It's no secret that St. Patrick's Day is more of a secular holiday. That still doesn't mean that I have to celebrate. For starters, I have no Irish in me. Second, years of tending bar has made me a near teetotaler with regards to "amateur nights" like New Years' eve, the night before Thanksgiving, and St. Patirck's Day.
Still, I agreed Saturday to accompany Sue, my neighbor downstairs, to Grace O'Malley's in the South Loop for what she said was a "traditional Irish breakfast." With noted Bridgeport regular- and proud Englishman- the Professor in tow we weaved our way through the mass of binge drinkers and plastic leprechaun hat-wearing revelers, wrangled a booth, and were handed our menus. We were very underwhelmed.
Since when did mini pub-style cheeseburgers and buffalo wings become part of a 'Traditional Irish breakfast" menu? To add insult to injury the wait staff was obviously under orders to turn over the booths and tables as fast as they could. Seemed to me that the only shade of green Grace O'Malley's cared about was the minty green of crisp dollar bills.
'Course Sue and I decided to squat in our booth. Sue ordered an Irish Whiskey flight for the table. It was the first time in seven years I drank Bushmills, which I swore off since that time at Julia Forte's where I drank an entire fifth and was possessing some serious sex appeal with two blondes before the lights went out and I woke up the next morning in my own bed with my Levi's on inside out and backwards, the button fly wide open and the ringing of the phone splitting my skull. When I mustered the energy to answer it was my friend Chris Voit demanding I compose myself and get to Julia's to "make reparations." When I got to Julia's I saw that I power puked my sex appeal all over the upstairs bathroom. Years later I've yet to piece together what happened with the blondes.
Anyhoo, back to the modern day. Older and wiser I proceeded to give a lesson on the flavors or Irish Whiskey. The flight included Black Bush, Bushmill's 10 year-old and 16 year-old single malt Irish Whiskeys. I went on for what seemed an hour on the flavors the three of us should be noticing in each whiskey. I tried not to sound like Paul Giamatti in "Sideways" about it, but honestly I could have cared less.
We sat at the booth for a good thirty minutes, savoring the whiskey to the detriment of the waiter who was visibly watching his tips dwindle away the longer we sat. More parade attendees came in and we decided to make our way out. I led the way butting a swath through the drunks, cursing the Irish under my breath the entire way.