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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by TAPrice

  1. Interesting and very useful. I'm a little confused by how your defining "Budget" and "Everyday. Why, for example, is Beefeater consider "Budget" while Tanquery is "Everyday." I don't notice much of price difference between them.
  2. True. That's how you can tell a TV chef from a real chef, because the pros add "off" to their verbs ("cook off," "roast off," etc.).
  3. You drink enough Unicum and Fernet starts tasting sweet. Seriously.
  4. Brett Anderson just released his top 10 restaurants for 2010. Here they are, in alphabetical order: Cochon Commander's Palace Emeril's Gautreau's Herbsaint Lilette Patois Restaurant August Ristorante del Porto Stella! Changes from the 2009 list include: Exit Emeril's Delmonico, MiLa and Galatoire's. I didn't review the whole thread, but I'm pretty sure Galatoire's has been in the top 10 since Brett started this dining guide. Cochon (with Cochon Butcher include) and Lilette return. I believe Lilette has always been in the top 10 with the exception of 2008. Patois was the one newcomer to the top 10. [Disclosure: I freelance for the Times Picayune, although I didn't back when I started this thread. I know Brett well, but I don't ask him about his reviewing and have no insights to offer.]
  5. When I lived in Spain, another egg cooking technique that seemed unique was flicking hot oil over the fried egg. In other words, they would fry the egg sunny side up in a decent amount of oil and use a spatula to toss hot oil onto the top of the egg to cook that side a little. Several home cooks I met did this. And it was always olive oil. Once I tried to cook my eggs in butter, and my Spanish roommate asked me if I was French.
  6. Just so you don't get the wrong idea about the kind of man I am, I'm not really into built drinks. It's just all I can manage these days. Those are great suggestions, Sam.
  7. Let me tell you about my life. I've got a five week old who doesn't sleep. A 2 year old who never stops moving. And somewhere in all that, I've got work. Do I need a drink? You bet I do. In my current situation, I'm not up for anything too complicated. Basically, I've been making a lot of Old Fashioneds, Negronis, corn and oils. But that's getting a little old and I need some variations. Having given this a lot of thought in my infinite free time, these are the criteria for what I can make: 1) Build in the glass over ice: No shaking, no stirring. I'm not interesting in cleaning a mixing tin. Our sink is already full of breast pumping equipment. 2) Equal proportions are nice: Math has never been harder. At the very least, I need a simple ratio. That also allows me to easily double my drinks, which I often do. 3) No citrus: Juicing a lemon or lime? Ain't gonna happen. Hell, remembering to buy lemons or limes at the store isn't going to happen. Suggestions?
  8. I don't have either of the DeGroff books (I know--shame on me). Is "Essential Cocktails" basically an update of the "Craft of the Cocktail"? Or are both worth having?
  9. Yesterday I was making a sandwich and noticed that I've gotten in the habit of licking the spoon clean of Dijon mustard. I used to always lick the mayonnaise spoon, which is a habit I'm pretty I picked up in Spain. These days, I've broken myself of that one. So what can you not help but lick straight from the spoon?
  10. I eat sandwiches at least 4-5 times a week, but I take my lunch to work most days. I suspect many other countries are equally fond of sandwiches. The only other places I've lived are Spain and France. Spain consumes lots of "bocadillos" (sandwiches on French bread). France as well wasn't immune to the sandwich's charms, although perhaps outside of the student culture people eat them less.
  11. How many people have traveled widely enough to say whether or not this list is nonsense? My instincts say don't take GQ seriously, but who knows? Assuming there is a kernel of truth in these rankings, does it show that the cocktail renaissance has taken root across the country? Or should we assume the geographic distribution is just a bone thrown to readers outside New York? I don't know the New York cocktail scene, but does that ranking for Pegu Club seem fair? I certainly hear less talk about it these days. Has it been that fully eclipsed by the bars that came after it?
  12. There are also a whole bunch of new restaurants/high-end bars opening at the moment. John Harris of Lilette has a new wine bar. A fancy wine bar called Oak opened on Oak Street. An arty lounge on St. Charles with food and drinks by the Iris crew opens this weekend on St. Charles. Feast, a Houston head-to-tail operation, will open its New Orleans outlet this month.
  13. The weather is great, oysters are in season, crawfish aren't.
  14. Any chance he actual meant "wet (i.e. freshly laid) asphalt"? Perhaps he was talking about that rubber tire, petroleum smell?
  15. Agreed, but you seemed to by arguing the opposite in the passage quoted in my previous post. Thanks for the clarification.
  16. You're arguing that the type of protection granted to creative act (patent vs. copyright, in this case) should be based on the economic means of the producer? Because patents seem like a more appropriate protection for these new dishes which exist primarily because of original techniques.
  17. Fair enough, but what's the equivalent of a "big hit" in the culinary world? Even if chefs and bartenders had copyright protection, how do you envision they would cash in on it? It's easy to say someone could get rich, but much harder to convincingly explain how.
