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Posts posted by Malawry

  1. I've had this type of scammer call my business, too. They called once and I said no. And then a few weeks later they tried again!

    I showed up once for a job with no payment in advance. The guy claimed to have sent the deposit via US mail, but I never received it. It turned out he'd mailed it to the wrong address, and it got returned to him the day of the event. He showed me the envelope with the canceled stamp and the check inside it. Then he paid me in cash before I unpacked my equipment. I had catered for him before which was the only reason I showed up at all.

  2. Are you going to Babbo on this trip?

    No. My current reservations include Eleven Madison Park, Jean-Georges, Momofuku Ko, and Bar Boulud. I am contemplating axeing 11MP and going to the tavern room at Gramercy Tavern instead--I nabbed the Ko resy and I really only have the budget to spend that much at one meal on this trip. (Though, I am interested in Humm's menu, and maybe I can afford it, who knows...I'm waffling.) Also, I have a deep fondness for GT; I haven't been since 2002 and I'd like to see what's new there.

    I also have meals planned that won't require or accept reservations--Katz's, possibly some dim sum, a visit to Bouchon Bakery (since God only knows when I can get to Napa and eat at the actual Bouchon--and I definitely don't have a Per Se budget) and the new Momofuku Milk Bar.

  3. My brother and I had lunch at J-G a couple of months ago and were kind of underwhelmed. Sure, the ingredients are all excellent, as one would expect and hope, but as some others have mentioned, it seems like, when J-G does heavily Asian-influenced stuff, one of the ingredients (such as soy sauce, for example) is too heavy-handed and drowns out the other flavors...

    Thanks for the guidance, Pan. I do have a lunch reservation lined up at J-G next week. I have never had the opportunity to eat in a four-star restaurant, though I have visited several three-star places on past trips. I was attracted to J-G because I have never eaten in any of the J-G restaurants, I would like to try the four-starred flagship, and the lunch deal sounded unbeatable. I'll be sure to report back when my trip is over.

    Maybe I'm putting too much stock in there being a distinction between three-star and four-star restaurants. Maybe I'm giving disproportionate weight to the opinions of a single critic in the bargain. But that's another topic for another day...

  4. Thanks, Daisy. I have been to (and loved) the bar at Gramercy Tavern, but I haven't been to NY in many years and haven't followed the restaurant's evolution under Michael Anthony. (I ate at Blue Hill once when he was still there, and I even assisted him once at a demo at the IHMRS many years ago.)

    I am interested in three of the Meyer restaurants, actually: Gramercy, Eleven Madison Park and the Modern. The Modern is especially appealing since I could combine a visit there with a tour of the museum. Which of these do you think is best and why?

    I am planning cheaper eats for lunchtime and am willing to splurge some at dinner, but if it's possible to eat a fantastic dinner on a budget then all the better. I'll go look at the J-G threads, I've never dined at any J-G restaurant.

  5. Thanks, Randi.

    Any advice on best restaurant bars for solo diners? Are there any special prix fixe or bar menus at the better restaurants? I'm willing to dine early to get a good deal. A number of places around DC are doing recession-buster specials to attract more diners and I wondered if there was a similar movement in NY.

  6. OK, I'm considering a solo trip the second week in December. I love eating alone at bars and am interested in visiting some of the better options in the city. Also, what's new in terms of cheap eats and food shopping? I'd like to spend my days walking around hitting inexpensive restaurants and shopping for unusual ingredients, go take a nap, and then spend the evening noodling around the bars in better restaurants. I'm on a tight budget. Advice?

  7. The Frederick, MD News-Post, for which I freelance, has experienced substantial cuts recently in and out of the newsroom. So far they're not cutting food coverage to my knowledge. I freelance a biweekly column and one of the editors writes on alternating weeks. I was asked to cut back some when reviewing a (rather expensive) restaurant recently. I've been doing more of my own photography because they just axed 2 of their 5 photographers.

  8. I have a friend who raises rabbits (one of the benefits of living on the rural edge of suburbia). I nabbed two today. He gave me all the livers from the bunnies he killed yesterday. He said he doesn't think bunny liver makes for good pate, which was my first thought. I had planned to saute the two livers I expected from my two rabbits and eat them on a salad for lunch, but it seems like a waste to cook seven livers for eating on salads. Other ideas?

