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Everything posted by ingridsf

  1. I can only speak to the product side of things but can say I go out of my way for any place that uses fresh tortillas. They are so delicious. The fillings only carry it so far. And real tortillas don't fall apart so easily which is nice. Good luck and hope you'll keep us posted on your progress.
  2. I saw Slow Club on the list and wanted to point it out as it doesn't get mentioned much. A cocktail of the day, menu constantly changing, and easy parking. Inexpensive for the level of quality. Biggest downside is the noise level which is way high. Take that special someone who is so special that you have no need to talk with him/her over dinner. Or perhaps that special teenager who won't say a word to you.
  3. I guess I'm mean because I do see the point. It helps your fellow consumers. That's not a license to baselessly trash someone's business. By all means, tell the restaurant first what the problem was and give them a chance to make it right. Include information in your post about what they did well. Because as odd as it may sound, I think I would be taking myself too seriously if I thought my honest criticism alone could cause so much mayhem.
  4. As Tom Waits once sang, "I wish I was in New Orleans..." Color me a three-piece-spicy-dark-and-a-biscuit. Has anybody been to one recently that made onion rings? The one I went to in DC's Tenley Circle a hundred years ago did. Haven't seen them since. I'm still wearing my black armband of mourning. Yeah, it's fast food but it's GOOD.
  5. I really do agree with Pan and Fatguy. Candor and civility are important standards for all communication, spoken and written. If someone posted a negative review, I'd wait to see if someone else responded with a vigorously positive one. That's a pretty common occurance. Boulevard and Zuni are two frequently contested restaurants in SF, for example, that each have their loyalists and their not-so-loyalists. So, who would I believe? Well, if the actual posts don't clarify the situation, I might check out the members who are making the strongest statements. One of the tools of this site is that you can check out a member's past posts. If you were to read some of mine, you would see that I make stupid jokes, that I like bacon, dislike Wal-Mart, prefer small Cal-French restaurants,and watch way too much tv. You would then have some context for my boosterism for a particular restaurant. If you saw that I was NEVER cranky/critical, that would also tell you something. Anyway, I hope members are not self-censoring. That just makes the positive reviews difficult to believe.
  6. I went to an eGullet event recently and while I did have a great time and like the restaurant, I didn't have any trouble sharing that I didn't care for one of the dishes. The question to me is, as someone already said, Could you give the feedback in person that you posted on-line? If you would cringe at saying what you wrote, then you might not want to post it. I'm disgusted at the pure mean-spiritedness that passes for discussion on some forum sites. E-Gullet's not at all like that. I don't think Gill did her homework, if that quote's anything to go by. She should check out more of the threads focused on particular restaurants. There's plenty of debate.
  7. ingridsf

