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  1. I thought I had saw an earlier post, but I think Beaver's would be a great place for a eGullet gathering. Let Bobby and Kevin make some drinks, try out some of Dax's new dishes. I think it'd be a good time. Anyone down? Also I have no idea and forget what I need to do to make this a non-offical eGullet meeting. Someone do the disclaimer thing for me.
  2. when I went to take a wine class there (no, not the rip-off cia bachelor's program one) I stayed at the Lodge at Calistoga. Nothing special, clean rooms, quiet area. Martini House isn't super far away, neither is CIA. Make sure to stop by Taylor's Refresher, if for anything, just to say you did. Plus it's the only decent lunch you can fit in when they give you your short breaks without having to eat the same spread you made at in Americas class in Hyde Park.
  3. tetsujustin

    [HOU] Soma

    I've been twice, and though I don't think its in any way a bad restaurant, I don't think I would go back on my dime because the food quickly adds up and it just doesn't justify it to what I want to spend for what I'm looking for. Plus service was poor but forgivable one time, and abysmal the next. Food-wise, some of it's pretty good, but a lot of it just sounds better on the menu than what actually comes out. The fish and chips I was greatly anticipating came out underseasoned the one time I ordered it and dry the second time my friend ordered it. Sushi was decent, but I'd heard from somewhere that they had boasted fish flown in from the tsjuki market in Japan, and having been there this past winter, I'd be inclined to either day they got the ends of the pickings, or it wasn't from Japan because the selection wasn't great, nor did it taste pristinely fresh. The one thing I just don't like, though it's absolutely just a personal preferance of mine, is the high glitz factor of the food and place. At this point in my life, I like well flavored, well composed restaurants that don't need to be flashy or sound elitist, but with the use of micro greens everywhere they shouldn't be, l'atelier de soma written on the menu, the waiters telling me how I should eat the food, I felt like I was under a microscope. And it didn't even feel comfortably under the microscope like some restaurants can manage to finangle in NY or Chicago or SF, like awkwardly under the microscope. Either way, the atmosphere is clubby, the food is okay to good, and the service didn't quite impress. That's my thought.
  4. Everyone has to go make it out to H-mart on blalock, the new Korean supermarket just a block off of I-10. Though I wasn't impressed by every item from the food court, it beats the pants off of Ko-mart which in my opinion sunk into a very depressed state. There's Korean fried chicken chain that's good, but oddly sweet in taste, though if you get the korean spiced fried chicken, it won't matter because your face is going to be burned off. The Korean Snack Stand has a huge korean omelet that was delicious, and there's also several types of bibimbap, served in the superheated stone bowls if you would like, though those take about 20 minutes to receive. Produce an product wise, this is the best selection you'll get short of going down to Bellaire. There's dried and fresh noodles, lots of Ramen, and also your run of the mill Asian produce, includng the all-important durian. The best, however, is the super-fresh and reasonably priced fish area, where yesterday's selection included whole albacore tunas for 2.99 a pound, black cod, grouper, belt fish, several different types of mackeral, live lobsters for 6.99 a pound, milkfish, and a whole bunch more. Then of course is your live tilapia and catfish. Either way, I urge you all to go give it a shot, for me, it's much closer than chinatown and I would make a trip by itself just because of the fish.
  5. I'm pretty sure you can't bring cookbooks or recipes onto the show.
  6. I've yet to make it up to The Lodge, but I competed against their chef de cuisine at the young chef's competition the last three years. great, great cook (and a nice guy too), so I'm not surprised by your experience. I've really gotta make it up there.
  7. My guess is that it's supposed to be Yucca, as in a Yucca root. My immediate reaction is that no one is going to be able to distinguish tastes by the end of the meat starter just because most every single one of your tastes are pretty heavy, pounding tastes, without any breaks: feta, duck, salmon, pork cheek, vacherin, hickory, indian curry, then a whole load of sweet-sounding desserts. Just reading it, the turbot is the only break that your tastebuds get and eating this way not only wears on your tongue, but also makes you feel fuller quicker. I understand where you're coming from, the progression of the meal seems to be following a normal, say 5 course meal of amuse, 2 starters, fish, meat, dessert, but in something as long as a 12-course menu, you've got to keep an eye of the pace of flavors, if you take a look at Alinea's 12 course tasting, you'll see that (and it's easy to see, just look at the bubbles) there's like meals within the meal. I guess my suggestion is that it needs more vegetables, it needs more acid, and it needs way, way less protein. Of course I could be totally wrong, maybe somehow you've worked it out taste-wise that we just can't get by just looking at a menu
  8. Having a fiancee that's been looking for the same thing, the only thing we've found that just teaches beginners the basics and regular ol cooking 101 is the Central Market cooking classes and Sur La Table. Watch out though, because with the sur la table classes that bring in professional chefs, they don't let you do much of the cooking. If you go with like the CM or SLT staff classes, I've been told they do a decent job. From what I know, both art institute and LeNotre don't do just regular beginning cooking classes. good luck hunting, report back if you find anything.
