Indulge Bistro Bar Review – Taipei

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A collusion that began with two lab rats at work so silent, nearby ears heard squeaks mistaken for the wheels on office chairs.  We met under the cloak of darkness, checking another one off the list, similar to shopping for ingredients for meal preparation, however, we focused on the crumbs from the table.  I am the low man, learning to climb the ladder, checking off  various bars step by step, plotting to become the big cheese.  Agreeing upon the next escapade, we decided to meet at a common location that neither of us had previously solicited – Indulge Bistro.

He located the crack in society, peeked in and waited while I circled the neighborhood, and scavenged for parking – cat and mouse – patrol cars and eye.  Fortunately I was able to find a spot at the end of the street, just before the corner.  As is customary, located the closest 7/11 (which happened to be right around that corner) to get drinks from prior to going in the bar.

Usually purchasing a 350ml bottle for the price of a single cocktail allows me to feel good, while simultaneously hinders my urge to get caught in the excessive spending trap while going out. The convenience stores usually provide inconspicuous shelter and a relatively quiet place for conversation (in the instance that cats at the bar are slightly aggressive).  Scampering across the wire, having placed the call, he came outside and we walked up the residential street, where the neatly hidden bar seemed out of place.

Turning the corner and sitting outside of the 7/11, we noted that several luxury cars were pulling up across the street, stopping then pulling off again – pit crew style.  We talked over an entire 700ml bottle then returned to the Bistro.  Now feeling good, entering the ether state that puts me in tune with the universe, while blocking out the physical state of today, we scurried downstairs, gutter rats finding comfort in the warmth of the steam that is emitted from sewer grates, I naturally overlooked the upstairs environment for my place in this world – the dark lair.

Downstairs was sparsely populated and yet the tables and seating arrangement gave way to the perception of density.  True varmints, we found the darkest corner in the room with the most space, dimly lit with a single candle and proceeded to escort ourselves to the couch making it the happiest place on earth.

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There was a fully stocked bar downstairs, and to our amazement, no one tending to its contents, we were questioned, and the response was repeated once again as if this were the second loop at an amusement park – “The signature cocktail from the head bartender or owner.”  Disappointed that he wasn’t present, I settled, and so did he.

Having fun, time flying roller coaster style, now vacant, the noise we produced echoed and attracted pounding footsteps from above.  The lights came on, and the crew began straightening up, with a whisk of a broom directed at us, we vacated the premises, fully satisfied with the scraps of enjoyment we were able to scrounge from this place.

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El.Sin.Say

 

 

酒水年 Bar Review (Tao Yuan)

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He woke up feeling accomplished having spent the previous day being productive.  Looking to the sky in anticipation of what the weather would be…far from the ancient tradition understanding seasons, global warming has made forecasting the skies a daily artisan skill.  Dark garments worn loosely as uniformed urban apparel, conceal carry: a pen, notepad, camera, and the mind – from the teacher to silent warrior.

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The sun, waking up, washing her face, hands slowly removed, revealing her dimly lit eyes.  Play time until the next shift of illumination arrives, the street lights, lazy and half-heartedly ushering her daily closure when the luster she shed on the earth begins to fade.

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Precision fell, dark times moving about the village undetected in search of the watering hole that deceived me the night before…final hours before the New Year.  I passed by what would become a documented memory I carried with me, time traveling into the future.  Once again looking to the night sky and stars for direction, moonlight, a reflection of her beauty, magnetic forces controlling the tides, attracting me to overlooked signs.  Camouflaged butterflies day dreaming at night, mimicking bubbles of shooting stars in sporadic circular motions, seemingly chaotic, sequentially fluttering, indirectly guided by the reflection of her bright light.

Arriving at the destination on accident, he hopped off the white horse; adrenaline pumping, ecstasy, high, euphoria.  With the horse rested, tied to a nearby post, far enough to be out of sight, yet close enough to be visible from the smoking position upstairs.  He readied his gear, checking the cartiges and approached the temple, confident that he had found an untainted natural oasis in a mirage of concrete – a perfect place to meditate before frequency chiming of the midnight hour.

