Showing posts from 2010

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to take a minute to wish everyone a Happy New Year and to make a few observations on New Year’s Eve and the gatherings you may be attending.

First keep in mind that NYE is amateur night out. Many people use this night to get in all their drinking for the year or at last for the Holiday Season. It is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year with the exception of Christmas parties and maybe Mardi Gras’ Fat Tuesday.

Be safe and do NOT drink and drive. Most of you who I drink with regularly know that despite my legendary drinking binges I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER drink and drive. Hire a driver, take a cab or walk.

Some of the best NYE parties I have attended have just happened. Some years without any plans we just went out and when we found an establishment that we were having fun at we choose that place to ring in the New Year. You can have a great time doing this and meet some fantastic people.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying home and enjoying NYE with fam…

The Conclusion of The Reluctant Hero

And now the Conclusion of The Reluctant Hero

In Case you missed a part:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

The house was so quite it was eerie. I jumped to my feet a little discombobulated and looked for my cell phone in the dark. I found it and saw I had one voice message from Patti about 12:30 that said,

“Ran, if you are there answer, please!”

Then nothing, so as you may imagine I was somewhat troubled. I threw on some shorts and a tee shirt and headed down the stairs hoping that everyone else would be sitting up drinking and chatting knowing full well that this would not be true. The downstairs was just as dark and quiet as the upstairs. I knocked on Luis and Maria’s door and my knock was answered by a tired and a little irritated Luis who said he had no idea where the others were. He did offer to make some coffee while we tried to figure out where the others were for which I was grateful.

I had a cup of coffee and my head started to clear and I called Patti’s cell phone and the call …

Christmas Ideas for Your Bar Friends Part II

Yes time is running out on the Christmas shopping clock so here are a few more ideas for those special friends who enjoy Their Side of the Bar.

Coffee Bean Roaster
If you enjoy coffee then you have to give roasting your own beans a try. The process is very easy and you will be able to make some of the best coffee you have ever had.

You can decide on dark or light roast and there are many, many types beans available from many different countries. One of my favorite is Costa Rican beans.

Many different retailers carry coffee bean roasters and the one I have been using for many years is the Fresh Roast Coffee Roaster plus 8 model,  and a quick Google search allows you to shop and compare prices

Green Beans
This is the term used for coffee beans that are not yet roasted and as coffee roasters you can do a quick Google search and find your favorite beans.

Roast Masters

Green Coffees

A Coffee Press
This is an intricate part of the process and a way to make a great pot of coffee. I like to get my …

Christmas Cocktails

While sitting around MySideOfTheBar last weekend the conversation turned to Christmas Cocktails. Obviously Peppermint Schnapps was called for, but I was surprised at how few of the usually cronies were able to come with some libations just for the Holiday. Here are a few ideas to have for your Holiday get together.

The Three Wise Men
This is one of my personal favorites and very easy to make.
1 Part Jack Daniels
1 Part Jim Beam
1 Part Johnny Walker

Mix all ingredients in a cock tail shaker or Martini pitcher and roll or stir.
Serve Over Ice in a high-ball glass

The Candy Cane
1 Part Peppermint Schnapps
1 Part Cinnamon Schnapps

Combine ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and roll
Serve in a shot glass

A Brandy Flip
A great nightcap or dessert drink for those (like me) that love eggnog.
1 Part Brandy
1 Part Cream
1 Egg
1 Pkg artificial sweetener

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake
Serve in a shot glass

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas
1 Part Vodka (or two…

Christmas Ideas for your Bar Friends Part I

Here are a few ideas for you as we approach the Christmas Holiday for any of your friends that drink or mix drinks or for yourself.

The Soda Stream

This is a must have at anyone’s Bar. I have been using one of these for the last three months and it is now an essential item here at MySideOfTheBar. The process to create a liter of mixer is very quick. The finished product is fantastic and I challenge you to take a taste test against your favorite mixers.

Check out the web site Soda for a neat video on the usage.

The Soda Stream comes with a huge sampler pack so you can try several of the popular flavors. My two main stays are Diet Tonic and Diet Lemon Lime. However the Diet Root Beer is absolutely fantastic.

