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Posts posted by madziast

  1. Europeans, and I am one, accommodate their children's and guests food demands in a much more matter of fact manner.  As in, it never occurs to them to NOT give their guests what they want - even if it means whipping up something not originally planned.

    If an Italian made spaghetti carbonara and their guest didn't want/enjoy it, the Italian would most likely make either a plain pasta with, as you suggested, just parmigiano on it, ie. making it a "tamer" version of their original meal.  As a whole, it actually PLEASES the Europeans to accommodate requests as it makes them feel like they are giving their guests the best possible experience.

    definitely right. it's very important to give guests what they like, even if it wasn't originally planned. going extra mile for guests is perfectly normal--you want them to have a good time. "guest home--god home."

  2. Seriously though, I really don't have problems with guests...guests are voluntary and are easily dispatched (in the future) if they are problematic.  I have problems with family dining at my house.    They will keep coming back even if they experience eternal disappointment in what you cook for them.  It's this kind of 'repeat business' that feels thankless and beyond Sisyphean.

    And in my family, if I don't host, the others will invariably try to 'host' at a restauant.  I'm sorry, I love restaurants, but not for family gatherings and/or important holidays.  What's that line...?  the only thing my mother knows how to make for dinner is reservations.  That pretty much sums it up.


    ah, yes, the distinction btwn family and friends. explains a lot. but the family is there to get on your nerves, non? i always tell them they can have a sandwich... but even my mother, with her myriad stomach problems (relfux, indigestion, no fat, etc.), managed to enjoy meals at San Domenico, Firebird, Atlas, etc. plus Paris restaurants at Xmas (foie gras left and right). she just took her pills, laid off most of the foie gras, wine and cheese, and proceeded cautiously with the dessert (except for the bottomless bowl of chocolate mousse at L'Ambassade d'Auvergne).

  3. taking it easy--salad of tomatoes, onions and lettuce picked up at a farm in upstate NY with some soy beans and olive oil-sherry vinegar vinaigrette with fresh herbs. and some mosel riesling. started way early on the riesling...

  4. .... but there will be many more folks (who are not close to the world of food) who will now fill his restaurants and watch every minute of every one of his tv appearances.  ......

    I agree with you completely. Rocco's is going to be just another place to go on a certain type of tourist's list. It'll be up there with Hard Rock Cafe, FAO Schwartz and Macy's. Rocco's will survive, but only because tourists will eat there thinking they're getting a real NY dining experience.

    i don't think they are even after "a real NY dining experience"--they just want to go to a place that was on TV--'cause if it's not on TV, it may very well not exist in this culture....

  5. I see it alot with my non-European friends where they tell their children/guests that they'll eat what's on the table, or not at all.  Whereas Europeans tend to bend over backwards to make whatever their kids/guests wants to eat -- even if it's not the menu.

    Really?! That's not been my observation. Rather quite the opposite.

    i agree. having grown up in europe, i always ate what was offered, without substitutions. also, although children may havwe eaten at a separate table (yes, kids' table), we were served the same food as adults, not kiddie food (e.g. pasta with butter and/or parmigiano). no kids' menus at restaurants either. also, as children, we were taught how to use proper utensils and how to use them properly. and how to eat certain dishes (e.g. unfiletted fish). none of the "cut up all your food on a plate and eat it with your fist wrapped around the fork." i think that's the most surprising thing for me in terms of eating out in the US, even at 4-star restaurants I see ppl eating in a way only children under 3 would be allowed. as children, my brother and i were offered champagne when we asked to partake in new year's celebrations. we hated it, added sugar and poured it into the toilet. must have been around 12.

    for the record, my mother was a single mother of 2 and a teacher, we were relatively poor; hardly a snooty background.

  6. But seriously, when I am on the 'guest end' of this equation, I'd never give any instructions to my hosts.  That's why I have the same expectation when I am the host.  I do accomodate and I'm often happy to do it (*whispers* we have vegetarians in my family) but I'd never make any special requests of a person who is inviting me over and doing a lot of work already to make it happen.


    ron, what kind of utopian world do you live in? the fact that you don't make any demands will not stop others...

  7. Along with the Boorstin book (which is very crucial), read some of Marshall McLuhan's writings. The author of "The Medium is the Message" line wrote extensively about how feeling has replaced form in Western Society. In other words it wasn't what you said, but how you said it.

