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Posts posted by BeJam

  1. How about a pear Tarte Tatin? 

    Any changes fron the standard recipe, to avoid a woody texture and make up for the lower level of sweetness?

    I tried a pear tart recipe from Nick Malegeria. It was an apple tart that he suggested using pears with that starts with a sauce of sugar and a little lemon juice, cooked to a deep caramel then add butter, brandy, and cut up pears until they release their juice. Then the mixture is put into a tart crust and baked. DELICIOUS!!!!! It was so good, that the first time I made it there were no leftovers and I had to make another one the next day with my two remaining pears.

  2. In Cleveland a couple of years ago searching for interesting food. After finding an elusive Monte Cristo sandwich that was recommended but not very good, we ventured the next day toward one of two recommended diners. One closed at 3pm. The other stayed open much later, had been around for 50 years, and still had the original pullman car seating area although if you hadn't read about it you wouldn't know by looking at it. It was a little late for lunch, 3pm, so no real cause for alarm that no one else was eating there. There was a cook, a waiter, and two other people working behind the counter. We ordered despite the swarms of fruit flies buzzing the table and the cracker crumbs on the seat. The salad wasn't unexpectedly good. Neither was the coffee. We both ordered the meatloaf special. It had been made several days (or weeks) before with grade B meat and probably the cracker crumbs from the seats, frozen, then thawed and "crisped" on the grill. Re-fried meatloaf. The hardest thing was that all the staff watched us eat. I'm sure everyone knows that moment when you pop something in your mouth and you become instantly aware that you won't be able to finish the bite. Well I had an audience for that moment. I chewed and smiled. But couldn't swallow. The waiter, a guy in his 60s, came over and asked if everything was alright. I felt a little bad because they all seemed concerned. So lie #1: "No the food's fine, we're just not very hungry right now." We played with our food still being watched, then after 20 minutes, trying to make the staff feel less bad, lie #2: "Could we get two take out containers, so we can finish this later." A little redemption for us and relief for the staff. Now I know we could have said something, told them just how bad the food was but at this place I don't think it would have mattered. The staff that day had mostly been there for 40 years and probably doing the same meals the say way that whole time. The locals must like it, right? And they seemed geuinely concerned about how we were doing so I felt really bad when I was paying, and the waiter said as he was handing us our boxed meals how relieved they were we liked the meal and I replied with lie #3 (under the influence of low blood sugar mind you because we hadn't eaten since 8am): "Yeah, we're sorry, I guess we were just too hungy to eat just now." Realizing lie #3 contradicted lie #1, we left a large tip and bolted and didn't throw the food away until we gotten ten miles from the diner.

  3. I can remember Red Barn,

    Yeah, Red Barn. They used to be right next door to Ponderosa Steakhouses. While I don't remember eating there more than once, I love the buildings and how they're still around. One in Wyandotte, Michigan has been a hemp-inspired coffeehouse, a chicken shack, and an Indian restaurant. Another in Taylor, MI was turned into a video arcade that recently closed. I should go take photos of them.

    When I returned to Detroit five years ago, I started thinking about a book on Detroit donut shops. Especially the funky ones from the 50s and 60s that were still standing. Within the year, more than half of ones I loved were torn down- mostly for gas stations.

  4. Substituting a glass of wine for compresses could work, too.  :smile:

    I find a cup of the good bourbon a nice start then I make a pizza. Something about kneading the dough, maybe working something new like nuts or seeds or vegs into it, watching it rise, having some more bourbon, topping the 'za with what ever I have including whatever cheese, then almost burning the whole thing in a really hot oven. I then treat the burns on my hands because I had way too much bourbon to work around a really hot oven. I also play really loud music.

  5. Does anybody remember a fast food restaurant called Burger Chef? We had them here in the midwest & I don't remember when they ceased to be, but this thread made me think about them. Has anybody esle heard of them? I remember they had great kids meals - and that was big for me since I was about 7 when I first went to one.

    I remember them right across the street from a burger king outside of Detroit. I had a cousin that worked there and would get us "back-door" deals on cases of frozen hamburgers. "Burger Chef and Jeff" The rest is pretty hazy, they havn't been around for a while.

  6. Burger King used to have mini-burgers. The three-pack was great at 2am. mmmmm.

    I lament the loss of the green sauce at Taco Bell.

    Does it count to miss a certain freshness in McDonald's food or am I just missing the day's I didn't care about freshness?

    A&W Root Beer used to be so much better.

    I miss In and Out burgers and fries. (I know they're still around, just not here.)

  7. Well, it has happened again.  We went to Amsterdam, had amazing coffee everyday, even good on the plane and now I'm back again and my coffee is just not as good. What do I need to do to get a great cup of coffee at home?

    I had this same problem ten years ago. After coming back from Europe I could not get near the same quality of coffee at home although now I can get pretty close. Then a few years back I noticed that the coffee in San Francisco was pretty good, then DC, then New Orleans, then the costco brand ground coffee I was served in Big Sky and I came to the conclusion that coffee just tastes better when you're on vacation.

