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Posts posted by wattacetti

  1. "Months away" places this event some time in the November/December/January time frame, no? You may actually be able to take advantage of holiday availability in this case, especially on items that either started frozen or can be frozen without seriously impacting on its quality.

    If it's January the challenge becomes "what will they eat because everyone thinks they're fat".

    Shark's a nice idea especially when you go around and tell people that you're serving "tiburon"

  2. I'm reading Steven's comments re: perception of cheap ingredients and he's right.

    BUT, if you intentionally and openly state that the event is going to show the fun stuff that you can do with inexpensive ingredients, then sky's the limit.

  3. Pork tongue, beef kidney and beans could probably play a really nice role in this dinner but that depends on the crowd you're catering for. If they're squeamish, you'd be doing a whole lot of camouflage.

    I used to work with oxtail until James MacGuire mentioned in the local paper that it's an ingredient he uses to enrich beef stock (prices went up afterwards).

    Pork belly is always good ($3-4/lb at an Asian grocer). Ditto quails which usually run about $1.50 each if you shop around. I can sometimes get whole ducks for under $2/lb so that gives up meat, fat and fond right there. Fish-wise, farmed Atlantic salmon like you and I can occasionally get blue marlin on the cheap.

    On the vegetable side, that sort-of depends on the time of the year and this is where things will really change for your menu planning. It's going to be root vegetables soon if one stays with local produce though various cabbages stay reasonable. Same with certain Asian ones though the foot-long "baby bok choy" isn't a bargain (tastes bad too).

    Starch: there's always the potato. Quinoa is relatively cheap as are Puy lentils. I'm also experimenting with amaranth though I haven't found an application I'm happy with yet.

  4. Wow - THIS is impressive. I definitely bow to your organizational greatness (makes my 66 portion tasting menu output seem so small and insignificant).

    That comment about your husband having a little too much time on his hands… aren't you the one who made six shapes of meatballs for a group of 150?

  5. If what Colicchio is implying is true---that a person can only put themselves in a dish if it's from the cuisine of their own ethnic group---then Rick Bayless is in a heck of a lot of trouble.  Somebody better tell Bayless to start melting some Velveeta over those Mexican dishes, or nothing he cooks will have any "soul"!!

    I never heard him say that!

    I was stunned when I heard the comment and replayed the episode a couple of times just to be sure of what Colicchio said:

    "You are technically the best chef up here. Technically. We don't see you in the food at all. You were born in Vietnam. [Hung: 'yes Chef'] I don't see any of that in your food. Somewhere we need to see Hung. We really do."

    Bit colonial there. Apart from that, the implication of this comment and constant insinuation of the lack of soul/heart is particularly bothersome since it seems to be a comment that keeps getting trotted out whenever an Asian kid is better at something than his/her peers. And I don't buy Bourdain's explanation either.

  6. Or you can also think of getting some of that artisanal sake from Granville Island.

    I'd throw in some of the St. Hubertus whites in as a suggestion. What else would accompany your fish since that's also going to throw the pairing.

  7. Thanks to all who have replied. I already do the Moore Bros thing because I want to have something interesting to drink when I sit around and shoot the breeze (also too many corked bottles at the hotel).

    Have already tried Tortilla Press but will propose the other suggestions and hope for the best.

  8. Beverages still are so you're still stuck buying water at the usual usurious pricing found at all airports. Food without sauce makes it through; I have seen them confiscate the little soy packages and there will be times where you won't get anything gloopy through.

    I have hard crackers, mixed nuts high-grade chocolate, fruit with peels (mostly oranges or grapefruit) and sometimes jerky if I'm doing a series of hops. The latter two get ditched if I need to cross a border, but I use those lovely system-wide upgrade certificates and avoid American carriers if I'm doing long-haul. Food in the front of the plane is getting better.

  9. I am off to southern NJ again and the chain restaurant hell that colleagues seem to insist upon is making me cranky.

    Going to Philadelphia isn't an option because we're on per diems that don't cover parking in the city (yah, we're being cheap). So, we're stuck on the other side of the river.

    Does anyone have any good suggestions for dinner across the river from the City of Brotherly Love? A place with a reasonable wine list (e.g. not entirely populated by bottles under $10/bottle at the supermarket) would be nice because well, we're powered by booze when we do these meetings.

  10. Good retailers and suppliers will be able to steer you to the better stuff and away from crapware. However it also depends on what you're looking for and what you feel you want.

    I spend an inordinate amount of time looking for something white, thin and luminous, which turned out to be considerably harder than I thought.

  11. I have a Bordelais friend who would probably be screaming "infanticide!" right now. Pretty sure the bottles in that case are pretty closed down, but if he offered, give it a go.

    I am looking forward to your finished photos.

  12. I think I read somewhere that a "reverse pressure cooker" has already been developed and is already in use in at least a couple of commercial kitchens.

    Dropping the psi so that water "boils" at low temperatures allows the food to come out the other end essentially raw but having picked up lots of flavor along the way from everything else that was in that pot.

    I can think of a couple of things I'd like to do with this, but currently both involve fish and meats and serving everything raw just for the curiosity factor.

    If you are interested in trying this, post your endeavors and your results (hopefully with photos).

  13. Interesting, and congratulations by the way.

    I see that the ratatouille foam and the petit fours didn't make the final cut, and you changed the foie preps. Probably some other tweaks but I can't really tell from the V2 menu description and the final product. You also served a proper cheese plate (good for you! and your guests).

