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Everything posted by daves

  1. sure did! I figured out that the market economy works well even with restaurants queues: some people, when faced with the real price for a scarce resource, pay it. Others would rather wait 'til it is more available (and therefore discounted) or do without. I also figured out that some people don't like the fact that they won't/can't pay and get bypassed by others with the ready funds for exchange. For those who think this is like "cutting the line": I hope you realize you are probably doing the exact same thing every single time that you buy something -- the only difference being that it is on a macro-economic level. If you are in a developed nation, and you are willing to pay the market price for some good, you've just "cut in front" of everyone who was waiting for the price to come down. That bunch of bananas got diverted to your local market because you are willing to spend your local market rate, which is probably far higher than it would have fetched in the country of origin. Without that export market, there would probably be a glut for bananas in the originating country, the price would be far lower, and probably a lot more locals would be eating cheaper bananas. So, you are willing to slap $5 on the counter and step in front of others by creating an export market for bananas. How is this any different than the market for "better service"? Is it that you get your bananas but you watch others get the better service? Is one more 'fair' than the other?
  2. Well, I'd definitely have a problem with it if management allowed it. If they did, then easy enough solution: find another place of employment because that would be the least of your problems. But let's face it: we're not discussing the payroll clerk getting a kickback. We're talking about paying the going price for prompter service, in an industry where the practice of paying extra for extra performance is quite accepted. But what if, just what if, it is a routine part of their job? I'd be shocked if the management of the Vegas/NYC/etc places didn't know that this was happening. Further I'd bet that they regularly sell the position as having that benefit. If they wanted it banned, then go ahead and call it a bribe and fire them if they are caught. It wouldn't continue for long if management was serious about rooting it out and enforcing it. So I must conclude that they do support this practice. Since they can set prices within their establishment any way they see fit (or even not set it!), it can hardly be labeled perjoratively. I'm curious about how you see this situation: how about a business dinner with potential clients: wining-and-dining the clients, hoping for their future business? Let's figure that the impatient diner with the bribe is the host in this example, and the MD is the client who is representing her organization in this transaction. If the client signs up for a deal after having been wined-and-dined, has she been bribed?
  3. damn! I didn't know I was thinking that. Thanks for letting me know. In any case, that's not what I'm thinking. This is: a table is probably available for $20 now, or I can wait in line for 45 minutes. What's my 45 minutes worth at this time? Of course, the going rate might be a lot higher than $20 if others' time is also valuable... I'm probably also thinking: I can't believe that these people ahead of me had so much more free time than I have so they can show up earlier. They clearly are more lucky than I am -- and that's just not fair -- so I'm going to have to even things up with a little green. I can't believe they forced me into this situation. On the off chance that someone can't detect sarcasm
  4. What's in the word? If you call them bribes, you're clearly communicating what you think of them. I'll continue to call them tips since I don't see anything wrong with them. Why should they run their own personal concession stand? Well, simply put, because they can. They are, due to either incredible luck, incredible hard work, or a combination of both, in control of a scarce resource, and there's a market that is willing to bid up the price of that resource from the normal price of zero. If you're explicit with the prices of pre-paid service, you'll only drive the real price up. You've educated at least part of the market on the option that didn't know before. Presuming that at least part of this newly educated market pre-tips, you've just made the limited resource that much more limited, and the price follows upwards -- even if the posted prices don't.
  5. Information isn't always public -- or free or perfect. Why is that a bad thing? Shouldn't someone who works to discover information (like the right price, or that there is a price at all) benefit from that effort? Where I work, it is more like the post-tip (or lack thereof). Some reward might follow based on your performance: consistently early and high quality --> bonus/raise/promos consistently on time --> status quo consistently late --> looking for a new gig Work in the FOH? In Vegas?
  6. Thanks for the reco's -- our list is now longer. Now we need more weekends
  7. When considering pre-tipping, just keep in mind that all prophylactics have some kind of failure rate. Consider using a back-up method as well. I believe Fatguy's book explains a number of them. ← Of course! But for the things you might pre-tip/bribe for, you can usually tell if it is delivered as expected. The $20 will get you the service you want, or you'll have a $20 education out of it. But post-tipping isn't perfect either: you have incomplete information to truly assign an accurate tip. Most of the time you really don't know much about what happened to your food on the journey from the walk-in to your table, do you?