Empty bottles filled with spirits – genies and Djin – from the conjuring monks of a previous time blossomed, draped and dressed the hallway, daisies paralleling sunflowers, luminescent roses paving the way for ascension to the doorway of a new dimension.

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There he stood looking back on the minutes, days, weeks and months that lead to the end of this year – a long journey for a short trip, this year was over in a matter of hours and the next would overlap moments later.

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End of one experience, the beginning of another, a new creation on a continuum of a temporary existence.  The tranquil environment was slightly different than El.Sin.Say had imagined, but it had all of the raw essentials that were required to manifest the frequency of elevated ether.

 

Becoming acquainted with the grounds keeper, paying my tithes to ensure its maintenance, and reassuring that I would return – 30 minutes and 3 hours before midnight was all that was needed.

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El.Sin.Say

上 Café (Tao Yuan)

Being told that there was a bar in his city he had never seen, El.Sin.Say’s curiosity finally got the best of him.  Cleaning the house while no residents were inside, the hour glass was pitted against the weather, grains of sand transforming into cirrius clouds, raindrops preventing the motorcycle ride.  Premature darkness cast a shadow from the neighboring building into his living room.  Knowing that time was not an ally, showered the grit from a princess work – Cinderella.

P1180044A 10 year-old motorcycle with emphysema started loudly without hesitation, and yet it still smoked, tires screaming out the parking garage.  The knees squeaked on pads like an old man attempting to give the youngsters the business on court, eventually displaying remnants of respect from his glory days.

For 15 minutes, Alzheimer’s had them holding hands, escorted up and down the same street looking for signs that didn’t exist.  Now thirsty and fatigued, seeing two fat men outside of a watering hole, he gazed in, and in amazement, there was fully stocked bar staring back. through the key hole, bringing back memories.

The place – one that he had wanted to bring his wife to years before, but never got around to making the time.  Letting it seep through clasped hands, sand of a broken hour glass, now melded tightly, turning into glass. Sharp memories cutting deep wounds in the palm – braille clear enough to force hands open and release handle bars.

Parked, saddle bag ready, bursting through the doors like a salon, room silenced and music stopped, an outsider, clearly a foreigner that wasn’t from this land, although the spur laden boots glided across the wood floor as if a mystical unicorn awaited him outside.

Grabbing a menu by the throat, integrity threatened, it began to spit words in mixed tongue, regurgitating everything it had accumulated in the establishment, trying to seek his approval.  The bar tender rushed to its assistance, asking him to sit down and relax.  A cold glass of water warranted a hot temper – a warm atmosphere.

Slightly at ease, but not relaxed, he was inclined to canvass the rest of the establishment prior to harnessing his sword and saddle bags.  Windows to the world on almost every wall, well shaded, chandeliers, couches and wall paper, all dressed up as a respectable gentleman, or perhaps a quick talking conman with a sharp tongue.

Impelled, the 12 year Sherry Cask Scotsman, silenced his mouth, warmed his throat and pierced his stomach.   The essence of the concoction impaled his spirit , satisfying the thirsty curiosity and yet created a hunger for the establishment.

Time stood still, but hours had passed.  The duality of understanding that each moment increased the probability of not arriving at the next destination dry, while also ensuring that he would be driving dry, food was taken out before the clock struck 12 and he returned to his previous lowly form.

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El.Sin.Say

Alchemy Bar Review (Taipei)

This past summer, I started out a bit late in a bar hop in which the bars seemed to become progressively better with each jump.  I joined about midpoint, meeting up with everyone else at a bar called Motown in Taipei (which also has its own bottling with the same name accordingly).  The staff and the place was nice, but a review for another occasion.

