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Robin Shuster

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Everything posted by Robin Shuster

  1. The cafe at Palena would qualify for both good food and good prices. That wonderful roast chicken is 10 dollars. And it serves two people easily. Add a salad or soup or appetizer -- even from the restaurant menu and you are under Menton's budget. You can also do Cashion's for 45 a person. And Rice.
  2. That was one of the points I tried to make. It's cheaper to ban raw milk than it is to have the controls and inspections that would certify we had a healthy raw product. Of course we, as a society, could allow raw milk but subject it's sale to rigorous testing and controls that would raise the price considerably. There may, or may not be a market at the price necessary, but it's not even that simple. The pasturized milk lobby that represents milk plants that operate far too sloppily to ever produce safe raw milk fears the effect of raw milk on the market. It lobbies the legislators and indoctrinates enough of the consumer market with fear thus reducing the power of those who would pay the price for raw milk cheese. Snip... Nevertheless, I suspect we're taking the easy safeguards but not necessarily the important ones. ← Bux, thank you. I think you summed this up perfectly.
  3. thank you, all, for your suggestions. I gave them to my husband this morning! robin
  4. Dear Vancouver eGulleteers: My husband is going to be spending a lot of time around St Paul's over the next six days because his 91 year old father is having open heart surgery. Can you recommend some restaurants in the neighborhood of St Paul's Hospital (1100 Burrard Street)? Thank-you. Robin
  5. Forrest Pritchard of Smith FAmily Farm sells grass fed and finished beef at the TAkoma Park Farmers Market on Sundays and the ARlington Market on Saturdays. He can supply you. Grass fed is better than organic. Cows are not supposed to eat grain, organic or conventional. They cannot digest it.
  6. Had dinner at Black Salt Friday night. We ordered a selection of all the oysters and discovered Sisterpoint oysters,( a variety I had never tasted before and like better than the Malpeque to my surprise.) and the Morrocan mussels to start. I agree with DonR. The feta cheese is a strange addition that did not complement the dish. The preserved lemon did. The mussels were unusually plump and sweet and of very high quality. I liked the dish but I tired of the sauce . A NZ Stoneleigh Reisling went unexpectedly well with it. My husband ordered the skate confit. The fish itself was very salty. I had made skate earlier this week and it usually has a sweet flesh. This did not and we found the rest of the dish properly made but uninteresting. The wood grilled squid with arugula dressed with Vietnamese chili vinaigrette was superb. The squid rings were tender. Every bite brought out another bit of the flavour mix- citrusy, smoky, a little bit of pepper from the arugula. The chocolate peanut brittle cake was a delightful mix of tastes and texture-- the chocolate and the brittle. Not very sweet. It is really a deconstructed Snickers bar for adults -- but with a European style. Very successful. I will definitely go back.
  7. A chat with chef Igles Corelli in the Italy forum. ← Thanks you for directing me/us to that extraordinary thread, Bux! I wanted to book a plane to Italy and meet him immediately and eat at his restaurant. What a generous couple they both are!
  8. I don't know your town, or that pocket of France, but I know the story. We've been visiting various parts of France since the mid 60s. The best I can say is that the quality of food in France has dropped sufficiently enough for there to be movements of resistance and artisanal producers who are rejecting an urban lifestyle rather than those who are carrying on the business of the family farm. Regional microbreweries are part of that movement. ← You are right, Bux, that there is backlash among the artisans for real food and that is why I am not completely pessimistic. And I have run across farmers who are serious about growing good varieties of vegetables and pastured animals. But the movement is stronger here in the US. My French friends are always surprized when I tell them that. For some reason the French as a people are much more willing to settle for mediocre food than the Italians have been. Italians have been much craftier in finding their way around EU rules (I believe they have protected 2000 artisanal foods from EU rules by declaring them National Treaures). The French are in danger of losing young raw millk cheeses! It is not an accident that there are many more Slow Food members in Italy (and the US) than in France.
