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Everything posted by pennbrew

  1. That would be the bratwurst about 10 years ago. Around here they were practically giving them away (2 for $1 I think) to get rid of them by the end.
  2. Wow there are so many: Salt water taffy Ribbon candy--eating actual ribbon might be more satisfying Salt water taffy those safety lollipops with the looped string handle--completely flavorless that powdered stuff that comes in a straw Salt water taffy Wax bottles and wax lips made me vomit when I was a child Candy cigarettes Salt water taffy and worst of all: Salt water taffy. Pure evil.
  3. pennbrew


    Haven't made them yet, the lye just arrived via UPS today. I probably won't have time to try it out until next week. I'll be sure to take some photos.
  4. Sodium bicarbonate is not used to add carbonation to soft drinks.
  5. pennbrew


    I want to make the traditional "Laugenbrez'n" (literally "lye pretzels") found in Bavarian beerhalls. They are somewhere between what Americans think of as soft and hard pretzels, although certainly closer to soft. I've ordered it from Amazon (see link above), but it hasn't arrived yet. I've also heard that there is a specific type of flour used in Germany. The Hofbrauhaus in Pittsburgh (and presumably the ones in Las Vegas and Cincinnati) imports the flour. Anyone know the details of such flour? Thanks!
  6. pennbrew


    It took close to a half-hour of googling but I found it: Lye on Amazon
  7. pennbrew


    Well you can but it doesn't produce the same result.
  8. pennbrew


    Where can one find food-grade lye for making pretzels? Thanks! ---Guy
  9. pennbrew

    Marks of a bad cook

    Or, they just have interests in different areas. Not everyone is jazzed up by the same things. Maybe they're into customizing Italian sportscars and laugh behind your back at your Ford Taurus. Click this for a good laugh ---Guy
  10. pennbrew

    Hickory syrup

    I remember being intrigued after reading an article about hickory syrup a few years ago. I thought the article said (or maybe I just assumed) that it was made in the same fashion as maple syrup. Today I was at a local organic farmers' market and there was a vendor offering samples of his hickory syrup! It was tasty so I bought a bottle. After bringing it home closer examination of the label revealed it was made from hickory bark extract and sugar. Hmmm.... So I've done some googling and it appears this is how all hickory syrup is produced. Not by collecting sap and boiling it down. The price was certainly comparable to maple syrup however. Perhaps I'm unreasonable but it's left me kind of disappointed. It got me wondering though--is the maple the only tree that produces sap in sufficient quantities and sugar content to make syrup?
  11. Still playing at the top of their game...
  12. Hands down the worst "cooking" thing I've seen is Mr. Food. This syndicated 2-3 minute segment used to appear on the local news. All his "recipes" were of the type "a bag of frozen this and a can of cream-of-that soup". He always ended the spot with a very cheesy-sounding "Ooooooo, it's so GOOD!"
  13. Trust me, I do. At the stingy places they'll give you the hairy eyeball and then add another morsel or 2. At the store closest to me they look genuinely uncomfortable when I ask, as if they hear it a lot. I don't go to that store anymore. The generous places load you up without having to ask. Most restaurant chains have standards they require franchisees to follow. Perhaps measuring cups, perhaps sample photos, perhaps standardized training. I get the feeling at Subways the topping quantities are determined by the store owner/manager. The stingy ones really try to stretch that shredded head of iceberg and that sliced green pepper.
  14. It is amazing how fast they have been popping up. Subways in gas stations, Subways in convenience stores, Subways in truck stops, Subways in Wal-Marts, etc. I can think of about a dozen Subways I see in my everyday travels and only 2 of them are stand-alone stores. And one of those is in the parking lot of a convenience store. They must have a very good selling proposition to convince all these businesses to lease them space, or buy a mini-franchise, or whatever is their magic formula. I agree the smell of their baking bread is rather odd. Quite artificial and nothing like any other bakery I've encountered. I will admit to patronizing Subway far more often than any other fast food chain. It's not terrible and it certainly can be a healthier option. One frustrating aspect is how inconsistent they are from store to store with the amount of toppings they'll put on the sub. I want a good-sized salad on there. Everything but the pickled sweet peppers. Some places load it up while others give you scant, tiny morsels of veg.
  15. What a great thread! Was the book ever released? Did you take part in the 2010 awards? ---Guy
  16. Wow what a great thread! Did anyone get a copy of his book?
  17. On "CBS Sunday Morning" Bill Geist attended the Chinese Restaurant Awards (a quick Google didn't turn up anything on these awards). Best restaurant title went to Yangming. I don't see any egullet discussions about the place, any comments? Is it worth trying? Thanks! ---Guy
  18. pennbrew

