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Everything posted by Lonnie

  1. Thanks so much for starting this thread. It's really fun. Just for you, the bread before it's baked, and then rows and rows of it in that huge oven. The peel was 12 feet long.
  2. If I could, I would move back to the north of Spain for the seafood. I've lived in Maine, and the lobster there is undeniably the best in the world. But overall, I'd trade it for the fish, the seafood, and the giant barnacles (percebes) that I was eating there as a poor person back in the day.
  3. You do my heart good. My son was recently one of those artisan bakers, in Petaluma. He's a double graduate of the CIA. You don't need a personal chef, do you? Don't know if he'd leave Santa Barbara for that, though!
  4. I know someone who knows someone, etc... who knows the owner of the Sojourner Cafe in Santa Barbara. I'd love to know anyone's opinion of it. What's right with it, what's wrong? I hear they have a CIA grad in there now (which may or may not be of benefit... one never knows with them) and possibly a second one on the way. In another thread from 2006 there was mention of a problem with the "labor pool" in SB being so shallow, SB could never have restaurants with more than one star. How many CIA grads does it take in a small town like this to improve the labor pool?
  5. Soup is a great way to use up celery. I joined a CSA and ended up with tons of weird vegetables. I started by slowly caramelizing a bunch of onions, adding some garlic and maybe fresh sausage to that. Let it get really dark. In the meantime, prep your vegetables and start heating stock. I cheat most the time and buy a quality chicken stock at the store. Start throwing your vegetables in the stock so that they cook for the correct amount of time. If you're using a long-cooking grain, throw some of that in early. Celery can be sauteed with the onions or thrown right in the hot stock. Keep those leaves, chop them up and throw them in toward the end. They're as good as any other deep green leafy veggie. Once the onion sofrito is dark and wonderful, quickly heat up whatever spices you want in it, deglaze with wine or stock and dump into the stock pot. Toss in your pasta if that's what you're using instead of a grain. Cook until done. One of these soups will easily absorb an entire head of very leafy celery. And one giant butternut squash, cubed (so cheap this time of year) will smooth out and gently sweeten your soup. Lonnie
  6. No, this is not the "feh" museum, this is the one and only Jell-O Museum in Le Roy, New York. Folks, it may not be food but, admit it, you have probably eaten this stuff and chances are, there was a time in your life when you actually loved it. Okay, maybe if you grew up in mid-century USA. What other "food" could bind together, in a bright green sheen, the following ingredients (taken directly from a recipe my mother used often): mayonnaise, cream cheese, cottage cheese, onions, celery, cucumbers, garlic powder, cashews Admit it, you are just dying to try this, aren't you? The real joy of the Jello Museum is the book in which people write their fond memories of Jello. You would not believe! Jello fights in the summer on the lawn, Jello desserts served at a WEDDING! Jello used with many more savory ingredients. Jello mixed with Coke! Family gatherings made all the more hilarious for the use of Jello in imaginative ways that did not involve eating it. And the fact that, when Jello first came out, it was touted as a high-class dessert. They had to tone that down to get ordinary people to buy it. Folks in LeRoy tell of how the local stream would run different colors - the colors of goth hair syles - screaming blue, red, or green, depending on which flavor the factory was making that day. Children would swim in the stream and come out dyed that color. And let us not forget the weird flavors over the years: tomato, Italian salad, coffee, apple, celery and champagne. Oh, no, do not call this "feh." This is pure Americana. But no, it's not food. Lonnie OMG! As I'm writing, a segment about the popularity of Spam has come on the radio, CBC's As It Happens.
  7. Now that I really have enough vacpots to keep me going for many years of inevitable breakage, I'm turning my attentions to a hand grinder. I like the idea of not using electricity when I can get a good workout in the morning instead (we've stopped using our dryer, too!), and sometimes I just don't want to make so much noise early in the morning. It appears that the Zassenhaus is really the only one I should take at all seriously. So I'm looking at old ones on eBay. Anyone using one of these grinders? What's your experience with it? Do you have an old one or a new one? Should I take my chances on an old one and save myself some bucks? Or just spring for a new one? If I'm looking at an old one, what should I be sure to look at? What's the difference in the grinding experience between the one held between the knees and the table-top version? Thanks for all your help!
