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Posts posted by ariggsby

  1. Which recipes have you tried?

    I've made (these are descriptions; I don't have the book with the actual names with me):

    porcini/potato stew

    onion-coated fish with tomato-tofu sauce

    fish batons over cucumber slaw

    nearly-no-fat sausages (one batch flavored Thai and another as chorizo, but the basic architecture was his)

    faux gras

    Everything worked well mechanically. All tasted good except the faux gras. It wasn't actually bad, but it was undersalted (which, in my experience, really hurts such dishes), and given the method, it's hard to catch that in time. I've been hugely impressed. I haven't bought the slicer yet, but it's definitely coming.


  2. I was just at a place in Waco called Mirth. I gather it was (unti recently) lunch-only, but it's now a dinner spot. Short, focused menu which looks like it rotates weekly. I had a trio shots of soups (corn-coconut, tomato-tarragon, pea-mint), baked crab cakes, and a small lemon pudding cake. My friend had a spinach salad, lobster croquettes, and creme brulee. Everything was quite good. The space is very nice, at least once you're inside the building (it's in a little strip mall). I hope this place can make it in Waco; it's clearly very serious about food without being particularly expensive.

  3. I may be moving to LA in the fall, but I don't know the area well, and I was hoping people here could point me to some resources on the food scene. In particular, where would one go for things like:

    exotic cheese

    fresh fish

    farmers' markets

    I don't know precisely where I'd be in the area, though the job would be at USC if that narrows things down at all.



  4. I'm going to be in Paris for a few days in the middle of this month, and I've been trying to make reservations at some mostly middle-range restaurants. Given my total lack of spoken French, I've been trying to do this on-line (whether web-based or e-mail). But of four places only one (Taillevent) has actually confirmed a reservation, one sent me an automatic reply saying that they (or rather their computer) had gotten the message but no actual confirmation, and two have not replied at all. Now, I certainly understand if a restaurant doesn't want to book electronically at all, but it seems a little odd to me to provide the opportunity, then ignore requests. Has this happened to anyone else?



  5. Cantu's food was riddled with gimmickry and just ridiculous.

    Printed sushi, burning sugar with lasers.

    It was intersting to watch but killed any desire to eat at Moto.

    Couldn't agree more. I almost fell out of my chair when he beat Morimoto. I didn't see one of Cantu's dishes that was about the food more than the show.

    Maybe his stuff tastes great - I've never eaten at Moto - but I was just thinking he was all about being the culinary Mr. Wizard.

    I'm always baffled by people who think they can judge the outcome of IC battles without actually tasting the food.

    I have eaten at Moto once, and had versions of several of the dishes that he made on the show. In addition to all the flash, the remarkable thing was how tasty they all were (one exception: the utensils with the herbs wrapped in just didn't do much for me).


  6. So, after checking out a number of the leads suggested here, we decided to do two slightly less than all-out dinners.

    First we went to Molly's in the Marriott Marina (that's where our convention was), and had a not very surprising, but extemely well executed meal. The spice-crusted ahi with aioli (actually a little more complicated than that) and the lamb three ways were particularly big hits at the table, but among 4 starters and 4 mains, there was nothing anyone didn't like. I split a "tarte tatin" for dessert, which was the most non-traditional thing all night (apple, sticks of pastry, and I recall a caramel crisp) kind of tossed together. Not what I expected, but tasty.

    (Incidentally, I went back for their weekly wine and cheese tasting [saturdays, 4-5], which it turned out had been cancelled due to restaurant week preparations. The manager (Lisa) was very apologetic, and had me come back when they opened for dinnner, and set me up for a personal tasting with the head bartender (whose name I didn't catch, but who knows his cheese). Very entertaining and very informative. I'd highly recommend the regular tasting to SD locals.)

    A couple of nights later we hopped in the cab and headed up to Arterra. Somewhat fancier setting and dishes, but still generally well executed (only objections: I had swordfish that was a tad overdone, and the cheese raviolo in the vegetarian plate was kind of unbalanced). Again, though, I don't think anyone regretted ordering of their starters or mains. Biggest winners were probably the "duck, duck, foie" and the ahi-three-ways. I particularly thought the little piece of pear wrapped in duck prosciutto was one of the best simple items I've had in a long, long time. Dessert was a little disappointing only because they had limited the selection to the three items on the restaurant week menu (incidentally, one of my friends went with that whole menu and was very happy with it). We had one of each, and all were good. There was a good range from very light citrus soup to very heavy butter cake, so I suspect everyone could find something that would work for them.


  7. The more specific you can be regarding what you want to experience, the better the suggestions will be.

    We're more interested in the cooking than the atmosphere (though of course both would be nice). I'm the only one who's into really hyper-modern cuisine (that's not a big issue in SD, is it?), but we're not looking for a steakhouse either. I think the most successful of these dinners was at Gary Danko in SF a couple of years ago.

    Thanks for the many links and other suggestions above.


  8. I'll be in SD in early January for a professional meeting. Some friends and I go out each year in whatever city we're in for a big dinner. Some preference for local cusine, but anything of top quality is fine. Price is not really an issue. Any thoughts?


    (btw, we'll be based near the Gaslight district [have I got that name right?], but are prepared to jump in a cab for a while)

  9. Richman is an astute, acerbic and thought provoking writer and critic.

    (this is a guy who couldn't find any decent pizza in Naples!)

