Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by fredbram

  1. The other feature that I like in a timer is that it ring until I turn it off. I may be in the minority in this because I don't hear about it much, and it's not available in home timers as far as I know. But it makes perfect sense, and doesn't have any downside that I know of.
  2. There is a brief description of the chicken roasting technique about 4 or 5 posts down in this Zuni roast chicken thread. There is also a thread on the Zuni Cafe cookbook, which is a great cookbook by the way and well worth owning. But, I didn't see any detail about the roast chicken recipe in the Zuni thread. Basically, after roasting the chicken as described you build a salad out of chunks of good levain type bread and arugula or some other green with the chicken pan juices and vinegar and oil and serve the chicken on a bed of this salad. It is outrageously delicious. However, it may not be perfect for doing in someone else's kitchen, because the high roasting temp creates not only a large amount of smoke, but also usually requires an oven cleaning after.
  3. The canned bread that I remember from my childhood is boston brown bread, which has neither dates nor nuts I believe, but it is a dark molassesy bread. It came in a can which we always opened both ends of, and then pushed out from one end, to cut slices off the other end. Spread thick layer od cream cheese on, and it was one of my favorite after school snacks as a kid.
  4. When an outdoor grill is available, I insert slivers of garlic into the whole mushroom caps, rub with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, and grill them whole. Serve with grilled steak or veal chop or roast chicken. You could do a variation on the Zuni Cafe roast chicken, the one with the arugula/bread salad underneath, and then top it with porcini that had been sauteed separately as fat guy suggests above.
  5. We grew horseradish one year in Denver, and it was very happy here. So happy, in fact, that the next 5 years we were frantically working to eradicate it, like some three mile island mutant mint. I buy it at the store now when I get the urge for fresh horseradish!
  6. fredbram

    Meatloaf Sandwiches

    And for any meatloaf sandwich the pleasure is doubled if you frazzle the slices of meatloaf in a saute pan before putting in sandwich with accompaniments of choice. And melt the cheese on top.
  7. It is not too late to put a vegetable garden in this year. Your area is a little different than where we are (Colorado), but many of the things that you may want to grow can't go outside until the last frost date, which, I.m guessing, is in May sometime for you. Garlic, I think you put in in the fall, for harvest next year, but tomatoes, peppers, cukes, beans, squash, eggplant and more can't go in yet. It may be too late for spring lettuces and peas, but you could do a fall crop. For your sanity (and your back!) however, you may want to create modest goals for yourself this year and expand next year. I use much more compost in my garden than manure, but maybe others will have opinions on that. You should also check out gardenweb.com--they have garden geeks that rival the food geeks here.
  8. The breads that work best for this are breads that have more substance to them, so sourdough or levain type breads. Unless the soup or stew is very thick in which case almost any bread would hold up to it. Whatever size you want--a 6 -12 ounce roll/loaf is probably best for single portion servings.
  9. As the epicurious links mention, true yams are not often sold in the US. It is more a matter of which type of sweet potato you use, even though some of them are sold as yams. I still would have doubts about using the dark orange flesh sweet potatoes, even baked, because of the moisture content.
  10. It might depend on which type of sweet potatoes you use. The very orange ones, garnet yams I think they call them in the stores, definitely have too much water, even when baked. But I wonder if the quite starchy white sweet potatoes would be a direct substitute. You wouldn't have any color to speak of though.
  11. That concept has been around a lot longer than LaBrea bakery--if I were to guess, I'd say European origins.
  12. The extension service is run by CSU in fort Collins--Boulder county phone number is 303-776-4865. Basil and Cilantro are annuals, you will need to replant every year no matter what so you could plant them in containers or in the ground, you won't have to move them unless you move in the middle of the summer. Parsley, tarragon and mint are all perennials and they will come back year after year, but I still have doubts about how well they will do in a container, no matter what type.
  13. I think that in a container plants tend to be more susceptible to temperature and moisture fluctuations. Quick ups and downs in temp and dryness are more dangerous to perennials than very cold temps. But I'm not a botanist, even though I play one on TV. In other words, I could be making this theory up from stray facts and fictions floating around in my head.