  8. Lonnie

    The Clover

    I tried Clover coffee at Velouria Espresso in Jamaica Plain (Boston) last winter. While it was delicious, I have to agree that it was missing some of the "oompf" that I, personally, enjoy in my home vacpot or a French press anywhere. I have to wonder how the average cafe could ever make their money back with this machine. But perhaps there are enough cafes doing enough volume to make this a worthwhile investment. A cafe owner could buy an awful lot of presses for the price of one of those machines. The labor for the press: is it that much more than for the Clover?
  9. Here you can actually watch a practical joke in process. Okay, so it's staged. But it is truly telling: I meant to post this on the "new person in the kitchen practical jokes" thread, but for the life of me couldn't find it. Lonnie
  10. Yikes! Son Scott dodged a bullet perhaps? He had a choice between Cafe Gray and Eleven Madison Park and went with the latter, where he's doing the mignardises. His former dorm-mate went to Cafe Gray. I mean, she was just hired there! Where will Kunz go next? Or do restaurants typically hire people when they're about to go completely out of business?
  11. I've made a lot of flans of various types. Yes, it's cracking because of the difference in temperature. But that has never made any difference to my flans. Sitting in the wet, warm loveliness of the baking custard has always softened it up quite nicely and I always get that bit of runny caramel in which it sits once you've upended it onto a plate. Do you use water when you make the custard, or do you just melt the sugar? I like the caramel almost burnt. Anyone else? Lonnie
  12. Well, he ended up going to New York. He's at Eleven Madison Park doing the mignardises. It's tough getting used to that amount of repetitive work, but he's determined to stay and learn. Still.... where in Portland should he go if he opts out of New York at some point? Lonnie
  13. My son, about to be a dual graduate (culinary and baking/pastry) from the CIA, is considering working here. Should he? He works incredibly hard and wants to learn, learn, learn. Any tips on surviving financially and/or otherwise in NYC for an upstate-bred young man? Lonnie
  14. My son, about to graduate with a second degree from the CIA, cut his culinary education teeth at Job Corps, a federal program that, as he described it, is like a cross between the military and prison. It was exactly what he needed. He wrote the following story down for me recently, about a trick he played early in his Job Corps career: So it was vegetable day for me – I had to do different cooking techniques for vegetables. So I decided to make a fried portobello mushroom sandwich with grilled zucchini, eggplant and red peppers or something like that with a jack cheese and sun-dried tomato tapenade. I'd made this sandwich and I was in the cafeteria with my buddies Chris and Travis and this other girl, I think her name was Tasha. And we were eating and she asked me what it was, and I was like, “It’s a portobello sandwich.” We had a mushroom in the cafeteria, and she asked us what it was, and we said it was a raw portobello mushroom, and Chris dared me to eat it. And I was like, “Okay, no problem.” And so I took a chunk of it and I chewed it and swallowed, and Chris turned to me and said, “Dude! Dude! I was just kidding!” And then he told me, “Portobellos are poisonous unless you cook them.” And so I kinda lost all expression from my face, and I turned to Travis and looked at Tasha who, by the way, was studying to be a nurse, and then I looked at Chris and said, “Are you serious?” and he said, “Yeah!” So I ran back into the kitchen looking scared. Out of view, I got a little latex glove and I cut the pinkie finger off of it and I put some baking soda in it. Then I blew it up so it was a really tight bubble, but small, about the size of a marble. And then I got a cup and put some white vinegar in it. And I kinda tucked the baking soda back by my molars and I walked back into the cafeteria holding something that looked like a cup of water. Tasha was obviously concerned because I'd just eaten this poisonous mushroom. I was kinda weaving back and forth and I said, “Uhhh... I don’t feel too good.” I said something like “Maybe I should get some fluids in me, a drink of water or something.” So I took a swig of the vinegar and while it was in my mouth, I popped the latex balloon with the baking soda and as this massive amount of carbon dioxide was being produced in my mouth, I dropped to the floor and convulsed violently in what looked like a grand mal epileptic seizure while foaming at the mouth. So while I was on the floor shaking like no tomorrow, she ran and got one of the cafeteria workers. By the time she came back, I was on the floor still, not convulsing but laughing hysterically along with Chris and Travis. She was pissed.
