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Posts posted by Artichoke

  1. ok, what is it? 4 episodes remaining? I'm making predictions.

    Next 2 weeks spike or lisa goes home (yay! who cares what order they fall!)

    3rd week, Antonia bites it.

    Richard wins the final.

    Sticking to my guns on this one.

    I think Steph will win. Unless she blows it big time (and I don't think she will) there has to be some pressure--conscious or unconscious--to have a female winner. So all things being equal I think she would get the nod. But she is talented enough anyway to take the win, so my money's on her!

    It also wouldn't surprise me to see Stephanie win a couple more challenges and then Richard win the final. She's already won a trip, kitchen appliances, etc etc...

    I'd love it if she won the final. It definitely will be down to her and Richard. They are easily the best chefs on the show.

    I would like to see Stephanie win as well. I think her cooking style is great, straightforward, flavorful, hearty. Richard seems to be very talented, but of that group of chefs that focus so much on being different, complicated and creative. It works to a point. The appetizer last night sounded great, but that entree was so unappealing to me.

  2. I loved that the quickfire challange involved butchering skills (I have always wanted to take a year off of work and intern with a butcher), but did it pain anyone else to see all of that intercostal meat and fat get trimmed away? That is one of the best parts of a bone-in rib-eye. I would have taken those trimmings back to the house with me. I loath Ilan (cooking off of the Casa Mono menu was no great achievement), but I agree with him about tenderloin being his least favorite cut, it ranks up there with chicken breasts for me.

  3. My wife and I recently moved to a new apartment and are in the midst of renovating the kitchen. After many conversations I finally got her to agree to go along with my desire for a BlueStar range.

    We were all set to order one today when she looked at the specs and saw that it was a convection and balked. I cook and she bakes. I have never baked anything in my life but I know that for myself, from beast to fowl to fish, I get superior results with the convection. She claims that the convection oven will be a detriment to her baking. She is a very good baker (having learned from her mom who is an excellent baker) but I think her phobia is based on the few times she baked something in our old oven, not realizing it was on convection and got a poor result.

    My question to you bakers is what are your feelings on baking with a convection oven? Does it help or hinder? Do recipes need to be adjusted when using a convection? Again, I know nothing about baking, but I have to assume that one can bake effectively using a convection oven.

    Thanks for any insight you can provide

  4. I think what tops the list of overlooked cookbooks are the out of print Time Life Good Cook book series from the late 1970's. The series editor was Richard Olney. The books cover separate topics such as poultry, beef & veal, sauces, lamb, pork, etc. The book entitled Variety Meats, is simply one of the best books written in English covering the topic of offal and one of my most cherished cookbooks in a 300+ collection. The series is phenomenal on a number of levels. Firstly, the detailed instruction accompanied by photographs is a great learning tool. Secondly, the recipes are so refreshing in that they bring you back to a time before the obsession with what is deemed "healthy" and all of the cooking trends of the last 20 years. It is nice to read a recipe that calls for an addition of a calf's foot as something matter of fact and not something out of the norm or part of some offal eating trend.

    Other overlooked books:

    La Varenne Pratique, by Ann Willan. A very good comprehensive guide to ingredients and technique.

    Alan Davidson's trilogy on seafood, Mediterranean Seafood, North Atlantic Seafood and Seafood of South-East Asia

    Innards and other Variety Meats by Jane Allen & Margaret Gin. Long before Nose to Tail Eating, this book is a gem for any offal lover.

    I am not certain if it is overlooked now that it has been re-published in one volume, but Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques is an essential teaching tool.

    French Regional Cooking by Ann Willan. I do not know why this is out of print, but it is her best book and a great text for lovers of French food, with detailed descriptions of each of Frances regions, foods and recipes.

    Another out of print gem, The Classic Pasta Cookbook, by Giuliano Hazan, Marcella's son. If you enjoy pasta, this is the book to own.

    Goose Fat and Garlic, by Jeanne Strang. Released again in 2006, great book on the cooking of South-west France.

    The Lutece Cookbook by Andre Soltner. From one of the greatest chefs to ever cook in Manhattan (in my humble opinion) Nothing like most of the cookbooks from today's restaurant owning chefs. The book is incredibly thoughtful, well written, with great recipes and background and very much geared towards the home chef. A very interesting section is his recipes based on the cooking and traditions of the Jews of Alsace.

