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Everything posted by PurpleDingo99

  1. So, I've spent my summer as a waiter for a little restaurant which has only been around since December. The owners don't really know the town at all and this has been their first restaurant, so they've basically been experimenting as they go. I just gave my two weeks, as I'll be going back to school soon, but I still want to see the place succeed. So, I'm posting here just to see if anyone on the Gullet has wandered in yet, and (more importantly) if they have any comments to pass back to the chefs. I've been working with them to try and work the bugs out, but it's been tricky. If anyone is interested in dropping by, give me a reply or whatnot so I can make sure you get treated right. In the meantime, if anyone wants to check out the joke of a website: http://www.piccolacasarestaurant.com/index.html .
  2. I present the bacon corollary: http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/stove_ownership.png My roommate occasionally throws on a whole pack at two in the morning. Either I'm around or the smell wafts up to my room, which leads me to come down and cook some for myself. At that point, might as well call some people over... Viola! The bacon party!
  3. PurpleDingo99

    Dinner! 2008

    Actually, I was trying to use up a box of focaccia mix that somehow got up into the cupboard. Ended up being the perfect crust for keeping that barbecue sauce in. Hey, I'm in college.
  4. PurpleDingo99

    Dinner! 2008

    First of all, I really have to give that pork and cabbage dish a shot now. It looks amazing right now. Anyways, I had barbecue pulled-pork stromboli with roasted acorn squash. Really good this time, but I can expand on it.
  5. Glad you had a great meal! Definitely glad you skipped Wildfish, I had an awful meal there about a year ago. Next time give marche moderne a shot! ← Yeah, I only found one favorable review online, and it was written right at opening. The user reviews were particularly dismal. I think he just wanted to stay there and drink for a bit more than anything. Hopefully he finds his way down here before the end of the semester, because I'm trying to transfer up to Berkeley but I really want to try Marche Moderne. Oh Egullet, why must you always introduce me to such great things which I cannot even begin to afford? ← MM actually has an excellent lunch deal which I believe is around $20 for three courses. Can someone confirm? In any case, that is a phenomenal deal that you may want to take advantage of. I think it would be worth forgoing a few pints at the bar one night, no? ← I still got another nine months, so that's more like ten bottles of Two-Buck Chuck to me.
  6. Your meal sounds lovely. Perhaps the next time he gets to the area you might be able to wend your way inland a ways to Yorba Linda and try a meal (lunch or dinner are both excellent) at Blue Agave Southwestern Grill. This is not a traditional "Mexican" restaurant but it is very, very good and many of the dishes are unusual and beautifully presented. Menu ← Those platings are outrageous! They look like something out of a family restaurant, but they sound amazing. For those prices, I just might be able to haul a group of college kids out there next time someone has a birthday. I guess I was expecting something like The Blue Agave in Pleasanton California (not 10 minutes from my house- http://www.blueagaveclub.com/blueagave.html .) Perhaps Pleasanton has the 'classier' establishment, but I already like your recommendation better.
  7. Glad you had a great meal! Definitely glad you skipped Wildfish, I had an awful meal there about a year ago. Next time give marche moderne a shot! ← Yeah, I only found one favorable review online, and it was written right at opening. The user reviews were particularly dismal. I think he just wanted to stay there and drink for a bit more than anything. Hopefully he finds his way down here before the end of the semester, because I'm trying to transfer up to Berkeley but I really want to try Marche Moderne. Oh Egullet, why must you always introduce me to such great things which I cannot even begin to afford?
  8. So, my dad tried to talk me into Wildfish in Newport (he happened to have a meeting nearby directly before) but I pulled up some pages on it and talked him out of the place rather quickly. He's a sucker for good Mexican (who isn't?) so Taleo became the easy sell. The guacamole was worth the hype (note to self: use more of cilantro) and the entrées did not disappoint. I had the shrimp enchiladas with yellow mole and a bit of quasi-chimichurri sauce tucked in, which had a surprisingly refined texture. He had camarones de mojo de ajo, which, with a multitude of sides, looked perhaps more American-Mediterranean than Latin American. Whatever the inspiration, the culmination was a rich and balanced dish. No complaints on the edible end. The wait staff and decor, along with the food, really drove the chic-but-accessible image home. Really, the only problem either of us had was finding the place (I had a map, he had a GPS, and we both still had to drive around!) All in all, it was a perfectly enjoyable dinner. Thanks for all your suggestions, and hopefully he starts visiting more often.
  9. My dad is coming into town tomorrow and I'm trying to think of something really unusual for dinner. Nothing too high-end (The Hobbit, I digress, is right about the corner) and nothing too cheap (I am a college student trying to squeeze a decent meal out of his dad, after all. ) Anything from Orange to Newport is fair game, although he won't be on the road until 6:00. So, Dana Point is really out (though it sounds like there's some good eatings down there.) Currently, my fall back is the Agora Churrascaria in Irvine. So, any ideas?
