The annual New Yorker food issue will be on the stand for a few more days. Worth the purchase if you don't already receive it.
Nice articles about martinis too. Of course, the author gets it all wrong. =)
Judi's Perfect Martini
Glass: The size of the glass is very important. It should hold no more than 2-3 ounces at maximum capacity. Avoid at all costs the current "martini" glasses on the market. They tend to hold 6-8 ounces which will make you a very poor dinner companion. Vintage cocktail glasses or small modern glasses are the best choice. Riedel makes a decent one if you can't find anything more festive. If you want something special, the Waterford Lismore pattern has a beautiful little cocktail glass that also works nicely. It was introduced in the 20s. Rinse glass with water and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. If you glass is very delicate, you can place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Martini Shaker (shaker, not something with a stick): Metal keeps things cold. Rinse with water, add six ice cubs, and chill in freezer for 10 minutes before using.
Components: I prefer Bombay Sapphire but respect the Beefeater and plain Bombay drinker. Tanqueray is to be avoided as is most other gin. Remember: bad vodka can be hidden, bad gin cannot be.
Vermouth is Noilly Prat, if you can find it.
Olives, are green, fat, and pimento stuffed. They are speared with a decorative toothpick. The guy at the Hollywood Farmer's market has a nice selection. Lemon, on a very hot day has a certain appeal. Use a Microplane on the lemon over the drink. The oils are released and the small pith-less grated bits are pretty. Adding a pickled onion gives you a Gibson and adding olive juice makes it "dirty." Both are unfortunate traditions.
Martinis are not a type of drink. Martinis are made with gin, a small portion of vermouth, and an olive, only. A "vodka martini" does not exist. Never use those words together! Asking for a "vodka martini" is like asking for beef burger without the beef.
Measure gin in cold glasses and add to shaker. Add 1/2-1 teaspoon vermouth. Shake it as if your life depends on it. A great martini is almost too cold to drink. If it becomes warm, throw it out. Warm gin is awful.
Train your spouse in your technique. Become amazed that he or she makes better martinis than you do. Ask him to make them while you sit on the couch and read.
Local establishments with superior martinis:
(To combat engrained bad habits, always specify extra-cold, extra dry martinis when you order.)
Campanile (minor complaint: glass is too large)
Frankie's (Italian place on Melrose)
The Bar at the Bel Air Hotel (benefits from dress code)