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Everything posted by pidge

  1. you can find chickweed and wood sorrel, as well as lovage and several other herbs at union square on saturdays. for the first two, try gorzynski's farm (near 16th st., west side of park), early. ask there if they have the others. lovage is pretty common in about a month in bunches throughout the market, but there is the lady with the organic herb plants who generally has everything. she should be on the west side of the square south of gorzynski, but with the new configuration, i'm not sure... good luck!
  2. the scallop shell is a symbol of santiago di campostela (st. jacques, or santiago matamoros) and is carried by pilgrims who make their way across france and spain to the famous site in galicia*, an incredibly popular pilgrimage since the early middle ages.... one still sees the pilgrinms in burgos and the basque regions. pilgrims carry them to drink from and to symbolize their status for those who might offer comfort along the way. i would guess that this is where the holy part of capesante comes from..... edit from asturias...
  3. hi guys... bit off topic, but does anyone know where alberto baffoni might be now? old, old friend, and i would like to get in touch.
  4. not to defend anyone or to continue too far off topic, but you do all remember that mr. bruni threw down the four star italian gauntlet in his original review of babbo? and, quite frankly, could there be a bigger piece of candy dangled in front of every publicist with either an italian-ate restaurant oor an established three star to flog? what easier way to approach the established food press than to say "this may well be the four star we've all been waiting for"? del posto is not the only restaurant to have such ambitions or to publicize them in the past few years... it's just unfortunate that those ambitions are out there on the record when the restaurants fail to make that cut. nobody recalls the bated breath that awaited the (slam dunk) of per se's review. it surprises me that we often forget that as much as anything the restaurant business is a pr driven business, and that a small number of publicists and writers hold tremendous sway. the value of the buzz in real dollars cannot possibly be overestimated, both for the business and the personal interests of chefs and owners.
  5. Being from NYC I was wondering what are the best restaurants in Charlotte and how would a nYC style restaurant do down there
  6. has anyone ever tried silkscreening a specific design onto the acetate? i need a sort of a logo, and i was thinking that this might be the way to go....???
  7. new favorite on the counters of nyc bodegas....happy hippos...some sort of hippo shaped (3D) wafer cookie thing filled with gianduja-like cream....
  8. got some at n.y. cake and bake about 2 years ago....if you can bear the scene !
  9. gina dipalma, pastry chef, babbo vicky wells, pastry chef, mesa grill and bolo ....still thinking.....
  10. alexandra guarnaschelli, butter laura maioglio, barbetta charleen badman and ann rosenzweig, inside sue torres, suenos patricia williams, formerly of morrells vera tong, pastry chef, sushi samba margherita aloi, arezzo
  11. amen. the thing about media portrayals of the kitchen is that no one ever makes it clear that the work is really hard, and requires a tremendous amount of concntration, skill and, yes, often luck. i went to cooking school, i started at the bottom of the kitchen....sort of a modified prep/dishwasher/loading dock operator. it amazes me when kids from cooking school spend time in my kitchen whether as commis', externs or stages, and think they're gonna start out on the saute station, and it's gonna be like iron chef or monica's restaurant on "friends", and never even bother to learn the dishwasher's names. c'mon...currently i have grads from three different schools, all just starting out, in the kitchen...fortunately, they're not your typical college boys(girls), but i see it all the time, too. and, quite frankly faust, if you read tony bourdain's description of a day in the life of a cook/chef, i think you might (if you were a kitchen person), kind of think of him as a role model, just in being able to describe and remember all the things he did in a day. despite his wild ass, party down rep, the man was a working kitchen drone for a very long time before he himself became a media darling. to answer the original questions: 1. nope, they always make me crazy for lack of accuracy and continuity, and... 2. usually any gangster/chopsocky/spy movie with a chase through a busy hotel kitchen!
  12. roasted chicken at williams bbq sable on a buttered bagel from murray the sturgeon king olive oil gelato at otto focaccia robiola at da ciro marrow bones at blue ribbon steak with anchovy sauce at petrosino burger at corner bistro salumi at lupa capretto at l'impero .......still thinking
  13. pidge