  10. I think it's pretty self-explanatory from here on out. I found this on neatorama.com: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2008...-hong-kong.html Personally, I almost want to try the Sweet Potato Mousse one. Almost.
  11. I finally saw a place on Tustin Ave near Palmyra called El Taco of Orange. Still in the same city but not exactly "just down the street." Is this the place you are talking about? Since it looks like a well-maintained business on a major street I'm guessing that it is not the same place. If so, please let me know. I'm still waiting to check it out. ← Sorry for the slow reply. That's the place alright. I completely forgot about the place since my original post, but apparently one of my friends ate there and lived to tell the tale. Edible, but nothing special. Sadly (as you said,) it's not quite as shady as I remember it either. Anyways, I'm living with a hive of roaches in La Veta now, so I think my standards have fallen a bit.
  12. "balsamic twice-baked mushrooms with a durian puree" this thing is amazing.
  13. My favorite way is to send a fearless busboy (Ie- myself, when I rarely get such a privilege) to start clearing off everything. First, take the tips. Then, take the glasses. Then, wipe off the table. Then throw the customers away.
  14. I don't know about the rest of the country, but it's common knowledge around here that the best Mexican food comes from the shadiest places. Down the street from my college (in Orange, CA) is perhaps the shadiest Mexican restaurant I have ever seen. Appearances aside (a glorified roach-coach with a cluster of crappy tables under a tattered awning) the place is called El Taco. The reason I mention this place, however, is the fact that this place proudly offers 69 cent "beef" tacos. Personally, I wouldn't touch the place with a ten foot pole but all my hometown friends think I'm nuts. So, would you eat at El Taco?
  15. Obviously that is a state-specific question. In California, liquor licenses alone sell on the open for upwards of $80k. The transfer process is that the new applicants have to apply, a sign is placed on the restaurant's window for 30 days, and a thorough background check is done on all the major players in the business (owners as well as investors, depending on the percentage invested). The interruption in service would only happen if the new owners take possession of and start running the business without the ABC having approved the liquor license transfer, but usually the escrows coincide and it is rarely an issue unless there are back-ground problems with one of the principals. ← Well, I told Clementine and it turns out she sold her old liquor license (yes, this is Northern Cali) for $16k only a couple of years back. Man, did she ever kick herself when I told her that $80k figure. The lease has four years on it (yes!) and I could see the place moving to a bigger suite by the time this one expires. So, that's perfect for the time being. We have a mutual friend with a strong law background (but without ever getting licensed) who should be free in a couple of weeks to help evaluate the books, so that's all dandy. Right now, I'm considering buying into the place a bit because my current stock portfolio is doing diddly. Just waiting for my broker to get me my new password so I can evaluate that. We'd probably do something like buy 10% in, 10% net profit out, 10% final sale. In return for what seems like a biased investment, I would help out with marketing (which is more one of my strong suits than hers) and some of the unusual logistics (right now, I think she should add Wi-Fi for all the wandering businessmen who end up there. However, I had to explain to her what Wi-Fi is!) Will update as things progress.
  16. I've had plenty of bizarro ideas go through my head, although a couple of them are still holding on up there. I remember having a lengthy group conversation about Chinese food a couple years back, and one of the people in it was born and raised in China (although having lived most of her life in America.) Well, we asked her what her favorite dish was; she blushed and said "orange chicken." So, how about a restaurant that throws any semblance of authenticity to the wind and embraces the blissful 19th-century ignorance which created our most beloved Chinese-American dishes. Anything stir-fried, deep-fried, or steamed and even remotely Asian would be fair game. Let's even call the place 18 Dragons to really drive the point home. I just want to give some talented chef a handful of roasted garlic, say "make something Chinese-ish," and see what happens. But more than anything, I would want to open Panton (Latin for "Everything.") Picture a restaurant no smaller than a warehouse. A place so large that it can never be empty, never be closed, and never be full. It is the last remaining piece of real estate on the San Francisco embarcadero waterfront and looks like it was designed by Ceaser Pelli and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Red brick, intricate glasswork, exposed iron, and industrial lighting. A basilica of iron. Nevertheless, the interior is low and dark like a Frank Lloyd Wright structure. The place will be a maze of standalone tables and booths in every configuration. We're talking semi-enclosed smoking booths, booths with couches instead of chairs, hookah-chambers, romantic booths for couples, party rooms, and the like. Decor will be vibrant, flowing curtains of deep blue, sandy-stucco walls, and a pitch-black floor. Artifacts from around the world mounted carefully in shadow boxes hang between booths with brief descriptions. Music will be ambient with a taste for the experimental (Brian Eno, Sigur Ros, and the mellower end of Blue Man Group should be some indication.) But most importantly, the food. Dim Sum style without any bounds, cultural or otherwise. At least three executive chefs working at any time, making whatever they feel like from whatever ingredients are on hand. Sushi, bar food, and Tapas are fair