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Everything posted by SWISS_CHEF

  1. Thank you for this and I truely hope for all of us that the current situation will change. As John pointed out in another thread, the current economic times may slow down this trend. I hope so anyway. Ptipois what do you know about the regions outside of Paris? Is it the same situation? I have checked some of the restaurants we used to frequent in Burgundy and at least on the web pages they don't look noticeably different from when we were there. Will I be in for a surprise there too? The place we always ate in the Louvre was just a large cafeteria on the first floor (underground) where you grab a fiberglass tray and plow your way through lots of fun traditional food. It was always a good bang for the buck. Simple and lacking in charm but it served it's purpose. We also used to eat very well in Versailles, especially at the La Flottille, but I notice their menu is 26 euros now! I think it was about half of that 5 years ago, hopefully the food is still good. I'm sorry I can't remember the names of most of these places, I could take you to them from memory but I don't think we ever bothered to jot down the names.
  2. In Zurich I would be hapy to get an omelette for $11. Prices here are very high and modestly priced food is often depressing. I had understood from Ptipois that the problem was the traditional food is gone. Expensive food is everywhere in Europe now. Prices in Italy have more than doubled since the Euro came to town and it is very difficult for the locals to eat out. It sounds like the US may be the best place to dine out, from a value perspective.
  3. Hi Ptipois, That is very depressing news. I find this very shocking because there were thousands of plesant little bistros all over Paris. I am devistated to hear they are all aspiring wannabes. I hope you can still eat well at the Louvre bistros. Do butchers still roast chickens? I guess we can always have a picnic in the park with the pigeons! Tell me, has there been an explosion of fast food places to off-set this fine-food blitz?
  4. Re: pictures... In Switzerland I can't buy the raw ingredients for this meal for 32 euros!

    Truffle myths

    Next time try this simple test: - rub two ramekins with a cut piece of garlic and butter very well. - break two eggs, one in each ramekin, add some salt and a tiny touch of white pepper. - in one ramekin grate some of your truffle. - put the ramekins in a meduim oven and bake until half-way cooked. - remove from the oven and grate some of the same truffle over the untruffled egg. - compare the two eggs and post your findings. Eggs are the ultimate paring with truffles and garlic enhances the truffle flavor. Edit: use exceptional eggs only.
  6. Not wanting to upset this multi-starred apple cart.... We have had several fantastic (and very affordable) meals at the l'Alambic located in the charming vaulted cellars of Hostellerie St. Vincent
  7. Bear in mind that it has been three years since we were last in Paris... I was discussing this thread with my wife today and after I explained the topic she replied, " they just need to go where the common people eat". Simple enough I thought. So what about the common restaurants in Paris? Can you find your cassoulets and daubes there? I can appreciate that higher-end restaurants are in pursuit of the avant-garde to help justify a bigger price tags but what about the back-ally bistros? Have they all gone Hollywood too? We used to love to go to Clignancourt looking for antiques and eat at the little bistros. The food was always traditional cheap and good. Also, I can't help thinking that there will eventually be a reaction to all of this pretentious cuisine and I can't imagine Parisians will ever forget their traditional cooking. Dining in Paris has always been subjected to fads, I still remember 20 years ago when there was a cous-cous restaurant on every corner. Hopefully this too shall pass.
  8. When all the restaurants serve the same dishes with only a few degrees of separation and alternative ethnic restaurants are few and far between, you begin to crave something a little different from time to time. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Piemontese cuisine but how many times a week can you eat agnolotti?
  9. Aside from the money, even if you just stuck your head in the window and thanked us we would be on cloud nine.
  10. In my last professional chefing position I was a Chef de Partie at the Equinox in Manchester VT. During leaf-season we frequently had tour busses arrive out of the blue and we (3 chefs) could easily have to serve 130-150 covers in an evening. I was 32 years old and my pay at the time (1994) was $9/hour. It is damn hard to work this hard and hear an unskilled 18 year old waiter brag about making $250 an night in tips. I really think that we deserved part of the tips.
  11. I agree, I love Acqui Terme! When I first came to Piemonte a few years ago many on eGullet pushed me in the direction of Alba instead of Acqui Terme so AT was late on my discovery list. That was a mistake. AT is lovely!
  12. This is spot on too, and too rarely acknowledged. The pursuit of creativity has been steadily killing French cooking for some time, throwing into oblivion many of the tours de main, techniques and recipes that have made French cuisine one of the tastiest, smartest and most civilized in the world. ← We may have the opposite problem here in Italy. Slow Food, with all of it's good intentions, has created a "rite of tradition" which seems to have removed the need for experimentation from modern Northern Italian cooking. Sure there are exceptions like Combal Zero in Turin but what we are generally eating here are the same dishes we have always eaten but plated in the modern style. Fortunately, because labor prices are still reasonable here there is still a great deal of hand-work in Italian cooking so you really get the sensation that the food has been made by the hand of a real and (hopefully) caring chef. At least the prices are quite reasonable, we usually pay between 20 and 30 euros for half-a-dozen hot and cold antipasti, a pasta course, a main course, a cheese course, desert, coffee, water and a grappa. Wines usually begin at 8 euros with few over 25 euros.
  13. It is Monsieur Paul's version, according to the topic. Otherwise I'd have mentioned it was a reconstruction or my own version. ← Thanks Ptipois! I will have to try it with Swiss mountain hay.
  14. Yes. It seems to me that there are so many variables that will have wildly varying effects on the finished product. No doubt you can do it a lot of ways but with a dish like this you could eat up a fortune in pork legs before getting it perfectly dialed in. It would be nice to know exactly how Paul does his.
  15. Thank you Ptipois, is this actually Paul's recipe or your version?
  16. Hmm, sounds different. Bocuse simmers his ham for four hours. I'm wondering if he brines it first? Salts the water? What kind of ham? Maybe it is lightly smoked first? Does he cover the entire ham with water? Serve it hot or cold? Accompanying dishes? I find that when great chefs like Paul boil a ham and make a big ceremony, there is usually something more to it than meets the eye. Maybe I should ask Paul.
  17. I have watched a documentary about Paul Bocuse on Youtube (the part about the ham in hay begins at 6:48 minutes into the video and after a short interruption, ends at 8:37). He simmers a ham in a huge pot with hay and mint or tarragon for four hours.Does anyone have any more information/experience with this cooking method? It is so remarkably rustic that I am dying to try it.

