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Everything posted by FlourPower

  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.
  15. Again, sorry to hear about the seemingly endless half-assedness you're forced to contend with. I've been on both sides on this one -- as a bakery owner and as a writer/reviewer. We suffered the same editorial fate as you, but in our case the paper (which I WROTE FOR AT THE TIME) didn't contact me to fact check, so the resulting listing made it sound like we only made two things. Don't get me started. Your question of WHY WHY WHY boils down to four things: 1. There is a revolving door at weeklies and an inordinate amount of hippies, flakes and morons (often all three simultaneously) go through them quite quickly. Maybe the idiot was the writer. Maybe the editor. Who knows. But there's a good chance whoever screwed it up has already moved on and is now screwing things up elsewhere. 2. Unpaid (and often unsupervised) interns. Enough said. 3. Poor planning. See #1 for additional info, but more often than not the editors are spread thin, having to cover dining, music, theater and art happenings. They simply don't have time to fact check in addition to, in many cases, rewriting stories that have been submitted 12 hours past the deadline (see #1) that make no sense whatsoever. 4. The pay sucks. Many writers for alt weeklies don't get paid and if they do they most certainly need day jobs to keep the lights on. So you get newbies and those devoted to "the craft of writing" (pompous cigarette holder sold seperately) writing the stories. Skill and professionalism vary wildly. Of course there are exceptions to all of these rules and they are often glaring. I've done this for over a decade and have met quite a few professional writers and editors who are passionate about the quality and factuality of what they do. These people really, truly care and do not go out of their way to screw people over or put out inaccurate information. They have a special place in heaven. But they've been outnumbered 3 to 1 by flakes who can't meet deadlines, can't write, have an agenda to push (usually involving poetry), etc.
  16. We tried the Almond cake from "Simple Art" and it was fabulous. Flo kicks a lot of ass. She'll be kicking even more ass this fall when her next book, Baking for All Occasions, comes out.
  17. My chief complaint is the salt. Sweet Jesus! The sodium levels are through the roof -- almost to the point of making the stuff I've had from there inedible. I've only been there a couple times but it's been more than enough to keep me from going back.
  18. If you have On Demand, the first episode's already loaded on there. Otherwise I would think there'd be a schedule at the FN web site.
  19. Seconding the rec to call Kitchen Aid. Unquestionably the best, most friendly customer support I've ever experienced. They'll take care of you.
  20. There's a new book devoted to this very subject: Hamburger America. The author went across the country to burger joints and one of the "rules" was that they had to use fresh, not frozen, meat. It's an interesting book and it's also got his documentary DVD of the same name with it. There are plenty of places that do just what you describe.
  21. The Peppermill is a fun time, but Bouchon was a real let down for me. My friend got the Croque Monsieur. Fries (these weren't frites) were strictly Pegler Sysco and the sandwich was unremarkable. Bland sauce, weak ham. I asked the server to recommend something and she told me they were famous for the apple bread pudding. Uh huh. The serving was miniscule and redefined "bland." Texture and presentation were great, but overpriced and disappointing.
  22. Paul Urban, now at Luckys 1001 and Glenn Wheeler at Liberty Tavern leap to mind. Paul at La Buvette might be up for it too.
  23. A couple more he might want to consider are The Old Mattress Factory, which is a sports bar (never been there and it's gotten some middling reviews, but it's an option and it's not a chain) and Sweets of Eden, which is a bakery that does lunches. They do dinner occasionally, usually when there's an event at the Orpheum theater, which is nearby. I'll second Dinkers and Lucky's. If he's into Mexican, there are loads of authentic Mexican places on 24th St. Go south from Leavenworth. Don Gaby's is one I can name off the top of my head that's good. There's also a great little bar at 20th and Pierce called Josephine's. The bartender usually has his Doberman with him behind the bar. The dog takes the tips off the bar and cashes them in for treats. I was there around Xmas and didn't see the dog, though, so that policy may have ended. Regardless, it's a great little neighborhood joint.
  24. Someone else can hopefully confirm or deny this, but I've heard Big Daddy's downtown (on Farnam, I think) does a good breakfast. Another place to consider would be Dixie Quicks on 19th and Leavenworth for lunch and definitely Sunday brunch.
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