< PreviousDown the HatchStory by Mark G. Hanna Photo by Jennifer ReynoldsMardi Gras is not for tea sippers. Does any sane person ﬁght, claw and crawl to claim posses-sion of a cheap plastic necklace in a state of sobriety?One of Houston’s more colorful social ﬁgures, whose Nassau Bay yacht was once well known for the carnival parties she hosted there, quietly shared her perfect Mardi Gras cocktail recipe a few years before she died. “It’s alcohol and whatever else needs pouring out.” And you read it ﬁrst here.Truth be told, the days leading up to Fat Tuesday, the last night to indulge in whatever passion, habit, food or beverage one has chosen to give up for Lent, always seem to involve a lot of imbibing of alcohol. One might surmise many, many, many have chosen this to be the object of their sacriﬁce for the 40-plus days until Easter — unless one notes that many, many, many of those rowdy partyers don’t even observe Lent.So, if one must drink on Fat Tues-day, just what is the perfect Mardi Gras drink? Yes, the happy socialite did have the basics.“Punch and Mardi Gras just natu-rally go together,” said Kyle Taylor, a bar manager at Olympia The Grill at Pier 21 in Galveston. Party PleaserOn the Texas Coast, Mardi Gras always packs the perfect punchThe Rum Punch at Yaga’s Café in down-town Galveston features two types of rum.40 COastMONtHly.COM / FEBRUARY 2015 COASTMONTHLY.COM / FEBRUARY 2015 41GALVESTON OFFICE5934 Broadway, Galveston, Tx. 77551(409) 740-7744CONROE OFFICE606 Everett Rd.Conroe, Tx. 77301(936) 760-3050RICHMOND OFFICE1500 Jackson St.Richmond, Tx. 77469(281) 238-4454HOMESTEAD OFFICE9324 HomesteadHouston, Tx. 77016(281) 501-1196Take years off your smilewith dental implants.Dental implants are great at replacingmissing teeth necessary for proper functionand digestion. Treatment can be done in onevisit for most patients. And nowAffordable Dental can place implant bodyonly for $995. This offer is available for alimited time so call the Affordable Dentallocation closest to you for a no chargeconsultation usually worth $399.Down the HatchTaylor creates a punch for the party every year. “The parades and crowds are all right here, and punch is something you can put in a big cup and walk around,” Taylor said. “It’s not too strong, so you drink it all afternoon. It’s refreshing. Not ﬁlling.”Taylor’s punch ingredients usually include fresh fruit like kiwi, straw-berries or pineapple, along with a couple of kinds of rum. “Our secret ingredient that’s not really so secret is Champagne,” Taylor said. “It goes really nice and complements the rum.” Taylor likes to have his punch cre-ations reﬂect the Mardi Gras colors.Of course, punch makes sense for the occasion. Mardi Gras is less about three ﬁngers of Scotch than it is two ﬁsts of booze. One large bowl takes care of a lot of people who aren’t there to sip and discuss the delicate hint of spices on the palate.Best of all, punch is a wild child in the cocktail world, which makes it even more suitable for Mardi Gras. There are few limits on ingredients, ﬂavor or color.It’s that kind of creativity that shines at many a bar, and there’s probably no ﬁner example than Yaga’s Café, 2314 Strand in Galves-ton’s downtown. Each year, around Mardi Gras time, the popular dining and drinking spot joins up with a liquor sponsor and creates a punch for the party.“It depends on who we’re partner-ing up with, but we usually come up with something to tailor up our hur-ricanes and feature new rums,” said Homer Garcia, general manager at Yaga’s.Last year, the featured punch included different rums, juice, grenadine and bitters — fulﬁlling the punch ﬁve-point requirement of balancing strong, weak, bitter, sweet and sour. No one was probably counting.Five is a key component for a punch. The word “punch” was bor-rowed from the Sanskrit spoken in India by English sailors with the British East India Company in the early 1600s. It literally means “ﬁve,” which was the number of ingredients in the original drink sailors con-cocted. As it spread through Europe, wine or brandy replaced the original spirits, but as trade with the Caribbe-an increased, punch more and more included rum, still the most popular additive along the Gulf Coast.Elaborate punch bowls became the fashion in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Our own founding fathers were said to have emptied four score and more of them after the signing of the Declaration of Indepen-dence. Queen Victoria, unfortunately a party pooper of great inﬂuence, had a dim view of drinking alcohol, and, wouldn’t you know it, her reign went on forever. Punch remained popular, but, well, lost its punch.And then, as mixologists grew in number during the last decade, the old art of punch-making got a new look. Punch drinks found new popu-larity, especially in New York and California. Just last year, The Punch House opened in Chicago. One misconception about punch is that it must be served in a bowl. In truth, a punch is really a drink which can be ﬁxed for one serving. Here on the Gulf, for example, the most fa-mous punch is the hurricane, created at Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans in an attempt to get rid of an overstock of cheap rum. The rest is history.What makes a punch is the ﬁve ingredients that bring in the sweet-ener, the strong spirit, the weaker or taming spirit, a seasoning element and the required citrus, be it juice or actual chopped fruit. “I’d say it has to have a minimum of ﬁve ingredients to be called a punch,” said Mike Hernandez, bever-age manager at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center. Hernandez works with his liquor suppliers to come up with a punch for guests. “The punch really goes over well, and people do expect there to be a punch during Mardi Gras,” Hernan-dez said. “We feature it in our lobby bar every year.”Unlike the other bars, which all serve their punch drinks in modiﬁed hurricane glasses, Moody Gardens Hotel on occasion recruits the famil-iar bowl. “It depends on how busy we are, but when we know we are really full and there are going to be a lot of people, we make it up in 5-gallon batches,” Hernandez said.By the bowl or by the glass, punch is as much a part of Mardi Gras as plastic beads, parades and bizarre costumes. Maybe even more so. Without the punch the rest wouldn’t seem perfectly logical. CRum PunchInGREDIEnTS1½ ounces Cruzan Gold Rum1½ ounces of Caliche White Rum2 ounces of orange juice4 ounces of pineapple juice½ ounce grenadineSprinkle of nutmegSprinkle of bittersDIREcTIOnSPour all the ingredients over ice and shake well. Garnish with fresh fruit.– Recipe courtesy of Yaga’s Café, 2314 Strand in Galveston’s downtown42 cOASTmOnThLY.cOm / FEBRUARY 2015 COASTMONTHLY.COM / FEBRUARY 2015 43Karen Flowers (409) 789-7377Susan Falgout (409) 502-0187Joe Tramonte Realty409-765-9837#9 Quintana PlaceLeisurely lakeside living!Brand-new TOTAL remodel in quiet Campeche Cove!!$339,500WATERFRONT72 Island PassageGolf Course Views - Absolutely BEAUTIFUL townhouse in very desirable planned community, EVIA. 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2baths, stunning kitchen with open ﬂ ow onto Dining and Living Rooms$364,00020 Campeche Estates4/2.5/3, 2,988 sf, This lovely American classic has formal living & dining with 1/2 bath downstairs & all bedrooms upstairs.$379,900 NEW LISTING17 Mariner Pass4 beds 6 baths 5,022 sqfGREAT NEW PRICE on this custom home in prestigious Evia! Professional landscaping, outdoor lighting with salt water pool. 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League City PkwyIn front of Education Village• Senior Citizens Discount• New Patients Welcome• Most Insurance Accepted• Financing Available• Snore Guards • Cosmetic Dentistry • Porcelain Laminates • Ceramic Crowns • Emergency Care • Tooth Colored Fillings • Gum Treatment • Extractions • Root Canals • Digital X-Rays • Nitrous Oxide • Intra-Oral CamerasCutting Edge Technology Family FriendlyBrent Patterson DDSTexas A&M - B.S.UTHSC at SA - DDSMark Martinsen DDSTexas A&M - B.S.Texas A&M BaylorCollege of Dentistry - DDSTexasCityFamilyDentistryLeagueCityFamilyDentistryTasting RoomToday, we’re going to delve into the world of brandy and distillation. You say, “Why brandy? I thought this was a column about wine.” Well, what most people don’t know is that brandies are mostly derived from wine. Brandy is from brandywine, derived from Dutch brandewijn, meaning “burnt wine.” The spirit is produced by distilling wine, the wine having ﬁrst been produced by fermenting grapes. Brandy gener-ally contains 36 percent to 60 percent alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink. While some brandies are aged in wooden casks, most are tinted with caramel coloring to imitate the effect of such aging.As most brandies are distilled from grapes, the regions of the world producing excellent brandies have roughly paral-leled those areas producing grapes for viniculture. At the end of the 19th century, the western European market — and by extension their overseas empires — was dominated by French and Spanish brandies, and Eastern Europe was dominated by brandies from the Black Sea region, including Bulgaria, the Crimea and Georgia. In 1880, David Saradjishvili founded his cognac Factory in Tbilisi, Georgia, which was then part of the Russian Empire and a crossroads for Turkish, Central Asian and Persian trade routes. Armenian and Georgian brandies, which were always called cognacs in the era, were considered some of the best in the world, often beating their French competitors at the International Expositions in Paris and Brussels in the early 1900s. The storehouses of the Romanov Court in St. Peters-burg were regarded as the largest collections of cognacs and wines in the world — much of it from the Transcaucasia re-gion of Georgia. During the October Revolution of 1917, upon the storming of the Winter Palace, the Bolshevik Revolution actually paused for a week or so as the rioters engorged on the substantial stores of cognac and wines. The Russian market was always a huge brandy-consuming region, and while much of it was homegrown, much was imported. The patterns of bottles follow that of western