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Posts posted by TomV

  1. I got back from Tokyo yesterday. It's 2:23 am East coast time. I can't sleep. What a great time to report back on this thread.

    We tried a few guides, but ultimately toured the market on our own on Monday. We only spent a little time in the Inner Market because it was just crazy busy with carts and workers hustling around. Motorized carts were speeding around the place. We felt it wasn't a safe place for our kids to be, so we toured the market shops and had a ball. The inner market itself was interesting, just not a place for young kids, even when very closely supervised, as ours were.

    We went to a sushi place just outside the market where they served us on leaves, rather than plates. I've now identified that place as Sushi Bun. The sushi was the most incredible I've ever had. The rice was perfect and the fish was at the height of freshness. We walked in at 7:30 am and were seated immediately. The place was empty.

    If I wanted a comprehensive tour of the market to understand how it functions in detail, I would engage Mr. Nakamura at: http://homepage3.nifty.com/tokyoworks/TsukijiTour/TsukijiTourEng.htm

  2. I don't recommend cellaring any hoppy beers like IPAs or double IPAs. Those are meant to be drunk young. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and most other beers over 9% are fine candidates, especially in vertical tastings. I'm working on a vertical of Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek, a sour cherry ale. Look for what's good locally, like interesting beers from Ommegang in Cooperstown.

  3. Here's a quick back of the bar napkin guide:

    Wit: Belgian wheat beer, crisp and flavorful often has hints of citrus and spice.

    Dubbel: Amber to brown in color. Rich malt flavor and dark fruit dominstes the palatte with yeast flavors like clove or bubble gum in support.

    Tripel: Strong in alcohol, but very pale or golden in color. Subtle malt flavor and crisp carbonation.

    Saison: dry complex beer often orange in color. Saison Dupont is the classic example.

    Belgian Strong Ales: like a dubbel or tripel with more alcohol and more flavor.

    In the plains, Boulevard Brewing puts out some interesting Belgian style ales. Once you learn what you like in these styles, give a sour beer like Rodenbach a try. Perhaps someday you'll learn to love lambics from Cantillon.

  4. My last minute rule of beer & food pairing is to match the color of the food with the color of the beer. While this rule breaks down with salads, it works great for the menu above. A pilsener is a great beer, but I think would be too subtle for this menu.

    I don't know where you are so I don't know what's available to you. If it were me I'd purchase a variety of beer to allow people to choose what they like and to mix and match as they move through courses:

    Brown Ale: Brooklyn Brown would go great with the pecan pie and the baked beans. The roasty character works great with the grilled meat and the baked beans. The sweet malt would work great with the pie. This beer also goes well with a strong cheese like blue, so add that to the burgers. There are a lot of American brown ales out there. Avery makes a nice one as well.

    Porter: A porter is like a brown ale, but more roasty and has darker malt character along the lines of chocolate. I love, love, love Founders porter. Sierra Nevada and Anchor Steam make great porters. A porter would go well with all the courses as well.

    Amber Lager/Ale: Anchor Steam, Negro Modelo, Sam Adams Boston Lager, any of these would be easy and safe choices.

    Pale Ale/IPA: An IPA especially a big flavorful beer like Sierra Nevada Torpedo would be an excellent choice. The bitterness would cut through a lot of the sweet flavors and it's a great food beer. I drink a lot of IPA and Torpedo is one of my go to beers. Here in NC, it's a bargain at $9 a six pack.

    Belgian beer like Fin Du Monde or Chimay Red or Blue: These beers could also work, but I don't typically pair them with anything beyond cheese.

  5. Tomatoes grown upside down just get ridiculed by other tomatoes. Grow 'em normally.

    I've grown tomatoes for many years. I grow heirlooms for the most part like Cherokee Purple, Lucky Stripe, Green Zebra, and Black Krim. The one hybrid I grow every year is Sungold. It's such a great fruit. Sweet yet tangy. My daughter thinks I grow it only for her, because it's her favorite.

  6. Chosun OK in Durham at the intersection of 54 & 55 is another good choice for Korean dining locally. There are several good Korean markets locally, though I don't know names only the restaurants they are near. For instance, just off Glenwood, near Waraji, there's a quite good Korean market, Lotte Oriental Food, 6311-C Glenwood Ave. (919) 571-7777. There's also one next to Vit Goal, the Korean tofu restaurant.

    If such a class were presented, I'd hope it would go beyond the basic dishes served to most non-Korean diners. Don't get me wrong, the variety of small dishes, like kimchi and the other fermented items are essential, but I hed to read Momofuku to realize rice cakes were a very common Korean dish.

    If you haven't already done so, check out "Asian Dining Rules" written by Steven A. Shaw, founder of this very site.