  14. We have had a very warm, dry March in Denver. I planted lettuce last weekend (the 20th), and we have arugula, lolla rossa, escarole, a couple of different mesclun mixes, mustard, spinach and head lettuce up already. We also planted, for the second year, a lettuce called crispy frills, which is very similar in eating texture to iceberg, but shorter growing season and greater heat tolerance. I have never been able to get a lettuce crop in and up this early, I'm so excited. I hope to be eating salad in 2-3 weeks. I also have lettuce plants just sprouted indoors and placed a chile plant order for an array of chile plants, we decide to put a bunch of peppers in this year to see what we like besides our standards--peppers are not something that we have had consistent success with in the past--anyone have techniques to share for successful chile growing?
  15. Hi Mongo, being in Denver, I've got the same climate issues as you. Herbs do really well in Colorado in general. There are a few herbs, like rosemary, marjoram and summer savory, which are perennial in warmer climates, but need to be brought inside to winter over in Colorado. But we grow chives, tarragon, thyme, winter savory, oregano, sorrel among others. I haven't grown herbs in containers--my concern would be the winter season. I am guessing that you might need pretty large containers to have the plants survive the winter, but I'm not sure. Or bring them inside for the winter. maybe others have some experience with container herb gardening.
  16. What is broken rice? I noticed it at my favorite Viet place last time I was there, but haven't tried it. I appreciate your latte art--mine is more rudimentary still, or less consistent, at least. I observe my barista flicking his wrist and creating this fine lined pattern--it looks so easy. Then I try it at home and I feel like The Hulk Barista; clumsy, clunky!
  17. Well, the deal about "leave room" is a way to keep them from adding such a huge quantity of milk to the shots of espresso in a latte. The only drawback is that their espresso needs all that milk to cover up the fact that it is poorly made. If they made a good shot of espresso I would have no problem asking them to leave the cup half full--quality not quantity works for me, but Starbucks doesn't have the quality.
  18. And this is where they are: http://www.majikcoffee.com/default.html
  19. We also, while in the city, had some less expensive, more casual, food experiences. We did a food oriented self-tour of the Lower East Side. Visited Schimmels Knishes, Russ and Daughters, Guss’ Pickles, Economy Candy, Katz’s Deli and the Doughnut Factory. The only places we ate in the LES walking tour were Katz’s and the Doughnut Factory. Katz’s pastrami more than lived up to my high expectations. It definitely helped that I had gotten a feel for the process on eGullet. We went up to the counter, in the pastrami area, and the counterman shot a slice of pastrami our way. I sampled and tipped. It was a little dry. Me-- “do you have something with a little more fat?” Him-- “you want more fat?” and he went over to the steam table, pulled out a fresh brisket of pastrami and started slicing off of the small end. A huge stack of beautifully moist, black with spice and smoke, intensely flavorful, thick-sliced pastrami on rye with a slathering of mustard. I was in heaven as I split this with my wife and ate some of her chopped liver sandwich as well. After another mile or 2 of meandering around the neighborhood, we finished it off with a coconut donut and a Valrhona donut. The coconut especially was yummy. Another day we took the commuter train up to Fordham road in the Bronx (we wanted to stop at Grand Central Oyster Bar on the way, but due to lefty upbringing was unable to cross the picketline). Walked over to Arthur Avenue (this was Thursday, which was a gorgeous spring day, unlike the rest of the week), and we planned to eat at Roberto’s first thing as we had early dinner reserves. When we walked into Roberto’s at 11:40 or so, it was a little early for them, they would have seated us but we said we’d walk around a few minutes and return. We never made it back. After a little browsing in a couple of bakeries and Tetel Brothers (sp?), the originally jewish owned Italian dry goods store, we found the open market and couldn’t resist the sandwiches at Mike’s Deli. I don’t remember the combination of ingredients on the sandwich we ordered, but he grilled it a few minutes and it was great. I loved the European market atmosphere of the place, I loved that broccoli rabe and baby artichokes and cardoons were not being sold as exotic gourmet produce, but were just out with the rest of the produce, priced reasonably. Great energy among the vendors and customers. There were a few tourists from