European norm. Throughout the Soviet era, the production of brandy re-mained a source of pride for the communist regime, and it continued to produce some excellent varieties, most famously the Jubilee Brandies of 1967, 1977 and 1987. Remaining bottles of these productions are highly sought after, not sim-ply for their quality, but for their historical signiﬁcance.BASICS OF BRANDYA guide to the popular after-dinner drinkILLUSTRATION BY CHRISTINA MATTISON, WWW.CMATTISONILLUSTRATION.COMTYPES OF BRANDIESThere are three main types of brandy. The term “brandy” denotes grape brandy if the type is not otherwise speciﬁed. The other two are derived from fruit and spirits. For our discussion today, we’ll concentrate on grape brandy. Grape brandy is produced by the distillation of fermented grapes and is best consumed from a tulip-shaped glass or a snifter at a cool room temperature. Often, it is slightly warmed by holding the glass cupped in the palm or gently heating it with a candle. Such heating, however, may cause 44 COASTMONTHLY.COM / FEBRUARY 2015The Cork Guy is a local connoisseur of all things wine whose taste buds are especially adept at unraveling the mysteries of the vino world. We hope you will enjoy his visits to Coast Monthly. You can reach the Cork Guy at email@example.com alcohol vapor to become pungent so that the aromas are overpowered. Brandy, like whiskey and red wine, exhibits more pleasant aromas and ﬂavors at a lower temperature, such as 61 F. In most homes, this would mean that brandy should be cooled rather than heated for maximum enjoyment. Fur-thermore, alcohol, which makes up 40 percent of a typical brandy, becomes thin as it’s heated and more viscous when cooled. Thus, cool brandy produces a fuller and smoother mouth feel and less of a “burning” sensation. DistillationA batch distillation typically works as follows: Wine with an alcohol concentration of 8 percent to 12 percent and high acidity is boiled in a pot still. Vapors of ethanol, water and the numerous aroma components rise upward and are col-lected in a condenser coil where it becomes a liquid again. Because ethanol and various aroma components vaporize at a lower temperature than does water, the concentration of alcohol in the condensed product — the distillate — is higher than in the original wine.After one distillation, the distillate, called “low wine,” will contain roughly 30 percent alcohol (ethanol) by volume. The low wine is then distilled a second time. The ﬁrst 1 percent or so of distillate that’s produced, called the “head,” has an alcohol concentration of about 83 percent and an unpleas-ant odor, so it’s discarded. The distillation process continues, yielding a distillate of about 70 percent alcohol, called the “heart” and is what will be consumed as brandy. The portion of low wine that remains after distillation, called the “tail,” will be mixed into another batch of low wine for future use.Distillation does not simply enhance the alcohol content of wine. The heat under which the product is distilled and the material of the still (usually copper) cause chemical reactions to take place during distillation. This leads to the formation of numerous, new volatile aroma components, changes in relative amounts of aroma components in the wine, and the hydrolysis of components such as esters.Salud!The Cork Guy CoastMontHlY.CoM / FEBRUARY 2015 45For a reservation, visit our website porchcafe.comThe GalleyStory, photos and recipes by Alicia CahillHeart-shaped boxes wrapped in cello-phane. Sigh. Nothing says “I can’t be bothered” like cheap candy. Is this really the message you’d like to send your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day? No, I didn’t think so. Allow me to make two suggestions: oysters and chocolate. This season, thousands upon thousands of Galveston Bay oysters will make their way to area restaurants and across the country and onto the plates of couples hoping to get all hot and bothered. Thought by many to stoke the ﬁre, these amorous bivalves have been known as aphrodisiacs for cen-turies. Their alleged impact on a man’s virility has caused scores of optimistic suitors to eagerly slurp them down.But what about the female libido? Long consid-ered a feel-good food by Americans, chocolate was regarded as a powerful aphrodisiac by ancient Aztecs. Today, scientists have basically dismissed its power to stimulate desire. So, it seems the most alluring thing about chocolate is its delicious taste and sensuous melt-in-your-mouth texture. I say, if it ain’t broke ... .Paired with a nice wine and a salad, these two simple recipes come together for a quick, romantic meal. So you’ll be left with plenty of time for, you know, other things. CFoodie ForeplayA meal to set the mood on Valentine’s Dayroasted oysters with Compound ButterinGredients2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter, softened3 tablespoons chopped tarragon or your favorite herb2 tablespoons hot sauce½ teaspoon kosher salt¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper3 dozen medium to large oysters, shucked1 32-ounce box