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  1. Do not bring white truffles home unless you buy them the day before you return. I've seen a lot of very expensive disappointments this way. You can bring meat in as long as it is in a can or a jar. A few times we've been successful with vacuum-packed salumi, but that depends on your customs agent and my failure rate is over 50%. I don't think I've ever had cheese refused by US customs, despite the fact that 95% of it has been raw milk. Be aware, though, that the most recent security regs classify soft cheeses as a tool of Al Qaeda, and they are verboten on carry ons. I really thought my wife was going to attack that guy at CDG this spring, or at least make us miss our flight...you don't want to step between her and her raclette. So make sure you put those soft cheeses in checked luggage. If'n it was me, I'd be bringing home all kinds of greek goat cheese (including feta, if Greece was my last stop). And lots of Italian cheese too. Raw milk is officially acceptable as long as it's aged long enough. But, as I said above, most customs agents don't worry about the aging requirement. But none of these are condiments. I'd do a good stock of the best tinned anchovies, and salted capers. Good olive oil. Some authentic Turkish ajvar. Canned sicilian tuna. I've never had good luck buying balsamico in Italy; if I want the real stuff, Rare Wine Co is more reliable (great olive oil, too). Some interesting jams/jellies/confitures from things that don't grow well here.
  2. So I've purchased an Industry5 saute pan and a Proline skillet. These have an interior lining of "Silvinox" treated stainless. There's a few things in the Industry5 pamphlet that make me think that maybe it is intended to be used without season. Is that right? What have other owners done?
  3. We're considering trying one or two of the places. I know that historically some places have given very cut-down versions of their regular cuisine and others have given the food their full attention but used economies of scale to ease their prep burden. We had good experiences last year at Zoe and Serafina. Anybody been this year?
  4. The best pho broth I've ever had. Interesting spices on other things, too. As for Tamarind Tree, they have a rather decided shortened menu for lunch. Or at least they did, last time I was there for lunch (a year ago?).
  5. Well, the target-rich environment of the International District is easily accessible from I-5. I definitely think of the offerings there as "Northwest Cuisine", but others may differ. Prime targets: Maneki Thanh Tam Sichuan Chinese Cuisine (NW corner 12th + Jackson) 7 Star Pepper Malay Satay Hut House of Hong (dim sum) Top Gun Seafood Tamarind Tree, IMO, is much less interesting for lunch than for dinner. Matt's in the Market is also a great call -- though getting in and out of that area early on a Saturday afternoon won't be quick (though the ID could be slow as well if you don't stick to the 12th + Jackson area).
  6. They reliably have about 3 sushi-grade fishes. Usually Ahi, Yellowtail, and one other (often Amberjack).
  7. The bacon from Hans German Deli down in Burien is fabulous. Sausages and hams are pretty good, too. Worth the trip.
  8. The chefs must have some kind of backroom access, where they can see the larger pieces before it gets cut down for the retail counter, I'm thinking. Or maybe I'm just misremembering the size of the pieces behind the counter.
  9. "Just ahi" may be a slight exaggeration, but I don't think I've ever seen more than 3 or maybe 4 different kinds of sushi fish available at any of the markets. Maybe it's just that they're all being paranoid, but even the good asian fish markets always say "not for raw" about most of their fish. So what's the secret source? In Minneapolis, I could go to the restaurant supplier.
  10. "India Combo" at the corner of 104th and James.
  11. Melissa & I had dinner in the wine bar 2-3 weeks ago. It was very good, and they had an excellent cider from Normandie. The standout dish was bread soup with heirloom tomatoes.
  12. I'm very surprised that the grands crus from 98 are already drinking well. Reading between the lines on your notes, it seems like some of the wines have room for further development, while some need drinking up. Sound about right?
  13. The 3 of them have a collaborative venture; I'd guess this is a bottling from that venture. I don't recall for certain the source of the grapes -- if they are bought in or from the principals' own vines. I suspect they are bought in, as none of the partners had land in Hermitage before the partnership. But I do think that they did buy some land in Vienne, and it's possible that they bought some land in Hermitage as well -- though that certainly would be an expensive proposition. All the wines I've seen from the partnership have been red, so I suspect this is too. The couple of wines that I tried were a bit international in style, too much so for my tastes. Newbie, assuming the wine is red, then if you have good storage (slowly changing temp 65 F or cooler, air humidity 40%-80%), this bottle will be at its best in 10-15 years. Perhaps even 20. If you don't have good storage, this bottle will never be better than it is now. Open it with lunch and pour into a decanter (or carafe). Have half a glass with lunch, to see what's it like freshly opened. Drink the rest of the bottle with dinner. Serving temperature should be 60 to 65 F, a bit on the cool side.
  14. 'Opulent' is not the word I would use for Chandon de Brailles. Not that it's wrong; it's just that 'elegant' seems more appropriate. And not in the way of a backhanded 'compliment.' Indeed the Corton blanc is good, though the Charlemagne is a touch better.
  15. LOS

    Henri Billot Grand Cru Rose

    Champagne is quite versatile and goes with logs of things. Certainly the potatoes will work well, the shrimp might work fine if the spice level is lower. Champagne can work with a main course. Will you be doing 1 bottle or 2? If you are also doing a red wine, then you should do the rose first.
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