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Everything posted by picaman

  1. If you're going to eat chain restaurant food which is mostly inherently bad anyway, you might as well dine somewhere that revels in it. That's why my chain restaurant of choice is Waffle House. If I ever win the lottery, I'm opening a Waffle House in Manhattan. It would be a goldmine, and I could have scattered, smothered, covered, topped and chunked hash browns any damn time I wanted to. Other than Waffle House, I try mightily to avoid chain restaurants even in locales where non-chain food might be sketchy. For me, it's an anti-corporate-support-local-business thing. Olive Garden is just Luciferian. Jamie
  2. This is standard operating procedure for me, so I rarely get the "do you need change" question. On a few occasions where I've been caught short on cash and put the tip on the card, I've been asked by servers if I could please leave the tip in cash. Although as a former server I completely understand the logic, I find this far more offensive than "do you need change?". Jamie
  3. She asked to remain anonymous as her growing fame makes her life increasingly difficult. Jamie
  4. picaman

    Gifts to France

    I took this exact present as a gift for the much-beloved woman who owns the hotel where we stay each time we visit Paris. It was a big hit and she was very appreciative, especially when she learned the unlabeled bottle was "sirop d'erable" and not perfume Thanks for the tip. Jamie
  5. Take the 1 or the A to 207th St. and get the BX12 local bus. Look for the White Castle on your right--Arthur Avenue is either that street or one past. It's about a 10 minute bus ride once you cross into the Bronx. Jamie
  6. As tigerwoman said, it comes down to a matter of personal taste. I just got back from a week's vacation in Paris, where a couple of lunches were spent eating and comparing bread from Poilane, Maison Kayser and Poujouran. Admittedly this was subjective sampling by a non-expert, but I had gotten very good advice on each baker's specialty. There certainly is a wide variation in tastes of sourdoughs, as the result is dependent on multiple factors, mainly the locality where the airborne yeast accumulates. My partner Kirk, who was at one time a professional baker, constantly bakes bread (of which I am a very happy beneficiary ) and uses different starters of various ages and localities, including one he's gotten going here in New York. I do appreciate and like the range of flavors of various sourdoughs. I prefer, however, the differences that are there in baguettes of various provenance. Admittedly the differences are not so obvious as one would sense in two different loaves of sourdough, but that's exactly why I prefer a well-made baguette. There's a cleanness of flavor, and the lack of complexity is to my mind its selling point. Why does a flavor need to be more complex to be superior? I'd rather have the epitome of a simply-done and clean flavor. And, for me, I get that from a French baguette. Which of the three listed above did I prefer? I'm not starting that war--I liked them all equally Jamie
  7. My partner Kirk and I had the pleasure of dining with loufood and Karli at Mon Vieil Ami on Saturday 4/3 during our recent trip to Paris. Karli was a delight--far and away the coolest dog I've met in a long time. She knows how to be a lady; calm and poised when it's required, and able to cut loose when appropriate. Everybody at the restaurant fell in love with her, except for one very mean man who purposely (I think) backed his chair away from the table right into her. She still maintained her composure, though. Oh, and loufood was pretty cool too Seriously, we had a blast--interesting and animated conversation in sleek and beautiful surroundings--and I really enjoyed my meal. We took pictures of our dishes with a small digital camera I bought for the trip. They were taken without flash (I was trying to be at least somewhat unobtrusive) and I'm still learning how to use the camera, so they aren't the best quality. But here goes anyway. Entrees: Tubereux en salade tiede, mache et copeaux de foie de canard Poireaux en vinaigrette d'herbes, maquereau de ligne poele Pate en croute de Mon Vieil Ami, salade a l'huile de noix Plats: Choucroute caramelisee, pomme puree et poitrine de poulette farcie aux herbes Carrotes et navets etuves aux epices, canard de barbarie braise et caramelise (By the way, they didn't just plop the pot on Kirk's plate--we moved it there to get the picture ) Pommes de terres rissolees aux oignons et a l'ail, rognons de veau poeles au Pinot Noir Desserts: Riz au lait, compote de poire et sorbet Salade de fruits frais et exotiques aux epices Tarte au chocolat Overall impressions: The first thing I noticed on the menu was that the restaurant had a subtitle--"a faim". I was an English major in college and taught journalism for a while, so I can truly appreciate a restaurant name with a subtitle. Also, given the chef's intention to turn out lighter versions of some traditionally heavy fare, I thought it was interesting that the names of the dishes were uniformly listed on the menu with the meat at the end of the description. As it turned out, this was a clue to the flavoring of both my entree and my plat. There was an almost vegetarian-like emphasis on the vegetables and subtle spices and flavors rather than the meat that I really liked. I had the tubereux with foie for my entree. It had a very nice variety of root vegetables (the weird coloring is my cruddy photo, not the actual color of the vegs ) in an understated but flavorful broth. There was a lack of saltiness in the dish that put the emphasis squarely on the flavors of the root vegetables. I really liked this lack of salt, though we talked with another gentleman who said he had to generously salt it to make it palatable. I thought this missed the point a bit, but to each his