Thursday, March 27, 2008

Personal Beer Taps at Atlanta Sports Bar

With the state of the ABC laws in Virginia don't expect to see this at Mango's anytime soon.

From the AP:

updated 4:51 p.m. ET, Mon., March. 24, 2008

ATLANTA - March Madness was in full swing at the Atlanta sports bar, but fans huddled around the beer tap at their table —yes, at their table — were asking their own maddening question.

How could this be legal?

Georgia —a state that still bans residents from picking up a six-pack on Sundays — is home to a new system that lets diners pull their own beer at the table.

"It turns out the law supports it. It's the same as putting a pitcher of beer at the table, and it actually increases monitoring," says Jeff Libby, the 26-year-old who patented the system.

His concept is simple. Taps boasting two beer spouts are built into tables dotting Atlanta's swanky STATS sports bar. Each is hooked into a cooler of kegs in the bar's basement through a network of tubes and pipes.

To fly with state officials, serve-yourself beer had to include some built-in deterrents.

A waitress must first check IDs before turning on the tap. When the digital ticker counting each ounce hits 180 — or about three pitchers — the taps shut off until a server comes by to check on the table. Bigger parties keep servers running back and forth fairly often, while it's rarer for smaller groups to hit the limit.

Each tap has two spouts offering a selection of the bar's more than a dozen beers, including Miller Lite, Guiness Stout, Newcastle and a house brew called Numbers Ale. Customers can only pick which taps they get by reserving a private party table.

To use the taps, diners simply reach into the middle of the table and pull the lever to get as much — or as little — beer as they'd like. Meters and valves monitor the flow and instantly display how many ounces the table has tapped.

Of course, this unique system demands a new pricing scheme. Charging customers by the ounce instead of by the drink means that if a full pint of brew costs $4, a single ounce would only cost a quarter.

Libby promotes it as a way to cut down on serving time. It also allows restaurants to charge for every drop — even spillage or foam. And it lets some lighter or slower drinkers guzzle at their own pace.

"Sometimes you're with your husband and he drinks twice as fast as you _ and you can only down a quarter beer," complained 31-year-old Jennie Olshaske, nudging in her spouse's direction. Now, she said, she can pour as much — or as little — cold beer as she wants.

Libby came up with the idea for the table tender system while hanging out at a bar in South America that had personal taps.

When he returned to Georgia, the attorneys he hired to research state law found no fatal flaw that would kill the idea. Soon, he was pitching it to the state's Revenue Department as a way for restaurants to better monitor alcohol consumption.

They signed off on the plan, and he sold the first system to STATS —a three-story bar a stone's throw from the Georgia Dome — at a cost of $50,000 for about 30 table taps. He's now looking to expand, and has approval from the states of North Carolina, South Carolina and California.

At a table full of 20-something Michigan fans, there was a mix of fascination and head-shaking regret over the table taps. Why didn't they come up with the idea first?

"We were back home at Ann Arbor, and a friend came up with an idea to have a table taps. We all shot him down," groaned John DeLancey. "It's hard to believe it's legal."

At 25, DeLancey is a few years removed from the college keg parties — and it showed when he tentatively pulled the spout at his table. Golden beer came out in a rush, then fizz, then boos from his friends at the table.

Shaking off the foam, he smiled.

"My technique," he said, "is not what it once was."


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Live "Trop Rock" Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday for over a year now we have been showcasing local beach music from 6-9 Pm at the Island Bar. Today we had a new artist, Michael Armstrong making his Mango Mike's debut.  Mike fit in well at Mango's and he will be back soon.  With this early spring like weather,  the staff and Wednesday regulars are eager to get the live music back on the deck.  I can't wait, it is going to be a blast out there this season.  Look for our deck opening party emails coming soon, the party will be Mid May.  In the meantime Dave Duval (not the golfer) will be back at Mango's Next Wednesday 4-2-08, and Island Gerry Madox on 4-9-08.   


Oscar and I head down to Myrtle Beach to do a little work and decide to try out Jimmy Buffett's new tourist collector - Margaritaville.

I have to tell you Jimmy does it right.

Although, unlike Mango's, the interior palm trees were artificial - that is the only slightly negative thing I can say about the place.