  8. I will be in Detroit M-F for the next couple weeks and need dinner suggestions.

    However, the following stipulations apply.  I will be staying at the Renaissance Marriott (near the federal courthouse) and being from NY I will not be driving (that goes for any of my colleagues as well)....so choices have to be within easy cab distance.

    Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.


    Although I haven't eaten there in a while, Sweet Georgia Brown (near the Greektown casino) served one of the best meals I'd had in years. Jimmy Schmidt 's Rattlesnake club in Bricktown, just north of the Marriott is a must. Both are walking distance from the hotel. For the Detroit version of the Coney Island (natural casing "Michigan-legal" hotdog with Greek chili) head to Lafayette Coney at Michigan and Lafayette, 1 block from the courthouse. American Coney Island is right next-door and owned by the brother of the Lafayette owner. Legend has it some family squabble led to the second restaurant but they share the same suppliers and serve the same food.

    There is Coaches Insignia steakhouse on top of your hotel. I haven't eaten there because the food reviews have all been terrible but it has the best view in the city. You can see two Great Lakes, all of two big cities, and one foreign country. Come to think of it you will probably get a great view from your hotel depending on which floor.

    There's a new (open one week) Cuban restaurant on Library Street called Vicente's, again just a couple of blocks away. Haven't been there yet. Right next-door is the best coffee shop in the city, Café De Troit. Nearby on Broadway is Small Plates, a tapas restaurant which I've enjoyed every time I've been there. For cheap Greek eats and saganaki, head to New Hellas in Greektown on Monroe and For 24 hour breakfast go to Plaka’s also on Monroe. AVOID ANY RESTAURANT IN GREEKTOWN THAT COMP'S CASINO MEALS.

    Oslo, several blocks north of the hotel at John R, has the best sushi in the city. Avoid all other Asian cuisine you can get to within a 20 minute drive. You really need to get out of the city for that. About a mile further up Woodward are a string of restaurants, not on par with Sweet Georgia Brown and Rattlesnake Club, but each good in its own way. Atlas, my favorite of the trio, Union Street--best dish is their steak salad, and across the street the Majestic (in the theater where Houdini gave his last performance before collapsing and dying.) You might get a recommendation for Agave in the same area, but I've never felt their food was exceptional. Nice tequilla selection though.

    A lot of natives like Roma in the Eastern Market area, it’s been there 100 years, but I've never had a truly great meal there either--besides there is a new contemporary Italian restaurant, albeit the 10th one, called Andiamo in the RenCen. Russell Street Deli (on Russell St.) in Eastern Market is very decent and Eph McNally's in Corktown near old Tiger Stadium makes a great sandwich, probably the best in the city, despite their draconian policies about sharing a meal and free water.

    Good luck and please post your findings and reviews. You may discover something we locals overlook.

  9. At first I thought it was just a coincidence; but then realized that I may be "the other" roommate.

    Three of us shared a house in DC, but I was the only one who really cooked. On rare occasions (it seemed), one of my housemates mothers would come down from Philly and make all his favorite foods. She was born in Korea and he was first generation. On her second visit I was invited to dine with them.

    I don't know if I was too appreciative, enjoyed her food too much, or helped myself to the leftovers too much the next day, but I never saw his Mother again. She would seem to visit only when I was gone for the weekend. He also never brought food back from Philly after that either. Hmmmm.

    (About a year later I was reprimanded by his fiancée for grating cheese and putting in into bowl on pasta night when she and my girlfriend were cooking. "You don't have the green container?" she asked incredulously. She also didn't buy my suggestion to broil the garlic bread in stead of baking it so it wouldn't dry out. )

  10. Thanks for the suggestions. It looks like there are two general paths. One is to make the coffee myself with my beans and equipment and the other is to just appreciate my parents as they are and accept that I'm not drinking their coffee everyday.

    My parents are generally laid back, but they'd view my home-kit as a bit of an insult (although they would never admit to it.) In the summer I can cart over cold-brewed concentrate without fear of ill feelings but the rest of the time I will attempt the latter suggestion but will at least try to get them to use 8 O’clock ground at the store and see where that gets us.

  11. just to ask....

    is there no room to say in a diplomatic fashion...."beloved family members, we cherish you but must let you know that your coffee is, well, not good/unpotable/awful.  i feel somewhat responsible to let you know, as i think guests and others might not feel up to the task.  can i prepare you a great cuppa for comparison's sake?  can i show you how you can, with relative ease, have and serve decent coffee?  if not for your own sakes, perhaps for the sakes of your guests?"

    any variation on that, to tweak for personal ettiquette idioms.......

    Thanks for the suggestions. Yes we've been through that step of showing them good coffee. They love coming to dinner at my house and love the coffee. The difficulty is that they don't think their coffee is bad (which may be the real problem) and I'm the only one who ever says anything (which really may be the real problem). markk may have the right idea.