  15. I'm cleaning house and am ready to dispose of 22 Spain Gourmetour magazines dating back to 1993. I can't bear to just dump them. Any ideas as to what I should do with them? Lonnie
  16. Thanks for all the great tips and information! I've passed them along to the young one. There's a job fair at the CIA on Tuesday, so we'll see what he learns from that. I see the Grotto is looking for a sous chef. What's your take on that place? Lonnie
  17. Our son is about to graduate from the CIA for the second time, so he'll pop out with a culinary degree and a baking and pastry degree. He's been working in restaurants since he was 14 and has been employed at American Bounty on the CIA campus for a total of about a year (externships have intervened). He's recently decided not to return to Napa where he did an externship. Now he's looking for a job in New York. This may work out for him, but I know housing can be even more expensive and difficult to find than in Boston. I think Boston is a fabulous city and offers much of what New York offers without being quite so intensely difficult. Got any ideas for a job search in Boston? He's a very hard worker, very down-to-earth (a graduate of Job Corps, not Phillips Academy) and passionately in love with food. He also loves front-of-the-house work and is experienced at training newbies in American Bounty. Lonnie
  18. Absolutely she can do it! Will she? That's another question. This is one I'll go out of my way to see.
  19. Dear Lonnie...So now please share where some of the best food is in your opinion...I would enjoy hearing from an "insider"...We have been going to Southweat Harbor for about about 12 or 13 years now...and I still am learning about new places on the "quiet" side of the island..thanks... ← Gosh, I wish I knew! I've been back to Bar Harbor only twice since 1976, and the last time must have been some ten years ago. So you'd be the better guide between the two of us! Lonnie
  20. This thread is so much fun to read! I got my start in restaurants in Bar Harbor in 1976. I had to lie my way into a restaurant - it was early in the season, they were desperate for a "waitress" and I needed the job, so of course I'd been a waitress elsewhere! That job didn't last long. The owners kept a loaded gun and a guard dog in the back, they stiffed us on our wages and when we got a ruling from the labor department, I sent in my hefty boyfriend to pick up the dough. Good thing - she heaved a huge bag of pennies at his head, which he caught and brought home. My last wages in my first restaurant. They later disappeared with their daughter, abandoning their 14-year-old son in the village. The next job went better, serving truly mediocre food next to a motel. But I learned never to cross the cooks (no-one ever said "oui, Chef!" there) and to keep going even when everything was melting down. By the time I'd done four summers in Bar Harbor (spending winters in places like the Canary Islands), I'd probably served a few thousand lobsters and still hadn't gotten my fill of "armpit meat" - the part the dopey tourists didn't care to dig out. Back then there really wasn't any great food in Bar Harbor. The best probably was at the Town Farm Restaurant, where I learned how to describe four kinds of vegetarian burgers to drunks at 1:00 in the morning. I guess things have changed a bit. But I'd bet anything the summertime kitchen crews and servers are still skinny dipping off the cliff at Lakewood and the townies are still sitting there quietly watching them. :-) Lonnie
  21. Well, we made our whirlwind trip of the region and it was a great deal of fun. We spent the first night in Niagara Falls. Our lodging was near the restaurant where hubby's boss took us to dinner. Funny, we never did get to see the falls! We took off for St. Catharaines the next morning but it was raining a lot so we didn't get to walk around much. Enjoyed the farmers' market but couldn't find good coffee. We drove through the countryside, passed the area advertising the "Ball's Falls Festival" - gosh, too bad we didn't have time to go to it! Finally stopped in Cambridge where we did have a great cup of coffee made with beans roasted in Guelph at Planet Bean. We stayed one night Guelph at Sugarbush B&B - a superior room, great hosts, delicious breakfast and a fabulous rate. Our room here. I had eggs and potatoes and peameal bacon. The potatoes were fresh out of their garden, the bacon was really superb. Even the coffee was very good. We had had dinner the night before at Diana Downtown, one of the few appetizing looking restaurants open that night (is Saturday night always that dead in Guelph?) We enjoyed our meal a great deal. Only a week later and I cannot remember for the life of me what I