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Everything posted by Tess

  1. When did "gourmand" stop being the equivalent of "glutton"? To me, "gourmand" used to = "gourmet" sounds unbearably pretentious. Actually, I kind of like "glutton" to describe myself.
  2. I've given up buying prepared foods from TJ's unless recommended by someone whose taste I know. Too many experiences like this.
  3. As a frequent contributor, I hope not! Although there's so much good stuff there already, it's a little intimidating to think of trying to add something new.
  4. Sandy, thanks for trying the Life cereal so I don't have to! (I'm always eyeing those nostalgia products in the store, but if they make it home with me they generally disappoint.) Great blog! mizducky, you've always been an inspiration to me, healthy eating-wise. About shiritaki: I agree, the version with tofu seems much more friendly to a western palate. I still generally use it in preparations that don't mock Western ones-- I wouldn' tbother making Afredo type dishes with it for instance, or dishes with tomato sauce. To me, it goes really well with seafood like shrimp or clams, and something salty, like soy sauce. I like to toss it in a frying pan with a small amount of sauce until it gets a little crispy.
  5. I use frozen baby clams (and other frozen bivalves) in a couple of things where I think canned would work too. I pan-fry tofu shirataki-- you could use other noodles-- with soy or worcestershire sauce and some hot sauce and clams. Or I make a coconut-based Thai curry with mixed seafood. (I use lower fat coconut milk since I'm on Weight Watchers.)
  6. I agree you should be able to go to a high-end place and expect more than you would from TGIFriday's in terms of atmosphere. Unfortunately, no one can completely protect you from other diners. My two worst dining experiences have been 1) when someone died in the dining room and 2) when a family brought their elderly father in for dinner to tell him he could no longer live on his own. I think 2) was a version of that trick of taking someone out for a nice dinner to break up, hoping they will be too civilized to cause a scene. I could hear most of the (loud) conversation from that table and felt so bad I couldn't eat. The restaurant owner didn't do anything-- how could he?-- but at the end of the evening he came over with the old man's coat and helped him into it very tenderly. Just about broke my heart. Thing is, when you go out to eat you are still going out in public, with all that implies. Hopefully people are not spitting on the floor but they can do plenty of other things that they cannot precisely be busted for but that can still spoil your fun.
  7. I'm loving this blog! I did one year at St. John's in SF before transfering out to major in Greek and Latin. I just adored the area. St. John's was a great way to be there, although it was kind of hard to concentrate on academics in those gorgeous surroundings. Looking forward to tonight's activity!
  8. 'Tis the season for loud drunk groups in restaurants. I don't think I've ever seen a manager explicitly intervene in a case like that. I'd be interested to hear about someone doing it successfully. It seems like the kind of thing that could easily backfire. What I have seen a few times is a manager or owner who goes up to the table and chats with them in a friendly way; that sometimes seems to tone loud people down a bit. It helps if you're the kind of manager who walks around the dining room.
  9. Tess


    If your local Costco is mine, they will give you a tour or a one-day pass. Worth doing before you buy the membership IMO. It really does vary from place to place; some Costcos are much nicer than others. I have never had issues with waiting in line but I know at some places you may.
  10. Tess


