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Daniel Rogov

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  1. Shorthand systems for making wine notes are always idiosyncratic to the person making those notes. More that, they develop over a span of years. Best bet is to start off making a short list of what I call top-line factual items that you consider essential to your review (e.g. color, body, tannins, acidity, etc), assigning each of those a number and then making up a sublist of possibilities: e.g. Color = 1. Light ruby = a; Medium ruby = b; and on and on to ruby towards garnet; garnet towards royal purple, etc, etc. Body Light = a; light-medium= b; medium= c etc.... Also top of the line might be: overall balance, structure Then go to bottom line items among which might be fruit flavors, herbal flavors, mineral flavors(Some might require sub-headings such as earthy-minerals, flinty minerals, etc) other flavors, length A final shorthand comment might look much like: 1A, 2C+,3H, 4B/5D, 4E- None of which exempts one from writing at least a few key words to add to one's memory afterwards, those keywords being critical to the overall evaluation. After having devised such a listing, print it out and take the printout to tastings with you. Use those guidelines, refining them to your own need as required. And, I promise (scout's honor), after a while the codes become internalized and what at first seems like a chore becomes a gift from heaven. Hope that helps more than it confused
  2. You do have a problem. Most truly fine shawarma is made from lamb and chicken, although somewhat lower in cholesterol, is considered distinctlly second-class. If ever I am elected prime-minister of Israel, president of Egypt or made king of any country in which shwarma is served I can assure you that the first thing I will do is to make chicken shwarma a felony offense. I do exaggerate. But believe me, not by much. Best (albeit smiling) Rogov
  3. For those who may be interested, my guide to recommended restaurants in Israel is now on line in two parts. Part I: Tel Aviv http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/villag...hp?f=30&t=16960 Part II: The Rest of Israel: http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/villag...hp?f=30&t=16961
  4. Not for gourmet food but one of the most "fun" festivals - the annual Chile championships at Terralingua, Texas. Also just for fun, the annual garlic festival in Gilroy, California.
  5. Rich, Hi.... If you can hold for about one week, my updated guide to Israeli restaurants (appearrs weekly in HaAretz newspaper) will be on line and I will post a link to that. If more urgent than that, drop me a line to drogov@cheerful.com
  6. Reflecting on the krembo and my comments above and realizing that at least several chefs (especially thinking of talented chef Eran Shroitman of Tel Aviv's Orca) have come up with very sophisticated variations on the theme of that famed fast-food snack to create rather enchanting desserts in their restaurants. Those desserts are ordered primarily by the 25-35 year olds who attend fine restaurants. Their elders continue to go for less playful options.
  7. One does hate to be a curmudgeon but there is a clear historical reason why women tend to be pastry chefs. Until the days of the French revolution there were taverns and auberges but no restaurants as we know the today, most of the fine cookery taking place in the homes of royalty, the landed gentry and the weatlthy. Informally from the time of Lucullus (ancient Rome) and certainly formally starting in the Middle-Ages, men were responsible for forming the guilds of chefs and, in order tn to protect theiir perceived "turf" those guilds were closed to women. The slot that was left open in kitchens that required the, were as either personal cooks for the household (cooks as opposed to chefs) or as pastry chefs. With no apologies on my part (I was not around during the Middle-Ages), male chauvisism has continued to play ts role,being a pastry chef being defined as requiring "few hours and less physical energy" and here too relegated largely to those "of the weaker sex". You know its nonsense and I know its nonsense, but talk to those French and Italian super-star chefs that even today will not allow women into their kitches except as pastry or dessert chefs. Sheesh......from the time it opened until the day it closed, Paris' famed Cafe Anglais would not even allow a women to VISIT their kitchens.
