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Posted December 25, 2004
Shitakes - in any kind of asian-style broth.
in California: Dining
Posted December 23, 2004
Glad to see all the posts about Swan Oyster Depot; sometimes simple is best.
I regret to say I shelled and dumped the meat of a dungeness into paella last Sunday. Paella was good but we should have just eaten the crab separate. Its sweetness just doesn't hold up to all that rice and saffron.
Good excuse to go find more before Christmas...
in Food Traditions & Culture
Posted November 7, 2004
I like Hong Kong for just that reason. It also has the lingering colonial atmosphere, which offers wonderful Continental cuisine as well.←
I have to agree with Jaymes - even though I haven't been in 10 years. Ate at beautiful, upscale western restaurants, very reasonable, traditional Chinese places, and periwinkles served in the shell on the street - eaten with toothpicks and bottles of beer from the store across the street.
in Restaurant Life
Posted October 19, 2004
I'll be following this one - I too have been grappling with the idea of career change. I've worked in several restaurants before, so have few illusions about what the job entails. Sure seems like it would be more fun and healthier than spending the rest of my life behind a desk.
Hate to admit it, but in all the research I've done it boils down to a money issue. Buddy of mine has ten years of experience and works in one of the best restaurants in town - doesn't earn shit.
Posted August 30, 2004
Killer Blog, Abra. Just found it today and read it all the way through. Glad to see people doing what they love well.
in Kitchen Consumer
Posted July 30, 2004
Not sure if the original question included appliances, but:
Ditto on the Bosch dishwasher for being quiet. Don't have the extended waranty, though, so I'll cross my fingers. No breakdowns yet.
DCS 5-burner range with convection oven has been great, except for a disappointing broiler. Weber in the backyard gets that done.
I must have 6 different kinds of pots and pans, and like All-Clad the best for all-around performance. For nonstick I buy cheap $20 pans at the kitchen supply store. They all get dinged up no matter how much you pay.
Don't think anyone has mentioned kitched towels. I keep a drawerful on hand (literally). With 20 or so around you never mind grabbing a fresh one. That and bleach water in a spray bottle keeps everything clean (especially when cutting lots of meat, fish, etc.).
Definitely use the Kitchen Aid for baking, grinding meat, and making sausages.
Posted July 17, 2004
Nullo - nice blog. Surprised to see so many chilis from someone back East. I'm originally from Boston but went to high school outside of Baltimore, so I grew up on plenty of bland, white food. Fish chowder, potatoes, rice, bread, plain veg, etc. Been in Denver for 10 years now and can't imagine cooking without chilis. Love the fresh for heat and crunch. My favorites have to be roasted Hatch chilis from New Mexico. You can buy them freshly fire-roasted on the side of the road here when they're in season, freeze a couple bushels, and eat them all year round. Curious if they ever make it back your way? I haven't lived in your general area since '92, so I'm not sure how things have evolved.
Also - I've experimented with several dried chilis, but haven't found anything yet that really blew me away. (May well be my fault in preparation.) Any ideas to share about how to cook with dried chilis?
in Southwest & Western States: Dining
Posted June 13, 2004
both these meals--and experiences--sound good; definitely putting a visit to adega on our list. however, if i can be so crass as to ask, what were the prices associated with all these meals? (other than $12 for the clams.)
I don't remember spending much more than $180 for the two of us, including tip. We only had a couple of glasses of wine, though, and Adega is certainly built around the wine cellar.
I had problems with oil, cheese, etc. melting into my stone and the resulting fumes.
Started sliding the pizza off the peel onto a sheet of tin foil, which was then lifted onto the hot stone.
I'm sure I'll get some objections to this - but I've really not noticed any difference in the quality of the crust since adopting this method.
Posted January 29, 2004
We had discussed Marcek's in an earlier post.
Haven't seen hide nor hair of the rude fish guy.
Someone else primarily working the meat/fish station. Very cool guy with a gray braid. Haven't gotten his name.
