fit for a president

With panoramic views of San Diego’s surrounding cityscape and bay, the spacious Penthouse Presidential Suite at The US Grant is a rooftop aerie worthy of a President’s Day seal of approval. Built by Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. in honor of his father, the Civil War hero and 18th President of the United States, the hotel is one of the most historically significant locations in southern California. Added onto the hotel in 1939, the penthouse was originally built as a radio station, making its historical mark as the site from which President Franklin D. Roosevelt broadcast the first ‘fireside chat’ outside of the nation’s capital. Boasting a dining room, a separate salon, and an executive desk tailor-made for issuing edicts with a flourish, its presidential bona fides gets a further boost from having hosted 13 of this country’s Commanders-in-Chief.


drink it where it lies

Earlier in the year I spent a few days in downtown San Diego at The US Grant, the historic Starwood hotel with plushly restored interiors and (highlight alert) chummy cocktails crafted by mixologist Jeff Josenhans. Now comes word that he’s taken his mad-scientist skills to a whole other level: the basement. After experimenting with various bottling processes, Josenhans has become the first mixologist to successfully create bottle-conditioned cocktails combining the highly complex (and rarely attempted) champagne method with the brewer’s method. In layman’s terms that means adding yeast to the bottle and allowing the pressure of fermentation to create carbonation before spirits and sugar are mixed in, while the addition of hops adds a spicy spark of brewer’s flare. Because these two processes happen in concert, the result is a smoother spirit with complex flavors and a refined effervescence. Consider it the difference between mass-produced ice cream and artisanal gelato, if you will. Launching as Cocktails Sur Lie (sur lie is a French wine-making term that means having rested on its yeast), you can try a tease or two of the bespoke Mule in a Bottle, made from garden flower-infused vodka, ginger, rock candy sugar, California hops and Champagne yeast in Grant Grill during the current Autumn Mixology Dinner event but to sample the full slate of drinks you’ll have to wait until the official January launch.


ulysses s grant: president, hotel, grill

While I stand by what I posted yesterday, it’s now time for me to gladly eat a slice of humble pie. The hotel US Grant commands the heart of San Diego’s city center across from historic Horton Park Plaza and the Irving Gill-designed fountain.  Built by Buck Grant in honor of his father, Ulysses S. Grant – yes, that Grant, the Civil War hero and 18th President of the United States – the hotel debuted in 1910, setting the standard for this city’s brand of glamor. Sophisticated, opulent, and appointed with original artwork by French artist Yves Clement following a multi-million dollar renovation in 2006, the hotel rightly deserves the moniker grande dame. Tucked behind the main entrance, the hotel’s chic Grant Grill makes a seductive setting for spectacular seasonal cocktails and – you guessed it – farm to table California cuisine, too. Organic produce, Pacific seafood, and local meats and poultry are given the “less is more” treatment by Chef Chris Kurth, keeping natural flavors at the forefront of market-fresh dishes like Dungeness risotto and Niman Ranch pork cheeks with spring fava beans. Now that I’m gladly eating (ever so slightly) yesterday’s words, let me also raise a toast to the Grill’s mixologist for inspired garden to glass libations. The Wildflower Whiskey Collins of cornflower infused oat whiskey, dandelion bitters and fresh pressed Meyer lemon is like drinking SoCal in a glass:  sweet, sour, salty and perfumed with flowers, it goes down oh, so very easy.


Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.