The best visual is the hurricane / blender drink. Every 75 minutes the hurricane starts to spin, spewing smoke and flashing noise. Out of the "eye" drops a huge upside down bottle of Margaritaville Tequila (Jimmy knows how to market his stuff) filling up the equally gigantic blender.

Quite a show.

Oscar was impressed!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Latino Powered Air Pump

Oscar and I installed a custom made air wand/ bubble curtain for the bottom of the new aquarium. The standard size aquarium air pumps were not big enough for our application so we had to special order one.  In the meantime Pedro and Osman decided they could do the job with lung power!! look how red Osman's face is, it was hilarious how hard they worked to get the bubbles to come up.  I am surprised no one passed out.  

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bartending Lesson

Cousin Drew stopped by Virginia on her way back to school from Roatan, Honduras.  While at Mango's she got a free bartending lesson from Bartenders Amy and Brian.  Her creation?  a Havana Banana Split Martini one of our popular original cocktails.  Thanks for stopping by Drew, it was fun.  
And Drew next time you come to D.C. you might want to leave your Cowboys sweatshirt at home. 

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Place to be on Sunday

If you have never been to the Brunch at Mango's you need to check it out.  Every Sunday from 10-2 we transform the restaurant into an all you care to eat paradise.  Omelette Station, Waffle Station, Pasta Station,  all made to order while you watch.  Plus a Fruit Bar, dessert bar and  steady supply of Jambalaya, Eggs Benedict, Jerk Chicken, Island Hash Browns, Scrambled Eggs, Quesadillas, Biscuits, Bagels, Fresh Muffins, Bacon, Breakfast Sausage plus more.
On Easter Sunday, Mother's Day, and Father's Day we are also offering Prime Rib and Easter Ham. 
Michael George From Trinidad ("the Pan Man") with his Steel Drum Tunes, keeps the mood relaxed.  Add a few mimosas and you really feel like your at some all inclusive Island Resort.    

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ocean City Food Show

Every year Lankford Sysco  holds a food show,  restaurants and bars get to check out new and exciting products for the restaurant industry.  This years show was held in Ocean City MD.  After the show, Grant Schulte and Ralph Davis from Lankford Sysco took a large group of restaurant owners out for a nice meal at the Marlin Moon, in Ocean City.  Everyone had an awesome dinner (thanks to Grant and Ralph for picking up the tab).  After dinner, we were off to Ocean City hot spot "Seacrets" where even on a weekday in the offseason things were crazy.  Many shots of Grand Marnier were consumed and, as always, Steve Mann (Shooter Mcgee's) kissed every guy in the Bar. Thanks Steve, you made us all feel loved. 

 Grant, you made the blog, no more crying!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mojito Machine

Making Mojitos Just got easier and less of a mess.
The simple plunger design takes all the work out of mashing your fruit. Just put the Mojito Machine on top of your glass and push a few time, the plunger takes care of the rest.
Although our staff will continue to muddle them with a wooden stick, you can keep your kitchen clean, Buy one Here

Although the The Mojito has made a giant leap in popularity in the past few years , the bar staff at Mango Mike's has been serving them up for over a decade.  The Drink which originated  in Cuba, and first made famous by Ernest Hemingway in the 1930's, is made by combining Fresh Limes, Mint, Light Rum and Soda Water.

Mango Mikes Recipe:

Muddle 5-6 lime wedges, 3 tablespoons of fine sugar, and 4 fresh mint leaves
Add Ice and Bacardi Light Rum, Shake it well in a cocktail shaker, pour into a highball glass and top it with soda water and a mint leave for garnish.

Good luck.

Jonas Brothers

I fired up the camper last night. Loaded a couple of Moms and 6 insane 13 year old girls and headed out to the Patriot center for the Jonas Brothers Concert. Unless your under 16, or have kids in that range, you'll have no idea about this group. Best insight is that the used to open for Hannah Montana's (Miley Cyrus) concerts.

We arrive to find about 45,000 screaming teenage girls - I don't think I saw a single teenage boy. Although this was certainly the right place to meet a girl.

