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Everything posted by mikeycook

  1. I had a calf's liver at a bistro in Paris near the Hotel Duc de Saint-Simon in July (I believe it was called "Oueillade") They served it with a rhubarb sauce that was an excellent compliment. Another key is to cook it just right (medium-rare is best to me.)
  2. Went to Summer Shack at Mohegan Sun on Saturday with my wife and parents and had the Pan Roasted Lobster. I can honestly say this dish was one of the best two or three lobster dishes that I have ever had. I was born in Maine and grew up eating large quantities of lobster and cook it fairly often a variety of ways. I have also tried lobster dishes in a variety of cities and countries. I have used some of Jasper White's cookbooks (primarily Cooking from New England) and knew the Pan Roasted Lobster was a signature dish, but hadn't yet tried the recipe. It definitely lived up to expectations and then some. The sauce (which is primarily butter, chervil, and chives) was a perfect compliment. All of the meat was cooked to perfection. I am sure Todd English's Tuscany is also excellent, but I would highly recommend a trip to the Summer Shack at Mohegan Sun if you are in the vicinity (the other favored dish was the clam and corn fritter appetizer).
  3. We were in Paris in July on a Sunday and went to Jules Verne (Eiffel Tower). Despite the fact that it has one Michelin star, I had expected it to be overly touristy and the food to be overrated, but I was pleasantly surprised (I feared something like the scene in Nat'l Lampoon's European Vacation). As someone who has been to and dined in Paris a number of times, I was surprised I enjoyed the food so much. The tasting menu was reasonably priced by Paris standards and very good. Even jaded foodies will enjoy the view and watching Paris light up at night. And it's open on Sunday.
  4. I definitely enjoyed Ron's Landing. I had actually forgotten about it until I saw this post. I have found few even decent restaurants in Hampton Beach, but Ron's is worth a trip. I will confess I haven't been there for about 8 years.
  5. I haven't heard of this restaurant before, and we also haven't really gone in that direction very much. So far as I can tell from web searching there are masses of articles praising this place, but they don't have their own website. Are they too busy cooking? I couldn't find a site either. I had to call directly (got the phone number from Michelin) this time and didn't find there was anyone who had a good command of English (although I don't speak French, I knew enough to muddle through making the reservation). If you don't speak French at all, I would recommend what we did the first time... ask your hotel to make the reservation.
  6. I heard a rumor that Iberico ham would soon be available for export. Anyone know when and who in the U.S. might carry it?
  7. Whenever I come back from France, I find myself missing the coffee most of all (other than the bread). I love strong coffee, but in the U.S. it is often hard to find the strength and richness without bitterness. I even find myself missing cheap store brands like Carte Noire. Does anyone know a good source of French coffees in the U.S.? I have bought a number of the European brands (like Illy) and have not been able to achieve the same effect at home. It is a matter of the grind? If I grind Illy for espresso, then put that into my drip coffeepot, can I achieve the same effect?
  8. I am a fan of the Rao's sauces, although they are pricey (and of course, homemade is still the best.)
  9. I am interested in particular restaurant cookbooks if the chefs in question have been highly influential to other chefs. For instance, with French chefs, I have a number of Paul Bocuse's books, as well as Roger Verge, the Troisgros brothers, etc., because their restaurants have been common stepping stones by today's top chefs and their nouvelle style of cuisine has been a huge influence over French cuisine (and still is). The only problem with restaurant cookbooks is that they tend to run in trends. I love Babbo and am interested in Batali's cooking, but Babbo hasn't been around long enough to have developed other top chefs who now own their own top restaurants (this may become the case, but it is not currently so.) That being said, there are definitely restaurant cookbooks (example: French Laundry Cookbook) that are currently influencing other top chefs. If you feel a contemporary cookbook meets these characteristics, I am still interested (I probably will pick up the Babbo cookbook eventually, but reading it now I feel like I am reading in a vacuum. I would like to learn more about his predeccesors before tackling it.) Out of curiousity, do folks believe Batali's influence will still be felt in 20 years?
