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Ellen Shapiro

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Ellen Shapiro

  1. Okay, yes, it's cow's milk. The Bai cheese in Dali is called rushan and is made from cow's milk. In Kunming the cheese is called rubing and is made from goat's milk. Both could probably be described as "acquired tastes," although I'll get to discussing some Tibetan stuff later that's even more special.
  2. I'm pretty sure it's cow's milk but I want to confirm that so I've got an e-mail into someone over in Yunnan Province to find out for sure.
  3. It does indeed look like pasta, your eyes do not deceive you but it is dried and hard (the way commercial pasta is when it comes out of the box, though not as thick and therefore not durable enough, for say, macaroni necklaces), unlike fresh pasta. Regarding Jinmyo’s observation, it does look like it could be soy milk skin and while the Bai do make and consume a number of soy milk products I was told that this particular product was cheese of, amongst other things, the sort they sell on the street cooked and served on a skewer as a snack food (which Bev, Martin and I tried our first night wan
  4. Pan, as far as I know, the roosters are not bred to be docile here or anywhere else in the country. The handling of birds in China is so different from the U.S. and other western countries—the ducks on the back of the motorbike or the chicken in the bag on the bus—are commonplace. There are more such tales and photos coming, too. As for the cheese, I did try some. I particularly liked the kind that was flat and dried (as pictured). It is eaten cooked and is something that street vendors in old Dali sell as a snack. Of course, processing the cheese like this preserves it through the winter mont
  5. Mayhaw Man, I'd keep a close eye on that duck of yours, you might find that it's sold at market and ends up in a pot for dinner.
  6. Tiger Leaping Gorge--or Christmas? I expect you're right -- whichever you meant.
  7. << previous installment << ----- >> next installment >> On the plane to Kunming (the capital of Yunnan Province, dubbed the Eternal Spring City due to its mild climate year round), although we theoretically had assigned seats, we found that the other passengers had happily settled themselves into ours. Every seat on the plane was full and we stood blocking the aisle. The flight attendants pushed up and, rather than moving the people who were occupying our seats, they simply moved the flight attendants’ belongings out of the last row -- the row that doesn’t recline, the
  8. I haven't had the opportunity to try the Tim Tam Slam (or the Tim Tam, for that matter) http://about-australia-shop.com/timtams.htm but a friend recently told me about it and now I'm jonesing to get my hands on some Tim Tams for dunking!
  9. That's what is so funny--because these food items are by popular demand (because it is so charming, Yangshuo is a hang out destination for western travelers who have been on the road in China for weeks or even months and as a result the local savvy restaurateurs have learned to make the favorite comfort foods—often taught by the travelers themselves—that the westerners miss when traveling in Asia) and not part of the local diet, the restaurateurs have no clue how to categorize these foreign snacks. Along the same lines, after having ordered one of these western food items, it’s a great pastim
  10. You're absolutely correct. It is rosewater syrup, at least at the places that I love in Jerusalem. I forget sometimes that with this crowd, I have to be precise. Interestingly, even though Titan Foods is a Greek market, I think they use the rosewater syrup in their baklava. But for the sake of all of you, I am willing to make the sacrifice and get out to Queens so that I can make the most informed assessment possible. I know, I know, it will be difficult, but for egullet and the sake of research, how could I not?
  11. I second that! My favorite baklava to date is from a place in the old city in Jerusalem right across from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There is a line of these baklava shops—probably three or four—where the big round trays of all different varieties of baklava are laid out. You point to what you want, either for take out or, my preference, to eat on the spot at one of the little sticky tables in the shop. It is the very wet sort of baklava—dripping with honey—which is my favorite. There are those in the dry baklava camp and my friend who lives in and is from Nazareth has taken me to wha
  12. I would have to agree with Gifted Gourmet and Daniel--take the safe route with desserts wherein dairy substitutes aren't employed and your chances of having edible (and even tasty) desserts increase by at least tenfold. And Swisskaese is absolutely on the right track with the fruit dessert idea (strudel seems like a perfect dessert for your occasion). Another possibility is to supplement with a box or two of dark chocolates. Of course you will want to be sure they are stamped with a (P) but that is always a hit at a Passover seder, when the true meaning of dessert abomination is in evidence. H
  13. It cracks me up too (that's why I took the picture). But you don't think it represents a "botched western culture reference?" I guess it's not botched because it's clearly intentional but to me the humor lies in the absurdity.
