Tuesday, December 28, 2010

W.H. Harrison Indiana Bourbon

Disclaimer: Any tasting notes may be a bit off as my taste buds have been thrown out of whack due to strong antibiotics.  I feel I am on the mend enough to comment on taste again.  That said I'd estimate that I'm operating at around 85% palate capacity.

I am writing this post on Christmas vacation in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Being that my in laws live here, I am usually here a couple times a year.  Indy's not a bad town.  It's a city designed for cars, so no parking and traffic problems like we face in Philly.  Indy's size makes it manageable and it has some cool stuff to see and do.  I don't think the food scene can quite match Philly, but I have to say my sister-in-law and her boyfriend have taken us to some very cool places.  One place, MacNivens, offers a fantastic scotch list at prices that would drop some jaws in Philly.   Property values are about the cheapest in the country, too.  Of course I'm always trying out Midwestern beers while I'm out here, as many of them are local and not available on the East Coast.  As a side note, I've noticed that the heavy hitting craft brewers on the shelves in New Jersey are the usual suspects out here, too; New Belgium, Founders, Bells, etc.  There is not a lot of PA representation on the beer shelves; usually an offer or two from Victory and that's about it.  Anyway, the Indiana/Illinois brewers put out some good stuff, as does my sister-in-law's boyfriend, who homebrews (here is a post of us brewing together http://urbangrain.blogspot.com/2010/09/brewing-beer.html).  He usually guides me on which local brewers are good and which are not so good.  Maybe sometime I'll do a rundown of Midwestern beer, but this post is about bourbon.

William Henry Harrison was an Indiana governor and U.S. president.   A bunch of stuff out here is named after him, including a former military base that is now offices and condos.  Now he has a bourbon named after him.  According to the bottle, this bourbon is made from Indiana corn and aged in handmade oak barrels "harvested in and around Indiana."  It has an age statement of "less than 4 years."

Folks who appreciate the raw spirit of moonshine might appreciate this bourbon, but for me it's underaged.  Especially at 35 bucks.  It has a ton of corn on the nose, and it's quite pale in color.  It goes down fairly smooth, again with a lot of corn sweetness.  But it has little of the wood character for which bourbon is known.  No cinnamon, no vanilla, no caramel, no spice.  The guy at the store said the Governer's Reserve version has more caramel due to it being barrel proof but I wasn't ready to lay down $55. 

As much as the craft beer scene has elevated our beer palates in America, the craft distilling scene is a bit of a different animal, especially when it comes to spirits that require aging.  I have been burned a few times on "craft" whiskies.  For example, I like the idea of Rogue Dead Guy Whisky, which uses the wort from their Dead Guy Ale and then ages it in barrels by the seaside.  But here again, the whisky is just too young.  Stranahan's Colorado Whisky actually has quite a good reputation but I didn't care for it; too fruity for my taste.  I have heard that Anchor makes some fantastic old style ryes but haven't tried one yet.  And of course there are others out there, e.g. I just bought my father-in-law an Oregon whisky that looks pretty good (McCarthys gets their malted barley from Scotland, then the Widmer Bros. Brewing Co. turns it into a wash for them which they distill, then they age it in Oregon wood.  Apparently it approximates Islay scotch).  It comes down to the aging.  A major producer like Heaven Hill has tons of barrels holding whisky at all different ages.  Their stock is huge, and at any given time they can look for a new flavor profile just by wandering through the rickhouse and sampling.  And if they were so inclined, they could afford to make a new recipe and let it age; they have much less to lose.  It seems to me like these upstarts, tired of losing money during the aging process, rush to get product to the market that simply isn't ready.  It's a shame, because Harrison's seems to be made of some good ingredients, i.e. it didn't taste harsh or cheap.  If they ever release a 7 or 8 year, I'd give them another go.  But a $35 bottle of whisky should taste more complex than mellowed out moonshine.  I am very curious if the Governer's Reserve does a better job in terms of flavor with it's barrel proofing and higher rye content.   But it's difficult to justify climbing a brand ladder when you are turned off by their overpriced first rung.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Quest for George T. Stagg