  18. No, I actually don't think that's another possibility. Your argument is based on the premiss that these dishes are difficult and expensive to create yet cheap and easy to copy. Recreating these dishes surely requires a significant investment in equipment and training. I realize that you're more familiar with these chefs and restaurants than I am, so I'm happy to be proven wrong. And even if we accept that premiss, I just don't understand what you're arguing. In real, concrete terms, what substantial harm have these restaurants and bars suffered by any poaching of their intellectual property? Did people really cancel reservations at Alinea, because they found out they could get a similar dish at that copycat restaurant in Australia? Were drinkers really passing up Tailor, because they'd heard a consultant had put a couple of Freeman's drinks on some menu in Kansas? I can see the argument that Freeman deserves compensation if a consultant took his drink and presented it as something unique. But how much is that drink worth? What percentage of the consulting fee should go to Freeman, if not legally than morally? I'd be shocked if the amount of money was even in the four figures. Nickles and dimes that wouldn't make a difference in the bottom line of a business. And if bartenders or chefs of a certain artistic bent got copyright protection (I believe your arguing that only certain culinary creations merit protection, not every recipe ever created), how will they exploit this economically? I just don't see where it would generate a significant new revenue stream. In the real world, copyrights are almost all entirely worthless. Yes, it might stick in the craw of talented chefs that my family snapshots and tossed off blog posts all receive copyright protection, while they sweat over dishes and drinks that aren't protected. But in reality, my copyrights are worthless. Just because I have the right to economically exploit my family snapshots, it doesn't mean that I'll ever make a penny off of them. On the other hand, even without copyright protection, chefs and bartenders have numerous, established ways to exploit their creative efforts: open restaurants and bars, write books, teach classes, present recipes at seminars, consult, etc.
  19. My impression from the talk was that Eben might want this rights but recognized that U.S. law would never grant them. We should probably be carefully about discerning his motives from this Atlantic story (as I noted, even the basic facts about the presenters weren't fact checked). Then again, he did say that someone should get sued. The lawyers in the seminar made the same point about bartenders needed to stamp their "brand" on their creation. It seems like only practitioners of molecular gastronomy are seriously arguing that their works deserve copyright protection (and I'm still not sure that anyone is making more than a hypothetical argument). I understand--they want to get paid. Part of the reason that they're frustrated and seeking new revenue models, I would guess, is that the traditional path of opening restaurants (or bars, in this case) has been largely unsuccessful. How many full-on molecular gastronomy restaurants exist in the U.S.? Three, right? The entire city of New York, where all kinds of avant-garde art flourishes, seems able to support only a single MG restaurant. Maybe the public hasn't caught up yet. Maybe the public will never catch up. Or maybe this "art" is too expensive to produce given the small number of diners interested in consuming it.
  20. Even if one accepts that argument (I don't), has a court ever accepted this new reasoning? Has anyone even attempted to challenge the exemption to copyright protection using this line of reasoning?
  21. I think that's true. I'm sure I would get some grief from Steve Jobs if I launched a "Mack" computer.
  22. Sam: excellent summary. Hits most of the points made by the lawyers at the Tales seminar. A couple of quick notes. This is not a matter of precedent. The codes on copyright explicitly exclude recipes from protection. The lawyers categorically said that copyright was a dead end for protecting drinks. True, but you have to show that the method is "non-obvious." Although it might be a good idea to have all employees sign a NDA, it would be not be necessary. Only the employees who actually mixed the secret ingredients would need to sign an agreement. In fact, limiting the number of people who knew and mixed the secret ingredient would be further proof that the secret was being protected. If the secret is not carefully guarded, then the owner loses the legal protections.
  23. No. He never suggested any changes to the law, at least not publicly during the seminar. In fact, everyone on the panel, including Freeman, seem to accept that the U.S. legal system offers no relief in this situation. Well, he might have expressed displeasure with current laws, but he was realistic about the unlikelihood that the laws would ever be changed in a way that would be more favorable to bartenders (sorry, working off memory here--my notes weren't that detailed). He was, it was clear, extremely frustrated at the media, at other bartenders, at the way the internet spreads information, etc. The conclusion from the lawyers was that bartenders, like celebrities chefs, had to build their brand to cash in on their creative efforts. They needed to own their own bars, sell branded products, and make their personal style so recognizable that a fellow bartender wouldn't dare rip off their recipes. It was also suggested that the bartending industry could find a way to police itself. Edit: He did say in the seminar that "someone should get sued," but it was never clear on what grounds.
  24. According to the lawyers (found my notes!), you can't control the recipe but a unique, secret ingredient could be protected as a trade secret. This is how Coke and most of other food manufactures control their recipes. By law, they have to list ingredients, but they do not have to specify flavors. The syrup for Coke is protected as a "trade secret," but not the formula for the drink (which is just a recipe). In order to maintain your right to a trade secret, you must take concrete and consistent steps to protect it. For example, any employees who made the secret ingredients would have to sign a confidentiality agreement.
  25. I was in that seminar as well. I'm not sure this is the clearest summary of what was said (and some basic facts are wrong--the two lawyers on the panel were both from the firm of Davis Wright Tremain). From the start, the author seems unclear about the various categories of protections for intellectual property: Trademark might have been sought for the name of the drink (a name which was borrowed by the bar), but (and any lawyers reading please correct me) it would not be applicable to a recipe. Haven't look at my notes, but I don't remember any discussion about a recipe becoming "public property" over time. In fact, the copyright codes explicitly states that recipes cannot be protected. This is circular and just factually wrong (again, please correct me if I'm mistaken). Ideas can never be protected, but expressions of ideas can be. The lawyers, I thought, did a good job in the seminar explaining this fundamental concept of intellectual property. Not sure the musician example is relevant here. If I'm not mistaken, authors of a composition do received compensation for covers of their work, although it would be through the performance venue paying BMI or ASCAP for this right. Not even sure what to make of the above quote. Just because you explicitly waive your right to protect your intellectual property (which I don't believe happened here), you have not avoided the issue. You have simply taken an unconventional approach (there are books, such as the manifestos of the French Situationists, that explicitly waive all copyright protection, for example). When I have more time, I could dig up my notes from the seminar. Basic take away: the law doesn't offer bartenders much protections, although using a "secret ingredient" might be one way to maintain control of a drink.
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