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Everything posted by Tess

  1. OK, I've been to both Mitsuwa and H-Mart in the past few days. I really enjoyed the variety at H-Mart. I bought some fresh water chestnuts, lime leaves, some lovely handmade tofu, and some frozen seafood. However, the sashimi-grade fish didn't look very good. I had planned to eat at the food court but skipped it because it seemed expensive and not very exciting, while I still like Mitsuwa's just fine and it clearly gets a lot of business. No one seemed to be eating at H-Mart's even though it was noon when I was there. H-Mart will be in my rotation for the produce but I will still go to Mitsuwa more often. (On the last trip to Mitsuwa I bought fresh lychees, two kinds of fresh fish, shirataki, a snack made with fried fresh vegetables that they sell in the produce department-- lovely and made in Taiwan.) Undoubtedly it's partly the way I cook influencing that and I have no idea how typical I am. On the way out of H-Mart, a frozen yogurt and snack stand called something-berry caught my eye; I wonder if it is a precursor of Pinkberry and will make a point of trying it next time.
  2. I saw the most recent episode last night. I couldn't believe it when the Judges' Table started and there were still 15 minutes to go. Is it always a quarter of the show? Unless the guest judge is scintillating it is boring and unpleasant to watch. The comments tend to be nasty and not very revealing. Someone like Lee Anne Wong said on a blog that it's often a multi-hour process so maybe they are leaving the good parts out in the editing; whatever, it doesn't work for me. This time, I turned the sound off and just took occasional peeks so I could see what happened. If this was my first exposure to the show I probably wouldn't still be watching.
  3. Maraschino cherries (the bad kind) straight from the jar. Sweet pickled sushi ginger (ditto). Raisins from a box of Raisin Bran. Fruit-flavored liqueurs.
  4. That's an interesting article. Often you'll hear that Worcestershire derived directly from (Roman) garum-- I see this article doesn't share that view.
  5. I wouldn't try to speak for those illustrious employers, but I don't think either Hung or Marcel has come across so badly as to make you doubt them, assuming they are otherwise good workers. Marcel actually dealt pretty maturely with the head-shaving business. I'd much rather work with either of them than work with Ilan the way he's been presented, including his Bravo blog. In trying to guess Hung's chances, I have been thinking about Marcel. Look how far he got. I think every season there have been some huge surprises about who made it how far-- and, second season, who won.
  6. I'm a little sketchy on this episode, but was it ever mentioned why Dale and Hung were assigned to the decor and the other two were shopping for food? D and H area clearly (to me) better cooks, and we've seen crucial decisions being made during shopping. I understand Dale being assigned to FOH, but that's about it. I'd like to find out all the ins and outs of why they decided on a do-over. Was it because everyone knew it would have been unfair to toss someone for an issue like decor? When Tom C. was blogging, you were apt to get at least a suggestion of the reasoning that went on.
  7. Don't forget the Hawaiian cousins of ceviche: poke and lomi lomi salmon. The lomi lomi salmon is salt-cured. The poke is not "cooked" with acid or anything else (usually)-- like ceviche, however, it sits in a dressing and is is a lovely refreshing side dish or starter. These days it's trendy like ceviche and also comes in a bunch of variations.
  8. I'm going to have to check out H-mart. I never get around to it because I'm right down the street from Mitsuwa-- plus sashimi-grade fish is always on my shopping list, and I'm happy with Mitsuwa for that. I must admit I've been frustrated with the small supplies of some produce there recently. It would be interesting to know what the overall demographic is at the Arlington Heights Mitsuwa. A lot of non-Japanese people I chat with about cooking are indeed defecting to H-mart.
  9. I've always thought the produce section had its ups and downs but figured that might have to do with the day of the week I'm there. The fish selection does seem to be about the same as ever. Not saying yes or no to your theory-- I have no idea. My impression has always been that a large number of the customers are Japanese expats or people who have recently moved here from Japan. Do you think those customers would be quick to switch to Super H?
  10. It ended up being doubly weird because Rocco blogged also. I thought he handled it pretty well. I think it's time to retire the whole Rocco schtick anyway. It's been, what, three years?
  11. Glad to hear you are liking them because I just sprang for a pair. I'm really excited about them but have yet to wear them all day. (Edited to add: oops, I see this post is a year old. I should ask if you still like them. No; don't tell me if you don't; they were too expensive.) I'm very fond of Dansko-- the sandals even more so than the clogs. You can run in those sandals. For clogs, I recently discovered Ariat. They have great arch support and are more flexible than Dansko. I find running and tennis shoes the absolute worst for standing.