    Top Chef

    I don't know about that Harold. So far, he's a complainer. About the challenges themselves, and having to interact with customers. You say you don't want to be seen, that you just want to cook? Yeah...being a contestant on a tv show...that'll work out well for you. I think his attitude is a lot like Stephen's -- condescending and inhospitable -- but he's more savvy about keeping his mouth shut. My pick to win is Lee Anne. She's won 2 Quickfire Challenges. She's got the skills, she's assertive without being obnoxious, and is cool under pressure. Her biggest goof so far was being standoffish with the kids. I think the fact that she's not getting all kinds of attention right now will be to her benefit.
  8. This isn't for me. I'm glad it works for some but it seems hard to me in some ways. Mainly, it's the having to schlepp to the place and haul it all home, and unpack. I am Ms. Online D. Livery for groceries, and I usually order one prepared meal for the night I'm totally beat. The chopping/prep thing I totally get. That's why I buy frozen chopped onions and fresh peeled garlic. (Those are far and away the things I prep most.) I don't think cooking, per se, is the obstacle. It's the mental energy it takes to be organized. And it makes me wonder if this isn't the result of people watching so many cooking shows where the host has their station all ready. Cause that's what these places are -- mise en place distribution centers!
  9. Actually, I think Zazie's better known for their breakfast/lunch/brunch menu. I used to go for a midday breakfast on weekdays when I lived nearby. It's so jammed on the weekends I didn't bother. People talk about their pancakes but my thing was an egg dish, scrambled with chorizo, white cheddar and roasted peppers. Came with roasted potatoes/garlic, pico de gallo, and toast. Why did I move?... Re Taboun: If they delivered, I'd be one happy person. But thanks.
  10. Wow! I went a couple of weeks ago and we spent $40/two people. And we were FULL after an hour of eating. Maybe it has to do with what you like best -- I'm pretty basic. Give me any kind of dumpling or bun and I'm happy. I've never been disappointed in the quality so I guess that's why I stick w/ it.
  11. As unfair as it is to trick someone into eating something they don't like, I'm more annoyed by people misrepresenting preferences as allergies. You don't need to like what you're eating the way you need to breathe, not vomit, and so on. It must be hard enough to negotiate food labels, menus, etc., without also having to deal with skepticism that your allergy isn't real. It's like using a disabled parking placard when you don't need it. Those of us who do need them get the fraud-related fallout. Then again, you have people like my friend who has gout. I've seen him eat red meat, shellfish, all the no-no's, and he just says, "This steak is so worth the pain." As for preferences, it's all about degree. I'm cool with someone I've invited for dinner pushing tomatoes or whatever to the side of their plate. And I always ask folks about what they can have and want, and plan accordingly. That's just being a good hostess.
  12. No, I think the place you're thinking of is Eos (owner later opened Bacar), where I was served the saltiest dish of my life. It was -- is? -- a hip/hapning spot when it first opened. Unlike Zazie, which is thought of more as a place to go if you live nearby. And that's a shame, given that it's only a half-block from the N-Judah and is on at least 2 bus lines, the 6 and the 43. Hardly the boondocks. That intersection has some good food and drinks. I like the no-name sushi spot right there on Carl at Cole and the Kezar Bar and Grill where my friend bartends. Say Cheese has great -- you guessed it! -- cheese and sandwiches. Good lord, there's also the Boulangerie de Cole at Parnassus, too (RIP Tassajara Bakery). You could gain some serious weight in that 2-block radius!
  13. First: Congratulations on being able to go back to work. Second: Condolences on having to go back to work. What really struck me was that you don't want any part of sales. That's a big part of what servers do. Restaurants sell dining experiences. If you're physically fit enough to wait tables, you might consider a job in one of the trades. They have apprenticeship programs and when you complete it, they tend to pay a hell of of a lot better than jobs that are in the service sector (or that are traditionally held by women). If you really want the food/bev world, you could become a chef. Good luck!
  14. Everybody's idea of a "good deal" is different but I found one for me last night. I had dinner w/ friends at Zazie in Cole Valley. Dinner for the 3 of us with wine and tip was around $150. We could have done even better if we took advantage of the 3-courses-for-$19.50 option. (You choose from among 3 apps, 3 mains, any dessert. The choices were good, too.) Mind you, this was at 9 pm on a Friday; a lot of the meal-deals around are early-birds, Sun-Thurs only. Here's what we had: -2 half bottles Benton Lane Pinot Noir -2 shared apps: 3 cheeses with roasted figs and grilled walnut bread; and the charcuterie platter with house-made pate and cornichons, proscuitto, olives, salmon rilletes, and greens -grilled lamb chops w/ red wine reduction, mashed potatoes, asparagus -steak au poivre, potatoes au gratin, sauteed greens -roasted trout, tomatoes provencale, roast potatoes -pot de creme au chocolat; pear and ginger crumble with ice cream and creme fraiche; creme brullee with strawberries The ingredients, cooking, seasoning, presentation were solid, no corners cut. The pate and the crumble were outstanding. I know, nothing there that wows you with its innovation. Manresa it is not. But they do very well on the stuff that isn't on the menu, esp for the prices. Opening two bottles for us to taste. Hot-hot rolls and soft butter. Sending extra strawberries out when they saw us eat them so fast. The place can be crowded but the staff worked well together. That they can make simplicity so enjoyable is worth noting. On Monday nights they give 10% off to people who bring their dogs, and that alone gave one of my friends license to return.
  15. ingridsf

