Welcome to ColemanWatch, a weekly feature in which we parse the particularly florid stylings of the Portland Mercury's resident food critic, Patrick Alan Coleman. Seen a sentence we've missed? Log on to your bright, burning email screen, and wend a grandiloquent email our way. And, for a little extra credit? We're looking for a headshot of the fine--and anonymous--Mr. Coleman. Got a pic? Let's talk.
This week, Coleman takes on Highball, the local distillery behind Elemental Vodka, and the piece starts off like he's on a (hand-cracked) piece of ice. There's news, reporting, straightforward discussion of the thousand pounds of wheat it takes to produce three hundred bottles of vodka. There's some panning out to discuss the generalities of the distilling process, a little quoting of owners Michael Heavener and Eric Klinglesmith, a lot of "organic." There isn't a whole lot of what makes Coleman worthy of a ColemanWatch: expressive, tangible, fungible sentences, full of words that make you cringe with intimacy. Viz: "I breathe heavily between slurps of broth and noodles. My face must be flushed, but there is no other recourse but to continue eating."
There's a half-hearted effort here--"In fact, it's smooth and clean on the palate with slight wheat sweetness. Their flavored product is just as good, with an airy vanilla bolstered and rounded out by toasty coffee tones."--but, really, as evidenced by a look through the most recent Last Supper columns, Coleman can do better. Next time, then, maybe drink before writing?
·Vodka Harvest [Portland Mercury]
·The Seafood Dream of Ocean City [Portland Mercury]
·Roll In [Portland Mercury]
·Off the Menu and On the Map at Red Onion [Portland Mercury]