Anyways, after a few drinks, we decided to change locations to the one in mention – Alchemy.  Not quite sure where I was, being that we shared a taxi, we approached a door with two distinct names in white lights and a podium outside.

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I was not sure what to expect on the inside, but when we stepped in, there was a beautiful young woman that met us another podium and asked a few questions.  Busy taking pictures, I let the other members of the party handle that.  (apparently we needed a reservation, but didn’t have one).  Once inside, I looked through the door to the left and saw a fully stocked bar arranged in a circular formation in the middle of the room.  Assuming this was our destination, I proceeded towards it, only to notice that everyone else kept walking straight.

Torn between correcting myself and continuing into this bar, I decided to continue to tail everyone else, entering into a very spacious room with several beer pong tables set up.  I wondered how we could have gone from one bar, passed up another, only to arrive at a place to play beer pong.

P1100505Standing in the doorway, pondering going back through the other door to order drinks and enjoy some hard alcohol while everyone else enjoyed beer, I noticed that once again, everyone had made a hard right through a seemingly hidden door.

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This door lead to a narrow stair case, and once inside, I recognized the familiar buzz and the door lock behind me as if this were my former life frequenting a weed spot in North Philly.  I knew that we were either locked in, or this door had to be unlocked from our final destination.  Not certain what to expect, the staircase opened up to a door inside a third door that was completely hidden, a cave that housed a 1920s style speakeasy.

To my amazement, this bar was extremely nice and discrete, being honest, I don’t tend to give my personal opinion, but I must admit, it is one of the nicest bars I have ever been to.  The décor of the leather chairs, fireplace and mantel that are placed almost directly in front of the door, give it the feel of a gentleman’s den.  Immediately to the right of the door is the bar, whereas facing the door are a series of tables and chairs with windows behind them.

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Turning right and walking towards the end of the bar, the establishment begins to open up, showcasing a piano and several isolated booths, perfect for private parties of 6- 8 people.  Eventually this path makes its way to the rear of the parlor, concluding at the bathroom.

To the left of the fireplace there is a door that leads to a slightly loft where people are able to overlook both the beer pong tables and the circular bar below.

This night, the place was almost fully packed (which explains the requirement for prescheduled reservations).  The atmosphere is dimly lit, resembling a speakeasy, with the music to match.  This place is definitely suitable to be considered a final destination for the evening, or a place where its possible to sit and talk for the duration of the evening without having to find another form of entertainment.

It was a bit difficult to determine if it was possible to randomly meet members of the opposite sex there as the arrangement of the chairs, tables and interactions between customers made it confusing as to who was with each other – although the bar did have a surplus of single women.   After remaining there until closing, and having to be asked to leave, all of us, had wished that we would have arrived at this bar first.

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King Block Dean

(El.Sin.Say)

Tokyo International Bar Show – The Transfer Student

 

I gazed upon her in pure lust – admiration for the body  that had come into my vision.  A standard of beauty I had not known, traditional, not polluted by a foreign cultural context, she maintained her own tradition, and this built her mystique, which in turn became a node of grotesque attraction.  I had a brief introduction, but had not known her history intimately, yet at this point in her life cycle, overlooked, she had already blossomed into a grown woman,  illustrious, radiating all of her glory.

Infatuated, I observed from a far, knowing that the calculated opportunity to make her acquaintance would present itself.  Recognizing the problem in this equation, I sat next to her in class, lateral isles similar to islands separated by a single ocean.

Discretely observing fractions of her interests, subtly interpreting the coded sign language of her geometric figure until my brailed improved,  we were drifting in sink, solving computations.  Tranquil waters, from the peaks of untouched snow capped mountains, seeping through the breast of valleys, over a body of rock, sediment and minerals that add character to her being, the base for her ascension.

As a youth, she attempted to mimic the Scottish standard of beauty….although she remained unappreciated at home, her essence, and core spirit produced an unparalleled concoction that, when engulfed, became intoxicating to the world.  From the time she came into my sight, I could foresee that year after year, she was approaching her pinnacle – an underdog that won the race, now on her high horse with an infant’s bubble waiting to burst.

