The High Life: Would you like some fried pig face nuggets with your scotch?

For those of you new to my blog since joining BoardingArea, “The High Life” is my series on food and spirits, similar to the occasional diversions you’ll read about at the Points, Miles, & Martinis Happy Hour. I try to keep them travel related because cuisine is a big reason I enjoy new destinations, but in truth they’re a break for me after writing the more complicated posts like this week’s series on fares and booking classes.

Lucky was complaining about his meal in Spain yesterday. Apparently he doesn’t like meat that looks like it used to be part of an animal, and in this case he was served the entire animal. Perhaps he can re-enter the ranks of carnivores by following Mark Zuckerberg’s approach and personally killing all the animals he eats.

It’s not really Lucky’s fault. We all have our food preferences, and his seem to have some good justification. I was certainly a picky eater before I started college and later began traveling around the world. Americanized Thai food freaked me out, and I wouldn’t go near an Indian tikka masala of all things. At some point I lost most of my shyness and just started eating whatever was put in front of me. I also started talking to whoever would listen. (Heck, I couldn’t even give a five-minute speech without shaking when I was 17, and now I chair a university lecture series at 27.)

picture of a Missed Opportunity cocktail

But Lucky’s story reminded me of a particularly delicious meal I had with some of Megan’s friends a few weeks ago in Seattle. I know, not really a travel story, but we did trek all the way out to Capitol Hill, just about the complete opposite of where I live in quiet Maple Leaf and a place I generally avoid due to parking hell. That’s too bad because some of the best restaurants and bars are there, including Quinn’s Pub.

As we waited for her friends to arrive, I indulged at the bar with a “Missed Opportunity.” With a name like that, I obviously had to try one, and besides, it has gin. I love gin. It was delicious and refreshing, just as you’d expect. Sort of like a grownup’s sage lemonade.

I’m not exactly sure of the proportions because I didn’t see him make it. I also am embarrassed to admit I have no St. Germain in my extensive liquor collection, but it’s simple enough that I’m willing to completely guess on the recipe. One of you will have to let me know if it works or not.

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. St. Germain
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
  • Shake well and serve in a cocktail glass

Once we sat down to eat, the real treat awaited. Quinn’s is known not just for its great cocktails but also its novel food. At one time they served a foie gras corn dog and was boycotted for it by the PETA folks. It was good, but the flavor of the foie gras was pretty heavily obscured. Maybe not the best combination.

This night I saw an item on the menu I just had to have. Fried pig face nuggets. Oh yeah, baby! I love trying new foods. Although this wasn’t a new animal, it was at least a new part of an old favorite. And you can’t go wrong with a name like that. They were pretty good, but not all that different from a crab cake. A pig cake. ;) I can live with that.

picture of fried pigs face nuggets

Since I’d finished my cocktail, I also needed another drink. Quinn’s has an extensive collection of whiskeys, and one feature I like is that they offer a flight of scotches for only $22. More than gin, I love scotch. Rather than springing for an entire bottle of something you’ve never heard of let alone tried, you can have a few tastes for not much more than a single glass.

picture of Quinn's whiskey list

I chose the Auchentoshan, Glenfiddich, and Highland Park. The first, again, because of the bizarre name (AW-shun-TAW-shun). The other two I’d just never had before and I was feeling lazy. I’d already gotten fairly drunk on Lagavulin over Christmas, so I figured I could pass on that for now even though it’s one of my favorites.

I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly…

~Ron Burgundy, in Anchor Man

It turned out my tastes were pretty much in line with what I ordered. The Auchentoshan was by far the best. I didn’t really care for the Highland Park. And the Glenfiddich… well, it wasn’t awful. It also didn’t really taste like anything. So now I’m on the lookout for a bottle of Auchentoshan the next time I visit family in California. :D

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Scott created Travel Codex after learning how to travel better on a budget during grad school. He now flies over 150,000 miles every year.
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  • BwiFlyer

    It appears that you tried Highland park 12. Next time you should try Highland park 18. F.Paul Picault calls it the best spirit in the world. I try to pair cocktails with Indian food. I still have not tried blood and sand that you had mentIoned in one of your posts.

    • Scottrick

      Yeah, 12 years may have been too young. 18 is on the list! And actually, the guy who got me drunk on Lagavulin was Indian, so it appears everyone knows something I don’t.

      An update on the blood and sand. Blood oranges were in stock last week so I was able to try fresh juice. I still have not found Cherry Heering. And when I tried full out cherry brandy it was awful (but I don’t really like cherries). Instead of 3/4 oz, I used a splash of cherry brandy and brought it to volume with Grand Marnier. With the fresh juice, it was much better.

  • Cook

    Ah, yes, OK. I’ll try (almost) anything, once. If it is Pig Face Cakes, it has got to be Porky, so I’m in. I have my doubts about the foie gras corn dog and for exactly the reasons you cite. Unless it is cooked in clean duck fat (in an airport eatery? yea right…) the corn batter and gawd only knows what abused frying fat will probably kill the delicate flavor of the foie gras. WIth your permission, I’ll take a fast PASS on this one. I wonder what they charged for that corn dog. Hmm.

    • Scottrick

      Well, it’s not an airport restaurant. Quinn’s is in the city in Capitol Hill, although it won’t be too difficult to reach during a short layover once the light rail expansion is completed next year. The corn dog was only ~$11, which wasn’t bad for trying something different.

  • Biggles209

    If you ever make it over here to the Eastside, try the Crispy Pig Ear at Trellis Restaurant in the Heathman Hotel, Kirkland. It’s available at the bar during happy hour. I’d be happy to join you!

    • Scottrick

      I’ll have to try that! Hopefully in a week or two I’ll have time to leave work early and make it to the Eastside in time. Stupid 520 toll…

      • Biggles209

        I love the 520 toll! I can be in downtown Seattle from here in West Bellevue faster than the Seattle residents can – any time of the day!