    The baby duck half is available in the Chicago area Costcos right now. Things do seem to vary according to location. I was at the Honolulu Costco and they had way different stuff. I just bought a large container of Manitou "Gourmet Mushroom Blend" which looks pretty good. Dried porcini, morels and other mushrooms. I love Kirkland vanilla ice cream. Unfortunately I usually can't store that large an amount. Nthing the canned crab. I've had good luck with the large scallops too. (Fish department, not freezer, although I think these are mostly previously frozen.)
  11. You know, I might find averages more helpful if I went to more restaurants where the dining experience does not revolve around entrees, one per person-- or a tasting menu with a set price and limited add-ons. The only thing is, when I do go to places with small plates or whatever, I find the bill can vary so much that an "average" would have to be given as part of a fairly detailed review for me to be able to see whether or not it might apply to me. I don't usually find that if I go with say three other people to a tapas or small plates restaurant-- or a restaurant that serves family-style, for that matter-- we are guided through the menu in such a way that the bill is likely to come out to a certain amount. It depends on how hungry we are and a lot of other things. Certainly the sizes of plates can be a surprise, but I find that in the same restaurant they will surprise you both with how large they are *and* with how small they are. So, yeah, give me an average but with some description of how you arrived at that average.
  12. I find that those averages are no help at all. I like to look at a menu and check out things I'm likely to eat. Even more important, I would like to see a wine list with prices; failing that, a detailed characterization by someone who sounds like they know what they are talking about. That is usually a much bigger variable than things like appetizers.
  13. Most places here seem to prefer cans. I usually go for high-protein food-- I once scored a bunch of nice-looking Polish canned hams on discount-- along with canned soups, chili and/or stew. I avoid anything too idiosyncratic or "gourmet" in case it goes to a parent with picky kids or something, but I try to buy a decent version of whatever it is so it might be a bit of a treat. If you travel, and collect small-sized soaps, shampoos etc. along the way, the shelters around here, at least, love those.
  14. Wow, thanks! That really looks good.
  15. I would really like to know about that recipe too. I looked for it on the Bravo site but no luck so far.
  16. Why? There needs to be some incentive. That's nice for them, but are your customers going to have fun reading, or find it useful? Most people are not going to be patient enough to jump through hoops to find out. OK, well, again, it sounds like you are doing this for your own amusement, which is fine as long as you are clear about that. I think in this day and age, people who surf the web are pretty jaded. If they are looking for certain information-- not just killing down time at work or whatever-- they are likely to leave your site the minute they see any self-indulgent stuff.
  17. A lot of tricks and recipes can be found on this long thread. (Don't let the name Weight Watchers scare you; some good cooking here.)
  18. Are you doing this for yourself or for the customers? Sounds from your posts like it's for yourself. If so, it's like any personal blog and the Google ads are not out of place, but it's good to be clear about these things. Maybe have your commercial site (reference for customers) the first thing that comes up, presented fairly simply, with a link to blog? (I do like a personal touch on a restaurant website. Some of my favorites post recipes or updates pretty frequently and send emails out to notify people, but the main site you click on is still pretty simple.) The site does make your restaurant look interesting and if I were in the neighborhood, I would come.
  19. Wow, those look wonderful.
  20. I think this is a really good point. It's hard in any line of work to say anything that might ever so slightly convey to another person that their behavior is not OK. It does hurt to hear these things, and responses can become heated. People quite reasonably don't like it to be implied that they were seen as behaving rudely. I'm faced with this dilemma in my own work sometimes and I would love to hear suggestions about how to do it with as little offense as possible.
  21. Nothing beats good ventilation. Boiling herbs/spices in a pot is good; in the cold and flu season it's nice to inhale the vapors. Or, set a branch of dry rosemary or other herb on fire. I sometimes light a scented candle while doing the dishes. Problem is you have to find a candle you don't hate. Some of the Williams and Sonoma line of candles are kitchen-appropriate, i.e. herbal or citrus rather than perfume, and they seem to burn evenly and last a long time.
  22. I can't either. Again, the place was half-empty and winding down on a Wednesday night, and I was a hive of one. I doubt that other busy bees would have been showing up, but I can't say. I think when you are in this kind of position, one important question is that old chestnut about what would happen if everyone did it-- or in this case, if more people did it. And a restaurant or bar owner is evn more apt to see things this way. Places become known for a type of atmosphere and clientele. Ever done NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month?) It's going on right now. The year I did it, the local message boards were full of questions about good places to sit and work while getting out of the house. Word travels, let's just say.
  23. That's funny-- the first thing I thought was that seeing people working on laptops in a bar would make me feel like I'm in an airport. Or a bar in an airport hotel lobby. I absolutely understand why a bar manager would like to avoid having his or her place become a spot people converge on to do work. It's fine for Starbucks or Panera-- at least it seems to work out for them. I think it's perfectly acceptable to decide you don't want your bar to look like a hive of industry, an effect you can get from a bunch of people pecking away at laptops. Why the manager couldn't have just said that for the future he didn't want you to come in with your laptop, I can't guess. Maybe if you want to keep writing in bars you should get a Moleskine and, I don't know, a quill pen or something. Maybe a beret and a goatee too.
  24. Let's see: it was my first visit to H-Mart and I only noticed that fish on my second or third time walking around as I tried to get a sense of what was there. I was disoriented as to the layout. I want to say I walked through the freezers with the frozen seafood, headed towards the checkout, and took a left on my way into the central freezer section. It was on a little counter all by itself. There were just a few things wrapped and labeled for sale. My favorite thing from that shopping trip ended up being the green vegetable fresh tofu. Incredibly rich and creamy.
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