While visiting the Buffalo Trace distillery this summer, we saw George T. Stagg being bottled in Blanton's bottling hall.  It was kind of exciting, as this bourbon is part of their Antique Collection, which only comes on once a year in the fall.  And when I asked our tour guide, a retiree from Philadelphia, which Buffalo Trace bourbon was his favorite, he replied "George T. Stagg."  Really?  "Ohhh, yeahhh," he said.  (Nicole does a great impression of him).  I had to get some of this stuff.  I thougth I had seen it last year at a liquor store in Cherry Hill, and one other liquor store had a floating bottle from the 2009 edition, the one rated best bourbon in the world by Jim Murray's Whisky Bible.  That bottle was marked up to $120 (most places charge in the $75-80 range).  What's the big deal with Stagg?  Well, in addition to winning high marks and awards, simply the fact that it's uncut and unfiltered; this years comes in at a whopping 143 proof.  And tons of flavor.  Get your water ready with this stuff. 

I decided the surest way to procure a bottle would be to special order it.  I have ordered alcohol and had it shipped to my house in the past (this is illegal in PA, gotta love the Quaker laws, but I figure I'm under the radar).  This time I chose the website drinkupny.com.  The customer representative told me if I order it under last year's label when it comes in it will ship on a first come first serve basis.  Several times I emailed to see when it would arrive.  Finally they got their shipment, but wait, they only got 9 bottles when they expected over 40.  Like a lot of the Stagg distillate, I didn't make the cut.  They didn't even notify me until I hounded them, and then they gave me the option to remain on the waiting list for another year, with no guarantee that I would get a bottle at that time.  I demanded my refund and set out to find a solution to this dreadful problem.  My plan was to go to the liquor store that had that leftover bottle and just overpay to get it.  After all, the 2009 was the bourbon of the year, it would be worth it--although in my heart I wanted the 2010 edition, since I saw it being bottled.  I figured it was worth a trip to Total Wine in Cherry Hill, as I needed some other beverages for Christmas gifts and whatnot, and with the vague thought that I may have seen it there last year.  I arrived and, tada!  They had the Stagg.  As well as several others from the Antique Collection.  The Sazerac 18 year rye was already sold out (it was last year's Whisky of the Year, again according to Jim Murray).  But they had the Eagle Rare 18, Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, and the Stagg.  Can't remember if they had the Weller, which is the wheated entry.  Anyhow, I grabbed that Stagg and it's beautiful, tall, wine type bottle, at it's fair, $75 price.  So exciting.

Here's the kicker.  I can't drink it yet.  I have been sick since November 3, and took antibiotics that apparently destroyed my stomach and my taste buds, which have yet to recover.  The quest for Stagg continues...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stocking the home bar

One tool I forgot to mention, the soda siphon.  This is a very cool gadget for any fizzy drink.  Over time it can pay for itself bc/ the CO2 cartridges are much cheaper than bottled soda.  Plus you feel like a bartender from the past, or a soda jerk or something.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stocking your home bar part 2

Yesterday we discussed beer, wine, and straight liquor.  Today I will focus on the tools of the mixologist, both liquid and stainless steel.

Liquor for mixing
Obviously, the choice of spirit will depend on the drink.  Like, I make a drink that calls for Hendrick's gin, and I do think that is clearly the best gin for the job.  However, if you stock any gin, you can make any gin based drink.  For me, the two key spirits for a home bar are gin and rye.  They are the heart of many classic cocktails.  I don't stock vodka, though I know some bartenders like it as a blank canvas to highlight other ingredients.  For me, the spirit should always be the star of the show.  And vodka is too boring for me.

My favorite all around gin is Bluecoat ($25).  It's made in Philly, it's really smooth, and goes well in any number of gin cocktails.  The cheapest gin I can tolerate is New Amsterdam ($15).  It's good for practicing a drink you've never made, or saving a few bucks if you are throwing a party.  There are a bunch of good gins out there, like Plymouth, Bombay, Tanqueray, etc.  I've heard Anchor's Genever is very nice.  They also make a Holland gin or genevieve, very earthy and too me not pleasant, or maybe it's an acquired taste.