Manhattan there, none that seemed like they were from further away than that except us. I was afraid ahead of time that the whole area might either be too precious or feel like it was in it’s death throes, but it seemed alive and thriving, with local area workers stopping in for lunch, and communal tables to eat at. We finished with a couple of spare ribs braised in tomato sauce for dessert—melting off the bone, warm, greasy and delicious. Oh, I forgot, a quick cappuccino around the way at the other deli/pizza place. My wife started pricing real estate in the neighborhood as we walked past the several fishmongers, butchers with far better and less expensive meats than in Denver, fresh produce, bakeries etc. I figure the Bronx has got to be the most affordable housing in New York, right? My mother grew up in the Bronx and never knew of the existence of the Arthur Avenue italian shops. It was not her ‘hood. She would probably dis-own me if I really moved to the Bronx. I don’t seem to be able to find my notes on chinese food, but I’ll fake it. , The Bahn Mi sandwiches from Bahn Mi So 1 (Mott and Broome) were so good for breakfast one day, that we went back for another a couple of days later. Vietnamese grilled pork, lettuce, pickled carrots, sauce on a lightweight, but very fresh thin crusted baguette. We also stopped at a place a few blocks east (Allen St maybe?) which was a small counter with very little besides dumplings, we had steamed pork dumplings and then saw them pulling this 12” diameter disc of dough out of the deep oil in the wok and had to order a wedge of the sesame pancake, which was quite tasty, a few scallions mixed in the dough, sesame seeds on the outside, fryed and it comes out looking like a big round of focaccia. All of .50 for the pancake and 1.00 for the dumplings. Both good, liked the pancake a little better. Yeah Shanghai Deluxe for lunch that same day, had the cold dish of chopped greens with the latin name—very nice, the other item we had was the crispy fried eel, which we really liked at first, but it became somewhat cloyingly sweet after a while. We had lunch at Grand Sichuan, on 9th Ave at 50th st. one day. Had the Kung Bao chicken from the fresh killed section—much better than any Kung Bao I’ve ever had. I think of it as a pedestrian dish to be avoided on most menus, but this was very good, the chicken itself was moist and tasty and the peanuts, bamboo shoots, celery and red peppers all in nice chunks, a pretty subtle dish but we enjoyed it. I just remembered it was also full of szechuan peppercorns which my wife found unpleasant, but which were really starting to grow on me towards the end. Really liked the “Growing Grass in Spring Must be Like Green and Threaded Silk”, a salad of celery julienned with green peppers (which I suspected were actually poblanos or something similar), scallions, ginger and bamboo shoots. All tossed in hot oil, soy sauce and a little vinegar. Crispy, hot!, gingery, an intense flavor experience. Also had a roast pork bun—quite good, and some dumplings, not as good. The people next to us had the string beans with pork which looked good, and they enquired about the celery salad that we had. We offered them some of it, hoping that we might arrange a trade for some beans, but they declined. Our last day in town we took the train down to Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn, and walked around the neighborhood, through Boerum Hill and visited the Middle eastern market on Atlantic Ave (Sawadi?). Which was teeming with activity on Saturday, definitely not just Middle Eastern anymore, but had a good selection of groceries. Then we stopped at a place called Joe’s Perette (also called a Latticini or something like that, is that a cheese maker?) and had him put together a huge hoagie (I don’t think he called it that) of soppressata, salami, cappacolla, provolone, lettuce, tomato and hot red cherry peppers to eat on the plane. Only half of it made it to the plane. The place looks like it hasn’t changed in 30 years at least. Not a lot on décor. The sandwich and it’s maker were full of character. In a dry way. The maker that is, not the sandwich, which was moist with vinegar and oil and delicious. Nice quiet neighborhood, more like where a Denver transplant would feel comfortable than Manhattan. We aren’t actually thinking of moving to New York, but part of traveling for us is often fantasizing and imagining what it would be like to live there. Edited to add the hot peppers to our hoagie.
  20. Yeah, I'm still in recovery. Actually, even though the weather was not very good, we tend to walk so much more when we are traveling that I can eat much more than when I'm in my normal routine, and not gain weight. I promise a little more to come about the rest of our eating. Later.