rock saltdireCtionsPreheat oven to 425 F. In a food proces-sor, pulse the butter with the tarragon, hot sauce, salt and pepper until thor-oughly blended. Transfer the butter mix-ture to a large sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a narrow log. Refrigerate the butter until ﬁrm, about 25 minutes.Place the rock salt on a sheet pan with sides and spread evenly. Set oysters on top of the salt and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top oysters with a pat of butter. Serve immediately.46 Coastmonthly.Com / FEBRUARY 2015ChoColate Pots de CrÈmeINGredIeNts9 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped1½ cups whole milk1½ cups heavy cream6 large egg yolks5 tablespoons granulated sugar ¼ teaspoon salt1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugardIreCtIoNsPlace the chocolate in a blender. Whisk the milk, 1 cup cream, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over me-dium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the whisk and almost boiling.Immediately pour the milk mixture over the chocolate in the blender. Blend until combined and smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins or small cups and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.Whip the remaining ½ cup cream and the confectioners’ sugar with a mixer until soft peaks form. Top the chilled pots de crème with whipped cream. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. CoastmoNthlY.Com / FEBRUARY 2015 47Is Your House WORTH MORE Than You Think ? Call one of our experienced REALTORS® for the answer !
www.NeptunePropertiesTx.comTable SurﬁngStory by Alicia Cahill Photos by Stuart VillanuevaRiondo’s Ristorante, occupying a busy corner of Galveston’s His-toric Strand District, is housed behind the thick, stone arches of the 1895 Hutchings-Sealy Building. Crossing the threshold into the restaurant, the door seals behind you, locking out the noise, hustle and bustle of the street. The departure is utterly complete; if not for the front windows, you might forget where you escaped from entirely.The long dining room glows from a constellation of Edison bulbs hung from above and quivering candlelight from atop the rows of tables below. Seating extends into the wine cellar, a former bank vault, which offers a more intimate dining experience. These are easily the best seats in the house. Calling ahead to secure a reservation in this coveted nook Riondo’sDowntown restaurant is an inviting escape from daily hustle and bustle(Above) Secluded tables are tucked away in the “vault” area at Riondo’s Ristorante. (Right) Don McClaugherty and Chef Rico Caminos are the principal proprietors of Riondo’s Ristorante.48 CoAsTMonTHLY.CoM / FEBRUARY 2015Tasting RoomBartender Trevor Bauer pours a glass of the eatery’s signature wine, Riondo Rosso.is highly advised.The antipasti menu offers several classic Italian selections, includ-ing pairs of tender, hand-formed meatballs smothered in the house rosso sauce. The tray of crab-stuffed baby bella mushrooms are substan-tial and meaty, the spinach stuff-ing surprisingly light, the drizzled cream sauce exceptionally delicate. Assorted fresh baked breads accom-panied by carafes of olive oil, bottles of aged balsamic vinegar and plates of Italian seasonings are presented tableside for an early snack. In addition to the regular menu, the evening specials include a sumptuous osso buco plated along-side saffron-infused risotto and sauteed mushrooms. Leftover bread from the antipasti course should be reserved for the Italian tradition of fare la scarpetta, (do the little shoe), and used to mop up any remaining delicious bits from the plate. While the scarpetta is always welcome at home, it’s a somewhat questionable practice when dining in restaurants or in front of company you care to impress. Thanks to Riondo’s relaxed atmosphere, feel free to indulge in this habit without raising eyebrows. Main course offerings are a kalei-doscope of fresh house-made pastas, ﬂuffy potato gnocchi, poultry, beef and seafood dishes served with herb, cream and red sauces. Generous hand-tossed thin crust pizzas are gourmet canvasses exploring clas-sic Italian ﬂavor combinations. Both pizzas and pasta can be prepared gluten-free upon request.Riondo’s warm atmosphere, atten-tive service and authentic Italian cuisine make it a destination worthy of a special occasion or a casual week-day lunch. Or simply slip in for happy hour and enjoy a cocktail or glass of vino from the full bar and wine list. Stepping into the restaurant is a re-treat from the commotion of everyday life; a delicious means of escape. CRiondo’s RistoRante BaR & GRille2328 Strand, GalvestonPhone: 409-621-9595www.riondos.com(From top) Riondo’s Italian Country Table features an assortment of prosciutto, so-pressata, parmigiano reggiano, pecorino pepato, olives, roasted red bell pepper and extra virgin olive oil. “The Strand” Caprese salad features vine-ripened to-matoes, “riondo mozz,” grilled eggplant, fresh basil with evoo and aged balsamic reduction. Riondo’s Tiramisu. CoastMontHlY.CoM / FEBRUARY 2015 49Next >