The best all around rye for cocktails has got to be Rittenhouse 100 proof bonded.  It's under $20 a bottle, thought it's a bit hard to come by these days.  I don't love it straight, but it's just at the perfect level for mixing nicely in a Manhattan or other rye based drinks.  I enjoy other ryes, but if I enjoy them enough I'd prefer sipping them straight.  I won't go into a treatise on rye here.  A few quick notes though-I don't like Jim Beam rye, Old Overholt is not great but serviceable (and Don Draper drinks it), Sazerac is good for mixing, Russell's Reserve Rye is almost too good for mixing, Michter's is probably too good to mix.  There are ryes above that but obviously they aren't made for mixed drinks.

Bourbon/other whiskies

Bourbon cheap enough to mix is generally not assertive enough to hold up in some cocktails, but I use it whenever I run out of rye.  I have tried Canadian Club as a mixing whisky because it has a high rye content but I don't care for it and would rather use a cheap bourbon.  Keeping a blended whisky on hand is probably a good idea, too.  Famous Grouse is called for in one of my favorite drinks, the Penicillin, though I've yet to make it at home.  Time was I would drink the grouse on it's own, it's not bad.

I've sipped at a number of different tequilas and mezcals, but right now have a bottle of El Jimador ($20) on hand for when we are in the mood for margaritas, and it works just fine.

Secondary Ingredients

I always have a sweet and a dry vermouth on hand.  Dolin is a great brand and price point for both of these types of fortified wine ($15), though I have to special order it.  Martini and Rossi is okay.  Noilly Prat recently changed their export to the dismay of many martini lovers, but Noilly is fine, too, both sweet and dry.  I really think the extra couple of bucks makes a big difference with vermouth, though.  I keep it in the fridge and it lasts me months and months before spoiling.  Carpano Antiqua Formula is the best sweet vermouth I've ever had (though it's not called a vermouth), but it's a bit pricey at over $30 for a liter.  I've read about other vermouths being decent; it all depends how much you want to experiment.

Angostura are the most common, you can find them in the grocery store and in most dive liquor stores.  If you only buy one bitters get these.  But as with anything, there are tons of bitters out there.  Second on my list is Peychauds, the bitters called for in the classic New Orleans drink the Sazerac.  I also have some orange bitters on hand (some folks like them in a martini with a twist) and plan to get some whisky barrel aged bitters.  I've heard celery bitters are good in a bloody mary.  But start with the Angostura.  Fee Brothers makes a bitters using angostura bark, as well, but I find it a bit too strong and can ruin a drink if you accidentally add an extra dash.

Simple Syrup
You can buy this, but why spend money on sugar water?  Just boil some water, and add an equal part of sugar, stirring until it dissolves.  Rich syrup is a 2:1 but I find that simple syrup is very versatile.  Honey syrup can be made in the same way.  Stirring honey into the boiling water makes a liquid that is much more easily mixed.

Other liqueurs

Vermouth and bitters are essential.  These others fall into a broader category that will build as you learn to make different drinks.  Don't stress about these; the only one below that is close to essential for me is the absinthe, as we quite enjoy making the rye-based Sazerac. 

Absinthe-If you don't want to shell out 50 bucks for absinthe get some Pernod.  I have Philadelphia          Distilling Co.'s Vieux Carre absinthe, and didn't mind paying for it as I only use a drop for each Sazerac that I make. 

Pimm's No. 1-Pimm's is a gin based liquer infused with herbs and great in a drink called The Porch Swing.  It's cheap enough to grab a bottle to play with

Green Chartreuse-I got a bottle of this herbal liqueur made by French monks with a secret recipe but I haven't cracked it yet.  The recipe I am trying to use it for is The Last Word, a classic cocktail with equal parts gin, lime juice, green chartreuse, and...

Maraschino-This is why I haven't cracked the Chartreuse.  I special ordered some Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur and I'm still waiting on it.  A number of cocktails call for this. 

Creme Yvette or Creme de Violet is hard to come by, it's used in the gin based cocktail Aviation.  I may have to order some.

Sloe Gin-Gin infused with British sloe berries, used in the refreshing drink sloe gin fizz.  Plymouth, makers of the original martini gin, make a sloe gin.  Don't bother with the cheap sloe gin liqueurs you can find with other mixers, they add the berry flavor in rather than infusing the gin.

Cointreau-for margaritas and sidecars.

I always stock lemons and limes.  Also Goya queen stuffed olives (cheap and perfect for martinis).  My wife likes garlic stuffed olives on occasion.  I brandy my own cherries for use in Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, but recently ordered some Italian cherries that are supposed to be like maraschino cherries before prohibition.  I also have some rose water and orange flower water.  They can brighten up a drink and are fun to experiment with.

