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Posts posted by lancastermike

  1. How many teaspoons does you use per cup?

    At home, we use about four teaspoons per cup and generally brew French Roast.  It's very full bodied but a bit bitter.  That's how my wife likes it so that's what we go with, however.

    Depends on the size of your cup, I generally use 4 tablespoons of whole beans for 750 ml of water.

    One more press fan here.

    Is four minutes the accepted standard? I drink a fair trade coffee, and I find even 4 minutes to be a bit too long...it tastes so bitter and acidic at that point that's no fun at all.

    With a simple cuisinart blade grinder, what's a decent grinding time for Bodum? I lost the manual :(

    If it's too bitter, then you either :

    a) brewed it too long


    b) power is too fine a grind.

    Since you are letting it steep for 4 mins, I'd say you are grinding your coffee too fine. From Good Eats' episode on coffee, I'd say 12 short pulses should do the trick. The consistency of the powder should be somewhat coarse.

    I use one of the scoop that came with the Bodum grinder per 4 ounces of water. I have a big 16oz mug so four scoops, i brew for just around 4 minutes total with a good stir after the first minute

  2. You are forgetting, what I think is the issue in this whole thing: the union (and this is from someone who works for a union). It seems that they have an iron-clad grasp around someone's cajones and refuse to let go. They have already said that the sale of the state stores would bring billions in revenue to Pennsylvania but no budging seems in sight. Maybe I have it all wrong but that seems to be the issue here.

    That "someone" whose cajones are in the vice grips (ouch!) is the state legislature. It seems that every few years, some legislator will give some lip service to the idea of privatizing the liquor biz, then the idea quietly fades away.

    The union is only one of many reasons why the state stores live on. Others include:

    The PA State Government: The Legislature and Executive Branch love the annual revenues that sales from the PLCB stores bring in on a continuing basis. While sales tax and Johnstown Flood Relief tax revenue might remain level under privatization, the state would be deprived of the money added to its coffers from the the PLCB's profits. These profits help to fund state agencies relieving lawmakers of having to decide whether to raise taxes or cut programs. While privatization could conceivably bring in "billions" - this would be a one shot, short-term deal and the money would sure to be squandered over a few years. There's no mechanism for the state government to put away this money and draw it down over time (i.e., similar to an endowment).

    The Cultural Conservative Population: The majority (though certainly not all residents by any means) of the population in the great central portion of the commonwealth comes from a culturally conservative background which is resistant to allowing private sales of alcohol. While not necessarily a majority of the population (witness how the Presidential votes of the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions made up the margin of victory for John Kerry), they are disproportionately represented in the PA Legislature. Thus since their state representatives, in line with their constituents, oppose changes in the current system, it's status quo.

    Your Friendly Neighborhood Barkeeper: One of the major opponents to allowing retail sales of six-packs of beer has been Pennsylvania's tavern and bar owners. (They even opposed a recent proposal to allow beer distributors to sell 12-packs of beer.) Since the only place for most people to buy beer by the six-pack in PA is at their local bar (the only other options being beer stores like The Foodery which are few and far between and some deli/restaurants), it's a dirty little secret that some bars get a substantial portion of their profits from such (overpriced) sales. Allow six-packs to be sold by beer distributors (or, heaven forbid, supermarkets and convenience stores) and these profits would quickly shrivel up and many local bars claim they would be put out of business (even though somehow they survive in other states where beer is sold by the six-pack).

    Your Friendly Neighborhood Beer Distributor: By the same token, beer distributors oppose losing the monopoly they have on beer sales. If you could buy a six-pack at your local Ac-a-me, why would you bother to go out of your way to buy beer in the warehouse atmosphere of a beer distributor (absent needing a couple cases or a keg for a party)?

    (For what it's worth, at least PA is somewhat consistent in its narrow view of liquor sales (save for the whole buying a case of beer requirement). I used to live in Virginia where wine and beer can be had at any supermarket or 7-11, yet hard liquor is sold in state stores reminiscent of the Soviet Union.)