  9. www.thegrovehouston.com menu's on there, not sure about wine list. From what I hear, the Lake House is supposed to be just nice burgers and fries. So I don't think any of the menu's supposed to transfer over. Could be wrong. Ryan Pera, formerly of 17 is heading the kitchen as executive chef. Having once worked for him, I can say the food should be anywhere from extremely solid to really good. The food is a lot calmer than 17's menu was though.
  10. On a nice day, Cafe Rabelais's mussels and frites outside with one of their many half bottle selections is one of the best things ever. I personally think Rabelais is more of a lunch spot, but it's still good for dinner.
  11. you would think Richard Blais has a lot more to lose than to win, but it'll be fun to see if any of the contestants are intimidated by someone with such a big name. Plus, I suppose everyone needs a challenge. A dark horse I would say is Stephanie Izard, former owner Scylla in Chicago. I had an absolutel stellar meal there about a year ago. Scylla closed late last year to make room for Takashi Yagihashi's new restaurant, even though they claimed they were still making quality money. Looks like a lot of quality cooks, should be an interesting season.
  12. Cafe Le Jadeite probably isn't the best way to spend your expense account, but if you're around that area, you're no more than 10 minutes away from some great restaurants. Hugo's was a pretty good choice - here's some other ones (if you're really looking to work that account) Da Marco on Westheimer (not too far from Hugo's) Dolce Vita on Westheimer (again, not too far) Mark's on Westheimer (mixed reviews lately, but many seem to enjoy it) The same goes for Tony's in Greenway Plaza. Nippon on Montrose, as long as you ask for the Japanese menu and/or order the omakase Brasserie Max and Julie on Montrose and Richmond for quality renditions of classic bistro fare. For some reason, anytime someone comes to Texas, they always have to have steak. Vic and Anthony's is a good choice. Actually, the best steak I've had in Houston was recently at Del Frisco's double eagle, but the service was atrocious. So if you can bear bad service, the steaks are really good and they're really good about cooking it to temperature. Farther away there's REEF in midtown, 17 in downtown, and Catalan on Washington Ave. I went to Catalan a few weeks ago, and while there's still nothing Catalonian about it, the kitchen's churning out really, really solid food. Then of course there's things such as Himalaya for Pakistani food or one of your several taquerias, but that won't exactly dent an expense account. I look forward to your reviews.
  13. Odd, I've had quite a few peking ducks in my life and the ones at Peking cuisine have never come out dry at all. When I reviewed it, I factored in the service/quality with the fact that you can get out of there, filled to the brim, under 12 bucks a head. The food is greasy but full of flavor. I guess that's how I like it. It's more or less a difference in personal taste, I'm Chinese, but am in no way from China. Thanks for the shoutout though, I hope any person who's had a chance to look at the book likes it, but most of all, finds it useful. Let me be the first to thank everyone from this forum, also, because I've found some of my favorite restaurants (that I highlight in the book) on this board (notably Himalaya) and hopefully those restaurants get a bigger following from it. Happy eating.
  14. Robert Gadsby, late of NOE and his chef de cuisine, former pastry chef at noe, Plinio Sandalio have opened up Soma Sushi on the corner Washington and Sheperd. Looking at Plinio's blog, his desserts look really exciting. Very Alex Stupak-esque (of WD~50.) The backers are the people who own all the Azumas. First, has anyone been? Second, not that I really pay all that much attention to the opinions of (because they more often than not, aren't very accurate) but the three current reviews of Soma on b4-u-eat aren't all that favorable. Given that this place has probably been only open for a week or two, but it seems as if people are overlooking the hot food in favor of the sushi rolls etc... could it be because they have the word sushi in their name? With Chef Gadsby's background, that would mean the food he's strongest in, which is his composed plates, might be underordered. The whole buzz surrounding this place reminds me of Rickshaw when it opened. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing, and Chef Sandalio I believe is a Rickshaw alum. Otherwise, the aspect of having these two on Washington is pretty exciting. I look forward to trying it out when I get the chance. Thoughts?
  15. Well health and safety recommendations say that you should cook a duck breast (actually, all poultry) to an internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit, but that results in a well done duck breast and well, well done duck breasts suck. 50 degrees celsius (which is what I believe is what you're trying to get at with the oc mark) is 122 degrees fahrenheit, which is just a touch over rare, heading towards midrare, and yes that is "safe" as most restaurants serve their duck midrare to medium depending on the varietal of the duck. The soy marinade doesn't act as a protector beause it doesn't have enough acid in it to kill off all bacteria, and though it's high in salt, it won't completely cure a duck breast (which I don't think you're going for anyway) Just for general curiousity, why steaming it? And why searing it first before it goes into the bag?
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