    Fairway Cafe

    lucy's is in abc carpet and home, where he used to oversee the cafe and prepared foods. hmmmmm???
  14. Sponge Bob get's swiped from Burger King. http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/tallahassee.../printstory.jsp ← when i was a kid in pennsylvania, some guys stole the big boy from in front of bobs. unfortunately, he didn't quite fit in the trunk, so the cops found him, scuffed foot and all, by following the giant red smudge to one of the kids houses.....
  15. 11 madison park, in the bar area...nicole makes great desserts, and there are some snuggly banquettes under a silver leaf ceiling.
  16. What? Are you trying to say that all your sheet pans are warped at the Bellagio? Most of mine are too. I hide my flat ones so the hot side doesn't put them in their infamous 500 degree ovens. Actually that's a good question......I've never personally warped a sheet pan myself. How DOES one screw a pan up that bad anyway? ← btw...my old pastry sous (who is an absolute genius) showed me how to alleviate this problem....she drilled holes in the corners of all the flat sheet pans. this really has no effect on the baking side (oh, occaisionally you might lose a little bit of the corner of some roulade if you forget to plug it up), but it makes a HUGE disaster in the oven for the bone-roasters and stove-top sauce reducers who warped all the other ones. once they've messed with your sheet pans they'll never steal them again. also, since it's impossible to explain that it's not really that you mind them using your crimpers to pull the pin bones out of the fish, but that you mind them wasting your precious time when you go looking for the stuff they don't return, i suggest that you put all your small tools somewhere that it's impossible for them to get at without being noticed....inside a service low-boy, in a box under your table, on a high shelf where they'd be noticed reaching....and then, when they absolutely have to borrow your peeler, make them leave a deposit....no cash, no equip....they'll remember to bring it back, and then you're not the proverbial insane pastry chef. also, though it's a pain in the ass and it makes you feel petty, lock up everything when you leave....even if you need to get out the old drill and put a lock on the proof box to hide all those labor intensive cookies that the little cooks just love to eat. having worked all around the kitchen, i can tell you that these are battles you'll never win...pretty much all of them, honestly, and that the best thing for all concerned, but particularly yourself is to establish which of the things that drive you crazy are untenable and to try to find solutions that you....and only you, don't count on the rest of 'em, can live with. if that means backing yourself up with emergency frozen cookie doughs or cakes, even though that might not normally meet your standards, by all means, reconsider your standards. if that means buying miniature tart shells whan it's too busy to make them yourself, well, sometimes somethings gotta give, and you're the commodity here. sometimes it's painful as a pc to let go, but if 110% is all you have to give, then that should be satisfactory. and, hey....if your chef insists on buying you inferior product (though you can try the old food cost argument...."this product is inferior and therefore it costs us more than the appropriate one, which is x and costs y and will save us z", but make sure you know xyand z...), you pretty much can't win. same goes for the manager who wants you to do cashier duty. either they respect youfand your special abilities, or they don't, and it's all a losing proposition. there really are a lot of jobs for dedicated and talented pastry chefs, and there's no need to put up with that kind of crap. just make sure that at your next job....without sounding like a prima donna...you establish the product that you wish to use, and what exactly your job description will be. i wish i had for many of my old jobs!
  17. pidge

    Chinese UWS

    maybe the question is actually whether the chinese food any of us experienced on the upper west side 15-20 years ago (let alone the 70's) was significantly worse than now or whether having been to chinatown or flushing more regularly, with the strong influx of chinese immigrants from different provinces and cuisines- coupled with our own burgeoning food culture, has made us all a little more jaded....or adventuresome? when i first moved to the neighborhood, i considered ollies and shun lee and whoever else to be very good, but my palate has definitely expanded since then. can i say that the food is no longer as good as it was--well,no not really, but it's just not what i expect any more. and, yes, the rents and the basic expense of doing business in the neighborhood do make a difference. that accounts for the fact that what is there is so over-priced comparatively, and that's also why the uws suffers from a dearth of any young, new, exciting less expensive restaurants, bakeries and general little take out shops that others enjoy in their downtown and outer borough neighborhoods. it's just not possible to serve that kind of food and pay 70,000 a month for a corner space on b-way.
  18. pidge

