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Everything posted by Verjuice

  1. Chef, my family (in the UAE) always have kishk in the freezer given to them by someone (generally someone lucky enough to have a grandmother who's still alive). i eat that when i visit them, and then i bring back a jar of green kishk every time i go to lebanon. and... I'll admit it, I buy bags and bags of kishk from a little Lebanese roastery in Abu Dhabi and I bring that back with me to the US. I know the commercial stuff is usually inedible, but this really isn't all that bad. I eat kishk several times a week, so for me mediocre kishk is better than no kishk. And no, definitely none available in the high desert.
  2. CHEF! You got me to log back in after a few years away by using the fast track to my heart. This is my favorite topic ever. I can't thank you enough for doing this and for bringing my attention to it. I'll be following closely. Love this! Yeslamu idaykum.
  3. Absolutely incredible. Thank you, thank you, thank you for documenting this. It's amazing.
  4. I have absolutely nothing worthwhile to contribute, however I wanted to add that Klary is the only person on the planet who can be trusted to make traditional basbousa look passe and unoriginal, after becoming familiar with it only a month or so ago. This is probably the most tempting dessert I have ever seen!
  5. I'm going tomorrow for the first time. Can't wait. Thanks, Tupac, for the report. I have no doubt that your notes will be of help once it comes time for us to order...
  6. Okay, I said it, and I'll say it again. To me, cloudberries taste like the smell of chamisa, or like a kindergarten classroom full of sniffly, coughing kids; a funky smell like sweet little animal kisses. From the Wikipediaentry for cloudberries: They're very creamy. I don't get yogurt, but I do get fermented. Definitely an acquired taste, but I was very grateful and touched by Pille's generosity when sharing her supply of these notoriously elusive delicacies. What a privilege.
  7. That does it! I have to find my skates so I can cross the Atlantic, get across the North Sea and over to you guys, for that, and all the other Estonian dishes, pastry and chocolate. Save me a seat: I'll be there by... um, morning. ← Well, I'm in Transylvania now and K is in Amsterdam, so make sure you stop and say hi to us on your way to Estonia!
  8. It wasn't as cold as we'd expected. That said, I wore four pairs of socks every day and griped about frozen toes, while Klary usually had to pause for a few moments after we'd begun walking in order to tear off her leg warmers. So I guess it depends on how tolerant you are...
  9. Similar. Dark, sour rye bread, smoked and cured meats and fish, various berries... and then you have sea buckthorn, curd cheese and kama... I'm sure Klary will have a thing or two to say about kama.
  10. You underestimate me, Rob. Of course I had the other two cocktails... two nights later.
  11. ... We had dinner at Ö on Tuesday night. Their mission statement: Note that they don't use foes grass. In case you worry about that sort of thing. The space: Semi-open kitchen: Menu of signature drinks: To start, I had the gooseberry bellini and Klary had the sea buckthorn mimosa. After that, I tried the Põltsamaa martini made with Estonia apple wine from Põltsamaa (Jõgeva County). With dinner, I had yet another cocktail while Klary had a glass of Montepulciano. I wasn't in the mood for wine, but my 'Apple Fresh' was really light; sparkling water and sparkling cider with fresh apple and cinnamon. We were served butter. On the rocks with salt. And were given a choice of breads ("May I have one of each, please?"). Walnut, sour rye with lingonberries an caraway, and dark rye crisps: I won't post near-duplicate photos of our food, but here is the pic of my steamed powan with cream cheese tortellini and crayfish bouillon: My dinner date: ... The day I had to stay in and work, Klary brought me not one but TWO pastries from Park Cafe. I ate both in about fourteen seconds. The first contained curd cheese: The second had spices, brown sugar and black aronia berries: And yes, I did eat them off a notebook. What, you wanted porcelain? I travel light.
