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Posts posted by ghostrider

  1. I work at an old-school Italian deli in Jersey - salame & prosciutto hanging from a rack, platters of roasted peppers & sun-dried tomatoes & artichokes etc. on the counter, selection of fresh-baked breads prominently displayed in glass-front shelves, big board describing the various permutations of sandwich available, the guy behind the counter clearly born in Bari.

    And yet, almost every day, somebody will walk in & blithely ask, "Hey, you got wraps?"

    Unfathomable on so many levels, not the least of which is how, faced with all of this deliciousness, someone could actually PREFER a wrap.

  2. For making sandwiches at home:

    Thumann's Black Forest Ham - well smoked, full of flavor & texture. Sliced thin but not prosciutto-thin. Current fave cheese accompaniment = taleggio.

    Subs from the deli where I work:

    Their own porchetta, sliced thin. Don't like it with cheese.

    (Now, if this were a cheese thread, then I'd have to go with their prosciutto/mozz/arugula sub, but t's not.)

  3. Wow thanks! Swear I drove by that block less than a week ago & there was no sign of anything new in that space.

    We discovered a great Peruvian place in the West Village last year (corner of Christopher & Bedford). If this is the real deal, I'll be excited!

    Weekend plans uncertain but this is a distinct possibility.

  4. What's not to get? There's a variety of ways to make them & they can range from mundane to sublime. Personal conceptions of "sublime" will always differ & that's the food for discussion.

    I've already expressed my crabcake preference in the Baltimore thread. I'm not a Marylander & crabcake purists may scoff, but Vikki's looks to me like a Baltimore institution & I wouldn't be quick to dismiss them. Their crabcakes seem to be made with ordinary white bread (horrors!), a healthy dollop of mustard (how untraditional!) and a serious dose of cayenne (you've got to be kidding!); and to top it all off, they're deep-fried.

    Maybe this is totally the wrong way to make a crabcake. All I know is that I've had a lot of crabcakes in my life, I've never had any like those at Vikki's, and I can't wait to get back down there & eat lots more of them.

  5. I've been informed that our tap water has terroir. There are times - like now - after particularly heavy rains when it has the aroma & flavor of moldy dirt. All of the teas I brew taste like they've been blended with pu-erh.

    I know it's time to change the water filter. That aside, a restaurateur in this area would have to be nuts not to offer bottled water.

  6. "Slow pour" seems a bit of a misnomer here, in that they aren't letting the beer trickle out of the tap; rather, they're letting it fly out to yield mostly head, as noted, & doing this repeatedly with time for the head to settle in between, which is what makes the overall procedure slow.

    I'd think that this would reduce carbonation in the glass, no?

  7. The OP mentions that they are repeat customers so:

    A) Maybe they like your food & found that they weren't that hungry on that particular night. How far in advance did they have to reserve? You can't always predict an appetite. Maybe they'll be back for full dinners next time.

    B) Maybe, since they'd dined there before, they know that you serve portions too large for one person to finish comfortably & ordered accordingly.

    Either way, one presumes that they chose to return your place because they enjoy the food. I'd look at ways to turn that into a positive thing rather than gettng annoyed.

    That said, many restaurants note plate-sharing charges on their menus, & I see nothing wrong with that if it's an ongoing issue.

  8. .....I usually taste insipid, overly sweet sauce and/or canned ingredients, and I'm totally turned off.

    I didn't want to use that word because I'm trying to be fair to a relatively new place that's still finding itself & actually does have a lot to offer, but since it's out there....

    The artichokes & zucchini struck me as exactly what would come out of a can at a lot of other places I've been.

    Maybe they're freshly prepared & marinated on premises, but the result is the same. I'd hoped for better.

    I still think that they did a superb job with the crust, and we'll probably try them again at some point.

  9. We drove up to A Mano last night, since I had some serious wood-fired-oven pizza cravings left over from St. Louis. (St. Louis? I'll get there in a moment.)

    Great space. Lots of tables a little after 9:00 - the advantage of being late diners. No service issues at all, everything was spot on & our server was very pleasant.

    "Insalata A Mano" was refreshing, well dressed, & large enough to be easily shared.

    The pizza itself, I'm sorry to say, was fairly dull. GREAT crust, as many others have noted, but nothing else on the pie quite rose to the same level.

    Here, I think, is the key (from NorthJersey.com article):

    Instead of a thick tomato sauce, A Mano uses finely chopped tomatoes seasoned with a little salt and doesn't even use the word "sauce" on its menu. The tomatoes taste fruity.

    This I don't find to be a virtue; without the tang of onion & garlic that livens a good sauce, the whole ensemble falls rather flat. In fact, this is a pizzeria where there are no onions or garlic to be found on the premises. That doesn't really work for me.

    My SO had the Capricosa which, inexplicably, arrived without the ham that was listed as an ingredient on the menu. She didn't really care so we didn't make an issue of it.