  21. We went to The Producers which we enjoyed very much. We also went to see the Blue Man group and the Korean production, Cookin', at the Minetta Lane theatre. Those 2 had a lot of similarities, both being combinations of humor, music, dance, audience interaction etc. Cookin' was pretty fun--they actually are chopping cabbage and carrots on stage as well as throwing a few things in a wok so that the smell wafts out through the audience. It is a hammy show, but the infectiousnous of the cast won us over. We are more stupid korean humor people than opera people--what can I say?!? And there may well have been hard boiled eggs in the sauce. I was assuming that the quail eggs, which I'm pretty sure were billed as poached, were intended to have soft, runny yolks. Which would have made it a much better dish, sort of a take off on the traditional french salad of bitter greens, bacon and croutons with a poached egg.
  22. We didn't order any of the sides. I kind of go back and forth on how prepared to be when going to a new restaurant. We might have eaten better at Hearth and Mix both if I had brought specific notes from this forum on what to order. But sometimes, I feel that I want to walk into the restaurant and experience it as a newcomer; not as if I have already been because I have studied it so avidly. Sort of the same reason I don't read reviews of movies that I am really looking forward to until after I've seen them. Although it's not a good analogy if i take it too far. I also feel that a good restaurant should not have any items on the menu that are dogs, so I should be safe ordering what looks good to me, not just the dishes that have been pre-approved by egullet. On the other hand, I wrote down exactly what I wanted to order at Grand Sichuan (fresh killed Kum Bao chicken, the cold celery with the flowery name and roast pork buns) and almost certainly had a better meal for it.
  23. We recently spent a week in New York City, arriving March 6, after not having been in many years. I lurked on the New York board for a couple of months beforehand and wanted to thank everyone for the info that I gathered, and share our experiences. We ate our way through the city with stops at: Babbo WD-50 Mix Hearth Peter Luger Amma Jewel Bako Katz’s Deli Mike’s Deli (Arthur Avenue) Yeah Shanghai Deluxe Grand Sichuan Bahn Mi So 1 And other pit stops Our meal at Babbo was the height of the trip. Food and service were close to impeccable, an experience that we will not soon forget. We were seated upstairs, right at the top of the stairs where we could observe the entire dining room in action and it was a work of art. The server, a Gwyneth Paltrow look-alike, was very good, subtle and not flashy, but knowledgeable and professional. The team of busboys and runners covered the dining room without quite being too much. Paul gave us great wine advice; we had a Friuli Pinot Nero with his help. The entire front of the house staff seemed to work effortlessly together, with everyone working as a team, and the kind of results that come from working in a situation where, from the top down, everyone is used to doing it right every night, and confident that the customers are having an outstanding experience. The food: Grilled octopus appetizer--marinated to perfection, I would have been entirely happy with the grilled octopus with no accompaniment, but the pickled onions, mint oil and leaf, and lemon zest balanced perfectly, and made the dish more complex and nuanced without being fussy. Pasta--handmade orchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage. This dish typified our food at Babbo—simple, but all the components of the highest quality, perfectly prepared, the pasta thick with just the right amount of chew, a little tomato in some form added, but really just the flavors of well-seasoned sausage and the greens, tossed together, a textural balance here as well as flavor balance. Roast squab—this also was marinated so that the squab itself, before adding the other components was excellent. On a bed of wheat berries, just crunchy enough, cooked with diced beets, probably some reduced stock, a vivid red color to the plate, sweet beet flavor, a little chew to the wheatberries, and medium rare squab, simple, delicious. Sweetbreads—floured and sautéed, cooked crisp on the outside, atop a stock sauce with vinegary onions. This was my wife’s entrée, which she loved, and I only tasted. Again carefully and perfectly prepared, simple ingredients. Crostada de limone—very tender, thin crust on the individual tart, nice balance of tart and sweet in the baked lemon filling, a few thin slices of lemon that had been lightly candied on the plate and an “egg” of what seemed like almost cannoli cream, but lighter, on the side, with a few flecks of chocolate in it. When a chef is so prevalent on the food channel and in the media in general, I tend to downgrade their skills for some reason and this meal caught me off-guard. It was one of the finer dining experiences that I have had in the US period. It reminded me how well restaurants can be run by someone on