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Everything posted by Adiabatic

  1. On the other hand, you've got to admit that any place with a two hour wait to get in is doing something right. ← They only have 4 tables - they would be full if 8 people walked in the door. Sounds like some others have had good experiences once they got in. I'll give it a few months and may consider trying it again. ← My tongue was a little bit in my cheek when I wrote that, but just a little. I've been there twice, and my experience was very close to jbonne's. There are an unwritten set of rules about how restaurants and their patrons interact. For example, there is no note on the menu telling you how much to tip. That part is understood. We expect that the hostess will bring menus to the table at the time we are seated because that's the way its always done. They are not supposed to make you feel rushed, but you aren't supposed to linger overly long if there are people waiting for the tables. And so on. Elemental has a different set of unwritten rules. The first time I was there I found myself oddly out of my comfort zone because I didn't understand how the place worked (What do you mean we have to wait for menus?). I think a lot of the "bad" experiences people reported were simply experiences different from what they expected. Maybe not, but I think that's some of it. I found the food to be interesting and fun, the wine pairing were great, Phred was entertaining, and the prices were very reasonable for what you got. If I may paraphrase Kate's and jbonne's comments above, if you let Phred do it his way, you'll have a great experience. If you don't want to do that, there are plenty monosyllabic restaurants (heh. I love that description) that do it the normal way. I will say it is refreshing to dine a place where the emphasis is on the experience, instead of trying to turn over the tables as fast as possible. I'm going back.
  2. On the other hand, you've got to admit that any place with a two hour wait to get in is doing something right.
  3. Good question. I always liked the sockeye better as well.
  4. Coincidently, I was there at 4:00 as well. The sheer crowding was a little much, but the food was tasty and everyone was very nice. I agree that Mario looked wiped, but he definitely made an effort to be personable and chatty.
  5. Besides the ones you mentioned, some herbs I've had good success with include oregano (Greek and Italian), majoram, French Sorrell, burnnett (looks delicate, but almost unkillable), fennell, tarragon, and winter savory. I understand bay grows well outside, but I've never tried it. Herbs I've found most useful are probably thyme, rosemary, bay, and winter savory.
  6. Its worth it to wait a couple weeks. If you plant too early sometimes tomatoes will get shocked (for lack of a better word) and they never really grow well the rest of the year.
  7. You last sentence is spot on of course, but on the whole, farmed fishing is a disaster. As others pointed it causes problems as a harbor for disease, output of waste, and escapism which degrades genetic fitness. Another issue is that farmed fish are usually cheaper than wild fish often because of government subsidies. That puts economic pressure on wild fishermen (fishermen who fish for wild fish, who themselves may or may not be wild) to catch more, which leads to more overfishing, and more cheating in regulated fisheries. Farmed fish are fed other fish, usually wild fish and because of wastage other reasons this causes a net decrease of protien in the eocosystem. Which in turn causes more fishing pressure, not less. All of these problems are solvable or can at least be worked around to some degree. Alaskans are motivated to protect their commercial stocks so solving the problems of farmed salmon was simple: Ban fish farming. In Washington State where there are no commericial stocks to speak of, the choice is more difficult. For that reason I think it will take action on the consumer level. If consumers avoided farmed fish because of the problems it created, then the producers would be motivated to solve the problems. For the most part on the consumer level the choice is pretty easy because the wild stuff is better anyway.
  8. In my opinion, of paramount importance is in the taste of fish is freshness and handling. I think its full well possible that a fresh farm raised salmon just out of the water for a day or two tastes better than frozen wild salmon caught last month. Fish doesn't seem to ship well either, and a wild fish transported from the west coast to east coast might suffer accordingly. That said, if all things are equal, a wild salmon beats a farm raised salmon hands down. Better color, better texture, and of course better flavor. I think its also worth noting that all salmon are not created equal. My personal preferance in order is sockeye, chinook (king), and silvers/pinks. Most or all farm raised salmon is Atlantic Salmon, which I haven't had the fresh vareity often enough to form much of an opinion, but it is generally regarded as substandard to king and sockeye. A lot of salmon burgers in local pubs are made from chum salmon (also known as dog salmon because that was the type the indians fed to their dogs). The fillets are usually blackened are served with lots of fish sauce, so you really can't taste the salmon at all. With the crash of west coast chinook runs, chum salmon is becoming more popular, so be aware. A final note is that farm raised fish in general has been an worldwide ecological disaster. Its worth avoiding for that reason alone.
