklin’s (oh my goodness they were good), spicy kimchi (not as spicy as I expected), fried kale chips (I wouldn’t have ordered these on my own but they were surprisingly good), foie gras dumplings (only order if you share them, they’re very rich and good if you have one, not as good if you eat all 3 right in a row), and a braised wild boar bowl with kimchi, rice, and all kinds of other stuff, including an egg on top, that was just KILLER and WAY TOO MUCH food.
So yeah – even if you’re out in BFE of what’s on the outskirts of northern Virginia – i.e., Loudoun – you can find some amazing food and drink at Mokomandy. It’s off Algonkian Parkway in Sterling.
I’d missed my first chance to hit Jack Rose by being out of town, so last Friday night I decided to wander down there and check out the rooftop bar.
I got there right about 8 o’clock and saw a number of folks I knew around – and then got invited to join in the Alaskan Brewing Company beer pairing dinner! Geoff Larson, the owner and brewer, was there talking about the history of his brewery and of brewing in Alaska, and the beers were paired with delicious food, mostly salmon, from Alaska.
It was only near the end that I found out you can’t get Alaskan Brewing Company beer in DC! OH CRAP!
After the dinner I wandered over to the bar to hang out. After trying a “Hey, Sailor” from JP (the drink whose name I refused to yell across the bar), I switched up and tried a wee dram of the “Jack Rose” labeled Willett – 18 year old barrel strength bourbon which was AMAZING. (Yes, I drank it straight. That’s how I roll, baby. No water or ice for me.)
From there, I mostly stuck with beer and a shot of Bulleit rye, but the rooftop is a killer space at Jack Rose. I only got to peek at the downstairs but I can’t wait to get back when the joint is fully open!