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Everything posted by ExtraMSG

  1. My wife is the most beautiful woman in the world. That's what I say if people ask. She never looks fat in her jeans. But I'm not judging her for Next Top Model. There's an izakaya here in Portland where the food really exceeds the bar. In fact, the food exceeds most of the Japanese food in town. The owner has gotten cranky on occasion that her place has been listed in cheap eats guides (despite the food being very reasonably priced) and even in top restaurant guides. The reason, she insists, is because it's a bar. It has a bar atmosphere. It's small, a little divey, no kids are allowed, the music is Japanese punk, there's nudity and gore on the TV on occasion, and there's no sushi. (What? I know! A Japanese restaurant without sushi? That's like a Thai restaurant without pad thai. Must not be authentic.) I think the owner of this izakaya has realized what Dr. M hasn't: that it's often less important that a review is "good" or "bad" than it allows people to know if they'll like the thing being reviewed or not. I think the NYT review clearly did that. I can't imagine any food geek like myself being turned off by that review. It was like: fuck yeah, about time, gimme that head-splitting shit! My dad will not be purchasing. Nor should he. And neither should the average home cook, the aspiring Rachel Rays, or the men who verse their food, or 90% of professional cooks out there. It's a very definite niche. Dr. M should get over his being worried that someone thought he looked fat in his favorite jeans, and recognize that sometimes the things that seem mean are good for him in the long run.
  2. I reguarly eat Valrhona's Chuao from 2003 -- over 6 years old -- and because it was properly stored it's still quite nice flavor-wise and texture-wise, without bloom. I picked up the CIA's Chocolates and Confections yesterday and I'm loving all the basic and more advanced information there. I like that they have a "troubleshooting" section where problems are listed with possible causes/solutions. I think most of the CIA books are only decent, but this one seems especially good and I haven't seen a confections book so systematic. I'm sure it's familiar territory for those of you who are experienced professionals, but I think for the amateur and novice to intermediate professional, it's worth a look. Grabbed a bunch of cru savage pistoles to play with. Figure if I'm going to practice, I better really enjoy my mistakes.
  3. btw, Langer's sells by the pound via phone or fax, but it's more expensive than Katz's at $20/lb vs $13/lb. However, they do sell their fabulous corn rye as well at $4.75/loaf. http://www.langersdeli.com/togo/index.html
  4. Empire National is still going strong. We purchase and sell their fabulous salami. Here is their correct web address: http://www.empirenational.info/
  5. Thanks. I think I read somewhere about someone using a heating pad to keep the bowl warm. I think my wife has one and I'll have to break it out. Comparing them to some quality professional chocolates by Theo and John DePaula today, I think I was being a little hard on them. I think I just expected them to be shinier like molded chocolates if they were truly done right. But I think that's just an unrealistic expectation.
  6. Okay, so reading through this thread, I have some inclinations, but just want to feel better about my inclinations. I am a total novice at tempering chocolate. I'm using the seed method, using a very dark chocolate (over 80%). I assumed I would have a higher working temperature, but I'm not sure. In dipping the ganaches, I started at about 92 degrees. I assumed with such a dark chocolate that the working temp would be higher. Obviously I need to get a feel for what "in temper" looks like. I'm using a pyrex bowl over a light simmer to melt the chocolate, getting it above 115 then taking it off the steam. I used an inexpensive IR thermometer, so perhaps that's part of my problem as well. In laying out the dipped chocolates, it seemed like the ones where the temp was higher all streaked and bloomed. By the time I was finished, the temp was reading about 85. Seemed like between 85 and 88 the chocolates came out best, though not especially shiny and there are some very light streaks in all of them (you have to get the light up to them at a low angle to notice), though no blooming in the later pieces. It's a humid day today (raining), but my kitchen was right around 70. Am I getting moisture in my chocolate? Fat from the ganache? Or is it just that I haven't gotten a good temper yet and need to practice more on finding the right feel and temperature? How long should 6 oz of chocolate in a glass bowl stay in temper in a 70 degree kitchen as it's being used for dipping? Should I be moving it back and forth from the steam to keep it in range? Are the mid-pieces without bloom even tempered or just less ugly un-tempered chocolate?
