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Everything posted by Shalmanese

  1. This is one of those ideas that comes up all the time from people who have never worked in restaurants and approximately never from anyone who has.
  2. Shalmanese

    Mushroom Powder

    Dried Porcinis + Spice Grinder = Homemade, 100% porcini powder. It's amazingly expensive because dried mushrooms are not the cheapest things in the world but a little goes a long way.
  3. Soups and salads are classic prep and serve dishes but I'm guessing you don't feel like they are mains-like enough to count. In that case, the oven is your friend. Things can go from oven to plate with relatively little fuss. So think about roasts, casseroles, baked potatoes, etc. You can also utilize the oven as a warmer. For example, sear off some steaks but keep the insides raw just before the guests arrive. Then, 20 minutes before the mains should be served, put the steaks in the oven and let them cook to temp.
  4. Conveniently, hot water heaters in the US are usually calibrated to 120F which is 49C. It's possible to sous vide scallops just by letting the water run fully hot from the tap into a pre-warmed vessel. Scallops shouldn't take more than 20 minutes to cook so just periodically refresh the water and that should be good enough for ghetto sous vide.
  5. Sear the scallops 90% on one side and just warm the other side up enough to cook it through. If you present them sear side up, most people never notice the other side isn't seared. It's better to have 50% of a good sear than twice the amount of disappointing sear.
  6. I think the most surprising thing to have come out of that episode was the revelation in LCK that Tom Colicchio had never eaten cow eyeballs before. And I'd argue that he still hasn't given that Chad basically made a mystery meat pie out of it for him.
  7. Unless you show me a yeast that spontaneously produces ras al hanout esters, I'm going to presume that it was a flavoring added to the beer. Note I never said artificial flavor, I'm not saying the dissolved a bunch of banana candies into their beers. Just that through some method or another, the banana flavors in the beer could have been boosted.
  8. Wheat beers absolutely can have banana esters but it's possible even more banana flavoring was added to push the banana notes higher.
  9. I've never found reading restaurant reviews ahead of time to be particularly productive. Usually, by the time we want lunch or dinner, we're already in a certain part of the city and we want something good that's nearby. Getting good at finding good restaurants on our smartphones + a healthy degree of wandering around and checking out what looks busy has worked far better than obsessively pre-planning before the trip.
  10. I've had this backfire on my when the locals proudly take me to their local Thai (when not in Thailand) or Mexican (when not in Mexico) joint that turns out to be above average but also not what I wanted. I get it, if someone asked me where I like to eat, I would take them to the Pho joint around the corner but I have no pretensions that they're doing anything revelatory with Pho.
  11. What about if you order Chinese Fried Rice in Japan? I can't imagine successful Fried Rice using Japanese short grain rice.
  12. I'm curious how various people think about their food choices while travelling? If you go to country X, do you resolve to eat only cuisine X while you are there or do you eat the same mix of cuisines you do back home? Do you aim to try all of the specialties from location X, even if you strongly suspect that they're not to your personal preference? Do you try and find a different restaurant for every meal or find a single good restaurant and then return over and over again? How does the balance of high/middle/low end shift when you're travelling compared to what you normally eat at home? Do you try and find time and space to cook while you're travelling or default to eating out at every meal? How does this change depending on the length of your trip and the location you're going to? I find that when I'm travelling that I'm strongly biased towards novelty over quality. I try and figure out the foods that would be difficult for me to experience at home and try and hit as many of those new experiences as possible during my trip. At the same time, I'm a person who inherently craves variety in cuisines and this often clashes with the former desire. For example, I spent 3 weeks in Florence and was tearing my hair out by the end of it because while I was eating impeccably prepared Tuscan food for every meal, it felt like it was the same roster of 8 dishes over and over again. I've found that I'm happiest when I'm constantly moving while I'm travelling so that there's a new novelty around the corner every couple of days. Some places without distinct cuisines make it hard for me to decide how to eat. Australia and much of America, for example, doesn't have a very strongly defined "local cuisine" and the strength of their food scenes is in how well they blend outside cuisines. What I've found though is that other people tend to have very different philosophies and priorities when travelling which makes it such an interesting topic of conversation for me. For many Chinese people of the older generation, there's a steadfast refusal to touch any non-Chinese food and they optimize for which cities have the dishes that are the most familiar. Younger Chinese people seem to be far more split on the issue of trying the local cuisine vs sticking to Chinese only. Given how food obsessed the Chinese are in general and how willing they are to explore the cuisines of the various regions within China, I find this attitude towards food baffling.
  13. Those look like chee cheong fan (mince wrapped in rice noodles). Glad you liked Great Eastern!
  14. If you're willing to order a few special chemicals, it seems like a Pectinex blend can perform enzymatic peeling and remove all pith, leaving you only with the skin. For a batch that large, it might be worth investigating.
  15. I totally forgot about Yank Sing! I've had catered Dim Sum from Yank Sing but never eaten in the actual dining room. I remember it was fine but as anyone will tell you, Dim Sum that's been sitting in a tray for half an hour isn't exactly representative of a restaurant's best work. What I've been told is that it's quite a step up in price from anywhere else. Seeing as I was never a huge fan of Cantonese food in the first place, I think I'm going to wait until someone with an expense account invites me before I give it a serious shot.
