Things change. Nothing stays the same. The poet Shelley said so thusly: “Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow; / Nought may endure but Mutability.” And we’re OK with that.
Yet sometimes miracles happen. We’re talking about the reopening of Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens after seven years or so of waiting.
Yes, the place has a new name: The Pickle Room. But, hey, owner Bob Lovejoy, proprietor of next door’s Three Pickles deli, has been nursing this dream to reopen his favorite watering hole since former Jimmy’s owner and longtime friend Tommy Chung closed the establishment.
The famous Jimmy’s sign graces the place, and for all intents and purposes, the room has been restored to its former glory. Just newer. It has that new-bar smell. And the actual bar has been restored to its original pre-1970s length. The Chinese cheesecake posters still adorn the walls. The red lanterns have been raised. And best of all, bartender Willy Gilbert has returned, jumping back into a position he held for 22 years.
There is a big old jar of pickles at the bar, and Mr. Gilbert uses a dash of the juice in the Pickle-tini, an idea given to him by two “gals” who stopped by on opening night. The brine mellows out what is straight up Green Mark vodka, and the wedge of Santa Barbara-based Pacific Pickle Works’ gherkin never dilutes or overwhelms the cocktail. We liked it so much, it’s our Drink of the Week. Another favorite of ours is the variation on the Moscow Mule, the Kentucky Jackass: a bit of bourbon, a dash of bitters, some lime juice, soda, and ginger beer. Even with vodka swapped for whiskey, it’s a fine gingery brew. Either way, stop by The Pickle Room, raise a glass to friends past and present, and remember sometimes good things do last.
2% ounces Green Mark vodka
Dash pickle juice
Pickle slice, for garnish (the bar uses Pacific Pickle Works’ “Cukarambas” pickles)
Shake vodka and juice together over ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with pickle.
Yield: 1 drink
The Pickle Room
126 E. Canon Perdido St. 965-1015 or www.facebook.com/pickleroom