Since we were driving the "camper" the parking control guys moved cones and we were able to pull up right in front the arena and drop off the girls next to one of the bands Prevost busses. This bus was really abused I can guarantee you that the Jonas Brothers were not riding in this one. Pix of the girls signing the bus.

Then the parking guys then found us a nice quiet spot to park while we waited out the mayhem.

So while the girls were losing their voices in the Arena, I fired up the propane coleman and grilled some great fish steaks that I had "borrowed" from Mango's. My apologies to any customers that went without fresh Tuna Friday night.

After the concert we couldn't leave until the girls saw the Jonas boys leave in their tour bus. To their PR credit they stood up in the front windshield of the Prevost and waived to the screaming thong as they pulled out of the Patroit Center.

Well we pack up and head up Braddock road towards the Beltway and I spot their bus, making an unusual turn from the middle lane of Braddock Road into the shopping center and stopping in front of 7-11. Hey girls, check this out. They all went NUTS. Of course we had to pull the camper into the same lot, as they were sure the BOYS we're picking up a few slurpies from 7-11. I'm thinking this makes no sense, but pull in non the less. Now with 3 huge busses in the parking lot of 7-11 it's like metal shavings to a magnet, with teenage girls (still no boys) streaming off of Braddock Road and into the lot to share some Slurpies. The bands security dudes were keeping the hyperactive girls away, but I was able to talk to their driver and the get the skinny on the unscheduled stop.

Seems as one car full of Jonas Crazed teenage girls and an overzealous mom had come a little too close to the Jonas bus and had grazed some stainless steel. Requiring an immediate, pre beltway stop, to check damage and alert the authorities.

As we pulled out the back way of the shopping center I looked back to see about 10 cops cars surrounding the 7-11 and I'm sure they're getting ready to don riot gear and helmets to protect the Lads on the bus. It was ready to get ugly and it was a great end to the girls concert evening.

I couldn't stop laughing as I roared onto the Beltway.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Soup Kitchen Time

Every Wednesday during Lent, Blessed Sacrament School sets up a soup kitchen to raise funds for needy Alexandria based charities.

Mangoette Chelsea convinced the Mango's kitchen team to supply some great soup for this weeks meal. Elver put on his game face and created the best dang homemade chicken soup (according to Father Cregan) ever to grace the table.

Chelsemeister and Elver

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pancakes in a Spray Can

Could this be the ultimate in laziness or just the right remedy for a 3am breakfast after a few Mojito's at Mango MIke's.

Here's Michelle Locke's fair and balanced Associated Press story with the light and fluffy details.

Pressurized Batter Blaster cans provide streams of pancake mix
You want pancakes, but the idea of adding water to powder and stirring it around just seems like too much effort. Enter Batter Blaster, the pancake you just point and spray.

Gastronomic genius? Or sign of the apocalypse? It all depends on how you feel about really fast food.

For Nate Steck, part of the two-man team that developed Batter Blaster, the product is a way to put something hot and tasty on the table of people who have lost touch with the most important meal of the day.

"If you sit down with your family in the morning, you can cook these pancakes so quick,"€ he said in an interview in Batter Blaster'€™s new offices in a south-of-Market alley in San Francisco.

"You can actually give the house that smell of home cooking," Steck said. "You'€™re not burning the frozen waffles in the toaster. This heats up the house. The kids like it; they feel like they'€™re spending some time with the family."€

The contents are pressurized, and the can has a nozzle similar to a whipped cream can, which can unleash artistic aspirations in the way of animal, geometric and letter-shaped pancakes.

Preparation: Shake the can firmly before spraying. Cleanup: Rinse the nozzle under running water after using.

The product, which is organic, comes more than a century after the launch of the first convenience pancake product, a powdered mix that eventually would be called Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix.

And Batter Blaster begs comparison to other ultra-convenience foods, such as Easy Cheese, that staple of dorm room soirees, and Reddi-Wip, the ubiquitous canned whipped cream.

Some flip for the pray-and-bake breakfasts.

"They'€™re fantastic,"€ says Keith Bussell, a Los Angeles software developer who picked up a can of Batter Blaster on a lark and was won over by the ease of making just one or two pancakes sans stirring. "€œIt'€™s not an approximation of pancakes. They'€™re really good pancakes,"€ he said.