  9. But I do think that these have changed in rural France and not really to its culinary advantage. I live part of the year in a tiny village (300 people) in the Alpes de Haute Provence. The butcher fell down from his roof the day we bought our house and never reopened. The bakery has been producing terrible bread since 1540(!), but the wine has improved from gutrotting to mediocre. It was a self sufficient farming village for 600 years, but most of the farmers are quite old and nearly all the commerce that made the village lively until WWII has died out. The big Agri Gel monster truck comes by with its frozen foods once a month and even the old ladies who know how to cook tradtional foods buy from them. The nearest market is 20 kms away -- one of the liveliest in Provence and much written about. The tomatoes are supermarket varieties that ship well but taste of little, the peppers are often from Spain or Holland and there are more resellers than farmers. The quality of the veggies is usually but not always better in my local farmers markets in DC than there. I can find top quality veggies, but it takes a lot of time and driving. The three local cafes/restaurants are mediocre at best and do not buy from local farmers. The local farmers I speak to have no relationship with any regional restaurants. You have a much better chance of finding a good bistro cooking local produce in NYC, San Francisco, even DC than in much of the small towns of the Provence I know. The Chef=farmer connexion is weak or nonexistent, except in the haute cuisine restaurants. Luckily, there has been some backlash. Several farmers have started to grow real tomatoes again and their tomatoes are wildly popular so traditional varieties are reappearing. True producer only farmers markets that exclude resellers with Spanish veggies have started to appear. The goat cheese is still excellent and the butchers in nearby towns are skilled and knowledgeable. People still forage wild asparagus in the Spring and baskets and baskets of wild mushrooms whenever it rains. There is good wild game in the Fall. And there are still small farmers who sell long green or pimply yellow snake shaped courgettes that are the best I have ever tasted. My carrot guy died last year, though. Still hard to find excellent bread, but there is a superb baker 90 minutes away who grinds his own flours and bakes huge 5 kilo rounds of bread that lasts two weeks wrapped in a teatowel. All this to say that the food situation in Provence is in flux. Things are not as they used to be. Things were probably never quite like they were reported to be either. ←
  10. Try contacting Cheryl or Mark at LFM (London's Farmers' Markets. They can tell you. Mark Handley and Cheryl Cohen London Farmers' Markets Po Box 37363 London N1 7WB Tel: 020 7704 9659 Fax: 020 7359 1938 Email: info@lfm.org.uk Good Luck! I deeply regret that I can't get unpastaurised cream here anymore. The local farm shop used to have it, shipped from Neal's Yard, but they have stopped as they were getting too many batches that had gone off. ANy enterprising dairies that can ship to Cambridge UK? ←
  11. I was there a few weeks ago with my husband and we both enjoyed our meal. It reminded me of HOME as it was when it first opened. Mostly but not exclusively Local produce. Good American bistro food. That night it was not crowded but I suppose it will be now. The sausages were excellent and the swine of the week braised shoulder of pork was succulent. I spoke with the chefs. The kitchen uses induction cooktops because the landlord would not let them install a stack for gas.
  12. disappointing small restaurants are not limited to the US. I live in Provence 3 months a year and it is very difficult to find good restaurants of the kind he clearly hoped to find along rte 66 in the part of Provence (Alpes de Haute Provence) where I live. (Italy seems to have held on to theirs). Too many Agri Gel trucks delivering frozen foods to family restaurants. Lousy tomatoes. Horrible bread.
  13. I find a huge difference in the quality of the food between Dupont and Penn Qtr. I don't like the food at Penn Qtr at all.
  14. Robin Shuster

    Dinner! 2005

    dry spice rubbed Boston butt, baked at 180 degrees for 6 hours -- fabulous and tender and moist, believe it or not. roasted fennel sauteed shredded dinosaur kale with hot peppers and garlic Sliced pink lady apples for dessert -- acid and sweet, firm, the best apples I have had this year.