  12. Apologies for things being slightly out of order on my end. 'Keeping Up with Klary' is an aspiration, not a sitcom. Klary and Pille go in search of chocolate: At Chocolats de Pierre after our Russian lunch, I did eat one of these: And one of these, too. Someone had eaten too many pelmeni to make much of a dent in dessert, and that someone wasn't me. I saw these jellies at the market (Stockmann). They intrigued me so of course I had to have them. The Finnish brand Fazer produces two lines of fruit gels; these are the less common ones, in an irresistibly weird kelly-green box that betrays nary a hint of its contents' contents. Imagine my delight when I tasted one and saw the insert stating that they are pear-flavored. I can totally imagine Roald Dahl eating these as a boy on summer holiday in Finland. They were good in a funky banana sort of way. There was also licorice, including a 'Perry' Panda bar, also Finnish and tasting of "pear". I also bought a handful of chocolate-covered curd cheese bars and Klary and I tasted them on the way home. Well, okay, she saved hers like a good blogger while I sampled everything. I didn't like the caramel ones, which I had guessed would be covered with chocolate and filled with curd cheese and a layer of caramel, like the ones with jam or whatever. Instead, these were just plain curd cheese with a butterscotch candy coating in place of chocolate. The plain chocolate ones were pretty good. No pic as it was dark and we were walking.
  13. From our first night in Tallinn... This was last Monday and it was as magical and still as you'd ever want it to be. There was nobody else around...
  14. I'm going to start at the very beginning by contributing a few extra pics from Night #1 ie. The Vegetarian Challenge with Mister and Missus Markemorses. Klary in the Kitchen, inadvertently making anyone who has ever stressed over a dinner party look like a rube: Gratin of potatoes, mushrooms, red onion and awesomeness. Greens with green kalamata olives, toasted hazelnuts (I did these! And only burned a dozen or so! Yess!), oranges and a simple dressing of... what? Walnut oil and balsamic, I think. Trifle of homemade pistachio cake, poached quince (with vanilla beans?), custard, whipped cream and toasted pistachios.
  15. Hi from Germany! I left Klary and Dennis this morning after ten days together. It flew by! Sad puppy faces all around... Amsterdam and Tallinn were wonderful but it was the company that I will really miss. I only have a moment at the computer but will post pics when I have a stable (and better) connection... Beautiful pics, Klary.
  16. I always love the idea of long, slow braises when it's snowing out. I entertain fantasies of mulling wine and enjoying a neverending supply of spiced cider while I feast on lamb shanks, gratin dauphinois, lentil and sausage stew etc. In truth the only times I do any of these things are when I'm on vacation somewhere snowy. Somehow these ideals don't make it past my front door. When it's snowing in Santa Fe, my recurrent guests are popcorn with lots of butter and brewer's yeast, scratch hot chocolate with lots of spices, Manhattans, brie en croute, any dessert containing fresh citrus, ginger milk, and lots of black licorice, which I find incredibly warming (maybe it's the spike in blood pressure it purportedly causes?).
  17. At the risk of sounding incredibly ignorant... I am traveling with a Ziploc baggie of PG Tips that I packed at home in the US three weeks ago. Since I've been visiting family in the Emirates, I bought a new box of PG Tips upon arrival for drinking here. I worked my way through 40 tasty cuppas, then ran out last night. This morning, I didn't feel like heading to the market for a new box, so I dug into my Ziplog baggie of tea bags from home and brewed it the usual way. But something was definitely wrong with the flavor and aroma. How can I describe it? It tasted metallic, bitter, musty... smelled a little rusty and very faintly like raw egg. A little fishy, even, after the milk was added. Thinking it might be the milk, I tossed it and brewed another cup a few minutes later, adding fresh bottled milk this time: same thing. I am completely grossed out. The tea bags I packed were from a brand new box of tea that I had just opened at home. Are these the typical taste markers of tea that's way past its prime, or are my taste buds playing tricks on me? Thanks for any help figuring this one out.
  18. Thanks, Rona... I am looking for anything and everything. If there are a couple of cafes you have in mind, great. I know the best Moroccan food is to be found in homes, but alas and alack, I don't know anyone so will have to make do with what I can find in restaurants. eta: I hope Santa Fe is still on your list of places to visit
  19. Hi all, The opportunity to do some regional travel has arisen and I'm left with a less than ideal amount of time with which to plan and research. Not that this will stop me! I'll be on my own and these are parts of the Arab world I've not yet seen, but I do speak Arabic and I will have transportation. I've been perusing the boards for ideas but specific recommendations are VERY welcome and I don't mind traveling out of the way for good food. Here is my itinerary: Morocco (10 days) Casablanca -> Rabat -> Fes -> Marrakech Jordan (6 days) Amman -> Petra -> Jerash Syria (5 days) Damascus -> Aleppo -> Homs -> Palmyra -> Maaloula -> Apamea (with possible stops in Krak des Chevaliers, Hamah, Lattakia, Mari, Ugarit, Ebla, Seydnaya, Shahba, St. Simeon... I have a couple days of flexibility here) Ending me up in Lebanon, where I know my way around. Thanks for any help!