  7. Hi-

    My family of 4 foodies will be travelling to Tokyo in mid April. We are big fans of Japanese food and especially sushi. We are excited to visit the Tsukiji Seafood Market. I realize we could wander around and see what's there, but I'm hoping for a more "behind the scenes" tour. There are already so many tourists there getting in the way. I'm not sure a group tour would do more than scratch the surface. Something like 17% of the world catch travels through this market which is remarkable. I'm not very interested in the tuna auctions which have been closed to tourists to some extent.

    I'd love to find an in the know Japanese foodie whom I could pay to show us around. Any ideas?

    Thanks for reading this!

  8. I ate at the Brasserie Suffren the other day. It was a great experience. Wonderful seafood. Pleasant service and quite reasonably priced. There are many places in Paris that have the word "Brasserie" on their awning, but few seem to have a visable selection of seafood. Perhaps it's just th cold of January, but I was quite surprised.

    I selected it from reading this thread. Thanks for the tip!

  9. I've only been to Paris twice, but I must say I found the oysters in random brasseries to be far better than the oysters I've had anywhere else.

    I'm interested to try some of the recommendations in this thread when I'm back in Paris in January.

  10. Hi-

    We're planning a trip to Paris in January. We love to eat bulot, sea snails, widely available on ice in the cafes. Is there any off season for bulot specifically and if so when?

    On our last trip, the seafood seemed to be uniformly good in cafes. Are there any that are especially good? It seemed to me that any cafe that had an outdoor fishmonger served solid mollusk. Is this true?


  11. Far as beers, I usually get those at TW, seems besides their treatment/handling, their single selection is far better than Frougals these days (with about the same number of sixpack and cases maybe?)

    Not sure which TW you patronize but Brawley's on Park Road has a much better quality selection than the TW across the street. Particularly if you are seeking Belgians or some of the better quality domestic craft brews.

    I'm definitely with you on Brawley's selection being superior, if there's something particular I want that's hard to find that's my destination (would kill for more of that weyerbacher all simcoe stuff a co worker nabbed there a year or so ago) Need to get in there just to poke around one of these days, but lately it's rare I make a special trip just for beer.

    I just find myself around the TW in University area a lot more frequently than I get remotely near Brawley's, so that's the location I've become familiar with.

    Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA is now a year-round selection and should be on the shelf at Brawley's. Whenever I drive through Charlotte, I make it a point to stop at Brawley's. There's always a surprise in the walk-in, such as the Erdinger Dopplebock I enjoyed last week.

  12. I'm unclear on whether Total Wine is somehow "getting around" the three tier system in NC. The three tier distribution system means a producer, such as a brewer, sells to a distributor who sells to a retailer. I've often wondered where the consumer resides in this scenario...

    I do know that some small brewers act as distributors in NC and in other states, so TW may have a similar arrangement. The existing distributors are likly not hurt by TW's practices, since TW buys a lot of wine and beer. A rising tide lifts all ships.

    NC sells alcohol in state run stores. This practice is archaic and assine. The state should get out of the liquor business altogether.

    By the way, the best beer store in Charlotte is Brawley's Beverage. Great selection, fair prices and great service. Their focus is craft beer, so if you're looking for a $9 case of Bud, you're better off elsewhere. In the Triangle, Sam's Quick Shop in Durham is your best bet.

  13. Total Wine operates stores in NC as well. Here, their beer selection is well above average, though they don't rotate their stock effectively, so there are quite a few bottles suffering from oxidation and skunkiness, especially among the European imports.

    I'm not much of a wine enthusiast. My understanding is that TW has direct and exclusive relationships with certain vineyards around the world. In my eperience, if you ask for recommendations, you will be directed towards these highly-profitable brands. I don't favor this practice. We've stopped shopping there as a result.

  14. Excellent - you guys confirmed it for me - birthday dinner at Allen & Sons!

    Be aware that for the most part BBQ places serve no tallboys, tipples or toddys. The strongest drink you'll find there is sweet tea.

    I like the desserts I've had at A&S. I've heard they are now micorwave desserts to warm them up. If it were me, I'd ask them not to do that.

  15. I've eaten at Piedmont twice. Both times I've been very pleased. I've enthusiastically recommended the place to others.

    The first time in December, I was completely blown away by the menu. It was completely seasonal with beans, nutmeg, sweet potatoes, and confit. These are all wintery ingredients in my mind.

    I had an app of pork belly on sweet potato puree, It was excellent and in fact it was the largest piece of belly I've ever been served. I couldn't get enough.

    In January, I was a little disappointed to see cherry tomatoes and berries on the menu, since both are out of season. The menu was for the most part in keeping with the season and a different form of the pork belly was there. I realize they change the menu frequently and I wasn't looking for the same menu. I was interested to see that they added items that were clearly out of season.

    I think it would be an interesting creative challenge to have a "rigidly seasonal" menu. Perhaps diners are too fickle for such a concept.