As per the Soda Stream Website the three No’s of the Soda Stream are:

No Lugging – The bottle the mixers come in are small and hold enough to create the equivalent of 33 cans of your mixer.
No Storing – The bottles are very small and take up on…


It is that time of year again where we all pause to give thanks, unfortunately I usually (thanks to drinking) cannot seem to remember what we are giving thanks for :). So as I was sitting at one of my favorite bars last weekend the talk turned to the upcoming holiday and we drifted to the subject of our favorite TV shows about, what else, Turkey Day! So here are my top five favorite Thanksgiving Themed TV shows.

Number 5: Friends, the one with football. Yes my friends and I used to do the same thing on Thanksgiving, except after we ate.
Chandler: Do you want to go shotgun?
Ross: Yea!

Number 4 – Seinfeld, The Mom and Pop Store. Who can forget, John Voight’s car (Doesn’t John spell his name Jon? Maybe Jon misspelled his own name) and the take on “The Midnight Cowboy as well as Mr. Pitt  and the parade.

Number 3 – Cheers, Thanks Giving Orphans. If you have not seen this you need to check it out. This reminds all of us how dysfunctional Holidays can be. One of the reasons that Central Patti …

Why do we go to Bars and Pubs?

I was sitting in one of my favorite bars the other day, The Classic Cup on the Plaza and made a remark to Central Patti about how good of time we were having. This made me think, “Why do we go to bars to drink?” After all we can drink for free at home, or so some tell me. If you Google the term you can find many humorous WebPages on topic so I thought I would try to list my top five reasons we go to bars or pubs.

5. Happy Hour Appetizer Specials – If you do your homework and shop around you can find many places that offer terrific happy hour specials on food (as well as drinks) and today most even carry a health menu.

4. The Atmosphere – Who does not like sitting in a bar enjoying all the sights and sounds going on around you as you imbibe your favorite cocktail. There is something very relaxing and yes even somewhat therapeutic.

3. The Music – I love going to lounges to hear the lounge singers and performers. Some of my favorite places in K.C. are the Copa Room, Odowd’s and Jardines…

Three (or Four or More) Little Letters

The other evening we were in a nice Martini Bar and I noticed a table of four your women. Now you can guess as to why I noticed them, but you may not be able to guess what I remember about the scene. All four were on their cell phones either texting (may have been Tweeting) or talking to someone else! Why would you bother to arrange to have Martini’s with your friends if you were going to talk/text others anyway?
Now I am fairly new to texting and I decided when I do text if I have to type over three letters or so for a sentence then I am probably not going to text. My first experience with texting I did not have a “Smart Phone” so texting was slow and tedious.

Now I am not all that unfamiliar with three letter abbreviations. The first I remember was from my teen years, NO PDA! You will also recall that in the 80’s PDA took on a whole different meaning (Well so did the word Gay)

Profound Usage

Or would that be profane? Well the next shortcut I remember, again before electronic media was…

The Fishing Contest

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to complete in a fishing contest/derby. Now I admit that that participating in an event like this may at first seem like a long way from MySideOfTheBar, however I soon found out that I could enjoy both a cocktail as well as a cigar while wetting a line so I had to enter.

I have not fished much in recent years, but as a young boy I used to fish all the time. In fact I have many stories about fishing as a youth that will be coming to the Blog in the future.
The tournament directory was J.C. who was assisted by D.B. The rules were simple:

Entry Fee: $10.00
Starting Time: 10:00 A.M. on the start of the air horn.
End Time: 3:00 P.M. with the sound of an air horn.
You had to fish from the docks at the condo.
Only Condo Owners
Crappies Only
Prizes awarded to and split between:
Most fish caught or first one to the limit (15 Crappies over 9 and a half inches long)
Largest Fish.

As was the norm for a Sunday we took a walk to breakfast so two of us, myself and S.O. sta…

The Reluctant Hero Part V

In Case you missed a part:
The Reluctant Hero Part I
The Reluctant Hero Part II
The Reluctant Hero Part III
The Reluctant Hero Part IV

We took the two bundles of wood back to the fire as saw that Terrell and Nicki had not yet returned. We decided to continue our search for more firewood and we collected several more bundles and had a large pile of wood when we heard the Seadoo return. It was a warm night so we did not stoke the fire very high for present. We spread out the blankets and sleeping bags and Nicki said,

“We are going for a swim, want to join us?”

We hesitated and I was just beginning to think that skinny dipping might be fun when Patti answered,

“I believe we will pass and just sit by the fire and drink some more wine.”