top of their game, who has put together an entire package. Mario Batali rocks! Jewel Bako was the next favorite of our high-end food stops. We had made reservations for the bar, and this was another example of a team that was all working together and enthusiastic about what they were doing. Jack, who we referred to as the mad scientist, from his energy and enthusiasm and from his wild sort of urban Lyle Lovett hairstyle, gave us great descriptions of the food throughout, and the sushi chef was very helpful and a master at work. I’m not going to go through the entire menu of items that we ate (I only managed to write down about 2/3 of them anyway). We had the chef’s tasting omakase menu, but in addition to the incredibly fresh fish selections (including 3 kinds of toro), there was a great fermented broadbean soup and a really interesting intermezzo of red grapes and cherry tomatoes in a jellied vinegar and fish sauce and I’m not sure what else broth. The sashimi and sushi blew us away, and included several items that we had never run across before, the sushi rice was excellently prepared, the freshly grated wasabi was at once, both more flavorful, and less nasally jarring than powdered. A really fun evening. WD-50. Fun. Exciting. Hip, but they could back it up. More of the food worked than didn’t. And the dishes that I didn’t think worked were still fun and interesting. I would rather eat Wylie’s interesting less than successful dishes than many chefs’ successful, but ho-hum, dishes. The server was very good and knowledgeable, the sommelier seemed weak, but we didn’t ask much of him, our server helped with wine and we had the Austrian gruner veltliner that was on their list and it worked well with the food. We did the tasting menu here: I have the full menu in hand, but I don’t have notes on all of the courses, the first 3 courses all fell into the very interesting but not completely successful category. My wife and I had some disagreement over how well the foie gras and anchovy flavors complemented each other; with me enjoying the foie gras minus anchovies combined with the citrus chutney and tarragon oil/essence (?), and my wife liking the flavors with the anchovy added in. Loved the idea of the chorizo panna cotta and scallops a little more than the reality of it. 4th course—rabbit sausage, kind of chunky, served with wonderful mustard paper, avocado and dried apricot—great flavor, all the components worked, updated classic flavor combination with entirely modern and exciting execution. 5th course—Hamachi, cooked with soy glaze, bits of apricot and crystals of salt on top. Iloved the use of salt as an accent here, rather than blended into the sauce. Roasted pear and green olive/parsnip puree were, surprisingly, absolutely perfect with the hamachi. 6th course—Langoustine, very sweet and flavorful, with a very earthy toasted rice broth and dried celery—incredible vegetal sweet bits. 7th course—The famous slow poached egg with broth redolent of parmesan, fascinating and appealing egg white texture, sprinkled with tomato powder, another total winner. 8th course—Squab, salt used as strong accent on the skin of the squab, golden beets that were encrusted in red beets somehow, sweet potato juice as a completely different type of vegetable sweet flavor from the beets, a study in sweet and salty built areound a beautifully rare squab. 9th course—Black radish sorbet with green apple jelly—I loved the surprise of the radish sorbet; my wife wanted nothing to do with it. I can’t do justice to descriptions of the next 2 dessert courses, as I have no notes and not much memory of them. After that the raspberry rose cotton candy was too sweet for my tastes, my wife consumed every bit of it after claiming it was too sweet for her as well, and I didn’t care for the tomato dust that the chocolate truffle was rolled in, but my wife thought it worked. Amma was good, although a little hectic and we were seated next to a fairly loud woman who seemed to be somewhat unbalanced emotionally, as we could not help but overhearing. Had the vegetarian tasting menu, which we enjoyed. Every Indian restaurant in Denver has essentially the same menu and it was very nice to try some of the items at Amma that were new to us. The idli upma and the crispy fried okra were standouts. Peter Luger. Great New York experience, loved the atmosphere, the people watching, the staff, the creaky wooden floors, the creaky wooden tables etc. The rolls were wonderful, the creamed spinach was wonderful, and I know some will find this sacrilegious, but it’s not the best steak I’ve ever had. I enjoyed it very much, but I’ve had other steaks of the same quality elsewhere, and I don’t like the fact that they seem to cut the steak before letting it rest a bit. They do get a pretty amazing crust on it; the heat on their grill must be something else. Hearth was somewhat disappointing. We were seated in the back room, down towards the end of the room. I don’t know whether this was a typical night or not, but the aspect of hearing the interaction between chef Canora and his staff was