  7. Don't take this too harshly, but you need a new source. Delta and Clays are just okay at best. I've never been to Le Bouchon, but just based on the type of menu, I wouldn't recommend it to a visitor. Lauro is decent, but not among the best restaurants and not a destination. Sungari is really only worth going to if you're really desiring Chinese and you want a wine list.
  8. I think some of the disappointing places like Ten 01 and Rocket seem to be getting their acts together. I've just had lunch at Ten 01 since the change, but it was excellent. And the pastries (done by an eGulleter) were very good. Ate at Rocket tonight and had a good meal with only a few relatively minor problems. But some of the dishes were both interesting and very tasty. And the room is fantastic. Clyde Common is my current fav. I'm so happy that I'll be working right next door soon. Toro Bravo is great and has some of the best service in town, yet I've never been able to spend more than $30/person there. btw, I just updated the Portland Dining Guide and Tip Sheet to v2.5. 3.0 coming hopefully not too long -- perhaps by labor day. Don't miss out on places like Biwa putting out great food, too. And Hiroshi may supplant Murata for sushi king. Masu East makes interesting and tasty Japanese as well.
  9. I don't really drink, so I can't give you direct advice. However, my drinking friends over at PortlandFood.org usually say that Andina, Saucebox, and Clyde Common have more interesting cocktail lists and make them well. I know Park Kitchen did a cocktail pairing dinner.
  10. You know how many items on a Taco Bell menu are under 99 cents? And they have a fancy POS system. Don't be worried about that hard-working family in el coche de cucharachas. Worry about the 17 year old popping a zit and fondling the lettuce at your local fast food sludge pit while the manager smokes weed in the backroom. btw, NOLA loves Mexicans, really they do.... http://portlandfood.org/index.php?showtopic=4954
  11. btw, in Eugene area try Aiyara Thai Cuisine. It's an easy exit off the interstate at Gateway and is over in a little strip center near the road sort of in front of Target. Best Thai I've had in Eugene. If they have the noodle curries, get those.
  12. It might help to start with my tipsheet: http://www.extramsg.com/uploaded_misc/portland_tipsheet.html It's a bit out of date, but I'll be updating it before you come out probably. It'd be useful to print out and just keep in your pocket -- at least the top part. Some places that I have enjoyed and might be up your alley: Carlyle, Olea, 23 Hoyt, Alberta Street Oyster Bar, Giorgio's, Andina.
  13. Skip Burgerville. It's a waste of a meal unless you just want a snack or to taste something and stop eating. Both of Balomi's suggestions are very good. I'd especially suggest Banh Cuon Tan Dinh which has a lot of really well-prepared interesting Vietnamese dishes. Ask for the bo la lot, which is on the catering menu and almost always available. The banh khot is another of my favorites. Also, any of their wrap dishes with the grilled pork. Another great spot is Bun Bo Hue on 82nd. It's smaller and has a more limited menu -- a bit divey -- but its food can be terrific. There's also the original Pho Van along 82nd, another great Vietnamese restaurant, more upscale, and Pho Oregon, the best pho and banh mi bo kho in town, imo. There are some fantastic taco trucks around there, too. La Catrina, just south of the Johnson Creek exit, eg, makes terrific tortas and is pretty much always open. 205 seems like it would be longer, but I-5 pretty much always has backups especially between the river and downtown. So it will probably even out.
  14. Hopefully not PF Chang's, so I'll assume it was Sungari. Glad you got to the Portland Farmers Market, even if still early (and rainy) in the season.
  15. Rogue is out of southern Oregon (Central Point, near the Rogue River, about 10 or 15 miles north of Ashland). Their smoked blue and chipotle cheddar are especially well-regarded. I don't know if they make their Rogue River Blue anymore, but that was my favorite of theirs. They have a decent punch and complexity, but a relatively smooth finish, too. http://www.roguecreamery.com PS: Could you please fedex one of those sandwiches to me right away, hold the tomato. ;-)
  16. Yeah, they're corn kernels but they're crunchy, like almost popped popcorn or something. Cool texture combo.
  17. Next time you'll have to get Podnah's again while it's still warm and the fat at a wonderful mouth coatingly melty temperature. Nice trip. Great pictures. (Except that one of me.)
