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Everything posted by FabulousFoodBabe

  1. Wrong! The leftovers and experiments gone bad are for family meal! Hey -- how does everyone pronounce "amuse" when it's short for "amuse-bouche"? The last place I worked, the Chefs (who both speak fluent French) called it "amuse," as it appears, and I always did, too. At school, I've had Chefs who call it "ah-mew-ZAY." I have never seen an accent over the final 'e.'
  2. So much to see, so much to do! We'll have wheels and I'll have lots of free daytime. Thank you all -- I really wish the reunion people did some sort of food tour, to go along with the retirement seminars, campus tours, and speakers' panels. If the Q in Durham is anywhere near as good as Dreamland's in Roswell, we'll all be in heaven. Foster's and Guglhopf are on the must-see's, too. A great taqueria in Durham? Very cool, and we'll try and hit that for at least a snack. I wonder if I'll be able to wrest my husband away from the reunion stuff at night for a dinner out .... My notebook's full, but there's always room for more.
  3. I'm sure she had to deal with a certain amount of attitude as she was starting her journey -- I call it the "Housewife with a Hobby" dismissal -- but I never read or heard anything about it. Anyone? I saw her do a 92nd Street Y panel with Boulud and Pepin, about 10 years ago. She was glorious in red and purple and fielded a marriage proposal from the floor with grace and humor. My favorite line from the night: When asked if she had much negativity about using butter and cream in her cooking back when she started, she boomed, without missing a beat, "well, we didn't have all these nutritionists running around telling us to be afraid of our food!" Gotta love her.
  4. ... and almost next door to Foster's is the truly remarkable Gulghupf bakery and cafe. You will not be disappointed about their breads and bakery products. The State Farmers Market in Raleigh is worth a visit since you're from out of town. You'll see the local produce from around the area and elswhere in the state. If you're there at mealtime, the seafood restaurant there is great (though it can get very busy). This is just what I'm looking for! While my husband and sons are doing the guy-thing and going on campus tours (hah - I know where they'll be ...), I've got lots to do. Farmers' Markets are a great interest of mine, especially the type you described. Thank you, thank you!
  5. I'm not sure I understand why a basic BBQ wouldn't be up my alley. Is there something I should know about this place? I've only been to Durham 2-3 times, so I really do need to know.
  6. I called my sons "Sprouts" until they were more the size of the Green Giant.
  7. The end result is never so perfect that you can't improve on it just a little, somewhere along the way. The prep could have gone faster, the knife cuts more precise, or the yield better. The assembly and pickup could have been balanced differently or done with less verbalizing and more focus. And on and on and on ... My husband began to understand once he fell in love with golf.
  8. I can always rationalize Emeril in my mind, because at one time in his life, he really was a cook. I haven't watched the Food Network in years, just tuned in and out at times, and it's just freaking bizarre. What women are left on that network, who aren't caricatures?
  9. Interesting -- especially the "blatant product placement" issue Finch had with showing The Restaurant. Thanks for the link. Nice piece.
  10. In mid-April, I'll be going to Durham with my husband for his reunion weekend. While dinners and nights are spoken for, I'd like to spend the daytime checking out restaurants, markets, diners, shops. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  11. From todays' Page Six: THE Food Network is giving itself a facelift, and one of its original hosts is not making the cut. "Sara's Secrets" host Sara Moulton's contract will not be renewed once it runs out at the end of this year. "I will not be on the TV Food Network in 2006," the Foodie Cutie told PAGE SIX's Lisa Marsh. However, she's taped shows to air every day through the end of the year. "Every show has a lifetime, and after 91/2 years, my time is up," Moulton said. "They're tak ing the network in a different direc tion." A rep for the Food Network declined to comment. Foodie Cutie? Gag. But she really is a model for women in the business, knows her stuff, earned her stripes. I always thought I'd love to have any one of her jobs, and loved reading about how she credits her husband's support for their success as a family, and hers in the business. But I guess the show's cancellation was bound to happen. Wonder in what "different direction" FN is heading ...
