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HKDave

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Everything posted by HKDave

  1. It's on the Travel Channel. If it's on in Asia, it'd be on Discovery Asia. 'Bizzare Foods' is broadcast in Asia. In most of Asia, it's on Discovery's 'Travel and Living' channel. Schedules: http://asia.discovery.com/index.shtml
  2. For a slightly dated but still comprehensive set of American regional cookbooks, it would be hard to beat the relevant volumes from the out of print (but still widely available in used bookshops and on eBay) Time-Life 'Foods of the World' series. They are: American Cooking American Cooking: The Northwest American Cooking: Creole and Acadian American Cooking: Southern Style American Cooking: The Great West American Cooking: The Melting Pot American Cooking: The Eastern Heartland American Cooking: New England My favorite Cajun/Creole reference isn't a cookbook, it's a website: http://www.gumbopages.com/recipe-page.html
  3. Edward, you wouldn't happen to be "foodpump" on another forum, would you? You now need 8,100 hours in BC. Details: http://www.itabc.ca/TrainingPrograms_Profi...deProfileID=147 If you want to apply for hotel or institutional jobs, it helps to have a red seal to keep your resume from being tossed in the garbage before you even get to an interview. If nothing else, it shows you've been in the industry for 4 years.
  4. HKDave

    Burger helper

    You can hold chipped spuds in water, refrigerated, for a few days without any problem. Blanched fries also last for a couple of days in the fridge, and they fry up fine from fridge temperature. Your health dept probably won't want to see them unrefrigerated for more than a couple of hours. Before deciding on your oil, I suggest do a blind taste test on your friends and see if any can taste much difference between tallow, peanut oil and basic canola oil (especially after they add ketchup, salt etc). In a busy operation you'll be replacing your fryer oil every 2-3 days. Peanut oil costs about 40% more than canola, and I think beef tallow is more than that.
  5. The clear plastic Cambros are polycarbonate (="Camwear") and are the most heat-resistant (to 100C) and the most stain-resistant. They're also somewhat more durable but this would be a non-issue in home use. There are 2 very similar white plastic Cambro lines, one called "Translucent" and the other more opaque and cheaper one "Poly". I think these are polypropylene and polyethylene, respectively, but I could be wrong; even distributors get confused between the two. They're both supposedly good to 70C. The "Poly" line is far more available at distributors than the "Translucent". If you're storing dry goods, the only advantage to polycarb is that it's see-though. For hot liquids polycarb is best, but as long as you're willing to let stocks or whatever cool a little before you pour them into the containers, any of them will do the job. Edit: spelling
  6. Macau update... just spent a few days mid-week (the best time to visit) there. Only time for a few meals. I'll start off with a place that I've been keeping quiet about: the 'IFT Educational Restaurant' on the IFT Campus at Mong-Ha Hill. It's the training restaurant for Macau's tourism school, so service can be a little variable but at its worst is still better than in most Macau restaurants these days. They recently renovated and sadly the tablecloths are now gone. But the (student-cooked) food is still absurdly good value. Apps from MOP 30, up to MOP60 for foie terrine. Mains MOP60-90, and that's including some first class seafood and beef fillet. The food is best described as Macanese/Portuguese influenced fine dining. Solid, reasonably-priced Portuguese wine list, too. Because it's government-run, there's no tax or service charge. Open breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon-Fri; closed weekends and all holidays. Friday dinner is Macanese/Portuguese buffet, and that's crowded. Resos a good idea at any time. Tel 2851 5222; no bus goes up Mong-Ha so tell a taxi driver "mong ha ban goon". The restaurant is at the turnaround at the highest point the taxi can drive. Club Militare: no big changes here, although it was less busy than usual. This is still the Portuguese expat downtown lunch spot and everyone else in the room seemed to know each other. They had their usual lunch buffet (around MOP110), but we opted to go a la carte: pasteis de bacalhau with warm black-eyed peas and a very generous plate of properly sliced pata negra ham for starters, green salad, and duck rice and crispy-skin suckling pig for mains. And some dessert for my delectable companion, and a bottle of vinho verde and a brandy and coffee and a big bottle of mineral water. This was more than we could eat; total was under MOP700. The cooking wasn't quite as good as on previous visits; the home-made potato crisps with the pork were limp and weren't seasoned (in fact everything seemed a little under-seasoned this time), and salads weren't properly dressed. But overall it was a fine meal, and I'll be back. Lunch and dinner, tel 28714009, no obvious sports clothes allowed (jeans are ok), resos a good idea at lunch but not usually needed at dinner. It's the old pink building