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Posts posted by ariggsby

  1. been looking for recipe's for this, but all of the ones that i've seen seems like the end product is wet and submerged in syrup..... anyone know how to make it into "candied form" like how candied or crystallized ginger looks like?

    I don't think you'll find a different recipe. You just need to drain and dry the results (rolling them in sugar will help this along).


  2. I have an annual professional conference coming up in Montreal. A couple of friends and I always go out for one big blow-out, no expense spared dinner in whatever city the meeting is in. Hence, two questions about restaurants in Montreal:

    1) In general should I be looking for a relatively straight-forward French place or something more modern (like, say, Susur in Toronto)?

    2) Any specific recommendations? I looked through some posts already here, and "La Cronique" seemed to come up a lot?



  3. Rick Bayless ruined my life.

    Well, not really, but I did have a major soup experience at Topo a couple of years ago. At the begining of a generally fine meal, I had the "sopa Azteca", basically a chile-heavy tortilla soup. It was unspeakably good, and I've barely been able to eat normal tortilla soup again, which is a real problem when you live in Texas.


  4. -- No Austin restaurant, including Manuel's and Fonda San Miguel, does interior Mexican food. There are, however, a few East Side eateries (where no one speaks English) where you can get authenticly prepared Northern Mexican foods - cabrito, tripe, Café de Olla, Capirotada, escabeches, arracheras, horchata, etc.

    Care to elaborate on the first half of that?


  5. As long as we're having Italian in N. Austin, has anyone else been to Andiamo? I've had two quite nice meals up there. Lunch is much cheaper than dinner if anyone wants to experiment.


  6. The restaurant was in Tribeca and I heard that It went out of business a couple years ago.

    It was a  Portuguese restaurant.

    I had white gazpacho there once.

    It was very refreashing and delicious.

    I only remember some of the ingredients.

    Green grape, Toasted almond, yogurt, bread...

    Though the yogurt mention puzzles me, I believe you're looking for ajoblanco, the white gazpacho. One of its many recipes: ajoblanco.

    The recipe cited above looks very good, but I think the grape gazpacho in Barbara Kafka's Soup, a Way of Life might be closer to the Pico dish that mukbo described. I'm at work, so I don't have the book near me.


  7. Good to know.

    I also draw a fairly short double. I should have added that the reason I care about the single in the first place is just that I have a fairly limited daily caffeine allowance, and sometimes it would be nice to be able to distribute it more evenly over the day.


  8. A couple of months ago, I got a Rancilio Silvia (and a Gaggia grinder). It took me about a day to get a good double espresso out of it, but I've never been able to get the same quality in a single, except of course, but splitting the double. The single usually tastes a little over-extracted, and the top layer is always thin and pale. (FYI, this is using slightly more coffee than half of that for the double, at a somewhat finer grind).

    Anyone have any thoughts? Help? Ridicule?


  9. They are just becoming available now.  It's actually good to soak the crabs in milk, dry them off and lightly dredge in flour.  Then saute in a hot pan with oil.  Heads up though, those soft shells POP and will send that hot oil in the direction of your forearms.

    David Rosengarten (sp?) suggests, partly to fix this but primarily for the final texture, that you saute them under a substantial weight. I've had pretty good luck with this technique (using a cast iron pan on top): dry crabs, seasoned flour, about 3 min. a side under the weight. If I'm making a sandwich, I tend to panko them and drop them in the fryer.


  10. hey there all and anyone :)

    i'd like to make some of the foams in the amuse bouche cookbook...but the recipies as he lists them call for gelatin sheets.  between today and tomorrow, i don't think i'm going to acquire sheets.  can i substitute gelatin powder?  also, if anyone knows of any vegetarian gelatin powder, that would be great.

    thanks in advance.

    cheers :)


    I have done it with recipes from that very book, so I know it will work, but I can't remember the conversion factor off the top of my head.


