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A potpourri of consecutiveness

Taking a sip or three at Restaurant Eugene



Butter bean puree, mango-chardonnay reduction, allspice tincture -- are these ingredients in your libations lexicon? Yes, if you sup and/or sip at Restaurant Eugene's Friday night cocktail flights. Fate provoked me to dip in on what mixologist Greg Best had brewing in the city's most spirited cocktail kitchen. And with the "new" Bond venture, Casino Royale, coming in November, there's no better time to sample Best's revitalizing Vesper -- Bond creator Ian Fleming's (and Bond's) original cocktail of choice. Boodles gin, Ketel One vodka and Lillet Blonde, plus a true citrus oil burst cut all heat and tension ... in both the cocktail and life. Follow this fellow's ventures, as Best is the one to best in culinary cocktails.

Randomly, two nights later I ventured next door to Starfish Sushi. Starfish offers a $10 sake tasting; featured are any four sakes served in what I'll describe as crystalline coquetiers. I recommend the Zen sake, which lends itself well to a serene sipping experience.

All my twilit tippling has resulted in a steely liver and, oddly, acute insomnia. Many nights I experience a woozy parade of shitty movies, pink elephants and sports stackers ads. Speaking of shitty pink movies, Rent has been repeating incessantly. Man, is this movie's core horribly dated. Perhaps in 1996 there were bastions of bohemia, but now "shabby chic" is as close as it gets. "Bisexuals, trisexuals, homo sapiens, carcinogens, hallucinogens, men, Pee Wee Herman ... To sodomy, it's between God and me, to S&M" -- that's an MTV-branded schoolyard rhyme. The only line in the entire movie that truly resonated was, "So let's find a bar/So dark we forget who we are," and only because I started thinking how increasingly rare such places are locally.

Case in point: the soon-to-launch Lotus Lounge, opening Sept. 8 in Lindbergh City Center. This Piedmont Road-side apartment "neighborhood" is described as "uptown," and from a build-out preview I saw, Lotus aims to suit. A fan of private, themed rooms peeks out from two levels over a central bar, the overriding décor to be aqueous and indulgent. These petals draw inspiration from lavish Middle and Far Eastern settings to which the lotus is indigenous. But despite the fantasy fare, Lotus is not a place to forget who you are; with plasma screens, humidors, signature cocktails and liquor lockers, it's definitely to show others what you're about, especially if that is being minted. Those interested in transcending the main level can spend $100 to $2,500 developing privileges and dictating environment. But, hey, not everybody has the worries of, and needs an escape from, the reality of rent.

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