  10. Stopped by my local used bookstore tonight (Mercer St. Books, NYC) and they had a copy of La Terra Fortunata. I am enjoying it immensely (can't wait to try some recipes.) Definitely will be keeping my eye out for Marcella. Thanks to all so far.
  11. The Apprentice: My Life In The Kitchen -- by Jacques Pepin J.R. -- by William Gaddis The Fable -- by William Faulkner On Food and Cooking -- by Harold McGee
  12. I can already feel my collection expanding.
  13. I am an avid home cook who would like to cook Italian more often. One of the reasons I haven't is that I have a lack of quality Italian cookbooks. I have looked at a lot of them in new and used bookstores but have a hard time telling a particularly good or important book from an average or poor one (without buying it and trying out recipes). With French food, I took the approach of learning the canon of important chefs (Escoffier, F. Point, Bocuse, etc.) and styles, as well as the different regional cuisines, and used this as a basis to select books. With Italian, I can certainly learn the different culinary regions, but have had a harder time understanding the canon of important chefs (i.e. who learned from whom, etc.) I would like to ask the eGullet community for a recommendation of Italian cookbooks that are must-haves. Here are the conditions: 1. Books by Italian chefs who have influenced a number of other Italian chefs (and hopefully still influence them today). 2. Good regional cookbooks, particularly those with details on the ingredients and customs of a given area (Paula Wolfert's Cooking of South-West France is a good example of the type of regional cookbook I like.) 3. No contemporary restaurant cookbooks, particularly if they are from Italian-American restaurants (I have the Rao's cookbook and have looked at the Babbo and, while they have their strong points, this is not the type of thing I am looking for.) Any details you can provide on why these books are important (i.e. who the author is, how they have influenced Italian cooking, etc.) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for the assistance.
  14. I have been to La Beaugraviere, in Mondragon, twice, once in 2000 and once this past July. In my opinion the food has improved considerably and I would not be surprised if they were awarded a Michelin star at some point (although who can tell with Michelin). The wine list is incredible, particularly if you are a fan of Rhone wines (Robert Parker has written extensively about La Beaugraviere.) If you take the N7 north out of Orange, it is about 15-20km north. La Beaugraviere is to the right as you go through Mondragon. It has indoor and outdoor seating, but I would recommend the outdoor if the weather permits. It is very relaxing and the service is good and very unstuffy. La Beaugraviere is also known for truffles, but unfortunately it is not the season. Nevertheless, I had a rabbit stuffed with chanterelles that was excellent.
  15. How did "the" "Midwest" get into this thread in the first place? I still don't understand the following slkinsey comment . . . I agree. I am not sure what constitutes "midwestern behavior" or "midwest expectations". As a New Yorker, I am offended by the whole implication.
  16. Lucas Carton is also a great restaurant, but does not meet your requirements.
  17. IMHO, just be yourself. Be courteous, dress appropriately for the restaurant, . . . I consider myself courteous & I aim to be ever-so-slightly overdressed for the occasion. But I'm still curious as to what Midwesterners should be doing while dining in NYC that we aren't doing here in the Heartland. In other words, I *can't* just be "myself." I disagree. I eat out in NYC all the time (I live there) and I have been out to dinner with people all over the country. I do not believe that "special behavior" is required to eat in New York restaurants. I have also dined many places in the Heartland (including one of my all-time favorite meals, at Charlie Trotter's) and strongly believe the same standards should, and do, apply (except in certain restaurants that treat everyone equally badly). My friends from the midwest do not modify their behavior to eat in New York and we don't modify our behavior to eat in the midwest. We have never had any problems. Any restaurant that treats you differently because you are from the midwest cannot, by definition, be a great restaurant. I believe those who think you have to act "differently" to eat in New York are way off base.