  16. Ok, I got my intenerary sorted out. Please feel free to comment and add

    22/7 - 24/7 Bourdaux

    The we got two nights at Chateau de Roques. Dont really know alot about this area exept for foie gras and truffles. But should I expect to get truffle oil infused food if dining at notsogood restaurants? Anything in this area I should check out?

    I CANT WAIT!!! :biggrin:  :biggrin:  :biggrin:

    In Bordeaux, you've got to check out LaTupina. The chef/owner is fanatical about local ingredients with traditional preparations. A portion of the cooking is even done over a fireplace. I tried lamprey and had some of the most memorable dishes in my life.

    It's not cheap, but you could always do it as a lunch.


  17. Allen & Sons in Chapel Hill is the way to go for Q.

    For another meal, if you want to try something different in Cary, I'd recommend Lotus Leaf Cafe. It's a Vietnamese/French-influenced place in Cary. I've only been once or twice and I was quite impressed. Good food moderate prices and a bit of flair.

    There's no better time to get the little ones into food than when they're very young.

    Check out the site: www.LotusLeafCafe.com

    We're on their mailing list:

    From: Lotus Leaf

    To: lotusleafcafenet@lotusleafcafe.com

    Sent: Friday, June 16, 2006 12:12 AM

    Subject: [LotusLeafNews] Saigon Street Menu Every Saturday Morning

    Dear Diners and Friends,

    If you ever visited Vietnam and enjoyed the wonderful food on the streets and sidewalk cafes, then you will appreciate our new Saigon Street Menu on Saturday mornings. This Summer, every Saturday morning, our new sous chef from Saigon, Duc Dang, will feature these delicate dishes called "Diem Tam" for our Asians diners and those with palates for truly authentic Viet flavors. Come join us every Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm for:

    - Banh Cuon (rice steam rolls)

    - Banh Beo (prawn cakes)

    - Banh Cong (crispy shrimp cake)

    - Banh Canh (thick noodle soup)

    - Hu Tieu (seafood noodle soup)

    - Bun Bo Hue (spicy Hue style beef noodle)

    - Lau Hai San (seafood hot pot)

    and other street-side favorites.

    Remember, the Saigon Street Menu is only available on SATURDAYS from 11 AM - 5 PM. After that, we will return to formal dinner with live jazz on the patio.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Lotus Leaf Cafe


  18. I agree with foodiehall. Went to St. Jacques a few months back. My wife and I paid a lot, like $180, for bland, Americanized french food. The service wasn't very good and the menu was unimpressive.

    We went to Vin Rouge spend like $150 and had the time of our lives. Sure, the restaurants go at the market differently, one tries to be a French restaurant while the other is more like a brasserie or a bistro, even so, execution is everything.

    Sorry for the ramble. I've just been meaning to get this rant off my chest

  19. This is the kind of a place that will bring a tear to my eyes because it does what it does so well.

    My wife and I went there after a mediocre dinner at the Federal (the food can be hit or miss, but the beer makes up for it). We each had two and they were quite good. I had 1) lavender cream and 1) mango chile and she had 1) pineapple basil and 1) peanut butter banana.

    Can't wait to go back.

  20. For my family, sushi is take out food.  We have found the sushi at Sushi Thai in Raleigh to be a very good value.  They have dollar sushi.  Rolls and nigiri.  Also dolalr tempura which the kids like.  The fish is fresh and the pieces are well presented.  I also enjoyerd the masaman curry from the thai side of the menu. 

    My wife and I are going to try Waraji again in the future.

    Does the dollar sushi at Sushi Thai work for take-out?

    Yes, it does work for take out. You have to ask for the dollar menu. I have never actually eaten at Sushi Thai - only take out.

  21. For my family, sushi is take out food. We have found the sushi at Sushi Thai in Raleigh to be a very good value. They have dollar sushi. Rolls and nigiri. Also dolalr tempura which the kids like. The fish is fresh and the pieces are well presented. I also enjoyerd the masaman curry from the thai side of the menu.

    My wife and I are going to try Waraji again in the future.

  22. Is anyone familiar with Gandaia cachaca? From what I understand, it's from Minas Gerais. The importer is Pinga Bear and/or Adam and Mariana McCulley from North Carolina.

    I live in NC where the ABC system is just worthless.

  23. I eat at the Federal frequently. I really like what they're doing there. The place feels right - that it's where it should be in time (during NC's quiet craft beer revolution) and in space (the only other place it could exist would be in Asheville).

    I have to chuckle at this thread with the "best Bar Food in the Triangle" moniker. What makes it a bar? There are more tables than bar seats. The lunch service is busy as are dinners. Is it the focus on craft beer? If they focused on wine instead of craft beer would it still be "bar food"? Is it bar food when you can get gruyere on your burger (au poivre)? And finally, one of today's lunch specials was boeff burginion (beef burgundy) is that bar food?

    Sometimes I think we rush to put things into a taxonomy for our own purposes...


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