  8. I've done it once. In London, we went to some trendy private club for pre-dinner cocktails. We wanted back in post-dinner, but apparently the place went private at 10 or 11pm. So, on the way out, I spoke to the doorman and palmed him a $20. My friends were shocked. My wife was shocked! I was SHOCKED that he pocketed it so smoothly that you could hardly tell that some bit of business had just taken place. Over dinner we laughed about it, thinking that he'd be gone or cleverly forget us (or kick back the $20 and call us cheap ). Not a chance. We got back post-dinner, and he saw us walking up. He pulled us to the front of the line and got us in right away. Would I do it again? Sure. I see no difference between pre or post service tip. Pre-tip: gotta trust the service will be delivered. Post-tip: you're happy with the service. But it has got to be the right place. Here in Seattle? Don't think so. NYC/Vegas/etc -- sure!
  9. Thanks Lizard. Elemental looks interesting! We'll check those out. We're on the eastside, but we're willing to travel for great food . I didn't say this explicitly, but our date nights are definitely without kids -- they'll have a sitter -- and we'd like to be sitting down to eat at a more civilized time. Last night at CJ we were sitting down at 7:45 or so. Of course, if we need to, we can dine earlier and find something else to fill our time.
  10. So my wife and I are restarting our adult date night now that our second is sleeping through the night. We think of this as either an extended dinner somewhere nice or a quick bite that the kids wouldn't like and then movie/show/shopping/etc. Anyone do similar things? Any places we should put on our list that would be particularly difficult with rugrats in tow? Last night we had the extended version at Cafe Juanita (wow! as usual). While I could easily dedicate all of our date nights to them, my wife does want to try different things. We've been out of the restaurant scene for the last last 6 months or so, but we did notice Fork and have it on our future list. Anything else exciting and new?
  11. One more thing: I've noted that there is a slicing/shredding point somewhere between 190 and 200 or so. If you end the meat at 190, you'll be slicing it. If you end it 200+, you'll be shredding (even with a knife ). Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
  12. Infernooo, some of us do use a thermometer. I figured out a long time ago that brisket or butt doesn't taste any better with temperature spikes or getting up in the middle of the night to refuel, so I now use a bbq guru (do an internet search to find the vendor). This is an electronic control that will control the temperature of the pit. An optional feature will also ramp down the temp of the pit to stabilize the meat at the ending temp. I usually pull off brisket when it reaches 190 and wrap in foil for at least an hour before slicing. Butt comes off when it tops 200 and also into foil for at least an hour before pulling. I usually verify the temp in a few places with a thermopen. In my experience, the collagen breakdown occurs at a lower temp -- I think around 160-170. If you are plotting the meat temp vs. time, you'll actually see a plateau at this temp for a few hours, then it starts climbing again. Assuming you are at low'n'slow temps, you'll be done with the collagen breakdown by the time the meat hits 190+. I used to have a nifty graph of this from one of my butts, but I can't find it now.
  13. My wife attended the Seattle Art Institute's Pastry Chef program. She thought that the program was good, some of the chefs excellent (and some a waste of air), and that they were very focused on placement of students after graduation. Some of the students were annoying as they were placed there on a job-retraining program. She didn't think they were really interested and it was a hassle to get partnered with them. Some of them had significant problems scaling ingredients -- so much so that with one person she had to double check on all measurements. She also wasn't impressed that they treated students like they were in high school -- miss a certain number of classes you automatically failed. She thought they were more expensive than CC, but she wanted to get her degree faster. Good idea too -- she was 6 months pregnant by graduation. If she had her wish, she would have gone to the Cordon Bleu in Vegas or Ottawa (or Paris , but she forgot to wish to unlimited $$ as part of that They were not very happy with her because she was about to 'take a break' for a few years to help raise our family and that reduced their post-grad placement rate. She had to promise them that she was going to be researching and opening a private catering business (which is the eventual plan).
  14. Agreed -- by 6pm there was a wait at the front door. The curse of dining with a toddler is that we also are blessed with never waiting in lines -- since most sane people don't eat that early
  15. So have you had it there? Is it worth the visit? I was day dreaming about this just before lunch, and I almost jumped in the car to get some take out
  16. We decided to try Pomegranate Bistro in Redmond this evening. A foodie co-worker emailed me earlier this week, saying we really needed to head there for lunch sometime. Hmmm... Today, another co-worker mentioned it. Hmmm hmmm... The family ended up there early (the curse of dining with a toddler). We sat at a table next to the large windows looking into their catering kitchen. This was effective in keeping the 2yo entralled for the evening. By 6pm, the entire place was filled except for the shared table. We started with a salad and a warm asparagus/mushroom pie. Both very good. My wife had the salmon, and I had a ribeye. The steak was cooked as requested, and both were simply prepared and more importantly good. We'll be heading back - I want to try the cassoulet next time.
  17. daves

