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godito

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  1. In typical authentic argentinian "parrilladas", servers typically won't write anything down. I know of a couple of such establishments that forbid their servers to write anything at the table, with the exception of large parties (I forget what their definition of a "large party" was, but I believe it was 12 or more). If you are new, you are allowed to write stuff down after you left the table, but with enough training and practice, servers don't do it anymore. I've met a few servers that are so good at the memory game that they tend to make bets with customers reluctant to believe they will remember everything. One very impressive server that I know, working at my restaurant, could even tell us what the customers ate at his tables after the service was done. There are several ways. The server can leave the table and write down the order (or type it in the software) for the kitchen. In one of the parrilladas I talk about, the kitchen was supposed to memorize the order as well. The grill-master there was so good that he even helped new forgetful servers (he knew the cuts and the specific doneness of every order he received). In general, if the restaurant is willing to train their servers, I think it's great that they memorize. I don't think it's a terrible thing if they go back to the table to double check before going to the kitchen. But if the personnel turnover is high, the servers better be writing it down. Nothing worst than a screwed-up order
  2. Let me note that I am no historian and have done no research on this topic. However, there is a few points that might help understand how bread making in South America evolved (although I might be just guessing here) Flour (wheat) was introduced by the spaniards. As with wine, for religious reasons, they needed to have bread in the table (or at least during some catholic ceremonies. As for "milling", latina american pre-columbian cultures already used that technique. Most cultures for corn. Fermenting is also an old tradition. Not always by saliva, and mostly for beverages. I am unaware of any fermented indigenous bread.
  3. Man, am I junping late into this discussion.... however, I do have a few recommendations for Mendoza. I have no winery suggestions, as I have not been in many. However, I can recommend three restaurants The first on my list is Restaurante 1884. Francis Mallmann, the chef, is an iconic argentinian cook, and this place, inside Escorihuela winery is gorgeous! I'd also recommend Cavas Wine Lodge for a visit. If you have the money and make the reservations with time, you can also stay at one of their few cabins. The food is great, and the ambience couldn't be better. Finally, La Marchigiana is a traditional argentinian-italian restaurant. Very rustic, and not at all spectacular. But I did like the pasta there. Sorry I didn't see this post earlier, and I hope it helps somebody!
  4. godito

    Crunch without nuts

    So, as you can see, many options available. Basically if you are able to dry any food (that is: apply dry heat until crunchy, either by, say, using an oven or deep frying), then you have your crunchy alternatives to nuts to add texture. Other options? Crumbled taco chells or nachos Chips (any kind will do) Cereal. Most of the time, cereal is crunchy, but won't remain that way in a moist environment Cookies and/or crackers Croutons or any stale bread Dough, in general, like a touille works great
  5. If we start any argument by saying that it's cruel to eat any animal unless it's the only aailable food, then PETA's right. But I don't believe that. I think we need to be more respectful of the food we eat (many of my customers won't eat innadrs, for instance, but they sure like the T-Bone, so we kill a whole cow only for a few selected cuts? That's cruel!) As far as foie gras goes, I visited Hudson Valley's duck farm, and I didn't see the animals being treated with cruelty or disrespect (at least as compared to a couple of chicken farms I've seen). I think there should be more regulation on how we treat the animals we eat. Had we done so in the past, mad cow's decease and other dangerous illnesses might have never occured. I would just make a strict regulation on how a duck must be fed in order to obtain foie gras. + 1/2. Only half because I agree they are insane fanatics, but they have a strong intellectual supporting crew that get's listened to when they speak. And at least a few of them are well educated and eloquent.
  6. Hard to tell. I mean, it's easy to understand why they wouldn't sit two at a four seater, but it's obvious they had no reservations. Maybe they were optimistic and expected a higher turnover. Maybe it's just a hard-to-die habit, and when she realized she had to seat two at a four seater, she went for the table least likely to be filled anyways. Or, more likely, the slow business at a nice restaurant with good food is due to poor service by their wait staff (they should offer a better option if you look unconfortable and they have no reservatios... more so if there are bugs near the first choice)
  7. Everything I wanted to say about this topic has already been stated above. However, to recap: Make sure the egg yolks you're using are bright orange (free range are best). I like the above mentioned ratio: 2 egg yolks to 100 grams flour. Depending on the egg, a little extra moisture might be needed (just add some more water) Substitute at least 25% of the flour with semolina. The formula I like to use is 400 grams flour and 100 grams semolina. For deeper yellow, use more semolina. It is likely that the pasta you ate was colored. You can add food dye to it (very little, otherwise it turns electric yellow, and that just looks silly) or even some pumpkin purée. Most of the times, whatever purée is added to pasta will have no effect on the flavor, but that depends on the sauce, as well.
  8. Did you taste it already? It's my experience that colored pasta is just that: colored pasta. The vegetable (or whatever) is added for dramatic effect more than flavor. Some notable exceptions: spicy hot pasta, saffron pasta and to some extent squid ink pasta. Most green vegetable pasts that I've come accross (or even made) have a very mild vegetable flavor, which is usually lost with the sauce. I would try to add wilted arugula to the pasta (olive oil, arugula, a little garlic, maybe some cherry tomatoes and peperoncino flakes). Or, instead of arugula, for something more bitter and nicer in color, wilted radicchio
  9. Let me give you my point of view. I´m not a sommelier, but I am the chef and owner of a restaurant. 1. The sommelier is hired to boost up the wine sales. This doesn't mean he/she is going to try to upsell wines. In general, my experience is quite the opposite. They want happy returning customers willing to listen to his/her recommendations because they are sound and they are not overly expensive. 2. As the owner, I never want the sommelier to dictate what wine are my customers drinking. You can always guide them, but never act like you know better (sommeliers, like chefs, know more, they don't know better) So yes, if they want a Cav with their shallow poached sole, then the sommelier should do the best to estimate what kind of cav would the guest enjoy more. 3.If the customers call over the sommelier because they want a good pairing, then the server should advice him/her on what they ordered, although I see nothing wrong in asking them when approaching the table. 4. Prices should never be mentioned. Advising three or four different wines from several price ranges is the way to go. And that should be only to recognize how much are the customers willing to spend. First, the sommelier chooses a few wines from different price ranges that would pair well with the food. The customer is reading the wine list and the sommelier is pointing at the wines. The customer will tell him which one he wants, and this is when the sommelier has to really listen and read the customer. Why was that wine chosen? Price? Variety? Has he/she already tasted that wine? Then the sommelier has to make sure the customer will be happy with the wine chosen. S/He can try to find out if the customer likes the acidity, boldness, aromatics of the wine chosen and recommend something with simmilar caracteristics. This can also be done in different price ranges, bt with more alternatives in the one already picked. 5. If there is no way to make a wine match both plates, then the sommelier should say so. If the restaurant serves wines by the glass, he/she should advice the customers to each get the wine that best fits their plate. If that's not an optione, you forget a little about the food and ask about their likes and dislikes with wines in general, and base the recommendation upon that. Always trying to somewhat match at least some of the food (at least the food that the customer that chose the wine ordered). And always making sure the customers know that such wine isn't going to match every dish. Hope this helps.
  10. I like many of the choices above, and would also like to mention Francis Mallman's Seven FIres. This book features everything a serius grilling enthusiast (mind you, I said "serius") will ever need. And some stuff he might never do, like cooking a whole cow. Very creative recipes in this book. I've used some at home, and even got inspired by a couple for my restaurant.
  11. godito

