Jesse Born is back at it again with a true show stopper. The Pi Box is his most extravagant and complex piece of work to date and embodies all of the skills he has learned up to now. Crafted from Mahogany, with a beautiful Curly Maple bottom and accents of Walnut and Purpleheart inside, the Pi Box is a nonagon which features nine individual slices of pie on the lid. Each pie wedge is decorated with Jesse’s homemade colorful geometric yosegi marquetry. Each corner is reinforced with splines and there are many small and elegant details. The box is a beautiful piece of artwork and can stand alone as a conversation piece. But the most remarkable part is the puzzle itself.
|Pi Box by Jesse Born|
The pieces of pie are all separated from one another in an expanded circle around the lid. Jesse provides one piece of instruction, which is that once all nine pieces are centered together, to create a complete and uncut pie on top, the box will open. It’s a helpful bit of information, although it becomes clear that this may be the goal fairly quickly. However, and not surprisingly, the slices of pie are not going to cooperate so easily. The lid is incredibly dynamic and even if you think you may have some idea of how it should work, getting there is not so simple. The box is precisely made, and demands that the steps be followed exactly, with no room for error or accidental success. The solution is truly marvelous, and it’s impressive how Jesse managed to make it work so well. In keeping with his prior boxes and style sense, once you have solved the puzzle and opened the box, there is a built in mechanism which allows you to disassemble the working elements and marvel at the construction and design. It’s another great touch on this decadent dessert.
|A pie in the sky idea Jesse brought to life|
We’re giving this delicious achievement the royal treatment here at Boxes and Booze by toasting it with a cocktail named after a king. King Kamehameha, to be precise, the legendary ruler of Hawaii who first united the islands together over two hundred years ago. Admittedly, it’s unlikely that King Kamehameha imbibed anything even close to his namesake cocktail, which was created for the Lono tiki bar in Hollywood by beverage director Michael Lay. The drink is a rich and decadent mix of four different rums (not unusual for tiki drinks, but always impressive), lots of citrus, the lightly bitter Italian aperitivo Aperol, pineapple, and passion fruit. If that sounds amazing to you, you’re not wrong. It’s so deliciously rich and flavorful, sipping on one poolside could be considered dangerous.
|King Kamehameha by Michael Lay|
Michael Lay’s creations are worth seeking out if you are in California, since he has developed the bar programs at a number of successful restaurants and bars in Los Angeles. His Faith and Flower Clarified Milk Punch, which won Esquire’s “Cocktail of the Year” award in 2014, is one of the most complicated cocktails I’ve ever made, and well worth the effort. Getting back to the present offering, Lay had been binge streaming old episodes of “Magnum P.I.” when he came up with the name for the King Kamehameha cocktail. It's also the name of the club where the characters in the show hang out. Now you can stop wondering why this drink is paired with the Pi Box - I know that was bothering you. Cheers!
|A tiki drink fit for a king|
KING KAMEHAMEHA by Michael Lay
¾ oz dark overproof rum, preferably Plantation OFTD rum
¾ oz aged Puerto Rican rum, preferably Bacardi 8
¾ oz Jamaican rum mix, preferably a blend of Smith & Cross and Appleton 12 (or Denizen Merchant)
1 oz Aperol
1 oz fresh lime
1 oz fresh orange
2 oz fresh pineapple (or sub syrup)
¾ oz passion fruit syrup
¾ oz honey syrup
Shake all ingredients together with ice and strain into a favorite glass full of ice. Fanciful fruit garnishes and tiny umbrellas required. Shoes optional.
|I'm pie eyed for this pair|
For more about Jesse Born:
For more about Michael Lay’s award winning Clarified Milk Punch: