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ivan

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Everything posted by ivan

  1. If you suspect a restaurant may be unsanitary, then you should do what I do: bring your own meal. Be prepared, of course, to be charged a "fork fee".
  2. I have the perfect solution: meet your sister in Moscow. Eat in all the best restaurants, then post some reviews here! I'd love to find out what the state of Russian culinary arts is these day. As for Parisian restaurants, I can't recall ever once having a bad experience. Rather than being ghettoized, I remember being seated cheek-to-jowl with Parisians, who smiled benignly at my pathetic attempts to order in French. These were fairly modest restaurants, almost all of them from Patricia Wells' book. However, that was years ago, so maybe attitudes have changed. I am sorry if that is so.
  3. ivan

    Gumbo

    Gumbo, please. edited to add "please".
  4. ivan

    Decanting

    Actually, I was thinking more in terms of hot sex with uncouth vulgar women drinking Zima, but YEAH! How dare you look down upon the common folk, you bud-swilling bourgoise pig! That bud you swill is the sweat of their labor!
  5. ivan

    Decanting

    And just what exactly is wrong about uncouth vulgar women drinking Zima?
  6. ivan

    Gumbo

    How dare you patronize me! I demand satisfaction!
  7. ivan

    Decanting

    I think you all need to be decanted. (I'm just teasing. Excuse me while I open a bottle of Bud in my belly button.) Beer is properly opened using eye-sockets. Wimp.
  8. ivan

    Decanting

    Foam is certainly maximum aeration, but the foam you get after sloshing wine into a decanter involves only a small amount of the decanted wine. If the wine is poured quickly in a thick stream, some of the liquid is not exposed to air. I don't know about "bruising" wine, but I wouldn't want to risk it even with a young wine. Aerating a wine "unlocks" it because it accelerates alcohol evaporation, which carries all the marvelous aromatics that give wine complexity. It seems to me that there could be too much aeration -- that is, you want the aromatics to be released when the wine is in your mouth, not beforehand into thin air. If foaming and otherwise roughly aerating young wine made it taste better, then I would think we'd see veteran oenologists using little immersion blenders during tastings. However, the most I've ever seen a wine expert do is swirl the wine in the glass. Reverently. (Actually, many wine tasters also like to aerate the wine while it's in their mouths by sucking air through it in sort of a reverse gargle. This does greatly enhance the flavor of wine, but is very rude at table).
  9. ivan

    Decanting

    I profess ignorance (in general, as a rule), but it seems to me that if the goal is maximum aeration, vigorous "bottoms up" decanting is not sufficient. A slow pour down the inside wall of the decanter, so that the wine spreads out into a wide shallow stream, would expose more of the wine to air than a quickly-moving thick stream. In any case, a wine worth drinking should be treated with dignity, at least, if not reverence. It is, after all, a miracle. Sloshing it carelessly into a decanter shows disrespect, and says more about the slosher than it does about the wine.
  10. Duck: Served properly, it's a confit. Served rare, it's a conceit.
  11. ivan

    Homebrewers?

    They will pry my still, still dripping, from my cold dead fingers, the damn dirty revenoo'ers!
  12. ivan

    Homebrewers?

    Yes. Oh yes, indeed. Distill some wine, and you get brandy. Distill some wine in Cognac, and you get cognac. I think my sitting room decor needs some enhancing.
  13. ivan

    Homebrewers?

