Market Report: Rue the Rhubarb

I risked bodily harm this weekend, riding my bike to the Hollywood farmer’s market in weird 80ish degree heat in search of rhubarb. People were bleary eyed, blinded by the sun, addled by the heat. The place was packed. I asked at one stall, where the guy said he’d seen it sold once last year by some other guy. At the Larchmont market another guy asked another guy who said he hadn’t seen it for a while. He said he knew guys who knew guys who sold straight to restaurants.

Why was I looking for rhubarb? To do one of those two for one gastrokdad/kid moves: make an ice cream topping/slash cocktail ingredient. I wanted something to put on ice cream to serve to the kids and something to mix with prosecco to serve to the adults. No such luck. At the asian greens stand I saw a wholly different opportunity: cocktail makings for the parents. Thai basil. Ginger. Lemongrass. Thai bird chiles. At another stand I saw kumquats. I muddled all of the above with some sugar. I poured in a 1.5 ounce shot of rum. I shook it with some ice. I strained it over some other ice in a glass. I topped with soda water. I served it to grownups. It was tart, sweet, hot, aromatic, delish. The kids ate kumquats. They were tart/sweet. It all worked out on the first long hot day of the year.
—Hugh

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