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Everything posted by zeitoun

  1. Ichimura on 2nd Ave and 54th St.
  2. It's funny, I also had dinner at Blue Hill saturday night. I was there with my wife and a friend visiting from Florida. Juan cooked for us a 7 course meal that left us speechless, this is my fourth meal at Blue Hill this year and with each meal it is just getting better and better. I'll post meal notes with pictures shortly.
  3. I fully agree with the above, I am presently enrolled in the culinary program and will graduate in February. We are at this point already half way through the entire curriculum and it is true that a majority of students in the class don't seem very concerned with whatever happens after graduation. Actually, most of them aren't even sure they want to work in a professional kitchen or do something food related. For the price you pay, I find this quite amazing. But this is true for any school (even at the CIA or FCI according to many friends in the industry). Some students care and some really don't. It is all about what you as student try to get from the experience and the school itself hasn't much to do with it. Personally, I already had my externship set up in a four star restaurant here in NY 2 months after my program started, not because the school helped me get in, it was rather the product of my own work and effort. When school started I just took it upon myself to go out there and trail in as many kitchens as I could until I found a kitchen I liked. By the way, in that four star kitchen, 90% of the cooks have not even heard of ICE. You'll realize quickly that what school you come from really doesn't matter much, it's all about how you carry yourself and how much effort you put into your work. That is the only thing a high end restaurant or chef will look at.
  4. I'll respectfully disagree with that statement. Go into any Puerto Rican or Dominican neighborhood cafe in NYC (and there are lots of them) and you'll find empanadas offered. Typically filled with ground beef or minced chicken and always fried. There's also a less widely sold Dominican variety that's made with mashed plantain as the "dough" and filled with beef then deep fried. ← You're correct actually, i was thinking more in terms of south america and not the caribbean. Although they are called empanadas, for some reason I've always placed dominican or puerto rican versions of it in a different category. My experience with dominican empanadas more precisely is that of a flat, thin and round crusty dough with a loose filling. Some are actually made with catibia flour, a derivative of yuca (which dominicans will tell you are the "authentic" dominican empanadas). Some people refer to them as empanadas, I've heard others call them pasteles or even cativias. In my eyes, they are somewhat different from the empanadas I associate with south america, but they are indeed empanadas nonetheless.
  5. Rue Cler in the 7th hasn't changed much, I walked by there a few months ago and was surprised to see that almost all the shops I used to patronize 20 years ago are still there, with the same owners. Not as picturesque as "la mouffe" but still a true parisian market street. Although not a market street, the sunday market at the Blvd de Grenelle is splendid, highly recommended.
  6. Sorrell sounds pretty interesting to me and think i'll give it a try based on your comments. This past friday I had dinner at Applewood which was also mentionned upthread. I liked the place but did not love it though. To start with I had a "seafood salad" which basically consisted of a trio of roughly chopped marinated crab, crayfish and octopus meat mixed together and topped with a whole unshelled lobster claw. A roasted jalapeno cream came on the side of the plate. I didn't think much of this dish, a little uninspiring. The amount of meat was overwhelming and in my eyes should have been mixed with something else like radish or cucumber just to break away from the dull taste of mixed seafood only. The lobster claw, as is the case 95% of the time, was dry, overcooked and had a "pasty" mouthfeel. Not that great really. My entree was a better. I had a loin of lamb with roasted red bell pepper which was diced and sat on the loin. The loin itself was served on a bed of collard greens (i think) and came with what I think was the lamb's jus. That was good and very nicely seasoned. Dessert was good. Mascarpone filled crepes with, if a remember correctly, a blackberry/wine sauce. Not bad at all. On another note, I also tried this new place that recently opened on Court St. called "Little Bistro", I think the chef worked at Jean Georges and Nobu or something like that. I don't even remember what I ordered, all I remember is my wife and I going for tacos after that because food was so horrendous that we barely touched it. I hate to bash restaurants but this was one of the worst meals I had this year...
  7. Nice job Elie!! Samke harra is on the menu this week end, i'll report back with pictures hopefully.
  8. Although not traditional, I once made samke harra with monkfish fillets and thought it was a perfect pairing with this type of sauce. I like it mainly because monkfish is a little more toothsome and has more bite than other fish and this works nicely with tahini. I came to like it so much that I also use it whenever I make Sayyadieh, the other famous Lebanese fish dish.
  9. Thanks for the picture, great looking fish..
  10. Ombre Chevalier is the name of the local form of Arctic Charr (Salvelinus alpinus). These fish are salmonids, so closely related to salmon and trout. They also have the most northern distribution of all fresh water fish and they are highly varible in form, there may be several types of non-interbreeding morphs in the same lake for instance. The version found in Scotland looks like this and tastes similar to trout, if paler in flesh and a richer flavour. For added confusion Ombre is the French name for another salmonid, known in English as a "Grayling". These taste of thyme (hence the name Thymallus arcticus I guess) and I am going fishing for them tomorrow. ← Thanks for the info and Bonne peche! I'll look forward to seeing a picture
  11. I would agree that Beirut is probably the most "English friendly" city in the entire Middle East. In addition to English you'll also hear French only being spoken amongst some circles. It becomes quite different once you step outside of Beirut and would probably require a guide (as in an English speaking driver who will take you around). Lebanon is very small and these types of "organized" tours can be arranged from Beirut easily. Everything is only a few hours away from Beirut, and with the new coastal highway system, you can drive from north to south (Syrian border to Israeli border) in almost 3 hours and probably less if your driver learned how to drive in Lebanon...I always said if you can drive in Lebanon, then you can drive anywhere in the world btw..I second/third the idea of a samke harra cookoff thread...
  12. I had dinner at Fleur de Sel in March and was very happy. From experience, I have learned not to trust reviews on Citysearch. If you delve a little further into the negative comments, you'll see that most reviewers (especially when it comes to higher end restaurants) seldom seem to know what they are really talking about. The complaint of choice is either not enough food, too expensive or not "tasty" enough. Regardless, there is always the possibility of an "off night" (as in the kitchen gets slammed and you, the diner, get caught in the middle of it) which can happen anywhere, I think this alone should not dissuade you from judging for yourself...
  13. What a beautiful report Adam! I'm curious, is ombre chevalier a specialty of the Savoie? Is it a type of fresh water trout? Or salmon maybe?
  14. Judith - thank you for sharing this wonderful gastronomic journey with us! I have two questions: First, you mentionned having cod with cock's crest at Les Cols. I have never eaten cock's crest before but recall seeing it on a Ducasse recipe prepared deep fried. How was it prepared when you had it? Second, I am very intrigued by the idea of "monkfish confit" which you had at Echaurren. Would you mind telling us more about it? And thank you for your notes on Akelare
  15. Alright Nadia! Now you're talking!! Just going through your meal list brought back beautiful memories of Lebanon... I totally see what you mean about food and Lebanese people. To this day, whenever my dad says he is just making a simple "Kibbe bil sanyeh" for lunch, that means he is preparing a 5 course mezze, with two main dishes, with desserts and fruits, and a "Kibbe bil sanyeh"
  16. I walked by there on Sunday with my wife, we were coming back from brunch at the Miracle Grill ( ) on our way to Sunrise mart so she could re stock on some stuff. I really want to try this place and I wonder Michael how you would compare it to a place like Mamoun's? (for those who do not know, it is another notorious falafel place in the village)
  17. This is a great article, a great tutorial in the "art of eating empanadas"! Thanks for the link...
  18. I loved Saida/Sidon, I have wonderful memories of delicious fried sultan ibrahim there (red mullet). As you pointed out, the fish can be bought almost right off the boat. I also loved the old city (an incredible mase of small streets and alleys) which we were told on my visit that some parts have remained the same since the Pheonicians. You might have answered a big question of mine, is "tout" mulberry in English? I really miss eating real 'ishta (milk skin) ice cream, I've never seen it here in the US.
  19. zeitoun

    Taro Sushi

    Funny, I remember vividly seeing you!! It's good to know that Taro could even be better. I'd love to go back (and probably will regularly) even if it is for a 3 roll combo! As for the Ankimo, it may well be that my previous experiences with it was always that of it having a moist and creamy texture. Very foie gras like in a way. Whenever my wife and I get our hands on it at our fishmarket, we usually sear it at high temperature just the way it is, no longer than 1 to 2 minutes depending on thickness. I never ate it steamed before which is how they make it at Taro, I feel steaming kind of dries it a little.
  20. I find it funny that here in New York, Empanadas are almost always associated with Argentina. It seems somewhat apparent that they are common throughout South America, some parts of the Caribbean and even as far as the Philippines (By the way Ninjai Fanatic, are they also called Empanadas there?). Having said this and looking at the facts, it looks like all these countries share one thing in common: a more or less distant colonial past with Spain. Does anyone know if Empanadas originated there?
  21. Today I discovered for the first time (in a New York shop, see report here) Colombian empanadas, I knew that Chile had them as well as Argentina obviously. I am curious as to what the differences are from country to country (from dough to filling) and are they ubiquitous in all of Latin America? Here is my observation so far: They seem to be baked in Chile, very bready with a smooth and polished crust. The Argentine version that I know is fried (had those in an Argentine bakery in Miami). Had them in Venezuela with a fried corn dough and also had them in Dominican Republic in an almost paper thin fried bready crust. I am sure I am very off the mark, thus my question...so any Latin American Empanada experts out there???
  22. Maybe one day you'll find a pearl in your sandwich, who knows... More seriously, really enjoying this blog...
  23. zeitoun

    Taro Sushi

    I had dinner at Taro Sushi for the first time yesterday, I went alone (wife had to work late) and sat at the bar. I was frankly pleasantly surprised and overall quite happy with the quality of fish and execution of the rice. For fish, the highlight in my opinion was the aji, spanish mackerel, fluke fin, tuna belly and yellowtale. I also tried the Ankimo (monkfish liver), but was not too happy, a little too dry in my opinion. The rice was close to excellent: toothsome, well seasoned and served lukewarm just the way I like it. I ordered by the piece for both sashimi and sushi and finished the meal with one ume-shiso roll. Add two beers to this and the bill came up to $57 including tax and tip. A bargain really. It is not a Yasuda level of sushi but in terms of style and quality I would probably compare this to Sushiden. I live 15 minutes away from Taro in Cobble Hill and only 2 minutes away from Osaka (THE popular sushi joint in my neighborhood), I will definitely walk the 15 minutes from now on. Some posters had expressed concerns about the seeming lack of customers, and I would add along those lines that Taro was not really "happening" when I was there (I sat at the bar from 6:30 until 8:00 and counted only two other solo diners). I hope this place does not fall under the radar!! Go to Taro, it is worth it!!
  24. I think the reference made about Japanese food in Paris was not so much to demonstrate that Japanese restaurants are awful but rather that Parisians seem to know very little about Japanese culinary traditions in general when compared with some US cities such as NY, SF or LA. The irritating ubiquity of those low standard yakitori-sushi places in Paris is one reason and put plainly, there seems to be more people in New York or LA that know what a daikon radish is and how it is used in Japanese cookery, than in Paris.
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