P1060468It would be merely a matter of cycles before she would be cast among the others as an old face, once extremely attractive merely because she was the newest face in the crowd, later conformed and withered by her suitors.  Perhaps I could contribute to her longevity, distilling aqua vitae with her reputation – tales and fables that could be carried from generation to generation in different walks of society.

P1060326Pioneers recognized her beauty and potential, becoming 49ers they rushed to exploit and excavate her plausibility.  A gold rush for some, locker room bragging rights for others.  All ultimately a theatrical stage for her introduction to the world.  They had no intent to comprehend, just pushed to the next grade.

Temporary experiences sustained with silk embroidery, delicate, easily torn, frayed and sown.  Nor did they fully treasure the contributions made by her ancestors, resistance and struggles strong enough to compress carbon and create authentic diamonds – in the rough, fashioned to be worn as jewelry amongst royalty.

Graduating, 4 years later, I stepped forward to exhibit myself at the talent show, not as a show, but rather as an act of love.  The books, the travels, the drinks, the food, the citizens have all given me insight, but yet I must humble myself and know that I will never be able to discern her full range of spirits.

King Block Dean

 

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(El.Sin.Say)

 

R&D Lounge Bar

 

Location-

According to the GPS we were there, but I had to circle the block three times just to make sure.  The first time to find the location, the second time to find the location.  The third time to locate parking (still hadn’t found the location before I determined the exact spot of this discrete place, but I had seen a door that had some strange marking on it). I felt as if this were a game of hide-and-go-get-it (this generation may never know the games young boys and girls once played outside).

 

P1040777I parked the car around the corner in a random basement parking lot and cut through a small pathway just outside and reached the street where the bar should be located.  I saw people smoking on the street, so I knew I was in the vicinity, and I approached the door that was barely visible from the car, intricately designed with the logo of the bar.  A friend of mine questioned how I could spot that from the street – intuition.

 

Environment / Atmosphere –

We walked into the bar, where we were asked to wait by the door, and place our order – as usual, not having reservations, I thought that they might be trying to seat (stand us) at the door.  There was a large wooden wedge protruding from the wall, where people were congregated at the entrance with their drinks.

 

Upon entering the venue, the bar is located immediately to the right, and a display case with several big circular transparent glass vases partitions the room into 1/2s (splitting the room, essentially from the middle of the bar forward).  The area of the room which is easily seen has standard size tables that can seat 2-4 people and can also be arranged to seat more if need be.

 

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On the opposite side of the partition there are also chairs that accommodate two to four people, in addition to barstool style high rise seats.  There is a small room on that side of the venue as well (couldn’t figure out what purpose it served).

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On the wall opposite the bar is a small pagoda – a traditionally styled roof, wooden beams, which appears to be silently making its presence known, notably the best feature of this establishment (however it appears that due to the fact that it accommodates multiple people, my assumption is that someone must make reservations prior to using it).

We were seated by our server Ann, an attractive young woman with a good ability to speak English.  However, being that the bar was crowded and there must have been some mix up with the seating, were promptly asked to give up our seats for a larger party.  Being that I like to talk shit, I asked Ann, “if I do this favor for you, what will you do for me?” and she took me up on the challenge, offering me and my friend some shots.  Magic words, we promptly moved, (although I didn’t expect this to be true).

 

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My friend (a U.S. citizen that studied in China with me that currently resides in Korea), ordered a standard Gin & Tonic.  I, myself as is customary, went to ask for the signature cocktail from the head bar tender (not knowing what it is or who it is from), and was told that everyone makes the same drinks.  What the fuck is that?  I couldn’t understand this concept, so I had to explain what I meant by it in detail.  I was basically told that the has its own set of drinks and that these are the signature cocktails – but that the bar itself has its own cocktails.

