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  1. I do. Some years are better than others. This year's was pretty good. I liked the sequencing this year, best example was the gastronomic wizard profile followed by the essay on the lost art of handwritten recipes.
  2. Dominique Macquet's Tropical Latitudes was a rather high-end take on Caribbean that might be worth checking out. For Texas/Tex-Mex, I really like Robb Walsh's books on barbecuing and Tex Mex.
  3. Ah, how the tide turns. Back when Bourdain used to post here on a regular basis people were falling all over themselves to reply to his posts and generally suck up to him. So we're clear, what writers/chefs is it still okay to like?
  4. Just got done with "52 Loaves," about a man's quest for the perfect bread. Reminded me of "Heat" a little. Very entertaining and highly recommended, especially if you've struggled with home-baked bread.
  5. What types of books are you looking for? One I really enjoyed reading (and the dishes are great too) was Secrets of the Red Lantern, the story of a Vietnamese family's exodus from their homeland and eventual settling in Australia. Gorgeous photos, too.
  6. Manila Vanilla (sorry, couldn't resist) or Cake.
  7. Forgot to mention -- if you're into regional Mexican cooking and grilling, check out Mayan Cuisine, which has lots of recado-based recipes.
  8. If you have absolutely no grilling books in your library, Raichlen's a great one to start with. That said, Rick Browne's Best Barbecue in the World might come a little closer to what you're looking for. He's got a handful of grill-friendly recipes from around the world -- not just mains but sides and desserts too -- but it's a little text-heavy.
  9. A friend is getting married in August and is planning an outdoor wedding in the Midwest. Obviously, she'll want a cake and right now the best we can come up with in terms of frosting is 7 minute. Fondant's not an option. First, how long will 7 minute frosting hold up? Second, any experience, insight, anecdotes about outdoor weddings in the summer would be much appreciated. Thanks!
  10. One formula I've heard is to allow 2 drinks per guest for the first hour and another drink per hour after that. You'd want to adjust that for martinis and caipirinhas though, I'd think, but water/juice/soda would help fill in the blanks.
  11. Okay, so we'll be visiting Amsterdam later this week (and meeting up with Chufi, which we're really, really looking forward to!) and I wanted to get some input on our short list thus far: Paso Doble Marius De Kas Japanese Pancake World (sounded like a good time -- worth it?) A Tavola Toscanini Van Vlaanderen Le Fournil Any places that specialize in sweets (i.e. tarts, etc)? What about good, stinky French cheese? Anything we're missing? Thanks!
  12. Two of the best books I've read this year are Pauline Nguyen's Secrets of the Red Lantern and Susan Pinkard's A Revolution in Taste. Nguyen's story of her family's migration from Vietnam to Australia, as well as their back story, is a movie begging to be made. Combined with the wonderful recipes and brilliant layout and design, this deserves to be on all those best-of lists we'll be seeing in the coming weeks. I can't remember the last time a cookbook was so compulsively readable. Pinkard's history of the evolution of French cuisine and customs sounds like a thesis and it is a little academic at times but what an education! Learning about how attitudes and preparation methods evolved was just fascinating. And if you want to recreate some of the dishes she even includes recipes. A nice in-depth study.
  13. This was a table right next to us at a restaurant. Boyfriend and girlfriend, mid 20s. Guy gets a Bud light, burger and fries. Girlfriend gets water. She orders a salad and makes a number of special requests, eventually reducing it to romaine lettuce and a grilled chicken breast on top. Food comes. She pours (I kid you not) at least five packets of Splenda over the whole thing, then tops it with ketchup. She cleans the plate then promptly goes to the bathroom and throws it all up. Returns to the table, boyfriend finishes his food and they leave.
  14. We once had an object thrown through one of the plate glass windows, leaving a round, porthole-like hole in the window. So we're in there cleaning up and this middle aged bitch pulls up in her car -- doesn't even get out -- and sticks her head up to the hole and says "what kind of scones do you have today?" Contrary to popular belief, it does not take all kinds. And if it does, there are certain kinds we have way too many of.
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