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Posts posted by madziast

  1. My guess is that restaurant owner misunderstand the purpose of a web site. They approach it with the mindset that they need to create an atmosphere reminiscent of the restaurant itself. For this reason you end up with music and animations that attempt to evoke the place.

    it certainly depends on a person but i think many restaurateurs trust the designer to do the job and can be easily talked into crazy stuff - the designer may be young, a bit enthusiastic about showing off different skills, think they can charge more for extra features, etc. often, restaurant owners will hire a kid/friend/non-professional b/c it's cheaper. or they won't know how to stand up to the "creative" vision. this is mostly true of individual operators or people who are investors with other sources of income.

    there are tons of badly designed sites, usually b/c they are overdesigned in terms of graphics and elements, difficult to navigate, etc. i think we all agree that we want the basic info, menu, etc. with no flash or similarly annoying features/extras. when i worked at a restaurant a few years ago, i was put in charge of creating their website, which was built by the owner's son's friend - luckily he was pretty good and just starting out as a web designer (he's since turned it into a business). he had a sense of style of the place and was able to translate it into a website, not all designers can.

    but there is no denying that restaurant owners can have very strong opinions on what they want and the designer is ultimately hired to do a job and if that's what the client wants, more often than not, the client will get it.

    that said, i never have sound on when i websurf (unless i'm listening to something intentionally) b/c i find all sounds annoying -- i wasn't even AWARE that so many restaurant websites feature music. :laugh:

    why don't more sites have an able/disable sound option on their homepage rather than sound automatically on?

  2. Without getting specific there's a certain waiter at a restaurant here in Seattle who, after bringing the dish that you ordered to the table, proceeds to point at each component that makes up the dish.

    does he point to each component with his pinkie hovering dangerously closely to the food?

    hate! hate! hate!

  3. My pet peeve is a bit more sweeping than the ones I've seen listed so far. 

    It's the urge of servers, managers, restaurant workers, and those familiar with the restaurant business to force the lingo on people who, unless they have worked in food service, have a hard time understanding what the hell the conversation is about.  'Two-top'?  No one who is paying a hundred bucks a person (and owns half of the buildings downtown) wants to have that explained to them.  The most important person in the dialog is the one paying to eat and drink, even if it is me.  Just like being touched on the arm in a fancy restaurant (shudder), it ruins the fantasy of the whole thing.  The diner is important, happy, rich, pretty, whatever.  I think everyone, at least in the beginning of the diner/restaurant relationship, wants to feel special, like they are being served. 

    If it's ten dollars an ounce on my plate, it ain't 'foie'.  Seriously, I'll make it $11 if I can get a 'gras'.

    :laugh: agree about the foie.

    whatever happened to "deuce"?

  4. had an outrageously good meal at Michael Mina early Sept. - 2 different tasting menus, very accommodating kitchen, extras when we we inquired about something of interest. had a fantastic server who made it all happen - the evening did not start auspiciously with an excessively long wait for our table despite reservations (almost an hour), pissy bartender with little talent for making drinks as we waited, jetlag and a major anniversary. the wine recommendation from the sommelier was decent but we expected more fireworks and they forgot to serve the little truffles filled with ice cream (?) at the end (we were the last to leave, had 9 or 10 courses, not counting amuse/petit fours). and yet, it was one of my favorite meals of the year because once we sat down, they really made an effort throughout the evening and the food was excellent.

    other meals on the trip included zuni, campton place, fifth floor and slanted door (we were in SF 2 days only and had to stay downtown close to the hotel). of those, zuni was the biggest disappointment as we had had better meals there before. fifth floor was as good as before and both campton place and slanted door were very good. already decided to try Quince and A16 next time but i'll be sure to check this and any other SF thread before making plans.

  5. paninis

    veg, veggies

    vegetarian diet does NOT include fish or chicken (but it might dairy)

    not ordering meat does NOT make one vegetarian or on some punishing diet where only steamed vegetables are allowed. and with no salt or any seasoning(earth to San Domenico)

    if i order foie gras followed by tofu, don't roll your eyes and make faces

    if i order a vegetarian meal on the plane, do not tell me i'm not allowed to have a snickers bar afterwards b/c "it's not very vegetarian" of me (disapproving BA flight attendant)

    don't serve an older red "cellar temperature" if my cheese has already arrived and can't enjoy them more or less together (especially if you promote yourself as a serious wine lovers' destination)

    aaahhhhhh, that felt good! :biggrin:

  6. [i bought a fair amount of stuff from Kee for corporate gifting over the holidays and noticed a lot more pinholes in the molds than normal. This is no doubt due to the much higher than normal volume of production, but it's hitting everything dead on day in and day out that separates merely very good from the great. Kee is very good at what she does, but she's not in the company of people the likes of Hevin, Bernachon, and Linxe, among others.


