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clifford

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Posts posted by clifford

  1. My query from a month back dealt more specifically with rBGH and it's effect on early menstruation in children. I found plenty of references to this on organic eating websites and other seemingly biased entities, I could not find any scholarly studies that said so.

    I did, however, find several studies that said kids went into menopause early because they were fat. (I am paraphrasing here)

    A lot of what Nathan has said here makes logical sense. IMHO.

  2. I asked something similar about a month back. Opinions on this board about the effects of rBGH vary widely. There was a lot of "It's terrible because it isn't natural", you are what you eat, etc.

    While I do try to source the best and highest quality food for myself and more importantly, my family, I could not find any independant scholarly research that showed there were risks involved.

  3. Does anyone know whether or not the FL service charge tip pool includes the kitchen?

    On it's face, it appears this gives the kitchen staff a raise at the expense of the waitstaff. And I know this may come as a shock to smoeone, but if you have the skills to wait tables at Per Se, you're probably making $100K plus a year.

    And this pay dock cannot sit well with them. Maybe making $75K a year waiting tables in Yountville is a great living and unmatched in its surroundings, but I bet there are 100 restaurants in Manhattan where you can make that in your sleep.

  4. I used to live in Reisterstown, about 10 minutes south of Rudy's and have known Rudy Paul (GM/Maitre d') and Rudy Speckamp for ten years.

    Rudy Speckamp is a talented culinarian, and I would seriously doubt he put instant mashed potatoes in anything. However, this restaurant is quite a throwback and probably not for everyone. The menu is classical French, as in, pulled straight out of Escoffier. I believe his clientele is on the decline, as he average age of the patrons last time I dined there was, no hyperbole, 80.

    The dining room is a bit dated and is an assault of pale salmon and seafoam green hues that can be a bit unnerving.

    Is it worth a road trip? Maybe for one of the chef's special seasonal dinners. The fact that it has been around for 25+years is a testament to both Rudy's skill, grace, and professionalism.

  5. I think Fat Guy is 100% correct in that a review of this magnitude should have far more specifics regarding the faults than it did. And the lack of specifics regarding the food, at THIS restaurant, is appalling, considering Alain Ducasse is in the discussion, if not at the forefront of the discussion, of the 10 best Chefs in the world today.

    But if I were Fat Guy, I'd tone down the rhetoric just a tad, or he'll find Turning the Tables being reviewed in the New York Times by none other than Frank Bruni. :shock:

  6. As I am sure you are aware, restaurants, and individuals, sometimes have bad nights. Even the world's greatest establishment's slip up in the way they respond to these occasional "bad nights".

    I have had the pleasure of eating at Eve on several occasions. Give them another chance, I'm sure they won't disappoint.

  7. I did this for my wife when she was having complications with pregnancy and hospitalized for some time. Even though I was new in town and didn't know any of the Chef's personally, I always had great success. Here are some pointers:

    1) Call ahead. Not hours ahead, but days ahead.

    2) Call at a "good time". Generally between 3-3:30 is a time that might not be too hectic.

    3) Speak to the Chef or GM. Do some homework if you do not know their name (easily found on the internet).

    4) Explain what you want to do. Be brief.

    5) Offer to let the Chef cook whatever they want. He/she will certainly know what has a better chance of traveling well.

    6 Don't put the restaurant out. Most don't have adequate to go containers for this type of thing. Offer to bring your own. (Tupperware will do the trick).

    7)Don't ask for delivery. A sure deal breaker.

    Something like the following worked well for me:

    "Good afternoon Chef X. My name is Brian Reymann and my wife is hospitalized and loves your food. I was trying to cheer her up and I was hoping to bring her food from your restaurant on Thursday. I know this isn't something you generally do, but would really appreciate it if you could make an exception. I'll bring my own to go containers if you like, and can pick up the food promptly at 5:30. Would you consider doing this?"

    If he/she agrees, show up on-time, pay full price, and TIP.

    You should have really good success.

  8. I guess it's entirely possible to cook a four-star meal, in your home, just merely improbable. There are literally thousands, if not tens of thousands of restaurants around the world that aspire to "four star" (or 3) greatness.

    And maybe 200, possibly 300 succeed. And the guys chopping mirepouix in those kitchens are without a doubt a better cook than I. Let's not even talk about the men and women that actually cook the food.

    I bet Alain Ducasse has over 300 cooks who work for him, and all of them aspire to one day serve their own 3 Star (or four) food. And maybe 10 of them will.

    In my kitchen, armed with the most pristine ingredients FedEx'd from around the world and a solid week making stocks, I'd still have no chance.

    Unless, of course, if I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express the night before.

  9. I used to work in Baltimore and know of Tony Foreman just tangenitally. If you go and work for him, you will be pushed hard, rigorously trained, and held to extremely high expectations. He is an exacting taskmaster who expects nothing short of excellence.

    Many, and I do mean many, restaurant veterans have wilted under his system. Few have flourished, but all are probably better off having worked there than not.

    As for Baltimore being 20 years behind DC, well, maybe. DC

    has far more world class restaurants. My own experience is that DC also has many more high-end, style over substance restaurants.

    Baltimore, IMHO, has far more interesting restaurants at affordable prices.

    In short, if offered the job, take it. And move to Baltimore, because you'll never be able to afford living in Washington on a Baltimore salary.

  10. 1)Mr. Parker claims to taste 100+ wines a day, 70 of them BEFORE LUNCH.

    Some years back, I used to know a waiter, Brian, that worked at a restaurant in Sparks, MD called the Milton Inn. Parker lives about two miles away, and frequently held massive tastings in the restaurant. I believe now he holds the tastings at the Oregon Grill, maybe even Charleston's in downtown Baltimore.

