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Everything posted by mikeycook

  1. Sorry, forgot to include the format. Round slices only.
  2. In Manhattan, we have a few good options, including Broadway Panhandler (I only mention them because they are down the street from me. Others may stand by Bridge Kitchenware or another store). Actually, however, my favorite kitchen store is Fantes in Philadelphia. I have never been in person, but I love to order from their web site. I usually send my copper there to be re-tinned and I find their product selection to be much better for certain items (particularly copper) than Williams-Sonoma or Sur-la-Table (or many of my NYC options).
  3. I say get a nice leaf lard from someplace like Flying Pigs Farm, render it yourself, and live it up.
  4. I would personally recommend cider vinegar over other varieties (it's the New Englander in me), plus salt (preferably fleur de sel) and pepper.
  5. Is that true? Is that how the awards work? I am surprised because Sparks has been a Grand Award winner every year since 1981. Why would they suddenly not want the award?
  6. mikeycook

    Fig ideas?

    Stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in proscuitto, drizzled with honey and baked until warmed through.
  7. What kind of dough is it? What are you making?
  8. The thread on steakhouses made me think of a question I've had for a couple of weeks. I reviewing the list of award winners in the latest Wine Spectator restaurant issue and noticed that Sparks was conspicuously absent. I know Sparks was a Grand Award winner for a number of years, but it does not appear in the issue at all. I looked on the web site to see if it was an omission from the print issue only and couldn't find it there either. Does anyone know what happened to their WS award?
  9. Just got The Summer Shack Cookbook by Jasper White for my birthday. Great read so far including a lot of material that is not in his other books (if you put all of his cookbooks together, it's hard to imagine there is an aspect of New England seafood that isn't covered.) Doesn't include all of his Summer Shack recipes, as many of those were in previous cookbooks (like Lobster at Home or Cooking from New England), but there are many more in this one that seem worth trying.
  10. Personally, I avoid Carmine's and have for years. It has nothing to do with the food and everything to do with the wait and the attitude of the hosts while you wait. To me, it is not worth it, no matter who is paying. That being said, I've enjoyed the food when I've gone.
  11. I prefer a Nathan's skinless dog w/kraut, pickle relish and brown mustard. If not grilling, I will do them on a cast iron skillet, rolling them continuously. Recently, in a hedonistic mood, I covered some pan grilled dogs in buns w/bechamel and Gruyere and put them under the broiler. Not sure what to call it (Croque Chien?), but it sure was tasty (knife and fork definitely required).
  12. I agree on the Santoku. I bought a 7" for my wife, a Henckel, like my chef's knives. I find the problem to be less the shape of the knife and most a problem of the size of the knife. I am used to my 10" (sometimes I use a 12") and even my 8" seems small by comparison. As such, 7" is a real stretch, especially when you are used to having the largest part closest to the grip. To use a basketball analogy, for me it's a "tweener". It is not large enough to use as I could use my chef's knife, but not small enough or delicate enough to do the work of my other knives (paring knife and boning knife, in particular. Once in a while I will use it to chop some herbs, but even then I using more of a rocking motion than the motion I use with a chef's knife. At some point, I would like to add a Japanese knife to my collection, but definitely a chef's knife.
  13. Agree that Cuisine Minceur is not the best written book. Hard to believe looking at it, over 30 years later, that it was so influential (the quintessential cookbook on Nouvelle Cuisine philosophy) and that Guerard was such an important figure in French cooking. Just bought Bouchon for myself. Avoided it for a long time due to size, but found it at a good price, unopened, and couldn't resist.
  14. It will not ruin the food. I have made many tomato-based sauces in tin-lined copper and have never noticed a taste or color issue.
  15. I use mostly copper and you are fine with the tin-lined. The concern with tomatoes is that they are exposed to bare copper, as they are one of the few things that cannot be done directly in copper (i.e. many things, like candy and egg whites and preferably done in an unlined bowl. Just be vigilant if you start to see copper peeking through. I agree that retinning can be expensive, so if you are starting from scratch I would recommend getting stainless steel-lined, but I also have a lot of pieces that either aren't made any more (so no stainless option) or are not made at the same level of quality (i.e. gauge of copper) that I have to get retinned. Basically, my skillet, saute and sauce pans are all stainless, but my specialty pieces are a mix of stainless and tin-lined. If you want to retin, one note: I have used retinning.com and had some pots they kept for a long time (I assume they get a lot of the NY restaurant business). I started using Fantes in Philadelphia instead and they are a little cheaper ($3.50/in) and I have gotten stuff back faster. They also have a great selection of copper pieces.
  16. Went to Spago about a year ago and had a good time. Good food but at this point nothing revolutionary. On the other hand, it's not a museum either. I would compare it to Gotham Bar and Grill from a menu perspective. Actually, I think one of the joys of LA is dining at the low end. One of the most interesting things I find about LA is that for all of the stereotypes about California cuisine and the health-conscious nature of Californians, there is probably more unhealthly food (in a good way) in LA than anyplace I've ever been. It seems there is a donut shop, burger joints, or hot dog place around every corner. The most enjoyable place we went on the trip was The Griddle Cafe on Sunset in West Hollywoood, which has the largest breakfasts I have ever experienced. Pancakes are the size of dinner plates. My breakfast was basically Eggs Benedict served over potato skins. We wanted to go to Pink's for dogs, but couldn't find the right time to go. On the high end, I have heard NY friends who enjoyed Bastide, but I can't speak from personal experience.
  17. I can't believe nobody has mentioned Chelsea Market (9th Ave betw. 15th & 16th) yet. While not uniformly great, there are a few places here that warrant a visit. The first two, IMHO, are must-trys. Manhattan Fruit Exchange In my opinion the best place for produce in the city outside of Union Square. Prices are decent, although unfortunately they only take cash. Nevertheless, you can consistently get great stuff here, usually things you can't find anywhere else (except perhaps at Dean and Deluca where you will pay a fortune). My personal favorites are the fresh favas that appear from time to time. Also one of the best, most reasonably priced selections of wild mushrooms (at any given time, chanterelles, morels, black trumpets, bluefoot, and lobster mushrooms may be available, as well as occasionally some more exotic varieties. If you are looking for a specialty fruit or vegetable this has the best chance of any of having it. The Lobster Place Best lobster in the city and a huge selection of oysters, as well as other shellfish and fresh fish. Having been born in Maine, I consider this place the closest to the harborside places further north. The lobsters are particularly feisty, a good sign (although admittedly this is not their peak season). Although there are other places with good fresh fish and shellfish selections, this would be my choice. Other places I like: Buon Italia A good selection of Italian products, including cheeses, cured meats, salt cod, bottarga, as well as olive oils, balsamic, San Marzano tomatoes, Illy coffee, truffles (in season), etc. Doesn't have the good in-house cheeses of a DiPaola Dairy or the in-house cured meats you can get further up 9th ave (in the high 30s, where the Salumeria are) but as an Italian products store it's as good as I've seen outside of Little Italy or Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Amy's Bread I usually stop here to get baguette and almost always buy some pullmans around the holidays to make stuffing. The real treat here (IMHO) is the Brioche, particularly if you can get a pullman loaf. Sadly, it is almost always gone before the afternoon when I am usually there, so call ahead. Ronnybrook Farms Chelsea Market is also the home of the Ronnybrook store, where you can get their milk, butter, yogurt, and ice cream. Probably my favorite eating butter and I will try to get their cream and milk if making a particularly decadent dessert. There are some other good, if undistinguished places, like Ruthy's (good cakes/cupcakes), Bowery Kitchen Supply (need some ramekins?) and Chelsea Wine Market (not the best selection or prices in the city, but good enough... I happen to store my personal collection in their cellar). Definitely would recommend a trip or two.
  18. I would bet a lot of people didn't know and figured they were basically the same as poland spring, etc. Whenever I tell people that Aquafina/Dasani are made by Pepsi/Coke, they usually seem surprised. Since when do people read label anyway.
  19. mikeycook


