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Ellen Shapiro

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Ellen Shapiro

  1. There was a mass theft (engineered by a master thief?) of Listerine oral care strips at the Costco in Yonkers this week. I went to purchase the plus-size Listerine and it's supposed to come with a free sample pack of those strips attached to the bottle neck. But the master thief had removed the sample pack from the neck of every single bottle on the display rack. Only a few scraps of paper and adhesive remained behind on each bottle, a souvenir of the master's work. He will give himself away in the lineup on account of his minty fresh breath.
  2. Suvir, Clarkson Potter is part of the Crown group which is in turn one of Random House's ten big divisions. A very presitgious imprint; congratulations! My next book is with Crown as well, the House of Collectibles division. So we are colleagues! This will be my first book with Crown, though I wrote three books for Prima, which was recently acquired by Random House and I think is also going into the Crown group. This is pure coincidence that all my books are now carried by Random House and not necessarily their original publishers.
  3. If you define the Upper East Side as inclusive of Yorkville and Carnegie Hill, the boundaries are 59th and 96th Streets, Fifth Avenue and the River. That would put Daniel, Cello, Cafe Boulud, Bid, Butterfield 81, Etats Unis, Mark's, and a host of other good spots on the Upper East Side. I think the Upper East Side stacks up very well against for example the Upper West Side or the Garment District. I've written two books about New York City, both guidebook-type books, and the first fight you always have with the publisher and the cartographer in that situation is over the definitions of neighbo
  4. It's actually illegal to bring a durian on public transportation in Singapore.
  5. Simon, although in our household 9/11 has not affected any travel planning in any way (we feel it would be wrong to let it), it is certainly true that it has for many Americans. As someone who freelances for travel magazines, I can tell you that most of the big ones are currently working on special U.S.-travel issues right now. I've been getting calls to update old articles for these collections. The book publishers are reacting similarly. I recently went to contract on a U.S.-travel title that was getting no response from the publishers before 9/11. This time, when I sent the proposal around,
  6. By the way, if anybody is interested in joining me on this trip, I've posted some details here.
  7. We were talking about the baby shower I had to throw, and I was wondering what some of your most formidable host/hostessing adventures might have been. Visiting diplomats? Gas got shut off 10 minutes before the party? Large numbers of unexpected guests showing up? Pray tell.
  8. Suvir, you are too kind, and I will be taking advantage of your generosity to the greatest extent imaginable. Jon, it's so difficult to sell travelog-type books these days, at least in the U.S. market. The publishers want either 100% practical trade-paperback reference-type books, or they want the author to be a celebrity or otherwise notorious (or a witness to notorious events). In the British market, I see more of those books, but I doubt the authors get paid enough to live on. The books I write fall into the reference category, and it's a real struggle to imbue them with any of my personali
  9. (Off Topic) Jon: I think this board is going to be self-defining for a little while before we try to put into precise words what it's all about. But please don't hesitate to suggest definitions as they occur to you. Perhaps even start a thread about it, and if it becomes a very interesting thread I'll pin it at the top of the index.
  10. I'm flying to Kathmandu in October and my choices of stopover cities are Singapore (S'pore Airlines), Bangkok (Thai Air), and Delhi (British Airways --> Royal Nepal Air). I've been to Singapore enough times that, though I like the place very much, I don't feel compelled to return immediately. It is, however, one of the safer places in the world to travel. Bangkok I won't do alone. I've done it. It's too stressful. I've never been to Delhi, though. Is it reasonably safe there for a woman traveling alone? What level of hassles should I expect? And if I do go, what should I be doing, eating, s
  11. Do most of you sneak your own food into movies, sporting events, etc., on account of the awfulness and unconscionable pricing of most performance-venue concession food? 1. Do you think it's ethical to bring your own food if the venue has a rule against it? 2. What do you like to bring? 3. If you listed favorites in response to the second question but you also answered no to the first one, you may now answer a third question: Does it feel good to be so bad?