Oysters have been great for the last 4 wks or so - at Oliver's and Marcek's.
Had a good poker weekend. Spent the proceeds on doughnuts Sunday morning and a $30 porterhouse from Marcek's - ate it with my three sons tonight. Nine-year-old and twin 6-year olds got a kick out of the concept of the $30 steak. A new gamecube game to them but a good dinner to me. 2+ pounds of very rare, dry-aged beef. Winter Weber. Enjoyed by all.
Tilapia for my wife (also from Marcek's) tasted distinctly musty afer cooking, but smelled clean raw. Anyone know why that might be?
Sorry to digress so far from Adega.
Posted January 28, 2004
Sorry this is late and will be truncated - it's late.
Adega was very nice. If I had written this down earlier I'd have better details.
Tasting menu when we went was the same as what rim posted. I was tempted but didn't opt for it as I knew my wife was only up for a couple courses and it was a weeknight. By the end of the meal I was happy with my choice as I am primarly a recreational cook as opposed to a restaurant epicure. Not sure I would have been able to appreciate 7 courses on a Thursday, as modest as they are. We opted for three courses each.
I started with the clams, which were perfect - except for foreign matter. I managed to bite down hard on a hidden chunk of shell, which I never would have mentioned at a lesser restaurant. I very casually mentioned it to the busboy (not sure what the right title is here - he was excellent) when he came to offer more bread. It very closely resembled a broken plate shard. When I mentioned this, our waiter was back (who had not been overly attentive - no complaints there) within 2 minutes to apologize. After telling her it was no big deal, the manager swung by shortly thereafter, assuring us that we would'nt be charged for that course. I honestly couldn't have cared less about the $12, but the gesture was nice.
Sweetbreads were tremendous. A contributor to why I was happy not to go the full 7 courses - so rich.
My wife had a baby carrot dish in a wonderful stock - I wish I could remember the description. So simple and so good. Maybe rim remembers seeing it on the menu?
Finished with short ribs. Very good. But I can do rustic at home. Sounds like a small meal but I left full. (Because I was'nt drinking that night - limited to one excellent glass of wine - and finished two bottles of sparkling water?) Enough to make anyone feel old. But pleasantly so.
Service made it all worth it. A rare thing in Denver. Couldn't have asked more of the staff - clam shell aside. They were professionals in a city that doesn't have many. Even in the better places. Even Mel's in Cherry Creek, which I like very much, doesn't have the same balance of professionalism and comfort.
rim - how was the pork belly? It was the main dish that attracted me to the tasting menu and sounded amazing -
Posted January 12, 2004
I want the dual fuel so the ovens will be self cleaning, which are generally not available with gas ovens (except for Viking). I may have to live with a 36" single oven range instead. I use both ovens simultaneously about 8 times a year, but I think I can manage with just one for now. Or can't I???Can I live with a non-self cleaning oven? I don't think so -- I despise maintenance. I'm leaning toward a DCS for its power, but is it really worth $1800 for a self cleaning feature between the gas and the dual fuel????
I went through this in Dec 2002. My ideas for a range had to be scaled back when the kitchen renovation morphed into a four-room renovation - ask my wife.
Ended up going with the 5-burner DCS, gas convection but not self-cleaning. I'm happy my hand was forced to a degree. It was one of the few (we looked at everything from Aga to Wolf to Dynasty) I could find with sealed burners and a stainless steel surface - why would anyone ever want black enamel? The burners are powerful. My only complaint is that the broiler is a little wimpy.
As far as self-cleaning goes, I've had both and I don't miss it with my DCS. I do, however, take basic precautions when using the oven with messy things. It's not that hard to put a flat pan under your bubbly lasagne.
Seriously, a couple times a month, she cleans all the grates with oven cleaner in the laundry sink (when I saw her stacking those cast iron monsters in my beautiful kitchen sink, I quickly stopped her!).