    Favorite Food and Drink Apps

    I like the Ratio App, although I've only been fiddling with it for a couple of days.
  12. Taryn, thank you for posting the pictures. They look great. I´m glad you enjoyed your visit. If I remember correctly, the squid was, indeed, stuffed with mushrooms. U had forgoten about that dish. I think I'll put it back on rotation for a new tasting menu. Cheers!
  13. I have a small menu, only 4 or 5 starters, no more than 8 main courses and 4 desserts. I always have at least one vegetarian appetizer and one vegetarian man course, so there is that option. However, there is a few places with wider vegetarian alternatives, includig the Magestic, which serves great indian cuisine (and is, of course, mostly vegetarian). I can go into detail in other options, but I haven't gone out to many restaurants lately, so I don't even know if thy are still open.
  14. Here's some more pictures I took during service last week. This how the ranges looked right before we fired the main courses on our last four-top. I know this picture is a little blury. This is our vidriola (a local fish similar to albacore but milder tasting) with "marbled" potato purée (which are differently colored potatoes from the island of Chiloé whipped sepparately and roughly put together to keep the appearance of marble) and bolivian inspired scrambled eggs with bacon and peas. Tastes like home! Another blury one. Sorry. This one is our braised lamb shank with polenta in two textures and a wine-chocolate reduction. I really like this dish. A customer on saturday told me it was the best lamb shank he had eaten in Santiago. It's not that hard when you start with great raw materials and apply techniques correctly.
  15. Doc, I could write a whole topic on the variety of ingredients from Chile, but I will just point out a few: 1. Seafood. 2500 miles of coast in this very narrow country. I'm not going to say unique, but we do find seafood like "machas", which kind of look like shorter-wider-more red razor clams. Locos, which are a variety of abalone, sea urchin and other iodine-tasting seafood. 2. The many climates. The long strip of land goes from south to north, so that guarantees a lot of different micro-climates. We go from the most arid dessert in the world at the north of Chile to very moist forests, full of berries and mushrooms in the south. The central valley is similar to that in California, so it's rich in produce. 3. Special preparations with local ingredients. They make sweet crackers in the north, with some kind of mango jam. The mango comes from the oasis found in the middle of the dessert. In the south they make garlic paste. We also have chuchoca, which is kind of like... polenta, only rougher. And also harina tostada, or toasted flour, which is usually eaten with fruit (they sprinkle it over watermelon). Finally, there is merken, which is a smoked chilli powder available in many different qualities. Now, you're right. It's hard to sell Chile as a country with deep culinary identity. And in general, because it is a loooong narrow country, to find some recognizable cultural identity, one would have to travel to the deep south. Santiago is a very cosmopolitan city, not too different from many other in south america (except, perhaps, a little bit cleaner and far more organized) So I can't promise that you'll find food that is regional and exclusive to chile (I mean, you can, but you have to be well guided), What I can promise, whta we do here at Fabula and what my collegues are doing, is that we feature local products (most times trying to rescue ones that are not so common but which grow well in Chile like celeriac or jerusalem artichoke) and do interesting and flavorlul cuisines. Maybe we are the ones to eventually give Chile an identity.
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