  12. A $200 bottle of wine uncorked and left on the table for diners to tend by themselves? I've never seen that. But a $200 bottle opened, poured for tasting, kept safe and out of the way, and served throughout the meal deserves the same 20% as the food brought from the kitchen. Or the $50 bottle that gets the same attention. Or the pitcher of margaritas, for that matter -- a bartender prepares that and works for the same tips. I just can't rationalize splitting the check into parts and deciding what is worthy of a 20% tip and what isn't.
  13. I love this thread! The first time I went to visit my husband's family, before we were engaged, his mother made creamed chipped beef on toast for breakfast, put it in an electric skillet at something like 5:30 a.m., and let it sit there for a few hours so everyone could serve themselves. It was pretty awful. SOS. A few years ago were invited to someone's home for dinner; a really lovely person whose friends described her as The Martha Stewart of (insert suburban neighborhood here: ___). Fabulous cook, fabulous hostess, really cutting-edge stuff. Dinner was chicken in a sauce of canned cranberry sauce, canned pineapple, and a bottle of orange French dressing. I can still taste it.
  14. In a really fine restaurant, we always start with 20% of the after-tax total, especially if we're camped at the table for a couple of hours. I always tip on drinks, and wine at the same rate. If it's a less-fancy place or we spend less time, we usually work with the pre-tax amount. I don't understand not tipping on drinks. In the situation I described above, here's how it resolved: we learned that the other couple also tipped 20% on the total, and that the low-tipper's 12% was on the total, too. So, I didn't do anything yet, but I'm still really uneasy about it. I took my 14 year old to the diner in our town last week. He had a huge breakfast, and by the time we left the diner had gone from 2 tables to ten, and most of them with a few shrieking children. The server was on by herself. My kid insisted that I leave her $40 for a $22 bill. I asked why she deserved it and he said, "she spoke to me -- not just you -- and didn't act like it was weird when I asked for two glasses of milk and a coke. A big tip might make her forget that she's going to be sweeping up Cheerios for the next hour." Whatta kid.
  15. Hey, do we have to be 100% truthful here? (My extremely fit, lean husband adores Hamburger Helper ... it's disgusting.) The last three meals I cooked were Sunday dinner: Leftovers from last week -- Jerk chicken; pasta with shrimp, blue cheese, sundried tomato pesto, basil pesto and asiago. Pork roast with barbecue sauce for the bambinos. Salad with some awful tomatoes and great dressing. Sunday breakfast: For the teenaged boys who crashed at our house (I think there were five), Belgian waffles with real maple syrup, bacon, juice, lots of black coffee (most are frequent visitors and before I got my hands on 'em, only knew from Eggo waffles and Log Cabin syrup). Breakfast today: Cheese omelette for secondborn; grits for firstborn. A blend of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, All Bran and Grape-Nuts Flakes for my husband, as well as the last bites of omelette and grits.
  16. We had the Chef's tasting menu and had them do the pairings for us, which wound up costing about $150 per person. When we were discussing the wine list, the waiter offered the tasting and volunteered the price, which makes me think that there are some other options. The foie was worth every bit of the upcharge. I'm still happy thinking about that experience. Looking forward to hearing yours.
  17. I'm going to find that one later tonight. I've always believed that a Chef is someone who has earned the title by actually leading a kitchen -- be it a teaching kitchen at school, or a restaurant. I can't get used to seeing Rachel Ray or Nigella Lawson called "Chef." I do think of Wolfgang Puck and Emeril as Chefs, though.
  18. Yeah -- this is where we usually are, as well. At Per Se, we just had 20% added to the bill and split between two credit cards. I'm sure that last weekend, my friend's husband tipped as he did out of habit or distraction, and I wish I'd have known the amount then. I still don't know about the other couple. Anyway, I'm getting some great direction on how to fix this. I'll be in the city this week and will handle it then. They really were terrific. An aside: to me, bringing a plate of food to the table takes as much energy/effort as someone serving a bottle of wine. I never can understand why people don't tip as much on wine with service like this. Is there a tipping thread? I'm still making my way through eGullet! (love BitterWaitress, too!)
  19. All-time favorite TV-Media chefs: Chef on South Park The Swedish Chef Muppet The guy on "Frank's Place," who boxed for the bread pudding recipe Chef on PBS (unpasteurized Stilton ...) Any famous chef who is reading this now. I even have a little Chef doll that says "It's salisbury steak day!" when you move it.
