The Best Laid Plans

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I'll admit to being one of the last heavy drinkers on the planet to make my way to Patterson House. (But at least I still remember it.) Having been a regular at the bygone Patrick's New Orleans Cuisine that previously occupied this location, I was anxious to see what all the fuss was about.

To ensure that my cocktailing experience was maximized, I planned to meet my tippling sensei, David Paine. If you have never met David, you should. He runs Wallop Inc., a full-service advertising and marketing agency located in the shadow of the bridge that crosses I40 from behind Howard School to the J.C. Napier homes. Admit it, you've always wondered where that bridge came and went to.

But you might recognize David as the brains and the voice behind the groovy "Mr. Martini" radio spots for Grand Cru. David definitely appreciates a deftly made cocktail and personally knows his way around a Boston shaker. We settled down together at the beautiful bar and began to peruse the menu.

Normally, I'm not much of a gin drinker. Any alcohol where the main component (juniper) is widely recognized as a poison usually isn't my first choice for a foundation ingredient. However, confronted by the voluminous menu, we decided the only way to tackle it was alphabetically. Beer before liquor, never fear, I always say; so gin before vodka seemed like a good idea at the time.

After a Briar Patch and a Cooper's Bright, we figured we were well on our way through the alcoholphabet and were happy to have a objective nailed down for the summer. Then one of the owners, the charming and successful young Ben Goldberg walked up to us and totally scuttled our plans. Apparently, nothing is constant but change and the Patterson House is preparing to roll out their new summer menu.

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Some old favorites will remain, but expect new seasonal concoctions and interesting new recipes reflecting the latest trends in mixology featuring Patterson's house-made ingredients. Our plans to drink our way to Zombiehood may have been temporarily interrupted, but when we hear that the new menu is officially in place we'll spread the word to the Bites universe and gladly start over with the "a's."

In the meantime, drop by David Paine's blog for his insights into marketing and branding and specifically to read his periodic newsletter, The Marketini. Each issue usually begins with an entertaining rant about some foible of modern culture and concludes with a personalized drink recipe from David, although most of them tend to be of the two ingredient-six fingers of liquor over ice and whisper "vermouth" over the rim of the glass variety.

Not that anyone's complaining.

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