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Everything posted by phaelon56

  1. I accept that quality can be delivered at that group size - if we're defining quality as the sourced materials used to prepare the food. But what of the comment? I'm guessing that comment refers to consistency - a quality I look for even in modest priced restaurants. Can't speak for others but if I visited a restaurant regularly and 1 out of 4 meals was not up to their usual standards I would stop visiting - regardless of price. And at the higher end of the price range they'd get one shot not four.
  2. Have you tried contacting them by phone or email to inquire about the delay?
  3. Thanks for the update. I've eaten at both Iberia and Iberian Peninsula and although some claim the food is identical (they are most likely correct) I preferred the former. But the downstairs men's room at Peninsula is a howl - very manly 60's kinda thing complete with coin operated cologne dispensers - they had Brut and Old Spice. But I was really looking for Hai Karate - because you have to "be careful how you use it".
  4. That's my #1 pet peeve and I remain baffled as to why they let so many people linger forever before even asking if we're ready for a check. More often than not they flunked Add-On Sales 101 because if I've waited 20 or 30 minutes for the check I've either lost interest in coffee or dessert or decided to go elsewhere for it. My elderly father (84 years of age) has a pet peeve that isn't an issue for me but I can understand why it pains him. He's a strictly meat 'n potatoes guy who thinks of black pepper and ketchup as exotic condiments. When he goes out to eat all he wants is the basic food items on the plate - no more and no less. Invariably... when he asks that there be no garnishes on the plate... i.e. no parsley sprig, no lemon wedge, no piece of curly lettuce under the fish, no little cup of tartar sauce etc..... they just can't get it right. He'll ask for this politely, explain it twice and watch while they nod their heads and say "Yes we can do that for you.". Then the meal comes out with a piece of fried haddock on the plate - accompanied by a parsley sprig, a lemon wedge, a paper cup of tartar sauce and sometimes even a pickle wedge or a piece of lettuce. Is it that difficult? (Note: on the occasions where he gets irritated enough to ask why they didn't accommodate his request the answer is almost always "The chef said I have to serve it this way" or "That's how it came from the kitchen").
  5. Are any of the seafood places on City Island Brooklyn any good? I've heard a few people rave but they were not food savvy and I'm not sure their reference point is even remotely close to mine.
  6. I'm not familiar with them but tells me that you may be referring to their "pods"? I'm always in favor of freshly roasted espresso that is ground by the shot per drink. But I've had so much bad espresso in restaurants that many of them would benefit by switching to pods.The downside of pods is that the espresso will never ever be as fresh or as good as you can get by traditional methods and the cost per serving from a raw materials standpoint is much higher. The upside is that you don't need to keep dialing in and readjusting a grinder... waste and cleanup mess is kept to a minimum... and you'll be able to get a high level of consistency from relatively untrained personnel. Those are appealing attributes in a restaurant environment. Keep in mind that if you're serving milk drinks you still need people trained in proper milk texturing but as I understand it.... you'll have little if any demand for milk based espresso drinks in your market after mid-day. But pods are in inherent compromise - no way around that. Thomas Keller uses Illy pods at Bouchon Bakery and I've tried the product at his NYC Bouchon outpost. It was better than nearly all the non-pod Illy espresso I've tried elsewhere but was still mediocre in comparison to properly pulled traditional shots in a cafe environment.
  7. Not because it's free. But I have eaten in a few truly abysmal places that I went to because I cared deeply for or respected greatly the person or people who wanted to go there. We have a local sports bar/casual restaurant chain in town with three locations. A friend of mine insisted that he wanted to go there for his birthday dinner. I was buying and hinted eight ways until Sunday that we could go anywhere he wanted regardless of the cost. This joint is so bad it makes Applebee's look like the French Laundry (I exaggerate but not by very much). Speaking of which... Applebee's is a place I dread and have great difficulty finding anything on the menu that I care to eat. It's even worse than Red Lobster - which I endured for a Mother's Day dinner because my GF and her brother wanted to take their mom there. Can't think of any. But I will note that.... although this doesn't refer to me in any way ..... plenty of men will tolerate a bad meal if the prospect of sex is part of the deal I wonder if that's true of as many women? (far fewer I suspect).
  8. I haven't been fortunate enough to try any Italian coffees in Italy. Here in cafes in the US the Illy I've had was consistently better than the LaVazza but neither was very fresh. A former GF brought home a kilo bag of LaVazza for me from Italy a few years back. It was black with gold lettering - one I'd had not previously seen here. It was the best commercial big brand (i.e. not from an independent roaster) I've ever had before or since. The Illy I tried in Europe - when freshly ground - was far superior to what I've had here - but I still preferred the LaVazza. I tried Segafreddo in San Francisco a year or two back but it wasn't freshly ground and was mediocre as it was served. Therein lies the challenge of making and serving consistently good espresso: every single step of the process - from the growing and processing of the bean to the storage, transport, roasting and pulling of the shots - is crucial. One misstep in that chain can result in shots that are average at best and horrid at worst.