The key tool is the Boston shaker.  A stainless steel cup that is just larger than a pint glass, when used together you have a shaker.  A strainer to fit the shaker.  A long handled barspoon.  A muddler.  A lime juicer, or just a citrus reamer (which is what I use, though even a fork will do).  A Lewis bag for crushing ice. (a Lewis bag is a canvas bag that you fill with ice and then beat with a mallot or muddler).  Speaking of ice, I like perfect square ice cube trays, I got mine at Sur La Table.  If you want to get hardcore get a special freezer and order giant ice blocks to chip from, like the speakasies do.  That's a bit overboard though...  A cutting board and sharp knife.  Several different sized jiggers, or one that looks like a miniature measuring cup with multiple fill lines.  A small fine strainer if you don't like pulp in drinks that have citrus.  Some of these tools quality matters more than with others.  I definitely want to upgrade my shaker, as the stainless steel one I have is proving to not be so stainless, and the strainer is bent out of shape.  But it's fine for now and I've gained a lot of practice on it. 

Final Note
My plan for this post was to simplify the home bar, but I feel that it came across as a complex endeavor.  Just know that a few key ingredients can go a long way.  If you have this short list:
rye, gin, absinthe, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, bitters, cherries, olives, oranges, lemons, limes, simple syrup, tonic, honey
You can make at least these cocktails:
Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Martini, Gin and Tonic, Honeysuckle, Gimlet
Then with each ingredient you add to the list, the more drinks you can make.  Tequila and Cointreau-Margaritas.  Now add brandy, you can make a sidecar.  Pick up some Pimms and a cucumber, you can make a Porch Swing.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Stocking your home bar

This post may need editing from time to time, as the way I stock my bar evolves as my tastes evolve.
The best way to build a home bar is drink by drink.  You learn to make a drink by procuring that drink's ingredients.  (If you like the drink a lot you will have to procure them again quickly, but you get the idea).  Still, I thought it would be fun to give an idea of how my bar has evolved to this point, and lay down some basics.  Part one of this post is a note on beer, wine, and straight liquor.  In the second part I'll talk about tools, mixers, and so forth. 

Beer and Wine
I am researching cellaring beer, but at this point my warm, dank, rowhome basement is not really suited to it.  So I just keep a few styles on hand to suit my mood.  I am just getting into pairing beer and food, so this may get more complicated.  But in general I drink a lot of seasonal beers.  Wheat beers in the summer, richer, stronger beers in the winter.  I have recently been on a kick of high abv styles, like Belgian tripels.  So maybe right now I have a bunch of stuff like that, then in a couple of weeks it will be Christmas brews, and so on.  I also like to do comparisons, like I have two Brewdog bottles I am dying to crack, one is their regular IPA and one is that same beer aged in Islay scotch casks.  Anyhow, I could write about beer all day, this post is really about cocktails but I thought I would say a word about the world's most versatile beverage.  As far as wine, I don't have a wine fridge, and while I enjoy a decent red, wine isn't really my cup of tea, so to speak, and my wine stash consists of about 4-5 bottles for guests or if the mood strikes me.  My wife sometimes drinks wine as a nightcap, but I much prefer my whisky.

Anything else you drink straight
You might like to sip gin, or brandy, or liqueur.  I like to have a few different whiskies on hand.  I am currently still on a big bourbon kick, but you never know when I'll get a craving to visit Islay, or have a spicy rye, save some money, or sip something special.  Just to give you an idea of the type of range I mean, here is what I have right now:

Macallan 15 year Fine Oak Collection (sherried highland entry)
Springbank 10 (one of only 3 Campbelltown scotches)
Laphroaig 10 (smoky, peaty, seaweed, iodine, like no other)

Blanton's Single Barrel
Pappy Van Winkle 15 year (wheated)
Rock Hill Farms

High West Rye (Utah)

Tomorrow I'll get into the heart of stocking the home bar, but I couldn't begin without noting straight drinking, which is my favorite kind.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Mint Julep

The first time I had a mint julep was this past summer, though I've owned my own personalized, etched, pewter julep cup since I graduated from college.  I'm not kidding, it was a gift from the Templeton family, who funded the honors program. 