  18. I don't think it's ethnocentrism. It's just cultural differences. Get a feel for the place and try to fit in. Understand that things won't be the way they are for you at wherever you are from. It's no different, really, than the adjustments a New Yorker would have to make coming to your town. It's hard to put my finger on it. I was raised in a big East coast city by parents from the rural South (father) and all over the world (mother). I spend a lot of time far away from home growing up and have always traveled a lot, both within America and internationally. So, for whatever reason, I have always had a very easy time automatically fitting in to whatever the social norms are wherever I am -- to the extent that I often engage in what linguists call "code switching" and change my accent and mode of speech depending on where I am and who I am talking to without thinking about it. To me, it's all about understanding where people are coming from. Like, for example, some people have a difficult time understanding why Italians would never have a cappucino after dinner. It is because they consider cappucino a breakfast drink, and having one after dinner would be like following a fine meal with a glass of orange juice. So, when in Rome... well, I think we know how the rest of that one goes. Anyway, that's enough OT wandering for me today. That doesn't help me much. Let me try again . . . What is it that Midwesterners *do* when eating out in the Midwest that Midwesterners *shouldn't do* when eating out in NYC? And . . . What is it that Midwesterners *don't do* when eating out in the Midwest that Midwesterners *should do* when eating out in NYC? IMHO, just be yourself. Be courteous, dress appropriately for the restaurant, and if you are treated badly, don't go back and tell your friends (and, similarly, if you are treated well, tell your friends... and post on eGullet). Restaurants in NYC should be held to the same standard (in terms of treatment of customers) as everywhere else.
  19. I have had the pleasure to eat in upscale restaurants all over the country (urban, suburban, and rural) and have found that people are people. I have been treated poorly in NYC restaurants (speaking as a NYC resident), but I have also been treated poorly in D.C., San Francisco, Maine, and Florida, to name but a few places (I was born in Maine and raised in New Hampshire). I have also been treated like gold in all these places. IMHO, selfish, self-centered customers act the same wherever they go. So do arrogant, self-centered restaurant personnel.
  20. I took my wife and her family there for her 30th birthday last year (September) and the staff couldn't have been better. We had my 3 year old niece with us and they were incredibly hospitable. After having had some downright rude and snobby experiences at certain midtown restaurants (particularly La Cote Basque) we were surprised at how friendly and accommodating the staff at Babbo was, particularly with a very young child. That being said, things change, and I would be very disappointed if things have changed that dramatically. Babbo is just a few blocks from our apartment and would hate to think that "midtown attitude" has moved further south (we mostly have seen this type of behavior in the larger midtown restaurants and less in Gramercy Park, the Village, and Tribeca).
  21. Not exactly a cooking trick, but the taste of my cooking has improved greatly since learning that certain foods lose their flavor after time spent in the freezer (fish, chicken, etc.) or the refrigerator (tomatoes, etc.). This has forced me to shop more frequently but has been more than worth it.
  22. Although inappropriately named, Bowery Kitchen Supply, in Chelsea Market (9th ave betw. 15th and 16th), has a large selection of commerical cookware. Chelsea Market is worth the trip for a number of reasons, particularly the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, so if you are headed there anyway, it's worth a look.
  23. I like to get lard at Faicco's in NYC as well, but I am even more fond of cooking with goose fat (I make confit and always have a ton left over.) Any details on the relative health (or lack thereof) compared with lard and butter?
  24. My wife and I spent a week of our honeymoon in Aiguebelle 3 years ago and went to Les Santons in Grimaud, which, at the time, was a one star (think it still is). It was one of the best dining experiences we have had, so much so that we made plans to return that same week and were equally impressed. They made a lobster risotto that is still one of the best things I have ever eaten. I wouldn't say it is "cheap", but it was not overly expensive, particularly for a one-star. It is 10 km from St.-Tropez so I would highly recommend it (if I was going to be in St.-Tropez, I would go there several times.)
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