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Everything posted by MsMelkor

  1. Lunch at Canteen: Melkor had a smoked salmon omelet, which was good except for the glob of cream cheese in the middle. I opted for the cardoon and goat cheese omelet with crisp roasted potatoes. The cardoons had a great texture - not at all slimy as they can be when they're overcooked - and the goat cheese added a tangy note. Melkor's latte was utterly forgettable. Dinner at R&G: I generally don't eat crab - although we don't keep kosher, it somehow seems wrong to eat pork and shellfish. But our friend wanted to try R&G, and it is dungeness crab season so... We ordered the salt & pepper crab, the spicy garlic crab, along with the "special beef" and noodles. To start, we had vegetable egg rolls (nothing earth-shattering here) and soy sauce beef (a little cloying but surprisingly delicious). The beef was excellent, but my attention was focused on the CRAB!!! The salt and pepper crab was deep-fried, and the meat moist and sweet. The sauce on the other crab was as advertised - both spicy and garlicky - so the emphasis was less on the crabmeat itself and more on the interplay of the various components of the dish. Both crabs were huge...luckily there is always room for cheesecake...
  2. Mai Khao is at the northern end, pretty close to the airport. We stayed further south, at Karon Beach, which was beautiful, but quiet. To get around we rented mopeds - cheap and very convenient form of transportation. The best food we found was on the street. Just look for tents, especially on back roads, with a lot of mopeds parked in front of them. Make sure you save room for roti after dinner. Our favorite vendor was at the night market in Karon, but roti carts can be found all over the island.
  3. MsMelkor


    Yeah, we use a greased ring mold on a silpat on a baking sheet.
  4. MsMelkor


    Melkor and I made the quiche from Bouchon again. We've made it a couple of times already, so now it's very easy. I think the key with the dough, in addition to what everyone has said here and on the Bouchon thread about this recipe, is to make sure there are no visible pieces of butter, as these will cause a seemingly impermeable crust to crack. I also try not to fold the crust onto itself inside the ring mold. Once that was blind baked and cooled (I know Russ and others say to fill the crust while it's hot, but I've had good success with a cool crust), we worked on the filling: chanterelles and black trumpets foraged over the weekend, and beef bacon we cured recently. The mushrooms were sauteed in the bacon fat, along with minced shallots and green garlic from the garden, and everything drained on paper towels to keep the moisture to a minimum. We then layered the Gruyere, custard, and mushroom/bacon mixture, filling it right up to the top. Keller says to bake for 90-105 minutes, but after 75 minutes it was puffed and set. Once it cooled, Melkor trimmed the crust. Final product, with a wilted spinach salad: The crust was great - not at all soggy. The top could have been a little less brown, although I think we caught it just in time, since it wasn't tough. In the past the flavor of the mushrooms has gotten a little lost in the quiche, but this time they shone through. Good thing it came out well, as we'll be eating this for many days to come....
  5. In the North Bay we forage for berries in the late summer, figs in the fall, fennel in the fall/winter, and mushrooms (mostly fall-spring). Mushroom foraging is by far the one we spend the most time doing.
  6. I'll beat everyone else to the punch and recommend Manresa in Los Gatos. Expensive but well worth it.
  7. MsMelkor

