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mike_r

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About mike_r

  • Birthday 01/31/1981

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    Chicago, IL

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  1. depends on where you are and what the drink is! I usually spec a Manhattan at 2oz whiskey and 1 oz vermouth; Negroni at 1oz each across the board, and bitter balanced drinks mostly follow that structure. A Daiquiri is at 2-3/4-3/4; most other sours are built more or less according to that structure. Tiki drinks - often are larger volume but are using more mixer; also are often served over crushed ice so that 12-14 oz glass becomes pretty reasonable. And the top 3-4 oz of that glass are typically just crushed ice, meant to support bitters or mint or what have you. For stirred drinks I usually use a 6 to 6.5-oz coupe; typically my stirred drink recipes are at about 3 to 3.5 oz; with 30% dilution (average) that gets you to nearly 5 oz. Add in an oz+ for the wash line and there you go. For shaken drinks I'll usually go with a glass closer to 7.5 oz; that's a 3.5-4 oz drink with closer to 35% dilution. Plenty of room for the cocktail plus space for foam (egg white, pineapple, basic bubbles from shaking.)
  2. Tales of the Cocktail 2009

    they have seminars at tales? In my opinion, it's simply scale. The same drinks that on a massive scale seemed insipid and uninspired might have been interesting at the least if tasted on a one-to-one basis. Especially when everything is being dumped into a bucket hours ahead of time; the citrus is changing, sugar is moving, layers are forming. For the seminars we were mostly able to batch immediately before the tasting; but for something as massive and involved as the Sins event (which took years off my life, let me tell you!) we have to start early...and we were still behind. Also, some of the drinks were just bad.
  3. Tales of the Cocktail 2009

    i'm exaggerating. Most of the cocktails were actually quite good; it's just that when you're batching for 300 any little balance errors are multiplied drastically. think about the last time you built a cocktail and forgot the simple, or the lime. Sometimes you taste and BLAMMO! there goes your palate. fixable for the most part, but often we simply hadn't tasted the cocktails before, and so were unsure of which direction to take them. As a whole, however, I think they worked out.
  4. Tales of the Cocktail 2009

    too many to list. Other highlights: Vaughn's, Bacchanal, the New Orleans Moonshiners, 1914 Pierre Ferrand, and shots of Tobala mezcal with Steve Olson and Ron Cooper in the kitchen. And again at 10 in the morning. And again at Tommy's... Lowlights: sins. nuff said. both the kind we do and the kind that were done to us. as well as that one thing.
  5. Rogue (now beta) Cocktails

    I first saw this book a few weeks ago when Troy returned from the St-Germain Can-Can in NYC. Kirk had called a few of us at Violet Hour and asked, very casually, if we had any unusual receipts involving often-overlooked ingredients that can usually be found behind many bars; i.e. no housemade bitters involving moonflower blossoms or bacon-washed gin. I dig what they're doing, wholeheartedly. Of course their philosophy raises controversy; but it also gets people thinking, to a certain extent. I had the privilege of drinking at Cure a couple of times; both times surrounded by damn fine bartenders, spirits folks, writers, etc. Each time rounds of praise were brought forth. Their technique and style are wonderful; ask for an old-fashioned or sazerac or even a damn daiquiri and you'll be blown away. As someone who's made those drinks hundreds of times, and still loves them, I find myself often times craving something...different. Something more. Louder, faster, stronger, brighter...In the same way that I love good jazz, or classical music, but have a deep love and appreciation for metal, punk, and industrial. Toby teaches us, among other things, the beauty of subtle complexity, the importance of integrity, and how wicked a liquid pun can be...without these attributes, you haven't even made it out of the starting gate. I know Kirk's learned this (see above) and now he's trying to drop a penny on the tracks, as it were, if only to get people to think. The idea of using a jigger to measure non-potable bitters, combining spirits in unusual fashion, or inversion is not exactly new (Baker, Thomas et al. have such delights documented). At the moment, however, it is different. And as a bartender, I've already used this book myself behind the bar, when I have my regulars in and they want something...different. I think overall what they're trying to fire up is the search for something new. Learn the tryptich, learn water content, learn balance, learn relationships...great. You can make a drink. Now push!
  6. Butter - Chicago

    I've had the pleasure of enjoying the cuisine of butter as it was under chef poli, as well as chef wolen's individual take on different styles of cooking... and i can say it is a very good matchup. it will be interesting to see what he makes of it, but as he says, this is what every young chef dreams of. I have no doubt that lee wolen can make it happen, step into the wheelhouse, as it were...
  7. adam seger of nacional 27 is doing several cocktails with wine syrups; absolutely phenomenal.
  8. TRU - Chicago

    as far as that goes, perhaps you would have better luck phoning and trying to set up a stage for a day; meaning work for free and see some cool stuff. generally it is used as a filtering process when one is applying for a job, but it can be used solely for educational purposes as well. be prepared for a lot of menial, labor-intensive tasks, such as shelling peas, juicing corn, chopping onions, etc. i am speaking from experience at other restaurants only; i don't know how they treat stagesat TRU. in any case, you have all succeeded in getting me pretty damn excited for my meal; i only hope they can live up to the hype
  9. TRU - Chicago

    cheers! that actually sounds quite reasonable. i'm extremely interested in the service aspect at the moment; although i love food in every regard, i have heard much in regards to tru's service. since i'm currently working in a service-based environment, i'd like to see how others view certain steps in hospitality. another question: do you know if it is possible to set up a wine tasting program with them, or is it preferable to order a few glasses or a bottle?
  10. TRU - Chicago