So the beautiful sink is used for what?
Posted January 3, 2004
At ADPA we use Victorinox as our cheap, everyday - but decent - knives. They're like less than 10 bucks for a paring knife and only in the 20's for chef's and bread knives. But don't use a serrated knife for bones! Get some garden shears or a cheap Chinatown cleaver instead.
I started buying Victorinox about 2 yrs ago after my butcher turned me on to Brothers Cutlery here in Denver. I still use my significantly more expensive heavy steel knives that I bought 10 years ago, but am equally happy with the Victorinox. They are lighter and wear more quickly, but are easy to sharpen and cost about a third of most German/Japanese knives I've seen.
Posted December 30, 2003
Thanks for your reply to my "Sources" post - I think we're on the same page as far as evaluating Denver options. BTW - picked up fresh mussels, clams, and Dungeness crab from Oliver's for Christmas Eve dinner (beautiful briny smell - so fresh) - combined with cod from Wild Oates and some frozen shrimp for a nice stew.
My wife and I will be eating at Adega next week - any menu suggestions beyond what has been posted?
Posted December 17, 2003
This should be an easy list for people to contribute to:
1. "studded" - should be reserved for tires or S&M attire
2. "kissed with..." - do I have to qualify this?
3. "tantalizing" - Webster: "to tease or torment by or as if by presenting something desirable to the view but continually keeping it out of reach" so if it's out of reach how can anyone accurately review?
4. Rachel Ray - I know, not an adjective or adjectival phrase, but it ellicits the same emotion.
Just remembered this one - brought my fellow waiters back to the apartment after a post-Saturday-night-close drinking session to cook ribeye steaks for six of us. One at a time in cast iron pan - maybe I should have drained out the fat before I flipped the sixth one in towards my forearm on the panhandle instead of away from it.
The pregnant wife asleep in the one bedroom didn't mind me entertaining, but the flesh-eating bacteria look to my arm was disconcerting.
I've done some of the things listed, and thesse probably aren't new, but they are things I should stop doing. Do not, as oft mentioned already, grab a cast iron pan that has been in a 500 degree oven. It's hard to sleep while trying to hold a bottle of ice. Although the scars do show the proper way to grip a pan. I'm pretty sure someone has already issued a warning about hot sauce, if not...do not take a deep whiff from the pan of whatever hot sauce you are making. It will make you cry. And don't lick the top of the hot sauce bottle either. Now this is a do, DO take the time to make that you have the right measuring spoon. You can't pick out the extra salt. It seems obvious in retrospect, but don't blow away the flour (pepper, etc) on the edge of the bowl. You really can't blow away just that little bit. Oh, almost forgot. It's never a good idea to dry off a sharp knife. With a paper towel. Even if you fold it several times.
Do not, as oft mentioned already, grab a cast iron pan that has been in a 500 degree oven. It's hard to sleep while trying to hold a bottle of ice. Although the scars do show the proper way to grip a pan.
I'm pretty sure someone has already issued a warning about hot sauce, if not...do not take a deep whiff from the pan of whatever hot sauce you are making. It will make you cry. And don't lick the top of the hot sauce bottle either.
Now this is a do, DO take the time to make that you have the right measuring spoon. You can't pick out the extra salt.
It seems obvious in retrospect, but don't blow away the flour (pepper, etc) on the edge of the bowl. You really can't blow away just that little bit.
Oh, almost forgot. It's never a good idea to dry off a sharp knife. With a paper towel. Even if you fold it several times.
Learned the paper towel knife-wipe lesson just this year, after buying a new scalloped carving knife about 15" long. Sometimes you feel the burn before the slice.
...slice jalapenos and THEN decide to put in my contact lenses.
amen - and then have to put them back in for a league basketball game a half-hour drive away -
in Southwest & Western States: Cooking & Baking
Posted December 16, 2003
Just so I wasn't mistaken: I have no objection to Whole Foods, Wild Oats, etc., I just find them expensive. Except for bulk dry goods an bulk herbs, which are a great deal. And I don't mind paying for fish.