    the week of xmas, Kee was closed for retail, just filling holiday orders. of course, i would love nothing more than for the store to be tiny and all chocolates crafted personally by Kee with adequate time and attention but i imagine it's hard to make a living this way. i mean, how many $1.75 chocolates do you have to make--and sell-- to cover your business and living expenses? not to mention the fact that there is a constant traffic into the store, people chatting with her (i'm certainly guilty of that), etc., which takes time from her chocolate making. it's still just her and she still makes the chocolates herself. i know that it's been hard for her to find good help and it's only been in recent months that i have seen a steady presence of one or two assistants.

    from what i've seen, holidays at Kee's are like Valentine's Day at a restaurant - totally packed, tripling or quadrupling regular business. i don't think she sacrifices much quality (although with volume vs. resources it's unavoidable) but there is also the element of exhaustion - one starts missing bits here and there. i have no doubt that she is overextended at high volume times but i think that it's part of growing pains - getting to the next step where she has adequate space and help to stay as close to perfection as she usually does. i hear she'll be closed mondays in January, good first step to recover.

    and when she's not so overwhelmed with basic survival efforts, i hope she will have more time to experiment with new flavors. as i'm eating my Thai chili chocolate, i think she will continue to have something special to offer and grow as chocolatier. maybe having an investor would speed it up.

  7. I routinely walked out with some of the oversized glassware they used for specialty drinks at a restaurant/disco in NYC.  I

    ahahahaahha reminds me of a friend who decided to drink herself a set of festive margarita glasses. i forgot the name of the place, but the guests were supposed to take the margarita glasses with them as a souvenir. ok, so it's not exactly about pilfering b/c the guests received the glasses but the "oversized glassware" reminded me of her and how she drank 6 margaritas for a nice set for a party and got so drunk she tripped and broke all the glasses... :wacko:


    ok, now for a pilfering story - i never ever took anything myself but when i was very young (and stupid), i once went on a date with a guy who decided that stealing salt & pepper shakers would help him win my heart. i didn't protest - alcohol was involved and i didn't even think he'd do it. well, he did and i felt very, very guilty afterwards - i should have stopped him. i think i've given the restaurant more business than it deserves since...

    ps my mom LOVED the set, ahem, which is why i still go to the restaurant and always order lots of wine and extras, esp. after i visit my mom...

  8. enjoying the passion fruit as i type. coconut and black sesame are waiting patiently for their turn. i can probably count days sans Kee's chocolates in the past year and a half on my fingers. ok, possibly toes, too. my point is - i've eaten her chocolates almost every day for well over a year now. it is my absolute favorite but i don't love all the flavors and i don't expect to. i have never thought that flavors obscured the taste of chocolate, i actually enjoy the combinations and think they add rather than overpower. even now, after the passionfruit is gone, there is still chocolate aftertaste with a little tang from passionfruit. i did, on occasion, experience a bit of graininess in the texture, which i think happens when they are very busy and her assistants are more involved in the production. the batch bought on monday is beautifully smooth but one right before Thanksgiving had a couple of grainy ones.

    next time, if there is next time, try the champagne and creme brulee (no ganache, just cream). and the turtles, the turtles!

  9. I loved the Executive Chef in Blue jeans, with a green t shirt out in the dining room. Also his constant attitude that they won't like it. :wink:  :rolleyes:

    because, you know, given the chance most people would rather eat deep-fried sh*te with microwaved rice/sauce than anything fresh made from scratch and god forbid grilled...

    what kind of a hell kitchen did the "executive chef" come from????

  10. Ya-Roo, do MoMA members get any break on the prices at The Modern?

    i wish! but we do get 10% off at Kate's Paperie, Blue Note, Gattopardo across the street and La Vuelta Bistro Latino in Long Island City... :wacko:

    Bond Girl, what's the price for dinner?

  11. Such a relief to see that a few of the people condemning Rocco actually took the time to listen to his show and that a few others are even defending the guy.

    I'm throwing my chips in with the latter. I listen to the show regularly and I've learned so much from it in the short time that Rocco has been permanent host.

    astrayacorazon, if you think Rocco's improved since he started on the show, i may listen to the show again. i listened regularly in the beginning but got really bored and later annoyed with the show. he didn't listen to the callers, cut them off to say something "brilliant," didn't answer their questions or when he tried to Mamma would have to step in to say how to fix a specific cooking problem. he generally made an ass of himself, not to mention the "i'm-so-cute-you-have-to-forgive-me" act. stopped listening after two weeks

    if that was just lack of experience and nervousness in front of the mike and now he's gotten better, more informative, etc., i might try again

    (by the way, the new wine guy Fred Price is the sommelier at Union Pacific)

  12. latest Rocco distinction - he's in Dec. 2004 GQ's "Men of the Year" issue....except he's in the "men we want to smack" section.

