Velvet Tango Room on Urbanspoon
Located just outside the hustle and bustle of the West Side Market and bar scene near Ohio City is the Velvet Tango Room. It's not new and it's not a secret...it just does it own thing. And what a great thing they do. Hand crafted cocktails that are 100% speakeasy. People often complain that they are expensive ($16 each), they have to wait for drinks (individually hand crafted), there's a dress code (god forbid you have to care about your appearance!) and rules (they'll politely tell you to shut up if you get too rowdy). But in the age of People of WalMart and Applebee's 2 dinners for $10 crap-tactulars, I think we need a place that actually has some rules and regulations.

That said, they make a mean drink. Old favorites like the Moscow mule, the dark and stormy, the old-fashioned and negroni's all make an appearance. There's a food menu there too, but I've never tried anything off of it. If you are in the area, I suggest trying it...it'll definitely surprise you.
 
 
Maui Brewing Co.
(808) 669-3474
Lahaina
4405 Honoapiilani Hwy
Lahaina, HI 96761
mauibrewingco.com

Maui Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon
First stop after a flight and checking into the hotel...Amy and I looked for a place to grab a cold one. At the pool bar, we tried a great beer and asked where it came from. The bartender educated us about the Maui Brewing Company. We vowed to check it out...both due to it's proximity to the hotel and the quality of beer.
We seated ourselves, as indicated on the signage. Then were promptly ignored by the 2 bar backs and 2 waitresses for a good 10 minutes. I was annoyed by this, but Amy did point out the coolness of the interior (very industrial/brewery vibe). After our initial wait, the server came over and took our order. She did apologize, so I let it go. I ordered a Macadamia Nut Porter that was good. Amy had a Pineapple Wheat Lager that she liked. We also got a salad and some wings.
Amy's salad was okay. My wings were bland. The wing sauce was made with the blonde beer on tap...good concept, but the sauce was really lacking.

I agree with the posts I see on Urbanspoon...go check out the beers and skip the food.



Hali'imaile General Store
(808) 572-2666
Paia/Upcountry
900 Haliimaile Rd
Makawao, HI 96768
Hali'imaile General Store on Urbanspoon
Amy and I were very excited to check this place out. We had heard nothing but good things about this shop and Bev Gannon is kind of a big deal. We drove about an hour to get to Upcountry and were shocked at how nice/polished this restaurant looks. Inside and out...it definitely looked the part of a James Beard nominated chef's restaurant. The inside even had merchandise for sale like a general store. It was cute.
They even had a vegetarian menu...which normally means that Amy and I are in for a gorge-fest. And after the Hawaiian meals of meat with a side of meat and gravy, we had our hopes waaaaay up there. Amy ordered the Vegetable Slaw Tostadas and the Grape/Brie Quesadilla. I ordered a Sashimi Pizza for starters.
The vegetable slaw tostadas were inedible. It was simply sliced cabbage and carrots on STALE chips with a drizzle of hoisin sauce for decoration. Very dated Asian fusion vibe and it definitely wasn't good.
The grape/brie quesadilla was probably the best item we had. The brie and the grape worked well together and Amy and I both enjoyed it. The amount of cheese was overpowering creating a drastic strength in brie flavor that towered over the grape. In the end, it was a bit one-note with brie flavor.
The sashimi pizza was a hot mess...well, not hot, so more of a cold mess. The thin crust pizza was topped with fresh tuna and dressed with fried onions, a pink mayo sauce, fresh sprouts and masago caviar. For some reason, when combined, the flavored tasted like Chinese "thousand year egg"...otherwise known as Pi Dan. It was just weird. I tried all the pieces individually and it was okay. But when eaten as a pizza...BAM! Pi Dan flavor. I like Pi Dan, but the whole sensation and expectation threw me for such a loop that I could not eat it. (Also, I cannot eat an entire pizzas worth of Thousand Year Egg.)

In the end, Amy and I decided to skip entrees and left. We were disappointed at the meal. But to be fair, the service was great and the restaurant itself was very clean and neat.
 
 
__Even with equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth, the bitterness of a Negroni firmly establishes the drink as a Campari-based cocktail. No one is undecided about a Negroni. This Italian big brother to the Americano and distant cousin to the martini is so bitter that its dissenters swear it should be stored in the medicine chest. Its fanatical adherents bask in its ruddy glow and tongue-tingling taste. Some contend that this classic cocktail dates back to Florence in the 1920s, when the flamboyant count—and noted tippler—Camillo Negroni asked for a splash of gin added to his Americano. Others say that the drink, mixed with vodka or gin, has been around as long as the Americano. The Campari company, itself unsure of the origin, eventually decided that the drink should be called a Negroni to avoid confusion with all the other Campari cocktails.

For a longer drink, serve a Negroni with a splash of soda. The cocktail may also be shaken and poured straight up in a cocktail glass.
_
INGREDIENTS:
1 ounce gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce Campari
Slice of orange

INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. In a mixing glass, pour the gin, Campari and vermouth.
  2. Add ice. Stir along the outter edge 7 times, then strain into a cocktail glass.
  3. Express the orange peel over the glass and drop it in.
 
 
Bar Thrall - Hong Kong
Congress Bar - Austin, Texas
Le Salon Bar by Joel Robuchon - London, England
Popeye Bar - Tokyo, Japan
Lost Society, Clapham, England
Spitzer's Corner - NYC, New York
Edi & The Wolf - NYC, New York
The Lucky Pig - London, England
The Backyard - Hong Kong
Your bar at home.