  12. I'd love to hear the answer to this. Vermouth often tastes strange to me too. It's imporved since I get small bottles and try to use them right up, but it's still a problem.
  13. I think the sangria idea sounds great. Any way of incorporating her lemongrass mixture into that? I love lemongrass in a cocktail-- usually achieved at my house by infusing vodka with it. Works well with tropical fruit such as lychees, maybe some ginger... I'm thinking white wine or sparkling wine sangria.
  14. No way. I do go to some pretty awful places because older family members, co-workers, etc. want to go; luckily, none of them frequent RL. For some reason, the recent wave of concern expressed by chain restaurants for health, freshness etc. only makes me like them less. And without fail, I always find them way too expensive for what you get.
  15. I thought it was funny when someone asked her about saying she was unfamiliar with American food-- and it turns out she went to high school there. Oh, yes, she went to high school in Massachusetts but never ate American food. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if someone on the show had encouraged her to play up her South African background, but she looked like a big honking liar at that point.
  16. Me too, exactly. Any place I've crossed off my list because of service, it's been pretty clear that there is something wrong at the management level. One thing I hate to see is a couple of servers running their butts off while an equal number of management types stand around talking and not even looking to see how things are going. Not saying you should be rolling up your sleeves and washing dishes, but if your servers are practically in tears because they are so overloaded, you should not be seen swinging your arms back and forth and chatting loudly about baseball all night.
  17. Trying to figure out the logic of Top Chef is a good way to go nuts, IMO. Consistency is not their strong point. If I had to explain the difference between this and the diabetic camp challenge, I'd say that kids with diabetes are going to react to any one meal with too much sugar and they are all on a particular diet. The Elks Club members are not attending a cholesterol-lowering camp or anything. I don't know what they were told but they may not have even been guaranteed of having low-cholesterol foods. I did think it was kind of silly to suggest that low-cholesterol = healthy, which they seemed to do. (What about fat, sodium, fiber or the lack thereof, etc. etc.?) In reality I think it was just another flaming tire for the contestants to jump through.
  18. That's what I will do next time-- thanks! I was taken aback when I went to cook it and found it in slices; now I will know to suspect that.
  19. Recently I've also seen some much cheaper grape must products from Italy, and bought one called Cream of Balsamic fromWhole Foods. It's not as good (IMO) as the stuff called Saba, but I can surely find some uses for it. The most recent Zingerman's catalog has an Italian (I think) saba-like product made with apples.
  20. I think when you're not busy enough, you don't get a rhythm going. And, it's harder to guess when to go back to a table than to keep walking by it on the way to something else. Also, sometimes staff are told to use that kind of time to finish a checklist of other stuff.
  21. I would love some tips on thawing sashimi-grade fish. I have bought frozen fish twice from Mitsuwa and both times once they were thawed I didn't find them appetizing enough to eat raw, and wound up cooking them. The last time was annoying because what I thought was a block of salmon turned out to be already cut into sushi pieces and I had to cook each tiny piece. Seared and with a pan sauce of white wine, they tasted fine, but what a pain.
  22. I think Jewel belongs in a special hall of shame. Back when I still shopped there, they sometimes didn't even indicate when fish was previously frozen. In addition to Mitsuwa, you have True World Market just down the street from there. Also Super H mart in Niles and I believe there was another branch opening up to the west. Oh yes, and I have found Burhops pretty good; I think your nearest one is in Glenview. And is Sea Ranch still there on Lake in Wilmette?
  23. According to Lee Anne Wong's blog, they had a list of high cholesterol foods to avoid in the pantry. If fat was an issue, I haven't seen any mention of that. It sounds like you could pretty much do what you wanted if you kept off the forbidden list.
  24. Wow, that sour cherry soup looks divine! I buy sour cherries sometimes without stems and they seem fine. I am hoping against hope that my favorite Michigan farmer is going to show up this week with bags of pitted and frozen ones. He did that last year and they held up remarkably well in the freezer. We've eaten pounds of sour cherries around here-- lots of them just pitted, sprinked with sugar and served over ice cream (or Splenda and lowfat Greek yogurt for the dieters.) They also went into summer puddings; not the best texture for that dish but the taste was great. A lot of the ones I bought this year were rather small but flavorful and with a pretty good crunch for that fruit.
  25. My Boston Terrier loved soft serve cones! She couldn't do that trick with the cone though and hard ice cream, she couldn't really handle on a cone. It's hard eating that stuff when your face is flat; it goes up your nose.
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