    Here is what I wrote: "Soon, also, I will make mead, but that process is more like wine-making than beer-brewing. After that, some day, God willin' and the creek don't rise -- whiskey." I did not put the words "distill" or "make" anywhere in proximity to the word "whiskey". And that's what I'll tell them damn revenoo'ers when they come poking about. Someone recently told me that in the States you can legally buy a still. They are sold purely as decorative accents, and can enhance any well-appointed sitting-room decor. And yes, I make beer soup. That was the point of what I said -- I've made it from scratch, and the results were not appreciably better (and sometimes worse) than the beer soup made from this one Canadian outfit (whose name I can't remember off-hand, but it has the word "Brau" in it somewhere -- what self-respecting beer soup mix doesn't?). The resulting ale is ale nonetheless, it is predictable, consistent, it tastes as good as a high-end commercial ale, and it takes about an hour to cook from beginning to end. The "WhositBrau" company does the prep work for me, I merely boil it with sugar and hops, ferment it and bottle it. Of course, I'm open to suggestions.
  14. ivan

    Homebrewers?

    I've tried a few pre-fab and some not-so-prefab mixes and such (although I have NOT actually roasted my own grain or grown my own hops from seed or combined tanks of hydrogen and oxygen to make my own homemade water), and always end up reverting to one particular mix from some manufacturer in Canada because the ale it produces tastes very good. So say I and all who drink it, so why bother with anything else? I brewed a batch last Christmas, and it disappeared in something like 3 weeks (only 8 sixpacks per batch). I am poised at the very brink of brewing another batch, and promise myself (as always) that this time I'll keep rolling and brew a new batch every 3rd week. We'll see. The main obstacle for me is not the brewing, fermenting or bottling, but the gathering and especially the cleaning of bottles. I will take bottles from all my beer-drinking friends, as long as they are not twist-offs and do not have fired-on labels, but then they must be de-labeled and sterilized. I have about 100 dirty bottles waiting for me -- an all-day adventure in wrinkled fingertips. I would rather not buy bottles. I can buy decent beer for less than the cost of new bottles from the brewer supply store. In fact, one time I actually bought 8 sixpacks of beer and poured the beer down a drain, because I needed bottles in a hurry and this beer was cheaper than the cost of clean bottles. I know one alternative is to ferment in pressurized kegs. But there is a significant downside to that method: Bottles are the only appropriate venue for my extraordinarilly witty home-printed labels. Soon, also, I will make mead, but that process is more like wine-making than beer-brewing. After that, some day, God willin' and the creek don't rise -- whiskey.
  15. My own prejudice -- that there really is no hangover food, at least in the sense that a food can uniquely shorten or alleviate the symptoms -- is borne out by this thread. Even the hydration paradigm is challenged by the hair-of-the-dog crowd. Could it be that a person's hangover food and drink are actually each person's secret craving? What if the question was asked this way: "What would you eat and drink each morning for breakfast if no one was watching and nobody cared what you look like?" I'll bet some of the answers would be surprisingly similar. My answer is: a bacon cheeseburger with lots of pickles and mimosa cocktails.
  16. ivan

    Chef!

    On my last few long-haul flights, I saw episodes of The Royle Family, The Office, and something called "Human Remains" which may or many not be a series. Also, I saw episodes of Yank fare like Friends and Third Rock and Frazier on the same flights, so I was in a position to compare the best (sic) of the two worlds. If I had to watch TV comedies for a living (or as a punishment), I'd move to England. As a side note that catapults this post back on topic, it is my strong impression that food-related themes crop up in English sitcoms far more frequently than in Yank sitcoms. Starting with the grotesque mealtimes in The Young Ones, all the way to The Royle Family -- the episode I saw revolved, in part, around bacon butties. (I've heard Brits lambast The Royle Family, partly out of embarrassment, it seems, but I found it sweet and uplifting.)
  17. ivan

    Zinfandel

    I think Paso Robles Zinfandels are almost always good, and almost always more interesting than Zinfandels from other areas. I'm pretty ignorant in these matters, but it seems to me that a regional distinction is rare for a California or American grape. For instance, Napa Cabernets may be good, but not as a group distinct from Cabernets produced elsewhere (I might be wrong here, and am willing to drink the proof). But Paso Robles Zins seem to stand out. I'll bet with some practice I could identify a Paso Robles Zin by taste four times out of five. Time to start practicing.
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