  16. The fact that the Eater review and the NYT review, published 12 months apart both highlighted a couple of common, specific flaws (the cheese being served cold and the lobster being tough) indicates to me genuine issues with the restaurant rather than a desire to spin out pageviews. These are very basic mistakes that you would not expect a restaurant of this calibre to make. The fact that it was made and nobody spotted and fixed them is highly troubling.
  17. OK, I can list out a couple of regional Chinese cuisines in case you're interested: Sichaun: Spices in the Richmond is a reliable, authentic representation of Sichuan food and it's where chefs go to eat and drink after they get off work so it has that stamp of approval. Get the lamb hotpot, the chicken knuckles in chilli and the garlic eggplant. You can order a stinky tofu if you want a definitive answer to whether you will ever like stinky tofu or not. Xian: Terracotta Warrior in the Sunset. Amazingly delicious Shaanxi food, anything with a star on their menu is safe to order. I don't think I've had a bad dish in the 4 times I've gone there. Dongbei: Dongbei Mama slightly further out in the Richmond. It's one of the few Dongbei restaurants in America and it's an accurate representation of the cuisine. Get the chicken with shiitake mushrooms and the pork with sour cabbage. Both are classic Dongbei dishes for a reason. Dim Sum: Most people will tell you to go to City View but I like Great Eastern in Chinatown slightly better. Both will get you a great Dim Sum lunch but City View feels far more expensive for a marginal increase in quality to me. Cantonese: R&G Lounge is where Chinese people take other Chinese people they want to impress and the prices match the expectation. I'm not a huge Cantonese fan so I'm not really sure if there's any cheaper, equally good places. But if you go, the salt and pepper crab is their specialty dish for a reason. New Asian: Mission Chinese Food. As I mentioned above, there have been a lot of duds in the times I've gone but the standouts remain standout. Get the Chongqing Chicken Wings, the Veal Rib and the Lamb Face noodle soup if they still have it. Hot Pot: I really like The Pots in the Sunset. It's all you can eat hotpot for something like $35 a person. The selection of ingredients is wide and the quality is good. The sauces, unfortunately, are a bit lacking. We went to another hotpot place down in Taraval that I forgot the name of which had better sauces but worse everything else. Cest la vie. A quick hits of other cuisines that are also worth checking out: Thai: Lers Ros Thai is great, authentic Thai food with an expansive menu (boar, alligator, frog and venison are all on the menu if you're interested in trying). The Tenderloin location is the original and the best but they also have a Hayes Valley and Mission location. Vietnamese: Little Saigon is just south of the Tenderloin and has a lot of great spots. Saigon Sandwich for Banh mi, Turtle Tower for Northern style Pho (chicken and wide noodles instead of beef and thin noodles). Hai Ky Mi Gia & Pho Tan Hoa, also great. Burmese: Burmese is definitely something SF specializes in. Burma Superstar is the most popular place but the Burmese people I've met are kind of indifferent to it. I've not yet found what's the definitive Burmese place in the city but it's worth asking around for a strong recommendation. Taqueria: It's hard to go really wrong. El Farolito, Taqueria Cancun, El Castillito, La Taqueria are all reliably good though. Korean/Mexican Fusion: HRD Coffee Shop in SOMA is a great lunchtime spot with lines out the doors most days. If you were ever curious what a bulgolgi burrito tasted like, this is the spot to try. Pizza: There's a huge pizza geek scene that I have utterly no interest in. New, great pizza spots are popping up all the time and it's worth tapping a pizza geek to see what's happening in the pizza world here. Hope this helps whet your appetite at least :). edit: You also just have to accept that there's really no great places within short walking distance of the Moscone Center. Downtown and SOMA is a black hole for good food. When I used to work around there, my foodie friends and I found ourselves ending up at the buffet counter of the Whole Foods as our most frequent haunt, that's how dire the food options are. Fortunately, Lyft and Uber are both ubiquitous in SF and you should use at least one of them religiously (I prefer Lyft). Because both started in SF, rides are heavily subsidized and you can get anywhere you want to go in the city for less than $10 usually. Download it onto your phone before you get here because a ride from the airport will be something like $15 vs $40+ for a taxi.
  18. @Kerry Beal, would be helpful to provide a guide of the type of places that interest you. Everyone has an opinion of the best burrito place in the city. El Farolito, for example, has been named the best burrito in America by FiveThirtyEight but I like El Castillito, Castro location better. But if you're not interested in low end Mexican, this isn't a helpful recommendation. Are you more looking for places that serve the best X in San Francisco or places which serve something that you can't find anywhere else in the world? For example, Saigon Sandwich has a great Banh Mi and R&G Lounge is still the reliably good Cantonese place in town but I've had better Banh Mi and better Cantonese food elsewhere in the world. On the other hand, the general consensus appears to be that Mission Chinese Food has gone significantly downhill since the opening of MCF NY but it still might be worth a visit as it was one of the progenitor of an entire genre of new Asian food. edit: State Bird Provisions has lost a lot of the hype from when it first opened but I haven't heard anyone say a bad thing about their food yet. It's still difficult to get into but worth a shot if you manage to snag a spot.
  19. What about: Field Forest Farm a g e ?
  20. The only thing surprising about this news is that some people find it surprising.
  21. 27 Utterly Terrible Ways Food Was Actually Served In 2015
  22. The photos on the Bravo website are atrocious. They look like they were taken with a flip phone camera.
  23. The chicken livers are not essential, they are there to add a background note and deepen the sauce but it's preferable to make it without them than to not make it at all. Plus, things like chicken livers turn up in odd places if you take the effort to look. After all, every chicken has one and they have to go somewhere. Ask the person you buy your meat from and they'll probably be able to point you in the right direction.
  24. Skirt steak and other long grained steaks are so thin, I much prefer to cook from raw over as hot a fire as I can get to a nice crusty outside before the inside overcooks.
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