    Spritz cookies

    btw, try to not use parchment. ideally the dough should be buttery enough to slide off of clean, smooth baking sheets. i've used many recipes over the years....my only requirement is that i bump up the almond extract so ythey taste like grandma's.
  19. seriously?!?!?? i worked as a waitress in a restaurant owned by a brother and sister and their respective spouses. their dad washed dishes and did landscaping, and mom made desserts. never, ever in the ensuing 20 odd years i've spent in the biz have i seen anything like that misbegotten conflict....the brother was chef, bil was bar manager...they actually used to throw knives and glasses at each other. the sisters in law hated each other (one eventually left her husband for her brother in law) and had screaming fights weekly. mom and pop, despite 40 years together used to go at it pretty regular-like as well. the chef hit on the waitresses, who were friends of his daughter, naturally leading his wife, the hostess, to be slightly hostile. service happened to be relatively leisurely, as one had to tiptoe very carefully to get the food out of the kitchen without stepping on some landmine. i honestly think it has little to do with the size of the place or the type of ownership...different people encourage respect different ways, and if you enter into the situation with an us vs. them attitude, you're bound to have that kind of atmosphere.
  20. well..... actually, i personally think that i too am pretty demanding, so i guess it goes with the territory, but i also think i spend a lot of time and effort both educating my staff and (for want of a better term), building consensus in my kitchen....every one has input and most of the people train up, so although they may perceive me as being demanding, they also know it benefits them in the long run. i think that at a certain point about 10 years ago that became the outlook of a lot of the people i respect and appreciate in the business who had come up in the old brigade system...i just didnt feel i could be that much of an ass anymore, and the idea of leading a team rather than a bunch of grunts made more sense. i don't know if that is particularly female, but i do think that that sort of management is common to women, and that perhaps it makes women's kitchens less iconic. i still love the work. when i wake up in the morning the first thing i think about is the restaurant, and more often than not, i can't wait to get here. i read about food and the business constantly, read restaurant reviews and articles and cookbooks (and of course egullet!) daily, go to as many restarants as i can in my (rather limeted) free time. most of my friends are in the business, or i mat them through the business, and they all love food and wine. i love the process the most, to be honest...i love creating something from nothing, or figuring out how to use something new. i enjoy being on the line and schedule myself for 5-6 line shifts per week...it's like dancing when it's good, and when it's bad, there's no better feeling than when it's over. i really like developing people, training them, making the team a little tighter. i don't love talking the endless talk,really, and i'm a litle (uncharacteristically) shy about talking with the customers...i kind of like the food to speak for itself. oh, and i really hate maintenence, but i've gotten quite good at it over the years! yeah, there were times when i thought of giving up....for a while i had to work two jobs, a few times when things were tight i'd pick up some waitressing shifts, later it was side consulting (which i've never enjoyed....i really like to be in my kitchen). once, when there were no jobs to be had, i did f&b in a hotel, which was really frustrating in the sense that there often wasn't a lot to do....i'd go and peel apples in the back. i've sometimes tried to think of what else i might like to do, but nothing seems so fulfilling. mostly i've moved around or up when i couldn't take the frustration anymore, the opportunity to do which is, i know, a luxury. i also think i've had a sort of luxury in that, though i've made essentially the same money for a long time, it's been enough to live well on, so the paycheck issue hasn't been so important. but the question of whether i'll ever be great, or wish to....whatever... i don't really know, btw, if i believe the whole fire in the belly thing, either....