own taste. The foie was sliced incredibly thinly, so that it disintegrated on your tongue--marvelous. The mache gave a nice texture balance. The caramelized choucroute was my plat. The choucroute was very thinly and uniformly sliced, which added to the pleasure of eating it. The potato puree seemed to be a mix of several types of potatoes and had a great texture--just on the correct side of being a slurry without being too runny. There was sufficient moisture to keep the puree from being pasty even when it had cooled off, and it was very lightly and nicely flavored. The poulette had nice caramelization on the skin and on the plate as well, but the meat itself was barely on the "too done" side of "perfectly underdone." I really like the slightly pinkish cast that so many people and restaurants seem to sometimes be afraid of. Although the meat was still very moist, juicy and flavorful, I wonder if this is standard issue for the kitchen or if they turned it out a bit more cooked than usual. Overall I liked this very much, although my bite of loufood's plat (the rognons de veau) made me think that she won that round. I think I came back nicely in the dessert round, though. I had the riz au lait--the three main ingredients blended marvelously yet tasted great individually as well. The rice pudding melted on your mouth with an almost tapioca-like flavor and texture; none of the occasional crunchiness or grittiness you sometimes get with this dessert. The pear compote on the bottom was ever so slightly icy which added a nice texture and flavor, and the very light sorbet on top functioned almost as a light whipped cream. The sorbet was underflavored nicely to put the emphasis on the flavors of the rice and pears. As we had a late seating and had so enjoyed the meal and the company, we were far and away the last table in the place. We decided to be considerate and skip coffee, as by the time we finished dessert the staff had completely reset everything for the next day's lunch service and was kind of just sitting/standing around. Who can blame them? Our server was a bit odd--perhaps a bit defensive due to a lack of depth of knowledge of the menu? Just a guess. He was fascinated with my AMEX Blue card--thought for a while that I might not get it back So we left, and Karli enjoyed a romp chasing rats among the closed bookinistes along the sidewalk. She was so much better behaved than some of the other diners that it was well-deserved. Our final bill for three, with a bottle of wine and an Evian, came to 159 euros--right in line with John Talbott's bill. I really enjoyed this meal, and thought it a good value. As a former vegetarian, I greatly enjoyed and appreciated the chef's approach to his dishes. And the company couldn't have been better. Jamie EDIT: spelling
  8. In spite of all this communication, and in spite of a second call from the U.S. to confirm the reservation for "Lundi, 5 Avril a vingt heures", L'Ourcine is closed on Monday All's well that ends well, though. We had a very nice emergency dinner for 73 euros (for two: amuse, entree, plat, fromage, dessert, vin inclus) at Le Cotage Marcadet near our hotel in Montmartre. We talked food with the owner, Jean Marie Robin, until the wee hours of the morning and he's taking us out to Rungis on our next visit. Got in late last night and have to work today but will post details about our various dining experiences in the appropriate threads (Le Violon, Mon Vieil Ami, Clos de Gourmets and others.) Jamie
  9. Had my first shaved ice this past weekend. If that's not a sign that winter is gone, I don't know what is. Jamie
  10. I know this is off topic, but I have to comment on this It's been a number of years since I was a server at a higher-end restaurant in a popular Florida golf resort (I'm not specifying how many years, but it's well into double digits ) but I guarantee you that I did not have time to check the cleanliness of the bathrooms on an hourly basis. Tips for servers, in my opinion, should be based on things within the purview of the server. Complaints about the facility itself should be directed to management. I waited tables before mandatory deductions were put into place, but for every lucrative dinner service, I worked a Sunday brunch where I often got Bible tracts in lieu of tips. I doubt that I averaged 15% overall. Jamie
  11. Thank you so much for calling and confirming this. And thanks to everyone for their translations. The muddied waters are now merely brackish I promise to gather as much info as possible and of course, name-drop eGullet. Jamie
  12. One thing's for sure. I'll have dinner somewhere in Paris on Monday, April 5 and, for better or for worse, you all will be subjected to my opinion of it. Jamie
  13. Ah well. I either do or don't have a dinner reservation at a restaurant that may or may not serve dinner, and the chef may be there or not. It won't be the first time that one of my misadventures turned out wonderfully or horribly I shall report to L'Ourcine on time and see what happens. I took the Figaroscope piece to mean that Sylvain Danière will be at L'Ourcine until Camdeborde's arrival, but my French is admittedly fractured. Jamie
  14. Awesome news that coincides with my upcoming vacation! I've just called in an 8PM table for Monday, April 5--I clearly said "vingt heures" and the reservationist repeated it back to me. Can someone confirm that this place is lunch only? Did I get my chain yanked? Jamie
  15. Really, though. Be honest. Does it get any better than that? Jamie
  16. I'll second Rene Pujol. It's been a year or so since I've been, but I've had a couple of good meals there. Jamie
  17. Explosives Found in French Railway Bed It's a developing story which I post by way of information only. Jamie
  18. If the L works better for you, you can take the 61 bus from Bedford to Broadway (where Luger's is.) Keen's is 36th between 5th and 6th. Jamie
  19. picaman

