A First Annual Father’s Day Ritual
by Brendan McLaughlin
Just before our weekly sales meeting my father rushed in and pasted a “post it” note in front of me. It read “Cigar & Cognac Lovers Dinner: Saturday June 17” After this hint I was gathering that he wanted me to take him to this for Father’s Day. I’m not much of a Cognac fan (Rum on the rocks is more up my alley) but a good cigar will grab my attention anytime. I got the information on this gig, made reservations, and planned on spending Saturday evening with my old man.
Saturday night rolled around and dad and I were ready to high roll out on the town. We headed over to “Craig and Sally’s” where the event was taking place. Neither of us had been to one of these things before; but being the manly men that we were, we were ready to handle anything. Upon arrival we sat down and ordered a couple of stiff drinks. Frank (my father) ordered his favorite Manhattan and I ordered my usual, Cruzan Gold on the rocks. Cruzan is the rum of choice for local Virgin Islanders, it has a smooth characteristic that you won’t find in any of the Puerto Rican rums.
Craig, one of the owners and maitre d’, came over and filled us in on what the evening had to offer. A few other people had made reservations for the night’s festivities. No one had shown up yet so we decided to order our entrees. Craig recommended two specialty dishes which we decided to test. I ordered the Pork Loin with sun dried cherries and shiitake mushroom sauce, while dad ordered the Stuffed Chicken Breast with Provencal sauce.
After placing our order, the other cigar and cognac fans arrived. Among them was Sebastiano Paiewonsky from
and a few of his friends, one of which was Walter Vestal who runs the cigar department in his store. Riise’s is the only store in the Caribbean with a walk in humidor for storing their cigars. Sebastiano and Walter were also the key players in organizing this tasting.
Our dinners arrived and we ate our fill. Craig’s recommendation could not have been better! The pork was delicious, cooked to delight and highlighted with a wooden note from the shiitake mushrooms. Frank’s chicken breast was tender with the exact amount of seasonings and the Provencal sauce accented it perfectly. After a full meal it was time for dessert which consisted of another rum on the rocks for me and a cognac for my father. I then chose the Rothschild Honduran cigar, while my date chose the Dominican Republic’s Arturo Fuente. The characteristics of mine were just what I had expected from a Honduran. A strong, rich wooden flavor, with a touch of spice. Frank said his “tasted good,” which is what I expected from the aficionado that he is. The evening drew to a close with Sebastiano thanking us for coming out and supporting the affair. Another event is planned in the future, possibly with a tasting of single malt scotch. He told us that he’d keep us posted and invited us to stop by his store and try any number of his imports whenever we liked. What a guy! I think I’ll have to take him up on it!