  20. Saturday night, NYC, really nice restaurant, with two other couples who we've known for years but now live in different states. One of the couples is an old friend with her new husband (he's terrific). We had oustanding food and service: rounds of drinks, tasting menu, three bottles of wine, lots of free stuff from the kitchen ... and my husband told me yesterday that he got a glance at the final checks and saw that the new husband tipped about 12%. I'm a little worried that the other couple did pretty much the same. I have some ideas about how to try and fix this, but wondered if anyone else has had to deal with this situation. In the future if there's ever a question, we'll just tell them to add 20% before dividing the check. But that doesn't help the outstanding headwaiter and waiters who worked so hard for us. Thanks for any guidance --
  21. Ahhhh, what a fantastic experience it was! Exquisite. I feel pretty much like I did after we went to the French Laundry a couple of years ago -- hard to describe without gushing. All four of us did the Chef's tasting menu, and wish we could have had everything on the other menus, too. Beautiful surroundings, comfortable and welcoming, great wine pairings, and the service was outstanding, too. I'm going to carry this one with me for a long time. The knife work was so perfect on every dish, and the plates were beautifully, simply done. The food left me wanting just another bite. It was amazing. I'd also love to know how they managed to get paper-thin pieces of bacon to cook so uniformly, and how they manage to keep them perched on the lobster all the way from the pass to the table. Yep, we got a kitchen tour and even saw two real live Movie Stars in the dining room! And for anyone faced with the same dilemma as we were, Mickey Mantle's is just a couple of blocks away down 59th street, for pre-dinner game-watching. Instead, we opted to leave home a little later, take a walk by Central Park, and have a martini at the Stone Rose before our reservation. Our friends' CrackBerry was used to check scores when we were in the lounge, and that was that. What a great night. I wish I could do this every month. Just remembered: one thing that was a little weird to us, was the enormous pieces of brioche with the foie terrine. I'm not complaining -- it was buttery, fine-crumbed, perfectly toasted, and replenished so that we had warm bread all the time, but it was huge! Texas-toast huge. Not a bit was left over, by the way.
  22. For a while, when I was teaching cooking classes, there was always someone from Pampered Chef who would be in the audience or in a work-group. At least five times a night, they'd pop up and say, "Pampered Chef has [insert gadgety name here] that will handle such a task!" It drove me nuts, and I had to ban one woman from any classes in the future. When I donate cooking classes to fundraisers, I now have to add a disclaimer that I don't do these in conjunction with anyone else, for any reason. It got to the point that I would say, "yanno, Pampered Chef has something that you can buy for $24.95 to do this, but if you just dampen a kitchen towel and wrap it around the base of your bowl, you can put the extra dough in your Jaguar fund. Or mine."
  23. Saaaaave the liverrrrrr. As for meat, confit the leg and thigh! Do save all the fat; you can use it for a long, long time for future confits, poaching fish (yes, fish!), and other fun stuff. Leftover breast can be disguised in a panini or quesadilla-type of thing and served to an unsuspecting spouse and kids who refuse to even try duck. Skin is great for cracklin's; my Bassett Hound loved them but the current pooch is allergic. I guess technically you could use the skins for some sort of ballotin or roulade?
  24. The more expensive a dried pasta is, the better the product. Regrind is used for most of the cheaper brands, and that makes the water foam and the pasta can gum up quickly. (Regrind is made from the stuff left over in the extrusion machines -- it's removed, dried, and pulverized and used in another batch.) Barilla and DeCecco are favorites favorite among national brands -- but I like the little cello bags with Italian names and plain labels, that I get at the local market, too.
  25. Have you considered ... -Combi oven -Water taps on the hot line -Steam kettle -Robo-prep-b*tch (Have you ever seen one of these? They're really cool: you put the stuff in that you want prepped, type in how you want it done, push a few buttons, and out it comes. No sassing, no cigarette breaks, no drama, no 'Chef, I'm so ready to move onto the line' after a week,' no necking with waiters in the walk-ins ...) The only thing better than new restaurant equipment, is new shoes. Fabby
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