    They describe him as "canceled cook," smack for "thinking that reality-TV fame would obscure the fact that his restaurant was nothing more than an overpriced Olive Garden" and believe he deserves another - "What else can you give the increasingly jowly egomanical chef who has it all?"

    ouch!! he's in quite a company:

    Smarty Jones, loser

    Bill O'Reilly, partisan talk-show host, alleged loofah user

    Cornelius Horan, defrocked priest, spoiler (disrupted Olympic marathon in Athens)

    that's all the names i remeber

  13. I also liked the Pizocheri, although I prefer it baked a bit with a little crustiness (like my wife makes it). It was a bit soft and slippery, perhaps that's what Bruni was commenting on.

    mmmm....baked with a little crust - David, this sounds delicious!!! drop me a note next time your wife makes it :wink:

  14. wow, can count on you guys to expand my remedy file, hahahahaaa

    here's a cough syrup recipe, courtesy of Jack Daniel's great-grand niece: stick a candy cane into a bottle of Jack, it will dissolve in about an hour, at which point its ready. refrigerate and use as needed. haven't tried it yet myself but will at the next opportunity :biggrin:

  15. agree with Bruni on the duck carbonara - bland and a letdown (although i didn't think it was pretentious, just underwhelming and unsuccessful). disagree on the savoy cabbage pasta with taleggio, mine was delicious! full of flavor and textures playing off each other, cheesy, garlicky and rich but not overpowering the cabbage or potatoes wonderful on a cold night with red wine. two other great pastas - beet ravioli with poppy seeds (trust me, i was suspicious myself but they have the right sweetnes to them) and the wild greens pansoti in walnut sauce.

    also had an excellent octopus salad with fingerlings, beans and pine nuts. nicely charred octopus, just right and not gelatinous or too chewy. crudo was pretty good each kind beautifully arranged on a small dish, all of which were set on a large one - fluke with fried capers and pink peppercorns, tuna loin with olive compote, giant clam with breakfast radishes and toro with green beans? (well, that's what my notes say). fluke was my most favorite, toro the least. the crudo is "chef's choice of the day," reminicent of Esca where chef de cuisine was before. pretty goof but not transporting. toro deserved better.

    fresh, creamy mozzarella di buffala came with peach compote, balsamic, olive oil, tomato essence and basil water, each accompaniment in a separate little dish sort of like a tv dinner tray, with mozzarella the "main". almost like a deconstructed caprese, plus the peach.

    grouper with cauliflower and raisins was pretty good (mother-in-law loved it despite always proseffing not to like "fussy" food. she also coudn't get enough of the peach compote that came with mozzarella)

    good cheese selection, i liked the comparison of different age parmiggiano. tried only one dessert - a nut dumpling with grappa and cinnamon ice. the petit fours are delicious, esp. the cornmeal dimond-shaped cookies from northern Italy (i think they are called zaletti and sometimes have raisins in them but I don't remember whether Abboccato's did or not).

    sommelier recommended a very nice $57 bottle of 2002 Dorigo Schiopettino one night, which went well with the pastas. another day we tried a number of their wine by the glass.

    i do think that Abboccato is a little pricey (portion size very restrained) but realize that it's the real estate. don't love the heavy sales pitch of " a traditional Italian meal" of antipasti, pasta, main and dessert. i'll be perfectly happy to go back and eat some pasta with wine at the bar. i liked the food for the most part. they do better when not trying to be too fussy. Bruni is right about that.

    ps - phlegmatic might refer to the appearance of melted (coagulating?) taleggio with bits of the cabbage etc. i don't think Bruni meant "weak," the taleggio is fairly assertive in smell and taste. also, the pasta is darker, not white. i wouldn't put it on the cover of Bon Appetit. but it IS delicious!

  16. chocophile, you hit it on the nail!! Kee's chocolates are the best - in any price category. always fresh, bright flavors. other favorites: champagne truffles, dark chocolate mango green tea mango, cappuccino and Thonpson with a layer of whipped cream over dark chocolate. and dark choc turtles. if you go, do it early in the day for the best selection (it's only her with one helper, she runs out of some flavors at times). she also takes phone orders - i couldn't get any chocolates this week, the store was not open as she was just filling holiday orders!

  17. On commercial food, all I have to say is that it's the sweetness in Hellman's mayonnaise more than anything else that keeps me from using it. Anyone who drinks a cola with its something like 13 teaspoons of sugar, with his meal, is hardly going to notice an extra spoonful of sugar in the food however. I suspect that even sweetened lemonade or iced tea is going to skew someone's tastebuds far away from those of someone who normally drinks water, wine, beer or unsweetened tea with meals.

    the sweetness in Hellman's makes it pretty inedible for me, too. I grew up on savory mayo, unsweetened tea, very little soda, ice cream, etc. and i definitely like less sweetness in my food (including desserts) than my american friends. i think that american diet encourages high tolerance for sugar, if not addiction. it starts early with frosted cereals, juices from concentrate, snacks and sodas, then on to processed foods. about time to declare war on high fructose corn syrup et al. even non-edibles take clue from all this sugar but i'd rather eat chocolate than bathe in it

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