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    Montreal, QC, Canada
  1. Maybe it's because it is traditional to use local produce to create a local flavor. Instead of complaining that Quebec's onions are "stinky," why not see that as a variation on the theme of onions, and perhaps Quebec lamb and Quebec onions are a nice mix. If you want Italian lamb and Italian onions -- also a nice mix -- go to Italy!
  2. Be warned that "everything else on the cheap" means virtually everything will be deep-fried. That was my unfortunate experience last October. Mind you, for deep fried fish things, they were very nicely done, but stil, enough is enough! Seafood chowders are widely available and they are almost always very good. Not fancy, but very tasty. With few exceptions, the biggest problem I had with Cape Breton restaurants was the lack of ambience. They just don't "get it" when it comes to restaurants. I think it comes from the working- and farming- class backgrounds, in which eating is far more of a utilitarian task than anything else. Most inexpensive restaurants are brightly-lit (often with flourescent tubes) and have no music or other ambient sound. You feel like everything you say is being heard by everyone in the restaurant, because no one else seems to be talking -- or if they are, they're talking to the waitress as if she's a member of the family (and she probably is). Decor is minimal too, and you'll probably see the odd spectable of many couples sitting at tables side-by-side, faces down into their plates, instead of sitting across from each other. That was primarily in the lower end restaurants, the places where locals go. In Cheticamp, I had a quite decent meal in a nice place -- don't remember the name, but it's "the fancy place" in the middle of town, with "Harbour" in the name. Excellent lobster and crab. The decor was uninspired, but at least it was dark and woody instead of being bright overhead lights and blank white walls. It had a big old bar that was nice too. Unfortunately, the lighting was awful. The ceiling had a bunch of those little halogen lamps on wires all over the place, pointing downwards at slight angles. The result was that no matter where you sat you had a hot spot from an overhead halogen light right in your eye. I'm sure there are places that are not like this, but that's mostly what I encountered. Keep in mind that I grew up in Cape Breton, so it's not like this is unfamiliar to me. And to end on a happier note, the landscape there is stunningly beautiful, and the people are very friendly. Just leave your expectations for "restaurant atmosphere" behind! :-)
  3. Oh, hey, I just found something on Epinions about those knives. It's the "Twinstar" line: "Twin Star knives are Henckel's most expensive line because they are made with some sort of ceramic diamond-honed(?)coating on the blade that is supposed to maintain their sharpness forever (in fact you cannot sharpen these knives as it will ruin this coating and the blade). (Note: these are very different from Henckel's no-sharpening line of serrated knives.)" Full review: http://www.epinions.com/hmgd-review-45BF-1...BC-384C59B3-bd3 And here's a negative review: http://www.epinions.com/hmgd-review-55D7-1...-39CAD242-prod6 No more Twinstars for me!
  4. Indeed. I don't know what I was thinking. I guess I figured that since it was Henckels it was trustworthy, and I was high on technology at the time. A good example of a bad decision. It's not the metal that makes it never need sharpening, it's the material bonded to one side of the edge. To look at it, it just looks like a regular chef's knife, but on one side it looks like somebody drew a 1/4-inch line along the edge with a grey magic marker. I almost never use it but I won't bother getting another one for now. Between it and my new Wustoff Santuko knife, my trusty 25-year-old Grohmann chef's knife, the big cheapo 12-inch molybdenum killer I got at Ikea, a huge and heavy cleaver, low-level Henckels bread, carving, and boning knives, a high-end Henckels paring knife, and two old-fashined Opinel paring knives... there's no room left in the knife block!
  5. My first "real" knife was a Henckels 8" chefs knife that I bought six or so years ago, for more than $100. At the time I had to decide between the classic design and the newer line with a molded handle and some special material bonded to the edge on one side so it never needs sharpening. I decided to go with the newer model, which I now regret. Athough it is still decently sharp, it drives me nuts that I can't take a stone or a honer to it, because that will ruin the special stay-sharp edge. So I'm stuck with a knife that will always be an 8 out of 10 on he sharpness scale. I've looked and looked, but I've never found any more information on that line. I'm wondering if I can just scrape off the material and end up with a regular classic knife, but there seems to be no information on it anywhere, not even directly from Henckels. Does anyone here know anything about that line? A few months ago I gave up on it and bought a 6" Wustoff Santuko knife. It took a while to get used to its light weight, but now I really like it.
  6. My unsolicted two cents: I like both LA Cetto Petite Sirah and Borsao, and I'm quite happy that my wine tastes are relatively unsophisticated. Yes, I can tell the difference between depanneur plonk and a $15 bottle of something from the SAQ, but I'm not sure that a $30 dollar bottle is necessarily twice as good as a $15 one. And I really hate this idea that wine is something primarily to be criticized and poo-pooed because it's never quite good enough. Reminds me of that guy in Sideways who could almost never be happy (in wine or in life). Screw that. I'd rather appreciate what I have by understanding that this $12 or $15 bottle is not the pinnacle, but it sure tastes nice with this pizza I just made, or this steak I just pulled off the grill. As such, I too take offence at the wisecracks against other people's tastes. I could understand it if they were trying to pass Borsao off as some kind of sublime experience worthy of the Queen's honeymoon or whatever, but some of us are just saying that it's a decent every-day wine.