  9. I'm not familiar with the Stone Cat but just saw it and also Red Newt Cellars mentioned in our local paper's web site as dining options to check out in the Hector NY area. Have you tried Red Newt? On a totally different culinary bent.... if any of you happen to get up this way Syracuse now has a good taqueria. It's a bit of a hole in the wall but clean enough and by New York state Mexican food standards the food is excellent. It's called Ponchito's - no web site yet but here's a local business article on it: Ponchito's Taqueria
  10. I won't flame you but I will vehemently disagree. There are wooden spoons made from a cheap and fairly porous wood that doesn't have a fine and smooth surface - yuck. (and they probably contribute to the ongoing loss of rain forest) Then there are far more finely crafted spoons and wooden spatulas made from harder denser wood. They have smoother surfaces, more well defined edges and over time, with periodic applications of mineral oil, become smooth and warm like that great old wooden cutting board you'll (or I) will never give up. To me there's something warm. organic and natural feeling about a good wooden tool. Plastic: Yeah.... I know.... they make plastic that doesn't melt or burn as quickly as it used to... yada yada yada. I just don't like the way it feels. With few exceptions I'll always opt for stainless steel, wood or some combination of the two for my utensils (the exceptions being the rubber/plastic blade spatula I use to get batter out of a bowl and the silicone blade spatula I use to work and turn omelets.)
  11. I tried Suzanne's this past Saturday night and was pleased. Decor is a sort of upscale country rustic but not too fussy. The servers (we had several) were enthusiastic young women who were efficient and appeared to be enthused about their work but were graceful and reserved in an appropriate way. Nice room... nice view.... and it's only a 1/2 mile or so from Dano's Heuriger. The food: salads and apps were $6 or $7 up to $12 and entrees generally $23 - $28 (chicken and rack of lamb dipped just below $20 and just over $30 respectively). Most if not all of the veggies were from their garden and did taste that fresh - in addition to being nicely cooked - still plenty crispy but not underdone. It's not what I'd call a progressive, eclectic or trendy menu by any means. But it does focus on high quality ingredients, a very light touch with seasoning and an effort to let the ingredients speak for themselves - sort of a Chez Panisse approach. We were offered an amuse (they called it a canape) - broiled mushroom cap stuffed with braised shortrib meat and something else I can't recall - meaty and tasty. I had potato and corn chowder - light and not too thick - a trifle underseasoned for my own taste but that did let the taste of the corn shine through nicely. My friend had a crab cake app. And.... unusual for this part of the country - it was nearly all jumbo backfin lump blue crab meat - not bulked up with filler the way most crab cakes are outside of MD. It had just the bare minimum of whatever was needed to hold it together Again.... very lightly seasoned but it did have a pineapple and sweet red pepper salsa. She had broiled Alaska King salmon as an entree - perfectly cooked despite the thickness of the filet - and I had sliced duck breast with a something or other reduction. Ordered the duck medium rare (which was the recommendation) but it seemed a tad more done than that. I've had duck that I enjoyed more but this was good. And we shared a warm triple berry tart (local berries) with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream - which was a generous serving (enough for two) - and excellent. Total was including two large bottles of sparkling water and an excellent decaf coffee (from a local roaster) was $94 before tax and tip. By local standards not cheap but also not outrageously expensive. Nothing earth-shattering going on here but they offer very solid upscale food comprised of top shelf ingredients, nicely prepared and in a relaxed atmosphere (which by the way - was very quiet and lent itself to conversation without straining to hear what you dining partner was saying). Suzanne is worth a visit if you're in the general area.
  12. John is one of the former principles of Hines market Coffee in Seattle. They used to have a retail location before Seattle's New-York-ification trend resulted in their building being demolished for a condo/retail complex (people are being priced out of their rental apartments in increasingly large numbers in Seattle as more and more buildings go condo). John has a great reputation in the specialty coffee biz and I second Katie's suggestion to visit Chestnut Hill Coffee. I'm humbled by great latte art and mine is a bit on the rudimentary side. But I'll see if I can produce a decent rosetta this week - I feel inspired Here is one of the best on-line tutorials I have ever come across for latte art. Keep in mind that their milk temps are given in Celsius not Fahrenheit. Become a Latte Magician
  13. I don't have any personal experience but I've been considering a range upgrade myself for awhile. With that in mind I've been scanning Consumer Reports magazine when they review ranges. I don't necessarily agree with CR's subjective opinions on a number of topics but the Reliability / Rate of Repairs numbers are based on feedback from readers who have purchased the rate brands. Kitchenaid seems to come in consistently low in that area although I don't recall what the comments on functionality were. Two brands that do seem to get markedly better reliability ratings - and I have read some favorable comments on them in this forum - are Bosch and GE Monogram. I happen to have a 40" space for my range and it's on an outside wall. The previous home-owner was at one time the co-owner of a small restaurant and I think he had his own dream of a commercial range in the house - it's now infected me
  14. Ahhh.... bicycles. Definitely want secured parking. Google maps doesn't yield any results but I think there's at least one fenced in and secure parking lot on Ferry Street in that section. Iberia and Iberian Peninsula have a parking lot that is attended by their employees but I think you have to be eating ion one of those two restaurants (which are across the street from one another but have shared ownership). As for quail I'm not sure. But if it's grilled quail that's part of a rodizio menu chances are it's only offered on Saturday's. I have the impression (just an impression) that a broader selection of meats offered in some of the Ironbound rodizio places on weekends.