    Smoking Misc. Meats

    Hello chefworks91 I originally started smokin' on a gas grill -- hopefully this will be of some help. I found that temperature control and indirect heat were the main things. I had a vertical rotis burner in the back of my grill. I put brisket on a grill over a water pan, and then I built a shield of Al foil to make sure the meat wouldn't get any direct heat. With the burner on the lowest setting, I used wine corks to prop the cover open until I stabilized at 225F near the meat. I was very surprised how much heat was being put out with the single burner on low. I made a little pan of Al foil, filled it with smoking wood, and put it on top of the lit burner. Many hours later, the brisket hit 190F and off it came. It turned out good enough to get me hooked on cooking with smoke. I'm also originally from Montreal. With the big variance in temperatures through the seasons, this will really be an adventure each time to stabilize the temps. Good luck!
  18. daves

    Does proximity matter?

    I think I heard/saw this on Good Eats: always put (at least) a thin layer of fat on each bun before you dress the rest of the burger. Mayo, cheese, special sauce, lard ... This will create a waterproof barrier to keep the bread from getting soggy from the burger juices.
  19. update to the thread: Tosoni's is definitely still open and still great. I was there last week for my birthday. The winterfest plate (pork, sausage, and some rouladen this time) was excellent. Walter also had some game on the menu, so this might have been the place to have buffalo... I drove by Il Bacio late last week, and I noticed that the space was gutted and looked to be converting into some type of child play area/store. Their lighted sign was still up but no other signs of a restaurant.
  20. I think of Tosoni's as more Austrian/German rather than Italian. But it is in a strip mall, and it is facing the street. And it is still there and still good
  21. We were regulars before the sale. And we were always there NYE with a large party. One year, after another restaurant flaked on us and 'lost' our reservations, Il Bacio stepped up late in the afternoon on NYE and added a table for our small party. Every since, we always started the evening with a great dinner there. We were very bummed with the sale and subsequent changes. I think I summed up our last NYE encounter as "scary bad". If I wrote it up, it would have to be posted under the "Bad Service -- when does it cross the line?" thread in the general board.
  22. Sounds like Il Bacio. You were probably lucky that have tried it years ago as it has gone downhill. Read about it here (from the 4th or 5th post down).
  23. Salmon is very Seattle (and NW in general), typically cooked/smoked on an alder plank. Other seafood is also big. Seattle doesn't have an overwhelming ethnic-food heritage, unless you want to count the Scandinavians and their lutefisk (but please don't). The thing that struck me 16 years ago when I moved here was the pacific rim influence, especially Japanese and Thai. At the time, I told my future wife that, like NYC has hot dog vendors on every street corner, Seattle has a sushi joint and an espresso cart. All washed down with local beer, wine, and of course, a latte
  24. I've been to quite a few parties catered by Lowell-Hunt Catering. They do a pretty good job -- although I have no idea of the price.
  25. We have an upright freezer that *doesn't* self-defrost. Easier to access (and to see what might be for dinner). The non-self-defrost means that things stay frozen rather than going through the defrost cycle once a day. Keeps everything tastier and really helps avoid freezer burn. Anything that will be frozen for longer than a week goes into the 'big freezer', while other stuff gets stored in the fridge's freezer. I do have to defrost it once a year, but no biggie...
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