  11. Hey, folks. My wife and I live in Austin and have never been to Houston. We're going for a weekend, staying at the Hotel Derek, and I want to eat big-city style. Austin is the greatest, but the restaurants are mediocre at best.

    I'm curious where you've been eating in Austin. I've always been surprised that the high-end restaurants in Houston and Dallas aren't in a whole different league than those in Austin.


  12. I'll be visiting Boston for one night and was looking for a good place to eat (with a great wine list that serves fish or veggitarian food /I don't eat shellfish  :sad: but my friend does ) near the wyndham in the finacial district.  I was leaning towards Meritage. is this a good choice or are there better?



    I ate there in January under similar circumstances and was disappointed. There was a weird stringy piece of foie gras with some really inappropriate braised greens. The same greens also appeared in another of the dishes I ordered (it's kind of mix and match), and neither the waiter nor the menu warned of this. I wasn't able to detect the advertised truffle in a soup.

    It was really that bad on the whole (there was a really good squab dish, for instance; the deserts were good), but for a restaurant of that price and ambition it just didn't cut it.


  13. I cannot imagine that I'm alone in submitting The French Laundry Cookbook for consideration.

    I think the key to making this book useful is to make the components, not the whole recipes as they're given.

    Two examples: He's got this poached duck roulade with morel sauce and a corn emulsion (or something like that). I made the roulade (which is really pretty simple), then made the sauce with mushroom broth rather than his complicated duck stock and used a corn masa boat (a la Rick Bayless) rather than Keller's more complicated preparation.

    Similarly, there are fava bean agnolotti with curry emulsion; the pasta is pretty straight-forward, and the sauce is easy to simplify.

    I've also used a lot of his little garnishes like tomato (and other) powders.

    All that said, I'm still glad that I didn't pay full price for my copy, but it is possible to get some use out of it.


  14. A restaurant that aims for a four-star rating and receives a three is not nearly the same as a restaurant that aims for two and over-achieves to three.

    What specifically have you all proposed as improvements?

    I don't know that anyone has proposed a clear solution to the following, but one of the main objections I've seen is that the above claim about different kinds of 3-star ratings makes no sense whatsoever if you've only read the key published with the reviews. Now, several people have posted clear explanations of the real system on this board, but you have to read an awful lot of reviews to get even close to that kind of understanding.

    In a related matter, there's the question of whether various critics have too narrow a vision of what constitutes a 4-star restaurant. Even granting that it has to excel in food, service, and ambience, and be in some sense a luxury place, the latter three terms seem perhaps to be defined in terms that are too narrowly French.


  15. A couple of years ago I was in a Madrid restaurant to which Adria has some formal connection (as a consultant or some such thing), and they opened the meal with a foamed mojito. As far as I could tell, it was a fairly straight version of the cocktail, shot out of a compressed gas canister into a tall, narrow shotglass. The idea was to drink it immediately (there's not much real volume in a shot like this). I've since tried this a home, and it seems to work well.


  16. Yes. "Mole sauce" is essentially redundant. "Mole" is an indigenous word meaning something like sauce, though somewhat broader (hence, guacamole = "avocado sauce"). I think there's a thread about this somewhere.

    For mole in the narrow sense (chile-seed-fruit sauces) pretty much any recipe will involve making a fairly think preparation (which may or may not be as thick as what you'd usually call a "paste"), then simmering it with a bunch of water or broth to make the final product.


  17. It occurs to me on further consideration that there's lots of fabulous combinations to be made with interesting sorbet or gelato - particularly similar floral flavors. 

    I've be making floats with tangerine (sometimes raspberry) sorbet and cava for a while, with great audience response. I think there was a NYT food section article on this a couple of years ago with some more unusual combinations.


  18. I had some rabbit confit (done in duck fat) recently, and it was great, so I suspect turkey would be just fine. I can buy the fat at my good local supermarket, so I suspect you could as well.


  19. I was in Winston-Salem on business last week, and, largely on the strength of the recommendation above, had dinner at Fabian?s there. Score another one for the value of eGullet.