    Your reasoning is spot on. There are many reasons the system is hard to change and you have named them all. Very good.

    The other states I have experience with are North Carolina were beer and wine are avaiable in the grocery stores but the state sells the liquor in store that reminds one of the PLCB in the 70's. Many counties preclude liquor sales by the drink in restaurants and other public houses. There are private retailers of wine but it is tough for them to make money as the grocery stores hammer them on the price of beer and the popular brands. Also they have no liquor sales.

    Virginia is pretty much the same.

    When I was in Texas, and this was a while ago, there were lots of liquor and beer stors including the drive thru ones. However, liquor by the drink was no avaialble as you had to "join" bottle clubs.

    Now that PLCB has started doing new things with wine, and with help that is friendly and helpful, I don't have real problems. Being able to buy a bottle on Sunday has made me happy

  3. Every Republican governor of the state from the 1970s up to but not including Tom Ridge has made a show of moving to privatize the state liquor stores. And I think even Ridge paid some lip service to this.

    Besides the reasons others have already given here, I think one of the big reasons the state liquor laws remain as they are is because of the rural-urban divide in this state--compounded here by a geographic difference between the two biggest cities.

    The people in the "Alabama in between" parts of the state really have little or no interest in changing the way liquor and beer are sold; by and large, they sympathize somewhat with the religious folk who picketed the 1218 Chestnut Street PLCB SuperStore on the first Sunday it was open for business.

    If Allegheny County were closer to a state that did not also have a controlled system of alcohol sales, there might be more efforts to change things, but as it stands now, the main people agitating for a more drinker-friendly system are Southeastern Pennsylvanians, who live just a hop, skip and jump away from New Jersey, Delaware and (in the case of southern Chester County) Maryland.  As long as it's only Philly-area consumers who are doing all the agitating, there won't be any real changes aside from those that can be made by an oenophile Liquor Control Board chairman such as the one currently in charge.

    I live in Lancaster County, and frankly find your characterisation of the rest of the Commonwealth to be offensive. Were I live there are a signifigant amount of conservative folks who oppose change in the system. There are also lots of folks,like me, who woulld like to see change. This sure ain't Alabama here and a discussion of the merits of the PLCB and changes to it are best served without ridiculous statements like that being made. I often post here about wine offerings at the PLCB specailty store in Lancaster, which is open on Sundays, by the way.

    What would you think of someone posting that everyone in Philadelphia is in favor of this change because the town is full of drunks.

    My reply here does not begin to describe my upset at these sterotypical, ridulous statements you made. True Fact: I do not agree with those who oppose change and picketed PLCB stores. However, I support there right to do so without calling them names or suggesting they are from Alabama. Your unsupported generalisations about folks who live were I do are un fonded and unfair.

  4. My darling wife got me a Bodum french press and burr grinder for Christmas. This moring is the first time I used it following the instructions from Sweet Maria link in the pinned brewing topics thread.

    The beans were Sumatran froma local roaster. I used bottled water instead of tap.

    I found the flavor to be much brighter than my usual drip. And the arouma was stronger and filled the room. I think the temperture was the reason as my DeLonghi dripper does not get hot enough anymore.

    I doubted I would notice a big difference, but I really did. I have a friend who has a coffee shop. He has always told me a press is the only way he drinks coffee. Now I know why. Very happy, it was a lovely gift.

  5. In my misspent youth tending bar we often brought in our own bottles, we also added water to vodka and gin and turned cheap liquor into expensive stuff by simply pouring it into another bottle.

    Bar pilferage is the easiest to do and very profitable.

    When I was drinking we carried a video game machine out of a bar, had more cue sticks than anyone needed and oceans of bar glasses. I can't remember how many advetising beer signs we had. I can remember having a friend of mine sitting on my shoulders to take a Budwiser clock he wanted.

