Once a year our department head at The Day Job takes us all out for a nice, long, leisurely lunch at the company's expense, and as of this writing that day was yesterday. Typhoon was new to me, although I'd heard of it; it's a pan-Asian restaurant located in the second floor of the General Aviation Building at Santa Monica Airport. Large windows around the circumference of the restaurant offer a nice view of planes taking off and landing.
I was a bit skeptical, with the menu offering a mishmash of Chinese, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, Indonesian and even a few Indian dishes, but everything I tried was very tasty. The goi cuon (cold Vietnamese spring rolls) were quite good, although the peanut dipping sauce was too sweet and could have used more chile; grilled Chinese sausages with sliced raw garlic was delightful (and smelly!); sesame crab cakes were a tasty and interesting variation; even the samosas were up to snuff. My main course was very, very good -- a fiery Korean beef soup called yukkaejang (although I think my version was minus the tripe) that I enjoyed very much, although it's still not as hot as the Hot and Peppery Soupy Beef at the fabulous Fu Shing in Pasadena.
I was more enamored with the hunky Hawaiian bartender, though, who unlike many of his peers is very good at his job. (For one thing, he shakes his drinks for at least ten seconds, for the proper amount of chilling and dilution, unlike what seems like 80% of American bartenders who give it one or two shakes to mix the ingredients, then they pour.)
The specialty drink menu was full of the requisite rum-based tropical drinks (some of them blue, natch), but a couple of things caught my eye. One of their house specialty cocktails contained ginger-infused vodka, and in fact they offered several infusions on their menu. This indicates to me that it's a bar that cares about how their drink tastes. I ordered the one that looked the most intriguing, and that's the one we offer you today. Besides this one, I can also recommend his Martinis -- mine was made with Hendrick's Gin, more than just a drop of vermouth, shaken ... and was exquisite.
This drink has an incredibly stupid name, but it's pretty tasty. Feel free to call it whatever you want.
from Typhoon Restaurant in Santa Monica
2-1/2 ounces ginger-infused vodka
Splash of 99 Bananas liqueur
Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with several strips of thinly julienned ginger.
To make the infusion, peel and slice up a good-sized hand of
ginger and steep in the vodka for one week. Strain through
cheesecloth a few times until clear, and allow to rest and
settle for another week. If you can't find 99 Bananas, which
I had never tried before, use Crème de Banane banana liqueur.
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Chuck Taggart email chef (at) gumbopages (dot) com