Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Childhood Classic or A New Classic Cocktail?: The Baldwin Bar's Take on Encyclopedia Brown

Ran and Company have done it again.

After spending the entire day yesterday impatiently waiting for evening to arrive, Chef Reiton and I drove to Woburn and spent the dinner hour with some friends, sampling dishes and creations from Volume 2 of the Trading Company's newest menu.

May I suggest, based on our completely destroying all five dishes brought to our table, the Cucumber with Garlic Sauce as an appetizer? It will leave your mouth singing, but your tongue will get used to it, I promise. We also loved the House Special Eggplant, one of Sichuan Garden's chicken dishes that will not leave your nose running (Ran's father runs the restaurant portion downstairs; it is the best Sichuan food you will ever eat. For real.). When it comes to the beverages, I also highly recommend that you just let the staff pick what you drink. Trust me.

We had the great pleasure to be served by Luteh, who can not only read minds but also has the uncanny ability to see into your past. How do I know? Because at the end of our meal, at my request to "just have one more," I was delivered this:

The Encyclopedia Brown cocktail at The Baldwin Bar, Woburn, Massachusetts, my first cocktail-in-a-flask ever!

What you see is a little box disguised as a book. Tucked inside are a frosty flask full of the dreamiest (yes, dreamiest) bourbon cocktail I've had in a long time—if ever; a frosty glass with a wedge of lemon peel clothespinned to the rim; and a "library" card printed with the recipe for the cocktail: The Encyclopedia Brown.

(Pardon the imperfect picture, but it's romantically dark in the bar, and I was using my phone. One of these days I will take an Uber and my good camera and go crazy.)

I'm tempted to provide the recipe here, but—I'm a librarian and a violent opponent of copyright infringement, so.... I think you will have to go yourself. If you read the Encyclopedia Brown books as a kid, you'll remember that Encyclopedia Brown would never have stood for such injustice, either.

So. Instead of going to that truly God-awful Chinese restaurant down the street, make a reservation online for the upstairs section of The Baldwin Bar. Savor every bite of your mind- and tongue-numbingly good dinner, every divinely drinkable work of art that are the cocktails, and at the end of dinner, ask to check out "Encyclopedia Brown." It's a "read" you will never forget.

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