“Suit yourself,” Nicki said, as Terrell and her disappeared in the direction of the sound of the surf.

After they had been gone for a few minutes it was clear why Central Patti had so hurriedly declined the invitation. I was looking up at the tens of thousands of b…

The Renaissance Festival

Gather round you Maids, Mistresses, Sirs, Lords and Lasses as we took the chance to carouse at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival this harvest and dry and parch'd tankard.

Yes we had the good fortune to take MySideOfTheBar to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival this fall and had a wonderful time stepping back into the days of yore.

The festival runs for 7 weekends (Labor Day to Columbus Day) and each weekend has a different theme. The Festival includes 20 Entertainment Venues, live armored jousting, Food and Drink Fit for a King, over 100 artisan booths and a great way to spend a day.

This was our third year and we always start the day off by visiting the booth of Captain Goldtooth to pick up a tankard or a wine glass to use as we explore the festival. Or course we have to stop at one of the many pubs and pick up some grog or ale.

Our favorite watering hole at the Ren Fest is the Canterbury Inn which is an open air pub that also hosts a small bar top humidor and covered patio wh…

Fall Walkabout and Fountain Crawl

With all that has been happening here at MySideOfTheBar this fall such as Renaissance Festivals, Sock Ops, Fishing Tournaments and yes lets not forget the fourth coming “The Reluctant Hero Part V we decided to take last weekend and not do much of anything.

Central Patti and I have been talking about creating our own picture book of all the fountains in Kansas City. In case you did not know it Kansas City is know as the City of Fountains and ranks second to only Rome for number of fountains.

We started the day by stopping at O’Dowd’s Little Dublin on the Plaza to enjoy the 85+ temps on the great roof top patio with a couple of drinks.

We then stopped to take several pictures along the way to our next stop at Figilos for a few more drinks and a couple of appetizers. We were fortunate to hit there right at happy hour; and their happy hour menu is great. All well drinks are 3$$ and all happy hour menu items are only 5$$. We had an order of Calamari and an order of Italian Meatballs. Both wer…

The K.C. Cigar Fest

A few weeks back we attended the First Annual Kansas City Cigar Festival. This was the first time we had attended a Cigar Festival and we had a great time.

The event was sponsored by Fidel’s Cigar Shop in Westport and took place in the “Back Yard” at the Beaumount Club in Westport. Tickets were 45.00 dollars in advanced and while this sounded like a lot of money it turned out to not only a great way to spend an afternoon, but a great value as well.

Included in with you ticket you gained entry to the festival, two drink tickets for a beverage of your choice, a package of premium cigars valued at around 30.00 dollars (maybe more) and a raffle ticket. They held many, may raffles and the prizes ranged from ashtrays to a CAO electric guitar valued at 600.00 dollars.

Contest were held for the fastest smoke, best smoke rings and longest ash. The fastest smoke was hilarious to watch as the contestants all had to use the official cigar which was a Oliva Gigante(8 X 52). The winner smoked this gia…

Hermann, Missouri’s Wine Country

It was the best of times, it was the worst of time! Yes I am talking about the wonderful old German Community of Hermann Missouri. So let’s start with the best of times shall we?

The day started by boarding the Amtrak in K.C. and as usual Amtrak delivered. The cost, $20.00 to get to Hermann and $20.00 to get home! Yes that is right, for the small price it was $40.00 round trip from K.C. to Hermann Missouri and I am not sure I could have driven the 3 hours for that price. Also as usual Amtrak was a great ride with comfortable, spacious seating and you can even carry your own cooler on the train! (Thank you again S. and C. O.) That means and I am sure you guessed it, MySideOfTheBar was once again riding the rails! We sat back and had a few drinks and in a few short hours we were in the wonderful community of Hermann, MO.

You may ask, why in September as the October fest is only a few short weeks away? Well we have been there in October at least four times and all I can compare it to Ne…

The Reluctant Hero Part IV

In Case you missed Parts, I, II or III
The Reluctant Hero Part I
The Reluctant Hero Part II
The Reluctant Hero Part III

The Reluctant Hero Part IV

As Terrell was climbing back into the boat he said,

“How about taking lunch to the girls?”

“Sounds like a good plan to me,” I replied.

