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  1. Hi all. I just picked up my own copy of the BBA, and I'm looking forward to expanding my cooking skills into the area of bread baking. I've read the all the chapters of the book before the formulas, and I've gathered all the suggested equipment. Here's my question: is there a good "beginner bread" to try first? I've gone through the previous 307 posts on this thread (salivating all the while), but I don't think I saw this question addressed. Any breads better than others for a beginner to start out with and build some confidence before moving on to the more difficult breads (which seem to be the sourdoughs)? Thanks.
  2. Fine. Perhaps I was not precise enough in what I was saying in my first post above. She has talent, but it's not cooking talent. I am an amateur cook, aspiring to improve. I don't learn anything from watching her cooking shows (let alone her travel shows). I don't begrudge her her success. She's found something that works and is happy with it. I do begrudge that I can't turn on the Food Network without seeing her. I don't enjoy anything she does, but to each their own.
  3. Yeah, well, Paris Hilton is richer than Rachael Ray, but I don't think any of us would call her talented except at self-promotion. Clearly, Rachael Ray is doing something right, but I'm not sure it's related to any talent other than marketing.
  4. You're probably not finding the article because you've misspelled her name. It's Rachael Ray. Search for it on nyt.com, and it's the first story that comes up. Basically, it's a review of Rachael Ray's rise from Macy's countergirl to talentless multimedia superstar.
  5. Bill, This thread belongs in the egullet hall of fame. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations. The only thing missing was a webcam in your kitchen. Maybe next time?
  6. I've so far read this from afar, but this strikes me a bit too bizarre of an argument. As I have read the ten pages of this thread, my impression is that Bourdain is upset with Charlie Trotter's apparent hypocrisy. Asking somebody not to cook foie gras in one's kitchen hardly seems to be "trampl[ing] upon the rights of others to cook or eat foie gras." To the contrary, it seems a reasonable request, especially if it is based on a principled moral position. And most reasonable people would respect such a morally-grounded request if it were made. Don't you think?
  7. One of the salmon selections at the Glover Park Whole Foods last night was $24.99/pound! "Fresh Alaskan," if I remember correctly. At that price, it oughta sing to me while I grill it. I got the perfectly good Icelandic at $10/pound, and, frankly, I can't imagine that other salmon being 250% as good.
  8. dmede

    Dinner disasters

    For a few years in grad school, I lived with three other guys. We'd split the cooking, so that each of us would prepare dinner one night a week. I was very much a beginner cook at that point, and, for reasons I don't quite recall, I decided I was going to make Welsh rarebit one night. Note to self: when they say, "add cheese slowly," they mean, "add cheese slowly." Being an impatient grad student, I pretty much dumped all the cheese in at once. In the end, I wound up with what can best be described as a cheese frisbee. Totally inedidble, but I bet NASA might have been able to find some application for the substance I created.
  9. Supply and demand. I suspect if Ray's was having difficulty filling tables, then they would expand their reservation hours. I do wish the reservation policy was more transparent. I have never tried to make a reservation myself, but my wife tried to surprise me with a reservation for my birthday and couldn't figure out when she was supposed to call. (She said she called a few times; got busy signals sometimes; got an endlessly ringing phone other times.) Alas, I was deprived of my first Ray's steak for my birthday, and we would have gladly been out of there in ninety minutes. Edited to include: The above should not be read as a whimpering complaint, nor a plea for any special birthday treatment. Just a modest request. Phew. Just wanted to make that clear. Can't wait to go to Ray's. Next time the wife is going to let me make the reservations.
  10. Friends took me to Etrusco for a birthday dinner last night. This was my first time there, but add me to the list of those befuddled by Sietsema's recent three-star review. Frankly, it struck me as a low two-star (or perhaps even one-star) restaurant. The food was decent, but that's all. I had a nice antipasto as an appetizer, but the veal I had as an entree was boring (with some awful vegetables on the side). The dessert of amaretto and vanilla custard was good, but not three-star good. The bread service was terrible. The wine list was over-priced. I didn't taste my friends' food, but all of it looked like decently executed Italian food. Nothing more, nothing less. They both left food on their plates (and portions were not huge). The service was generally adequate, improved only by the server bringing me a scoop of ice cream with a birthday candle in it at the end of the night. It's just impossible to believe that both Etrusco and Palena would get three stars. If Etrusco gets three, then Palena deserves about six.
  11. Haven't eaten at the restaurant yet, but I went to the BlackSalt market today to get a piece of fish for dinner. My wife and I just finished eating a FABULOUS piece of sea bass. As soon as we finished eating, I said to my wife, "I have to go tell the foodies." This was really a great piece of fish. The best I can remember buying at a market, and certainly better than anything I've gotten from Whole Foods recently. They had a nice assortment of fish, including some that you almost never see at the Whole Foods (e.g., they had sturgeon and flounder today, but no salmon). The prices were generally reasonable. The sea bass was expensive at $19/pound (I got it anyway because it looked great, and it was), the monkfish was $11/pound, mahi mahi for $12/pound. For those wondering, I prepared the sea bass in an Indian-style marinade and then threw it on the grill. I'll take some credit as the chef, but the fish was the real star of the meal. We'll definitely be going back, both to the market and to the restaurant.
  12. Actually, I think Rocks is arguing exactly the opposite. He's arguing for better written reviews and better consumers who take the time to read well-written reviews rather than relying on the number of stars assigned (or a two-word snippet from a review pasted into a newspaper ad for a movie). You yourself note that the NYT does not assign stars in its movie or drama reviews, but I can read those reviews and usually reach a conclusion about whether I would want to see that play, musical, or movie. Why do we need stars at the end of our restaurant reviews? Shouldn't the reviews themselves, not the stars, help us decide whether we go eat at a restaurant?
  13. My wife and I were in Westchester County, New York for Thanksgiving, and the Whole Foods in White Plains had a full stock of Total. My wife is an addict and literally filled a cooler with the stuff to bring it back to DC. I have no idea how they're able to get it in NY but not here if the problem is an import license.
  14. My wife and I ate at Coppi's for the first time last winter. We weren't overly impressed. The food was fine, but we were kind of peeved at both the service and especially the wine list. Sometimes you just want a pizza and a simple, relatively inexpensive bottle of wine. We had a hard time finding that at Coppi's and left wondering how (and why) we had just spent $80 for a couple of good-but-not-great pizzas, an appetizer, and a bottle of wine.
  15. Faccia Luna has been closed for a while -- weeks or months, I think. There's a handmade sign tied atop the old sign that reads "Kavanaugh's Pizza." Haven't been since the change, though, so no details to report. ← Well, I guess I can make this my very first post. My wife and I recently ordered a pizza from Kavanaugh's, and we were struck by just how similar it seemed to Faccia Luna pizza. And the bartender who handled our takeout order was, I think, a bartender who had worked at Faccia Luna. I wonder if this was some sort of divorce involving this branch of Faccia Luna rather than an entirely new restaurant. Ah, my first post. I have a review of Palena from a few weeks ago to post, but I must admit to being a bit intimidated by the knowledge on this board..
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