Slightly perplexed, I told Ann that this was the first time I had heard of something like this, and there were so many different sets that I wouldn’t know where to begin, nor could my wallet afford to taste all of the variations.  I asked her to make the selections for me, she brought back the shots – I asked for her “line” and Facebook – instantaneously a new friend.

IMG_3171[1]The first drink she brought back was a slight miss, although, i must admit for its style, it was rather good, however, for my pallet, I didn’t particularly care for it, but you know me, I drunk it anyways.  I told her that it was a slight miss for me and why, the next two drinks that came were right on point.  Having noticed that my friend kept ordering the same Gin & Tonic, she asked if he wanted to try their infused version.  Being that he is the straight up type of person, of course he questioned it, but gave it the green light.

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We met another group of foreigners while were there, they were a work team from the U.S. that had been assigned to work in Taiwan for about 10 days, thus they were visiting, similar to my friend.  It seems that the nature of this bar is a pit-stop before hitting a final or next destination for the night. But, being that my friend and I hadn’t seen each other in several years, we opted to remain there the rest of the night.  This isn’t necessarily the type of place one should go to meet look for new women, however it is possible to talk to new people if you’re bold enough to approach them.  I would definitely recommend this place for friends that wish to meet up over a drink or even a place where couples can go for a date in a laid back environment.

King Block Dean (El.Sin.Say)

Yamazaki Distillery – Social Engineering

Without the proper hierarchy intact, we were lawless, unguided spirits with heart and courage unmatched.  No restrictions on a shogun with the exception of the honor of samurai guidelines, left to our own free will under a puppet leadership, a dangerous concoction.

We knew the life and this was it.  Born into a preexisting feudal system known as life, although thought to be free, we didn’t realize that we were caged and physically isolated on an island, topped off by a glass ceiling.  I thought that this was it, everywhere was the same, all neighborhoods were the same, all childhoods were equal – same thing, various places, only difference was the location.

Although the cage was not ours, we fought outsiders to preserve our enclave’s image and way of life.  With an erection of battle ships at our borders, combined with governmental resources being handed down in minuscule amounts, sacrificial offerings atop of ziggurats geared towards appeasing.  Polytheistic survival strategies for the scraps that were donated to us from deities in the natural world.

Praying – perverted vocal hymns, misdirected meditation with the absence of action, or perhaps the implementation of the passive action of praying, the drums were stripped, the rhythm stopped and paralysis set itself upon the movement.    The fists were strong, yet all efforts to preserve land that was stolen were sabotaged – gentrification was inevitable – trick or treaties.

Some went against the grain, trying to enhance their physical abilities, attempting beautification in the fashion of a peacock, flaunting, attraction, deception, and aspirations to fly through the jungles untouched.  Resistance from both sides of the fence, against those that expanded their mental capabilities, skepticism of intent.  SWOT assessment, permitted to assimilate into the mainstream, becoming part of the herd, abandoning the ideology of infiltration, but never fully accepted by the aggressors.

Isolated where the gutters collect what they can from the dirt, the curb, the corner.  The corner of the city named in its native tongue “the angels” where outsiders perceive a positive connotation, overlooking the fact that light bearer also maintained this title.  Therefore, there must be preference…preference for some to receive disparate treatment.

We were sick, yet never diagnosed – a mutation was injected into our genealogy that were designed to  be vaccines, preventing our uncivil ways from once again manifesting themselves.  Hellen Keller was fortunate, she had Anne Sullivan, however we have no voice to be heard, no sympathizers, nor eyes to behold the systematic illnesses that were forced upon us.

The result – unable to trust those closest to us in proximity, therefore subsequently unable to trust those from afar in which in a place where we were constructed.  Respect, earned through tribulation.  Tribulation determined by hardship, hardship determined by economic status.  A unique bond for love, grounded  love through respect.  Never forget that we were genetically engineered to be superior before modern stem cell and DNA experiments, our current existence is testament to their success.

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IG – King Block Dean

(El.Sin.Say)