    Top Chef

    What bugged me about the octopus was that they all said it smelled horrible and then -- what? It smelled okay? I had raw octopus recently and it tasted pristine. Certainly no odor. I thought the Quickfire Challenge was going to actually be about judgement. Having to deal in the moment with a questionable product. When you might have to make a tough decision about basically losing money by not using a subpar ingredient. I didn't think they should have had to leave. Chefs perform all the time in open kitchens. They talk to diners. I think really good chefs understand dining out is a performance for the customer and that they do have a role to play that isn't 100% cooking. Kids deserve this attention as much as an adult who gets to go see the kitchen and have a one-on-one discussion with the chef. I agree though the performances were pretty patronizing.
  16. ingridsf

    Top Chef

    I'm so sorry. I would have responded earlier but I was completely preoccupied with eating my risotto. And, yes, thank you, it was very satisfying. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a BLT, The Colbert Report, and a very special someone to get back to. PS Does anyone remember Buck Henry's line on the old SNL, "You know what I've always said -- 'Give me a Sandwich and a Douchebag and I can do anything!'" Stephen and Tiffani are Lord and Lady Douchebag at this point.
  17. I love the downstairs, have never eaten in the cafe upstairs. Anybody who can't do stairs should note that if you want the cafe menu in the evening but are shut out because of the accessibility problem, they will seat you in the downstairs dining room. It's not a perfect way of welcoming disabled customers but it's a start. You'll have to tell the reservation person and, in my experience, they're extremely professional. I also happen to like being forced to enter through the kitchen, because that's where the ramp has the entrance. It's cool walking right by the cooks. And getting a good, long whiff of what I'm about to eat. I've eaten there on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. Good meals all, but the Sat. night one was the most festive and relaxed because, for me, it was a weekend. The aperitif was a mix of pastis and Pro Secco (sp) with a plate of crostini, one type topped with tapenade and the other with a pate. Delicious, and the drink, too. Was a fine opener to that night's menu that was, "A Celebration of Provence." I wouldn't say the rest of the meal that night was significantly different than the others. I believe the price difference between the Tues-Thurs nights and Fri-Sat is $10. No biggie. Have an aperitif on Wed. if you want. Go crazy! I'm sure they'll make you one. I think you should go whatever night would be most fun for you. The other thing was that the service was equally excellent on the weekend and weeknight. Go, go. Especially if you're going to be eating at other high-end restaurants around that time. Simplicity could start to look pretty darn special. edited to say, "Oops! Forgot the no-alcohol thing. But don't forget that there's a food part of the aperitif. And, I was wrong abt the prices. Sorry."
  18. Don't really see why there needs to be a competitive element in this. Alice Waters is a big name in some circles but she's hardly a household name to most people. And having access to the resources of a university, plus government funding from the NIH and USDA*, doesn't seem any more homegrown than support from a privately funded non-profit foundation. Anyway, I thought the best part of the op-ed was about kids enjoying food. Not just how important it is to get xx grams of fiber in their diet per day, but how they deserve the pleasure of delicious food that also has xx grams of fiber. I'm so sick of health warnings and nutrients and vitamins and yadayadayada controlling the entire conversation about eating. That's why I tend to like AW's messages even if they do come from Berkeley -- she's not afraid to promote pleasure. Others may disagree that this is part of what makes her an important American chef but I think developing better palates in the coming generation will influence the chefs working today and tomorrow. If more and more kids grow up to be adults who can't handle anything green on their plates, chefs are going to be getting a lot more, "chicken fingers, honey-mustard sauce on the side, hold the parsley garnish," orders. The few remaining chefs who dare to put chiogga beets on their menus will be rounded up and sent to the Ronald Reagan Ranch for Wayward Cooks and forced to prepare the "Vegetarian Tasting Menu" (tater tots, ketchup, and steam-tray vegetable medley) until they realize the error of their ways. *per UNI's 2004 Annual Report.
  19. ingridsf

