In the pre-dawn days before there were multiple networks devoted entirely to the culinary arts, if you were food-obsessed then you probably watched a lot of PBS. Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, and Martin Yan were the principal guides that inspired and presented new techniques and cuisines. Martin Yan in particular stood out to me, with his charming and educational cooking demonstrations (seasoned with a touch of humor), along with great explanations of Chinese cuisine and regional differences.
Yan's lifetime of work bringing the Eastern flavors and traditions to the west manifests itself wholly and vividly in the East Meets West ($11, baby chrysanthemum infused-vodka, orange blossom honey, lemon). The cocktail is really a simple variation of a lemon drop, but the chrysanthemum tea and honey gives it a subtle, delicious, and exotic twist with lightly floral flavors. It's also remarkably easy to drink, even with the spicier fare. Paired with the Mu Shu Pork Tacos ($9 for two tacos, wild boar, cabbage, egg), it becomes an East Meets Southwest combination that lures me back when I'm shopping in Westfield.
The Under the Bronze Bell ($12, Prosecco, Canton Ginger Liqueur, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur) is a great drink to start with, especially if you are sitting at the bar. Centered around a bronze bell secured from ceiling by two dragons, the custom bar provides a great vantage point to watch the kitchen in action and symbolically unites ancient Chinese cooking technique and contemporary presentations.
The massive 1,800-pound blessing bell was found by Martin Yan and partners Willy and Ronnie Ng (Koi Palace), and purchased from a monastery in Suzhou, China. Like that time you bought a couch off the internet, the monks of the ancient Buddhist monastery discovered, upon its delivery, that the bell was too large to make it up to the third floor bell tower. The sale of the bell to the M.Y. China team saved the bell from being melted down and the monks got a new bell.
We'll drink to that.
East Meets West
1 ½ oz. Chrysanthemum tea infused vodka (M.Y. China uses Tito's)
¾ oz. Lemon juice
¾ oz. Orange blossom honey syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and double strain into a small cocktail glass.
M.Y. China, 845 Market (inside Westfield Mall), Fourth Floor, 580-3001