    i was curious--i am planning on eating at tru in the near future and have to budget accordingly...what can i expect to spend if i want to see everything--caviar staircase, cheese, etc. are there other "add-ons" i can look for? i spent some time looking over the tru site and though it mentions the summer collection is $110, they don't mention the caviar staircase. should i go for gand's dessert collection in conjuction with the grand tasting? so confused!
  11. A Summer Cocktail Need

    try mixing white grape juice with gin and a little lime; it'll have a nice refreshing acidity to it...and it's pretty clear. go about 1:1 white grape to lime. welch's works great here.
  12. you could try carrageenan; it's what's used in stuff like chocolate milk to suspend the cocoa particles in the milk...and it has an affinity for dairy.
  13. i'm just waiting for the chicagoland foie running wars...i picked up my tommy gun last weekend, and will be raising ducks in my bathtub to smuggle into the trendiest of restaurants. a bunch of people have expressed their dismay about the new ordinance, as well they should. the two things that get me are (1) the fact that loretta swit--most famously "hot lips" houlihan from M*A*S*H--was able to pull off some ridiculously sentimentalist ploy reminding people of american embarrasments oversees in order to fuel some personal agenda, and (2) the fact that trotter's name was cited as a justification for the ban, "well, TROTTER'S doing it, so we all should, right?". mindless celebrity fawning at its worst. ducks are animals. i do believe that they should be treated humanely, but as a card-carrying carnivore and as a cook who has spent a lot of time up to my arms in animal body parts, i am fully cognizant of the fact that animals have to die for their delicious flesh. bottom line, WE WON the evolutionary battle. we developed brains, opposable thumbs, and sensitive palates. if the ducks had won they'd be eating us. sure, the life of a food animal is short and probably not the happiest, taking anthropomorphized cartoons and kids' movies as a guideline. the thing is...we shouldn't anthropomorphize animals, especially food animals. that's not donald and it's not lil' clucky the brave explorer. it's a DUCK. with a brain the size of a couple of walnuts. it's not spending time bemoaning its fate, or planning its memoirs, or voicing an internal narrative as it cleverly evades capture from the evil farmer. its internal narrative, translated into human terms, might go like this: "FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD OW OW OW FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD MATE? MATE? MATE? FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD." it can feel pain, yes, which is something we should avoid, as highly evolved stewards of this planet. but i cannot see how mindless, knee-jerk reactionary prohibitions like this one are a sign of higher evolution. bugger city hall and alderman moore especially. i'm going to request a ban on shitty overacting in the city, drawing a connection to 9/11 somehow, to trade in on people's emotions. oh, and i officially scoff at this ordinance.
  14. i'm another canned tuna hater. the smell just reminds me of canned cat food...not my idea of tasty stuff. tuna salad, even "gourmet" white albacore, i just can't take it. the smell of cheetos also makes my throat seize up. i also don't like cooked salmon for the most part; raw is ok, but cooked...especially olive oil poached...urgh. don't like cherry, especially the artificial cherry flavor that everything popular is flavored with, and i can't take soda, although i will drink red bull until the cows come home.
  15. Sincerest Form

    i think we've moved beyond lynching chef robin...now we are onto a discussion of, realistically, where we are going as an industry as a whole. the mention of salmon and sorrel was an apt analogy, as that (when the troisgros brothers chose to flaunt tradition by offering something so simply presented) was a time of transition for the industry, much as today is. in recent times we have seen the growth of intellectual property as a keystone of the postmodern culinary revolution; wylie dufresne has his shrimp noodles and gums, grant achatz has his black truffle explosion and wild service pieces, homaro cantu has his edible paper and aropmatic utensils. my understanding of culinary history is limited; i have been a cook now for about six years; i have read books like california dish, by jeremiah tower; michael ruhlman's books, etc. i consider myself relatively well-versed in this field. It seems to me that the process of growth in our field has always been one of building upon the work of others. nowadays we have chefs who have been trained in classical and semi-classical tradition breaking away and defining new boundaries, refusing to be beholden to the precepts of yore. (gettin a little dramatic here...sorry) anyway, we have techniques which are being pioneered by chefs which will have a lasting impact on our industry. i can't say for sure where we will all be in ten or twenty years; i know there will always be a market for stuff like tacos al pastor and pizza and pasta primavera...will anyone, in twenty years' time be saying, darn, wish that vapor joint on the corner hadn't closed, where am i going to get my aromas now? we see things like sous-vide, sodium alginate, liquid nitrogen, gums, transglutaminase, precision cooking (to tenths of a degree!) in immersion circulators, lasers, vapors, antennae, etc. we need to decide where to draw the line: everyone sautees fish, right? throw some orange peel in the pan, some butter...whatever. nothing new. cook the fish sousvide? hmmm...glue it to another piece of fish? ok, interesting...pureee it and make it into fish "caviars" with alginate? tres novelle...just don't use the same plateup and description as someone else. i've experimented with activa. because of wd-50? yep. did i try shrimp noodles? yep, to understand how it works. when i do something with activa, am i going to credit wylie dufresne? no, unless i am grinding shrimp and setting it with activa. if i glue two pieces of beef together to create a ridiculously thick flank steak i'm not going to credit wylie because he didn't invent the enzyme, just paved the way. chefs and hardcore foodies will understand that anyone playing with transglutaminase is walking along the path that wylie presented for us, but that we have to make our own discoveries along the way. outright copying of what he has done is not something i would (i think!!!) want to waste my time on, unless it was as a stepping stone toward something new... ok i'll sign off cuz i'm not making much sense...
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