  20. I order gifts of food by mail every now and then, but because they're often priced higher than anything I would order for myself, I usually lack firsthand experience have to go on faith in others who assure the product will be good. I've ordered cakes raved about in The Rosengarten Report (like rum cake from Sweet Art by Lucia and a key lime pie from I can't remember where), various things from Dean and Deluca, chocolates from Garrison Confections, Valerie Confections and La Maison du Chocolat, H & H bagels, peaches from Frog Hollow Farms and live lobsters from Maine. If I'm going to spend good money on a food gift I don't want to get some generic basket of mixed nuts and calibrated fruit; I want to get something special I know the person will like. That said, this method of gift-giving can get exhausting. I don't have any standby products I've ordered more than once or twice, reasonably priced and available year-round. And now because money is tighter, I'm balking at shipping prices; $30 for 2 day shipping on a $24 box of chocolates? No way. I'm looking for suggestions on superb (extra points for unusual and regional) mail-order products, preferably from small independent companies and ideally under $60, domestic shipping included. From smoked fish to fruit vinegar to caramel; it's all good. What are your particular favorites?
  21. a) Will you have your own transportation? b) Which part of Dubai? c) How far out of the way are you willing to travel for great food?
  22. I'm just down the road. Visit often, but never to eat. Will ask around and post anything my findings.
  23. Finally made it to PDT last Sunday night. It was my first time in the city in 7 years, and I had one night there before leaving again. My cousin Kay and I had dinner and cocktails at Elettaria followed by cocktails at PDT. Since it was 9:30 on a Sunday night and we wanted to sit at the bar, we didn’t anticipate a huge problem, but opted out of reservations since they’re for booths only. We were willing to wait for seats at the bar. Once we arrived, Kay (who has been to PDT several times) did the polite thing of ringing in from the phone booth once, very briefly. The hostess poked her head out to tell us there was a thirty minute to an hour long wait at the bar. We left our number and she promised to call when something opened up. As we prepared to leave Crif Dogs, a young couple (I’ll just call them Joe and Jane for the sake of this story) waltzed in and entered the phone booth. We walked around in the rain for a while. After an hour had passed, I pressured the ever-polite and patient Kay into calling PDT against her better judgement, just to get a reassessed wait time estimate. "Nobody has moved from the bar," we were told. After another few minutes, we returned to Crif Dogs/PDT, only to find Joe and Jane waiting around inside as well. It was 10:40 pm by now. The hostess peeked out and waved them in, but after seeing us standing nearby, began apologizing profusely. “How long have you been waiting?” I asked Joe, as he was about to enter. “Um...about twenty minutes,” he said (huh?). “They had a reservation,” said the hostess (okay...). She then told us not to worry because people were just beginning to leave the bar. Fifteen minutes later, nobody new had exited PDT, but we were waved in. It was about 11pm. So imagine our surprise at finding Joe and Jane of the 20 (or was it 70?) minute wait, inexplicably seated at the bar nursing drinks. There were two empty seats next to them. Um... Who had vacated those seats? How long had they been empty? This left us with two questions, since the bar is first-come first-serve. Why did the hostess have us continue to wait outside while those seats had been vacant the whole time and why seat Joe and Jane before us (when it's very unlikely they had a reservation, considering they arrived at 9:35pm and were still waiting over an hour later, then lied to us about how long they'd been waiting, then were seating at the no-reservations bar)? I have to say... if this had happened to anyone else, or if I had read it on some internet board somewhere, I would automatically assume that the contributor was concealing unflattering facts about their rudeness or something else that might earn this sort of treatment. Both my cousin and I work in the industry, adore cocktails, and are laid-back.. and we bring no such attitude or demands. We just wanted to catch up over some amazing drinks. I’ve seen photos of PDT on eG and on blogs in the past and I know people have been allowed to use cameras. I use a discrete camera and never ever use flash, and I was obviously really excited to be there and