I got this recipe from watching Robert Hess make one on the Small Screen Network http://www.smallscreennetwork.com/
The site is a great way to learn the technique for each cocktail if you are a visual learner.  I've seen recipes for juleps where you make a mint extract by wringing mint into a towel or something.  But that's a bit complicated for what should be simple, refreshing drink.  That way may be better for making a pitcher's worth, though.  It's a great summer drink and it's the drink of the Kentucky Derby.  So why am I posting about it in December?  Because I'm just getting around to it.

On to the recipe:

Mint Julep
2.5 oz bourbon
.5 oz rich syrup
4-5 mint sprigs with stems removed
powdered sugar

Lightly muddle mint and syrup.  Add bourbon, add crushed ice, stir.  More ice, then garnish with mint sprig, dust top with powdered sugar.

A few notes on the mint julep.  Be careful, it's extremely refreshing, yet extremely strong, a dangerous combination.  You can get away with some pretty cheap bourbon here due to the strong flavor of the mint.  I made one with Evan Williams Single Barrel and one with black label Evan Williams and could hardly tell the difference.  Rich syrup is a 2:1 sugar to water syrup, if you have simple syrup (1:1) on hand, that would probably work fine, too.  The pewter glass really is part of the show of the drink because it holds a nice frost, but a regular old fashioned glass will do just fine.  You can order your own pewter cup after you get hooked on this drink.  Crushing the ice is a bit tricky if your icemaker doesn't feature crushed ice.  I plan to order a Lewis bag for the next time I make them.  It's a canvas back that you whack with a mallot or a muddler; the bag absorbs the moisture and allows you to crush the ice as finely as you like.

Monday, December 6, 2010


This is a cool blog about classic shaving for any who were intrigued by my previous post.


He has some cool videos:


Friday, December 3, 2010


This post is not about drinking but is a lifestyle entry.

I have been wetshaving for about 4 years, and I'll never look back.  Prior to that, I was a consumer of the Mach 3, which I thought at the time was a fantastic innovation.  Now I realize it's all a sham.  Disclaimer: I don't want to offend anyone and how they perform their personal grooming, but I am very particular about my shaving.

What is wetshaving?  Wetshaving is shaving the way grandpa used to do it.  With a lot of hot water and a double edged safety razor.  For a detailed overview of wetshaving, check out this article by Corey Greenberg http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/6886845/ns/today-today_weekend_edition.  I use some of his concepts and directions in this post.

I'll give you a quick "how to" and include some product recommendations.  All products I name can be purchased either at http://www.classicshaving.com/ and/or on Amazon.  The biggest distinction between modern shaving and wetshaving for me is the use of a double edged (DE) safety razor.  Prior to DE, men were using a single edged blade like Sweeney Todd uses to slice open his victim's throats.  The DE safety razor is the pinnacle of shaving technology; all of the other stuff only appeared because the razorblade patent ran out and Gillette had to pretend it was improving it's technology.  First with disposables, then adding a blade, etc. until we wound up with these bizarre vibrating razors with 9 blades and moisturizers, etc., etc.  What a crock.  All you need is one good, sharp blade.  And the DE safety provides that in a, well, safe manner.