  12. Yes I think when you get into restaurant cuisine you get in a lot more trouble. If you eat at home exclusively you can eat better at home as a vegetarian than most of the world eats as carnivores. But when you dine out you suffer tremendously by being a vegetarian. This was in fact the primary motivation behind my switching. That and the fact that I loved the smell of grilled meats, particularly hamburgers. I broke my vegetarian fast at Lespinasse, with a few bites of Gray Kunz's braised short ribs. They were breathtakingly, unimaginably good. I can't see any way that a vegetable product (or a
  13. Well, it goes without saying that anybody participating on this message board is in the .01% of people who explore cuisine to the max. But I'm saying that vegetarian cuisine done extremely well would be an improvement over what the other 99.9% eat. Take the average gigantic American supermarket, for example. That's where pretty much everybody in America except for freaks like us gets all their food. And I could live a long and happy life without ever eating a bite of animal flesh derived from any of those supermarkets. I'd much rather, on any given summer day, make my dinner from vegetables av
  14. I was a vegetarian for 13 years; now I'm a recovering vegetarian. I still eat red meat in very limited quantities, I don't feel 100% comfortable eating dead animals when it's not necessary for my survival or even health (although, as a Marathoner, it's very hard to get by without any animal protein, I probably could do with just fish and dairy and not suffer any health consequences), and I'm ultra-particular about what meat I will eat. On top of that, I was raised in a kosher home and I still have an affinity for that set of limitations. Are you missing something by being a vegetarian? Maybe.
  15. I haven't been to either place, but there are some reliable-seeming Santiago restaurant comments on the Sally's Place site: http://www.sallys-place.com/food/dining_directory/south_america/santiago.htm Anybody with first-hand experience?
  16. It’s inevitable—one of the first things I do when I land in a new country is sample the local coffee. Sometimes it isn’t all that different -- in Wellington, New Zealand, there were Starbucks a plenty -- but in others like Singapore, the local brew is a thick brew of beans and condensed milk. I’d almost be willing to fly the 25 hours to Singapore just to have a couple of cups. Anyone ever had any life altering coffee experiences while traveling? Oh -- and what is it about coffee on airplanes? Must it always be so vile?
  17. Cook's Illustrated claims this is the ultimate oatmeal cookie recipe. Any opinions?
  18. Larry, I made it to Old Pueblo Grille for lunch today. You're right, the guy seems to be a bit of a suburban Danny Meyer. We stuck to the Southwestern items, though there were a disappointing number of hamburger-esque things on the menu. Still, the local clientele seemed happy, and so were we. Thanks again. I'll try to post some notes when I get back to New York.
  19. Larry: I just wanted to mention quickly that I had lunch today at Café Poca Cosa on your recommendation and found it to be very good indeed. New York would be lucky to have a place like this. I'll post some more notes when I get back to New York, but just wanted to say thanks.
  20. A last-minute mission to Tucson has me stranded here (specifically, in Oro Valley) with no idea of where to eat. Had a chicken Caesar salad from Costco for lunch, and someone is taking me to "Tucson's best Chinese restaurant" for dinner, but after that I'm lost. Anybody have knowledge of this area? Unfortunately, I'm going to have to stay close in to where I am -- no opportunities to visit Phoenix or Scottsdale this time around.
  21. Haven't been to The Garage (as the tourists call it), so I can't speak authoritatively. But the only place I've been that was better than Ducasse in New York was Ducasse in Paris, and I've been to probably ten or so of the Michelin three-stars now. I'm a strong supporter of Ducasse and think he operates in his own category. I don't love all his food but he is the master. This is all theory, though. My point was just that you can't ignore Ducasse when generalizing about best vs. best. Jean Georges you do have to try again. I find it consistently the best of the four-stars in New York. Have had
  22. I haven't been to all of them but would be shocked if London had a single restaurant as good as Ducasse in New York. And with all due respect to Daniel Boulud I do not think his restaurant realizes his talents as a chef at least not for the average walk-in customer. Did you like Cafe Boulud better? Most gourmets I know do. Jean Georges would be my candidate to compare to London's best. If you have not visited Ducasse and Jean Georges you have not had the best New York has to offer, in my opinion.
  23. I wonder if Indian Chinese might be more like the Peranakhan ("Straits Chinese") cuisine found in Singapore. Suvir, what you're describing sounds a lot like what I had at Jolly Wee's place over there. Fascinating. Thanks so much for posting. Steven said you knew your stuff, but I wasn't quite prepared for the seriousness of your response.
  24. Benedict, we are in the process of attempting to call in a serious expert to help you out here.
  25. Answering that question is as difficult as answering the same question about New York or Paris! What kind of dining were you hoping to do? If you're talking about fine dining, there is something of a consensus about the top restaurants. No surprises: You'll find the same ones mentioned in Fodor's and the other guidebooks, and on the various Bombay Web sites. If you're looking to get into the less elaborate stuff, that's another situation entirely. Give us as much information as you can about your trip, your preferences, where you're staying, etc., and we'll try to scare up some people who can
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