    I could go on, but I need to get back to work.

  5. Is anyone going to the Chris Cosentino dinner? . It is pricey, but the menu sounded too good to pass up

    The Menu:

    Passed Hors D'Oeuvres:

    - Beef heart tartar puttanesca

    - Fritto of honeycomb Tripe with olives and oregano

    - Porchetta di testa with radish and pecorino

    Paired with Zucchi Pignoletto NV, Emilia-Romagna


    - Beef tendon and sweet breads, with chili and mint // Nero d'Avola, Feudo Montoni 2003, Sicily

    - Turf and Surf: trotters and lobster with tarragon // Ribolla Gialla, La Castellada 2000, Friuli-Venezia Giulia

    - Crudo of venison liver, with juniper, beets and balsamic // Sangue di Giuda, Tenimenti Confalonieri, La Versa 2006, Lombardy

    - Whole roasted spring lamb neck with lambs milk polenta and gremolata // Nieddera Rosso, Contini 2003, Sardinia

    - Candied cockscombs with riso pudding // Recioto di Soave "Col Foscarin", Gini 2004, Veneto

  6. My wife and I just bought an apartment on the Upper East Side and while the 3 bedroom was bought for a good price (well, good for Manhattan) the trade off is a small kitchen. The kitchen is about 5.5 x 13.5, which is a bitch, but I rationalized it by thinking that if Gabrielle Hamilton can turn out such good food in her small kitchen at Prune, an amature chef, with no tables to turn can make it work as well.

    The issue is obviously to maximize the space, but give it the function of a professional kitchen. To design a small kitchen that has the flow necessary for someone who is going to be using it heavily. Does anyone have the name of a kitchen designer that works in Manhattan that they would recommend?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  7. First, let me point out the absurdity of someone with the moniker of "Fat Guy" calling anyone lazy.

    Secondly, while I understand the need for you to try and keep eGullet relevant, if you wanted a pot stirring issue to get the traffic flowing, at least pick one that can actually foster a true debate.

    Finally, can we please move away from the term "foodie", which has to be one of the most cringe worthy terms out there. Why is there a need to attach a term or label to something one enjoys, just enjoy it.

    Before you lean over your keyboard, let me present my credentials. I was born and raised in Manhattan. After getting married a year and a half ago I had to move to my wife's house in Teaneck, until her son finished high school out there and we could move back to the City. Thankfully, he switched out this year to a City school and we will be moving back to Manhattan shortly.

    Prior to my move and through out my time there, I did exhaustive research on where to go and dragged my poor wife to restaurants, markets and food stalls of every type. Any time I heard about a prospect I went, an Indian place here, a woman selling homemade Kimchi out of her liquor store there.

    While there certainly is some very good food in New Jersey, the notion that it is good enough that a New Yorker should be deemed lazy for not making the trip is asinine, so much so, that I suspect you do not believe it yourself.

    You would have had a much more spirited and legitimate debate had you raised the issue of how few Manhattan residents explore the wealth of great food in the other 4 boroughs.

    The one legitimate destination place I would point out is Mitsuwa in Edgewater. That is a unique experience that cannot be duplicated in the City. I have been making trips there for years.

    Do I enjoy a ripper at Rutt's Hut? Of course, and when I have to drive within the vicinity of it, I will be sure to stop in. Am I making a special trip to go there? Are you joking?

    Great Korean markets and food? I'll take the subway a couple of stops to K-town.

    Axia Taverna, the Mehtani's restaurants, Sakura Bana, China 46 (before it closed), some Newark locations, sure, all good. Worth a special trip and traffic? unable to be equaled and or surpassed in Manhattan or Queens, Bronx or Brooklyn? Spare me. I believe someone else here mentioned that there is a tendency to exaggerate when good food is to be found in NJ and I can attest to that being true. To hear the way some people wax poetic about these places you would think you are in for some unique experience. Perhaps, if you live in Binghamton or some other City with a limited diversity of cuisine. However New York is blessed, and there is no apology necessary for not crawling up the FDR or through the Tunnel to seek out that which NJ has to offer.