Ideally you want to shower first to open your pores and get your skin ready for the shave.  Personally, I shower after shaving so as not to deal with a fogged up mirror and also to post wash my face to seal up any minor nicks.  If you don't shower first then definitely wash your face with hot water before shaving.  I use Musgo Lime Oil face soap from Portugal.  It does a fantastic job of cleansing my oily Italian face without drying it out.  I also use it post shave and sometimes just in general.  With a clean, damp, warm/hot face, you are ready to proceed.  Your initial tools: a mug, some quality shave cream, and a badger hair shaving brush.  Over the counter you can find boar hair brushes pretty readily, but badger hair is so much more luxurious it's worth the initial investment.  I got my Vulvix brand British made brush in the $40 range.  If I had it to do over I would spend $50-$75 and get a bigger brush to hold more lather but my brush works just fine.  As far as cream, if you want value go with Proraso, an Italian cream you can get for around $9.  It sounds expensive until you realize it will last you months and months.  Proraso also makes a nice pre/post shave cream that makes for a better shave but it's an unnecessary step, especially if you upgrade your cream a bit.  I use Truefitt and Hill's West Indian Limes, it's a few bucks more than Proraso for sure, but provides a fantastic lather and scent, and the tube or tub lasts quite a while.  Dip your brush in hot water and let it drip for a few seconds.  Then work up some lather in the mug with the cream.  Depending on if you have a tub or tube of cream you may put some cream directly on the brush or squeeze some into the mug.  The idea is to combine hot water with the cream using the brush and a mug.  Spread it on your face, as you apply the lather should increase and should be thick and rich.  It takes a while to learn the right amount of cream to use.  Then use your DE razor and hack away.  Just kidding.  The DE razor is safe, but it is sharp, as well.  Modern razors are designed for laziness, classic razors for precision.  You don't need to press hard, but don't be afraid to let the blade work.  Again, practice makes perfect.  As far as the razor, I use a German Merkur brand razor that is a replica of the Gillete 1904 original safety razor.  I got it for around $25.  I would actually recommend a bigger handled razor, maybe the Merkur Hefty Classic for a better grip and control.  For the blades, my favorite are the Feather brand, I think they are the most delicate as far as getting a close shave.  If your skin can tolerate it, after shaving once lather up again and go against the grain for a very close shave.  I love doing this I feel it makes my shave lasts a bit longer.  Then use a quality aftershave or moisturizer.  I use the Truefitt and Hill West Indian Limes to pair with the cream I use.  I prefer a balm to an alcohol based aftershave, but it's your face, maybe you like the burn.  The alcohol does heal up any nicks if you can tolerate it.  Like I said, I just rewash using a facesoap that has trace alcohol.

It sounds a bit overwhelming at first.  And yes, it will add a few minutes to your routine.  And costs around $100-150 to get started.  But once you do, you can buy replacement blades for around 50 cents.  Compare that to a few bucks for Mach 3 replacement heads.  You will enjoy shaving this way, reduce if not eliminate bumps and razor burn, and feel like Cary Grant.  Wetshaving feels like an upgrade, but it's actually a return.  A return to something better.  It's like being told all your life to order steak well done because it's safer, and then eating a medium rare steak by mistake--no pun intended--and realize you've been missing out on life.  Or drinking Bud Light for years and than having your first craft beer.  Or like traveling to a new country and gaining an entirely different worldview.  I think you get the picture.  Also, if you ever get the chance to get a straight razor barber shop shave, do it.  Nothing like a hot towel on your face to prep for a perfect shave.

A note on travel: They sell travel brushes, etc.  But I usually just get by on my travels with a disposable razor and some cheap cream.  I don't want to have to worry about leaving my razor in the hotel or packing my mug and brush or buying travel versions of everything I own.  And while I hate shaving with disposable razors, it makes me appreciate the classic shave when I get home all that much more.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I am an old man

Here are the ways I am an old man.

I have matching pajamas and an monogrammed robe.
I wear Florsheim leather slippers.
I smoke a pipe.
I shave with a double edge safety razor like grandpa used to use.
I prefer classic cocktails,e .g. Manhattans.
I don't really like "cool" movies or music.  Give me some Dean Martin anyday.
I'm sure there are other ways, too.  Look for an old man update if I think of them.

Mexican in Philly Update

A couple of months back I did a writeup of eating Mexican in Philly.  I have a new favorite, Los Gallos at 10th and Wolf (a funny location as there is a medicore Philly mob movie with the same name).  Anyhow, it's basically a Mexican grocery, but they have tables and takeout service.  Chef Jiminez is a first time business owner, and told us the previous owner of the shopfront told him the Board of Health never comes down to South Philly and not to worry about proper permits.  Luckily he's didnt't listen and figured out all the bureaucratic kinks, because this place was awesome.  The chef asked us to sign a petition to add more tables and make it more of a restaurant, which would be great.  The tacos with crispy pork and pineapple are awesome, I think they are called El Pastor.  The other stuff is great too.  He has plans to start making his own tortillas soon.  I read in one review (Philadelphia Weekly)  that a lot of Mexican line chefs from great restaurants like South Philadelphia Taproom and Amis are telling their bosses how great this place is.  Amis's Brad Spence ordered 80 tacos for a private party he threw.  Cheap, authentic Mexican with no frills or hipsters in sight.  Great stuff.