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    NYC via Boston via Chicago

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  1. Blue Moon Fish is at te Farmer's Market by Borough Hall on Saturdays. Go early, they tend to run out of stuff as the day goes on. Their selection isn't huge, but their quality is great, and their prices are not outrageous.
  2. I dined here last time I was in town over the July 4th weekend, along with visits to Graham Elliot and The Violet Hour. Perennial was my favorite by a hair, simply because of the pricing. The food at Perennial and GE were spot on, but Perennial came in about $50 cheaper than GE for three people. I remember having a short rib canneloni, scallops, and the spanish inspired chocolate dessert and loved them. GE was good, too, and also not expensive. for the three of us, $180 w/ wine was not a huge bill considering the amount of effort and quality in the dishes there. Perennial was a little bit tamer in whimsy but quality was pretty much the same. A nice cap to the weekend was The Violet Hour, which I found very cheap for the experience, $10 cocktails which is damn near free to me lately.
  3. Queens is about the last affordable place to dwell in New York, but it is not Manhattan, and you need to live right over the river or your looking at a long train ride, longer than Lakeview to Downtown in Chicago (15 minutes, redline.) Chicago never had Morimoto, Philly did. But he did start at Nobu here in the states. Chicago still has Achatz, Trotter, Cantu, Kahan, Bayless, Joho, Tramonto, Gand, Mantuano and Arun. This is a pretty stellar line-up. You would be happy to eat at these places any day of the week. And then follow it up with Hot Doug's. NYC, on the other hand, has the likes of Per Se, JG, Daniel, Masa and LB for the 4 star joints. The common denominator is these places are more on the old school side, perhaps sin Per Se and JG to an extent and Masa. Corton, wd-50, 11 Madison and the Momofukus are pushing the envelope, and are more like the cutting edge places of Chicago, if not a step in another direction than Moto, Alinea, Graham Elliot, TRU or Avenues. Subway fare is the same in both cities, with NYC getting ready to jump to $2.50 next year as the MTA balances the budget. I've always found the L and the subway to be about the same in time in either city to get where I want to go, if not a little longer in NYC because of the transfers involved. Chicago does have the next President of the US, a higher quality basketball team, two baseball teams that made the playoffs and Da' Bears. Actually, Timeout just ran an article comparing the major cities with one another and it tells you exactly who has how much of what.
  4. Having been in both cities, I would say go to NYC. I do love Chicago(have to stick up for my hometown) and think that there are many fine options for dining and restaurant work in Chicago. Charlie Trotter's, Avenues, Alinea, Moto, Blackbird, Spiaggia, Everest, Carlos, TRU, Topolobompo all come to mind off the top of my head. However, getting an "in" in NYC is difficult, and if you have one, I would take it. NYC does have more haute temples than Chicago, with The London being one of them, as well as Bernadin, Daniel, Babbo, Jean Georges, MASA, Per Se and the newly opened Corton. There is more of everything in NYC, which is good and bad, because it kind of makes mediocrity more rampant, in my opinion, for the more affordable options. It is also a lot more expensive to live here than Chicago, but the restaurant scene is truly one of a kind here. However, expect to pay about $15-20 more per for an equivilant dinner in other cities, except SF. As far as the public transpo in Chicago, it is not bad there. If you live off of the red or blue lines, it is pretty easy to get anywhere you want to go.
  5. Dine on Design Here is a link to a dinner I recently did. It took place during design and fashion week in NYC and was collaboration between seven different designers and myself. They created the service pieces and I styled the menu around the plates. Most of the items were a little standard
  6. ryanj

    wd-50 2008 -

    Agreed on the desserts. I went recently and had the tasting, the lamb belly was a complete knockout, one of the best dishes I've had in a restaurant. The desserts, by Stupak, were phenomenal. I had his desserts at Alinea, and I believe he has improves by leaps and bounds since then (they weren't too shabby there, either, by the way.) The coconut dessert was amazing, and I have a certain dislike/distrust of solid coconut. The mignardise were a smash, a great end to a fine evening. Also enjoyed a Spanish white I had never had before that was pretty memorable.
  7. ryanj

    Shrimp Mousse

    Shrimp is a natural source of transglutamate, which helps it to bind when cooked. I do add egg to my shrimp force when I make it into a mousse, personally, as I think the white makes it a little lighter and aerates it. I also like some herbs (tarragon, chervil, parsley, etc.) garlic and shallots in there. It is also nice to sear the mousse, either after steaming or forget the steaming and just sear and roast it, as it give it a little bit of texture in addition to the whole shrimp.
  8. Amazing site, GEB. Can't wait for my next trip home to check out Graham Elliot.
  9. Definitely stay away from the milk. Curdling is an issue, also consistency and smoothness. Cream or butter is the way to go. Wine is fine, bt a sherry or cognac is nice, too. Don't add these while the pan is on the flame = BIG FLAME. Sweat your shallots in a little fat, add alcohol, reduce au sec (dry, evaporated)), add stock, reduce to nappe, add a knob of softened butter, unsalted. S+P to taste. I like some cracked pepper in my pan steak sauce, going the au poivre method.
  10. I'm not huge into self-promotion, but I will mention my restaurant for its cocktail program, as I think it is unique as well. http://monkeytownhq.com/winecocktail.html
  11. ryanj

