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Everything posted by bandregg

  1. I just say something to my dining partners. I've worked with people that just didn't get that tips make the wage and it forced me to become very good about both explaining the facts of life and then refusing to dine with them if it continued. In cases where this just isn't possible, I.E. my grandfather, then I just come prepared and find the server at some point between the check and the door and express my gratitude in words and cash.
  2. I don't even both to throw the skin away. Heck, there's a lot of good flavor in that skin. I can't think of a batch of poultry stock I've made in the last six years that didn't have either smoked chicken or smoked turkey in it.
  3. I like to add a scant amount of salt straight to the masa when blending. And, if you don't have a comal you can just use a regular skillet.
  4. I'd love nothing more than to come back down and help out, but life is changing for me and in very good ways. I'm giving up an eleven year career in the computer world and going to culinary school up north (New England Culinary Institute). My wife and I are in the last stages of getting the house ready for market and in the first stages of planning a move, otherwise I'd be there in a heartbeat. For anyone who cares to read my application essay, you can find it at, http://www.loopback.net/essay.html I may just find my way back to New Orleans on internship, and I'm seriously thinking about contacting the Rushings at the Longbranch to see if they'll create and intern position and work with the school on that. But, no matter what I'll be back to see Willie Mae cook again at some point.
  5. There have been restaurants that offer imitations of cuisines from across the globe to individual diners in the same party for years; they're called food courts and cafeterias. The Cheesecake Factory has created an equation that takes this food element, adds service and atmosphere, and makes money hand over fist. This isn't good or bad, and it certainly isn't some new wave of restaurant concept or a new form of "melded cuisine." I don't eat at tCF for a number of reasons. Some of the reasons that people have given for dining there seem ridiculous to me: too many people to get consesus on a specific cuisine or restaurant, friends who aren't willing to dine at more local restaurants, wanting the choice of twenty pages of menu items. I don't generally consider myself a food snob. Are the Latin family sitting next to me at the local taqueria food snobs? And, I only eat out a couple of times per week and then my check average is probably right in line with one from tCF. So, when I eat out I want something that tastes like it's supposed to and treats the ingredients right. And if friends and lovers and assocates don't want to eat where I do or at least someplace I want to go, then as Megan said, "We meet for coffee."
  6. Personally, as someone born and raised in Kansas City and who has lived in North Carolina for the last eleven years, I don't need any damnable "society" or "organization" telling me what barbecue is or how to cook it. If someone wants to compete in cooking, and I'm of the opinion that's a worthless enterprise on the face of it, they can join up, send in their check, get their secret decoder ring (drink more ovaltine), and barbecue up a storm trying to meet someone else's standards, they're free to. I won't. And for what it's worth, the first places in the New World to barbecue were the Carribean islands where the word comes from.
  7. When I was down in New Orleans working on the Willie Mae project in February with you guys (Todd and Brooks) I ate at Stanley!, Dick and Jenny's, Felix's Uptown, the Longbranch, and few other places. And I'd say that I had reasonably good service by anyone's standards at all of those places. Which is to say that four more months on if I had bad service somewhere I'd definitely say something about it. Service isn't a different beast in New Orleans post Katrina than anywhere else if some number of restaurants, bars, and cafe's across the economic board make good. Those restaurants that just don't cut it either aren't trying or don't realize that they should be. And a chef or restaurantuer that complain about the help not being available are going to be making that same excuse when the creditors come calling. The restaurant business is more than other industries about making choices to be successful: how much do I charge for this dish, can I make any money selling better ingredients, how many covers should we aim for in a night, how do I keep my staff and keep them happy. If a place can't do that last one, even in the face or hard times, then they aren't going to make it and customers don't deserve to suffer while the owner is putting that off.
  8. bandregg


    Don't kid yourself, Carrboro has more than just hippies. The Saturday market is full of people wearing Patagonia fleece and drinking lattes.
  9. The most important ingredient for smoking, just like for most other cooking, is a thermometer to measure the cooking medium with. I use an oven thermometer in my smoker, or sometimes an analogue meat thermometer stuck through a cork to keep the element in the air. Then, it's just a matter of keeping the smoker between 200-250'F. An average size chicken will be done in 3-4 hours and will be delicious and moist.
  10. bandregg

    Ziploc omelet

    I just mentioned this wonderful dish to a friend of mine yesterday while talking about bicycle touring. It's definitely great for a no clean up meal, all of the ingredients will survive quite a number of days on the bike (even the eggs in-shell), and it's a tasty way to start or end a day of glorious exercise through beautiful country. A quick boiled omlette, a big hunk of bread, and a glass of wine and I'm in heaven.
  11. The main ingredient in a Slim Jim is actually "mechanically separated chicken." I read that on the package once and I've never forgotten it. Other than what that implies I recall there only being about 6 ingredients total and none of them stood out as being particularly bad for you. And, on the slim jim website there is description of what this means in the FAQ. Suffice it to say, it's just what it sounds like.
  12. Then you're doing all that you can and we applaud and support you for it. Thank you, David.
  13. Most disappointing to me was the recent comment by a cookbook author that it's much better to use a scale and weight ingredients when baking but americans don't do that so the book wouldn't do that. Geez, at least try and make a change for the better.
  14. A non food aside: The diaspora of black blues muscians to Chicago were making money off the delta blues while their teachers toiled in poverty, and some not so much, long before the white boys came along.
  15. I stopped into LocoPops a couple of months ago after they had re-opened from vacation and before the heat of summer had hit. And they were incredibly busy then, no matter when I went: weekend, weekday, afternoon, evening. The heat just helps.
  16. bandregg