beside Grand Lisboa casino. Alfonso III: I hadn't tried Alfonso III before, but it has something of a reputation as an old-school Portuguese place. It's on Rua Central near São Lourenço church, and near the police HQ. It took 2 exceptionally rude phone calls to secure a reservation - which turned out to be unnecessary; they're not exactly busy. We ordered basics: chorizo, clams, pork liver, grilled chicken and salad. The food was ok... except the salad, which was a mound of wet limp shredded iceberg, and except for the bread, which was limp buns. But the service... this is a restaurant that just doesn't give a damn. Full plates coming up from the basement kitchen were put on the floor (!) at the top of the stairs for pickup, buns coming off other tables - even buns that had been torn in half - were thrown back in the bread bin in full view of guests, and then served again. When our sullen waitress was asked by the other server if we had ordered anything to drink (nobody bothered asking us), she just shrugged and walked away. When we finally were able to order some wine, it was brought, already uncorked, and plunked on the table - no ice bucket, no pretense of presentation or tasting or pouring, even though she had exactly zero other tables to deal with at the time. This was all happening while the owner was seated alone at a table facing the corner, with his back to the room. He didn't look at us all night. Like I said, this is a restaurant that doesn't give a damn. I assume they look after their regulars better than visitors, but for the rest of us, I'll chalk this up to taking one for the team. My worst restaurant experience in Macau, ever. After that, we wanted our final meal this trip to be a guaranteed good one, and that made it easy: Fernando's. Their salad - just green-leaf lettuce, ripe tomatoes, sweet white onion, good olive oil... the difference in attitude from Alfonso was made absolutely clear right there. Fernando's excellent Portuguese buns come to the table warm, fresh and crusty. Our mains were grilled sardines (again, just fresh fish and salt; they're excellent at this time of year and we saw them on almost every other table as well) and what used to just be called beef steak but now seems to be called drunken steak (it's the one without the egg); it's a cheap mystery cut of beef served with an addictive sauce that I have no idea how to make. The french fries with the steak, which were average on previous visits, were a lot better this time. Both of us were shaking our heads; how does this place get it so right? It's not remotely fancy (no air-con, no credit cards), the food is simple, and the service is best described as 'efficient', but I have to strongly disagree with reports that it's somehow gone downhill. I've been coming here for about 15 years and the most impressive thing about Fernando's is their consistency. While some traditional Portuguese restaurants in Macau may do some dishes a little better these days, none are dramatically better. The real issue people seem to have with Fernando's is that it's not remotely fashionable and has zero snob appeal. Everyone knows about it, and it's in every guidebook. We were there for a weekday lunch, which used to be just a couple of tables of locals, and this time it was full of tourists, and there was a wait for tables. I don't care; the food is still good, the weird atmosphere still appeals to me, and I hope it's there for another 15 years. Tel 2888 2264. Tell any taxi driver "Fernando" and you'll get there, or save MOP80 and take bus 21A or 25 heading south to the end of the line at Hac Sa beach. A couple of bars... the main casino bar at the Sands has raised prices a little but is still the place for inexpensive quality booze and good bands. It is the only bar on earth you might see an African-American singing patriotic songs in acceptable Mandarin to an appreciative audience of mainlander gamblers (the sight is enough to make them look up from the baccarat tables), followed by a troupe of lightly-clad young Aussie women flouncing around to 'Candyman' (less reaction from the gamblers), followed by a Filipino long-hair rock band covering old-school heavy metal (no reaction at all). Something for everyone, and it all seems to make more sense as the evening wears on. And Old Taipa Tavern in (you guessed it) old Taipa village is a decent place for a pint of Guinness, complete with the inevitable whinging expats. Unlike many other establishments in Macau, they seem to understand the mysterious effect that attractive barmaids can have on alcohol sales. Macau cookbook update: the are 3 new ones that I'm aware of. The IFT has 2: "The Art of Modern Portuguese and other IFT Delights" at MOP100, and another more Macanese one whose name escapes me at MOP250. Both are available at the IFT restaurant. I had a quick glance through them, but neither seemed destined to be the Great Macau Cookbook. Also, the Council of Macau Communities cookbook I mentioned upthread back in November is now in print. It's called "Macanese Cooking - a Journey across Generations" by Cecilia Jorge, and it's supposedly available at the Portuguese Bookstore on Rua St Dominic. Three editions; Chinese, Portuguese and English, MOP250. I haven't checked it out yet.