So you touched on some of my favorite places already:
Pacific Mercantile: Decent fruits and veg, fish (esp. if you just want a small piece of tuna or the like to cut up yourself for sashimi), condiments, Japanese pickles, tea, rice, etc as would be expected. Octopus and fish roe for my 9-year-old and funky candies the other kids like. They also sell a commercial wok ring that I covet but have no room for in my kitchen. Staff speak very good english which is often not the case at other places.
Pacific Ocean: One of my first jobs in Denver was at a Cherry Creek restaurant - the cooks and I would sneak out between shifts to shop there. It's still like going abroad. Cheap fresh herbs, asian vegetables, an entire isle of noodles...I like browsing through the kitchen equipment (more commercial wok rings - can anyone tell me how to rig one up in the back yard?), amazing barbecue. I go back and forth on the fish there, but at least you can prod and sniff an poke at it (very much unlike Marczyk's). I forget the name of the other place perpendicular to it on the south side, but I've never much liked it there for ill-defined reasons.
Marczyk's: I have it on authority from a good friend that Peter is a great guy. He did give me a free oyster once while I was shopping, so I see no reason to disagree. (I left with a dozen.) I was, however, once scolded by the butcher for touching the shell of an oyster in the case (wanting to see if it would close) which I found annoying. Why have an open case otherwise? I'm sure he had good health dept. reasons, but I do like to get close when I'm paying that kind of coin. So I have mixed feelings about the place. Great cheeses. I continue to go, but don' rely on it yet as a mainstay.
Oliver's Meats on 6th Ave: The best butchers around. They can make recommendations on how to cook/make anything - from demi-glace (you can also just buy it) to pork sausage to fish. Need frog legs? Hog casings? Duck breast that isn't frozen? A $30 steak? The clientelle can be a little snooty (who else can afford prime) but the guys behind the counter are anything but. I couldn't recommend them more for fish, meat, and first-rate knowledge they're willing to share.
Speaking of Oliver's - can anyone remember the name of the bakery across the street? It makes the trip to Olivers worth the dash across sixth during rush hour for the one-two punch.
As an aside - also across the street is Clair de Lune. Ate there once for a significant anniversary; I wanted to like it more. The whole story is great - chef scales down to do what he wants to do as an owner/operator, but I wasn't as impressed as I wanted to be. But I digress...
And I will get the name of my favorite bakery over in Northwest Denver. It's down the end of 32nd St away from Mondo Vino and all the shops. Hands down the best; I believe it's the Denver Bread Co. or something to that effect?
Albertson's on Alameda and Broadway: It's no great secret being a chain, but that's where I tend to gravitate for everyday Mexican ingredients. They do a lot of volume so things tend to be fresh and inexpensive.
For those who don't mind shopping online: I used to live in the Bronx and have fond memories of shopping on Arthur Avenue:
I too need to confirm some addresses before I post anymore, since I navigate more by instinct or compulsion. i.e. Komart for stinky kimchee down on Havana - passing Sir Loin on the way - another excellent butcher.
I forgot who mentioned it - looking forward to Parisi's - I haven't really found an Italian place that grabs me yet. Spinelli's on 23rd is good for some things; I do buy all my pasta there.
Thanks for your contributions and I'll look forward to reading more. Is anyone interested in commericial equipment/cutlery suppliers open to the public? I have two - any guesses?
Posted December 15, 2003
I moved to Denver ten years ago after living close to one coast or another most of my life. Though I miss the jumble of cultures found in port cities, I've found some great places to shop thanks to strong ethnic neighborhoods - they just tend to be slightly more far-flung around here. Thought it might be good to start a forum for people who'd rather drive 20 minutes to the Pacific Ocean market on Alameda rather than pay $7 for a lousy pack of nori at some heath food chain.
Anyone interested in helping compile a list?