    (The legs are curing for confit, and the saddles will be used in the excellent D'artagnan "Floppy-Eared Chicken" recipe. I have tarragon going bonkers in the garden just begging to season some bunnies.)

  9. malawry--would it be OK to use reconstituted buttermilk powder, or would it be better to use milk soured with vinegar, or yoghurt?  In Japan I don't have access to buttermilk, but I just picked up some Saco (Sacco?) buttermilk powder to bring back to JP with me, so I could use that or one of the other usual substitutes.

    I love hush puppies (anything fried is good, but fried cornmeal is even better!), and am hoping to make some when I get back home!

    I don't have an answer for you, because I haven't tried the pups with any of the alternative forms of dairy you suggest. Whatever you end up using, try to make a full-fat version. I usually make the pups with whole-milk buttermilk and it results in a creamier mouthfeel than fat-free buttermilk, which I only used once.

  10. This is all you need to know:

    3 cups self-rising white cornmeal (available in the baking aisle of most large supermarkets)

    1 cup all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 diced small Vidalia onion

    1 tablespoon sugar

    2 cups buttermilk

    2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat

    Sea salt

    Combine dry ingredients and onions. Form a well in the center. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl and pour into the well. Stir until flours are just moistened. Heat a deep-fat fryer or large pot of vegetable oil to 340 degrees. Drop batter into fat from a large spoon, or scoop batter using an ice-cream scooper. Fry for about 1.5 minutes per side, turning when golden brown. Remove from fryer and drain on paper towels; sprinkle with salt and serve while hot.

    Tested and approved by many, many people here at eG. (The recipe is in RecipeGullet, but rG seems to be down right now.)

  11. thanks Rochelle. Does this also mean that you would let someone know that you wrote about them, for instance by sending them an email with the link, or would you just let them find out for themselves?

    I usually tell people I'm planning to write about them and give them a URL, but I don't make any promises as to when it goes live. This is especially true for food reporting I do for the two papers I write for, because I have no control over publication once I hand a story in to my editor. I can tell people it won't run before x date, but after that it's out of my hands.

  12. I say if he's offering it for sale, you should write about it fairly. It's fair game if it's offered to the general public for money. But don't trash it and don't make it personal--there's obviously a very real and passionate person behind this item you didn't like and I think it's important to keep that in mind.

    I once had a chef (rather abusively) demand I take down something I wrote about their restaurant here on eG. I stated that I'd only respond in public by reprinting their letter here on the site. The chef said they didn't think I'd represent them fairly. OK, they had her chance to respond and they turned it down. I was a little shaken by the whole experience, but I learned a few things from it:

    1. Be absolutely sure you can stand behind whatever you write.

    2. Keep in mind that there are real people and their real livelihoods involved.

    3. But it does nobody any favors if you become a PR tool, either.

    4. I try to make sure there's some kind of forum for a response if the person behind the product I'm discussing doesn't like what I have to say. This can be comments on my blog, comments or letters to my editor from the newspapers I write for, or the ability to post your own response on a place like eG.

  13. To echo some of what Jakea222 said, most of the people with serious cooking experience who attended my culinary school were there because they believed they'd move up faster with educational credentials.

    That being said, I have to say I never saw the point of getting more than two years of training at a c-school--and I specifically chose a 1-year certificate program over a 2-year associate degree. I already had a BA and wouldn't have looked to a c-school to fulfill that credential. Has anybody here done a 4-year c-school/BA degree, and if so, what was your experience?

  14. I think it's more that I'm in an area where opportunities for culinary education are scarce, and since I write for two local newspapers my name is somewhat out there.

    I said no to both people, but in different ways and for different reasons. The one who was launching her own business doesn't need me as much as she thinks she does. I offered to let her assist me at some public classes in the fall so she can get some of the nuts-and-bolts training she desires. I figure this will help me speed up my setup and breakdown process, which is good because I don't really get compensation for that time. I also figure if she bails out on me it's no biggie since I'm used to doing it alone.

    The other lady, well, just from speaking on the phone I don't think she can do much for me, and as I said I don't even really need help anyway. There were a number of indicators in our conversation that led me to believe she's more interested in hanging out than anything else. Like K8 I'm a flaming bitch when I'm busy and it takes a self-starter to fit into my style when I'm catering, and I don't think this woman would be that person. So I suggested private lessons, and when she balked at the price I told her to keep a lookout for the public classes I'll offer in the fall.

