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Everything posted by Darren72

  1. Bryan, this is too bad. The first time I had reservations at Schwa, something happened to a gas pipe, cooler, or something and they canceled on me a couple of days ahead of time. I can't help but wonder if this is bad luck on our part, if they have low quality equipment, or what. In any case, it was fun reading your reviews of Chicago restaurants while you were here.
  2. Assuming the mesh is fine enough in a particular application, this is a good idea (and certainly cheaper than the sifter linked above), but I worry that the screens are not food-safe.
  3. Have you checked out restaurant supply stores? JB Prince has a 20 mesh strainer. You might call to ask about their other strainers, most of which don't list how fine the mesh is. Edited to add: I believe the mesh is removable/replaceable in the above sieve.
  4. Thanks for the info on the taste differences. I learned a lot. Here's a group you may want to contact, if you haven't already: http://www.nycbsa.com/
  5. Arturo's Tacos 2001 N Western Ave @ Armitage (773) 772-4944
  6. Shel_B, since you've made corned beef with the Penzy's blend, perhaps you can tell us *how* it differs from what you are looking for. That might make it easier for us to help you out.
  7. The wine shop is Que Syrah. 3726 N Southport Ave Chicago, IL 60613 (773) 871-8888 http://www.quesyrahwine.com/ To my recollection, Tango Sur is still BYOB and there is no corkage fee.
  8. The Container Store sells a number of nice French and Italian jars. Their selection is here: http://www.containerstore.com/browse/index.jhtml?CATID=74177 We use some of these nicer jars for items that are stored in the fridge, i.e. not water processed. We still with the two part lids for water processing. Everything that I've read indicates that these types of "one part" lids are considerably less reliable than the two-part lids on mason jars. The earlier advice to use two-part lids if you are going to ship the produce seems wise. More generally, I think the decision comes down to how accepting you are to jars popping open. If you are making four jars of something, I suspect you would want to play it safe and go with two-part lids. If you are making 10-20 jars, you can stand to lose 5 of them if a one-part lid doesn't seal properly.
  9. Ann, one place to start is to read the existing thread called "one month in chicago," started by babern38. Your hotel is quite close to his/hers, and so many of the same recommendations apply. http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=105326 You might also check out the thread started by babern38 at LTH Forum: http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=14567 Note that many of the very best restaurants that are close to the hotel area were suggested in Babern38's original post (Avec, Avenues, Frontera). I think these three would be near the top of most local's list of recommendations. I'd suggest perusing those threads and then letting us know what types of cuisines and/or price points you are most interested in hearing additional recommendations about. As you'll see, it would also be helpful to know how willing your are to travel beyond walking distance.
  10. My recollection is that many, but certainly not all, of the "big name" Chicago style pizza places have sauce that is chunkier than what you'd find on standard thin pizzas. More importantly, though, the pizza served at the national Uno's chain is quite different and much worse than what you'll find at the original Uno's and Due's. I have never met anyone who liked the pizza at the national chain, much less someone who liked it after trying pizzas at any of the main places in Chicago. I don't know the Philly market well enough to know if there are decent "Chicago style" pizza places there, but they do exist outside of Chicago.
  11. This link does not seem to work.
  12. Fox and Obel is very hit or miss. Some things are great (like meat), while others (like produce) are pretty terrible. If you are in Chicago now and interested in produce, you can't do better than one of the local farmer's markets (many of which also sell meat, cheese, bread, prepared foods, and have chef demonstrations, among other things). Here is a list of markets in Chicago.; my personal favorite is the Green City Market in Lincoln Park.
  13. I started to make two of Chris' drink last night, only to realize that I didn't have enough gin left. So I made it with rum and it tasted great. Thanks for sharing, Chris. Next on the agenda: restock the gin.
  14. Darren72

    Grilling Corn

    Um, no, you aren't.
  15. Darren72

    Grilling Corn

    Really? The farm guy goes with the mic vs. the grill??? ← Farmers are not necessarily known for their cooking skills. I can't imagine why you'd want to microwave farm fresh corn. If it's really fresh, try it raw. Otherwise, either the soak or no-soak methods work great. I used to soak all of the time before grilling, now I hardly ever do because I find that it doesn't make that much of a difference (especially if the corn is fresh).
  16. Cooks Illustrated recently tested a variety of pairing knives. Their full report is only available to subscribers to the website, www.cooksillustrated.com. Here is a free summary of their report, via MSNBC I have a slightly larger version of this knife that also has a wood handle. I love it. I think it was $10.
  17. As JohnnyH said above, by far the easiest thing to do is buy a hinged cooking grate. Here is the link to the grate for Weber's 22 1/2 inch grill: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00...X/egulletcom-20 They make a smaller one for the 18 inch grill. You can buy these at just about any place that sells Weber accessories. Try the hinged grate before doing anything more complicated. I've been smoking food on my Weber for years using the hinged grate. I've also used Alton Brown's flowerpot smoker, which is fun but much more difficult to use because you have to take the whole thing apart to replace the fuel.
  18. Out of curiosity, I just read through customer reviews on Metromix for a sampling of restaurants. The following seems clear to me: 1. Only a selection of reviews are on the site. For example, Charlie Trotter's has been open for some 10 to 15 years (and Metromix has been on-line for quite a while) but there are only 6 reviews on Metromix, with the most recent being from September 6. Clearly, older reviews are deleted. You'll find something similar for other restaurants. It is difficult to find any review older than a year old. 2. They clearly allow bad reviews to be posted. There are some quite bad reviews of Devon Seafood Grill, for example. You're likely to find some bad reviews for most places. 3. My guess is that they strive to have what they consider to be a diversity of opinions about each restaurant. They want to have 5-10 reviews for each restaurant that basically reflect the, say, 25 reviews posted. Or, more cynically, they want to have a few good reviews and a few mediocre to bad reviews for each restaurant. (Kind of like the front page of the paper that says "Dems say this...Repubs say that...".) I suspect we all notice it when we post a bad review that doesn't show up, but fail to notice our good reviews that don't show up.
  19. Someone suggested Avec in BryanZ's LTH thread with the same question (it gets a little complicated when you have the same query running on two websites). He's since reported on two visits to Avec. I agree that Avec belongs in any discussion about wine bars in Chicago. They don't have the diversity of wines that places like Webster Wine Bar or Bin 36 have, but they have a very large selection of affordable, food friendly wines, focusing on southern France and Spain.
  20. I think the implication is that the store is "ripping us off", but I don't think that is the only possible explanation. Scales get out of whack, especially produce scales that are handled by hundreds of different (and not always careful) people every day. Some stores have customers weigh their own produce and print price labels. I suspect these scales are more accurate (and perhaps regulated). But I doubt the ubiquitous hanging-type of scales are recalibrated often. Moreover the error is likely to be larger in absolute value for heavier items, like a 5 lb bag of potatoes. Since berries vary in their weight, there's little reason to think that all quart-sized containers of berries would weigh the same. I'm everyone's heard the manta to choose fruits that are "heavy for their size". Eggs come in standard sizes, but that doesn't mean each container of a dozen eggs should weigh the same. To be labeled as "large" eggs, a dozen eggs must weigh between 24 and 27 ounces. Moreover, nothing legally stops a producer from selling jumbo eggs as large.
  21. I've only seen two episodes so far, but this is a great show. I really enjoy it. I hope we see more of Rick Stein on American TV.
  22. This is perhaps the wisest thing said in this thread in a long time.
  23. Seriously. You honestly believe the best fish and chips in the world is made in some suburb of Detroit? ← So, where is the best fish and chips?
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