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Everything posted by ballast_regime

  1. ... "nuh-YO-kee," but fast so the "gno" blend together ...
  2. Pizzeria Bianco isn't on the way to the airport, especially if you're coming from the Hyatt Regency, and you'll have to backtrack a ways. Not to mention, Bianco is always busy, so call your order in, and have it ready for pickup. The more proper etiquette would be to tip your driver. IML
  3. All this talk about good and bad, and, yet, as an institution it is impossible for Starbucks to be a moral agent. There's no question it's product quality is shitty, since it represents one of two dominant roast-types available in this country. The reason Starbucks sells more flavored drinks than nonflavored is because they're essentially in the dessert business, which is a convenient way around actually having to deal with their shitty espresso. Not to mention, it is overpriced (i.e., most coffeeshops that carry Danesi espresso charge less than Starbucks). IML
  4. My girlfriend was born and raised in Tulsa, and it has given me an opportunity to explore the town. Although I love the town, I have been unimpressed with its lack of quality fine-dining. It's a city that, if the price-point was right, could easily support a restaurant of the quality of Restaurant Hapa in Phoenix, a small, chef-driven restaurant where product quality and technique reign supreme. On the plus side, there are many good Indian, Thai, and Chinese joints. IML b/r
  5. See Saw, hands down, then Pizzeria Bianco, and then maybe Mosaic.
  6. I have remained in an eGullet exile for long enough. It's about high-time I crawled out of the woodwork, even if for two minutes, and offered a rebuttal or two to adrober. First off, why does "passion" exist at the opposite of some spectrum (whose shape or basic contours I cannot even begin to imagine) than "perfection?" Why are the two not coterminous? It's silly to believe that high-minded technique cannot coexist with passion, much less that they are polar opposites. Charlie Trotter and Thomas Keller are two perfect examples of such a nexus. Every chef I've known who has worked for either has commented about the level of fanaticism contained within both, and I mean fanaticism of every kind: love, anger, attention to detail, etc. In fact, a former Trotter sous chef I was talking to said the reason his restaurant (which has received a lot of national attention) isn't better is because he isn't as passionate as Trotter. Secondly, adrober, you compare a certain high-end strain of cooking to science, as if the two are completely different. Thing is, almost every dish in any culinary repertoire exists as a result of an extended trial-and-error process that spans generations. Not too dissimilar from the scientific method when you get down to it. Sure, many chefs are trying to speed the process or rework classics or whatever, but why not? Lastly, I have two asides: My experience of Trotter's is completely different than yours. What strikes me most about Trotter's cuisine is how sloppy and randomized it is, in every aspect, especially when compared with other North American restaurants that operate at his level. E.g., the way he builds and combines flavor, his horizontal style of plating, and so on. (This isn't a knock on his restaurant, as it's one my three or four favorites in the country.) Additionally, why is it that you were not moved by the high-end cuisine you've encountered, when I've been giddied to the point of tears? Sure, my mom or dad would probably stir such food around on the Limoges, and then ask the head waiter for some barbeque. But there are many people, even many eGulls, who would give two-thirds of their internal organs to eat at Per Se. Understand, I'm not trying to invalidate your experiences; rather, I just want to point out that although something may be "cerebrally cool" for one person, it may be an experiential mindfuck for another. Much peace, Ian Lowe ballast/regime
  7. How can one talk about the validity of such a list? There are something like 13 or 14 restaurants on the list that are in the UK, which means that Britain has approximately 25% of the world's best places to catch some great grub. Such a list is more about selling issues than about its putative merits or implications for weeding out good and bad restaurants. (Think about it: The French Laundry wasn't even open when this issue hit newsstands.) Much peace, Ian Lowe ballast/regime
  8. Just in time for AD/NY to reassert itself before Per Se can recoup.
  9. I just picked up this thread after being an eGullet expat for some time (probably too long). All I can say is, even Cello gave better PR the weekend it closed shop forever.
  10. ballast_regime


    Only tangentially related, but worth a note: There is a short short story by Andrew Gallix titled "Enough Ribena to Incarnadine the Multitudinous Seas." Google it. It's fun.
  11. I've long said that Pizzeria Bianco is one of my favorite restaurants in the country. The quality of his ingredients puts most New York restaurants to shame. Desserts are often lacking, though. IML
  12. My brother, a Berklee alum and aspiring foodie (albeit the irrational "vegan" type), loved many restaurants in the area. L'Espalier is quite nice, if that's your thing.
  13. Blows me away that people criticize others for being inexperienced or inexpert, but let differences that are easily researched (on, say, Google) escape them. E.g., poussin versus capon, etc.
  14. My hometown. Hope you guys enjoy! IML b/r
  15. baphie: Although I think adrober would enjoy Trotter's under different circumstances, I don't dismiss his "pseudo-review." For better or worse, it was his experience (and not ours), for which he paid dearly. I can't say whether it's getting off on the wrong foot or not, since mistakes can provide valuable insight. For that reason, I think it's as good a starting point as any. (On a side note, my review of Trotter's wasn't unfavorable, per se, but balanced [as I saw it]. To this day Charlie Trotter's remains as one of my four favorite restaurants in the U.S.) Bux: I interpreted his post as a "comedy piece," too, but I don't think his being lighthearted should detract from the validity of his opinion. Just because he's not as serious as other members (myself included) doesn't mean he should be given demerits (which isn't to say he's anywhere near earning his eGullet Boy Scout badge). IML ballast/regime
  16. Adrober had to begin somewhere, like us all, and why not Charlie Trotter's? Who knows why he didn't like it, but he didn't. I've been served dishes at Trotter's that were blatantly inedible, but there are also times when the kitchen has produced dishes as good as anything on this continent. Maybe adrober dined on an off-night. Or maybe he should've stuck to the kitchen's strengths (vegetables and fish, in my opinion, since I have been mostly unimpressed with the kitchen's meat dishes). Perhaps his "inexperience" was a factor. Who knows? More importantly, who cares? Adrober, I got my first introduction to world-class food a little over five years ago (I'm 25 now). Twelve hundred books and tens of thousands of dollars later, I can say I've learned a lot, but I still have a lifetime to go. Ignore everybody else. Just follow your own stomach, and never stop eating or learning. Much peace, Ian Lowe ballast/regime
  17. My "meal" at Trotter's To Go was also less than stellar. Five Mobil Stars and there's not even a table to sit down at? Give me a break. I understand having diners serve themselves saves money, but it really detracts from the idea of a romantic evening. The wine selection was small, and the food was nothing more than upscale comfort food. On a positive note, I think they miscalculated my bill because I paid only a fraction of what adrober did. Thank heavens! Much peace, Ian Lowe ballast/regime
  18. a) Fat Guy. b) Fat Guy likes things to be divisible by three. Don't ask. c) By "criteria" you mean "kickbacks," right?
  19. That's why I recommend fellow diners to ask for the "engorged goose or duck liver, you know, the one that's ninety percent fat."
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