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Everything posted by enrevanche

  1. enrevanche

    Steven Shaw

    My thoughts today are with Steven's family, friends and loved ones, which categories certainly include members of this community.
  2. There is a good, fairly complete article about this in the Village Voice:Chowhound sold to CNET Networks (Village Voice, Nina Lalli, 11 March 2006)
  3. West Village here. We eat takeout/delivery about twice a week, and these are our go-to spots: Galanga for Thai food. Love the charcoal beef salad, the summer rolls. I've about got them convinced now to make it actually spicy, too. Moustache for incredible ouzi, lamb sandwich, pita and salads. Better Burger, believe it or not, for their giant Mediterranean salads with grilled chicken or salmon on top. With pomegranate dressing. Indian Taj on Bleecker for passable veggie curries, pretty good bhindi masala, and mango chicken. Tea and Sympathy for chicken and leek pie, Stilton and walnut salad, and Nicky's chocolate cake. Murray's Bagels for our traditional weekend brunch of bagels, cream cheese, lox, red onions, and tomatoes.
  4. "Grand Union" stores in the South were actually branded as "Big Star." Same company.
  5. Dean, you can certainly get all the faux-moonshine you need, right there in Raleigh, NC. Wake Country ABC stores carry "Georgia Moon," which is tax-paid white liquor sold in Mason jars (brewed by the good folks at Heaven Hill Distilleries.) If you don't mind a little South Carolina influence, a bourbon-and-ginger made with Blenheim's#3 Hot Ginger Ale will indeed clear your sinuses as well as your palate.
  6. It's an old Irish toast. "May those who love us, love us. And for those who don't love us, May God turn their hearts. And if he cannot turn their hearts, May he turn their ankles, So we may know them by their limping."
  7. In rural North Carolina, the old folks make a variation on a classic old English dessert called "syllabub"; the Southern rendering of the pronunciation is closer to "sillybub." It is a concoction made with heavy (whipping) cream, fresh lemon juice, white wine or sherry, sugar, and fresh mint (some folks add cinammon and/or nutmeg.)
  8. My vote for fridge configuration: freezer-on-the-bottom, as well. Better ergonomics for the refrigerator compartment, which you are going to be using much more often (especially with a free-standing icemaker.) Sears' "Kenmore" line of refrigerators (mostly OEMed by Whirlpool if I recall correctly) offers excellent value for money. Brooks, I think you are right on target about not spending a ton of money on kitchen appliances. The one area where I would urge you to spend a little extra is on your dishwasher. The quiet ones tend to be more expensive, but having a dishwasher that whispers is worth good money in my book. BTW, if you have the space, one of those countertop convection ovens is a great idea. I use a gas oven for routine baking and roasting and have never really found it to be a problem, but having cooked with a friend's convection oven I am mightily intrigued by this technology.
  9. Mexican fast food is flourishing in New York City, and I don't mean Taco Bell. There are a ton of "Fresh Tortilla" storefront places (one prominent local mini-chain is owned by an enterprising young couple from China -- gotta love NY's ethnic melting pot!) that churn out fresh tortillas all day long and stuff them with your choice of fillings for a dollar or two apiece, depending on whether you get a veggie or meat filling. (Satisfying lunch, two tacos and a soda, for under $5--or $3 if you're eating vegetarian--an incredible bargain in high-priced NYC.) Quality ranges from sub-par to pretty good, though almost any California or Texas taqueria would leave one of these places in the dust.
  10. My normal tippling Scotch these days is Dewar's White, but in my impecunious days I was known to drink a dirt-cheap blended Scotch called Inver House (Green Plaid). I first encountered it while working a catering gig, and was frankly surprised when informed of its price. It's a light Scotch, perfectly acceptable for blending in cocktails (though it might be unlovely for drinking neat, it made a decent Scotch-and-soda as I recall, and ought to be okay in a Rob Roy.) A good discount liquor store will stock it for around $10 a 750ml bottle. Truly a price/performance leader. And if you hate it, you've only spent ten bucks.