    Merkato 55

    I went on Monday for friends and family. It is bordering on a communal dining experience, in my opinion. The menu is divided into three components. There is the first, which is shareable options called kidoho, I believe, small plates and large plates. There are also two "potted options." The kidoho, is an assortment, of dips(babaganoush, hummus,..) sambals(shrimp chile,...) and four or five other categories with three items each. I had plantain chips, tripe, shrimp sambal, hummus and a few others I'm forgetting right now. they were all good with the tripe the runaway winner. The sambals are more of a condiment, kind of like in an Indian restaurant. The small plates section, of which we had four, are all generously portioned for apps and sharing. The entrees are served a la carte, and there are options for about 6 different side dishes from which to choose. I had venison skewers (they had an African name), lamb chops (3 per order) and snapper in banana leaf. Portion size was not huge for these, but after 6 kidohos, 4 apps and three entrees for the three of us, I was stuffed anyway. Their dessert menu was kind of Indian influenced. They had samosas, kulfi, rose water ice cream. We had these as well as a citrus salad. They had about 7 dessert options. Prices in the kidoho are fair, in the $3-$10 range. They are meant to be shared, and you are meant to order at least one per person while you decide on the rest of your meal. Apps were $12-17 and entrees $24-32. Flavorwise, I find it definitely in that Middle-Eastern/Indian realm. The heavy use of spices, familiar in those cuisines. Sometimes they came through a little overpowering, but mostly right on. All in all, it was a good experience. There are some interesting flavor combinations there.
  12. Both these cuts have a membrane on them, although the calf's liver is very thin. You should remove the membrane from both. The liver is the easiest to prepare. Peel the mambrane, season, s&p is what I usually use, and sear to medium rare. Don't overcook it. It will make it mealy and gritty, and give you that flavor you don't want. I usually have my liver with bacon and onions, perhaps a deglaze with veal stock or bordelaise (basically, veal demi w/ red wine.) No soaking required. For the sweetbreads, I do soak these, every time, in milk, for 24 hours. I helps draw out the blood, which could give a little bitter off taste. After the soak, I rinse and poach (180-190 degrees) in a court boullion (water with mirepoix, peppercorns, thyme) until medium rare. From there, I press them overnight, for shape and texture, it makes them a bit firmer and gives a better mouth feel when eating. Now, on day three, peel the membrane away, which will be easier after the poach. Coat them in a little s&p and wondra flour or half cornstarch/half flour mix, and saute in a knob of butter with a sprig of thyme in the pan. The wondra will help them crisp up better. These are very versatile, and I've served them over the years with too many things to remember. There is also the Argentinian version, where after the press and peel, grill them with a spritz of lemon and serve them with chimichurri, which I'm very fond of, as well.
  13. ryanj

    Re-Heating Smoked Ribs

    I really like the reutilizing idea. Shred the meat, make a salad or make them into: taquitos, emapanads, eggrolls, spanikopita, samosas, croquettes, corndogs, gougeres, etc.; basically, anything in a wrapper, fried or not, makes them go a long way, is a great way to utilize the meat, stretch it and help out the food cost. On the reheating aspect, I have done the oven, liquid in a pan and place them on a cool spot on the grill for fifteen minutes. The liquid, to me, is the best. But with any of the methods, keep the moisture in by basting them in BBQ sauce, if that's your thing. I make a very loose BBQ sauce for this reason, and the sugars will glaze nicely on the ribs as you reheat them. BTW, I don't have a smoker at my restaurant. My smoking method is a 6" hotel pan and a 4" perforated hotel pan. Place the wood chips in the deep pan, your item to be smoked in the 4", and cover in foil. Place on the stove over low heat and let it go until its done. I've had smokers in restaurants, but feel this method is as good for the most part, but I'm also not running a BBQ joint and smoke in small batches. also, I can't cold smoke this way.
  14. To the best of my knowledge, one doesn't exist. The most contemporary ones I can think of, however, are "One Spice, Two Spice" from Tabla's chef Floyd Cardooz, "American Masala" from Devi's Suvir Saran, "Raji Cuisine" from Raji Jallepalli, and one a friend brought back from an Indian restaurant in England, "Le Porte des Indes Cookbook" from Mehernosh Mody. I also just saw this book on Amazon UK, "Indian Essence: The Fresh Tastes of India's New Cuisine (Hardcover) by Atul Kochhar (Author)." That is probably the best place to search for cutting edge Indian cookbooks, as their Indian food has been more revolutionary than the US's since they've been doing it longer, and I'm guessing their books would be the same.
  15. You made a good stock. The gelatin in the bones adds not only flavor, but a nice viscosity. You want that gelatin in your stock. It will loosen when its heated, and the flavor is probably where it should be of your stock based on your description. Adding water will dilute the flavo. I usually reduce my stock to a demi, where it is nape (coats a spoon) when heated, and thin it out as needed. It saves valuable storage space.
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