    Onion Confit

    Baked onto freshly-made foccacia, mixed with freshly-made pasta, and occasionally eaten by the spoonful. I'm a big fan of keeping it simple. Jamie
  20. It seems that this may be debatable. While there is nothing foolproof, this is another step that a would-be security breacher would have to overcome. Sure, a suicide bomber would be undeterred. But someone leaving a suitcase with a timer might be put off-- if people become more aware in the railroad cars of unattended baggage, it is yet another deterrent. I know in airports everyone is super-sensitive to any unattended luggage; I myself have called attention to authorities of a bag sitting by itself on occasion; Yes, it may not do all that much, but it is another step in the way we have to live today. I suppose the days are coming where there may be metal detectors and xray machines by Railroad stations as well, although the sheer numbers of stations as well as the expenditure involved may prevent this from happening for decades. I hate to be a paranoiac pessimist, but I have to agree with Schneier on this one. Terrorists have proven time and again that their modus operandi is to stay constantly aware of the current state of security for any given target, and plan accordingly. That said, as I'll be on a SNCF train in a few days, I'm glad for the information and for what limited psychological comfort I can derive from the "theater." Jamie
  21. I like the Hallo Berlin cart at 54th and 5th. Also, I've heard good things about the Daisy Mae BBQ chili cart at 50th & 6th, though I haven't yet schlepped across the street to sample it myself. Where not to go: the food truck in Inwood, at the north exit of the 1 train stop at 207. Once here was enough for me. I've eaten plenty of good chitlins, but they never tasted like the pig smelled Jamie
  22. At least the Gap was a miserable failure and is now gone. Jamie
  23. picaman

    Onion Confit

    Completely off topic, but couldn't resist posting this recipe link for you, Marlene: Salmon in the Dishwasher This may, of course, be old news to a dishwasher veteran such as yourself Jamie
  24. I've searched six ways to Sunday and can't find this. Could you kindly link to it or let me know where it is? Maybe it's just too early in the morning for me Thanks Jamie
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