  11. (scribbling notes furiously from John's list...) Hey, I have a few new places to try next time I visit Paris! We had a very enjoyable meal at L'Epi Dupin on our last trip. In that spirit, let me recommend another restaurant in the 6th arrondissement in virtually the same price range: La Rotisserie d'en Face 2 Rue Christine (Odeon/St-Michel) 01 43 26 40 98 This is a Jacques Cagna-owned bistro with fantastic roasted chicken and good simple side dishes and salads and so forth. Many nice moderately-priced wines available. I had a cold salad of incredibly fresh haricots verts that nearly caused me to swoon with pleasure. Highly recommended. Also, if you find yourself in an unfamiliar neighborhood at lunchtime, the following algorithm almost never fails when seeking good food at reasonable prices: -- Go one or two blocks away from the main avenue, especially if you're in a "touristy" area. -- Wander down any friendly-looking side street. -- Look for a crowd of French people. Eat there.
  12. Many many minor cuts and burns over the years, none of which left lasting marks. Only two scars with stories: -- Working a restaurant gig in college, I opened up my thumb pretty nicely while taking apart and cleaning a commercial slicer. Not on the rotary blade, believe it or not, but on a sharp edge on a bracket. Took a few stitches to close it. Small scar but easy to spot if you're looking for it. -- A few years ago, I got distracted in the kitchen and knocked a heavy chef's knife off the counter. It fell point down and embedded itself in the top of my foot. Ow ow ow. No stitches on that one, but when I pulled the knife out it left a slightly recessed/dimpled wound (and a slightly recessed scar) for some reason.
  13. Usually buy clover honey, though I love fruit blossom honeys (e.g. orange blossom) when I can get them. I put it in tea, on toast and biscuits, and in oatmeal (for killer oatmeal, whip in one raw egg and a generous pour of honey after the oatmeal is cooked... the heat in the oatmeal cooks the egg; the honey adds both wonderful sweetness and texture.) My grandmother used to let a generous chunk of butter get soft and then mix it with honey for spreading on hot bread. There is allegedly a guy in NYC who lives near Central Park and operates a rooftop apiary, making "New York City Honey." I've been keeping an eye out for him at the local greenmarkets, but so far no luck.
  14. Finally tried a bottle of Coke C2 this weekend. I drink a fair bit of soda, absolutely cannot abide regular diet sodas, and am currently making at least a half-assed effort to lose weight, so finding places to cut calories is of particular interest. C2 tastes *much* better than a Diet Coke, but it does leave a lingering and somewhat unpleasant artificial-sweetener aftertaste. I'll pass, thanks. I think I'll just continue to drink less soda, more water... and have a "real" Coke every now and then when I want one. I would try a Pepsi Edge if I saw one, I guess, but so far no luck any place that I shop in NYC.
  15. Eh, I do it every day. "Large coffee please." (I refuse to say "venti.") They always get my order right, too, even without the faux-Italian. Speaking of Starbucks, and thinking of Jason's comment that he's never yet seen a successful smart-card implementation: I am pretty sure that Starbucks has achieved at least a modest success with their "Duetto" card. Cleverly, it's a Visa credit card everywhere but Starbucks, where it can be used as a stored value/smart card. I seem to see quite a few people using these at the local Starbucks in the morning. I will reserve judgment on Starwich until I've had a few sandwiches there. I do not think that they are pricing themselves out of their market, necessarily - in a world (Midtown) where a plain cheese slice and a fountain Coke sets you back $4-5, a really well-made sandwich for $9-10 is not unreasonable. From a quick look at their menu, it looks as if they're going to have some quite decent breakfast options as well. Ghastly web site, though.
  16. enrevanche