    Is that really meant to be a recommendation? Doesn't it suggest Richman is someone who complains to draw attention to himself rather than because of the facts? And if he's consistent in this character flaw (being "acerbic" for its own sake), how is it any less of a flaw?


  10. This was my Thanksgiving dinner this year:

    "Pasta from the future" [gel-caps of spaghetti all'Amatriciana]


    chipotle-spiked duck shu mai

    cucumber yogurt soup

    Homaro Cantu's Sweet Crab

    vanilla-butter-poached king crab

    puree of buttered popcorn

    kiwi/passion fruit fettucine

    coconut milk foam

    Meyer Lemon Sorbet

    Gong Bao Quail

    grilled quail

    szechuan risotto

    Pork Mole Tacos

    tortilla chips


    home-cured bacon

    mole ravioli [alginate based]


    Jasper Hill bandaged cheddar with apple

    young manchego with mostarda

    Muenster with white chocolate

    Chocolate Two Ways

    "chocolate dispersion" [flourless, butterless chocolate cake] with creme fraiche

    chocolate/red wine chantilly

    Apple Three Ways

    apple confit

    apple fritter

    apple cider sorbet

  11. just bumped this to ask if anyone attended Boggy Creek's green corn project last Sunday?  Was it full swing even with the rain?

    Yes. There were only a few minutes of rain while I was there, and they didn't seem to cause much of a problem. I heard that there was also some problem with the health department, but that didn't seem to dampen the proceedings either. I think the food was the best I've had in several trips to this event. The presenters had a little less star power than in past years, which might be a good or a bad think depending on your point of view. The Soup Peddler was certainly entertaining.


  12. This reminds me a lot of something I've recently been playing with from Herve This' Molecular Gastronomy.

    He wants to make a no-egg, no-dairy chocolate "mousse" by making essentially a water ganache as described above, but with some gelatin in the liquid (he is unfortunately totally vague about the amount of gelatin). Then you beat/whisk the combination in a chillled bowl.

    I've tried a couple of times, and I've been able to incorporate enough air to lighten the choclate, but not enough to add a lot of volume (or even keep it at all soft after it cools for even a few minutes more). Anybody else tried this?


  13. take an educated guess.  "wasting' and experimenting are part of the game.

    Ok, I have to admit that's excellent general advice (within the limits of one's budget)...

    it's 1 to 2.

    ...but in this particular case I'm glad I asked; my first guess wouldn't have been close.

    Now I'm off to turn the dehydrated lemon curd into other flavors.

    Thanks again,


  14. I was at Alinea in Chicago last week and very much liked the dessert that centered on a spiral of choolate. I'd like to try to make it myself, and conveniently there's a recipe in the Feb./March Pastry Art and Design. Unfortunately, there's a key ingredient missing. Before I waste a lot of good chocolate experimenting, I thought I'd check here and see if anyone happened to know the ratio of chocolate to cream?

    Thanks in advance,


  15. Here's something that worked pretty well (based on something I saw Rick Bayless do on TV):

    Smoked some duck breasts

    Cut them pretty small with a cleaver, stir-fried briefly with diced shallots, a few toasted and chopped hazelnuts, and a little soy and mirin.

    Made tacos with the result.

    Probably more of a fall dish, not not bad.


  16. My Three Favorite things to smoke:

    Cured Salmon (from Raichlen's indoor grilling book)

    Jerk Pork Tenderloin (from a different Raichlen recipe)

    Mashed potatoes! (the trick, from my experience, is to make the mashed potatoes, then smoke them, instead of smoking whole potatoes then mashing them).


  17. There are two places on the high end I'd recommend: Fonda San Miguel sunday brunch (already mentioned above), and Hudson's on the Bend (technically, I suppose, a BBQ place). There are admittedly a few better restaurants in the area (perhaps Uchi, also cited above; almost certainly le Reve in SA), but none of them seem to me to have a lot of local character.


  18. Has anyone else been to this place (4700 Guadaloupe) yet? I haven't even tried the restaurant operation yet, but the grocery/bakery/deli is amazing. This weekend I got squid ink, marinated anchovies, excellent canned tuna, and a new brand of spaghetti. It really felt like being in a little market in Italy.


  19. The rest of the lunch menu seems very heavy.  Pastas and risottos are not really my thing for a midday meal, so I can't comment on those.  Taverna's always been packed when I've been there, so others must like it.  Perhaps someone else has had a better experience.

    I've only been there once, but liked it. I had a good risotto, correctly cooked (though a little drier than I prefer), with a generous portion of cheese and not overwhelmed by the truffle oil. The portion was small enough that I don't think most people would be troubled by heaviness. My colleague had a pizza, which he also liked.


  20. We Austin folks actually had a get together, the theme of which was deep frying everything one could think of.

    The weirdest thing was probably Peeps -- soft little yellow chickies, etc.

    The weirdest thing that actually tasted great was pickled ginger.  It was battered and then deep-fried.  It was served with a basil aioli for dipping.  It was absolutely delicious.

    It was a basil syrup (though the aioli sounds like a great idea).

    Speaking of aioli, I recently had the deep-fried mayo at WD-50 in New York, and it was great.


  21. Has anyone given the Baumkuchen a try yet?

    The photo is so beautiful and her description of the cake sounds very nice.

    I've tried it a couple of times, and it's the only thing in the book that hasn't really worked for me.

    (1) The baking process goes slowly enough that the batter starts to separate (maybe a mixing problem),

    (2) The layers don't turn out very distinct.

    My inclination to fix both was to turn the oven up to max heat, but that burned the sides of the cake.


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