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Everything posted by phaelon56

  1. It has been several years since I've been in Chef Centrsl on Rte 17 N in Paramus but they used to carry Julius Meinl coffee at very reasonable prices (reasonable being a relative term but it's cheaper than Illy). I'm not a fan of canned coffee to begin with - whole bean or otherwise - but I'd be cautious buying Illy on eBay - it' likely to be very short dated if not past the sell by date (and if I recall correctly the sell by date is coded). There are some eBay vendors who buy the collectors sets of Illy cups, which come with a can of Illy coffee, then sell the cups and the coffee separately. In many cases that coffee has been kicking around for a long time.
  2. There's no real accountant in me but that seems like a reverse Crazy Eddy price - so high it's INSANE!!! I know rents and overhead in NYC are very high but $16 seems way too high - roughly 2x what would seem to be a realistic price. Am I living in the past or is that a realistic price based on what the going rate is in Manhattan? Or... as a good reference point... if I went into one of those so-called "Gourmet Markets" in Manhattan (aka a neighborhood convenience store with the word 'Gourmet' on the sign) and filled a one quart container with mac 'n cheese from the "by the pound" hot 'c cold salad bar... hwo much would it cost?
  3. Please tell me either that you're kidding about the price or that the $16 was for something other than mac 'n cheese. And if they did charge $16 for mac 'n cheese what did you get for that price? A half-pan? I wold hope so (only slightly kidding).
  4. On that same note, while I was working at TFL, Mario Batali wanted to come for dinner but TK refused because Batali wanted to wear shorts. -Chef Johnny ← There used to be a "fine dining" Italian restaurant in my hometown called Barbuto's - it more or less ruled the roost locally for the title of best fancy restaurant in town. It's long gone now but still remembered as the place that turned down Paul Newman for dinner because he wasn't wearing a suit jacket (he was in town filming Slapshot). I happen to respect and appreciate places that don't bend the rules for anyone. If it's formal then it's formal and should stay that way. But the thought of chef's pants somehow being more elegant than shorts is comical
  5. I have steak knives with big wooden handles and fairly wide, rigid serrated blades. They were dirt cheap at the Oneida Ltd. factory store (less than $2 each if I recall correctly) and I use them rarely - perhaps one each month. They stay in the cutlery drawer but not in with the other flatware - off to the side where they're not in the way. I have a knife block but with a chef's knife, a boner, a serrated knife, a bread knife, a paring knife and a rod.... there's no extra space. And I really wouldn't want a larger block - no way.
  6. A good gimlet. But don't order it that way - instead just request your favorite brand of good quality gin with a splash of Roses Lime Juice. And if they don't have Roses or don't know what it is just go to a good bourbon on the rocks with a splash of water.
  7. Please be sue to add A-1 steak sauce - after all.... you are in Syracuse. This cheesesteak discussion has got me thinking about an old time Syracuse institution that was called Char-Wall's Steakout. It was a popular late night place for satisfying the munchies for years but the Croly Street neighborhood where it was located in the 70's and 80's declined to the point where their business dried up. It was an African-American owned joint that featured a shaved steak sandwich with "the works" (finely diced and sauteed peppers and onions along with some sort of brown BBQ sauce). I tried one of their sandwiches back in the late 80's and recall it being distinctly different form a Philly Cheesesteak. They resurface in the late 90's near the Valley section of the city but I'm not sure if they're still open.
  8. Good article - thanks for the link. It's not surprising to read about a progressive and still burgeoning tea scene in Portland. With close to thirty microbrew operations and a coffee/espresso culture that most coffee cognoscenti consider to be equal to or even beyond what's been happening in Seattle for awhile.... Portland seems to be in the forefront of the beverage scene (notwithstanding wine appreciation and the cocktail renaissance - which are far more notable elsewhere). I wonder if an cultural pundits have postulated theories about what factors have contributed to these developments in Portland?
  9. Dude..... this is Syracuse. What did you expect?
  10. Hey Phila.... since you're unquestionably positioned to offer expert commentary.... perhaps you can swing by Taste of Philadelphia in Syracuse next time you're passing through. Folks around here insist that they're great but I have no valid reference point.