a little jarring. My opinion about open kitchens is that those in the open kitchen need to be aware of their behavior more than in a closed kitchen. If you are not willing to take this into account as a chef, than you should build a wall. Listening to the chef calling out “socca/sardine followed by cod/bass, that’s 2 lamb all day, where’s that 3rd chicken?” etc. just didn’t add to my dining experience. He just didn’t sound happy that night. I tried to get seats at the kitchen bar based on reading about it here, and I’m glad that they were unavailable when we arrived, because I was as close as I wanted to be to the kitchen window. Enough about that. The sardine appetizer (in soffrito crudo) was excellent. Good quality sardines, good olive oil, lemon, minced carrots and celery, whites of frisee and parsley or celery leaves, I couldn’t tell which. It came together perfectly, each flavor distinct, but blended with each other very well. Green salad was overdressed. The lamb shoulder was served with borlotti beans and escarole, a lamb rib and lamb tongues. It was fine, but nothing special. I have had braised meat dishes that really wowed me with the technique/raw ingredient/sauce, but this was not one. It was good, nothing wrong with it, but nothing special about it. The roast chicken consisted of a semi-boneless chicken breast, sautéed and finished in oven served with a braised chicken thigh and chard malfatti. The chard was very good, the chicken dish was OK. A pet peeve of mine is that if a high-end restaurant offers roast chicken it should be roast chicken, not sautéed chicken. They are not interchangeable. The milk chocolate tart with peanut brittle ice cream was good, the ice cream excellent, the tart filling excellent flavor and texture; the crust could have been better. I was really looking forward to Hearth and expecting something more special from the discussions here. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I can get food like this in Denver restaurants and in my own home, it did not impress overall. Mix was a frustrating experience. First, some of the non-food issues. Even after reading about Mix on this board (although I didn’t take notes ahead of time), it took us a few minutes to interpret the menu (and this was only after removing it from it’s orange cover so that we didn’t have to squint at it so much). It is not readily obvious what ones options are, and no one attempted to explain it to us until about 15 minutes after we got the menus. The sommelier was a very soft-spoken Asian women, and between her soft voice, the noise level in the dining room, and the language barrier (English was not her first language), we finally gave up on getting advice from her and selected on our own. Beyond the normal complication of the menu, there were two 1st course options, but they were only 1st course options on the 72.00 menu, not on the 48.00 menu. Why further complicate an already complicated system? They didn’t feel like they could afford to offer risotto on the 48.00 menu? I had to hail a busboy to get a fork to eat my appetizer with. The front of the house staff generally did not seem to be a well-oiled machine. They seemed to be fighting their way through the evening rather than working together as a team. So, on to the food. I had the tuna appetizer. I felt there were no other discernable flavors beyond the tuna and blood oranges. They tasted good together, although it was average sushi grade tuna at best. The frisee with poached quail eggs and sauce gribiche. A very nice dish with excellent flavor combinations, I especially liked their version of sauce gribiche, spoiled this particular evening with egg yolks that had been hard poached. Chicken potpie—very pedestrian, an odd starchiness just under the crust, indistinct flavors and textures. Black sea bass—served in a black iron pan over a kind of gratin of potatoes and onions with roast tomatoes, the most successful dish of the evening. The sauce, which I can not remember the details of, was very tasty, coating the several sort of fingers of sea bass on top. I thought the cheesecake was very good, served slightly warm, not too sweet, wasn’t impressed with the ice cream with it. The candy bar seemed a little gimmicky, although the sorbet with it was much better than the ice cream. This post is too long already; perhaps I will follow-up with a little about the lower end food experiences later.
  24. I found them in the market in Oaxaca. I carried back 2 large bags of them in my luggage. I've never seen then in the USA.
  25. I agree with you in principle, Brad, although I don't necessarily agree that one has no right to complain if not complaining to management. But, sometimes I just don't want to work that damn hard when I'm out to dinner. I expect a certain level of competence (which is of course, different for different types of restaurants), and I'm out to dinner to enjoy myself, which sometimes is facilitated by speaking up, as in your examples, and sometimes suffers by having to spend my evening pointing out the restaurants failings.
  • Create New...