  7. Is this a real requirement? I picked up some bitters at Safeway that have an alcohol content. I always assumed they were not allowed to sell them because of this, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Though, it's probably impossible to physically ingest enough bitters to get tanked. Shudder. - pg ← There's no issue with selling products with an alcohol content in BC as long as the product also has enough salt or other seasoning so as to be un-chuggable. This is how stores can sell bitters or restaurant suppliers can sell cooking wine or brandy. The mirin equivalent is called shio mirin (= salt mirin), and that's usually made from mirinfu chomiryo (the fake stuff); it would be a waste to make it from real honmirin. Mirinfu chomiryo can also get around the booze laws without adding salt in an unfermented version with less than 1% alcohol (vs about 10% for typical mirinfu chomiryo, or 15% for real honmirin). If maxmillian's bottle from Fujiya (see upthread) was labelled 8.5% and didn't have added salt, that one may have - ahem - slipped in through the cracks.
  8. How to harvest: once the fennel flowers, cut the stems off at the base, put the flowered stems upside down inside a paper bag with the top of the bag tied closed around the base of the stems, and hang the bag somewhere dry. Give the bag a light shake occasionally, and after a couple of weeks, the pollen will have fallen to the bottom of the bag. You need a lot of flowers to produce a measurable amount of pollen; don't bother if you only have a few plants. I like it best on roast pork (like inside a rolled shoulder, porchetta style), but it also goes well with chicken, rabbit and white fish.
  9. There's nothing to this program; they just package the stuff for take-out and you take it though security yourself. You can take any non-liquid food through security. It doesn't have to be from the airport. From http://www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca/english/trave...yage/list.shtml : " Food products Solid food products, such as chocolate, sandwich, fruits, vegetables are permitted in your baggage. All liquid food such as yogurts, pudding and jam are submitted to the restriction of 100 ml (3.4 oz) container and fit in your 1L plastic bag. If you plan to bring any kitchen utensils with your food products, please ensure to pack your knife in checked baggage. " I've taken non-airport sandwiches through security with no problem.
  10. For me, it's gotta be the Topanga.
  11. I think you pegged the place quite well. Chuk Yuen caters to tourists, but I wouldn't call it a tourist trap. I live 2 blocks away from the Hankow Rd location, and the only times I've been there is with visitors who insisted on going because that's where they always go when they come to town. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Most 'tablecloth' TST restaurants cater to tourists, and Chuk Yuen has been around for a while and they do a decent job.
  12. A Dutch company called Ruitenberg has an edible synthetic casing called VegaCasing. They are alginate-based and are supposedly vegan. I have doubts that you could get small quantities but no harm in asking them. http://www.ruitenberg.com/page.php/25/vegacasing.html They are used in large-scale regular (meat) sausage production in Europe and apparently have that 'snap'. edit: grammer
  13. I was disappointed by this book to the point of feeling ripped off. It's beautiful, and would make a nice foodie coffee table book, but if you're looking for workable information, recipes or techniques, it's not good value. Maybe I just don't get it. But as a book on French pork cookery, this isn't remotely in the same league as Jane Grigson's classic "Charcuterie and the Art of French Pork Cookery", which Amazon US again has back in stock. I had a look through a friend's copy of Reynaud's new 'Terrine', and it looks like more of the same fluff. I just wish I had done that before ordering 'Pork and Sons'. Anyone want a barely used copy?