  11. I can guess what they hope it is....
  12. In terms of sales volume I think goat meat is a far less popular meat than lamb in the US market. Yes - we do have specific Muslim communities and folks from the Caribbean diaspora who consume goat regularly but it's difficult to find it in any mainstream grocery store - even a well stocked one. I happen to love goat met yet when I mention that fact to people the typical reaction is a roll of the yes followed by an emphatic "Yuck!". I counter by asking if they have ever tried lamb. Most respond in the affirmative and 75% of those admit to enjoying lamb. And they're surprised when I describe goat as vaguely reminiscent of lamb but with a more delicate and subtle flavor. What surprised me was the radical difference in taste I experienced last summer between two separate batches of ground lamb. I made hamburg style patties from the first batch, grilled them to medium and served with a bit of BBQ sauce (heresy I'm sure but very tasty). A few weeks later I bought another package of ground lamb from the same store and prepared the patties in an identical fashion. This time they tasted really gamey and less than delicious. The meat was not spoiled. What gives? Why would ground lamb vary so wildly in terms of flavor? Was it likely to be related to the age of the sheep?
  13. I think there's plenty of fuzziness in the language but many people use 'culantro' to describe recao - the long spiny leaf form of coriander/cilantro and use the term 'cilantro' to refer to the short leaf type that grows in bunches. According to this forum discussion on RicanRecipes.com the recao is used in situations where it is cooked and cilantro may be used raw or cooked. I used to use the recao in my sofrito but El Mercado Familia in Syracuse changed hands and I can no longer find it locally. And I really wish we could get Bahn Mi sandwiches in Syracuse.
  14. You might also check out the other cheesemaker at the market (whose name escapes me). They have cow's milk cheeses and one in particular has long been one of my favorites. It's called "Cheddar Blue" and is really quite unlike conventional blue or cheddar cheeses. The veins of blue are very thin and subtle, the color is a pale golden yellow and the texture is somewhere in between a hard Italian grating cheese and a 4X cheddar cheese.
  15. Here's a place to start doing a bit of research: Amanda's Restaurant and Dining Reviews The majority of the places she covers are in Utica. I've tried most of the Syracuse places on her list but my travels just don't take me through Utica despite its adjacency. I'll see what else I can find but suspect dinner options are more abundant than lunch or brunch. If you have a chance do be sure to try Utica Greens.
  16. I wonder if she's thinking of Elderberry Pond? It's actually about 3 or 4 miles south of Auburn which makes it pretty far north of Skaneatles. I've been there to dinner and although the grounds were truly lovely and the room very nice I was slightly underwhelmed. There were fewer organic products on the menu than I thought there would be and precious few of those from their own farm. In their defense... it was autumn and the fingerling potatoes that accompanied my buddy's dinner were insanely delicious. The menu was not especially creative, a tad high on prices relative to the market and what was being served and the service... was well meaning but somewhat amateurish and painfully slow. I've only been that one time and I will go back in nice weather to enjoy the grounds before and after dinner but it's not a place I'd seek out regularly. But there is a new French bistro - as of about 3 to 4 months ago - that opened a few miles north of Skaneatles. It's called Joelle's Bistro and if I recall correctly they are trying to use local organic/sustainable sourcing when possible. Hawley-Green Bistro opening was delayed a week due to late arrival of new kitchen equipment. It's slated to open next Monday July 9th and I'll report back here after my first visit. And try to plan for a visit to La Cena in Fayetteville. They weren't doing the hoped for volume with their original menu of Moroccan, Spanish, North African and Mediterranean inspired food so they have revamped and now have a Mexican, Latin American and Caribbean focus. Excellent food, very good service and one of the coolest dining spaces (aesthetically speaking) that I've ever been in.
  17. I live in a small city where things tend to happen faster and cost less but it ALWAYS takes longer and costs more than expected, quoted or is reasonable. 20% upwards price slide is normal and the work usually takes 2X as long as expected. And we have it good.
  18. Yes but I'd still like to be able to go to a club with live music and get decent pub food or something even better - without flying all the way to Seattle for a show at The Triple Door.
  19. Saeco superauto and Gaggia superauto are now made by the same company. Saeco espresso machines in general have long had a reputation for a higher frequency of need for repairs than some competing brands. Based on anecdotal evidence I'm inclined to point you towards Jura rather than Saeco. But I'll also note that superauto's have an inherently more complex design than traditional espresso machines and are therefore far more likely to need repair at some point. Some people believe the ratio may be as high as 5 to 1. My candid opinion is that you'd be far better off to buy a Rancilio Silvia for under $550 and get the adapter that lets you use espresso pods instead of having a grinder. Yes - the per shot cost of pods is higher but you'll have a machine that looks better, is far more sturdy, takes up less space, does a vastly superior job of steaming milk. Did I mention that an espresso shot made from a good quality pod on a proper espresso machine will always be far superior to the espresso shots made by any consumer level superauto?