  7. Could someone give me some idea of where this place is located?
  8. Thanks for the tips! I think I'm going to go for the Flying Fish. I might even make a meal of appetizers! If time permits I'll also try Matt's. On Monday night I'm scheduled to go to Mamma's in Belltown for Mexican. I was there 9 years ago and it seemed pretty good. Is it still up to standard, or is there a better option now?
  9. Hey there. I'm also a Canuck, and I'll be in Seattle next week looking for a good fish/seafood meal on Wednesday night. I'm also staying downtown (Red Lion) and I have the same parameters -- needs to be central, and not overly expensive. However, I really want FISH or SEAFOOD. Do any of the places previously mentioned specialize in seafood? Also, are there nice restaurants in the Pike Place Market area, or are they all sort of "market restaurants?" If nice, any recommendations? Thanks!
  10. Count me in as being in favor of the smoking bans! People will not stop going to bars and restaurants because of a smoking ban, plain and simple. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who have stopped going to bars and restaurants (or have at least cut back considerably) because of the *lack* of a smoking ban. I'm one of them. When (not if) the ban becomes universal, I will likely find myself going out more, and so will thousands of other people who previously turned their backs on smoky bars and cafes. In other words, a smoking ban will likey INCREASE business, not decrease it.
  11. I've only eaten one KK donut. I went into the KK on Taschereau Blvd (South Shore) to check it out and they gave me a free one. So I ate it, declared my research over, and left. They are pretty awesome when hot, for all the above-listed reasons. It's also fun to watch them being made. They're a different kind of donut than the typical Tim Horton's -- they're lighter in texture and less "cakey" that Tim's. They also have fewer calories and less fat. On the other hand, you are far more likely to eat several of them (because they are yummy and are sold by the dozen) than you are to eat several Tim's donuts, so the reality is that they are less healthy -- which is to say, more unhealthy. I certainly won't miss them if they all close. Their huge popularity is primarily a result of marketing and hype. I wrote about that little research trip on my blog last year: http://blork.typepad.com/blorkblog/2004/04/mmmmm_donuts.html ...there are links at the end of the post where you can download the nuturitional info for both Tim's and KK donuts in PDF format.
  12. blork

    Worst Beer Ever Tasted

    Way, way back in this thread somebody mentioned Mickey's Malt Liquor hand grenades, and I couldn't agree more. I'm actually not that hard to please -- even your standard mass-produced domestics are generally OK on a hot day when you're in front of the BBQ with a hot dog in your hand. Or they're at least acceptable, as long as they're really cold. Or at least I won't refuse it. But that Mickey's -- it was like severely watered-down cheapo beer (like half-and-half with awful tap water) mixed with something metalic, as if an alkaline battery had fallen into the bottle and died. Ugh! After the fourth sip I knew it wasn't just me and I tossed it down the drain. Bleh!
  13. I started using unglazed quarry stone a few months ago with great success (I wrote about it on my blog, <a href="http://blork.typepad.com/blorkblog/2005/01/pizza_stoned.html" target="_blank">here</a>.) One thing that surprised me when I was researching pizza stones -- and I see it in this thread too -- is how long they suggest you pre-heat the stones. For me, the idea of having my oven raging at 525 or 550 FOR AN HOUR so I can cook a pizza in four minutes is a colossal waste of energy. I just can't wrap my head around it. I generally let the oven come to temperature and then wait another five or ten minutes, max. It sure seems to work. I can cook a thin-crust pie in about six or seven minutes and it comes out nice and crispy. So the question remains: is it really necessary to pre-heat for so long? I could understand it if the stone was two inches thick, but my quarry stones (and most of the pizza stones I had previously considered buying) are not quite 1/2 an inch. Does pre-heating for an hour make any difference than pre-heading for 30 minutes? How about 15 minutes? 5 minutes? I realize there are purists who will argue for an hour's preheating no matter what, but I'd be interested to hear if anyone has actually done any tests or knows of any articles debunking the one-hour pre-heat. I'm still working on the dough -- I haven't done it enough to be consistent yet and I still haven't quite nailed the super-thin one.
  14. to be precise, I haven't seen HD COFFEE flavor frozen yogurt in years...
  15. Vanilla is not plain... it's sublime! ;-) I used to love HD coffee flavor to the point of it being dangerous. Then I discovered they made it in frozen yogurt, which was almost as good and far less sinful. Alas, I haven't seen HD frozen yogurt in years! Even the ice cream is hard to find around here (Montreal). Most of the flavors I see are not very interesting to me -- I prefer somewhat "pure" flavors, where the richness really shows, than flavors that are full of nuts and bolts and other gimmicks. Then, last year I discovered dolce de leche. Oh my!
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