    There is a tendency to stereotype all Manhattan people as anti-Jersey, which is ridiculous. Some parts of the state are beautiful, there are some great farms, good hunting, horseback riding and Revolutionary war history. However, when it comes to food and the notion that residents in NYC are missing out, the debate is not worth the time I have wasted typing this response.

  8. Random thoughts as I procrastinate at work.

    Am I the only one that finds Gail Simmon's hot? There is so much focus on Padma, but personally I think Gail is prettier, actually enjoys food and has a personality. I would much rather spend a weekend with her than Padma (not that they have been calling me with offers).

    Also, I would love to see these people cook something other than chicken, pork loin, shrimp and the ever popular scallop. There was that first challenge using "exotic ingredients." They had one offal challenge in one of the previous seasons, they need another.

  9. For my recent wedding I had my caterer serve three different soups during the cocktail hour out of glases similar to the one on the left . One was a chilled gazpacho, the others, a carrot ginger soup and a fennel parsnip soup were served room temperature. They were popular and the soups were thin enough where it had no problem exiting the glass, but were thick enough to have nice body.

  10. My wife and I are having dinner this evening with friends of ours from Englewood. Having just left Manhattan to move to my wife's house in Teaneck (sob) I am out of sorts restaurant wise. I have enjoyed Sakura Bana and Wild Ginger, but one of our friends is a non-sushi eater, any suggestions? One of them reccomended 90 Grand in Englewood or Zeroli in Ridgewood. I have no idea about either, any thoughts?


    Missing Manhattan

  11. I have loved Sakagura for years, but had not been back in a while. I walked in last night with my fiance at about 8:45 PM with no reservation. We were seated within 10 minutes and I quickly wondered why it took me so long to return.

    Sakagura remain one of the greater culinary escapes in Manhattan, it has none of the feel of a typical New York restaurant.

    The food and the service remains excellent. I had the following:

    Maguro tartar - Very good quaility tuna formed into tall disk, one half covered in black tobiko, the other half in a golden colored tobiko, topped off with a bit of radish sprout. Simple, good.

    Nasu dengaku - Three halves of grilled Japanese eggplant each topped with a different type of miso (green, yellow and red). This was nice, eggplant was cooked perfectly, I thought there was a bit too much miso brushed on each, but a swipe of a chopstick solved that. It was interesting to be able to contrast the three different types.

    Onsen tamago - A cold dish, great for last night. A poached egg in a small bowl containing a lobe of sea urchin roe and salmon roe sits in a shallow pool of a dashi broth sweetened with mirin. It is a great combination and the sea urchin was wonderfully fresh and sweet. The dish is served with small wooden spoons.

    Gyutan - One of my all time favorities at Sakagura and pictured in an earlier post in this thread. Chunks of beef tongue braised until very tender in a sauce that I beieve is flavored with miso, but also I believe mirin, because it is a bit sweet. The thick round of daikon it sits on top of is cooked through and infused with the flavor of the sauce.

    Sashimi - We had two types, kampachi, a type of jack fish, often called "young yellowtail' and tai or snapper.

    Onigiri - Thick triangles of warm rice, we ordered ours topped with salmon roe, accompanied by sheets of nori to wrap them in.

    Fluke with ponzu - A plate of thinly sliced fluke with a ponzu flavored sauce.

    I forgot the name of our last dish, but it was another great item for a warm night. Cold soba noodles came in a bowl, along with sea urchin, salmon roe and and a carafe of a mirin sweetend dipping broth.

    By this time my fiance was fading, so we skipped on dessert and sipped some toasted green tea while waiting for the bill.

    The total along with an overly indulgent, yet delicious $23 glass of sake whose long name I would be hard pressed to remember unless I was looking at the menu again, was $132.

    There are so many other dishes I wanted to have (braised pork and eel and cucumber being two) so, I shall be returning soon. Sakagura is like Casa Mono, in that it is best to go with a group so that you can try a number of the relatively small dishes.

  12. I just received an e-mail from Lupa in which they announced new hours:





    I think this is very welcome news. There is nothing more annoying than loitering outside Lupa on a weekend at ten minutes to 5:00 PM when you are looking to walk in for a late afternoon bite and they have not opened the doors yet.