  8. Apologies first for not seeing this thread earlier. Apologies second for shattering a few myths........ 1. The Israeli Krembo was indeed a rip-off of the American Malomar cookie. Unlike Malomars, however, that are supposed to appeal to adults and children alie, the Krembo was originally targeted at the 3-9 year old crowd When first released even Strauss (a mega-food producer by Israeli standards) was astonished to realize that anyone over the mental age of 5 could enjoy them. 2. Indeed the mashmallow (and not meringue!) filling of the Krembo is far softer (one might say "more mushy" ) than the filling of Malomars The cookie base is cheaper,the chocolate topping not as thick. 3. If there is a proof to Gael Greene's dictum to the effect that "in the heart of every gourmet lies the soul of a fast-food lover", that proof is the Krembo. 4. Most sophisticated or even quasi-sophisticated or even wanna-be sophisticates among Israelis will loudly proclaim that their love of the Krembo has nothing to do with fine eating but with nostalgia. 5. In my opinion there are three major ngredients in a Krembo: empty calories, empty calories and empty calories Beyond that all that is there is a bit of foamy air wrapped in a super-cheap foil. And, of course, oostalgia. As to Malomars - not all that many years ago, after a zillion or so years away from life in the USA, I heard that malomars were stilll being produced. I sent an email to my brother (who lives in Masachusetts) and commented aout my childhood memories of those (puncture the malomar with a finger, dip in hot chocolate or coffee). My brother, a geerous soul, did not send me a single box of malomars...he sent me a case of 48 boxes. Miracle of miracles, they survived trans-Atlantic shippnng and on the following day I brewed up some hot chocolate, sat down to feast on my malomars and realized...My God! I once liked this stuff? No fear, I have two nieces. Those malomars made the best gift I had ever given them. And do, please keep in mind the two great scenes from "Sally and Harry", the most otable of course that ends with the line "Ill have whatever it was that she was eating" and the other of Harry, in a depressed mood lying on his bed and poppng malomar after malomar into his mouth. And yes, from time to time I'll pop a Krembo. Never, however, in pubic when one of my readers might see me. That might ruin my repuation!
  9. A vast love of food A vast love for the relationships between food, psychology, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, history and literature At first spending just about every franc I had in restaurants A great deal of good luck.
  10. Trek, Hello..... Let me disagree with two of your premises, the first being that a great many chefs are "divorced, alcoholics, drug addicts or never see their kids". That is no more true for chefs than it is for doctors, lawyers, engineers, restaurant critics or business-people in general. Second, let me disagree that cooking kosher is "so limiting". That is true only with mediocre chefs of little imagination. It is true that there will be certain ingredients and combinations you will not be able to use and that is precisely the challenge - preparing high-quality dishes of interest not by using "substitutes" but by finding new and interesting ways to make your dishes. I suggest before you go any further that you dine at Lilith in Tel Aviv and at Canela in Jerusalem, both of which are kosher but both of which offer up often excellent dining.
  11. Two perhaps silly questions: 1. It is my understanding that many vegans object to the use of eggs in any form and quite a few wines are fined with egg whites. Will this be a problem? 2. Do the wines have to be organic?
  12. Given a pleasant evening or afternoon and a fine view, even if it is only of the town squqre, dining out-of-doors can be one of life's great pleasures. Many of the world's best restaurants justifiably boast about the terraces on which one can dine and wherever one travels, much of the finest bistro, trattoria and tavernna style dining is done en plein air.
  13. Scout's honor, I did not even know it was forbidden to bring some cheeses or meats into the USA, but have never missed the opportunity to bring back fine samples for friends and family. I've always declared the excess wine I bring in (usually 4 - 6 bottles more than the limit) but have never been charged a cent for those. And never been stopped at American customs..... I suppose I live right.
  14. Great topic. I suppose over a lifetime of dining and hunting up foodstuffs, I've brought almot everything you can think of in my baggege. My one limit is bringing anything that might prove dangerous (e.g. plants or vegetables that might contain viruses or insects that could harm the ecology). Best story was during the period when it was illegal to import cheese into Israel. Came back with about 8 kilos of Parmigiano Reggiano and was stopped at the customs desk. Was told that cheese couldn't be brought in. I looked at the inspector with astonishment and told him it wasn't a cheese, it was a spice. He in turn looked at me with skepticism, I scraped off a bit (it was still legal then to carry corkscrews onto airplanes), gave it to him to taste and he agreed immediately that it wasn't cheese but indeed a spice. Power, as it is said, to some of the people.
