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Everything posted by mike_r

  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 st
  2. 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
  3. 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. 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. 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 barten
  6. 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. 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 t
  9. 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. 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. 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 justificati
  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. 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
  16. chocolate-covered spiderman? or is that a little too off-topic...
  17. when bechamel was invented, everyone said, hey, great idea, lets expand on that and use it. when the troisgros bros (?) started the movement away from huge pieces montee to smaller dishes, and started using reductions and vinaigrettes instead of the old heavy cream and roux-thickened sauces, everyone said, wow, thats a great idea, let's do it. now i can walk into a restaurant and order salmon, and at most restaurants i'll get a piece of salmon, seared, on top of some veg and starch, with a ring or pool of sauce. there is nothing new to this. there are individual touches a chef can add to m
  18. mike_r


    sodium alginate is something totally different; to create the caviars you are thinking about one mixes the puree with sodium alginate, then drops the liquid into a bath of water and calcium chloride (about 5% solution, i think). the ions crosslink, forming a biopolymer. (if that statement is wrong, i'm sorry. that's how i understood the explanations i have been given.) the caviars will keep "cooking", eventually forming a solid ball of gelled puree...so they are served immediately, so the can stll explode when you bite into them. also, chloride is very bitter, and the longer you keep your
  19. that looks weird... the only peeler i use is the cheapo kuhn-rikon plastic one, available at Northwest Cutlery for just 2.95. rutabegas, butternut squash, even the bumpy end of celery root, taro root, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. peels a carrot in about three seconds flat. never misses; the only problem is that i have occasionally taken off chunks of finger--but thats mostly because of the way i hold the vegetables, on the tips of my fingers for speed. they are sharp though, and when you get used to the size and shape much more movement-efficient than anything else; a few snaps of the w
  20. i've seen a lot of spanglish used...staff meal is comida, a long day has been called mucho worko, etc. some places i've worked a lot of times on the line we'd just start talking in pidgin spanish, even when no one on the line was hispanic. others: turn'n'burn--moving tables along so they'll get out so you can reseat the table...worked at a 200-seat restaurant once that did two and a half turns in about an hour and a half before the baseball game (it was right down the street from the stadium). at my current place we say we're "out on" stuff when that course will be the next one fired, as in
  21. whew, thought i was the only one...think i should start a thread on what our d&d characters have eaten in games? (j/k. that's horrifyingly nerdy. im sorry.) anyway...what about medusa's snakes, done up like unagi? i'd like to try some ankylosaurus flank, grilled, or maybe the legs braised for a week in some kind of cretaceous wine...those guys didn't move around a whole lot, so they're bound to have some fatty goodness going on...
  22. amen to that! this is also just another way to slip our liberties out from under us with snakeoil. first foie, then lobster, then veal, next thing you know we're all going to be restricted to a stone age diet of grains and asparagus! don't get me wrong, i like asparagus, but mostly on the side of something rich, fatty and delicious--hey, like foie. heck, if this bill passes i'm gonna start raising ducks for foie in my bathroom. this bill will be harder to enforce than prohibition...
  23. man that sucks. speaking as a cook who has recently been given the opportunity to gain front-of-the-house experience at a pretty high-end joint, everything you spoke of sounds completely unacceptable. The worst part is not only did you receive crappy service, but no one even noticed you receiving crappy service. letting a table slip through the cracks like that is beyond embarrassing, it's a bloody sin against the industry. it's crap, and i hope to god you complain and they invite you back for another meal, on their dime, and that it is flawless. sorry, this sort of thing gets to me. i've
  24. mike_r

    Chips and Crisps

    my favorite are taro root chips. just a little salt and they beat just about any other root veg out there.
  25. fried sweetbreads, mmmm....There's a burger joint near the train station on damen and north (chicago) that does fried twinkies every now and then...i worked for a chef who made fried mayo...for staff meal...
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