    It goes hand and hand with  - "What's more important - perception or reality?" Volumes could be written about that subject.

    i better get on with Boorstin and McLuhan 'cause i don't get American media at all. then again, i didn't grow up here. what about Bagdikian's The Media Monopoly from the early '80s? man, this kir is going down really well

  8. Bob "The Publicist's Friend" Lape is "reliable" , alright. Reliably worthless.  Makes Sheldon "Eat For Free" Landwehr in the Post look like Pulitzer-bait.

    :laugh: , i almost spilled my kir over the keyboard reading this. shouldn't sheldon retire, seeing how every other chef uses too much salt for his taste? :laugh:

    bob lape seems to be on target with a number of places, although a lot of time i'm mystified by the places he reviews (why review the tri-state area? isn't it called Crains NEW YORK????),. then again, grimes reviewed man ray for crying out loud!!! (and he plays favorites.) i though i was the only one reading sheldon these days!


    can we have a peed-in-my-pants emoticon please

  9. ah, good riddance. pardon my naivete, but do female restaurant patrons really stick their tongues out at waiters? do they stroke the waiters' faces and fondle them? i eat out a lot but, damn... cringe, cringe; turned it off early. thank god it's over. i'll miss this thread but certainly not the show--new lows in "reality tv." and thank you but no, thank you on another season

  10. has anyone seen Sept. issue of Gourmet yet? it's a "special television issue"... i'm not kidding! interesting behind-the-scenes article on the show, "Get Real" by Christian Wright, followed by a short tiny "review" by Jay Cheshes, the new NYC restaurant reviewer. The article repeats many sentiments voiced on the thread (contrieved, edited by tv suits, product placement, manipulation and not paying the staff), plus more dirt (keeping inept employees on staff for the cameras as they were "recurring characters" and telling other hires they'd start once the cameras were gone). Don't want to spoil all your reading fun, esp. what rocco had to say, but there is a great description of the casting/staffing process that i can't resist quoting here:

    "...the show's director is trolling the rows[of aplicants] for "professional prospects" and sending them to the head of the line.

    Once a prospective server, say, or sommelier makes it past the psychologist at the first table, he is rewarded with an edible necklace from Dylan's Candy Bar and advances to Table 2. There, co-executive chef David Coleman and general manager LAurent Saillard, DiSpirito loyalists, along with a story-line producer from the TV production side, interview applicants." psychologist? edible necklace rewards??? :laugh:

    and so it goes.

    from Jay Cheshes:

    "Rocco DeSpirito's (sic!) new restaurant serves food that seems to have been test-marketed for mass appeal. His good, if unremarkable, interpretations of Italain American classis taste like better versions of what you might find at the Olive Garden."

    He talks about some dishes (mixed appeal) and ends on this note: "Your best bets are the most straighforward dishes on the menu-peppery wild arugula salad, sea salt-sprinkled crudo, and simply grilled trout, porgy, and sea bass. In the end, though, devoid of the producer-picked crowds and given its fairly uninspiring food, Rocco's is likely to become just another big, half-empty Manhattan restaurant."

    the issue also contains "Reality Check" of 13 chefs with tv shows--basically valentines to them with the occasional delicate slap (ming tsai's blue ginger, puck's spago)--not a reality check at all!!! i'm not saying the restaurants are bad but it seems that the writer(s? no reviewer names provided) recite general, rote positive things about the restaurants and chefs without getting a real sense of the food and place.

    only one of them (cafe annie in tx) mentioned the name of the chef who actually cooks there in the shade of the star. in case of felidia, the reviewer says that "i'is safe to assume [Lidia] is not in the kitchen," yet does not investigate who's behind the wonderful food. too bad, missed opportunity to give credit to the guys (and gals) sweating in the kitchen to keep the stars on tv and the customers happy. "celebrity chefs" rely on these people for their reputation, wouldn't hurt to admit that.

  11. had lunch and dinner there and while lunch was decent, dinner was definitely underwhelming. was encouraged to order a la carte (instead of the regular 3-course dinner for $72)--FLEECED because the meal provided offered none of the fireworks i expected (Food & Wine mag's raising star etc., grimes' valentine of a review). when asked, the maitre 'd explained that the angel pasta app (less than a small egg worth of pasta) had sea urchin AND a quail egg on it, which jacked the price up to $28 (we're talking an app--and we ate in the lounge area, not the dining room, we didn't want a 3-course meal) . i'd rather have a BOWL of sea urchin "carbonara" with pasta, chicken egg and sea beans at Tocqueville for $16--roughly 4 times the size and sometimes served in a large CA sea urchin shell. the chefs on egullet will know what less than a handfull of pasta with 3 pieces of sea urchin (i regularly get more at esca in the shell for crudo) and a quail egg--plus a couple of crushed peppercorn--would cost. other dishes were equally unexciting and overpriced (another app ran $32 for crayfish and mushrooms, also miniscule and bland). i found it highly insensitive. the chef did not feel like talking to us. but the biggest problem was that it was bland and boring. it is just as upsetting to spend $5 on a bad meal as it is $500. i'm not a big fan of jean georges's restaurants but you should fare better there. ironically, Atelier's chef Gabriel Kreuther was chef de cuisine at Jean Georges for a long-time chef