    Truffle myths

    When I get spare time I like to watch old episodes of Great Chefs on YouTube and the other day I saw one of the chefs shave black truffles all over a dish then douse it in truffle oil! I wonder how often good truffles are misused by professional chefs simply out of ignorance? Proper storage and shelf-life are also a big concern. No wonder people are so blown away when the come to Piemonte and get the genuine article that has been treated properly. If you consider the amount of time it takes a truffle to grow and the hours and skill it takes to find it, shouldn't we at least have the respect to take the time to learn how to optimally prepare it. It deserves that at the very least. I suppose this can be said of all ingredients.
  19. Alessandro is still grumbling about the truffles, so I guess production isn't up to standards. I will keep asking, maybe he needs a new dog.

    Truffle myths

    For me it is not really an issue of rules vs no rules. These things are very expensive and it is nice to know you are using the truffle optimally. I did a little searching and Forbes had a very interesting article outlining a few different types of truffles and how to use them. They say Alba whites are usually eaten raw and Perigord blacks are usually cooked. http://www.forbes.com/2002/10/30/cx_1030featb.html

    Truffle myths

    Sorry I should have made myself clearer. ... Serve white truffles shaved over the hot dish. Cook black truffles in the dish, don't shave them over the top (hot or cold).
  22. Even if your friend bought the truffles at the Alba fair himself, they are probably not from the region. The weather has been very dry here until lately and truffles are way off. My neighbor (and the man I bought my house from) is a hunter and has come up with nothing most days. The prices I quoted are for recently found truffles. I would not pay full price for a white truffle more than 4 or 5 days old. After 10 days you can forget it. Unless it is huge, It will be 1/2 the original size and will have lost the bulk of it's flavor. (I am speaking of truffles smaller than a quarter).
  23. 1 ounce = 28.4 grams 1 US$ = .78 Euro (at today’s rate) $170/ounce = $6 per gram or 4.7 Euros per gram One tenth of that is $17/ounce = .47 Euros per gram Here in Piemonte 2008 white truffles are selling for about 4.5- 6.5 Euros per gram depending on size and quality, so if you are buying white truffles in the USA for $170 an ounce or 4.7 Euros a gram, you are probably not buying Piemonte truffles. Piemonte summer truffles can be bought locally for about .13 euros a gram (in fact, I can buy them from a neighbor for 5 Euros for 100 grams) so the difference in price locally between an Italian (even Piemontese) summer truffle and a proper white truffle is 4.57 Euros a gram or 4,570 Euros a kilo. This is a huge difference and should give you some idea of the difference in quality between a proper Piemontese white truffle and a summer truffle.
  24. I have always lived by the rule: White truffles should only be shaved (raw) over a dish and should never be cooked. Black truffles should only be cooked in a dish and never served raw. But recently I have read about Michelin-starred restaurants shaving black truffles over dishes. Is there something to it or is it just table-side BS? Does it depend on the truffle? Thanks for your help.
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