  15. I've been asked twice in the last few weeks if I'd be willing to take on an apprenticeship by an eager student. I'd been seriously asked about apprenticeship periodically in the past, but it seems like these sorts of queries are becoming more frequent.

    We've discussed apprenticeship often from the standpoint of people seeking apprenticeship, but not so much from the viewpoint of the chef.

    In my case, I offer amateur private culinary education, and the catering arm of my business isn't currently large enough to require kitchen help on an ongoing basis. (I can bang out just about anything for up to 200 on my own, with help necessary only on the day of the event--when I rely on an established stable of servers, kitchen helpers and sous-chefs.) I worry about the liability I'd take on for kitchen help I don't really need, and I try to steer people to paying me for classes instead of getting free help from them since selling a few classes is a much bigger boon to my bottom line.

    Is this something that I can anticipate more of in the future? Are there lots of people out there trying to do this sort of work gratis and doing it successfully? I'm not even referring to culinary students here, who are a whole other issue and who do not seem to be beating down my door.

    I have several friends who have offered to work in the interest of learning and hanging out. If it's somebody I know whose cooking skills are respectable, I might occasionally hire them for a few hours of prep and feed them a nice lunch on the clock while they're around. I prefer paying them because then I can control when they come, go or take a break, they're covered under my worker's comp insurance and they're pretty much obligated to do what I ask when they're on the clock. (Not that I've experienced somebody unwilling to sweep the floor or do the dishes, but you know...it's harder to compel somebody to do that sort of thing if they're not being compensated, at least to my mind.) I've done this a couple of times in the past year with great success. I already have more demand for that sort of work than I have hours to offer, though.

    I naturally find myself teaching every time I cook with or for others, and that's cool. But an apprentice? If I get asked this sort of thing periodically, I wonder how much time the people I think of as "real" chefs--restaurant chefs especially--spend on fielding and weighing these requests.

    Have you taken on apprentices? How did it work for you? Are you still open to it, and how do you decide who to take?

  16. What makes for a truly fantastic potato kugel? I've never made one, and those I've consumed are invariably dry. I'm willing to add dairy to enrich it. I have most of the usual ingredients on hand that I imagine might go into this, except for potato starch--which I can probably buy if necessary. I even have schmaltz in the freezer. Advice?

    With RecipeGullet down, I can't check the two recipes there for reference, so PMs or posts with recipes would be welcome...

  17. I don't really need a cutter in my hands for a couple of weeks, and reinventing the wheel by making my own or finding a vo-tech program is unlikely in that time frame. What I really need is somebody who is already set up for this sort of thing who can produce a custom cutter quickly. I have more money than time to devote to this project, and I am not handy.

    I will do another shape if necessary, but they really want the shape of a mini slice of bread. And yes, I need the notches. I'd rather not try to fake those on my own after using a square or rectangular cutter.

  18. Martha Stewart gave her touch to a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" themed wedding over the summer. I think this was a Today Show project. There are some ideas in the photo galleries documenting the wedding here.

    Brides are definitely picking up on this particular trend. I am negotiating with a client around a similar event right now actually.

  19. I need a specialty cutter I'm unable to find online and am considering some custom work. (What I need is a small shape of a slice of bread, for making miniature french toasts for a catering job.) I don't have time or inclination to try to figure this out on my own. I have about 3 weeks to get it together. Any suggestions? It looks like all the websites that specialize in cookie cutters offer this service, but if somebody has specific experience I'd love to hear about it.

  20. I think this is a very important issue in the food world, and one that is not discussed as often as it should be. I never met a donut or pork belly I didn't want to eat, but fortunately I love grapefruit and broccoli enough that I can work towards a balance.

    I hope Fat Guy responds to the questions about his quote in the NYT story, but in the meantime I hope this thread doesn't become a debate about the prevalence of diabetes diagnosis.

    Jason Perlow posted a recipe for the grilled mushroom dish he's eating in the photo from the NYT story on his personal blog. Personally, I find the Perlow approach to healthy eating refreshingly nondogmatic and appealingly international in scope.

    I once worked with a nutritionist in Washington, DC who has close relationships with several area culinary professionals, including some well-known area chefs who have been clients and collaborators. Learning how to eat well on every level is difficult. I appreciated working with somebody who didn't tell me to completely avoid certain foods, but there aren't a lot of "diet gurus" who do that. It's difficult for most food lovers, no matter what your genetic predispositions.

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