    In a place I worked they had an open kitchen with perhaps 20 cooper pots and pans hanging from hooks. They were real but they were there for display only. The Food and Beverage manager of this hotel took them home one at a time over a period of months. I also stood in the parking lot and watched him load cases of wine in his car. He was so drunk he never saw me. This place was in the midst of managment and ownership changes and just about everyone was taking stuff and no one seemed to be watching or to care. Several apartments were furnished from the hotel lobby.

    Later when I went into managment I had a pretty good idea of what to watch for , but I knew what I was like and was sure they were getting me somehow. I love bartenders, I have wonderful friends from the old days, but it seems that something gripped us all. Everyone was up to something, some were greedy and they got ratted out by the others who did not want to see a good thing end.

  6. Although I now cannot locate the link I read on AP site that PLCB announced record sales for this year. I believe this is due almost entirely to this thread and the Aphrodite of Alcohol herownself Katie Loeb. In fact I propose some sort of kickback deal to Katie for this.

    Also the Sunday stores help. It is such a pleasure knowing i can get a bottle of wine on a Sunday if I want it. And the selection and the service is also enjoyable. I feel a New Year trip to the Fruitville Pike store coming on just to see what they got. maybe I'll tell them I know Katie and see if I can get a piece of that kickb.., I mean payo... i mean gratuity that should be coming her way.

  7. Good News for everyone in the Philly area concerning the Cakebread!!!  Philly still hasn’t gotten their allocation yet, their shipment arrived from California today so our warehouse should be shipping out in the very near future…Should be going to the following stores on their next shipment before New Years! 

    In Philly: Chestnut Hill, Franklin Mills, 1218 Chestnut

    In Bucks Co. Newtown and Doylestown

    In Chester Co. Exton, West Chester, Devon

    In Mont. Co. Ardmore, Maple Glen, Bryn Mawr, Jenkintown, Blue Bell, Sweede Square, Lansdale and Narberth.

    I hope this helps in your search, I know this will sell out quickly in each of these stores.  -Deidre

    Thanks, Deidre

    Hate to be a pest, any idea if Lancaster will get any more?

  8. Nullo,

    I salute you for your efforts. For years I have baked, and recently came to bake and study bread with Rinehart as my guru. Last year my wife went on full Atkins. I tried and tried and tried. Most of the stuff I made, in paticular bread, was to me inedible. However, I love my wife more than my bread and she lost 50 pounds.

    I was unable to do it. All that meat eggs and fat made me literaly ill. I sneak my carbs and make myself a loaf from time to time. I make whatever my wife needs and wants. However, I tried, it seems, all sorts of ideas and was never able to produce anything I thought approached bread. The soy stuff got the closest but all that soy if horrible to eat.

    Keep trying, good luck, but I feart that bread without flour will never taste right

  9. Just today picked up abottle of Foley Pinot Noir  2001  and one od Iron Horse Pinot Noir 2001 each for $ 19. I have had the Iron Horse but am looking forward to trying the Foley These were both Chairmans Selections.  Not a chairmans selection but back in stock and on sale Duck Pond Pinot Gris that my wife just adores.  I got two of those for her.  This is the Fruitville pike store in Lancaster  They also still have a cood supply of the Burgers Syrah, when I askd about anymore of the Zin the guy just laughed at me

    edited for forgetfulness

    I predict you'll be enjoying the Foley alot. The Landmark "Grand Detour" Pinot Noir I mentioned upthread is still around and still as tasty as it ever was at the same price as the Foley. They're both pretty big for Pinot Noir so they might be a delicious Thanksgiving wine for those that like red with their turkey.


    I saved the Foley for Thanksgiving at the relatives. It went great with the turkey but I was thrilled how it shined with my oyster and bacon stuffing. I seem to only want Pinot Noir these days. Most of the crowd was drinking white, but I was thrilled with the Foley Pinot Noir.

