Sunday, June 26, 2011

Talking Tiki: Cocktail Buzz Visits the Oldest Chinese-American Tiki Restaurant in NYC

A little old-school charm lights up a small corner of Queens, N.Y.

Recently we paid a couple visits to King Yum, in Fresh Meadows, Queens, and since 1953, this retro Pan-Asian haunt has been a tiki lover’s paradise. Let’s take a quick peek inside. [click “Talking Tiki” link below to read our “Notible Edible”]

Talking Tiki,” by Steve Schul and Paul Zablocki. in Edible Queens, Summer 2011.

Over a dozen rum-laden tiki drinks await you at King Yum.

There’s the tiki bar, with its thatched and lacquered Pacific island resort look, which beckons you upon arrival. Then, the Polynesian dining room, decked out in bamboo and white-clothed tables piled high with “exotic” delights. Says foodie Julie Stainer, “King Yum is a taste of old-school fun. On top of the tiki bar, the main dining room is straight out of a 60’s movie, with large red panels and fans. You expect a gong to sound every time the next course is served.”

But what about the food and drink? Read on, fellow traveler, and discover the joys of pu-pus and mai tais. And after you’ve finished, gather your friends for the delights of Chinese tiki right here in NYC. At King Yum, you’ll be reminded of the tastes of another time, with a dining experience that’s kitschy, delicious, and bewitchingly retro. Zipcar it. Just make sure to have a designated driver.

Talking Tiki,” by Steve Schul and Paul Zablocki.

photos © Steve Schul, Cocktail Buzz

Saturday, June 18, 2011


A Culinary and Mixological Puzzle for Your Delectation

by Paul Zablocki


Congratulations to Tony Hightower of Astoria, N.Y. for solving the puzzle first. Bonus points for writing his answers out on a napkin [see photo at bottom of post].

And congratulations are in order to two more people who managed to solve the puzzle in spite of my errors in clue-numbering:

Susan Pereira of New York, N.Y., got her puzzle in second and Peggy Laurel of Sante Fe, N.M., third.

If you would like a printable version of the puzzle, click here.

Enjoy, dear reader, our very first BuzzWords, a crossword puzzle peppered with the things you imbibe, the tools you use to get your fix, and the terminology and lore associated with the world of that which we ingest { with an occasional random word thrown in to neatly fill up the squares }.

The first person to successfully solve the puzzle will get a box of booze swag. Just e-mail your results as a list, PDF, JPG, GIFF, whatever to

1. Peculiar, curious
4. Chinese cabbage
8. In style
12. River in North Yorkshire
13. Leave out, as a step in a recipe
14. Billions of lives depend on this food staple
15. Cute actor Efron
16. Derby drink
18. Free-shipping steak company
20. Rare occurrence in a food competition
21. Robert Burns’s “— to a Haggis”
22. Fallen soufflés, for example
24. What onions make us do
26. Zester, e.g.
29. Kimchi country
33. Elated
34. Tamarind container
36. This Greene is “Insatiable”
37. Imbibed
39. Salt vis-à-vis water, perhaps
41. Crank up, as a mixer
43. Energy supplier, for short
44. Romaine
47. Regs defining quality standards for French cheese and wine
49. Possible response to “Who is this?”
52. What Cocktail Buzz loves to pair with a cocktail
55. Sticky product of wood distillation
56. Lambs lamentations
57. Once pooh-poohed fat
58. For someone fragile, this can be bruised easily
59. Units of electrical resistance
60. God of war
61. Opium-smokers’ hangout

1. Greek shot
2. Small portion of a drink
3. Like devil’s food cake à la mode
4. Before agriculture, Homo sapiens were these
5. French friend
6. Pub request
7. Where country hams can be aged
8. Premier — (wine grade)
9. City where one can dine on laulau and poke
10. With 27-Down, a summer cooler
11. Porcino mushroom, to a Parisian chef
17. Caribbean chicken rub
19. Gatherer’s cohort
23. Taste
25. Popular fermented dairy product
26. Application
27. See 10-Down
28. Angeles lead-in
30. Chased bunnies
31. Sargasso Sea spawner
32. Anchor Steam makes a Christmas one
35. “What’s up, —?”
38. Rocks alternative
40. Applejack producer
42. French chef’s interjection after adding the final touch
44. — Wabo tequila
45. Moonfish, to a Mauian
46. Hawaiian’s love this canned treat
48. Martinet in the kitchen, or a Russian ruler
50. Strong stuffing herb
51. Liver is rich in this
53. Scotch begins with one
54. Before, in poesy

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Perfect Gin and Tonic

Gin and Tonic is a summer standard. It’s easy to make a drink when the recipe is its name.

Now that summer is officially here according to our social calendars, gin is in. Every gin drinker has a favorite way to make a gin and tonic. For some, substitutions will not do. We have several ways of making this refreshing cooler, and they all have the same 2:1 ratio of tonic to gin. One of our readers wanted to know about tonics and how they interact with different brands of gin.
“I’ve been trying to perfect gin and tonics for the summer, but always feel that the mainstay tonics — Canada Dry and Schweppes — could stand replacement with a better product. I’ve heard of a few boutique tonics, but haven’t had any luck locating any. Can you identify these products, and possibly even do an evaluation of various tonics?”

— Chris Boerboom, Brooklyn, NY
So to answer Chris’s question, we did a gin-and-tonic tasting using four different readily available gins we had on hand and three different tonics, all in our standard 2:1 ratio, plus lime wedge. Even though taste is very subjective, but we made a few discoveries along the way, namely that a dry gin is preferable, and that tonic with corn syrup is a little too sweet and leaves a bitter and somewhat chemical aftertaste. That said, here were our favorites:

1. Bombay Dry Gin and Fever Tree Tonic: Regarding London dry gins, Fever Tree Tonic is a great foil. This gin and tonic is refreshingly balanced (you can taste all three ingredients), clean and smooth, with a slightly bitter taste (but no change in the finish, it’s a consistent flavor)

2. Tanqueray Dry Gin and Fever Tree Tonic: This gin and tonic is a little sweeter than our first recommendation. The gin is more prominent, and the bitterness is stronger yet pleasant.

3. Tanqueray and Canada Dry Tonic: If you cannot locate Fever Tree Tonic, you can go to your grocery store and pick up this tonic that uses corn syrup. Sweetness and bitterness are balanced when mixing this commercially produced tonic with Tanqueray, but the overall effect is a sweeter start and a bitter finish.

Overall, we prefer London Dry Gins (the drier the better, with mild juniper taste) and Fever Tree Tonic (available at finer grocery stores . . . ask your grocer to stock it).

You may have your own preferred brand of tonic (there are lots more out there). You may want to try Q Tonic and Fentimans with your favorite gin and see if any sparks fly. And by all means, don’t stick to the 2:1 ratio if that doesn’t cut it. After all, it is your drink. Don’t settle for something you don’t like.

Gin and Tonic

1 1/2 (or 2) ounces gin
3 (or 4) ounces tonic water
lime wedge, optional

In a highball glass filled with ice, add the gin, stir a bit, and then top with tonic water. Give it another quick stir. Garnish with a lime wedge for extra flavor.

Serve with potato chips or some other salty snack.

We would love to hear from you. Let us know your favorite duo for making your perfect gin & tonic.

For more cocktail and party food ideas, visit us at

Photo © Steve Schul, Cocktail Buzz