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  1. My personal favorite is Bell Haven's Best. It's a creamy brew made in Dunbar, Scotland. When visiting the UK I drink it at every opportunity.
  2. I kinda fear putting my toes in the pool here, but have never had a problem with Taco Bell, and it is the only fast food place I have been in for at least ten years. (OK, OK, eight years or so ago we were in London and had an appointment shortly after lunch. All the pubs and restaurants were full, and there was a Burger King right across from the hotel, we were starving, and we caved. Enough full disclosure.) About once a year or so we get a craving for Taco Bell and drop about $40 or so; it takes about a week for the two of us to go through it and that sates us for quite a while. Mostly just buy the usual burritos and tacos, but always get a few of the new items. If it has cheese and beans I like it. When I was younger went to Taco Bell all the time, and have never had a problem. Perhaps some of their franchises have gone downhill, don't know. As far as the rest of the fast food world, would rather eat at home or go to a real sit down restaurant.
  3. Cheese Single malt whisky Um, er, is there anything else?
  4. auntdot

    The Basics

    If one is talking very basic, how about a simple saute? Most people who are clueless about cooking have no idea how easy, and fast, it is to transform boneless steak or chicken, fish, scallops, pork chops or tenderloin, vegetables, the list obviously goes on and on, into tasty food with just a simple frying pan. Seems to me it's a technique that can transform a total tyro into someone who can make a decent dish without a lot of prep work. Then, if you can introduce pan sauces, who knows, you might just have a nascent cook on your hands.
  5. Maybe I am getting older and stodgy. OK, I am older and stodgy. Heck, I had to Google to find out what the term ‘mullet’ means in this context. As an admitted dinosaur, I must say that I have gotten fed up with faddish restaurants. I will also state there certainly is a place for innovative cuisine. But it seems every time a new food concept emerges, a whole bunch of fancy restaurants pop up offering the very best of the new trend. The reason those places eventually go out of business is that some other new ‘cuisine’ supplants them, with a new name and new hype. Been to the tony places too many times, and frankly am tired of them. Show me a chef who can prepare a proper Perigueux sauce, a perfectly prepared coq au vin or a cassoulet, and his is the place we are going to frequent. But most of the time we will be going to the Chinese restaurants and the Indian places, most of which have not have succumbed to the whims of change. I have nothing against new food ideas. I just hate it that every time one pops up we are inundated by the message, and the food rarely lives up to the expectation. Just a thought from a soon to be dodderer.
  6. Msk, I do like single malts and have some interest in the subject. Sorry I know of no single-malt-of-the-month type club, and I believe I might well were there one. There is a Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America that allows members to purchase special bottlings from a list that is updated every six weeks. And most of those are single malts. But no, there is no method I am aware of to just have a selection sent each month. People who enjoy single malts generally know what they like and I question whether a club selected bottle-of-the-month club would fly. But then again I did not buy Amazon stock when it was dirt cheap. Sorry I can't be of more help.
  7. My opinion echoes many of the previous posters. Usually do the spuds in the oven though. If I cut them small, will just toss them with oil and herbs and let them cook. They do often turn out with somewhat thick skins, something I often like. More often however cut the spuds a bit larger, toss them in the oil and seasonings, and put them in a roasting pan covered with aluminum foil. Cook them for 45 min or so, basically steaming them, and then take off the foil, up the heat a bit, and finish them until they have a crispy skin. The technique seems to work very well.
  8. Chris, agree this is a chestnut, but a recurring problem, and you want solutions. Agree with jm chen that you can complain to the management, but they are already aware of the problem and most likely have no idea how to handle the situation, or don't have the cojones to do so. The only way to get some grit into the management is to walk out, which is what we do. If our meals are being cooked, that is the restaurant's problem. I will pay for what we have already eaten or imbibed, and leave. No tip, this is a FOH problem and if they cannot handle it why should I toss in a gratuity? The solution is that the management of a fine dining restaurant is responsible for the atmosphere as well as the food and must act appropriately. They can deny service to any person who is disruptive, be it a loud drunk or a kid. If the management finds if awkward to do so, that is their problem. The only impact I can make is to leave. Not a great solution I will admit, but maybe the restaurant will get the idea that they are offering a fine dining experience, and the food is only a part of the package.