    I don't mind sharing, really. I think that Milltown could become a great place to drop by after work or to grab a quick beer and bite at with friends. In other words, it could be a great little neighborhood place that you really want to go to. And, driving twenty minutes removes that aspect of it for me. I'll still go there to eat, see friends for whom it is a neighborhood place, and support my friends.
  17. We used to do this in the boy scouts when I was a kid. We called it cowboy steaks. Instead of embers we'd heat a large stone right in the middle of the ashes and use that as the cooking surface. Salt and pepper when done and you had some happy campers.
  18. Milltown is the latest bar/restaurant venture by a number of principles of the Federal in Durham and the owners of Yep Rock Records in Carrboro. It's located in the old Temple Ball space in Carrboro across from the Cat's Cradle. This is a note I posted about it at Chowhound in response to someone asking about it. My wife and I ate there on openning night to show some support for friends who are involved. Service was fine for opening night, food was slow, too slow for even opening night, like Chef Billy lost some help right before opening or something, but it seems that's been remedied. Susie and I shared and order of Poutine (5$, all frites Poutine, Belgian, and English Curry are 5$) which I loved. I haven't had Poutine in its home setting so I can't say if it's right or not, but it was deliciously bad for us. The chicken sandwich (8$) was to die for. I never thought I'd say that about a grilled chicken breast, but through on some pear, gorgonzola, arugula, mayo, and hit it with a panini press and it was amazingly good. We also tried the ribs (14$) with their super double secret sauce and were pleasantly surprised. That's to say they were some of the best restaurant ribs around here, which actually isn't saying much, but they were certainly edible. The chicken sandwich came with either frites or a small side salad. The ribs came with a cinnamon stick apple sauce with whole slices of stewed apples, very good, and a baked potato, which was weird. I like potatoes, I like baked potatoes, but this was just a big ass whole baked potato with a small slit in the top: no butter, no chives, no decoration, no nothing. It just seemed odd to me. The beer menu was a sight to behold and the prices were definitely fair (5$-8$ average for a pint or a bottle). It's a pretty hip place and on opening night the Carrboro elite were out, but it's not the kind of place were that should bother anyone except those who worry about their place in society. There is a communal style food service bar parallel with the real bar which offers a nice chance to have dinner and maybe meet the people sitting next to you. It can be a little loud if that bothers you; there are a lot of hard surfaces inside. Best of all, the inside is NON-SMOKING! Oh, to have the inside of the Fed. be non-smoking, the joy. I really enjoyed it and we'll be going back. It's too bad it's such a drive from downtown Durham.
  19. You need to study the amount of ice cream sold now compared with the amount of ice cream sold ten years ago. That then needs to be corelated to childhood obesity rate differences between now and then. And you have to take into account changes in scholastic exercise programs and childhood activity. So, the short answer is, "no-one knows if it will really help, because no-one does this kind of research before suggesting these stupid bans." If I had to guess, I'd say that the level of ice cream sales has already fallen in favor of other types of treats (the "Daddy or Chips?" ad campaign comes to mind) without this ban. So, what's the outcome: some more people out of work, a favorite institution banished, and the kids are still going to be fat.
  20. bandregg

    Beef Carpaccio

    My favorite preperation is raw with a little flavorful olive oil, arugula, and shaved parmesan. I also like a touch of lemon. But really, if you're going to slice tenderloin the simpler the flavors the better.
  21. I'm with lancastermike, those are my treats for doing the work and I eat them before the guests arrive, even if the guest is my wife and she's arriving from upstairs.
  22. You might want to make sure that the local government doesn't have any problem with a commerical smoker. Even here in the South most cities won't allow them because of air quality regulations.
  23. If I'm driving I take everything from my kitchen that I'll need to cook most of our meal with even if we're staying with friends or family. If I'm flying I take a jar of homemade peanut butter and a bottle of hot sauce.
  24. Horses are a common source of meat in parts of Europe. It seems to be a very Anglo trait to treat horses more like pets, and this behavior extends to other animals as well. I remember reading that the one of the reasons that Norweigian Roald Amundsen beat Robert Scott to the South Pole is that the Norweigians used their sled dogs as working animals, and when need be food. The British team treated their sled dogs more like pets and never considered eating them.
  25. When I was down in New Orleans helping out with the Willie Mae Scotch House project Chef John Besh cooked fillets one day and served them a long side a simple lump crab slaw. It was delicious.
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