Others don'€™t.

"€œThat is just wrong on SO MANY LEVELS!"€ Oakland accountant Beth Terry wrote in her blog review of the Batter Blaster.

In a phone interview, Terry said her big issue with the product, which she has no plans to try, is that it comes in a can, which she said takes an energy and resource toll even though it is recyclable. "€œIt'€™s not even necessarily about slow food," she said. "€œPancakes are not slow."

Steck says the idea is to provide convenience "€œbut it'€™s also about being with a group, being with family. It'€™s not the end of the world. It'€™s just a better world, I think."€

Batter Blaster is available at a number of grocers, including Albertsons. A single can, which makes more than two dozen 4-inch pancakes, sells for around $5 to $6.

So far, more than 400,000 cans have sold. Some of those buyers appear to have been new to the kitchen. One complaint that came in through customer feedback was that the pancakes were sticking to the pan.

Apparently they didn'€™t know about that other kitchen corner-cutter, canned cooking spray.


Friday, March 07, 2008

This Week's Freebie

Now's a good a time as ever to visit your Island on Duke Street.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sysco Con't

Sysco has a Food Network style celebrity kitchen setup in it's warehouse that's over the top. As been outlined previously by Bill, we spent four glorious hours in food heaven. I gained at least 10 pounds during the tasting process.

Noi and Andres in the Camper on the way to Pocomoke City.

Chef Pat with a Napa Cabbage

Seared tuna on some greens

Diver scallop.

Don't let the portion sizes scare you as these were just part of the tasting menu.

Andres and Noi awaiting the next culinary round.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sysco Test Kitchen

Mango Mike took some of the Mango's Staff for a day bus trip down tho the Sysco test kitchen in Pokomoke MD, on the Delmarva Peninsula.   Noi, Andres, Bill and Mike spent over 4 hours with Executive Chef Pat Benzin, working with new food and menu trends.  It was a great experience and everyone came away with plenty of new knowledge.  Armed with plenty of new ideas it was time to head back and fine tune some fresh ideas to work for us on our new menu. We felt like a bunch of Rock Stars traveling in the Prevost Coach and even Noi loosened up a bit and enjoyed a few adult beverages on the way back to Alexandria.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Eastport Oyster Bar - Fairfax City Con't

Pix of Ben Benson, who is the first real person I met when I moved to Washington DC in 1972. He and I both worked, along with Rob Zimmeran, previous owner of Ramparts, at the Kings Landing French Restaurant. Today that location is Union Street Public House.

Ben, who was the lead carpenter on the Oyster Bar job, would later become owner of Southside 815 in Old Town.

Eastport Oyster Bar - Fairfax City

Just came across this photo the other day of the Anderson men finishing up construction of the Eastport Oyster Bar in Fairfax City.(circa 1986) My dad and brother both participated in it's construction. With my Dad doing most of the difficult manual labor, digging the trenches for the plumbing by hand (he lost 25 lbs in 2 weeks due to work load and the September heat), and my brother Paul who did all the upholstry work.

This was the second location for Tom Jackson and myself as the first one was on Duke Street, Eastport Raw Bar which later became the original Mango Mike's, then Dancing Peppers, and now Los Teltocos. After a complete remodel and a lot of money we only lasted 9 months. I had to call my Father and tell him he had to come back because part of the deal with the new owners, Le Peep, we had to gut the joint. You can imagine how that call went. Luckily we had a great lease, way below market, and it was the 80's so the chains had a plenty of money and we're scarfing up properties and fast as possible. They paid us a lot for that lease. Unfortunately that whole Le Peep breakfast deal didn't work out and they lost all their 5 stores in the area after a few years. Currently the space is Joe's Pizza and Pasta and I'm happy to relay that Joe has found his niche with Fairfax City and doing quite well.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Free Brunch - See Michael George Play

Steel Drum player Michael George is the real deal. From the Island of Trinidad Michael plays about 9 pans and the harmonica at the same time. And for good measure he also sports ankle bells. Every Sunday from 10:30 to 1:30 during our Brunch Buffet.