  13. Looks like he and Ruth Reichl finally renewed their friendship.

    Yes, and according to this interview with Book Page, it was quite a friendship. The interview quotes a portion from Reichl's Comfort Me with Apples where she discusses her affair at 31 with a man she reffers to as "the food editor." "What was it that I found so irresistible about this man? I replayed the night in my head -- the caviar, the oysters, the foie gras, the cigars. It had been like a wonderful dream, all my fantasies made real." Fantasies about "the man from another time, the bon vivant who had unabashedly devoted himself to food."

    "As it happens, the lover was Coleman Andrews..."

  14. According to an article in today's New York Times , by Marian Burros, 74 people are believed to have become ill from eating raw oysters from the Pacific Northwest that were sold in New York City. Cases have also been reported in British Columbia, Oregon and Washington State.

    The article quotes the FDA as saying there has been "“an unusual increase in bacterial illness associated with eating raw oysters’’ from the waters of the lower Puget sound. The entire FDA advisory can be read here.

    Personally I have always avoided eating oysters in the summer because of their tendency to spawn in warmer waters , but this clearly something different.

    Anyone out there feeling icky?

  15. I just received the new issue with the great looking fish on the cover but noted that there has been a change in type as well.  Is it me or did some of the articles and recipes appear illegible? The canolli was one of them.


    I have the new issue, although not in front of me at the moment. I seem to recall however that the latest issue still had Andrews listed as Editor in Chief.

  16. According to this article , from MEDIAWEEK, James Oseland, who was previously Saveur's managing editor has replaced Andrews who "is leaving to finish a memoir on his life in food and to pursue other projects."

    I had heard rumblings for a while that the relationship between Saveur and Andrews was fairly acrimonious.

    I guess only time will tell what noticeable changes will take place at the magazine, my favorite of any of the U.S. food magazines.

  17. I had my first meal at Craft last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am not sure why it took me so long to get there, it was just one of those places that got lost in the shuffle of trying all of the new restaurants our City produces every year and returning to my old favorites.

    The first thing that struck me was why so many people have focused on the format of the menu. When Adam Platt recently wrote a small review of Craft for his 101 Best Restaurants article in New York Magazine , he made mention of the fact that "You may not like the conceit of building your meal one spare ingredient at a time (many food aristocrats I know actively hate it)..." I simply did not find it so terribly different from other dining experiences, there are first courses mains and sides. I agree that the experience is greatly enhanced by going with a group as opposed to going with just one other person and the bill does add up, but beyond that I did not feel as if I was "building" my meal. I likened the experience to eating at Casa Mono, one of my favorites, and a place where you can also sample many offerings off the menu.

    My fiance and I and one other couple had a 7:15 PM reservation and were seated by 7:20 PM. Service was exceptional through out the night, there when we wanted them, gone when we did not, with the meal very well paced.

    The bread that was served was good, but what I really enjoyed was the butter, so sweet (good butter is such a marvelous thing).

    As you will notice from what we ate, it is heavy on vegetables and fish, with the exception of the braised beef short rib I ordered. The two women I was with do not eat meat, so, I had to be sensative to that. This was extraordinarily difficult with roasted sweetbreads, braised fresh bacon (sigh) and Foie Gras terrine staring up at me from the menu. So much so that I just made reservations to return for dinner on August 9th, when I wil be packing a fellow carnivore.

    We started with an amuse bouche of shrimp that had been sliced thickly lengthwise and were in a light citrus marinade, basically a ceviche, served in a Chinese spoon. It was bright and refreshing, a nice way to start.

    We went on to have the following:

    Escargot & Chicken Egg

    The best escargot dish I have had in a long time. I forgot to ask how it was prepared, but the little guys came in a small copper pan and were swiming in a deep, dark, viscous sauce, almost like a veal demi-glace, it was delicious. Resting on top was one egg that had been fried in oil in a similar style as one would poach it, with the white wrapped around the yolk. It is a great way to serve an egg, slightly crisp on the outside, liquid yolk within. The only other items in the pan were some croutons crisped in oil and flat leaf parsely.

    Beet salad

    Very simple, very pretty, not really a salad, roasted, small golden, red and chioggia beets, tossed lightly in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, along with a small amount of micro greens. The beets were delicious and very sweet, the golden and red much sweeter than the chioggia (candy striped).