    Del Posto

    I saw this. It wasn't just about Del Posto, it was about Mario's jam-packed (and fun-filled -- thank you Lily Tomlin!) life. There was a moment when one of the chefs asked Mario point-blank about how they could justify charging so much for a certain pasta dish in this restaurant than they did for the same dish elsewhere. Without missing a beat, Mario says it's because the place cost them $10 million. Ouch! See, that's where "behind the scenes" is not always a good idea. If I'm going to pay significantly more for a plate of pasta I want to at least pretend it's because it's better pasta. Like the design, the linens, the service, etc. are better. Anyway, too much candor is a problem it's probably good to have.
  20. I am reminded of Gordon Ramsey's remarkably twisted knickers when an underling failed to answer by using the words, "Yes, CHEF!" on "Hell's Kitchen." Hee, I would like to have seen someone tell him, "It's just language."
  21. What I'm savoring, like Schadenfreund-flavored Altoid ("curiously German"), is what I hope will be a dampening effect on the pharmaceutical industry. Brand-name drugs like Lipitor got a huge boost when the standard for what constituted "high cholesterol" was changed. Because the number was lowered, many more people were prescribed the medication and, in cases like my uninsured friend, suffered needless anxiety because he couldn't afford it. On the other hand, Emeril's message, "Pork fat rules!" will probably grease the way to him becoming the next Surgeon General. The night before last (right before the study hit the news) he had a show where he made fresh andouille, stuffed it a pork chop, wrapped it all up in bacon and smothered it in ham hock gravy. If you listened carefully, you could hear Jane Brody sobbing in the background.
  22. I was eating a BLT when I read, "The largest study ever to ask whether a low-fat diet keeps women from getting cancer or heart disease has found that the diet had no effect...." http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/07/health/0...artner=homepage
  23. It may not be a big deal like keeping little Timmy away from the stove but I can see why it could annoy someone. I get annoyed by the improper usage of "impact," as in, "Tell me about the impacts of your sourcing." Aargh! "Impact" makes me think about dental problems and...other problems. And if you want it to be plural, it should be "effects." The other one is "product," as in "You're turning out great product." No. What you're turning out is either "a great product," or "great products." I like to think you don't have to be an English teacher to care about language. But maybe things are different 4 U.
  24. I wasn't talking about personal values, I was talking about the restaurant's values. Or if you prefer, it's culinary principles. Incanto identifies itself with the principle of seasonality, which works well because we have better growing seasons to work with. A NYC restaurant can try but it's never going to do as well in this area. It can't find an equivalent range of truly local, seasonal products. For all I know, this may be why cold-weather locales like NYC and Chicago have embraced the values and principles of avant-garde cuisine, which is so dependent on technique.
  25. The original Incanto/Lupa judgement in the CA thread was that Incanto was unoriginal and uncreative. Lupa was named as a preferred restaurant. I can appreciate that some people travel enough to make a comparison like this useful but when a restaurant's guiding principles include a focus on local products, it seems logical that its standing in the local community out to be worth a mention. Incanto promotes using the whole animal, does not feature local wines, and has a spacious, easily navigable design. I don't know of another Italian restaurant in the area at a similar price range offering the same or better dining experience or one that's having a Head to Tail Dinner soon. I don't know. Maybe I'm being touchy because there have been a number of complaints recently about how uncreative Bay Area chefs and diners are. One person's "uncreative" is another person's "simplicity." But that's a whole other conversation.
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