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  1. McGill University, 1970: The women's residence was Royal Victoria College, and you had to apply to get in. The food was standard meat and veg, but the setting was incomparable. Sunday breakfast(and maybe breakfast in general, which I usually skipped) was served in a cafeteria, but lunch and dinner were served in a large, high ceilinged dining room. There was a head table, at which the Warden and Assistant Wardens dined, in their red blazers. You had to wait until they sat down before you sat down. Seating was eight to a dark wood varnished table, and you were served family style at each table by servers in white aprons. There was one seating, and if you were late, you had to take whatever was still on a table. There were different china settings for lunch and dinner, and I think there were tablecloths at dinner. If something was really good, the trick was to sit at a table near the kitchen door and snag platters/bowls with anything leftover as they were being carried back to the kitchen from other tables. After a semester, several of us moved out and into the first co-ed dorm in the province. The next year, RVC went entirely to cafeteria food. Food up at Bishop Mountain Hall was industrial, and the food service manager was regularly excoriated by the residents through evening shouting matches between the dorms. Pizza orders went through the roof on steak and kidney pie nights.
  2. Bove's used to be the only "ethnic" restaurant in the Burlington area - in the 60's, I don't think there was even a Chinese restaurant in town. Having shrimp cocktail at the Lincoln Inn on New Year's Eve was a big deal when I was a kid. The current menu doesn't look so good, though. The UVM dairy bar was into premium ice cream a decade before Ben and Jerry. When the IBM folks moved into the area in the mid-60's, they started wanting all these exotic foods like bagels....and things took off from there.
  3. This may be too late for your trip, and if so, you may have found out already that the Falmouth Hearth and Kettle has just closed - dropping business over time. Nothing new has emerged in the past year, that I can tell, except for a raw bar down on the Harbor, which I have yet to patronize although it opened this summer. Looks more like a summer watering hole, with a huge bar, TV screens etc. In the DIY department, the local Stop and Shop was running an instore chicken lobster special for $5.99/lb last week. Falmouth Fish Market and Cataumet Fish Market are open year-round, and seem to be able to get local cod.
  4. The North American Dover sole Microstomus pacificus inhabits the outer shelf/upper shelf break, concentrated off the coast of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and northern California but extending further north and south. This species belongs to the family Pleuronectidae, while the European species Solea solea belongs to the suborder or family of "true soles" (Soleidae).
  5. How far in advance do you need to make these? I've had some luck placing each pasta sheet on a layer of plastic wrap, and wrapping each one individually, which has kept things flexible for at least a couple of hours. You might be able to do this the night before and store in a cool moist place (like between two pretty damp towels).
  6. My dinner party guests are almost always my friends and family, who come with exuberant senses of humor. Thus, we all share the perspective that experimentation and any attendant risk of "failure" represents potential entertainment. The best memories have come from howling with laughter at what it took to melt the smoked gouda on top of the eggplant tart (not the recommended oven setting, not 450, not the broiler, hey, what happens with a blow torch and what is this gouda made of, anyhow? ). Another course at the same party, a mirin-marinated glazed mahi-mahi with tomato coulis and Chinese greens was a much more tasty experimental success, but is fading much faster from memory. I generally try to avoid "affairs of state" dinners with potentially stodgy invitees I don't know very well, but if I have to, then I guess I'd go with the boring and reliable (and ply them with wine in hopes of de-stodgifying them.... ).
  7. Cleaning tip from someone who would rather cook than clean: get some big plastic Rubbermaid "junk bunkers", throw all clutter into them, and stash them in closets, in the basement or in a room where noone's going to go.... And if this is a new house, and you have bottled propane gas running your stove, check the gauge sometime this week. Edited to add: I second the "cooking wine" approach.....
  8. wlg

    Thanksgiving post-mortem

    Related gas range blooper: Brined a turkey overnight, got up and made the stuffing and popped the bird into the oven. Headed out with family and dog for long walk along beach in balmy sunshine. Got back and found that the turkey was already at 174. Rushed around assembling mashed potatoes, squash, turnip, braised Brussel sprouts w/pancetta, cranberry sauce and gravy. Fortunately, I had speedy help. Went to light the burner under cranberry sauce, and got confused: flame which was supposed to be on "high" looked low. All flames on "high" looked low. Checked propane tank outside: absolutely zero. Shook our heads in jovial disbelief. Broke out the microwave and the Coleman camp stove, and saved the apps, green bean dish and sweet potatoes for another day. Turkey was juicy moist, and everything was delicious. Picture of cooking on camp stove and accompanying story will last for the rest of our lives.