    The thermal pot helped a little because for big dinners because Mom always made the coffee hours before dinner and let it sit on the burner while complaining that the burner automatically shut-off after two hours. And we couldn't buy just a 10 cup for Christmas, it had to be 12.

    Another problem is that any "new" trick has to be easy to remember and not need special equipment. Case in point: according to my Father, my Mother is still buying half and half for my coffee when I come for a visit eventhough I haven't used half/half in 20 years and have been reminiding them so for 20 years. Certain grocery-store habits are probably hard to break.

    I guess I was looking for tips. Like a good and accessible canned alternative to Folgers/MaxHouse or a trick like adding a dash of salt to the grounds before brewing. I've had the Costco brand on vacation and while staying at other peoples houses and it wasn't bad. However, it doesn't taste good at my house. (Maybe because coffee always tastes better on vacation or because I can't portion canned coffee right.) Come to think of it, they may not either.

    I suppose we could suggest spicing like adding cinnamon/nutmeg.

  12. There's a long tradition of good cooks in my family. Stories of and recipies from my great Grandmother, Grandmother, Great Aunts, Aunts, and a couple of cousins fill holidays and weddings. Unfortunately coffee has never been significantly considered. True, my parents like most had a perculator until drip machines came about and made the process easier. However, their coffee is terrible and I finally had to say something. Granted, my sister and I decided that a first measure without saying anything would be a thermal carafe which was a Christmas present this year. But after dinner on Sunday, I realized that didn't really help much.

    My question is: What can I do/tell them to do to improve the taste of their coffee. There are a few constraints:

    1. Convenience/cost is more important than taste.

    2. They will not grind their own beans or buy whole beans.

    3. They store coffee in the cupboard.

    4. They will not use filtered water.

    5. They clean the machine regularly.

    Any thoughts?

  13. we're constintly throwing away fresh thyme, basil, sage, etc.  most of our grocer's don't sell them bulk in produce so we're forced to buy the packaged herbs.  can we freeze them?  or do they lose their special powers in the freezer?


    I don't remember where I read it (it may have been an egullet posting) but the trick is to freeze them in ice. I've recently tried this with cilantro and it worked great when adding the herb to soup. I haven't tried it where fresh cilantro is called for. I should mention they'd only been frozen for a couple of weeks, but the flavor remained strong. I didn't portion them in ice cube trays (as I probably should have) but rather in a plastic container which meant I had to chip out a chunk for the soup.

  14. Also on Michigan, near telegraph is the Millers bar.  If you can stand the smokey windowless interior, you will be treated to one of the best burgers in the area.  There's a reason why you have to leave for lunch at 10:45am to avoid a 30 minute line.

    Also down Michigan near Shaffer is Liles.  This wonderful spot from the 50s has 5 items on the menu.  I like their corn beef, but their triumph is an amazing bowl of split pea soup.  Rich, savory with fresh hunks of roasted ham floating in the mix.  I take mine with a lot of pepper and hot sause.  I've been addicted to their solid bowl of chili. 

    Further down Michigan, on Shaffer is a great italian market/deli that has great sandwiches that are 1/3 the price of Zingermans.  (Gasp, blasphemy)  For 15 dollars, you can get a bag of italain rolls, 1/2 pound of italain prosciutto, 1/2 pound of capicola, 1/2 pound of mortedella, 1 pound of provolone cheese, a large container of homemade sweet olives and calmatta olives.  Go and build your own picknic for you and all your friends.

    Where Outer and Southfield meet there is a average coney island/greek place that happens to have an amazing, steamy, tangy made from scratch bowl of lemon chicken rice soup.  My greek friends tell me it's as close to grandma as you can get.  Watch your eyebrows for the continual opa's and flaming cheese.

    I've lived in Dearborn during college and also for the last few years but have never found Millers to be as good as their reputation. Although I do like the honor system (no checks) and occasional surly attitude.

    The Italian market is called Alcomos. It is great. They were the only store I found in the Detroit area, including the Eastern Market, that carried veal bones for stock. They've also got a good selection of olive oils and pastas and cured meats.

    Right next door to Alcomos is the Fish Market which gets some surprisingly good fish but in limited selection. I hear they're expanding into a restaurant which may improve their selection.

    It sound's like you may not have been to Annam which is a nice little Vietnamese place.

  15. There are a couple of places in downtown Dearborn that are good if you get stuck with a delayed flight or have to kill time around the airport for some reason.  Annam is upscale Vietnamese; La Shish is mediterranean.  There's also Andiamo, but that can be quite slow and isn't as noteworthy.

    There's also Crave the new Pan-Asian fusion/sushi/martini bar. I haven't been in yet but need to hurry, the Freep said its geared to the 20s/30s crowd and I only have a couple of months left. I should say I haven't eaten there yet. I did stick my head in one evening but not before the dancing began.

    La Pita (Lebanese) just reopened in a new building and the food, which was very good before, is now much better. Before I gush too long, Millers Bar which for some reason has a reputation for the best burgers, doesn't.

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