    Yes, both at L'Impero and Alto.
  20. mikeycook

    Lobster Rolls

    I love a good aioli, but I'd rather make a homemade mayo than have the garlic flavor interfere with the lobster taste. Definitely no celery for me (waste of good lobster taste IMHO). In addition to a homemade mayo and a new england style hot dog roll (i.e. top-split) toasted, I will go with a little lemon and some minced chervil (or tarragon) and chives. If you want crunch, try a little bit of lettuce instead.
  21. I am especially devoted to Jasper White's cookbooks. 50 Chowders is the only one I don't own. Cooking From New England focuses heavily on shellfish and fish cookery, including several lobster recipes and interesting dishes for regionally available specialties like Maine Shrimp. I also love Lobster at Home, which is the definitive lobster book (I was born in Maine and was practically raised on lobster and am amazed at what I didn't know.) I just saw he published a Summer Shack cookbook and will be ordering it shortly (have been to 2 of the locations and the would eat his Pan Roasted Lobster every day until I die.)
  22. I puree them in my Cuisinart. Personally, my blender doesn't do much unless I have a ton of liquid, so I rarely use it. The cuisinart is perfect for pureeing this because the blades destroy just about anything.
  23. If you are going back, I would definitely recommend Versailles, although you may have a bit of a wait depending on when you go (lots of families). Regardless, the food is great and authentic and you feel like you're eating with real people (no offense, fellow foodies).
  24. Count me as another New Yorker who loved his trip to Michy's. My wife and I went there in October and thought to food was excellent, our best meal of the trip (with a close second being a trip to Versailles). The food is top-notch and the atmosphere manages to be classy and whimsical at the same time.
  25. I would say it's very helpful. I would hate to have people go to the new Balducci's and mistake it for the old (luckily, the old Balducci's location has been taken over by Citarella, as a good a swap as one could hope for.)
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