    I had the Ortolana (sans eggplant). Since they're going for an authentic Neapolitan pizza here, I'd hoped that this one might be made with fresh artichokes & zucchini, but no, both were pickled - lightly, to someone's credit, but still pickled. I haven't been to Naples, so perhaps pickled = authentic, but my experience of pizza elsewhere in Italy has always been that the artichokes are fresh. I'd love to find a place that uses the fresh item somewhere on these shores.

    The mushrooms & the mozz on the pie were quite good, so I wasn't dissatisfied, but I can't give that particular pie a rave either.

    We also had the gelato, which was a bit much on top of a pizza, but who can resist gelato on a hot summer night? It was excellent, well flavored with a nice texture; the bacio, with its well roasted hazelnuts, was some of the best I've had anywhere.

    Now, the St. Louis reference - on a short trip there 2 weeks ago, we'd had some of our favorite pizza ever at Il Vicino, a small chain (8 locations scattered between Albuquerque & StL) that puts together a pizza very similar to A Mano's and pops it into a wood-fired oven. The differences: they offer an excellent sauce on most of their pies and a much wider variety of first-rate toppings. (Their artichokes too are pickled, alas, but to my taste that's their only flaw.) I normally won't eat pizza more than once a month, it's just too heavy, but we dined at Il Vicino twice over four nights; their pizza is that good.

    So yes, with Il Vicino still fresh in our minds, A Mano suffered a bit from the immediacy of the comparison. I still think that they're doing something really fine up in Ridgewood. I implore the guys who run the place to get some garlic & onions into the restaurant and onto the pies; that could make us regulars there.

  10. Maybe it takes a non-native of Maryland to pose the question, what is the big deal about crabcakes? And more specifically, why the great argument over who has "the best" crabcake? There's no great mystery to the ingredients (lots of crab! big hunks of lumpmeat! no breadcrumbs!)

    There's already a mystery right there: why no breadcrumbs?

  11. I've had two of the classic Revereware copper-bottom stainless frying pans - a 12 & a 10 - for probably 25 years now & I just love 'em. They seem to distribute the heat evenly, apart from some old-gas-stove burner issues which are not the fault of the pans.

    I know what you mean about the brown-without-burning onions thing. I can get that right by keeping a close eye on the flame height & rotating the pan a bit. If I had a better stove I think it'd be a snap.

    I've never had a straight-sided saute pan so can't offer any comparisons.

  12. ...(it's pretty good comfort food but not more than that).......

    That aspect of the place hasn't changed for 35 years.

    From everything else I read here, it's lost even its nostalgia appeal for when I visit the nabe where I lived for 20 years.

    It's a shame because I did like that garden area. But these days our $$ will go to Surya or AOC for the al fresco thing.

  13. Another vote for Taleggio.

    But don't overlook Bel Paese. I'd thought it was sort of like the Brie of Italy until we tasted some from a cheese shop in Venice. Sweet, delicious & quite unlike the version we get in the US; it became one of our lunchtime favorites. Don't know if the difference has to do with US pasteurization requirements or if it just doesn't travel well or what.

  14. Really, cane sugar is marginally better for you than high fructose corn syrup; it's pages ahead of artificial sweetners (Splenda for example--that product scares me).

    This is straying away from the topic, but I wish you'd expand on exactly what you mean by that. Start another thread or something.

    I'm pre-diabetic & Splenda has made a huge difference in my life recently. It also seems to be the least harmful of the artifical sweeteners. What's the downside?

  15. What a terrific report! This is the stuff that the Net was made for. The ingenuity of these guys is remarkable. Thanks!

    Couple of questions -

    Where does the packing ice come from? Do they haul it out each day or is there an ice machine on board the raft?

    Are there any rivalries or territorial spats between mussel farmers like there are between lobstermen? Any quaint & amusing initiation rituals for newbies, similar to new lobster guys periodically finding their trap buoys cut & adrift for their first year or so in the biz until the locals decide grudgingly to accept their presence on the waters?

    Any regulations that say where you can (& cannot) establish a mussel farm?

  16. White tea is trendy right now because it's said to contain more antioxidants & other health benefits than even green tea.

    Of course the joke is that at least one good study I've seen concluded that you don't derive any greater health benefits from green tea than from black.

    Just because green tea contains more antioxidants doesn't mean that the human physiology will absorb them.

  17. So sad and so true.  When people who only know FF then taste REAL food -- they don't like it.

    I will never forget a girl I worked with somewhere around 1990. She was smart, articulate, college degree & all. She started talking about a trip to France that she'd taken, & then brought the conversation to a crashing halt with these words:

    "You know, French food tastes really weird in France."

    I was dumbstruck. But I realized that she was why we have much of the food that we have in US restaurants.

  18. I'm posting this question on the Ready to Eat subforum because I suspect the true tea cogniscenti on that forum won't know either.  :rolleyes:

    Yes we will!

