If you’re familiar with the San Diego cocktail scene, you’ve probably read about Anthony Schmidt of Noble Experiment fame. He and CH Projects (Ironside Fish & Oyster, Polite Provisions, Craft & Commerce) just opened a dual-concept venue including Rare Form, a unique take on the classic neighborhood delicatessen, and Fairweather, a colorful rooftop patio bar featuring “drinks from sunny places.” Both are located in the historic Simon Levi Building in the heart of San Diego’s East Village.
Rare Form: A Classic Neighborhood Delicatessen
Rare Form’s menu is influenced by iconic delicatessen traditions—Jewish, German, Italian and French—but this is a modern-day deli (pictured above). Executive Chef Aldo Negrete (Whisknladle, Saltbox at Hotel Palomar, Quality Social) turns out daily classic butcher shop specials including pâtés, terrines and pork rillette; sandwiches with house-cured pastrami, linguiça, smoked ham, chicken schnitzel, and house-cured lox; along with soups such as matzo ball, cream of tomato and lentil & smoked ham hock.
In a break from ”˜delicatessen tradition,’ Chef Negrete also offers a lineup of savory waffle sandwiches with combos including smoked ham and swiss, crispy chicken & maple syrup, and house-made knockwurst, caramelized onions & roasted peppers, among others.
A Dedicated Schnaps Bar!
What? You heard that right. General manager and co-owner Anthony Schmidt spent the last two years experimenting with Rare Form’s beverage program to create one of the only, if not the only, schnaps bars in the United States. Unlike the commonly known, sugar-sweetened American version, Schmidt’s program is designed to highlight true schnaps (a.k.a. eau de vie), a pure, crystal clear brandy made from fruit.
Capturing the essence of produce preserved at peak ripeness, the distillation method is a process still used by families throughout Europe today and sees mashed fruit, which has fermented for several days, distilled into a strong, clear liquor. Water is then added to make the drink palatable and bring alcohol content down to around 40 or 50 percent. With its clean, pure flavor, and no excess sugar, the end result is bottled immediately and served as a digestif.
Nine schnaps cocktails will be featured alongside a selection of wines and three different boilermakers—an old-school classic which pairs a shot of schnaps alongside a draft beer chaser sure to leave you in (hopefully the good kind of) rare form when you leave.
Fairweather: Go Upstairs for Sunny Cocktails
Go upstairs from Rare Form to Fairweather, an outdoor patio with a fabulous view of PETCO Park. Mezcal, rum and tequila reign supreme throughout Fairweather’s 32-count cocktail lineup. Daiquiris, a Mai Tai, Pià±a Colada, Zombie, Painkiller, and Ti’ Punch are among 16 familiar “Classic” throwbacks recreated from timeless recipes discovered in old cocktail journals by Schmidt, while 16 “Fairweather Signatures” offer unique riffs on the classics – the Oaxacan Dead (Schmidt’s riff on the Zombie with Mezcal and rum), the Monkey’s Junk (coconut, bananas and cacao rum), Rum Row (an aged Old Fashioned with coconut bitters and banana liqueur), and the lighthearted Piece of Advice. Priced at $300 (essentially the most expensive “Dealer’s Choice” you can imagine), this top shelf cocktail is offered with—you guessed it—a piece of sage advice from your friendly bartender.
Fairweather serves any of their drinks frozen and also offers 12 beers on tap in addition to a handful of wines.
OK, dish. Have you been to either yet?