On the way from the Gold Bar to Lolita Cocina, the sign for Oak + Rowan jumped out to Danna and me and we simultaneously thought “Hey, Oak + Rowan is right here?? We should stop for a whiskey! We should also ask if Oak + Rowan = Okran !”

(Note: It’s theoretically possible that Danna didn’t silently ask that third question, but I doubt it).

We were greeted by a bartender who was as cheerful and engaging as could be and Lorri took him up on his cocktail suggestion. To be honest, we can’t remember what it was (Naked and Famous?  Sidecar? A Classic Cocktail, but Mezcal-ified?), but it was one that was normally served up and Lorri’s cocktail was served long with ice. It tasted fine but Lorri’s aversion to unnecessary ice made this a non-winner for her.

Oak + Rowan’s whiskey list was respectable but lacking in rare gems, so Danna and Tom went with Blanton’s and I opted for a surprisingly reasonably priced Macallan (with a surprisingly healthy pour!)

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Lorri’s oocktail, my Macallan 18 and Tom + Danna’s Blanton’s. I’m gonna call myself the winner of this round based solely on sheer whiskey volume!

If you had to pick ONE whiskey to please the widest range of people, Blanton’s would be my pick. It’s not nothing wrong with it, and a helluva lot right with it – loaded with caramel and vanilla and enough oak for structure, decent proof, and a classic bottle & stopper. It’s a single barrel whiskey from Buffalo Trace (so it checks THAT box for the whiskey snobs) but it’s somehow incredibly consistent.

Fun Fact: Each stopper has a horse in a specific part of its stride AND a corresponding letter, so if you drink lots of Blanton’s (as we do), you can collect all 8 AND spell BLANTON’S!

Not So Fun Fact: You can spend way too much time and feel immense satisfaction that you’ve collected all 8, place them in your Blanton’s Barrel Stave … only to get the unsettling feeling that your galloping horse looks like it had a bad muscle spasm at the end of it’s stride. Careful examination reveals that the two “N”‘s in BLANTON’S are different : there’s an N and an N’ apostrophe and you’re still woefully short of your goal.

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Anyone want a non-apostrophe’d “N”? We got an extra. Thanks to my buddy Jeff for finally tracking down the elusive apostrophe.

What was great at Oak + Rowan?  The food!  Great appetizers, including razor clams (which we like so much we’ll go somewhere JUST for those bizarre delicious creatures).

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Tom’s made his decision!

Oak + Rowan also has a tableside cocktail cart service, an idea I really like because it can bring the bar stool experience to the table. But for tonight, we enjoyed their casual foodie vibe and the friendly service –  a nice unplanned detour from our battle plan (see, I can be spontaneous!).

On to another place we’d never been to : Lolita Cocina!

 

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