  15. Should anyone be interested in an article on the history of such restaurant guides (and a criticism of those guides), see my little piece at http://www.stratsplace.com/rogov/mini_guide_rest.html
  16. As might be said "in the beginning" (that is to say for the first twenty years after the guide was published) those were referred to as "rosettes". The term stars came into use only after the Americans started to buy the book in large quantities.
  17. The pecan is indeed a North America/Central American tree but it is part of the hickory family. It was the hickory that was grown in Egypt but considering that hickory nuts themselves are a bit too bitter for modern tastes, the pecan seems a reasonable substittue.
  18. If you want to stay away from "shmaltz" (in the metaphoric and not culinary sense), keep in mind that Joseph dined not on "Jewish food" which was thousands of years away from being devised during his time, but on Egyptian. Consider the following: Everybody knows that the ancient Egyptians were superb mathematicians and engineers. This was the land in which geometry was born and where the pyramids were built. Not nearly as many are aware of the enormous contribution to modern dining habits made by these same people. About 5,000 years ago, Egyptians bakers discovered the secret of leavening. Not too many years later, other cooks, probably in the area of Alexandria, invented the first ovens that were small enough to fit into the average home. The Egyptians also had the wisdom to realize that by combining olive oil, lemon juice and egg yolks you could produce the wonderful condiment known today as "mayonnaise". And, much to the dismay of people who love Marco Polo and all of the myths surrounding his trip to the Orient, it was the Egyptians who invented pasta. Today's Egyptians are probably the world's leading per-capita consumers of bread; eat more beans than the members of any other national group; and thrive on garlic and coriander, both of which are popular seasonings. The diet of most peasants consists primarily of grains, fruits and vegetables, meat being scarce and expensive. For families that are somewhat better off, Mediterranean and Red Sea fish are popular and fowl is much appreciated. Although the Jews of Alexandria and Cairo did not make any major impact on the culinary styles of Egypt, they did adapt many dishes to the special requirements of kashrut. The following dinner, a blend of comfortable sophistication and simple but tasty fare, is one I was privileged to share on a recent visit to Alexandria. The dinner, designed for 4, will sit comfortably on the table of either Jew or Muslim. The Appetizer Bean Cakes Ta'amia 250 gr. pea beans, chickpeas or ful beans 1 1/2 tsp. salt 1 Tbsp. minced onion 2 Tbsp. parsley, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 egg, beaten lightly 1 Tbsp. flour olive or corn oil for frying Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Drain, cover with cold water, add the salt and simmer until the beans are done but still firm (about 45 minutes). Drain, reserving the water. Mix the beans together with the onion, parsley and garlic and puree through a strainer, adding just enough of the reserved water to prevent sticking. Blend the flour together with the eggs and mix into the beans. In a heavy skillet heat about 1" (2 1/2 cm) of the oil and into this drop the mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls. Fry, turning occasionally until both sides are golden and crusty. Drain on paper toweling and serve hot. To serve as an appetizer, place on plates, surrounded with tomato slices and onion rings and garnished with lemon wedges. May also be served as a snack or for lunch with tomato slices and shredded lettuce inside a pita bread. The Soup Pecan Soup 1 cup pecans, chopped finely 1 cup milk 1/2 cup breadcrumbs 2 Tbsp. flour 2 Tbsp. butter 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, ideally home-made 1/4 tsp. mace 1/3 cup light cream 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley salt and pepper to taste Put the pecans, milk, breadcrumbs and flour in a saucepan and bring just to the point of boiling, stirring constantly. Remove immediately from the flame. In a large saucepan melt the butter and stir in the milk mixture. Slowly blend in the stock and mace. Bring to a boil and immediately lower the flame and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream, salt and pepper, pour into individual serving bowls and garnish each with parsley. Serve hot. The Main Course and Vegetable Sea Bass with Garlic Butter 4 sea bass, about 500 gr. each 1/2 cup butter 2 lemons, quartered 1 lemon, sliced 10 cloves garlic, chopped finely salt and pepper to taste oil for frying Clean the fish and dry well on paper toweling. