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Everything posted by Tess

  1. I've been able to spend very little money on food since the holidays, just by using what we already have in the cupboards and freezer. That's kind of a sad commentary on how much stocking up I used to do. To be sure, there is a certain economy of time and gasoline in not making multiple food runs. However I am now working a couple of days a week in an area where I can stop at a few food markets on the way home. I still have a lot of nice herbs and spices, condiments, vinegars and wine. So for the moment, it is easy to cut down the grocery bills and not really notice it. Edited to add: no kids in the house so it's all kind of academic. No whining here.
  2. Real Housewives of Orange County, right? That episode was amazing. The one woman (who was flirting with the other lady's son) was more messed up than anyone I've seen on A&E's Intervention, and that is really saying something. I wonder if she's also been hitting the medicine cabinet. If you've got cancer as bad as her husband, you've probably got some interesting stuff on hand. I agree with those who lost respect for Leah and Hosea. I think they deliberately hung Ariane out to dry. I don't even think it's very good gamesmanship because Ariane would be an easier person to compete against down the road than someone like Radhika, who was a strong candidate to go home this time.
  3. Oh that's right-- he is a caterer. His bio suggests he's got a lot of restaurant experience though. I agree, he should make it to the finals with no problem.
  4. Caterers don't win these things. It is weird how repetitive they are with the ingredients, but honestly, if their WF is like the ones in Chicago they may feel like sticking to something they know is going to be good. Not a great selection there.
  5. I agree that playing to avoid elimination is the best strategy. I would argue that a win is worth much more that $100K in terms of opportunities, and that making it to the top 3 is also worth a lot. Even coming in fourth has done well for Lee Ann Wong. People who last a while also get brought back for more specials and so on. If I were a contestant, almost no individual prize would be worth risking too much and getting booted early on. I think there have been a few prizes like getting to do a demo or otherwise cook with someone famous or appear at an event? Maybe some of those would be tempting but they announce them all after the competition, no?
  6. Oh yeah, he definitely has a lot of those remarks prepared. At times he dropped that rote stuff and seemed rather thoughtful, though.
  7. Feh-- bush league. I've got the Petrossian catalogue right here.
  8. Tess