  15. I've never worried about ground beef but I don't typically eat the stuff that comes pre-ground from giant meat packing plants and I never ever eat fast food burgers because I don't enjoy them. As for seafood.... did once have a really bad a bad experience with either raw clams or raw oysters (we were never sure which as about 10 of us in a group of 15 were all affected and we all ate both). It was so painful and profound that I didn't touch raw clams again for about three years and it was many years after that before I once again tried raw oysters (which I rarely ate until just a few years back because I had never tried any that I liked until I had some in the Pacific Northwest). Up here in the semi-boondocks where I live the bigger concern is limiting the amount of large locally caught fresh-water fish that one eats due to mercury level concerns. I eat local freshwater fish a couple times each year and never give it a thought.
  16. Casa de Vasca seems to get the nod from most people for Spanish but I prefer the Portuguese food and the slightly more casual atmosphere at Seabra's Marisqueria Feijoada De Mariscos À Marisqueria (Seafood W/ Beans: House Specialty) is suggested by some but I've really enjoyed all the food I've had there - especially the seafood. I humbly submit that they offer the best food in all of Ironbound. It's just off Ferry Street on a little side street and you'll have to make your own arrangements for parking but it's worth the effort. By the way - Ironbound is a very tight knit community and unlike some other parts of Newark it's very safe to walk in both during the day and the evening. Your car will be perfectly safe parked on the street (if you can find a space - best bet is to look for a pay lot on Ferry Street and hoof it a few blocks).
  17. If the tacos are tasty.... sure.... I would eat there. And I'll guess that I'd be getting a better and safe product than I could get on any Taco Bell "Value Menu".
  18. I gave up on cheap grills awhile ago - they don't have good longevity of individual parts. Granted - there are plenty of snazzy looking $400 to $500 stainless steel encased grills that look good but are poorly designed or manufactured. But even if the body of the cheap Char-Broil holds up for awhile you'll find that with heavy and regular use you're buying replacement burner assemblies every other year, new igniter assemblies more often than you'd like, new venturi tubes to replace the ones that rotted out... etc. I got lucky and found a "Great Outdoors" brand kick ass heavy duty grill - all black and not snazzy looking - for about $200 on a close-out at a discount building supply outlet store. It's actually built by Vermont Castings (whose comparable models sell for about $300 - $400) and has a few distinct advantages over a $100 - $120 grill: * heavier grates * all brass burner assemblies including the side burner * all brass venturi tube * heavy construction retains heat better due to thermal mass Does it cook food better? of course not. I just enjoy using it more and especially appreciate not having to figure out which part needs to be replaced every summer when I start using it again.
  19. Two grocery store pet peeves: 1) People who bring far more than the allowable number of items into an Express Lane (e.g. 12 items or less) and also the occasional mousy cashier who is too timid to call them on it. (side note: I complimented the cashier at my local market when she turned away a guy in the 8 Items or Less lane who had about 20 items in his cart - she informed me that management writes her up for poor performance if she fails to do that. Kudos to management) 2) Big giant stacks of items at the end of an aisle that are designed to catch your attention but are either not really on sale or worse yet - there's no price marked anywhere - a total lack of signage.
  20. I gave you a straight up Booyah! I'm hard pressed to imagine anyone turning in a demo tape that's much better than that if at all. And I have no clue how the voting works. If there's a place for viewers to vote on the Food Network web site (once the demo's have aired) then please let us know. And good luck!
  21. Not so far fetched.... Cayuga-Seneca Lake Ferry Boat Initiative
  22. I'm curious about "fried boiled egg". Is this a hard cooked egg that is then battered and deep fried? And what is the texture like? (regardless of who it is cooked).
  23. In commercial environments a sound dampening enclosure is usually in place around the blender and operating noise is less of an issue. But I do know both from anecdotal evidence and from personal experience that the sealed bearing mechanism at the base of the blending jar on Blendtec's has a tendency to begin leaking from the bearings and subsequently seize up. It's a known issue and in the commercial environment where a $60 Blendtec mixing container may wear out with six months of heavy use it's a significant factor in purchasing decisions. In the home environment that same container will probably work fine for years.
  24. If I had a bigger freezer or a crowd to cook for (it's usually just me and on occasion one guest) I could just go to one of our better local Middle Eastern markets. They get fresh whole lamb and goat carcasses in every Thursday. I haven't yet tried the lamb yet but I did buy half a goat that was divvied up between a Haitian friend in Ithaca, a Jamaican friend in Buffalo and me. I don't have enough experience to have a good reference point for goat meat quality but both of them advised me that it was the best that they'd had in quite some time. The half goat was about $45 - I suspect he has a good price on lamb also.
  25. It's a clever "viral marketing" campaign. It costs Blend-Tec very little to produce and rumor has it their sales increased 43% in one year after the campaign took off. But I'll still buy a Vita-Mix when the time comes.
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