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Everything posted by LOS

  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.
  16. LOS

    WTN: Old World Reds

    I liked the Lafite rather better than you seemed to. I also drank it before the Capezzana. It was certainly aging but showed plenty of cedar and tobacco. The Morgon had a fair whiff of sulphur when popped, and just kep putting on more and more sulphur the longer it was open. I thought it was nice on the palate, but boy did it have some sulphur! I have more 94 Beaucastel. I hope the other bottles show a bit more life.
  17. LOS

    Wine Tasting/Dinner Party

    I don't recall having had either of those in particular, so I'm no help there. Moving your rabbit course in front of the salami course and serving a white with it is certainly an option, given the sauce. The spicy fennel is still an issue; a german gewurztraminer might work nicely if the sauce is not too rich. I looked at the LCBO Vintages catalog online and none of the Barberas there struck me, other than the very expensive ones from Spinetta, but I wasn't familiar with all of them. I really like the Barberas from Giacomo Conterno, G.D. Vajra, Bruno Giacosa, if you can find one of those.
  18. LOS

    Wine Tasting/Dinner Party

    Actually, the requirements spec ("sample a variety of different wines") pretty much biases this against the one-wine-fits-all side. In any case, having some idea of the budget would help as well. In any case, here goes: With the olivade + baguette: the assertiveness of the ingredients will run over a finesse wine and calls for a fresh, palate-cleansing wine, like a Falanghina or Fiano di Avellino or other white wine from Campania. Or Prosecco. Txakolina from the Basque region, with its little bit of fizz, would be perfect. Cherry + salami skewers: the sugar in the cherries can create problems with many wines. With very sweet cherries, a Ripasso di Valpolicella. With any other cherries, a Chianti. With the Ripasso, you'll want a palate cleanser before the next course, maybe a small serving of one of the sorbets. Fennel stuffed rabbit: again a very assertive dish with the fennel. I'd do a Barbera from Piedmont, or an Aglianico from Campania or a Portugese red from the Dao/Douro. Braised Lamb: The classic with lamb is Bordeaux, but a heavy sauce will kill a classically styled Bordeaux. In that case, a modernish Bordeaux or Rioja -- or a Rhone from St Joseph, Cote-Rotie, or Hermitage --- even Cornas or Gigondas or Chateauneuf-du-Pape if the sauce is quite heavy. For a lighter sauce, a traditional Rioja is a good alternative to Bordeaux. Braised Short Ribs: A gutsy wine, like a Rhone from the south (Cotes du Rhone, Gigondas, Chateauneuf) or another wine from the south of France (Minervois etc) or a Spanish Ribero del Duero. Cheese course: I love doing Cambazola, Gorgonzola, Roquefort drizzled with a *small* touch of honey and a Coteaux du Layon or similar desert wine (like a lighter Vin Santo). Sorbets: I agree with Craig here, no wine at all.
  19. Well, generally, you don't really have a choice about drinking locally or non-locally. For the most part, in Europe, local wines are the only ones on the list. Paris and Rome are exceptions. But I've been to a good 30 restaurants in the Cote d'Or, and I can't recall a single one other than Lameloise that had wines from outside the region. Even places like Naples, cities built on trade, offer only local wines (for the most part). ← There are wine regions outside of Europe. ← Yeah, I should have been clearer that I was refering to Europe. The original post mostly was, but the discussion has since wandered a bit.
  20. Well, generally, you don't really have a choice about drinking locally or non-locally. For the most part, in Europe, local wines are the only ones on the list. Paris and Rome are exceptions. But I've been to a good 30 restaurants in the Cote d'Or, and I can't recall a single one other than Lameloise that had wines from outside the region. Even places like Naples, cities built on trade, offer only local wines (for the most part).
  21. But this is irrelevant. A European considers his native wines to be those of his region, not those of his country. EDITED to add: And that's how food/wine matches are done in Europe -- by region of origin, not by nation of origin.
  22. I think a lot of this has to do with the culinary diversity found at the typical American table. When eating a tasting menu here in the US, there often will be a wide diversity of culinary influenes which tend to make the one-wine-fits-all approach unsatisfying. If the pumpkin gnocchi is in a cardmom-black pepper cream sauce, you won't be drinking the same wine as you did with a classically minimalist venetian shrimp dish. Or, if you do, it really won't be a pleasant match one way or the other. OTOH, in Lyon, it's a pretty good bet that you can order Beaujolais with an everyday dinner dish, or order Cote Rotie or St Joseph with a special-occasion dish, and it will work. So I think there's a pretty good reason why Europeans are "less matchy" -- the traditional regional food goes well with the traditional regional wine, for the most part. They don't need to spend the mental energy on matching, because the whole package just works out-of-the-box, no assembly required. --------------------------- As for the issue of pacing: sure, enjoying one bottle over a period of several hours has its advantages. That's just one of the reasons I place little faith in the results of drive-by tastings. BUT you're not really going to enjoy a bottle at a relaxed pace if there are 6 or more diners at the table...the bottle won't outlast a single course anyway. In this situation, one-wine-per-course is just the natural thing to do. So I make sure to either bring bottles that will be ready to go, or decant the wine earlier. I think per-course wine pairings are a reasonable way to handle wine in a "tasting menu for 2" setting where the diversity of the plates precludes a good match with only one or two wines (although I might note that in many of these situations a bottle of Champagne would do nicely, but Americans don't think of Champagne as dinner wine). When I do a "tasting menu" dinner, there are usually 6 or more guests -- so this isn't really an issue for me.
  23. LOS

    Any suggestions?

    Billiot Brut Rose for $38 is an amazing deal. I second Brad's call on the Brundlmayer.
  24. Yikes, this is good barbera. Biggish but not flabby, tannic but not searing. Already thrown some decent sediment. Perfect with Easter lamb.
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