    Fall fruit salad

    Pomegranate seeds are great in salads. How about a fruit-vegetable salad: a heap of colorful greens topped with white beans, pomegranate seeds and pecans or walnuts? You could add some other fruits like sliced starfruits or pears or whatever.
  9. Sorry. Rocco Dispirito. The book is actually called Real Life Recipes. I don't really recommend it unless you can't cook at all. Bourdain's book-- well, you have to be able to cook somewhat, and some cuts of meat, etc., are hard to track down in the Chicago suburbs, but the directions are extremely clear. Yes, in the US we get the people you mention; their cookbooks are on display in every bookstore. Nigella's books are great. The New York Times used to run her recipes every other week; don't know why they stopped. A lot of my friends use the books. I use them more for tips than for whole recipes; for that they are extremely useful. (I don't bake so I can't speak to her baking book.) I went to a signing Nigella did for Feast in Chicago and there were tons of people there.
  10. Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook is very workable. (And one of his better pieces of writing IMO.) Although maybe he is not considered a celebrity chef exactly? If you are really a non-cook there is Rocco's recent book, Rocco Gets Real or similar. I picked the book up at a cooking demo he did. It's incredibly simple, sometimes needlessly so. (Precooked rice? Seriously?)
  11. Stop by Fox & Obel for lunch or a snack and to browse the shop. It's just a casual cafe setup but the shop is wonderful.
  12. In place of "you guys are spoiled" I would have said, "You guys are jaded." The people on this panel have been obliged for professional reasons to eat many multi-course meals. Every time I see or hear something from Bourdain, he seems to be talking about how eating a tasting menu is onerous for him and he would prefer a bowl of pho or something. Sure, I absolutely believe that. But for most people, a meal at Alinea or TFL is a rare experience. ← It is difficiult to eat a lot of rich food often, but that is true whether the meal is a tasting menu or a la carte with few dishes but large portions. That becomes particularly true the older one gets and these gentlemen are not as young as they used to be (nor am I ) ← Oh, right, there is that too. I was thinking more of the sheer number of tastes, time involved etc., and maybe how much thinking you have to put into the experience.
  13. In place of "you guys are spoiled" I would have said, "You guys are jaded." The people on this panel have been obliged for professional reasons to eat many multi-course meals. Every time I see or hear something from Bourdain, he seems to be talking about how eating a tasting menu is onerous for him and he would prefer a bowl of pho or something. Sure, I absolutely believe that. But for most people, a meal at Alinea or TFL is a rare experience.
  14. I absolutely agree. "It's just X; just Y it," can be said about nearly anything. How illuminating is it, most of the time? It usually reminds me of people in college who sat in classes and at some point always interjected a comment along the lines of, "You are all reading to much into this. It's just [a story/a theory/the U.S. constitution/whatever.]" It's an incredibly easy and usually empty dismissal of the topic at hand. I think there are many reasons why food photography in restaurants could be seen as objectionable, either by owners or by other patrons, or by your own party. I've had vacations nearly spoiled by family members who spend a lot of time fiddling with their cameras. I do feel that, if you do enough of it, you are not interacting with the environment. But I'm not going to tell them not to take photos at all; I take photos myself. I'm certainly not going to tell them, "It's just the Acropolis" and expect that to persuade them of anything. So far, I've hesitated about taking pictures in restaurants. Usually when I'm tempted, it's at an event like a winemaker dinner where the menu is likely a one-time thing. I would feel weird if the owner or chef came by and we were taking pictures of the food, although I cannot quite tell you why. I guess at those few places, I feel almost like I am in someone's home. It would be strange to go around to someone's house and start photographing the interior. That's probably my own scruples, though. At the last such event, a guy at our table had a big honking SLR and was photographing. I think he sends his pictures to the owner and some of them make it onto the restaurant's website.
  15. Congratulations on the column! It looks wonderful. Your predecessor's title was probably fine for her, but I can't imagine a single food reference suggesting the range of things you are doing with the column. The column and a quick browse through your food blog suggest to me something expressing the region of Santa Fe but in a cosmopolitan context-- maybe based on the idea of "desert" since you are in SF and your blog username includes the word sand?
  16. Antonia vs. Lisa = Austin Scarlet vs. Wendy Pepper on Project Runway. As much as I hate it when that happens, it's part of what makes the show watchable. It doesn't hurt that good people who lose seem to do fairly well for themselves afterwards: see Lee Ann, Dale and others.
  17. I want to go to Puerto Rico, now! I thought it was a pretty good penultimate competition. I am so bummed about having to watch Lisa for another episode. But I got a kick out of seeing Richard win the car after coming in second so many times. Stephanie's still my girl, though.
  18. I watched the show again last night and it reminded me that I really like Hung. It looked like he was about to stand up when Gail and Padma appeared at the table and then didn't when no one else made a move. His smile is so cute. Definitely my favorite of the three winners so far. Meanwhile, my husband is furious because he doesn't think they are using Chicago well enough. I'm trying to think-- have they used other locations much better? I just don't know; I'm not as familar with the other places they taped.
  19. Certainly no more so than Lisa or Spike. ← I don't know about "certainly." Although on the other hand, my main reaction to Dale was that he wasn't particularly a douchebag; it was more like "Here is a person having a meltdown." At one point he commented that he'd drunk a case of beer and a bottle of champagne-- before he went off on Lisa, I think. He looked like someone on the verge of nervous collapse. I felt bad for him.
  20. This to me is the most relevant thing in the thread so far. Steven's comments make sense, I think, but only if some form of "journalism" is a goal you have for your blog. I agree with this. If you are writing about your discoveries in the culinary arena for people to share and enjoy, you are not aiming for any kind of completeness. You don't like something-- just leave it out. (As Holly says, what would be dishonest would be misrepresenting the experience you had.) I think you should just consider the audience you have in mind, and ask whether or not what you're writing is going to be useful to them. As someone who constantly refers to blogs (and websites like this) for ideas, the one thing that really annoys me is when I realize that someone has soft-pedaled a negative experience, and I've tried whatever it was based on their word and wasted my time and money. Your blog looks really nice. by the way.
  21. It's a gamble for sure, but it worked out great for Antonia. She was just emerging from the pack and now she's firmly in the top three. I love, love, love Stephanie. She is killer cute and very professional at the same time.
  22. Fox & Obel is just fine and the store is fun to browse in.
  23. My sister became enamored with the Vosges and now makes a version with thinner chips coated with dark chocolate and dusted with hand-ground chilis.
  24. Tess


    The Costco I visit most never has parking issues. Maybe if you want to park very close to the store, but the lot never seems completely full. It's hard to predict when checkout will be most congested, but the wait is not usually bad-- it's worse at the Jewel nearby. However, I have heard rumors that they're concerned about that Costco not doing enough business.
  25. Didn't someone also win using a pre-made crab cake for a breakfast on a beach? In some kind of benedict-type dish, I think.
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