We went into the boats galley and Terrell produced two soft-side coolers and said,

“Grab a couple of bottles of White Bordeaux from the wind fridge,” as he loaded the coolers with cheese, olives, pate`, fruit and a loaf of French bread. We loaded the lunch and ourselves onto the remaining Sea-Doo and to shore we went. As we coasted to the beach we noticed the girls were sitting in the shade, still topless drinking Heinekens, both with the beginnings of a great tan.

“We brought lunch,” I said, “anyone hungry?”

“Wonderful,” replied Patti, “we were just beginning to wonder about eating.”

Terrell laid out a blanket and took out a cutting board with a couple of knives and began to prepare lunch.

“Would you pop the cork on o…

Happy Anniversary JJ’s

25 years is a long, long time for any anniversary, however for a Restaurant it would be an eternity.

In a day and age where restaurants seem to be opening and closing weekly it is nice to see one of our favorites celebrating their Silver Anniversary this past Sunday.

This establishment has been locally owned and operated by restaurateur Jimmy Frantzè and we have been fortunate to visit JJ’s many, many times as it is the closest bar to our home.

The bar here is absolutely quaint and the bartenders make an excellent Dirty Martini. The appetizer menu is very diverse and the dinner menu is something to enjoy.

I would not rank JJ’s in what I term the Plaza’s Big Four, which includes

Ruth’s Chris, The Plaza III, Starkers, and The Capital Grill.

However JJ’s food quality is comparable and he prices are much, much less and the staff is always very efficient and friendly

We were fortunate to attend the 25th Anniversary Party and enjoyed some good food, good drinks and some great music by The Allied …

Infused Vodka Part II

As promised in Infused Vodka Part I here is how to make a very easy infused Vodka and several flavors of it, cheap, quick and easy.

This time we choose Wild Cherry and a new infusion of Werthers Carmel.

The process of infusing candy is so easy I am almost embarrassed to share it. I first stumbled across this idea in Fort Lauderdale about a decade ago at Dan Mariano’s Steak House and Lounge.

To infuse Vodka with a candy of your choice simple add about 18-20 pieces of Jolly Ranchers or as we did this time Life Savers Wild Cheery. You will need to have a jar with an opening large enough to fit the candy through, thus the Jolly Rancher works great as it will fit through the opening of a Vodka bottle. You can simply pour off the amount of Vodka that the candy will displace and let stand for about 8 hours.

As I stated we choose Life Savers Wild Cherry and used one of our many decanters letting stand overnight. After the candy dissolves fully you can use this to make a variety of Martini’s and…

College Reunion

It is always good to get together with your old college buddies and last week here at MySideOfTheBar that is exactly what I did. I spent part of the week with two of my fellow college graduates J. and L. S. and Family and J. and H. E. and family, at the Tan Tara Resort on the Lake of the Ozarks.

We have been doing this for about 5 years, however none of us can remember for sure and as C.O. will tell you I am never wrong so I am going with 5 years. We get together and tell stories, have some drinks and lots and lots of laughs. It is always funny to see how we have aged, well all except me as everyone knows I have not changed in years.

We all graduated from College in 1998-1999 and without these two I may never have graduated. I was the elder of the group that also included a couple of genius twins brothers, J. and D. H., as well as L. P., E.O. and E.M. I was 35 as a freshman in college and my two buddies at the reunion were around your typical college age. We had some great times and we …

The Rib Cook-Off

Eating and Drinking just seem to go together at MySideOfTheBar and I consider us to be fairly good chefs.

Recently I had the opportunity to participant in the First Annual Baypoint Rib Cook-Off at the condo where Central Patti and I spend a lot of time in the spring, summer and fall months. You will remember Baypoint as it was the site of some of the most famous (or should I say infamous) events such as the Condo Crawl, the Baypoint Derby and Lake Week.

Now I had never cooked ribs before, however I received some valuable pointers from S.O. (Yes the same S.O. who captains the Happy Ours) on cooking ribs.

1. Looking is not cooking
2. Use Apple Chips for smoking and get the ones you do not have to soak
3. Cook on very low heat for a long time (about 225)
4. Use a good quality rub
5. Only put sauce on the last 15 minutes or so and let it caramelize before letting the ribs rest.

So with this in mind and the loan of some wood chips I entered the Cook-Off.

I received assistance with the preparation, …