  12. ^^^ I can’t help but wonder if they had actually come clean what would have happened.

    We’ve all scammed the boss in our “youth” and I think it would have been more riveting t.v. had one of them said, “Chef, yeah there was a fight – no there was no hospital. I’m stressed, tired and choked about work right now and took 4 weeks of frustration out on 1 night of drinking.

    It wasn’t smart and it shouldn’t have affected you to the level it did. Won't happen again.”

    but then he coudn't have come across all morally superior. obviously somebody knew what was going on because there were cameras when they were talking about quitting and it was NOT at the restaurant. yet another twist in the story. what, line cooks drink, don't shop up for work and lie???? that's news? they forgot to show the lines of coke. yep, this stuff still goes on.

    interesting question--what would have happened if they had told the truth? bu the way, i'd imagine line cook would take the job hoping to work with rocco--IN the kitchen

  13. greenmarket red and yellow tomato salad with shallots and parsley (evoo from outside of rome and sherry vinegar from a trip to barcelona)

    garlic-rosemary marinated portobello caps with sauteed swiss chard (greek evoo, peperoncino, onion)

    1999 Zobinger Gaisberg Riesling, Hirsch (Austria)

    caught "Iris" on tv, too. have to say "Iris" was the weakest of the combo

  14. Aside from the Bourdain/Ripert My Dinner with André routine, the show really came to a grinding bore of rehashed material. It wasn't funny, it wasn't sad and it wasn't insulting. It was boring.

    yawn yawn, you're completely right. get an amex loan to pay the staff, :rolleyes: .

    the staff interaction seemed more real and engaging, esp. when it was about them relating to each other and about something else than the restaurant (waitress and cook romance; the kitchen staff having to cover for the 3 who didn't show up) than them relating to and about rocco. perhaps it would have been a lot better and more interesting show without rocco and product placement but then you'd be taking the show's raison d'etre away...

    my favorite part though must be rocco sitting down with the guests, forgetting to put orders in, kissing girls and sporting lipstick as he "waited on tables" and "trailed" the new best waiter in the house :laugh:

  15. you should check out http://www.toptable.co.uk/index.cfm (similar to opentable.com here) for restaurant deals. a lot of restaurants will have great deals--some special promotions, other regular lunch prix fixe menus that are good (even great) bargains. some promotions i've seen will let you pay what you believe is fair for the meal (food only), e.g. Mju.

    i'm not sure what you are looking for but the best way to try high-end restaurants is to do it at lunch. i liked foliage in the mandarin oriental, their 3-course lunch prix fixe was about 20 pounds in Dec. gordon ramsey at the claridges has a lunch prix fixe for 35 pounds (3 courses), both wonderful. the cinnamon club is a fantastic indian restaurant (fusion-y), upscale but not outrageous. also saw deals at pied a terre, nahm (out-of-this-world thai). for more traditional and even less expensive indian, try vama. london is not a cheap town to eat in, pubs and ethnic restaurants are better bets for inexpensive dinners.

    good luck and let us know where you go!

  16. Yes, BN is Barnes and Noble.  Actually, it was the assistant manager who kicked us out.  Something about we shouldn't be laughing so loud in the cookbooks section as we were browsing through their copies of "Intercourses"

    he he, reminds me of a cartoon i saw a few years ago--a little bookstore, two wiseguys coming in and the shop asst sayion to the owner in the back: Messrs Barnes & noble to see you...

  17. How's about a telling little rant from Rocco's former wine steward, a guy who had high hopes for the restaurant and "The Restaurant" and  who is utterly disillusioned and humiliated with the outcome of the latter?

    you don't mean Fred, do you? he's th ewine dir. at Union pacific and a very nice guy. i was surprised to see him training Rocco's staff, but then again the Union Pacific connection...

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