  20. Otto for certain. Definitely put the olive oil gelato on your must try list and also - if they happen to have it that day - the gorgonzola. I was skeptical of the gorgonzola but one taste changed my mind - especially when I could alternate it with the olive oil. That's a big ouch about Saigon Grill being worse than the Chinatown Viet places (none of which have impressed me very much). I always got much better Vietnamese food in NJ when I lived in the NYC area and get stellar Vietnamese up here in Syracuse where we have a sizable (relative to the size of the city) Vietnamese and Hmong population.
  21. I'm not sure what percentage of a restaurant's menu and/or decor has to be a copy to constitute actual infringement but a situation like this actually occurred here in Syracuse some years ago. The infringers - local group who had once owned a number of TJ's Big Boy franchises locally and then moved on to other more upscale ventures, decided to hop on board with the casual moderately priced steak house trend of the early 1990's. They allegedly visited some Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse locations and then opened a local independent operation called Yukon River Grill. Everything from specific decor, overall interior architectural style, menu and service style were all exact copies. Bugaboo Creek corporate got wind of it... came to visit... and (supposedly) threatened legal action. The local guys backed down quickly and made enough changes so that legal action was avoided. I don't know if they would have won in court or not but it was undoubtedly cheaper to just accommodate rather than face huge legal bills. The long term problem was simply that their food wasn't all that good. Outback opened a block away from them in a more accessible location about 6 or 7 years later and Yukon's business gradually fell off for the next several years until they closed. One would think that producing better food than Outback at a similar price point wouldn't be a huge challenge but i think they'd already made their money and didn't care. The same owners had operated a seafood restaurant in the Yukon location for a number of years prior and did very well until seafood prices went through the roof (before the days of farmed seafood). Now they operate three "sports bar restaurants" featuring almost exclusively fried and microwaved foods from Sysco's lowest end line. And they are hugely successful - their places are packed regularly. edited to add: Wow - I've never seen stuff like that in any other restaurant (NOT!). I doubt that such a lawsuit stands a chance but it's all about who can afford more, bigger or better lawyers. And int he end it will be the location, food quality and notoriously fickle taste of the dining public that determines who really wins.
  22. If you don't mind going up as far as 90th or 91st Street there's Pio Pio on First Avenue and Saigon Grill on Second Avenue. If you order carefully you could likely get out of either for under $30 with tax and tip for dinner for two (unless you add alcohol). Saigon Grill is one I haven't tried but it gets decent on-line feedback and I love Vietnamese food so it's on my list. I have been to Pio Pio in both the current incarnation and years ago when it was Pollo Loco (an independent - not the chain). Either way - it's Peruvian food and the grilled marinated chicken is to die for - go for the chicken and be sure to try the fiery green hot sauce (it's on the table in a little bowl and looks like soupy guacamole).
  23. I check the "sell by" date on all packaged perishables I buy. Some of the grocery stores in my area (the two most convenient to my house) have not upgraded to a "stock from behind" dairy case. Not to mention that.... having worked in retail for a number of years.... I know that some stock clerks don't routinely rotate older stock to the front as they're supposed to.
  24. I once had a Chinese roommate who would make chicken soup and leave it on the back burner (turned off) of the stove for three or four days - returning home after work each evening to heat up the room temperature pot and eat another bowl or two. Granted - room temperature in that house was pretty cool in the winter (about 60 F or just below) but still..... I'm amazed he didn't get ill. I'm fairly cavalier about food safety in general but stringent about things like raw chicken or any other meat/fish that has an off smell. If there's the least bit of doubt I'll toss it rather than take a chance. Only time I ever had food poisoning was back around 1978 when In had either bad raw oysters or bad raw clams. Not sure which as everyone in the group who had shellfish ate some of both and we all got violently ill for twelve hours or so. It was many, many years before I ate raw shellfish again - if you've ever eaten any bad clams or oysters and suffered the effects you know why.
  25. It's actually quite easy. Just use the same standard coffee scoop you use to measure pre-ground coffee and put the same number of scoops of whole beans into the grinder. That's what I did when I was grinding at home to make coffee by the pot. I used one round scoop of whole beans per 5 oz of water. You may find that you prefer a bit more or less but you can get fairly accurate and consistent for drip coffee using that measurement method.
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