    Tip envy

    You're right it is a very small operation. Everyone we've hired was told the same thing, we have little money to pay a good wage. We're still a very young, financially fragile company. My partner and I have yet to draw any pay. If things work out well down the road (and we have been growing), I certainly want to compensate our long-timers better. It has turned out that the bartenders do well sooner than anticipated thanks to our customers' generosity. Although I'm happy for them, it has created this situation. Even if we were to bump the pizza maker's pay to, say, $10-$12 an hour, there'd still be a big pay disparity and friction. I guess there's no easy answer and this is a common problem in food service. We want to treat all our employees fairly but there's the old adage: you can't please everyone all the time. A common suggestion has been to share tips with the pizzamaker. My brief research on the internet shows that this violates federal and state labor laws. A tipped employee can not be forced to share tips with a non-service employee. We certainly can't open ourselves up to liability by violating these laws. Damn, this is tough! All I know is making beer, not running a food service establishment!!
  19. How to deal with the issue of kitchen staff jealousy of the tips earned by servers? We run a small brewery/pub with a pizza kitchen. A typical night we have our pizza maker and one bartender, my partner and I help out in the kitchen or bar as needed when we get busy. On a busy night the bartender can earn $150-$250 in tips. On a slow night, probably $40 to $80. We pay our pizzamaker a straight $8 per hour, which in our area is not a bad wage for the work but is obviously a disparity with what the bartender can earn. When hired we told him the lay of the land. He has indicated his desire to tend bar and we have occasionally let him fill in on the bar to earn some tips. Lately he's been grumbling more about wanting to bartend and it's to the point that it's about to cause serious friction in the operation. Needless to say we need him to do the job he was hired to do, making pizza. Any advice as to how to deal with this issue? It's kind of frustrating that our customers' generosity is causing this problem, if the tips were $25 a night there'd be no problem. Thanks!
  20. Prepare to be horrified: Weirdest toppings video And for some fun, check out these demented pizza ads from Japan.
  21. 12-packs of Pepsi Throwback at Sam's Club: $3.07. I stocked up.
  22. Brewpubs! Although not plentiful Philly's brewpub scene betters NYC's by a mile. Triumph, Earth Bread + Brewery, Dock Street, Nodding Head, Manayunk. And if you have a car a swing thru the western suburbs yields a gold mine: Sly Fox (a couple of them), Iron Hill (many of them), Victory. Once Brauhaus Schmitz (not a brewpub but an ambitious German beerhall/restaurant) opens (any day now, just waiting on final licensing approvals), Philly will beat NYC handily in the German food department. Granted, that's not saying much--is there anything German left in NY? ---Guy
  23. In my travels today I passed by a promising-looking roadside joint along Rt. 100 near Bechtelsville. Unfortunately I had but a split second to take it all in as I drove by. It looked like a real BBQ rig with lots of smoke swirling around. The name, as best I could tell, was "Hilly Billy's" (??) I know, I should have turned around but traffic, plus plans to eat at my next stop, blah blah blah. A google search has turned up nothing. Anyone know of this place? Is it worth a detour next time I'm driving around that part of PA? Thanks! ---Guy
  24. Oh, and ABSOLUTELY no pineapple! or sauerkraut Yes, kraut was a common topping in Minnesota when I was in college I think that should be rule #5
  25. Yup, I'd definitely explain it up front. Perhaps I could even turn it into a catch-phrase: "Avoid Pizza bloat!" I do want to make it (semi-)artisanal, so I probably won't have that many toppings available anyway. Quality, simple sauce, small amounts of high-end cheese, good olive oil, fresh herbs, etc. I'm planning to offer one size only, about 12 inches, enough for one hungry person or two nibblers. Something for the beer to wash down...
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