  9. It wouldn't meet your seafood focus, but Osteria Civetta [spelling?] just opened on Main Street down towards the bank. So far, so good. The menu is relatively small, the young proprietress is from Bologna, and the vibe is informal bistro cozy. Homemade tagliatelle with ragu was light and well-spiced. There are about three or four appetizers, about four pasta dishes, four meats, and four or so sides (rosemary potatoes, cauliflower gratin, mixed salad). There's also a couple of cheese plates, one appetizer and one main. Portions are not the ridiculous five pounds of food on a plate. I didn't inspect the wine list or dessert list too closely, unfortunately. Out of the three Italian places on Main Street now, I'd definitely rank it tops, and probably tops for the immediate area.
  10. In Falmouth, MA, a new place called Pie a la Mode had baked beans during the winter and offers them frozen during the summer. They're a bit on the sweet side. The "bean gravy" is a bit thin for my taste, but has onions and is tasty.
  11. Unless you're from Maine. In that case, you have to eat B&M Baked Beans. Or they'd have to kill you. ← Exactly. Every Saturday night. With ham or franks, and brown bread sometimes. Home-baked beans require monitoring the water level while they bake. One upstanding church member would always bring a pot of beans to church potluck suppers, and they'd always be dry. Canned beans (B&M!) doctored with a little molasses, chopped onion, and mustard were preferable to hers. Maybe this guy had a similar experience.... Hmm - church supper items already mentioned here: chicken pie, yes! How about a lovely jello fruit salad? Spanish rice? Stuffed roasted chicken/turkey? Ham with green beans? Winter squashes, baked. Cross common crackers - with cheddar or chowder..... Cross common crackers
  12. Oooh, the shoe thing. I hate that. I have an aversion to walking around in my socks or stockings. If I'm first-time guest, I have an special aversion to being surprised by this policy at the front door - now I'm sentenced to an evening of cold feet and potentially snagged stockings. If I know it's a no-shoe house ahead of time, at least I have a chance to bring an indoor alternative of my own choosing. Shoes are part of adult attire and behavior, however. I suppose that one advantage to not wearing shoes in the house is that you can put your feet up on the coffee table, too? I've seen a hostess with a no-shoes policy in a gorgeous silk skirt and sweater set, accessorized with a pair of ugly grey felt bedroom slippers. Nice. Have your guests wipe their feet at the door. Get decent doormats. Put more than one in a row in front of the door and down the hall - folks should get the idea, and their soles should be fairly grit free by the time they hit the bare floor. Alternatively, at least warn your guests ahead of time. Generally, my dinner guests are friends who are adventurous eaters with good senses of humor. I feel fine experimenting on them with new recipes, and if it turns out that I get behind, they are happy to come up with creative ways to wrap shrimp wontons as they help out. I too believe that if folks want a restaurant experience, they should go to a restaurant. If someone brings wine, I'll generally start with what I've planned. As the evening progresses, if the gifters indicated that the wine can be drunk now, and the wine looks like it'll fit in, I'll break it out. Cleaning up is one of my favorite things. In the quiet afterwards, I think about the evening, load the dishwasher, wash the wineglasses, and only leave hard-core pots requiring overnight soaking. I like to come downstairs the next morning to some semblance of order, rather than facing the wreckage in the cold light of day.
  13. The operative concept being proper refrigeration unit throughout the process....The local Stop and Shop in Falmouth, MA had Maine shrimp for $4.95 a lb recently, and although I usually never buy fish there, I figured I'd give it a try. Big mistake. Got it home and took one whiff of the bag - ammonia. Rinsed them off well, cooked them, shelled them and still got the ammonia. (Although I usually go to a local fish market instead of a supermarket, I naively thought that they'd be a little more aware of product handling, especially since their prices are almost the same as the fish market's.) This isn't helping the market for this product.
  14. I guess I'd put Bellinis in the same category as mimosas as a breakfast drink. (Or for an alternative approach, my sister, in a comparison of Orkney malts, described Scapa thusly: "It's a good breakfast Scotch.")
  15. Where on Monkland? Monkland Tavern? Or, there was a high-end trattoria on Monkland for a while (Tratt 48 or something?), which now has re-opened as a bistro with little Italian emphasis? Or...?
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