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Everything posted by mikeycook

  1. I have to say that I think people overestimate the "gouging" that occurs at some of these places on Valentine's Day. My wife and I went to Alto last night. The 3-course prix fixe that was normally $65 was now $85 and the 4-course prix fixe that was normally $75 was now $100. Not exactly usurous increases and far less of a markup than I am used to seeing on New Year's Eve. Really, an extra $50 (for 2 people) on a $400 tab does not exactly have me running for the hills. And the service was about what I would expect to get on a weekend night. No better, no worse. All in all, a very enjoyable Valentine's Day.
  2. To be honest, the cookbook is up at our house (will be getting over the weekend), but looking at the index from Amazon I saw there was a specifc entry for substitutions. If no one else does first, I will post the answer over the weekend.
  3. Actually, that's the plan for her birthday. ← Guys, in my book, toys, caffeine and home cooked meals are the BEST love tokens you can supply! If you're getting her a Playstation.. get Katamari Tamashi... great game! ← Well, my wife gets a lot of home cooked meals because I do the cooking and she, for the most part doesn't. Besides, Valentine's Day is for the guy too, isn't it? If I'm getting the flowers and the candy and the meal, it would be only fair for her to buy the Playstation, wouldn't it?
  4. Actually, that's the plan for her birthday.
  5. Didn't mean to sound offended. Also didn't need to direct my comments about restaurants jacking up prices to you personally (unless you're actually reponsible. ) I guess the comment just stuck me because of the number of people I know (always men) who claim they don't want to do anything for Valentine's Day because they don't want to be forced into doing something by a "fake holiday" and claim that instead they should celebrate their wife (or mother or father) year round. I can certainly understand the sentiment, but I find that most of those people don't celebrate their wives (or mothers or fathers) year round. So, really it is one less day they celebrate them (leaving, generally, only Christmas). If you really want to celebrate someone, you usually look for additional opportunities, not try to get out of them. On a personal note, I have had a lovely time with Valentine's Day with my wife. A couple of times we have spent the weekend in Paris (which is always a good thing, regardless of when, but nice as a Valentine's trip because it is just another day in Paris) and we usually use it as an opportunity to try a new restaurant (since my wife tries to put some boundaries on my "restauranting", this is a day I know I will always eat well). It is also a day I know I can go out with just my wife and no one else can try to tag along. Hey, on the Veritas note, I highly recommend the Tender, Crispy Pork.
  6. Do you consider every holiday to be obnoxious or just specific ones. In a sense, couldn't one claim all holidays fill people with some artificial sense of emotion? To me, they are just opportunities to celebrate (in this case, my marriage). To me, it is the restaurants that make it obnoxious by jacking up the prices for the same food.
  7. It has been mentioned here before, but I would recommend Caron de Beaumarchais, which is located in Le Marais, about 1km from the Bastille. Not sure if this is close enough, but we found the hotel very charming, within a good walking distance of Notre Dame and other sites. At the time (last Feb) I think we paid 160 Euro, but the rooms start around 125 Euro I believe. Also, if they are going to be close to the Bastille I would also recommend going to Bofinger, which is about as classic a brasserie as you can get and is literally steps from the Bastille monument.
  8. My wife and I are going to Alto for the first time. We have been to L'Impero several times and love it, so we tried to pick a special occasion to try Alto.
  9. Thanks for all the help everyone. The hog plums are one item that they indicate substitutions for, so I think I am good on everything else. Can't wait to try my first recipe.
  10. So, they would have things like the following (pardon my ignorance, but a lot of these ingredients are new to me): - bird chiles - banana chiles - black rice - fermented fish paste - hog plums - kaffir limes I am sure I can find substitutions for some of these things, but wanted to get as close to what the recipes ask for as possible.
  11. I bought a copy of Hot Sour Salty Sweet a couple of years ago and, while I enjoy reading it immensely, I have found that I cook very little from it due to the difficulty of finding some of the ingredients. I realized I may be having one of two problems, either... a. I do not know the right places to go to find vietnamese ingredients in NYC or b. The ingredients are extremely hard to find, even in New York, and I would be better off starting with a different cookbook. Recently, I have been on a Vietnamese kick (eating, not cooking) and it has rekindled my interested in trying to cook Vietnamese food. Can anyone tell me... 1. Good sources of Vietnamese ingredients in NYC, particularly the ones in Hot Sour Salty Sweet? 2. Is there another cookbook I should start with instead that, while perhaps less authentic, would have ingredients I can get reliably in NY?
  12. In my opinion, Bouley has long been a great source of bread. I used to go for their apple bread alone. That being said, a lot of the substandard bread I've had at other restaurants isn't even sliced. It's rolls. I just can't see how the bread can have turned bad in twelve hours unless it's a) older than that or b) wasn't that good to begin with. I can understand restaurants not wanting to deal with heated bread. If it's good bread, I prefer not to have it heated. Maybe bringing my own bread is a good idea.
  13. Thank you. That is what I suspected, but wasn't sure. Does anyone know if there is a reason why they don't at least warm the bread? Is that considered passe? If it isn't going to be good, at least it could be warm.
  14. Too bad Cake Man Raven is not a good location for you, because that would be my first choice. However, Ruthy's Bakery, in Chelsea Market makes a Red Velvet Cake (and cupcakes). I have had the cupcake and they are excellent. Can't speak for the cake itself, but I have had several good cakes from there.
  15. Adding my two cents, the two best pizzas I have had in NY are 1) Grimaldi's and 2) Lombardi's. Neither leaves me with a bloated feeling (unless I eat WAY too much). That being said, as much as I love Grimaldi's, I am not not a stand in a long line type person and that means I am only there very infrequently.
  16. Personally, my favorite dish at Les Halles is the Boudin Noir, which you can only get at the Park Ave location (not downtown).
  17. In Sonoma, I always like to stop at Arrowood, although I wouldn't call them "hidden".
  18. mikeycook


    Based on their initial aspirations, I think 3 stars would be considered a failure for the Del Posto folks (attempting to be the first 4-star Italian, weren't they?) Actually, they might get 2 as well (hard to believe it is even on par with Babbo).
  19. Does anyone know if restaurants that don't bake their own buy from many of the same sources? It seems there is an incredible sameness to a lot of the bread. For a while, I used to see the round white roll with the flat disk piece on one side (it seemed every restaurant in Tribeca used it). The olive and ciabatta bread I had at Veritas seemed identical to what I had at Union Square Cafe. Is it possible they all use a similar bakery, like City Bakery, to get their bread?
  20. I was surprised that the cut at Veritas was pretty well-rendered. Although there was still a decent amount of fat, it was not the 50/50 split that I am used to (not that I don't like it). It made for a much less heavy pork belly.
  21. Wow. I must confess myself partly excited and party disappointed by the news. Tocqueville was a great experience the first time I went a few years ago and I was never able to get back. I am interested to try the new food, but feel bad that I won't be able to recapture the original experience. Does anyone happen to know the re-opening date?
  22. I do remember it being fatty, but I thought the accompaniments made for great flavor (particularly the soybeans).
  23. Was that on special? I didn't see it on Blue Hill's web site (only a Berkshire Pork dish with red cabbage, chestnuts, and guanciale).
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