    Picnic Foods

    My favorite dish to make for a picnic is lentil salad - de puy lentils with red wine vinegar, red onion, and mustard.
  8. Haven't tried Stomp, but I too hear good things about it. Be forewarned, Calistoga in August is HOT - average high is in the low-90s.
  9. Cole's is a steakhouse in downtown Napa. They serve prime, dry-aged, corn-fed beef with family-style sides. Steaks are around $25-50, and sides are $3-8. They have chicken, fish, veal, and pork, but I've only had the steaks, since it is a steakhouse, after all. The meat is high-quality and is usually done right (i.e., rare is actually rare), but you can really do some damage to your wallet here.
  10. The Four Seasons in SF is quite nice - the rooms are very large and well-appointed, and the staff helpful and professional. When I stayed there a couple of years ago, they offered complimentary transportation from the hotel around town (pretty limited radius, if I remember correctly, so might be of limited use since it probably won't be raining in September).
  11. Thanks, Marshal, for the detailed report! You mention Cole's at the end, a place I've been several times - how does this meal compare? Sounds like it's more expensive, but do you think the quality of the food is better?
  12. I know that sun tea is basically Disneyland for bacteria, but I like to live on the edge. Some people skydive, I make sun tea.
  13. For tacos I'd recommend a taco truck. If you want a restaurant setting, I prefer Las Palmas on Yajome in Napa. Just remember not to eat too much before your dinner at TFL!
  14. Rogan's was our favorite for NY-style pizza in college - much better than Pudgie's. But the best French bread pizza in Ithaca is of course Hot Truck!
  15. Our celery plants are trying to take over our backyard. If you blanch the plants by placing milk cartons or something over them, they stay white and have a milder flavor, but now that we have more like a celery hedge, I've given up. If it ever stops raining I'm going to try to dig it out so we can use the space for something else.
  16. We make it with fresh milk, not evaporated. This way you have control over how dark it is. I've seen recipes that call for baking soda - does anyone have any ideas why you'd add baking soda?
  17. Hot Truck was definitely a favorite when I was an undergrad, although we're having them for our 10th reunion this summer, and I'm not sure I'll be able to scarf down a WGC like I did in the old days. There are a bunch of food carts on Library Mall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I remember Thai and Jamaican food, although I think there were others as well. Evidently there is a very heated debate about late-night carts in more residential areas near campus.
  18. MsMelkor

    Raw Green Mangoes

    When I was in Thailand at the end of last year, I was introduced to this delicious snack. You could buy them on the street, peeled and sliced, and dip them into a small bag of ground chilies, salt, and sugar. Tart, salty, spicy, and just a little sweet. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water!
  19. MsMelkor

    Savory Tarts

    We just harvested a bunch of onions from our garden, so I made a carmelized onion tart tonight. After I made it I was thinking I should have added some butternut squash, since we still have a few left over from our harvest at the end of last year. If you partially blind bake the crust (just until it starts turning light golden brown), you can still use a filling that needs to be in the oven for a long time.
  20. Are there many Peruvian restaurants in Vancouver? If not, you might want to check one out when you're in town. I like Mochica - it's not too far from the convention center, although it's not as upscale as Limon.
  21. MsMelkor

    Bad Home Cookin'

    My mother, whom I love dearly, used to feed us Steak-Umms, Hamburger Helper, scalloped potatoes from a box, and the occasional TV dinner. When I was a teenager, she realized that assembling food from various boxes probably wasn't the healthiest (or cheapest) way to feed the family, and she began cooking more food from scratch.
  22. MsMelkor


    Melkor and I though about this too after we saw the movie - he said he thought they had previously opened the bottle and just recorked it. That would make it easy to grab the top of the cork with your teeth so you can run amok through the vineyard!
  23. I just had dim sum at Hong Kong Flower Lounge today. It was decent, but not great. You might enjoy Harbor Village in Embarcadero Center in SF, or Koi Palace in Daly City. I've only been to Aziza once, but I wasn't very impressed. I think you can find better couscous in the Tenderloin, although that neighborhood is a bit sketchy, and the atmosphere is on the gritty side.
  24. So I'm guessing you don't drink much Beaucastel...?
  25. I'd recommend Dasaprakash for South Indian food - it's right in Santa Clara. For Napa food, Samgiovese's got some great recommendations. I really enjoy Bistro Jeanty, especially when they have smelts on the menu. It's pretty simple food, so don't expect anything too elaborate, but it's very well prepared. I prefer the atmosphere at Bistro Jeanty, which is more of a country bistro, to the more urban feel of Bouchon. I think you'll have a good meal at either place, but don't go to Bouchon expecting "French Laundry lite". Bistro Don Giovanni has good Italian/Mediterranean. I'm not a fan of Tra Vigne, although I haven't been in a couple of years (after a few bad meals there I've sworn it off, and no one I know has had a good meal there recently). Haven't been to Domaine Chandon since Ron Boyd took over - it's pretty expensive, and I haven't gotten motivated to check it out. Terra is not cheap either, but everything I've had there has been excellent. I haven't been to Pere Jeanty since they became a steakhouse, so I can't compare it to Cole's Chop House, but I've had some very satisfying steaks at Cole's.
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