had. Except for the kulfi, which was so good it brought tears to my eyes. We both were trying to place a certain aromatic flavor when I spied its source - a tiny strand of saffron (more later). Planet Bean, alas, is closed on Sundays, but we did find the Red Brick Cafe where we were served excellent coffee. Essentially we fell in love with Guelph and look forward to returning. There seemed to be plenty of places worth trying, they have a great university, and only an hour away there's Toronto. What's not to love? Okay - back to saffron. I texted Scott, our son who's on CIA externship, about the delightful surprise in the kulfi. We talked later about it, and here's his take on saffon: Mom: Did you get my text message about the saffon in the kulfi? Scott: I don’t like saffron! Mom: You’re kidding! Why not? Scott: I’ve had saffron in everything from amuses to desserts – it tastes like rubber bands to me. Mom: When did you ever eat rubber bands? Scott: Remember the jar we had in the kitchen at Dad’s? It had coins and paper clips and rubber bands and all sorts of other shit. I chewed a rubber band from there once. It was awful. I think saffron tastes like that. People are putting saffron in everything, it’s ridiculous, using this much of something that’s worth more than gold per ounce. It’s like truffle oil, they’re putting it in everything. You shouldn’t be able to taste it; it should be just the barest hint of it, not a real taste. I’ve had saffron in soup, in paella, in chocolate truffles, in chocolate mousse with vanilla saffron mousse in the middle. It’s too much. If you’re making a gallon of soup, people put a whole teaspoon of saffron in it. At the CIA, all this stuff is available, so they put too much in. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. Saffron soup with saffron pasta and saffron braised greens and saffron wine and saffron chocolate mousse and saffron mignardises. It’s ridiculous. Mom: When Dave and I had it in the kulfi, we could barely taste it. We were both thinking, “What is that taste?” We didn't even say it out loud, it was so subtle. It was more like just an aroma. We couldn’t place it. Finally I happened to spy one little strand of it and I knew exactly what it was. Scott: That’s the way it should be. It should leave doubt in your mind as to what it is. It should be a mystery flavor. So... what's your take on saffron? And should we move to Guelph? Lonnie
  22. We'll be visiting a number of cities - very briefly - this weekend (Oct 5-7): Welland, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Guelph, Kitchener/Waterloo, maybe Cambridge. Depending on what time of day we hit said places, we'll be looking for great food - breakfast, lunch or dinner - and great coffee. They don't have to be particularly expensive - just really good. Any suggestions for our whirlwind tour? We'd also love to meet some Canadians or American expats from the region - whether in person or online - who could tell us why we should or should not move to that region! Lonnie Syracuse, NY
  23. I fully support Beto's response here. Find a local roaster who really knows his/her stuff and is buying quality beans. Then use those beans before they've gone a week to ten days past roast date. A local roaster is someone who is there for you, will work with you and help you refine your offerings to your public. There is no accounting for local tastes! When you think of all the possibilities - which beans roasted to what degree - you may end up creating, with your roaster, a bean-plus-roast that is quite specific to the desires of the people who walk into your restaurant. How's this: buy locally roasted beans to cut down the carbon footprint - it's bad enough for the environment that they have to be transported once, why transport them again after roasting? That said, I had a Segafredo espresso con panna today in Rochester, NY, and it knocked my socks off. Lonnie
  24. I live four blocks from Taste of Philadelphia and have never had their cheese steak sandwich! So I checked with the folks on our neighborhood email group and so far have gotten this response: "I am far from an expert but based on my experiences in Philly, I would say that Taste of Philadelphia cheesesteaks are very authentic. If you haven't tried one, they are awesome!" We definitely will give it a try and will report on the experience, although since we have never been to Philadelphia, we cannot compare. Lonnie
  25. What a fabulous list! Now I wish we were spending more time in Kingston. So many restaurants, too few days. Maybe we can convince the folks that eating at the camp (last two days of trip) is silly when all this good food is just half an hour away. :-) Lonnie
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