  10. I am very proud of anyone who takes on one of these projects. Many years ago when I was Food&Beverage manager at a hotel I had a couple of guys from Johnson & Wales doing their practicum with us. I was supposed to give them a special project. I had them do a big gingerbred disply for the lobby. By the time they were done they hated me for that. It is horribly difficult. The Chef told them it developed culinary technique. I told them it showed them early in their carrer that the culinary staff should ignore us managment types as much as possible.

  11. Just today picked up a bottle of Foley Pinot Noir 2001 and one of Iron Horse Pinot Noir 2001 each for $ 19. I have had the Iron Horse but am looking forward to trying the Foley These were both Chairmans Selections. Not a chairmans selection but back in stock and on sale Duck Pond Pinot Gris that my wife just adores. I got two of those for her. This is the Fruitville pike store in Lancaster They also still have a good supply of the Burgers Syrah, when I asked about any more of the Zin the guy just laughed at me

    edited for forgetfulness and spelling

  12. Katie,

               I spent almost 20 years tending bar and worked with what seemed to be a million different people.  Not ONE ever thought we were tipped enough.  It is a required opinion to hold if you are a server.

    As a one time restaurant owner in Philadelphia I, in semi-good humor, used to complain to my servers that they were taking home 20% of my sales whereas I was lucky to take home 5 percent.

    I know what you mean Holly and Katie. I do remember when I started out one of the old time bartenders telling me that you NEVER should tell anyone how much you made. For years I did pretty well, but I still poor mouthed it. Never knew if the person you were talking to was from IRS. Always declared some, never declared it all.

    Another event I'll always remember is when we had a new Food and Beverage manager call all the bartenders in and tell us he knew we were all a bunch of crooks and stealing big time. There were one or two who were but after that lecture he had some real bad months. This was the same genius who had the bartenders do month end liquor inventory. Oh my god what a dope

  13. Welcome Diedre!

    Great to have somebody on the inside of the PLCB joining the conversation! 

    If you're doing the selecting, then you've got the most inside scoop there is.  Keep dishing!

    Just want to clarify I select the Products available through the on line store and for our wine of the month club The Wine Connection.

    BTW another tip Lucky Country a 'second' label of Two Hands just arrived in our stores The Lucky Country Shirz/Cab just got 90 points in the Wine Advocate and the Lucky Country GSM got 87 points.

    I'm very fond of the Lucky Country blend and am considering it for a by-the-glass pour at Rouge in the near future. I've met the winemaker at Two Hands and he's a nice fellow. Does wonderful things with grape juice too! :smile: The Two Hands Angel's Share Shiraz is one of my very favorites. I picked up a bottle of the Lucky GSM (Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre) at my run to the 12th Street store on my way home from work last night. In addition I picked up some of the 2000 vintages of the Burgess wines including the Cabernet ($12.99), Syrah($9.99) and the Zinfandel which is on sale for the truly astonishing price of $7.99. I had the Zin with my steak dinner last night and it was excellent! Possibly the tastiest $8 bottle I've had in some time. I'm going to pick up a whole mess of that as my "house wine" for the foreseeable future. It's a total no brainer. And it's REAL Russian River Zin, even at that price. It's never going to compete with Turley, but for $8 it is varietally true and quite lovely. It smells of all kinds of blue/black fruits like plums and blueberries and blackberries and has a nice level of spiciness and smooth edges from oak aging. Good fruit intensity and full body (14.4% alcohol). These sorts of characteristics are generally completely unavailable at that price point. Good Stuff!!!


    While wondering around my local store on Saturday I saw the Burgess Zinfandel and I was flumoxed by the price! I took home a couple and opened one Sunday with beef stew I made and this was wonderful. Pennsylvania state store have changed so much for the better. They had a good bit of it and I will be back for more. I will try the Syrah as well. I can still remember when you went to the state store and you had to go up to the counter and tell them what you wanted and they went into the back and brought it out. My store has good selection and people who know from wine. I really never thought I would see it happen in PA.

