David Coggins | A Continuous Lean.

As it Happened | Eaux Claires

Jul 30th, 2015 | Categories: As it happened, David Coggins, Midbest | by David Coggins

GeneralFestival_CJFoeckler-8187 (1)

The Scene at the inaugural Eaux Claires Festival. Photo: CJ Foeckler.

With the exception of Newport Folk Festival, we’re not too hot on music festivals. You know the reasons: sweaty crowds, mediocre sound, endless lines for beer, girls dressed like fairies twirling glow sticks. But when Eaux Claires was announced, a two-day celebration on the banks of the Chippewa River in Wisconsin, courtesy Aaron Dessner of The National, and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, we started to get a certain promising feeling.

That optimism turned out to be entirely justified. Who could object to straightforward music in an easygoing Midwest setting, with plenty of Leinenkugel’s to go around? For this native Minnesotan (whose cabin is less than hour from Eau Claire), it was a welcome combination of good bands, positive vibrations and lack of ironic t-shirts.

TheDells_AeroFlynn_CJFoeckler-9177 (1)

Mr. Midwest: Justin Vernon. Photo: CJ Foeckler.

TheBanks_Improv_CJFoeckler-8857 (1)

Eternity now. Photo: CJ Foeckler.





The Masters: Maintaining the Mystique.

Apr 8th, 2015 | Categories: David Coggins, Golf | by David Coggins

Augusta-Home-of-the-Masters-Golf-Club-Masters-700x465

Baseball and Negronis are gifts that arrive with spring and keep on giving all summer long. The Masters, on the other hand, enters our lives and just as quickly departs, leaving us with just the sound of Jim Nantz’s ingratiating voice echoing in our ears. Brace yourself for the tinkling of the piano keys—the familiar theme is written by a certain Dave Loggins (which I really wish was my pen name).

Yes, bless us all, tomorrow the Masters is back.

If you think the reverential tone of the announcers is just for show recall that Gary McCord once told the television audience the putting greens were so fast they seemed “bikini waxed.” That was it for Gary—he was not given a mulligan—he was simply not asked back, cast into vulgar metaphor purgatory. You don’t mess with the Masters.

It casts its hold on many of us who are not golfers or even, for that matter, really golf fans. What captivates us with the fervor usually reserved for Beyoncé acolytes? Well, the atmosphere, singular course and remarkable drama all create, as they say, “a tradition unlike any other.” Think of the Masters as a natural high that oscillates between low key whispering and acute drama.

masters2 (1)

Arnold Palmer considers his options.





At Home in the Natural World: Yellowstone in October

Oct 28th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, David Coggins, Fishing | by David Coggins

Yellowstone IIFirehole River

Yellowstone 3

Yellowstone National Park is stunning all summer, but in October it’s even more stark and striking. The grass becomes the color of straw, the bison get frost in their fleece and mist rises off the rivers in the cold. Most of the crowds have gone—though there are still knowing visitors—and snow dusts the mountaintops.

Then there’s the Madison River, the main attraction for anglers making their late-season pilgrimage to the Park. Brown trout head into the river to spawn, their color bolder, deeper red and gold. Following the fish are people who wake up early in the freezing dark to go stand in the water. In feels foolish at times, but when it all comes together it’s clear that it’s the right thing to do.





Dublin, Jameson and St. Patrick: The Classic Combination.

Mar 24th, 2014 | Categories: David Coggins, Drinking | by David Coggins

Ger the Cooper

Heading to Dublin with the good people of Jameson for the definitive Irish holiday rightfully makes you a bit nervous. It threatens to be too much of a good thing. Dublin, like New Orleans, has a powerful effect on the imbiber’s imagination. You suddenly hear yourself saying, Yes I’ll have a Guinness at 11am, and it feels perfectly natural. It recalls a line from a novel by the great Irish writer John Banville. Two men walk into a pub before it’s opened and one says innocently: “We were passing by and to our surprise discovered we had a thirst.”

By now, Jameson is so familiar that it’s easy to forget it was founded in 1780. When you wonder why these companies endure, look no further than Ger Buckley, their master cooper who’s worked there for decades. Coopers, of course, build barrels and casks (the original Kennedys—yes, those Kennedys—who immigrated to America were coopers). We watched Ger demonstrate how to assemble one of the barrels that ages the whiskey. It’s a demanding process that Ger made look easy, like an expert fly caster, but of course you know it’s not. The barrels are made of charred white oak from Kentucky, using the same essential technology the Romans invented two thousand years ago. Why change a good thing?

Comments Off




Best in Show: The Case for Westminster.

Feb 10th, 2014 | Categories: David Coggins, Dog, New York City | by David Coggins

Stump The Westminster Kennel Club has awarded Best in Show since 1877, making it America’s longest continuously held sporting event, with the exception of the Kentucky Derby. And we always look forward to the big show, which begins Monday at Madison Square Garden. Everybody has their cherished memories—who can forget when announcer Joe Garagiola cheerfully remarked about a female dog trotting by, “look at that sprightly little bitch”? That’s a moment that just doesn’t comes along very often.

There are always controversies and curiosities and intriguing new breeds (this year we welcome the Rat Terrier). There are favorite dogs denied glory (Cinders, the dignified wire-haired Dachshund, was runner-up a few years back to a possibly alien Pomeranian). There are also, of course, unworthy victors (the infamous Banana Jack, from last year, may be the most upsetting winner in the history of organized sport). Then there are beloved legends, (Josh, the Newfoundland, Stump, the Sussex Spaniel, Hickory, the Scottish Deerhound) . These dogs are remembered longer than most NBC sitcoms.





The Ongoing Power of The Tie.

Jan 31st, 2014 | Categories: David Coggins, Style | by David Coggins

94174605TH0263.JPG

You’re forgiven if you didn’t realize the Brooklyn Nets were enjoying a bit of a renaissance—they’ve gone a cool 10-2 in January. Apparently, Jason Kidd, in his first season as coach, has become noticeably more relaxed. The New York Times noted yesterday that this goes beyond the team’s play, ‘From an aesthetic standpoint Kidd’s development includes a growing a considerable gray-flecked beard.” We always support beards in leadership roles, even among titans of finance (you can approve the beard and not approve the investment strategy).

The piece continues that in the current winning month Kidd has also forsaken wearing ties during games, and he looks pretty good without one. Still, our first thought was that this was another step down the path of informality—like the sad day when the 21 Club dropped their tie requirement at lunch.





ACL Appreciation: Francis Mallmann

Oct 7th, 2013 | Categories: David Coggins, Food | by David Coggins

Sea Bass

The master in New York, and in his element.

Man likes to cook over fire, that is his nature. Whether on a spit, fieldstone grill or Weber, he is predisposed to turn over a steak, rack of lamb, and maybe some salmon, eggplant, and, hey, why not peaches in season? He drinks while he does this, he enjoys the company of other men and properly feels that all is right with the world.

So we were very excited when grill maestro Francis Mallmann recently came to town to cook dinner at Reynard. The Argentinian, perhaps South America’s most famous chef, is author of Seven Fires: Grilling Argentine Way (Artisan). It’s a terrific book, even if you’re not planning to put a splayed lamb over a fire for seven hours this weekend.

Written with the stalwart New Yorker, Peter Kaminsky (himself a devoted fly fisherman), the book is filled with incredible photographs from Patagonia that are better than a Ralph Lauren mood board. Mallmann, who trained in classical French kitchens, has moved away from that refined technique in favor of the simple payoff of cooking over wood fires. The recipes are straightforward enough, but the judgment that comes from experience is key, especially if you’re going to cook a salmon under a bank of coals.