  9. We dropped by because we were travelling with a dog and my companion recalled that dogs were allowed inside the restaurant. We sat down and soon the dog found a half-eaten pizza in a box on the floor and started to get into it. We started to scold her, but Dick assured us that the dog was welcome all the pizza she could find.
  10. I've found that herbs store best in a tightly sealed plastic bag in the crisper. Make sure they are dry though. The vase method works fine, but somehow I always manage to knock things over in the fridge. You have to make sure to change the water too, or you will greatly shorten the life. My bay tree is does well indoors all year round. I suspect its easier to grow indoors than most herbs, but that's just a guess.
  11. I have a Skinny Dick's Halfway Inn beer cozy. I've eaten at the Chena Pumphouse. I remember the view, but don't recall much about the food.
  12. The thing about the food in Anchorage is that is there are a lot of suprisingly good restaurants for the size town it is. Some of my faves: The Double Musky - IMO the best restaurant in Anchorage (although I guess it's not actually in Anchorage). Its such a cool place and great chow. I always tell people to go there. The French pepper steak is unreal. Who woulda thunk such a great place would be out in the middle of nowhere? The Crows Nest - The thing I remember about this place is getting bombed out of skull in the bar. I think it was good. Simon and Seaforts - Can't beat the seafood. Plus the view. Top of the World - Again, the view. F Street - Good burger. A lot better than you think it would be. Club Paris - Very solid steak house. Still trying to digest the fillet. Also the seafood buffet at (I think) the Red Lion. Best seafood buffet I've ever seen. My hidden gem is the Tempura Kitchen in Spenard. Strangely, I've never had the tempura there, but sushi is really good!
  13. The frustrating thing about Lowell's is that if the food was good, the place would be great, if that makes sense. Instead it blows. Chinooks is a great Seattle experience, I used to go there all the time for brunch when I lived in Ballard, but the food is only so-so. How about the Eastlake Bar and Grill? I haven't been there since it became the EB&G, but back when it was Sam's they had a great happy hour and a nice view.
  14. Two words: NOT IN A MILLION YEARS Oh wait, that is more than two words.....Regardless, IMO, not in a million years.
  15. He did, but it wasn't about the judges he was with on that show. I don't remember the comment exactly, but the jist of it was (and here's the back ground as well): In the original ICA shows, the celebrity judges were mostly interested in sucking up to the celebrity chefs. In Flay vs. Bayless battle, the judges made comments about things they didn't like regarding the food. Steingarten's comment was essentially that he thought he previous judges were trying to get the chef to like them, rather than commenting on the food. It was a good editorial touch to include that comment, because I was thinking the same thing as well.
  16. The thing about Tangletown is that the menu reads great. As you look down the menu it all looks interesting and good, but the food never seems to match expectations. I agree with Jbonne's observation about Luau. The food is mediocre---but at least its over priced. One underrated spot is Jak's steakhouse. Very tastey yet reasonably priced.
