How to Cook for The Living Dead

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Photo: http://HeatherBuckley.co.uk via Flickr

How do you cook for a party that teems with the undead and frazzled survivors of a zombie holocaust? Or does one need do any cooking at all, considering the raw diet of such creatures as vampires and zombies? This next Tuesday, Vertical Wine Bistro is hosting a monster mash for the DVD release of The Walking Dead, the zombie graphic novel turned zombie TV series executive produced by Gale Anne Hurd, who also owns this Pasadena wine bar. Cast members from the show, along with some staggering dead folks, will be there, while a $35 entry fee buys two themed cocktails, a chance to win one of 50 DVDs and a "zombie survival kit," plus five different bites from chef Laurent Quenioux. Which brings us back to the menu for this night of the living dead.

Quenioux knows his away around blood and guts, as his offal inclinations make evident at his other restaurant Bistro LQ. For Vertical's zombie jam, he's preparing steak tartar, grilled blood sausages with crimson apples, and blood orange tapioca. What, no brains?! As a rep with the restaurant says, "Well, this IS Pasadena we're working with." So, the raw meat and blood sausages make sense, but we didn't know zombies were so keen on squid ink shrimp and chicken skewers, the other small plates being served. Who knew they were such gourmands?

Cocktails being served hew closely to the show's themes, with a Shane's Betrayal of vodka, fresh blood orange juice, lime, simple syrup, and soda and a "Merle's Revenge" featuring Maker's Mark, muddled sugar cubes, marasca cherries, and Angostura bitters. Then there's the plain and simple "guts martini," which throws a bloody streak of bitters in, but is mostly lacking much of a horror connection. Vertical is also holding non-frightening wine and beer flights, but with theme names like the "Left for Dead Reds" flight. Who knows? Drink enough and you might just turn into a drooling, bloody, brain-dead, speechless mess too!

Vertical Wine Bistro
70 N. Raymond Ave. Pasadena.
"The Walking Dead Rise"
Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
7:30-9:30 P.M.
$35
Reservations: 626-795-3999.