    The restaurant does have some unusual rules, which probably help ensure both cost and quality control. It is by reservation only, one seating only (7:30), prix fixe ($50; with mineral water, coffee, tax, and tip that came to almost $75 for me), and (except for a choice of five entrees) menu fixe as well. (One table set for two was empty all night; I presume they didn?t arrive for their reservation.)

    There were 10 people in the dining room (at four tables), which could probably hold twice that if pressed. As it was, the noise level was very modest. There was only one person acting as greeter, waiter, busboy, etc. Fortunately, he was a grown-up and a real pro. (This is a problem with fine dining in my home town of Austin. We?ve probably got more than our fair share of gifted chefs, but not enough good staff for all off them at once.) He wasn?t faced with any specially testing crises (e.g. kitchen errors), but that itself is probably testament to good management of the whole place, and he did certainly keep everything moving.

    Everyone arrived between 7:15 and the announced 7:30 seating and was offered beverages. The chef then came out and described the entire menu (stressing the sourcing of many local/seasonal produces), and orders were taken for entrees.

    Appetizer: risotto cake with pecorino flakes over young Asian green (very lightly dressed). Well executed, though a little timidly flavored for my taste. (Admittedly, it could be argued that the chef was able to make a delicate flavor out of a cheese that very easily becomes a sledge-hammer.)

    [After the appetizer and again after the soup, slices of a very fine, crusty, white loaf bread were distributed.]

    Soup: curried carrot. Between the carrots, some honey, and (perhaps?) coconut milk, this was quite sweet. Instead of balancing that out with a lot of sour (like yogurt, lime, or tamarind), they went with a lot of heat instead (the curry flavors were also quite strong). This turns out to have been an inspired move; it worked at least as well, but in a much more novel way. I believe the chef said the sous chef was responsible for this dish.

    Salad: Mixed greens (not unlike the first course) with a light dijon dressing. This was explicitly described as a palate-cleansing course, which is probably why there seemed to be little or no oil in the dressing. On an a la carte menu, this would probably be too timid as well, but it was exactly right after the very powerful soup they knew everyone had just eaten.

    Entrees: seared tuna, rabbit confit, beef filet, roasted rack of lamb, pulled-pork shoulder, all served with (in addition to individual sauces) ?appropriate root vegetables.? I had the rabbit (prepared in duck fat), over a puree of sweet potato (or perhaps a sweet squash) with a little spinach and the roasted root vegetables. The confit was a great idea to start with, but what really put it over the top was a dice of preserved lemon; the salt fit into the dish, while the acid gave a great contrast at the same time. The tuna (finished with a little demi-glace) and the pork (long-braised in a spiced broth, then served with same) both sounded very interesting to me, and the table next to me very much enjoyed the beef and the lamb.

    Desert: tart tatin with rum-spiked whipped cream. A pie-type rather than a puff pastry. The one thing on the menu that was entirely traditional, but if it ain?t broke, don?t fix it.

    I missed an espresso after dinner, but the brewed coffee was good of its kind, and they probably wouldn?t have occasion to use an espresso machine more than a handful of times any given day.

  20. I'd agree with the suggestions above that there probably is no "ideal" critic, but as for "favorite" I have no problem picking Ruth Reichl. I think that's because she is (to my tastes) far and away the best writer. That seems to me to open up an issue not raised above:

    Is the NYT restaurant critic writing for New Yorkers or for the paper's national audience (or somewhere in between)?

    This makes difference. Bruni's interest in going outside Manhattan is probably good for locals, but nearly useless for me (in Texas). Ditto for reviews of "hot" spots serving mediocre food, at least most of the time. What I'd want are reviews of places that (1) I'd travel 1000+ miles for or (2) illustrate something interesting or important in the food world. So, under the latter category, I'd probably rather read about a very innovative and/or specialized place, even if not entirely successful, than about a really great bistro. Under the former, I'm not particularly interested in "neighborhod restaurants." Someone from NY might rightly have exactly the reverse interests.


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