  17. I thought the new show was pretty good. A little rough in some places, but pretty good. In the original show, the commentary was provided by Fukui who did the play by play, and Dr. "always a pleasure" Hattori did the color commentary. In ICA, Alton filled both roles, explaining what we were seeing, and then giving some analysis into what the chefs were doing. That was a lot for one person, and Alton seemed rushed and jittery at times. He would be a great choice for the Dr. Hattori role, with someone else doing the play by play. Here's my take on the rest of the show: The staff: Kevin Brauch was okay as the floor reporter. "If memory serves" there was a different guy on the first ICA who was just awful. He seemed to yell for Alton's attention a lot, which was mildly annoying. Brauch did a better job (or maybe he improved a lot) but he's no Ota. Also, it appeared that the chefs and Alton could hear each other clearly. With Alton able to ask the chefs questions directly, I don't understand the need for a floor reporter. The weak link is the Chairman, who is basically just an announcer. He's obviously just a figurehead, so why have him? He also appears to be sane. The appeal of Chairman Kaga is that he's obviously off his rocker. The Judges: I give a mixed report on the judging. That Chen woman was slightly dumber than a post. And what's up the chopsticks? Mexican food and chopsticks? WTF is that? Maybe its okay to eat sushi with a fork. I guess she fills the token stupid actress judge slot of the original show. but man, she was annoying. Steingarten, as usual, was excellent and posed the insight (paraphrased): "this might be the best example of this dish in the world, but if I've never had it before how do I judge it if I don't like it?" The Chefs: Everyone remarked on Chef Bayless's calmness and professinalism, and I have to agree. He seemed in perfect control the whole time and knocked out several very interesting and exotic dishes. I have to agree with Steingarten though, they might have been perfectly authentic, but how good did they taste? Bobby Flay on the other hand, is one of the bigger jackasses to ever walk around on his hind legs. After Brauch commented that Flay was barking at his sous chef, Flay acted all hurt and struck a "I can't buy a break" pose. Brauch quickly backpeddled. Suck it up Bobby. You were barking. Still, Flay's dishes looked pretty tempting, he seemed to have all the elements put together. One area where the new show surpases the original is the focus on the food. You get a better idea of where the chef is headed during the show, and I like how the chef gets plenty of time to explain his dishes during the judging. Two thumbs up for that.
  18. The appeal of the original show for me was the sheer manic seriousness of the concept. For those unfamiliar with the original show, it was created by "Chairman" Kaga, who apparently is a minor celebrity in Japan, and is just slightly less flamboyant than Liberace. But just a bit. Each show starts with Kaga biting into a yellow pepper and then getting a wild demonic possessed look in his eyes. The first time I saw it, I remember thinking "What in the hell is this?!?" Then comes the Kaga's intro monologue, which always starts "If memory serves me correctly..." For practical reasons, the intro speech is dubbed. But the rest of the time, Chairman Kaga is so exalted he gets subtitles instead of being dubbed. Then the madness really starts... Tuxedo-clad floor reporter Ohta has to ask Fukui (whom he always addresses with the honorific "Fukui-san", which is of course not reciprocated) for permission to speak, which is not always granted. Judge Kishi (the 'East German' judge) will diss a chef, who has to bow to her as he takes it. (My favorite quote from her: "The first bite was horrible. And the second bite was horrible!") Chen puffs and lights things on fire. Kobe gets a live octupus wrapped around his arm, then beats it off with with a Daikon radish. The Kandagawa faction (champions of traditional Japanese cuisine) hates the neo-Japanese New York (now Philly) chef Morimoto but the chefs they send against him are beaten like a gong, one by one. And of course the calmness and focus of Sakai, who simply gets the job done, time after time. The interplay and subtlety is what made the show great.
  19. I've been there! The name is...<pounds head on desk>...I can't remember the name. Della and I stopped in a while back. I think we just had some aps and beers, but the people were very nice and we agreed liked it and wanted to come back.
  20. I strongly recommend a burger from Two Bells in Belltown. For one, they bring the burger to you. But secondly they make a great burger. On the very rare occasions when I want a burger and nothing but a burger, that's where I go. Personally, I don't think Dicks and Burgermaster are all that great. Red Mill is a step above both of them, but still not as good as Two Bells.
  21. The food there looks a lot like red x's. I kid! I kid!
  22. I don' t have any recipes but you could always freeze them and then use snack on them in winter....... or use them as ice cubes in fun cocktails to avoid the winter blues. I know you said 20 lbs and that might be a lot to freeze......but you could do a few bags of them that way. Just a thought.
  23. I adore the Jalapeno chips and think they are about the best chip ever made. I dislike the Wasabi - I had one chip and tossed the bag. When I lived in CA during the 90s' I had family members MAIL me the chips every so often. I just had to get a fix.
  24. I normally love anything in the Tim's Cascade Chip line up......but the new WASABI potato chips!! UGH - one chip and the bag got tossed
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