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russ parsons

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  1. Times style is to give a doneness indicator first, followed by a rough approximation of time. i find this works very well.
  2. actually, as big a fan as i am of the two restaurants, i wouldn't say there were obvious differences between the two, except in terms of room and style of service. the menus reflect the same sensibility.
  3. bad writing is bad writing. at one time, i think a certain rowdiness was a welcome break in food writing--kind of like john belushi bashing the guitar of the gentle minstrel's head in animal house. now it's sometimes just belushi.
  4. hmmm, does that mean you cook snake different than chicken?
  5. i've eaten there a couple of times. once on an anonymous meal, once as part of a dinner party for daniel boulud's show. both times the food was very good. the latter obviously was a good bit better. i wouldn't put it up there with providence, but it is in the next tier. i'm not sure whether los angeles appreciates that kind of restaurant ambition, quite frankly. time will tell. ETA: Can anyone tell me how those hyperlinks were inserted in my comments? I am making no endorsements for either product. This is just weird.
  6. depends on what you like Sam, and depends on what you mean by "saute". I'm using the classical definition (well, one classical definition) of a chicken that has been browned and then cooked with other ingredients including a little bit of stock or cream. Obviously, dryness isn't the goal with those. In other "saute" dishes, like a schnitzel, the goal is a crisp skin and in those cases you wouldn't cover. A lot of this has to do with semantic gray areas: what is the difference between a chicken saute, a fried chicken, a braised chicken and a fricaseed chicken? I'm hoping Michael Ruhlman will be able to make some sense of it with his book and I'm eagerly looking forward to arguing it with him point by point.
  7. i agree about evaporation. but there is one other thing a lid does: concentrate the heat. saute something uncovered and it browns well on the outside but stays cooler in the center. Cover it and the center will cook more. depends on what you like. I did a chicken saute with peppers last night and cooked it covered in teh beginning to cook the chicken through, then removed the lid to let the sauce reduce a little.
  8. it occurs to me that this same discussion could have been had 5 years ago, substituting the word "organic" for "heirloom." these are valid labels that honestly describe certain characteristics of the products. it's just that they don't mean what many people understand them to mean.
  9. doesn't she run one of puck's restaurants? ask michel, he'll know.
  10. I learned everything I needed to know about the glamorous world of fine dining by watching Thomas Keller spend 45 minutes wrapping his ankles and knees before service every day.
  11. that's why they let me hang around.
  12. technically, yes. but the definition "Vidalia" meant a whole lot more before it spread to 20 counties. In reality, almost all so-called sweet onions are from the same variety and are labeled according to geography (maui, imperial valley, texas 1015). the exception to this is the Walla Walla Sweet, which comes from Corsican seed brought over at the turn of the century.
  13. regarding melons, my guess is that it's just too early. they take extended, extreme heat to build sugar. we're just starting to get great melons here over about the last 3 weeks. and it does seem to me that california's season hasn't been quite as powerful as it has been in the past. i wonder if the central valley has been a little cooler than normal (which would still mean killer hot).
  14. i'm with chris on this one. too often we still fall into the "brand name" fallacy when it comes to agriculture. it's all about the farmers. i'd much rather have an early girl tomato grown by a good farmer than a brandywine grown by a hack. these things aren't cars: you're not buying the "cadillac" of tomatoes. and also, kudos to anne for the excellent explication of the heirloom phenomenon. to get tomatoes with great flavor not only involves careful farming, but later harvest than is usually practical for a product that is going to be shipped. and that's where those little grape tomatoes come in--they're usually pretty terrific (just by flavor, not by bragging rights--they're very new varieties). Grapes start out higher in sugar (12-13 brix compared to 8-9 for most tomatoes), but they also have fairly thick skins, so they can be picked riper and still survive shipping. When in doubt about what to get, those are a terrific fallback.
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