    Wine pairings?

  14. A regionally-sourced ode to oink: works for me.

    You're going to eat with the club? Feasible so long as you stick to KISS and are really good at time management and logistics. Desserts and cheese are pre-fab so your biggest worry is making and plating the pork.

    Any other vegetables in mind?  That is one place I feel a lack in this draft of the menu.

    "You don't make friends with salad." But seriously that 's one place to flesh out a bit and the amuse is a nice place to start.

    I see kale and chard as more of a side because most of the stuff available to me is mature plant so not that great to use as an amuse unless you wrap the stuff around something. If you can get tender (young) chard you can incorporate that into a couple of things (spring roll variant as an example).

    Butternut soup gives you lots of leeway and it's a make-ahead item so nothing problematic there. That pancetta idea sounds really good.

    Depending on how you're going to plate up and how large of a portion you're planning, I can get 2 or 3 useable portions out of a single tenderloin so you're looking at doing 5 or 6 to make certain. Do you need a vegetable with this? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on you: I've done this with just a starch and whatever sauce I was whipping up, and I've also done this with just vegetables and no starch. See what's coming up at the market and make your decision then.

    Don't suppose there's a way to get some crackling into your menu somewhere?

    And will there be photos and plenty of wine?

  15. I have been routinely doing this this year. Acquisitions so far include various All-Clad and Calphalon One pans, OXO corn zippers, Shun knives, potato ricer. Also buy a lot of computer gear (e.g. brand-name 750 GB external hard disks can be had for $129). Not much activity on the cookbook front: I usually get those from Amazon.ca since the associated shipping cost generally kills off an US-based savings.

    Don't do food: hard to carry on an airplane.

    I try and support local retailers even though Canadian pricing is higher. However, Best Buy is on both sides of the border (and they own Future Shop) so the computer side's essentially irrelevant. For cooking-related materials I really despise the owners of the two local major kitchen supply shops so I'm more than happy to not give them my money. The restaurant supply houses are okay for some of the things I need, but I'm generally not in the market for an 80 gallon stock pot.

    I do continue to mail-order from D.A. Niels in your neck of the woods (they're nice).

  16. fedelst - how anonymous do you think a critic can be in Montreal?

    I don't work in the trade and I know what Lesley and Beauchemin look like (ditto Tastet, but he's no longer writing for Voir). I even knew how to spot Helen Rochester in a crowd even though she apparently went through some lengths to conceal her identity.

    A party of 3 or 4 that orders almost everything on the menu, swaps plates throughout the meal and pays in cash. Unless your FOH are walking brainstems or amateurs press-ganged into service, the orders and the plate swapping are pretty good giveaways.

    I also don't think that the sucking up actually happens as often as you might think. I wouldn't want to be the restauranteur who visibly lavishes attention on one table to the detriment of everyone else who came in. That kind of negative reaction gets around pretty fast.

  17. It's now 4:50p or so EST on 15-Sep-2007, which if my P990 is to be believed, is now about 5:50a HK time 16-Sep-2007.

    By now Sher.eat's tasting menu has completed (unless it's actually tonight and not Saturday night). Anyone else curious about how it went and whether she served a real cheese plate? I for one would love to hear the comments from her guests as well as her impressions of pulling of a multi-component meal.

  18. I somewhat doubt that my demo would be pinned even if it had been posted as a pictorial: can't see everyone rushing to make boneless chicken bags.

    I will definitely find some time to try the Beijing offering, since it'll be another alternative.

    I find that our waves manage to co-exist because each establishment (if it's strong enough) will carve a niche, often with very little overlap with any of its competitors. However, we do forget about them, which is really too bad.

  19. How did you do on deboning those chickens by the way?

    Anyway, I can't see the same NY-style noodle war happening here. Part of it is what we have as "competitors" and part of it is just Montreal's general population.

    We have multiple outlets of Zyng, Just Noodles, Soupe et Nouilles, Thai Express (in the food courts) and a variety of standalone places. None of them (to me) are particularly good and they try and do pretty much the same thing: multiple noodle offerings of the lowest common denominator for the lowest price possible. Inexpensive yes, good no.

    The pho shops didn't change a thing when any of these new competitors and for a while the only place you could order a bowl of ramen was the Sakura Gardens (soon to be in the Katsura spot).

    I also have the impression that Montreal generally sees noodles as a low-end item to gulp and go, and the majority of the population does not see (or care about) the nuances of a good bowl of the stuff. Our short attention span also means that we have a very nasty tendency to move on to the next big thing about 4-5 months after the current big thing is open.

    The last "competition" if you could call it that was the explosion of chef-owned establishments 2-3 years ago after the success of Brunoise and Le Bouchon de Liège. In terms of an ethnic style, I'd say that the last competition were the Latin-inspired openings of Jolifou (French and Mexican), Raza (Nuevo Latino), Pinxto (tapas) and currently Madre (casual Nuevo Latino). That wasn't much of a competition - all of them coexist and all do pretty well, but we don't exactly talk about them, do we?

  20. At last look there were still bottles available of Clos Jordanne's Claystone Terrace and Clos Jordanne available in the SAQ inventory (Le Grand Clos sold out). In Ontario I think you're SOL, since LCJ's production has been significantly hyped (good luck though).

    Right now, the Chardonnays are a better at each price point than the Pinot Noirs; could change as the PN vines get a bit older.

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