While in Napa last October, Cathy and I truly had only one great memory. I know that sounds absolutely absurd, but you see, we didn’t plan Napa. We went with zero itinerary and were only there for 36 hours. To be completely honest, we spent a majority of those 36 hours in the hotel room drinking wine. And not even that great of wine. We need a do-over for sure and plan to make a trip back when the trees aren’t bare and it doesn’t rain the entire time.
Back to the one great memory of Napa. Well maybe 2nd, meeting this dog was pretty epic. But the best part of the 36 hours in Napa was the dinner we had at Oentri in downtown. It wasn’t so much about the food being amazing, although it was, but it was all about the experience we had. We pulled our sorry little asses out of our hotel room to at least get one good meal in before we headed home and we walked to a highly recommended restaurant in the heart of downtown. The restaurant was packed, so we knew people were onto something. Instead of waiting for a table, we squeezed, and I mean SQUEEZED, into two bar seats and were rubbing shoulders with our neighbors. To our right was a guy and a girl on a date who ended up inviting us out to the Collective Soul concert down the street (which is funny in and of itself, because the bass player is my neighbor, small world we end up on the same street across the country). We ended up not going because it was sold out and we were again, lazy. To our left was another couple who clearly had been here before. They knew exactly what to order, and seemed to be buddy buddy with the bartender. Everything they ordered we would look at, then look at each other and say “oh my god that looks so good”. He eventually heard us drooling over their food and the guy, without hesitation or saying a word, pushed a small plate of his food over to us to try. We tried it. It was amazing. We became instant best friends. Then they ordered another dish that was equally as delicious looking…..he let me try a bite. And Cathy too. Before we knew it we were all sharing dishes and chatting up a storm. It was by far the most fun I’d ever had at a restaurant.
But here was the kicker. The guy orders this cocktail that looked bizarre. For me, I know my cocktails usually. I worked in the bar industry for years during and after college so I was a bit confused. Egg white, whiskey, what was he making? I of course am leaning over to hear what he’s ordering and start asking, what is that. Again, he hands me his glass and says “give it a try, it’s a whiskey sour”. I taste it, so does Cathy, our minds are blown. A whiskey sour in present day bar times is whiskey mixed with awful sweet and sour. It’s gross and unappealing to me. People order them ALL the time at the bar and I always cringe a bit. But this, this cocktail was mind blowing delicious. It was sweet, but tart, refreshing and decadent all at the same time. So we asked the bartender to show us how he did it. And here’s how it goes.
First you have to take your shaker strainer’s spring out. I apologize for not taking a photo of this, but the strainer comes with a big metal spring around it and it’s very easy to pull out. This is your whisk. You can also use those metal spring balls for shaking up protein shakes too. Take that and place it in a shaker along with your egg white, whiskey, lemon juice and bit of sugar (or simple syrup). Shake the SHIT out of it. You have to get it frothy and delicious. The whole point of the egg white is to create a creamy frothy texture and you won’t get the right consistency if you skip this step or half ass it. And if you’re worried about raw eggs, don’t be. Use pasteurized, or hope for the best. In my 29 years of eating over easy eggs I’ve never been ill. Pour your cocktail into a coupe glass and garnish with a bourbon cherry and enjoy.
Check out my San Francisco and Napa travel diary here.