Unquestionably, my favorite part about my job is meeting all kinds of people, usually people who are irrationally and irrevocably passionate about food, wine and spirits. There is a natural communion between people who like to feed each other- people who revel in the various and beautiful expressions of flavor sensations. The day I walked into Feed in Venice Beach I knew there would be no shortage of such sensitive souls- this place is a sanctuary for foodies. I felt like coming home.
I sat at the sunlight-drenched bar, felt the ocean breeze floating through the room from the open doors and window, and took a deep breath. It just smells like healthy in here. Not crunchy-granola-hippie healthy, but classic California-beach-vacation healthy.
One bar man was juicing fruits and vegetables, and another was furiously mixing up cocktails. I soon learned the cocktail master to be Eugene Michael Santiago, and who introduces himself simply as “Mikey”.
Dreadlocks, an accomplished actor, an irresistible smile, and I soon learned- also a genius with a cocktail shaker.
Mikey made me one of his own creations: the Brooklyn Bocce. A nod to his hometown in New York, and inspired by the idea of putting “summer in a glass”, this refreshing little beverage was based on an organic French grapefruit liqueur and gin. He named it the Brooklyn Bocce because the concept reminded him of all the old Italian men in Brooklyn who spend hours every day playing Bocce, wielding glasses of booze-spiked grapefruit juice.
Mikey is part of a group of young bartenders being locally trained in the LA area under Marcos Tello and Garret McKechnie. These are the genius imaginations credited with creating Feed’s organic bar program, and as Mikey puts it, they also “taught [him] to build a true cocktail.”
The cocktail was as delicious as you think it would be- and just as sentimental. It made me think of my grandfather, and of summers in New York, and the beautiful beaches at Montauk and my Uncle Tony boiling lobsters.
NY Comb 9 Gin keeps the “Brooklyn Bocce” appropriately nostalgic.
I sat there in that beautiful white bar with the scent of the ocean in the air and healthy, happy people chatting and smiling around me and thought about my childhood vacations and my lovely, loud Italian family. I suppose that’s the power of a truly great cocktail.