    pocket knife

    Spyderco makes high-quality folding, locking-blade pocketknives. Many of them can be ordered with serrated edges, perfect for thinly slicing a tomato or halving a bagel. A miniature all-stainless-steel Spyderco knife with a curved, serrated blade (the "Cricket") has been my standard take-everywhere-but-airplanes pocketknife for years now, and has sliced everything from bread to sausages. Highly practical. Doesn't look "scary," isn't very big, but will cut anything. Whether you get a stainless blade or not, the steel Spyderco uses is of very high quality. They are offered with plastic (reinforced nylon) or steel handles (plastic makes for a much lighter overall knife but is still quite sturdy.) It's been years since I bought mine, but I'd guess one of these guys could be had for between $40 (plastic handle) and $75 (steel handle) at retail. They can often be found at quite decent discounts online. Hope this helps.
  17. Paris Apartments is a portal-like listing of rental agencies in Paris, most of which have extensive information online about available properties in various parts of the city. (Many listings in English, but for some it helps if you speak a little French, naturally.)
  18. enrevanche


    Fifi, I would guess that you won't have trouble finding White Lily in Texas, but in case you do: Both White Lily and Martha White (two very good biscuit baking flours) can be ordered straight from the manufacturers. White Lily Martha White I've been buying Martha White flour and cornmeal by mail-order ever since I moved to NYC.
  19. enrevanche


    Some additional biscuit commentary and recipes in this thread from late June. For the record, I have tried dozens of biscuit recipes before finally settling on the Basic Rolled Biscuits (buttermilk variant) recipe from Joy of Cooking. These biscuits, to me, taste the closest to the Platonic Ideal of Biscuitness--the from-scratch biscuits that Grandma Addie used to make without a recipe.
  20. Ruby et Violette on W 50th St. These cookies are not cheap (not $5 each by any means, but at $18 a pound, a dozen cookies (roughly) to the pound, more like, say, $1.50 each retail) but they are the best I've tasted from any shop in Manhattan. Not too long ago, a client sent a big assorted gift basket to my wife's office, and she brought a few home for me (that's love, right there.) Since it's a reception for an arts organization, I'd call R et V and tell them that - I wouldn't be surprised if a modest price break were to be offered. They are definitely capable of delivering catering-quantities of cookies to you on pretty short notice. Good luck!
  21. (raises hand) Small New York City apartment, big collection of inherited and beautifully seasoned cast iron. Solution: A small exhaust fan and an open window. We bought a small Vornado at Bed Bath and Beyond. It's a tiny little thing but moves an absolutely shocking quantity of air. Solved the problem--no more smoke. I think it set us back $30-35. Cast iron is crucial in putting the right crust on a sausage patty. And I wouldn't think of baking a cake of cornbread (also nice smeared with butter and jam, or crumbled into sweet milk or buttermilk, as part of your Complete Southern Breakfast if you're not in the mood for biscuits) in anything else.
  22. (shrug) Most of the seafood places in and around Calabash will happily broil or grill a fish for you if you ask; it's usually right there on the menu. Chacun a son gout; I'd be willing to bet that Calabash restauraunts fry 99 flounders for every one they broil or grill, and that's what people go there for... but the choices are definitely there. Personally, I think that Calabash-style seafood--in which the fish is breaded lightly in cornmeal and fried very quickly in hot oil--absolutely requires the freshest fish available, and the fresh ingredients don't suffer at all in the preparation. In fact, I never order fried seafood outside of the South (or in a few very select soul-food restaurants here in NYC) as the fish is generally fried way too long and gets mushy and soaked with grease. Very unappetizing.
  23. Ah, Calabash. It's been years and years since I've been there, but back in the day, Dockside Seafood House on Nance Street (right on the waterfront) used to be my family's favorite. After a long day of fishing, swimming and sunbathing (why do we eat so much at the beach? Is it the sea air?) we would pull up to a table at Dockside and put away heroic quantities of fried flounder, shrimp and scallops, and watch the boats on the Calabash River through the big picture windows. Every restaurant in Calabash claims to have been the first one (just like every Ray's Pizza in NYC is "the original") but it's safe to say that Dockside, if not the first, was certainly *one* of the very first. They've been there forever.
  24. Midtown/Hell's Kitchen is the consensus "best" of the Grand Sichuan branches, but we usually eat at the one in Chelsea (simply because it's walking distance from our house) and always get a great meal there. GS is one of those rare restaurants where you can basically close your eyes, open the menu at random and point and be assured of eating well.
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