  14. When I did tend bar this was always a problem for me. The ice machine was not located right at the bar. If possible I like to keep only a smaller amount of ice in the bar ice bin and refill it often to keep fresh hard cold ice at the bar. Due to volume of business and lack of any bar runner this was not always possible and the ice became bad sometimes. This clearly had a negative effect on the drinks. Ice machine right at the bar would be an answer but many machines are far away from bars on the other end of busy kitchens.

  15. I picked up abottle of Willamette Valley 2001 Pinot Noir for 8.99 and it was great. This being my favorite grape, I really liked it. Not sure what the regular price is but it was a bargain. I find myself drinking more and more Oregon and Washington wine these days. i am a real value wine shopper and I think these areas offer very good value. In Lancaster we have a wine superstore and they had a stock of Duck Pond Pinot Grigio which my wife drank up all summer. Not one of my favorites but again it was real good value

  16. Just read this entire thread and it was a real trip down memory lane. I have had a whole lot of the brands everyone mentioned. Eastern PA in the 70's was full of cheap bad beer. However if i had to pick one it would be Utica Club. Horrible stuff. But though I never had it the Cool Colt thing seems to me to be something that would be hard to beat. It sounds terrible. Wonderful memories of some real bad beer thought, thanks to everyone

  17. This post will make me sound like some grumpy old timer but I believe many bar owners know longer care if their bartenders have any knowledge of cocktails. At the end of my time behind the bar I found that most of my co-workers fell into two catagories. 1. Pretty boys. 2. Pretty girls.

    This was at a major resort hotel and I was the last of the classicly trained guys there. Managment did not want us, and the hip bartenders did not either. Very few of them and any understanding of the trade, and had no idea of how to carry a conversation and manage a bar. They could flip shakers in the air or unbutton a top blouse button but any knowledge of their trade was lacking. Trying to get them to understand even the rudiments of wine and its service met with glazed over stares. This is what managment wanted and that is what they got. I left not soon after the Director of Sales for the hotel came to see me one day. He and I had worked there together for a long time. He asked me what kind of bartenders they were hiring these days as one of his big clients was in and ordered a martini and the boy working had no idea how to make it.

    Were I live there are very few places were the bartenders know anything about cocktails and wine knowledge is darn near non-existant.

    If you find a place were they know how to make a cocktail treasure it. When I go out these days I will just ask for Makers Mark on the rocks. I LOVE Manhatan's but I hate to even try to get one anymore

    END OF RANT and apoligies as it really does not answer the question asked

  18. I remember Iron City and Stoneys being Pittsburg beers. As I recall Stoney's was made by the Jones Brewing Co, which was run by the father of Shirley Jones the actress. Rolling Rock was also a Pittsburg area beer but was more common here in Lancaster. Stroh's was Detroit beer and was rare around here. I knew one guy who loved it though. This was before it became a national brand. Steigmier and Kaiers were Wilkes-Barre and Old Reading and F&S were Reading. Yuengling was considered a cheap coal region beer and had not the cachet it has these days. Schmitt's, Ortliebs, were Philadelphia beer. And as I recall the biggest national brand was not Budweiser but Schlitz. We also had a lot of Schaeffer and Piels which were New York beers.

    The regionals are almost all gone. How about Genese? Is that still in business. Yuengling has prospered on good marketing. Rock as well. The others I fear are all gone. Straubs from St. Mary's being the exception. Good old PA regional beer. I miss them. Love micro brews and have a case of Victory in the fridge now, but they ain't got Burt and Harry Piels

    edited for spelling

  19. I read about this this morning and my first thought is what is the difference between an aluminim can and an aluminium bottle? Nothing but the shape. If it stays cold in a aluminium bottle save the money and buy the can. This one is a baffelment. I used to drink Iron City and it is a Pittsburg area favorite. It's appeal is limited. I seem to remember them marketing a Crhistmas time beer called Old Frothingslosh. Anyone else remeber that. Or pehaps I am dreaming

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