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Jay Francis

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  1. For me, a taco was always a taco. The 'breakfast taco' name evolved I think when Mexican ladies began selling tacos to non Mexican office workers and making them with soft tortillas as opposed to crispy tortillas. Gringos started calling them breakfast tacos, so as not to confuse them with the traditional crispy taco, I think. Taco: the roots of the word. A 'wad" as in the wadding one would stuff into a cannon before loading the cannonball.
  2. 360 ml water 1 tablespoon sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt 2 tablespoon powdered milk 25 grams melted unsalted butter 500 grams better for bread bread flour Setting #1 for white bread, 2 lb., and dark crust. Slash the top just before the baking cycle begins. A mighty fine loaf of white bread.
  3. What becomes important is mouth feel and stimulation of as many different taste buds on the tongue. I'm reminded of a recipe that shows up on the internet for kids around halloween, where you create a a dessert that looks like kitty litter, with bits of tootsie roll, torn off pieces of cake, etc. Visual presentation taking a back seat to what happens on the tongue.
  4. Subject: Messy Pastries Idea by Jay Francis. Ideas Wanted. There is a virtue in making precise, beautiful French pastries. But often, the taste of these is not spectacular. The fondant is too sweet, the cakes are too dry. My thinking is that it is time to invent a new kind of pastry. A messy pastry as it were. Creamy, flavorful, sacrificing good looks for good taste. Jack Daniels soaked bread pudding meets my criteria for a messy pastry. One that comes to mind: one would make a domed chocolate cake, core it out from the bottom, and fill it with the finest chocolate mousse. Or, one might break a cake into chunks and serve it with creme anglaise. I am looking for ideas for messy pastries. What do you think?
  5. Jay Francis


    Absolutely. Re: his very postive review of Aries. By the way, Robb's next book will be out in June. There is already a great picture of the book cover at amazon.com. See "The Tex-Mex Cookbook"
  6. You'll want to do some shopping at the Goode Company store across from Goode Company barbecue on Kirby. If you want a great price on cowboy boots, you'll have to drive over to Deer Park to go to The Boot Barn, which, I believe, is on Cedar Street. Also, if you happen to be in Houston Friday evening and want a real taste of a good ol' honky with comfort food, greasy fries, chicken fried steak, live honky tonk country western, shuffleboard, etc. , you will want to head over to Blanco's on West Alabama near Weslayan starting around 9:00 p.m. This is the place I take all my European visitor friends for a taste of Texas. If you are looking for a good (expensive but worth it) steak, I'm very partial to Taste of Texas on I-10(one of the few non hole in the walls I go to). I think their rib eye steaks are perfect.
  7. This note is for Woodford. Not to worry. Robb Walsh's next cookbook is The Tex-Mex Cookbook and you will be able to cook all the classic Tex-Mex dishes from it. I was the recipe tester on the project, and am really proud of it. There is already a picture of the cover of the book at amazon.com, if you type in Robb Walsh and click on the Tex-Mex Cookbook link. June, 2004 is the release date I think.
  8. I will try to find the name of the company but, the closest I have found is a candy from a little company in Kingsville, Texas. Much creamier and not as dark as the old Monterey House candy. I discovered it at the cashier at La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant, 9739 Katy I-10 at Bunker Hill. My own assessment is that the Monterey House candy had very little milk in it, was mostly brown sugar and water and was extruded (remember those ridges that it had?). It had a real brown sugar taste as I remember.
  9. The Russian General Store: Don't miss the chocolate covered wafer cookies. Also, the smoked salami's are terrific. I like the 'Wide Gypsy" one. Also, check to see if they have any Polish bacon in stock. In the back, lots of Russian cold war memorabilia and knick-knacks. Lots of packaged sweets and cookies too. Cheese kept in separate cooler from the meats (we all know why, don't we?) I sent a friend to Phoenicia the other day. If you go to Phoenicia, you've gotta eat at Cafe Caspian. Just be sure to have one of the stews rather than the grilled meats. Grilled meats are grilled meats. But the Persian stews are unique and need to be tried. I am slowly making my way through all of them. Jay
  10. www.b4-u-eat.com is a great source for places in Houston. If you would like, and have the time, send me an e-mail when you get here, and perhaps we can hit some spots together. I tend more toward the hole in the wall places rather than the expensive places. But, here is my short list. For chicken fried steak: Ouisie's on Tuesday, Rio Ranch, Hickory Hollow, Jax For Tex-Mex: Felix's or Lopez For Mexican Food (top quality): Hugo's For Mexican Food (fun atmosphere, authentic Northern Mexico): El Hidalguense on Longpoint For Italian: Simposio For Vietnamese Banh Xeo: the food courts at Hong Kong City Mall For Cajun: Ragin Cajun on Richmond For Barbecue: Goode Company, Williams Smokehouse, Thelma's Barbecue For Cornmeal battered catfish: Thelma's Barbecue Taqueria and antojitos: Gorditas Aguascaliente on Bissonnet Ethiopian: Blue Nile Jay Francis
  11. Another source for information on ethnic food in Houston. Every couple of years, I put on an Ethnic Markets tour for the Orange Show Foundations' Eye Openers Tours. On the last one, we started at The Russian General Store, proceeded to Droubi's to watch the bread-making, then on down Hillcroft to Hot Breads, the Persian grocery store, etc. Finished up with the Korean grocery stores on Longpoint. Anyway, Hane and Harry at www.b4-u-eat.com have published my Ethnic Markets guide and notes from the last few tours I have done.
  12. Whatever you do, don't try to run Jello or any gelatin product through your cotton candy machine.
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