  21. i've been browsing this discussion for a few days now, and though i think that there are many interesting and cogent points being made, i think there are some other ones that are being overlooked. i am a working woman chef. i have been in the industry for 25 years, went to cooking school in 1985, and have been working in various types of kitchens since. i have been a chef de partie or executive chef for most of that time. i worked under many truly great male chefs, and with many wonderful male cooks, many of whom have gone on tobecome "famous", even in the parlance of today's media, publicity and celebrity chef culture. they're all terrific guys who would give a tremendous amount of credit to any and all the people they've worked with, regardless of gender. that being said, when i was a cook in the 80's, i was invariably the only woman in the kitchen, or at least the only one who stuck it out. the work was hard...it still is and i'm the exec...and the hours were abominable. in all that time i worked for only one woman (who was, btw, perhaps more demanding than any of the men). There are very few high profile jobs in this industry that don't require a 100% commitment, and just based on the traditional gender roles in society, i think it was then, and still is now, very difficult for a woman to find the kind of support that would allow her to put in the 3-5 years at 6-7 days a week 14 hours a day that 4 star and european style kitchens require. my male friends were generally making more money than the females, they had a mom or girlfriend who would take care of the groceries and laundry, they were not the principal care-givers for their children and they had more socialization within the culture than most of the women (girls didn't just go to bars alone at the end of the shift at 2 am then and meet up with the guys from the restaurant down the block). this is in no way meant to sound whiny or self pitying...i did after all hang around, and i do have a pretty nice life, but for years i shared an employee bathroom and locker room with 15 guys....i learned an awful lot. i guess my point then is that 20 years ago, there was barely a chef culture whatsoever. when it suddenly became sexy to be a chef, there weren't that many women around to begin with, and the female chef role model was julia child...not the female version of wolfgang puck or jacques pepin. there were very few mentors and moreover, those that were were probably more interested in running a great kitchen than fostering their gender (not that there's anything wrong with that, by any means). the guys who've become "famous" ...because i really believe that that's what this conversation is about, great being so subjective a term, have simply had that much more time and that many more opportunities to hone themselves. now, with all that being said, i think that within the next few years, especially in the states, working women chefs will start to emerge and get their due. their are a number of (well, i'll say it) great women who are mentoring other women, and the culture has become more secure and humane. i don't believe per se that great chefs just appear...the c.v.s of anyof the great chefs or food celebrities may start with a love of food, but generally also show a lot of hard work under demanding masters, in various kitchens with various disciplines -and whether a person has the intelligence, creativity, drive and personality to turn that into their own vision is quite another thing, regardless of gender.
  22. i use the eggs last method for some things....generally the sort of friable, high in nut-flour doughs, or things with relatively low moisture/ high fat content that i wish to keep flaky or don't want to spread too much. imho, this would never work for something as high in sugar as a chocolate chip dough...which apparently was the case. trust me, though, that it does work very well if you want to make something like a hazelnut cut-out
  23. you'd be surprised how many people order whole fish in my restaurant with a "do not present--vegetarian" note on the dupe. fish are not vegetables.....flexitarian or not! i'm not really clear on the necessity of a label for every type of eating style/diet known to man. i don't like eggplant tremendously, though i will eat it...does thois make me an antidisegplantarianist or something???
  24. Okay, New Yorkers! SOMEBODY has got to go in there and get the scoop for us here on the other coast... I loved the show - I loved the drama - I loved the back-stabbing, guilt-ridden, product-placement, anxiety-driven angst! PLEASE???? weeelllll....i suppose i could make the sacrifice and have a martini or something, just for the excuse to linger.... any particular drama you're really interested in? (hee hee....martini excuse!!!)
  25. i walked past "the restaurant" the other night and they had these banners hanging off of the canopy that said "battle of the balls" (indeed ) and (more or less) "welcome back chef tony...as seen on t.v....and special guest chef from little italy, coral gables, fla somebody radazzo..." it didn't seem to be bringing in the masses....
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