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a heavy skillet heat oil at least 1" (2 ½ cm.) deep and in this fry each fish until nearly done. Remove the fish from the oil and transfer to a baking dish. In a separate skillet melt the butter over a low flame. Add the garlic cloves and stir continuously until the butter begins to brown. Pour the garlic butter over the fish and on each fish place 2 lemon slices. Cover and put in a hot oven until the fish flakes easily to the touch of a fork (about 6 - 8 minutes). Serve hot with the lemon quarters. Baked Fennel in White Sauce For the Sauce: 3 Tbsp. butter about 2 Tbsp. flour 1 1/2cups milk l small onion, studded with 3 whole cloves 1/2 small bay leaf salt and pepper as necessary For the Fennel: 4 large fennel bulbs 1/4 cup butter, melted 1 tsp. each pepper and dill seed 1/2 tsp. salt Clean the fennel bulbs, removing the stems, stalks and ferns. Cook in 2 liters of boiling water with the salt, pepper, dill seed and butter until the fennel is tender. While the fennel is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a saucepan, over a low flame melt the butter. Add and blend in the flour, cooking gently and stirring constantly for 3 - 5 minutes. Continuing to stir, slowly add the milk. Add the onion and bay leaf and continue to cook and stir the sauce (ideally with a whisk) until thick and smooth. Transfer the sauce to a medium oven for 20 minutes. Before using, strain the sauce and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Drain the fennel and cut into 1" (2 1/2 cm) pieces. Place these in a casserole and spoon over the butter. Transfer to the oven until the fennel begins to brown, remove from the oven and spoon over the sauce. Serve hot. The Dessert Palace Bread Esh es Seraya 225 gr. honey 125 gr. each sugar and butter 1 1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs whipped cream for serving In a saucepan heat the honey together with the sugar and butter until the mixture thickens. Add the breadcrumbs and continue cooking, stirring regularly, until the mixture is even throughout. Turn out onto a moistened pie tin and spread so that the mixture is evenly thick throughout. Let cool. To serve, cut into triangular portions and top each with whipped cream.
  19. Several questions raised here, but nothing new. Among the questions, the issue of being overweight as to being obese; the question of additives; and the overall issue of defining addiction. To the best of my knowledge the first person to write about the question of obesity was Lucullus who bemoaned "our too plump soldiers who grow weary in climbing even the smallest of hills". And since then, the world has heard on a daily basis about the "problems" of being overweight. A bit later on Dickens complaned about "clerks with too much weight to carry", Melville wrote about "sailors too sated to have any interest in their whales", and de Toqueville noted the "too-fat, too lethargic New Yorkers" that he had encountered. To all of which I respond - Thank heavens for Tom Jones, Gargantua, the truck drivers in Tampopo and for Babette. Is food addictive? Of course it is. It is required by living creatures to survive. As to human beings, we eat not only because we are hungry but because of social, psychological, historical and even religious reasons. As to obesity - sorry guys - no one to blame but either gentics in some cases or human foibles in others. Believe me, the only additive in Lucullus' time was of saltpeter and that's a sure weight loss mechanism. What can I say other than that I have grown as weary of articles about obesity and overeating as I have about research studies that show that moderate wine consumption is good for the heart, liver, brain, lungs, tongue, tonsils, and cognitive aiities.
  20. Some ask: "Is there life after death?" Others, perhaps more cynical ask "Is there life after birth?" Gastronomes, the most realistic of all people ask "Is there life without bacon?" With regard to the first, my opinion is "almost certainly not" With regard to the second, "depends on the life" With regard to the third, "most certainly not!"