  14. As you can see, this bamboo scaffolding looks very different than the bamboo in the cutting board—and if you can’t see the difference (because I don’t have a close up of the grain of the cutting board), take my word for it, it’s a different animal altogether.
  15. I've read comments here on eGullet and elsewhere that bamboo is too hard on knives but if it's only 16-percent harder, it seems that concern would be mute. I rather like that chopping block. ← I'm guessing, based on observation, that there are both different varieties of bamboo (that we all know) and that, as FG has said, different parts of the bamboo are used for different things. For example, you don't see exposed grain on scaffolding (as you do with the cutting board) because it would be too soft. Going on deductive reasoning, I'm guessing that the discussions about bamboo being too tou
  16. Actually, I believe I paid 35 RMB (abbreviation used for Renminbi), though I can't remember for sure.
  17. johnnyd, this isn't the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River. No flooding is going to happen here, unless it’s a natural occurrence. We were cruising on the Li River to get a good view of the karsts, which are all around Guilin and are what makes the region famous. As for the cutting boards, good eye! I really liked them too, which is why I schlepped one home for FG—it weighs a ton. Would you believe they're made out of pieces of bamboo? It's really strong stuff—harder than maple, they say—they use it for scaffolding all over the east.
  18. >> next installment >> I confess I did not really spend seven weeks in Tibet during this past September and October. Instead, I spent seven weeks altogether in Hong Kong, China and Tibet. But who could have resisted the title? Those of you who have come to know these travelogues are already familiar with the mix of danger (albeit riotous danger), delight, culinary adventure and inexplicably bizarre human conduct that makes travel so enjoyable. You may not, however, be familiar with the tale of the smelly bag. That's because I've been remiss in reporting on my trips, and haven't yet
  19. Yes, Lesley. The pastry kitchen is on the other side of the hallway that runs back from the dining room to the kitchen areas and is not visible to the dining room. Nor is the downstairs production kitchen. Only the main service kitchen is visible. Once the last savory dish goes out, that crew cleans up and goes home, while the pastry crew remains until the last petits fours go out. I hope to be able to show some photographs of the pastry kitchen one of these days, but the restaurant is so busy around holiday times that it may be impossible for me to nail down the appointment I was hoping to ha
  20. I don't read many restaurant reviews because I don't find them interesting as a form, but having just spent time in ADNY's kitchen I picked up Fat Guy's copy of Gourmet from the dining room table this evening and, after struggling to even find the review via the incomprehensible table of contents and buried deep within reviews of three other restaurants, was surprised by something. I was not surprised that ADNY's kitchen overcooked a piece of veal. Stuff happens. What I was surprised about was that Mr. Cheshes had nothing nice to say about the dishes at all. Not one positive assessment of a di
  21. I have a few photos here of the pork dish in question. I don't eat pork so I don't have an opinion, but it looks pretty good to me!
  22. Fat Guy and I had dinner at ADNY with Christian and Mary Delouvrier during ADNY's first year in business. Approximately one year before that, if I have my timeline correct, Lespinasse had received four stars from Ruth Reichl in the New York Times. What I remember most vividly from that dinner, in addition to a dreamy sea urchin royale the likes of which I never tasted before or since, were Christian's comments about Ducasse the chef and the restaurant. Chefs, especially the good ones, can be brutally honest with themselves. Christian was effusive in his praise for Ducasse's food. "He's the guy
  23. This lamb dish illustrates the more rustic end of the ADNY menu. It's meat and potatoes served with just enough panache to remind you of where you are. The lamb is browned in butter and the potatoes are finished in a rich lamb jus before being plated. I'm pretty much at the end of the "roll" here. This weekend I'll try to get some answers to some of the questions that have been asked upthread. And, as Fat Guy mentioned, if all goes well I'll be going back at a later date to visit the pastry kitchen.
  24. A few things that caught my eye as I was walking around the kitchen:
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