Wednesday, August 22, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Liquids and Solids, Lake Placid

What was beginning to feel like a wasted (no pun intended) trip to Lake Placid finally began to take a turn for the better. Originally arriving too early, we returned to Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar on a recommendation. We had considered skipping it after two of the three previous bars proved to be disappointing, but we weren’t sorry we backpedaled to give Liquids and Solids a proper review.

The long bar stretched out a hand in greeting, which we accepted. Lights with bare bulbs, painted dark, hung over the bar, adding a mysterious light for early afternoon. Eggplant colored walls breathed calm as they showcased their quirky and intriguing artwork. Random details added a tasteful touch of whimsy to the simple shapes and spare ornamentation in the dining area. Fresh flowers popped their lively heads from artfully labeled beer bottles, a theme we were later to discover was carried into the ladies’ room. Beer and wine menus, handwritten in wide black marker on large paper grocery bags, hung from clipboards behind the bar.

The bar seats 15, a little too closely, but it wasn’t crowded at the time of our visit. The barroom is cozy, with pub tables strategically placed near the bar, and standard tables for four scattered toward the back, offering privacy in their sparseness and an opportunity to enjoy the varied artwork on the walls.

The liquids, of course, were what we were after and we fairly drowned in the deluge. A selection of more than 20 red, white and sparkling wines from France, Chile, Argentina, Italy, South Africa, Australia and California are listed at $8 to $11 a glass. The cocktail menu features more than a dozen fresh and creative specialties, priced between $8 and $12 and lists ingredients from fresh herbs to vinegar. Draft and bottled beer prices vary from $3.50 to $27.

Pam immersed herself in the cocktail menu. Painstakingly prepared with many fresh and homemade ingredients, the potent concoctions include the Cilantro Daiquiri, Guava Margarita with a lime sugar rim, the Balsamic Fizz featuring basil and balsamic vinegar, and Smoked Lemonade and Bourbon Tea. She decided on the Rum and Raisin, a cocktail of generous proportions made from The Kraken black spiced rum, lime juice, raisin clove apple juice, and orange and pineapple juice garnished with raisins and an orange slice.

Meanwhile, it was Kim’s turn to suffer indecision as she examined the beer list consisting of six drafts, several cans, and well over 100 bottles in various serving sizes. There are 22 IPAs alone! Also, a dozen or so Belgian strong ales, a bunch of stouts, and multitudes of others – trappists, triples, porters, reds, browns, lagers, saisons, Italians and Belgians to list just a few. Unable to resist a Belgian ale, or her curiosity, she settled on a Delirium Tremens, served in an oversized wine glass for $6.

Liquids and Solids, owned by Keegan Konkoski and chef Tim Loomis for the past two years, has been transformed from a local dive to a gastropub of constantly changing culinary surprises featuring homemade sauces, purees, stocks and syrups using whatever the local farmers have to offer. Making nearly everything themselves and using locally produced ingredients allows the pair to keep their prices down. Featuring mostly small plates of such ambitious offerings as charcuterie, ratatouille, barbecued sweetbreads, fried pork liver, polenta, and saffron cavatelli, the restaurant offers a handful of full-sized entrees and some daily specials at fairly small prices. They are open all year, but close for Memorial Day weekend annually. The bar is open from 4 p.m. until midnight Tuesday through Sunday in the summer and Tuesday through Saturday in the winter months.

Outside, up a small flight of stairs toward the back, the rooftop deck feels more like a garden than a deck. Potted flowers and herbs abound and color pervades. Stripes provide a backdrop on a wall of window frames, whimsically placed. No service is offered from the bar, but patrons are welcome to bring their drinks and enjoy the scenery here. Tables on a patio in front do receive service from the bar and restaurant, but the tranquility is sacrificed.

The creative juices are flowing at Liquids and Solids. In both menu and venue, enjoy the whimsy that the name invokes.

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Kim and Pam Ladd

In 2013, sisters Kim and Pam Ladd self-published Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide and a companion Happy Hour Trail Passport. As they continue to market and distribute their current book, they are back on the trail doing research for their next project – a guide to breweries, wineries and distilleries in and around the Adirondack Park.

In 2014 they created their own drinking event, a bartender competition they call “BARRED!”, which they expect will become an annual event held in the early spring in collaboration with Basil & Wick’s in North Creek.

With the lofty goal of becoming the Adirondack "Drinking Authority," Kim and Pam report on drinking-related topics and events inside the Blue Line here at the Almanack and at their own blog. You can also visit their website, follow them on Facebook, and Twitter.

The pair have spent most of their lives in Warren County. Pam has a degree in Computer Science, but her passion is mixology. She and her family live in Warrensburg. Kim is a freelance photographer with a degree in Advertising Design and lives in Thurman with her husband.

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