  21. Bravo, Felice.....Your post is precisely to the point.
  22. No one even moderately left of Genghis Khan would disagree with the concept of "good, clean and fair". One of the questions is whether such positive thoughts needs a movement and another of whether the movement is truly effective or merely a self-reinforcing, self-supporting group convincing themselves of their fine behavior. As to grass roots - heck, I'm all for that but even here questions remain - those relting to whether small, artisanal producers can feed the world; whether transporting people from various settings, some tribal and some even feudal, to Italy periodically in order for them to show how well they are "doing and faring" is truly representative of anything at all. It may not be politically correct to say it and, truth be told, the thought actually repels me, but one has to face the at least potential reality that without the huge multi-national corporations, many parts of the world might be a good deal closer to starvation than is currently the case. I am all for cultural diversity in the world of food but I am more concerned about whether those culturally diverse peoples (including us, whomever we may be) have enough nutrients on their table to satisfy the needs of physical and cognitive development and well being. I fear now that I and perhaps we have stated our points of view rather clearly. With a nod to all, I therefore back out of this discussion. Should anyone wish to continue in private, my email is drogov@cheerful.com
  23. Devotay, Hello… A debate such as we have entered into would be more appropriate for a serious week-long symposium than an exchange of posts on a discussion forum. I will, thus, not enter fully into the debate at this time but will simply respond to several of the points in your own post (above) that was addressed to me. 1. My comments were not directed at you personally but at the movement in general. 2. Those comments were not meant to be "insulting". Nor were they meant as an attack. Their onlygoal was to raise a set of important issues with regard to the movement. 3. As to those who are, as you say, "incapable of free thought or the ability to reason" – I would lay that charge against anyone who follows any set of beliefs blindly and cannot, at least in a discussion, perceive a point of view contrary to their own. 4. One wonders if your rather emotional and indeed strong reaction to my comments might demonstrate precisely what I suggested about a potential intellectual blindness. After all, as I suggested, moves or comments perceived as opposed to the movement is returned with an attack 5. Your comparison of the words and goals of the Slow Food Movement to those of Casablanca poses a small leap in logic. Casablanca, as great and lasting a film as it is, is a film and, although open to analysis and criticism, was and is meant primarily as entertainment. The Slow Food Movement is intended to impact on and change lives. 6 The questions that remain relate to whether Slow Food will impact on and change lives. Is it possible, for example, that this is nothing more than a form of imperialism under the guise of political correctness. One might suggest that the very idea what "we will free you" is a rather outmode notion. Freedom is not something that is given. "We" do not own "their" freedom and thus do not have it to give. 7. As to your reference to my comments about myself – you may have missed the point – that having been to introduce a bit of humor to the description of the life-style of the food and wine critic. As to elitism – I'm all for it and firmly believe that any person who does whatever it is that he/she does to the very best of their ability is part of my elite – and that regardless of whether they are bricklayers, critics, poets, authors, professors, or street cleaners. Pax Vobiscum P.S. I have used the word "intellectual" several times in the above. That is not a dirty word, for when I define the intellectual it is as a person who thinks, who enjoys thinking, who considers thinking importnt and who thrives on having his/her views challenged.
  24. Cannot speak to precisely how amba made its way to Egypt, Lebanon and Syria where it is sometimes found, but no mystery at all of how it made its way to Israel - like so many of the dishes here, amba made its way with immigrants from India where the sauce originated. As to use - with street foods such as felafel and shwarma it will be found at almost every stanyd; in simpler but often quite good restaurants speciaizing in kebabs, hishliks, grilled sausages; and even in use with fine chefs whose presentation is a combination of their own cultural roots, local ingredients and sophisticated cookery techniques. Some would say that the ideal felafel has packed into a pita bread - 6 felafel balls, those interspersed with tchina, sprinkled over with onions with sumac, one or another of a dozen hot sauces, amba, shredded white cabbage, perhaps a few bits of pickled carrots or cucumbers, and on and on...... One of the greatest pleasures of such sandwiches is matering the art of eating them without having the liquid and solid ingredients drip or drop onto one's shirt, blouse, trousers, skirt and/or shoes. A miracle, some might say, greater than the parting of the sea. Whoops.....almost forgot.....here in Israel amba as either a sauce or a chutney is almost always made on the premises of the street-side stand or restaurant. A few have been known to buy it pre-prepared. At any rate, I have never befroe heard of powdered amba.
  25. I did, honestly, I did try to keep my mouth shut on this but finally, need wins: Has anyone noticed that the Slow Food Movement is taking on a cult status.... Among the symptoms: Agreement with the leader, even when his statements sometimes are little more than cliches; an attack on those who disagree with the principles of the movement; and devotion to the movement even when/if it goes beyond logic. And do let us please keep in mind Dr. Johnson's axiom to the effect that "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions".
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