  14. Well, my replacement DFP450W failed after fairly light use (display stopped working), so I'm now waiting for them to deliver the 2nd replacement under the lifetime warranty. This is getting tedious. Channie, although the unit is said to be waterproof and dishwasher safe (the idea being that you can run it through a commercial dishwasher with the 'max reading' feature on to make sure it's hot enough to meet code), I wouldn't dare. The battery cover doesn't seem to be remotely waterproof.
  15. Oh, that photo makes me hungry. I just love the Cathay lounge dan dan mein. The Cathay lounges in HK are catered by The Peninsula, and they do a good job. You didn't used to have to think about pocketing those CX biz-class salt and pepper shakers; they used to sell them with the duty-free stuff on the airplane. They stopped selling them last year, but if you ask one of the cabin crew nicely (especially on inbound-to-HK flights)... Nice report.
  16. No such thing as local brewed San Mig here in HK any more. Although San Mig has been quiet about it, in September last year they closed the Yuen Long (HK) brewery, and since then all their Hong Kong beer has been coming from their Guangdong plant. It's even worse than the HK-brewed product. However, because of the increase in value of the RMB and also because the GD plant is getting close to capacity, they're tentatively planning on re-opening Yuen Long next year.
  17. For those considering moving up from the 5lb Grizzly made-in-China stuffer, at the moment Northern Tool has the 15lb version at $170 (vs. $250 at Grizzly).
  18. HA! I'm with you on this one.... Count me among you... ← I'm beginning to agree; these days I'm more likely to use a regular flat-bottom cast iron pan for steak at home. My ridge pan gets more use for things like marking grilled veggies. Another minus is that it's impractical (to say the least) to deglaze a ridge pan, so you can't easily make a pan sauce.
  19. I've got a Wagner ridged pan (similar to the Lodge). After I remove the meat, I put some water in it while it's still hot and let it soak while I eat the steak. It's then easy to clean with a plastic dish brush. No, it doesn't remove the seasoning. I don't use soap. This pan will outlive me.
  20. That's right; they're still building up the selection. According to the bartender, the plan is to have more than double what's on display now but they're having the usual problems getting the stuff in. The room was full last night and certainly didn't feel cavernous.
  21. Tried TK tonight. Menu was similar to Vancouver's, above, and the tasting menu is still the only option; full service starts next month. It's very good value for $25. They had a few glitches with the timing but in their defense this was their busiest night since (soft) opening and the quality of the food and service more than made up for it. I can see these guys getting more polished over the next couple of weeks and look forward to trying them again when the full menu comes out. In the meantime, the $25 tasting is a deal.
  22. Better known as? I think you mean 'formerly known as'. Seriously, Arne's your guy. 3000 Cambie St. For gas range recommendations, there are several threads in the Kitchen Consumers forum. Here's one: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=66325
  23. No, he's coming here (or more accurately, his brand is) because the Sidoos are paying him a lot of money. No money, no Danny.
  24. And even more briefly, Vancouver's own Rob Feenie. He had an out-of-town gig in New York re-working the Plaza Athenee's Le Regence about 10 years ago. He did this at the same time as he was supposedly in the kitchen at Lumiere. Sounds familiar? I'm not excited about Boulud's arrival (or rather, the arrival of his brand; rumour is that his contract requires he spend 6 whole days a year in Vancouver) but I wouldn't call the menu at db Bistro Moderne dated or nouvelle; it's bistro food plus a burger. In many ways it reminds me of the menu at Feenie's. http://www.danielnyc.com/dbbistro/cuisine.html As for what Boulud will do with the menu at Lumiere, by the time the renos (which will, among other things, expand the Feenies side to encompass what is now the Lumiere tasting bar) are finished, there won't be much Lumiere left to worry about. Lumiere wasn't the profitable operation. Feenies was. A scaled-down Lumiere will continue to exist primarily for reasons of ego and brand continuity, not business. Lumiere/Feenies problems have been largely management related; there's been quality in the kitchen and and on service even in the darkest days. The public's perception of the Lumiere/Feenies brand is still surprisingly good. Speculating about what Boulud will do is besides the point; the operation will succeed or (continue to) fail on how the business is managed going forward. And just as before, that will depend on the owners maintaining a functional relationship with their new Exec Chef/partner, and the owners' willingness to attract and retain quality managers (and to actually let them do their jobs). Based on their past record, the owners might have a bit to prove in all these areas.
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