  15. I was finishing off a split pea soup today. I had overthinned the remaining lovely 3 day old sludge for lunch. Instead of just reducing it back to the thickness I wanted, I pureed in the remains of an avocado. I had never tried that before and it added a wonderful, billlowy voluptousness to the soup wthout diluting the flavour. Creamless cream of mushroom tomorrow.
  16. I am for sustainability in agriculture and cutting out pestides but if I have to choose between organic and local, I choose local. Ideally, local without pesticides. Organic has become a coopted marketing term. There are plenty of farms that are run as organic agribusinesses -- they just use organic inputs rather than pesticides. That said, I am glad that the terms forbids the use of pesticides. I think varietal differences probably make more difference to taste than organic vs non organic. For example, non organically raised Earliglow strawberries are much sweeter than the huge organic strawberries you seen everywhere. And freshness makes a huge difference as well. Just picked salad greens from your local farmer are likely to taste much better than 5 day old organic greens trucked into Whole Foods from California. But organic does not mean best practises in agriculture. Organic milk and beef and eggs may come from cows and chickens that have never tasted grass and only have "access" to open air, but have never chosen to take advantage of their open doors. They eat organic grains but they would be a lot better off eating grass. Organic chickens may never have been outside -- they can be organically raised in a large barn and rushed to maturity. All this is better than conventional chicken raising, but it is not going to provide you with the best flavours..
  17. Just one recipe so far. I made the Scallop Mousse with Ginger Infused Veloute as our first course for a New Year's dinner. 9 good cooks could not stop raving about it, so I would call it an unqualified success.
  18. Great idea! Two ideas that are not whole recipes-- 1. use rosemary in split pea soups-- 2. I tend to eat bean/lentil soups over several days. The first day I eat them as whole bean/lentil soups, the second day I puree the leftover soup for 5 minutes with a hand blender. It creates a very light consistency. This works well with winter squash soups as well.
  19. John, Where did you post your notes on these two books? I have not been able to find them. Thanks Robin
  20. Intriguing. Who and where is Mark Randolf?
  21. I will miss Ann's pastries and cookies and cakes very much so who are you going to now for wonderful European style cakes and pastries?
  22. Malawry, You may want to get this book which is supposed to be the definitive book on Parisians bakeries. Kaplan is American and has been hunting down authentic and delicious boulangeries for years. Cherchez le pain : Guide des meilleures boulangeries de Paris de Steven-L Kaplan, Marie-Christine Fabiani-Kaplan I like wandering around non touristy areas like the 11th and the 12th --about a 10 minute walk west of the Bastille. There is a good market there several days a week and a great North African pastry shop with good coffee and interesting Algerian lunches especially a kind of pasta called Reshta. It is called La Bague de Kenza-- about half a block from the Faidherb-Chaligny metro station. I also like the Aligre Market, but here are some other markets as ell http://www.jeanne-feldman.com/articles/look_markets.htm Have fun. Robin
  23. I run a farmers' market in Washington DC and I agree -- If forced to choose, I chose Local over Organic for vegetables and fruit (although I prefer that the local be raised without pesticides) Fruits and veg lose their nutrients with every hour and mile they travel from the fields -- and a 5 day old Organic lettuce from California is not going to have the taste of a local lettuce that is fresh But meat is different. I want pasteured fed and finished meats and if I cannot find them locally, I am happy to buy them from California. Robin The Irony of buying organic from the USA is when you can have the product in season here, is the fuel takes more energy to come to Canada and has more damage to the environment then if you just bought local stuff. Canadian food is still very good quality, there are so many farms growing great food. Why do we need organic from California when we can get the same thing here? Shop around, after time you will see who has the best prices. Always check quality and freshness, fresh looking produce means they are busy which means less waste and maybe cheaper prices. steve ←
  24. Has anyone been to Little Giant in LES?
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