    Braised white asparagus

    Nice thick white aparagus braised in a touch of cream.

    Roasted baby carrots

    Similar to the beets, simple and pretty, whole roasted baby white and orange carrots, tossed with a bit of olive oil and sea salt.

    Roasted hen of the woods

    These could have used a bit more roasting and a bit more salt. I just had them at Hearth a few weeks ago and the tops were crisper and they were salted better.

    Braised short ribs

    These were all that short ribs should be, unctuous and tender. Served in its own little cast iron Staub pot, adorned with nothing more than some baby turnips, carrot and sprigs of fresh thyme

    Roasted Wild stripped bass

    I did not try the bass, those that did said it was good, I am not certain ast to how it was prepared, but I did notice that it was very moist and the skin was very crisp.

    Roasted Atlantic Halibut

    Similar to the bass, I did not try the halibut, (the fish eaters at the table were a bit voracious) but similar to the bass, it came with a very crisp top and what seemed to be a touch of a cream based sauce on the bottom of the dish.

    Bi-color corn

    This was excellent. Very small, very sweet, white and yellow kernels, tossed with a touch of cream, salt and fresh thyme. I have cooked close to everything with thyme, but never corn, I am not sure why, I just never thought of it. The two are a fantastic match, great flavor.

    Summer squash ravioli

    Triangular herb flecked ravioli with a squash filling, in a touch of a very light creamy sauce. This was good, not great, the squash inside was not smooth and did not have much of a flavor.

    Roasted spring onions

    I know, this is a running theme with the vegetables, but these too were tossed in olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. They did not need anything else, I love roasted onions and these purple, bulbous onions were very pretty.

    Dessert amuse bouche of a tall shot of chilled peach and ginger soup

    This definitely woke up the palate, very fragrant, slightly effervescent.

    Brioche Pain Perdu, Roasted Bananas, Caramel Ice Cream

    Like the best French toast you have ever had, sweet, eggy, the small banana slices were nicely caramelized and served in a seperate copper pan.


    Small doughnuts and their holes, served hot, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, served with chocolate and apricot sauces. These were as good as I remember Claudia Flemings were when she was at Gramercy Tavern.

    Panna cotta

    I did not try the panna cotta, it went too fast.

    Three cheeses (served with a dish of honeycomb and Marcon almonds): Monte Enebro, (goat), Avila Spain

    A nice, slightly acidic, creamy and lemony goat cheese with a thin layer of ash on the rind.

    Alderbrook, (sheep), Milton Vermont

    I had never heard of this one before, a really nice, semi ripened soft sheep cheese, that was buttery and sweet.

    Mountain Gorgonzola (cow), Lombardy, Italy

    Sharper and firmer than Gorgonzola Dolce, intensely good.

    I drank a nice 20 year port with the cheese. We had a nice medium bodied Italian red with dinner, but, forgive me, I was not the one that ordered it and I cannot remember the name.

    After the dessert dishes were cleared, we were served a small dish of popcorn and cashews that had been tossed with caramel and allowed to harden. it was crunchy, sweet and a touch salty. With our bill we were each given a wrapped blueberry scone to take home.

    The total bill, which included one bottle of wine, plus three additional glasses, two Craft cocktails, one port, one espresso, was $405.88.

  18. I ate at a restaurant last night and ordered a side dish of beets that were roasted and dressed simply with a little olive oil and sea salt. There were small chioggia's, small golden beets and red. Tasting them each side by side, I found the gold and red to be definitively sweeter than the chioggia's. As has been mentioned previously, the reds were also earthier in flavor.

  19. I vaguely remeber this being discussed before, but I could not find it on the boards. I am going to Thailand and Vietnam for my honeymoon in October and wanted to book a cooking class while in Bangkok. I know that Blue Elephant is the overwhelming response you get when you ask people about Bangkok cooking schools and I wanted to see if anyone has been there recently and what they thought of it. I found a review of it from last year on tastingmenu , along with some nice photos . I have the same concerns that the author of the review had, that it would be a tourist trap, but he sounded fairly positive about the experience. I am just looking for the most authentic cooking school I can attend.

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