This Weekend at the Independent: A Return to Normalcy

With Hitchcock Halloween under our belts, it's time for the Independent to follow the call of Warren G.* Harding and return to normalcy for a weekend.  This weekend we're back to what we do best:  serving great beer, great food and great cocktails while we listen to great music.

But one last thing about Halloween:

Thank you -- all of you -- who came and made this event a  success.  All told, we had nearly 1500 people at the Carrie Furnaces, which, we think, is the most humans in that space since the furnaces were last operational in 1982.  Most importantly, despite the big numbers and despite the fact that we had far longer bathroom lines than are even remotely acceptable (sorry -- lesson learned and that issue will be corrected next year), it was our guests that made this event a success by their exemplary party behavior -- lively dance floor, responsible boozing, and no fighting.  We'll be forever thankful to all of you who came out and we promise to make next year an even better party for all who can attend.  And, with that said, keep your eyes posted.  We had way too much fun too limit our collaboration with Bar Marco and the Brew Gentlemen to just one event a year...

Have You Dined with Us Recently?

In the words of THE Bruce Dickinson,** Chef Monique has begun to "really explore the studio space" in the Kitchen here at the Independent.  After being the only Chef in town cool enough to take a chance (with five-days notice) on two jag-off brothers with no food industry experience, she has dialed in her menu and her kitchen staff to the point where the food going out on any night that we're open is consistent and well-executed every time.  With that first priority accomplished, she's been working on specials over the past month.  And, boy, have they been slammin'.  In the past two weeks, we've seen succulent pork bellies, fall-off-the-bone-tender lamb shanks, and braised short ribs, all creatively plated with sauces and sides that would cause envy in the best "fine dining" restaurants in town.  Don't let our laid-back attitude fool you.  We're pushing out phenomenal food here.  Pittsburgh has a deeply entrenched "bar food" paradigm:  to wit, that a bar with a small kitchen must serve fried/frozen, unhealthy and unsustainable foods.  That paradigm needs to change.  Bar food should be good food.  Monique is leading that charge with a scratch kitchen that's turning out food that matches the craft quality of our beers, spirits, and cocktails.

Adam's Triumphant Return to Interactive Cocktology

It will be a welcome scene behind our bar on Saturday as Adam returns to his regular Saturday night, "live" cocktology gig after a month-long hiatus.  If you believed the rumors that he has been island hopping through the Caribbean, roaming each island's countryside in search of lost and forgotten rum barrels that have aged for no fewer than 100 years, you've been mislead.  He's been moving into a new house and thanklessly batching our everyday cocktails that you've been enjoying.  Regardless, he returns to the bar well-rested and inspired, with a menu of seasonally appropriate cocktails to warm your bellies and your soul on this late-autumn weekend.  Take for instance:

"Squash Racket - a "flip" style cocktail with bourbon, corn milk syrup, pumpkin ale, and grated nutmeg.  Flips are a category of drinks using whole eggs, which contribute a lot of creaminess (there's an older style of flip that's not worth getting nerdy about here)."

I get a lot of emails from Adam, and this is the one time that he's declined the opportunity to get nerdy.  That said, he's got, like, 90% of the ingredients for the "nerdier" flip, which involves a really hot fire, a "loggerhead,"*** and pewter mugs.  I'm no insurance adjuster, but I just can't wrap my head around why he's not using the loggerhead and the fire indoors in a crowded bar on Saturday.

As always, thanks for the support, and hope to see you at the Indie this weekend.

Pete K.

*  Gamaliel, in case, you're looking for "boy names."  

**  There's no difference between you and Bruce Dickinson -- he puts his pants on one leg at a time.  Except after his pants are on, Bruce Dickinson makes gold records.

***  So now you know where that word comes from.