game. The idea is for every cart to surprise every table every time. Desserts, protein, and mixed drinks will all come around on the same carts. Bring in celebrity chefs to go nuts every now and then. Of course, there will be several managers designated reconnaissance to send feedback to the chefs in real-time using camouflaged kiosks littered throughout. Most will not even realize that Panton is on the second story until most of the way through their meals. Downstairs will be a small mall of cultural oddities (think Ukulele shops and wooden handicrafts,) book stores, and even a coffee shop spread out over a dock-motif. An underground parking garage will run up to the edge of this mall. Off to one side will be a small, mellow hotel for people that want to make a day trip out of the place. On the other side will be an eclectic nightclub and lounge. Of course, everything is quietly owned by Panton. The logistics would never even begin to make sense, but who cares?
  17. LOL don't get me started on Taco Bell. The man who ordered $30 of food for himself (including two drinks lol,) the woman who wanted quesadillas with no cheese, bean burritos with no beans guy, the punks that threw beer all over the window because we weren't open yet, the guy who thought I called the cops on him while he was violating parole, the guy who nearly got in a box-cutter fight with one of the cashiers... well I guess you got me started, huh?
  18. Anyways, she (haha) has run two successful bars and has worked food service all her life. Right now, she is a restaurant manager. She's told me exactly what she would do with the place in question and I agree with 90% of her plans (can't agree entirely with who she plans to fire and hire, but its more personal preference than skill.) Wisco- That's what we'll be looking at. The current owner has a bit of bad blood with my friend (Let's call her Clementine) so I'll be the one looking at the books. Just want to have some idea what I should be looking for. Also, do you think the farmer's market contract and the daily catering contract would carry over to a new owner? Likewise, could the place be transferred without interrupting the liquor license?
  19. The head chef at Manresa in Los Gatos, CA is too and that place does just fine without any seafood. Every once in a while, another chef will throw something on the specials and make it himself from what I understand.
  20. Alright, a friend of mine is thinking of making a bid on a restaurant although there is some debate over the value of this place. about 25 tables (seats around 80) Full bar with regular clientele (seats around 20) relatively unknown, but with a small loyal fanbase less than a block from the heart of downtown ample 2-hour parking once a week farmer's market booth (one of the busiest booths out of ~50) regular catering service daily catering service (monday-friday) for local government-sponsored campus The place has been open only a few years, although I don't know what the lease is off hand. Both myself and the potential owner are confident the crowd could double in six months under correct management. Hence why I am reluctant to put any name forward. The current owner said $200k originally, changed it to $350k, and the prospective is trying to talk back down to $200k. Considering the farmer's market and the daily catering contract may or may not carry over to a new owner, how much would the place need to currently bring in annually to be a good investment (at either dollar value?) Any feedback at all would be appreciated.
  21. PurpleDingo, do you have an inner man, ahem, natively? Or do you rely on FTF to give you an inner man to bring out like some of us? ← I have an inner man, am an outer man, and gain the strength of four men when struck with the techno/kickboxing/tribal tatoo treat which is Full Throttle Fury.
  22. Of all the stupid energy drinks which one can find in Norcal, Fury is still my #1. Instead of getting a job last summer, I went running every other day (yeah, it was a nice life while it lasted lol.) One day, I had to fight to get myself to the gym. So, I chugged a fury on the way. Long story short, added over half a mile to my distance (at the same speed, if not better.) Every 2nd or 3rd time, I would chug a can on my drive over. Went from doing 1 1/2 miles in around 18 minutes to 3 1/2 miles in around 30. Then again, I think you have to like orange soda to like Fury.
  23. I have a friend whose so nuts that his regular is one glass of diet coke and one glass of coke zero. Even he laughed at coke plus the first time we saw it!
  24. Okay, I think its safe to say I've had just about every instant noodle I could get my hands on. From instants and Souper Meals to bizarro Vietnamese varieties which include forks with hinged heads. Can't find any Lucky Me's around here (Chapman U, in Orange CA if anyone is familiar with it) but we've just about perfected the instant noodle. The best that can be done with a microwave, a reasonably stocked market, and an asian grocer is: 1 package of maruchan roasted chicken 1 1/2 - 2 cups water (on preference- its been a hot debate) 2 tablespoons of bottled, fried garlic (I use some crap from a Vietnamese market) 1 oz beef jerky, hand-torn 1/2 cube Knorr chicken bullion (the yellow pack with the giant cubes) the included seasoning packet optionally, 1 tablespoon fried red onion Everything except the seasoning packet is added before microwaving. Usual microwave time (our microwaves suck so my ~4:00 is irrelevant) P.S.- that little sticker on the light says 'not to be used as a shelf'
  25. Bein a yungun, the only thing that really comes to mind is those damn Chicken Ranchero Soft Tacos. When they were around, I was actually working at TB. I cannot tell you all the things that sauce made its way into for lunch. I still think the place should make flautas...
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