Sunday, August 12, 2012

Where to Drink: Subzero Martinis @ Zinc Lounge, Shade Hotel

The Drinks: Frosty, alcoholic treats served in cone-shaped glasses made of ice

The Vibes: Relaxed and casual, with a tendency to get more glamorous as the night progresses

Good for: When you’re in the mood for a bona fide lounging experience

With-Whom-to-Go: A friend or a date or a group of friends…even alone...

The $ Factor: $$: Reasonably priced, especially for Manhattan Beach and for being an upscale boutique hotel; the subzero martini is $12 and the food (which BTW, is great for sharing) stays in the $15 range

The 4-1-1: It's literally only a couple of blocks away from the Manhattan Beach Pier and shoreline. It’s a good destination for unwinding after a day at the beach on the weekends

I’ll Be Back…: To try the other martinis, because quite honestly, I tend to get distracted pretty easily and go for what I already know is a winner: the subzero martini!

I had very high expectations for my summer.

I expected to work on my tan lines at pool parties. I expected to gain 100 pounds from all of the smoky BBQ I’d stuffed my face with. Why, I thought that every single weekend I’d coast down PCH, top down, shades up…

And yet, somehow, the majority of my summer has come and gone, and I’ve been stuck in climate-controlled, windowless buildings the whole entire time.

Am I the only one out here suffering from this nonsense?!

Determined to at least pretend like I’ve had an exciting time frolicking in all this sunshine, one recent Saturday, I decided to head to the one place that I knew would put the spirit of summer in me: Zinc Lounge at Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach.

I was first introduced to this boutique hotel about three years when I had an assignment to cover the hotel as nightlife editor for a local magazine. My experience here had resonated with me all these years because it was such a cute little hidden gem, with an airy outdoor patio, an amazing d├ęcor and simplistic, but delicious food. As it had been a while that I had come last, I was quite delighted to see that it was still thriving and doing well (you know how it is in this city; a restaurant’s here one day, and gone the next). And, I was even more delighted to see that the menu had many of the same items that I had fallen in love with before, such as the Belgium Style Hand Cut Fries, pictured below.

But I’m not even going to lie – I was mostly thrilled to see that Zinc continued to serve what made me remember it so fondly: the subzero martini.

The flavors may have changed, but the concept has remained the same. In a nutshell, it’s a cocktail that’s served in a cone-shaped ice glass, and it’s just really, really fun to drink. It’s all of these amazing factors merging together: the burst of coldness surprising your lips as you take sips, the chilliness of the alcohol itself, the fun little shape. So when you’re hot from baking in 110-degree weather - or wishing that you were - ordering one is a great way to “cool down.”

There are three current subzero martinis: the passionate kiss, which quite frankly, reminded me of a cosmo, although it’s really made of pomegranate and pama liqueuer...

The coconut h20, which is very light in taste and includes orange vodka, coconut water and elderflower…

And the honey money, which hands down, is my favorite. It’s sweet, but not too sugary, and I’m loving the muddled strawberries – they give it an extra flair.

So the next time you find yourself in a dire situation like I was, stuck in the where-in-the-world-did-my-summer-go?! pits, I highly recommend heading to Zinc Lounge. Chillax, pull up a chair and of course, order a subzero martini.

See you there soon!

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