Ok – Look. I was planning on writing this on Friday. In fact, I had most of it typed out on Friday. But unfortunately, as you’ll read below, I was at a conference. Trying to accomplish anything when you’re at a conference is basically impossible. Brenda will back me up on this.
Ah, convention weeks.
This week I was up in Seattle working a Microsoft convention. If you’ve never experienced a convention, the basic agenda looks like this:
- Roll out of bed at around 7a
- Head over and figure out what terrible food the convention center is serving for breakfast
- Choke down terrible convention food for lunch
- Clean up and head out for dinner
- Spend the night networking, generally at a sponsored event
- Collapse in bed
- Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
It’s a lot of work and a lot of fun. And all joking aside, they generally are great opportunities. But it is nonstop for the entire week.
In a first for my Restaurant section of the Friday Five, I’m highlighting a bar as I was just that blown away by it. The way I see it, a great cocktail is similar to a gourmet meal. It should be crafted with quality ingredients with care by a bartender, similar to the way a chef crafts a dish. And while we're at it, the bartender should not only care about his drinks but his guests - being both friendly and entertaining. Tini Bigs sees it my way.
Over the 7 nights I spent recently in Seattle, 3 of them found me in Tini Bigs. The first night saw us talking up a storm with Brian and trying two of his concoctions. I had two of the manhattans on the menu (which for anyone who knows me is the farthest thing from a surprise), and my friend had two tequila based drinks. (As a side note, their high end liquor selection, while relatively small, is rock solid.) When we found out it was Brian's second to last night, we made plans to head back the following night for his last.
When we walked in the second night he recognized us immediately, directed us to the bar and took our order - remembering the second drink I had the night before (as that's what I wanted but couldn't remember what it was). From there we really just let Brian do his thing, telling him to simply create whatever came to mind based on what he knew about our tastes, and not once were we handed a bad drink.
The last night I was in town my wife and I stopped by when Shane took care of us. We weren't there for very long - two cocktails for me, and one for Karin. The moment that really sold me that night was when Karin (an admitted lightweight) decided she had enough to drink. When Shane asked if she wanted another and was told "no", his immediate response was, "I know just what to make you. You won't even taste the alcohol." Karin, being a great sport, simply gave an uneasy "okaaaaay" and awaited his next concoction. I watched him make it - he simply filled the shaker with ice, water, a couple squeezes of lemon, shook it up like a normal cocktail and served it in a martini glass with a twist. He dropped off the drink, calling it a "Blue Dolphin" (IIRC). He then came back later and explained what it was and that he didn't want Karin to feel left out.
I've been to many bars, and this one ranks right up there. I don't quite know that I'm ready yet to declare it my favorite (I am prone to hyperbole), but right now I can't think of one that would top it. It would almost make it bearable to live in Seattle. Almost. (BTW - I do love Seattle, I just can't take the weather.)
The Travel Note
I discovered that my roller bag does fit in one of the sizer bins after a very (ahem)friendly gate agent insisted I put it in the bin. Nobody was more surprised about this than I was, except maybe the gate agent.
Five notes about airports:
- Favorite airport – San Diego. Partly because it’s where I live, but also because it’s a small, convenient airport.
- Hated airport – San Jose. I don’t think I need to beat up on this airport any more.
- Best food – Houston. Over the last couple of years this airport has come a long way. They have quite a few good restaurants, including a wine bar/bistro that would survive just fine outside of the airport.
- Biggest tip – Be nice to the TSA agents. They have the power to make your life miserable. As right as you may be, you won’t win the argument.
- Biggest peeve – Airports that still charge for wifi. I’m not paying $10 to access the internet.
 Most. Redundant. Sentence. Ever.
 Networking [n] – Hanging out with friends that you don’t get to see nearly often enough while imbibing
 Translation: Sponsored == free alcohol
 There is inconsistency here if you’re paying attention. I’ll fix that next week