    White tea (also someimes known as "silver tips") is simply the least processed form of tea. It yields a pale brew that's so delicate as to be almost flavorless.

    More detailed info: http://www.uptontea.com/shopcart/informati...NFOteaTypes.asp

    As to "wrong on many levels," I think you've got that right. Looks like Lipton is trying to hop on the green tea trend & kick it up a notch. Of course, whites & greens are so subtle that Lipton has to add fruity flavors to appeal to the general palate.

  19. This is a sign of how out of balance things are in today's world. I never have to steal bags because I am a saver & accumulate more than we can possibly re-use.

    As annecros noted, they tend to breed.

    It's gotten to the point where I refuse bags at the store if I can carry my purchases out to the car. I suppose I should become a tote bag person but people stare at you.

    We need a system that makes it easy for people who have too many bags to get them into the hands of those who have too few. Maybe we already do; maybe it's called the USPS. Anybody who needs once-used grocery bags, PM me your address & I'll send you a box. I can throw in some produce bags too (yes, I save those as well if they weren't carrying icky stuff).

  20. like many websites, theirs might not work on all browsers.  I generally use mozilla, but switch to IE when i see something weird.  their site works on both mozilla and IE for me. i always suggest that people update their browsers to take advantage of what the gearheads are coding for these days. no wit.  just technology advancing faster than the public, which is not good.

    there is plenty of discussion online and also from local papers, including the following, with links to those local papers:

    egullet thread here.

    mouthfuls thread here.

    Thanks. I have the most advanced edition of IE that Windows 95 will support. I need a new computer with a modern operating system but can't really afford it right now. Life's a bitch sometimes.

    Appreciate the links. I looked at what's on your own website too, good writeup. My browser can't handle Typepad either so I can't register to leave comments there. So it goes.

    Good comments from Cook456 too. I'm putting this place on the list for birthdays!

  21. I've often ranted about the amounts of sugar & sodium in many cereals as being contrary to what I thought the connotations of "organic" were.

    Not to mention the sodium in many foods that are allowed the "Heart Healthy" designation, though I guess that's another thread.

    Hype is hype no matter what words they're using.

  22. I don't know much in Brunswick & am not sure if you're going to be in the area long enough, but in case you are, I give you this -

    And for my money nobody does it better than the folks on the pier at Five Islands, Maine. (First right off Rt. 1 after you cross the Kennebec via the Bath Bridge. Just follow the road all the way out the Georgetown peninsula until it ends. You'll find a working dock just before you drive into the ocean.)

    We had a thread last year that incorporated a debate on whether Red's can be considered a true lobster roll, or merely a heap of lobster meat atop a toasted roll. I'm too tired to try & find it. I've also never been to Red's so must reserve judgement. But I remain skeptical of the claim that they have the best lobster roll, as opposed to one of the best values, in Maine.

    - from The Best Lobster Roll thread.

    Bath is the next big town north from Brunswick up Rt. 1. The whole Brunswick - Five Islands drive = 20 miles. The waterside views when you finally reach Five Islands are stunning, it's a little slice of costal Maine at its best.

    The place is called Five Islands Lobster Co. As I recall they are open 7 days a week Memorial Day - Labor Day, weekends only in May & Sept. Call before you go, if you go, just in case. They also have steamed lobster dinners, clams, burgers & such for the kids.

    Also, for more upscale dining, there's Robinhood Free Meeeting House, a fascinating place in a former church about halfway out the Georgetown road towards Five Islands. Chef Michael Gagne is a genuine talent.

    We'll be back in this area in July, we're there every year. Just thinking about these places already has my appetite whetted! :smile:

  23. One of my very favorites in the country, let alone Maine, is the A1 Diner at #3 Bridge Street in Gardiner, Maine.  I heard on the news today that the Food Network filmed a segment there yesterday for their program "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives", (see schedule here).

    A1 Diner sits on a bridge over the Kennebec River. The menu is very diverse for your average diner.  Along with Meatloaf (hot w/gravy or cold w/lettuce), Turkey Clubs, Mac & Cheese and Liver & Onions, you can have Knockwurst w/Swiss & Onions, Portabello w/onion, Noodles w/Vegetables, Tofu & Fermented Black Bean Sauce, Armenian Chick Peas & Spinach, Lebanese Tomato Salad and Kim Chi.  Every dish I've had there has been, well... A1.

    If you check out the menu on their website, there is a side order of "Bob's Biscuits" - the price is $1,000,000.  There's a story there... I just know it.

    One thing their website won't tell you is that they're closed on Sundays. Or at least some Sundays, as we found out last year, much to our disappointment.

    I'd advise folks to call first, but another thing their website won't tell you is their phone #. You're on your own, as I will be if we decide to try them again.

    Seriously, the A-1 comes well recommended, & we've been hoping to try it for some years, since we're in that area 2-3 times every year, but the timing has never worked out. Maybe next time.

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