  9. Pam, thanks for the view of the lobster roll. Used to live only about an hour away from Plymouth and loved the restaurants, particularly the one on the pier that would sell the fish and seafood raw or cook it for you while you waited (was called, as I recall the Mayflower something, but it has been 17 years since we lived there). To me there is little more sublime than a lobster roll, on the roll with the sauteed, squared off sides. But that could be another thread. Have only gone to Red Lobster to be polite and, like Mizducky, and have never had a positive experience. Try to order the "safe" stuff, but in my limited experience, the place has no business serving seafood. A number of years ago we were spending a few days in Bar Harbor. Decided to go for dinner to the family restaurant across from the hotel where they advertized lobsters. Turns out the parking lot was filled with ME license plates. It was a very acceptable place, not at all fancy, and it had the floor space of a good size barn. Looked about and everyone was ordering lobster, and almost everyone the baked stuffed variety. Ordered the two pounders and they were fantastic. Done properly, a baked stuffed lobster is a joy. We used to have to go, for business reasons, to clam bakes routinely. They were usually catered and served outside, picnic style. The steamers had more sand than clam, and everything else had been boiled or steamed to death, including the onion and sausage. The lobsters were filled with water not worth eating. Aside from the mess, the flavor had been boiled out of them. Have made many baked stuffed lobsters and lobster rolls, and ordered the same in restaurants. But if I am going to boil a lobster will do it at home and do it right.
  10. There is one negative I can think of about taking cash. When I was a kid, many years ago, used to work in a variety of businesses from grocery stores to fast food places (before McDs), in the days when stores did not generally take plastic. What I remember most from those days is that everyone was stealing. From the company, from the patrons, you name it. It was quite an education, and I can tell you many ways it was done. And no, I was not among those who did, but the ways were openly discussed. And I witnessed it many times. I would occasionally have to do the books at the end of the week, yes, as a kid. How anyone could make things easier for a thief than that, I have no idea. But the workers did not know that I could get a reasonable estimate of how much each stole. On the weekends the theft was far more than they were being paid. On a busy Saturday, people would take more than their weekly salary. My after hours pay for doing the books was a beer and some breads and cakes that were going past their 'buy by' date. Had I wanted to I could have tripled my earnings simply without any chance of being detected. But I did not. Yes, cash businesses are great for the owners, but also for the unscrupulous employees. And in those businesses, the owners should be very vigilant. But even so, in a busy restaurant where people are paying cash, the temptations are rife.
  11. I have heard of people, actually do not know of any, ahem, who own cash only businesses, including restaurants. They do very nicely, thank you. And they keep a number of books scrupulously, I am sure. Also we grew up in NYC. And there were many popular restaurants that only took cash. The people who owned the places were very clean, so tidy in fact that they would actually launder the money.
  12. Have always had very small kitchens so I learned a system of coping. First, I always make sure the dishwasher is empty. As I am finished with a knife, cutting board, pot, measuring cup, you name it, it gets quickly washed and placed in the dishwasher. If I need it again, I take it from the dishwasher and rinse or wash as needed. I hate having a sink full of dirty items at the end of a meal. But that is not mise en place. Sometimes I cook with a recipe, most often do not. If I am cooking from a recipe, will read it several times to know where I am going. Will mise as much as I can while things are cooking, no point just watching a heated pot. And try to have en place those items as I need them. So I guess call me a 'mis en' cook, usually without the place . Sorry.
  13. There are now only the two of us, and I have learned that small families have two dichotomous approaches to dinner. One is to buy only enough to eat in one meal and try for no leftovers. The other is to buy as if you had to feed far more people, cook all or most of it up, and forage for days on the dish. We fall into the latter camp. Generally we only buy corned beef for St. Patty's day, but we buy two. There is corned beef and cabbage, corned beef sandwiches, and, of course, the hash. For two, a single corned beef would serve as a meal and then I would let it sit in the fridge for several days and make something else with it. Corned beef hash topped with fried eggs for breakfast sounds great, particularly on a cold winter day. We are small eaters, but a single corned beef just does not go very far. Just my opinion.
  14. OK, I am not sure what is a pickle, but I will limit myself to the stuff made with cukes. I LOVE THEM. A pate without cornichons is like a PB&J sandwich without the PB. Is a Chicago dog worth anything without the pickle? I think not. The pickle starts with the crunch, then one gets the lovely acidic flavor, and then one tastes the herbs that have been added. It is freshness, a reminder that even in the depths of winter that there will be a spring. Will you find the pickle in a three star Michelin place? I doubt it. But it certainly has its place. As an adjunct to lunch, as a lagniappe to a picnic meal, or on the plate next to a pastrami sandwich, can anything be better? No. At least in the humble opinion of a pickle lover.
  15. What's not to love? Well in my case black beans, sour cream and steamed broccoli. Because I've been brought up "properly" I'd probably eat them but they don't push my happy buttons. ← Sorry Toasted, I am with Britcook on this. I know you have a lot on your plate; you must be tired all the time. God bless you. You certainly know how to serve your family healthy meals. And you have so little time to cook. But perhaps if you sauteed some onions and maybe a bit of pepper and mixed it with the rice, the kids would find it more appealing. And if you serve rice, which is bland, you might want to pair it with something a bit more kid attractive than steamed broccoli, like glazed carrots (only needs a bit of sugar and butter). I like them julienned but cut rounds are just fine. Just an idea and I may be all wet here. Hope you take this in the spirit in which it was written.
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