    Brian was Parker's personal waiter, and served all of his tastings. Brian had hundreds of Parker's Reidel tasting glasses in his garage that he brought to the restaurant for each luncheon. Parker would joke that Brian was the only person in the world (save Florida Jim :wink: )that drank more wine than he did.

    Now, all of the other waiters in the restaurant kind of kept their distance from Parker's room, as if it was the wine equivalent of the Manhattan project. But they were always excited on the weeks when Parker would come in because

    1) they were going to learn something (through Brian) and

    2) there was going to be shitloads of wine to drink when he left.

    Brian used to be in awe of Parker's palate, as the process was pretty much the same every time.

    Food was always present and very simple: cheese, bread, grilled meats, etc.

    Two bottles of each wine were delivered, to insure against a corked bottle. This would often times amount to more than 14 cases of wine. The supplier would organize the wines in flights for Parker to taste, and Brian would set it up.

    According to Brian, Parker would taste through all of the flights once, and then go back a second time. Occasionally he would taste a wine a third time, and that would be that.

    Brian claimed that, if he handed a glass to Parker at the end of the event, he could identify it immediately, every time. And as he plowed through the dozens upon dozens of wine, there was no discussion and NO NOTES!

    A month later, it would all appear in the Advocate

  11. In DC, you cannot give away any alcoholic beverages, although it is really an argument in semantics for tax purposes.

    For example, I cannot give a customer two glasses of champagne to celebrate their anniversary. However, I can buy them two glasses of champagne, with the restaurant actually being the "purchaser".

    When the restaurant actually becomes, in this instance, the consumer, it is still liable for the tax on the sale.

    And in the district, it is a healthy 10%.

    It stil happens all over the place, but never here! :wink:

  12. With static menu pricing, the COGS will fluctuate throughout the year, based upon the seasonal availabilities of most items ordered. There will be months where your food cost runs higher than normal. There will be months that your food costs run lower than normal.

    You certainly could react to market fluctuation and change your menu pricing daily, but try to explain that to a guest when he wonders why his gazpacho was $7 on Monday and $7.50 on Wednesday.

    Your chef should be intimately aware of these seasonal price fluctuations, as well as periods in which prices may spike out of the range in which you/he/she are uncomfortable with.

    Regarding food costs in particular, keep an eye on the big picture, and don't get too bogged down in minutuae.

    Now, if you want to be insane about these type of things, a guy I used to work for (the owner) had "par levels" on every item we received in the restaurant. Say we received a flat of blueberries. He would randomly select one pint, and COUNT the amount of blueberries it contained. If the count (or weight) was outside of his acceptable range, he was on the phone with the purveyor demanding, I shit you not, FIVE extra blueberries. The delivery drivers hated him!

    He was miserable. His hair was falling out in clumps. But his restaurant was successful. :biggrin:

  13. The whole premise of this article is that somehow, restaurants are purposefully serving bad bottles of wine. This, in and of itself, is nonsense.

    Restaurants aren't the only purveyors of wine. If a customer bought a bottle of wine from his local retailer, and discovered it was corked, what is the retailers liability? Using the author's logic, I would imagine the customer is entitled to:

    1) A free bottle of wine,

    2) Compensation for gas due to the extra round trip

    3) Perhaps even "tire wear" or some other superfulous charge due to the inconvenience.

    Where is the blame for, say, wineries and cork producers?

    I do my part to train my staff on flawed wine detection before the wine hits the guest. What I did not get from this article except "Make 'em pay" was Mr. Giliberti's part describing to the reader about what these flaws are, and how to detect them. What if the wine is only slightly affected by cork taint? What then? When is it acceptable to send back a bottle (please to add anecdotes from sommeliers)? With the circulation that the Washington Post has, how about a column dedicated to explaining the faults in wine and how to detect them? Would not that further your goal of eliminating flawed wine from crossing the consumer'slips? An admirable goal, that.

    Exactly!A dissertation about why wines are corked, and how one can recognize TCA taint, would have been far more valuable than this rubbish.

    Isn't the whole purpose of this column to educate consumers? What educational purpose did this column serve, other than to tell the dining public, "You don't jack about wines, and restaurants are trying to hose you."

  14. I was surprised by the Ici review, not because it wasn't well written, but because it was about a small, well run restaurant achieving modest culinary heights.The kind of restaurant plentiful in every major city in the country.

    There are also a boatload of overpriced, over-hyped restaurants that are more about buzz and design than food, but the Times reviews them, as well.

    I agree with Busboy, and I think Pan said

    One of the things that's interesting is that, looking at the prices, this restaurant - though really, probably about $35-40 for a 3-course dinner - is closer to the genuine $25-and-under category than quite a number of places that have been put into that category previously by the Times. I'm thinking of August, for example.

    This was just the first review I can remember in a long time that wasn't a "big deal" type restaurant, and seemingly opens up the chances for NYT Stars to restaurants of different genres, pricing, etc., IMO.

  15. I'll state right off the bat that I am not from New York, and have only eaten in a smattering of New York's starred restaurants. However, I have been a frequent reader of New York Time's restaurant reviews over the last five years.

    I loved reading the reviews because they were generally critiques of restaurants that were head and shoulders above anything that I had in the cities I called home. To use a sports analogy, New York City was the heavyweight division of fine dining in the US, and the weekly Times review evaluated the contenders.

    I was surprised by the Ici review, not because it wasn't well written, but because it was about a small, well run restaurant achieving modest culinary heights.

    The kind of restaurant plentiful in every major city in the country.

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