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Everything posted by maher

  1. maher

    Pork Shoulder

    why not smoke it frozen? it'll take a bit longer, but will be great for smoke absorption
  2. ive had some varieties of salt marsh lamb. (is that an accurate designation or more a marketing term). ive loved the meat, which is not dissimilar from other varieties, just suffused with a more intense flavor, sort of a prebrined lamb if that makes sense. i will keep an eye out for the orkney isle lamb if it ever crosses my path. what im more interested in is the taste of the fat, because i believe that is where most people have trouble with lamb. its been my experience that thats where Awassi brings something different to the table. of course this may also be that i was brought up tasting this meat (and fat) and therefore its ingrained into my psyche which is why i wanted independent input from eGers.
  3. As a longtime eater of lamb, sheep, kid, goat mutton and hogget, even sheeps milk, cheese and yoghurt i've often puzzled over why lamb wasnt more popular in most of europe and the US. having done exhaustive research my theory is: Awassi sheep, or to be specific awassi sheep fat, just tastes a lot better than most western cultivated varieties. Awassi sheep is the breed with floppy ears and a sac of fat hanging over the tail which is most popular in the middle east. while its meat is quite similar in flavor to western varieties of lamb/sheep albeit with a more delicate flavor with a longer finish, the fat is succulent delicious in my opinion and quite dramatically unlike that of other lamb. ive found that most western visitors who taste it are surprised by the flavor and resolve to eat more lamb on their return from the middle east. does anyone have similar experience with this type of lamb? or am i just partial to what i grew up with? is this an opportunity for someone to rear yet another 'name' breed like kurabota pork? this article on the FAO website seems to support what im saying, and gives a good intro to the awassi lamb breeds characteristics. http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/p8550e/P8550E01.htm
  4. my call for most anticipated book, and i hope its this yr is Nathan Myrvolds book on sous vide. he has been instrumental in encouraging a ton of eGers to try sous vide and has freely given his time and expertise in the massive sous vide thread. i cant wait for the book.
  5. two things factor into this i think 1. the staff to diner ratio increases with higher end restaurants. i was reading an article about the fat duck the other day where they mentioned that their staff per shift tended to be greater than the number of covers on that shift. 2. the level of training and experience required to work at the higher levels is much higher. while it is true that a good waiter can be quickly trained on the service aspects, the amount of knowledge needed for higher end places can be staggering. the different types of foods/ingredients/changes to the menus are enormous. in addition, staff need to know how to accomodate changes/allergies/special food requests and answer questions on wine/drinks i could go on and on. as a result of both of these, the waiters are not getting proportionately more of the type of tip you are mentioning.
  6. i freeze leftover ginger and grate it without peeling, the peel bits tend to fall away, and whatever ends up in the dish is tiny and not noticeable. that way, GUE (ginger use efficiency) can easily top 90 and 95%
  7. We will be there in mid-March and I believe the season for angulas will have already past. Any other particular recommendations if we are not doing a full tasting menu at Etxebarri? ← pretty much the whole menu!! i had a phenomenal beefy broth with a soft egg yolk and white truffle. im guessing that wont be available, but i agree with Sue. dont limit yrself. of particular note were the oysters (i thought i hated cooked oysters), the kebab or chorizo, and of course the beef. any beef lover must taste the cheleta del buey (old ox ribeye as i understand it) have a great time at etxebarri, i can still taste every bite two months later
  8. i wouldnt miss etxebarri at all. if i recall correctly they are only open for lunch some days during the low season, so it pays to check with them. frankly, i would do etxebarri over any of the others on your list. granted, im a bit of a grill and barbeque fanatic, but everything on their menu is phenomenal. if cost isnt an issue, definitely ask them to add the angulas onto the menu (elvers or baby eels, a once in a lifetime dish) when i was at etxebarri last december they charged 100 euro for angulas for 3 persons, so it seriously dents the budget, but the dish, and especially the Etxebarri treatment of it, is unique.
  9. Thanks Pedro I will keep a look out when next in madrid, indeed amazing stuff
  10. ok, having just come back from a phenomenal food trip to bilbao/rioja, im totally hooked on the aged ox steaks. is there anywhere in spain where its possible to buy this at retail? i tried a number of butchers in the area as i walked around, but i got nowhere. im sure my nonexistent spanish didnt help but it seemed that it wasnt possible to find any. do the asadors do their own sourcing/aging? surely there is somewhere to buy retail. if anyone knows please let me know... im happy to do the pilgrimmage.
  11. the coffee is primarily for my own consumption, so no worries with nut allergies in my specific case, but thanks for a valid point. i use a drum roaster (The behmor)
  12. for a home/semi commercial product, try gaggenau http://www.gaggenau.com/US_en/SteamOven.do not cheap unfortunately, but quality seldom is.
