A Literary Feast

Posts by Henry Visotski

Just Like Mama Used To Make

Posted on May 13th, 2012

Is there a phrase more overused, more cliché, more pre-loaded with meaning, and ultimately more misleading than “just like mama used to make”? (“I need that report by five o’clock” comes close.) The phrase, when uttered, (usually in a booming, “here ya go” manner with an army of fat invisible exclamation marks following) brings to mind red-and-white checkered tablecloths, huge steaming pots of spaghetti, plates of mashed potatoes and creamy sauces and sweet/spicy sausage served by a larger than life individual who is either (your) mama or a generic version of Mario Batali, unto you – a rapt tween who has yet to experience heartbreak, unemployment and endless traffic jams. Mama cooked out of love, not duty (and through exhaustion and sleep deprivation). Chefs…

No Booze For You, or Why Would a Craft Beer Bar Close Early Every Night?

Posted on April 19th, 2012

People who move to New York claim a variety of reasons for relocation; among them are culture, diversity, career opportunities, culinary adventures, the art scene, fashion forwardness and anonymity. All of these are, for the most part, lies to mask the real reason people come to live here: the 4am closing time. In London, you can cultivate a beer gut until only about midnight; in Boston, you can curse the Yankees over a pint until a more reasonable 2am; but for the unadulterated joy of entering any of the one trillion bars, lounges, pubs and dives scattered across the five boroughs and proceeding to pound your mind and body into alcoholic stupor until 4am – perhaps later, if the bar is off the beaten…

Oysters In Your Mustache: The Rise and Inevitable Future Decline of the Cocktail and Oyster Bar

Posted on February 13th, 2012

The year is 1996. The setting – an enormous industrial loft-style lounge with high ceilings, exposed pipes and sleek modern couches and coffee tables. Narcotic beats by Bristol trip hop groups waft over the space from the sound system designed to get the most bass out of every beat. On one of the couches, a man and a woman in clean black turtlenecks and Chelsea boots lounge with martinis. Remember Pearl Jam? Says the man. What happened to them? I haven’t listened to them since their first album – Ten, was it? Is it too early to feel nostalgic for them? Says the woman and giggles self-consciously. Speaking of grunge – wasn’t this place a dingy dive bar just a couple of years ago?…

Don’t Mess with Tradition, or How Not to Make a Manhattan

Posted on December 28th, 2011

Of all the cocktails that the sufficiently mustachioed gentleman with rolled sleeves behind the bar can construct for you, I’ve always considered the Manhattan to be vastly superior to the rest. This has reasons of an aesthetic nature as well as those pertaining purely to sensory pleasures. Beautiful in color, the drink smells sweeter than straight whiskey but still carries enough menace for the novice and the teetotaler to take one whiff and turn away.