wanted to remember it, in part to share with my good friend and cocktail mentor back home, an active eGer and NYer who's never been to PDT. Nevertheless, I didn’t want trouble, so I went over to the hostess and asked if I might take some pictures of the menu and my drinks. She said she thought it would be fine but suggested I ask the bartender to be sure it was okay with him. Our bartender, Johnny, gave me a dirty look when I asked if I could take pictures and eventually answered, “I’m sure there’s a menu online.” I responded that I had checked and that there wasn’t one. Exasperated, he checked with the other bartender, then told me “Okay, you can take photographs, but you can also find the menu online at Grub Street.” (glad I didn’t listen, as this was an outdated menu from almost one year ago with nary a common drink in the lot). After I had taken pictures of the menu and one of the bar , Kay whispered, “Put the camera away now, because I’d like to come back here someday.” Apparently, Johnny did not care to conceal his looks of utter disgust as I snapped away, and Kay was growing very embarrassed. So, what did I do? I leaned in and apologized profusely, thanked him for allowing it, etc etc. He said nothing. I told him I was only in NYC for one night and was really just so excited to be at PDT. He merely smiled sarcastically and said, "Oh, and you decided to spend it with me? Wow!" It was unreal. He was a complete prick. I’ve never been treated that way anywhere else- ever. So I did what I always do; I quietly apologized again, saying I'm sorry I had misunderstood. So... is there a VIP-only policy about cameras to match the arbitrary policy regarding who gets seated and when? Then I noticed that Chef Wylie Dufresne had taken the seat next to me and I realized, holy crap. That’s never happened to me anywhere else either. And though it cheered me up a little, I wasn’t keen on staying long- really, by this point I was just over the whole experience and being treated poorly on my first night off in weeks- maybe I was being oversensitive. Kay told me to just focus on her and try to enjoy my drinks, which was great advice and I'm glad I took it... What we drank: The Heirloom Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Lime Juice, Cynar, Strega, Concord Grapes, Anise Hyssop Essence The Witch’s Kiss Jose Cuervo Platino Tequila, Lemon Juice, Strega, Red Jacket Orchards Apple Butter Koyo Marumi Okudon Junmai Sake, Dubonnet Rouge, Cynar, Yellow Chartreuse, St. Germain French Maid Hine “H” Cognac, Lime Juice, Velvet Falernum, Ginger Beer, Cucumber and Mint Paddington Flor de Cana Silver Dry Rum, Lillet Blanc, Lemon and Grapefruit Juice, Bonne Maman Orange Marmalade, St.George Absinthe Round One was The Heirloom for me (good, but not as good as I had hoped considering it contains some of my absolute favorite flavors on the planet) and the bracingly tart Witch's Kiss for Kay. Round Two was a Koyo for me while Kay continued nursing her Witch's Kiss. Then I ordered a French Maid, which was so delicious- Kay went gaga over this- that I gave it to her and told Johnny to surprise me with one last cocktail. He made me a Paddington, which was masterful, really genius. These last two cocktails were the masterpieces of the night. I’m showing my biases here, but it the Paddington was incredibly punchy and well-balanced, like a bitter orange-scented Corpse Reviver II. Kay said that the French Maid tasted like something made from her garden, like a fresh green salad. I know that sounds odd, but it was really an apt description. It had the same vegetal coolness of a Pimm’s Cup but was a million times better. I could drink these all day long. So, the drinks were great. They were great. We drank five cocktails in under an hour and I left a $20 tip on a $65 tab (all the cocktails are $13 a pop) just to settle whatever karmic debt earned with me that encounter with Johnny. Because I, too, would like to return to PDT someday.
  24. -What's the format? If this were anyone else posting, I'd guess buffet ( ), but with you I am going to guess it's a tasting menu (). -Has he ever been to any of your microcoursed extravaganzas, and if not, how do you feel about repeating dishes that were successful or doing seasonal riffs on one or two of them? -If it's an option, I'd definitely start with a really creative champagne or sake cocktail... I recently made Shoguns, which were very nice (junmai sake, ginger syrup, fresh lemonade, Cointreau, lychee, hibiscus tea float). You could make a champagne with sage syrup and prickly pear... When I get your answers, I'll think of more...
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