  13. i have gotten so sick of the stale flavor of packaged peanuts and almonds its gotten me wondering... i have an excellent coffee roaster that sits there doing nothing apart from 20 mins a week when its doing its thing. i assume that the coffee roast cycle is longer than whats needed for peanuts or almonds, but surely the machine should do a good job on nuts as well. any recommendations?
  14. they are open next year till the 20th of december. i am assuming they will close for christmas after that. i will start with the emails Jan 2 2010 What date have you put in for next year? ←
  15. just got slammed too.. will any of you lucky people who get a reservation spare a seat for a fellow egulleteer? especially one who's not too proud to beg? ill trade hotel and sightseeing recommendations for it!! seriously though, good luck all, i already have a reminder in my calendar for when to send the next reservation request.
  16. the fat duck book has to be one of the most beautiful books ive ever bought. the illustrations, paintings and photos are absolutely amazing. having just been to the fat duck, its incredible how true to the fat duck experience the book is. i really feel that it goes to the heart of Heston Blumenthals thinking. i highly recommend it as a cookbook/art book/biography of a business/ ...etc.
  17. thats sounds promising Chris, please keep us posted
  18. my biggest problem with eating the cheese was that it smacked a bit of a frat house stunt... the sardinians did nothing to alleviate this, with quite a few people commenting on tourists wanting to try the worms. after the buildup the cheese itself was quite nice, but a bit of an anticlimax. think of a creamy cheese that has the texture of brie, and the taste of a sharp cheddar thats been sitting in the sun too long. i enjoyed it, but i wouldnt go out of my way to try it. italy has far too many superior cheeses to go after.
  19. Was there any American legal reason not to just pay the $4,000 and tell them to pursue the no-shows-ers for the $1,200? What would they have done, refused to serve you the $4,000 meal and lost this? ← I'm guessing, if it's anything like the places in London that charge no-show fees, that they pre-authorised their credit cards so if they'd all had left whoever's card it was would have been stung for $2000. ← thats pretty much it, they ahd the credit card preauthorized. we still expected them to be more reasonable once we had spent quite a bit on wine, but it was not to be. when the final invoice showed up they still charged the no shows. frankly thats bit one of my primary disappointments in the Thomas Keller restaurants, it seems to me that they are entirely too focused on the commercial aspect and the upsell, to the detriment of their service.
  20. $3600 for 6 at the french laundry. well worth it with some excellent wines, but a $75 supplement for a white truffle gnocchi that didnt live up to expectations. i think truffles alba or perigord really shouldnt be eaten in the us, my experience has consistently been that they are older and therefore less memorable than almost anywhere in europe. i was part of a group that paid almost $850 a head at Per Se in new york, but it was partially the fault of 3 no shows that the restaurant charged for anyway since we had booked up the private room. i thought that was totally unreasonable since we spend over $4000 on food and wine for the seven who did make it, and we still had to pay almost $1200 extra to cover the no shows.
  21. there was a quick mention of candied fruit sous vide way back in the first few pages of this thread but nothing since. does anyone have any thoughts/recipes/experiments on this? i know candying fruit normally requires a highish temperature of the sugar syrup, but LTLT magic may contribute something here. if anyone can fill in some info it would be much appreciated. how about chestnuts? marrons glace SV? the only references i can find online is vacuum packed chestnuts.
  22. im looking to buy some semi commercial equipment in the uk for my new kitchen. the equipment doesnt need to be installed as it will be exported to the middle east, but i preferably need one source for the following: 1. 6 burner cooktop 2. 2 ovens, one combi steamer and one convection. 3. water bath and vacuum sealer for sous vide preparations. 4. high power salamander does anyone know who i should contact in the uk who can supply all these and be able to arrange shipping documents? my shippers will actually handle export formalities
  23. have you considered Clarke's on Kensington Church St.? consistently excellent and fantastic value especially at lunch
  24. maher


    welcome to the club, wish you didnt belong... ive found that tons of water helps clear it up faster. my doctor prescribed both colchicine and indocid (active ingredient indomethacine) which are the only drugs that i know of which dissolve the nasty nitrogen crystals. with the treatment the attacks start fading after three days or so. they cause a little stomach discomfort and can cause ulcers if taken on an empty stomach but are far preferable to gout pain. if you get more than one attack you probably need to be on allopurinol daily to keep the uric acid uncer control. thats what i do, but i still cant have asparagus, spinach, any offal, and most shellfish. i find that the occasional steak doesnt bother me much and regular fish and poultry are ok too. hope this is helpful, and good luck, this thing is a pain in more ways than one. btw in case it helps, i tell people that i have elevated levels of uric acid, it gets you out of the gout discussion at least half the time.
  25. oops, sorry i didnt catch that.
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