  18. It's getting better. It's not as easy as bahasa, but I have more experience with it. I think you know me better than to think I was hanging out at The Oriental munching on over-priced "Thai" food for elderly British couples on holiday. 90% of my meals were on the street. (Though some of the best things I ate were not on either of my trips.) No crime. But when you're making recommendations for people... I think it's unreasonable to expect them to have better food than the best places in Thailand, but it's reasonable to expect them to be as good as good places in Thailand, which I think they are. I think people overly glamorize cuisines in their native countries. Think about what kind of expectations people should have for American food in America. If someone chose a random diner and had a burger, how good could they really expect it to be. I certainly know this happens with Mexican food and based on more limited experience, I've seen this happen with Thai food as well. No, there's nowhere in the US to get the fermented rice noodles. But still, the primary thing is the quality of the gravy, imo. The one thing I wish about WSL's kj is that I could have a bit more of the accompaniments and add them in the proportions I prefer. But their curry is really nice and the noodles are pretty close. The first time I had it, though, I made the mistake of eating their fiery beef salad first. Totally killed my palate for tasting the complexity and subtlety of the sauce. Pok Pok does some things better than others, of course, but some of their dishes are spot on for a good version in Thailand, imo. These include their som tum, kai yang, khao soi, kanom jiin, neua nam tok, hoy tod, larb pla (not served anymore, I don't think), and larb ped. I haven't had the soups enough to be sure, but a couple of those were quite good, too. These are all dishes I've had in Thailand. (Though I haven't had the Issan dishes in NE Thailand.) Doesn't mean I think all of these dishes are equally good. And there are dishes I've been unimpressed with. I didn't want to hijack Ling's thread. But I imagine a lot of PDX visitors from eG will count on this. So I'll leave it here.
  19. Eh. I don't like their hand-formed truffles. The shell is too thick and cocoa-ey for me. I like their molded chocolates a lot better. It works conceptually, though. The flavors match.
  20. Anytime, Abra. They sell a truffle with a slab of blue cheese, too.
  21. Obviously you guys need to purchase one of these: http://www.gearfuse.com/tabletop-photo-stu...aves-your-sale/ for your CL low-light encounter. Yeah, I still am not sure about your palates and what exactly you were looking for. It seems like the stuff you were happiest with ultimately were the unique comfort/traditional foods -- pizza, bbq, pastrami -- that you can't really get at that level in Seattle. I probably would have probed you more if you hadn't started out with an itinerary to find out what you might really like. I might suggest Pambiche, eg, on a return visit after seeing what you guys enjoyed. I would have directed you towards Andina's more interesting ceviches, I think. I'd make sure you ordered less common dishes at Pok Pok. Etc. Hey, no fair. You're gorgeous. Everyone wants to see pictures of you. The chubby, scruffy white dude? Not so much. Glad you liked the food. It must have liked you, because there was none left on the plate.
  22. In once sense, I think this is trivial. I think most people could say the same thing about most of the non-haute restaurants they visit. Anytime you're dealing with a relatively simple dish, say like som tum or a hamburger, you should be able to make it to your specific tastes better than a restaurant if you have decent cooking skills. (Of course, most people don't have decent cooking skills.) So really, it's not a question of whether you can make something for yourself that fits your tastes better than a restaurant can, but whether what is in the restaurant is especially good compared to other restaurants. That rant on expectations aside.... I just returned from Thailand and ate at Pok Pok right before and right after. I had hoy tod, eg, several times in Thailand and Pok Pok's version was better than every version I had there. I had kanom jiin about every day because it's one of my favorite dishs (and I was eating like 8 meals a day) and Pok Pok's was better than all but maybe one version I had in Thailand. (Granted, I was in Bangkok, not Chiang Mai where I generally have gotten better kanom jiin, but still...) I just wanted to STRONGLY express my dissent on that subject and recommend that if Ling returns that she give the WSL another shot, perhaps with a group so she can try more dishes. And I'd suggest that Trillium you should get back and try more off the expanded menu and remember that you have the nam/prik tray to make things spicier, fishier, and more sour to your liking, just like in Thailand.
  23. Yes, I did have some fried chicken -- a few different kinds. It was an easy add on at all the nasi rames/campur/whatever places. Although sometimes it did cause me to go over a buck (gasp!) for a meal. I did like all the fried chicken I had. It had the added advantage of usually being pre-cooked but fried to order. (I believe the local style is simmered in coconut milk and spices first, then fried to order.)
  24. "Apizza" referring to the New Haven tradition. "Scholls" from their original location in rural metro Portland.
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