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Joe Gerard

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Everything posted by Joe Gerard

  1. It would be a shame to leave San Francisco without visiting Tartine - one of the best bakeries in the country - particularly at breakfast. They make incredible scones, morning buns, frangipane croissants and bread pudding that have locals lining up every day. I have to control my urges to fly out there just for breakfast. Boulette's Larder at the Ferry Building serves a nice breakfast, or, if you prefer, stroll through the building itself and choose your own breakfast - cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, bread from Acme, great fruit tarts from Frog Hollow Farm and coffee from the famous Blue Bottle roasters.
  2. Without hesitation, Anthos. Their tasting menu is outstanding, but if its one dish you're after, their Sheeps Milk Gnudi are sensational. To compare the Greek restaurants in Astoria to Anthos is kind of a joke. Among the classic Greek places in Manhattan, I can heartily recommend the Chargrilled Octopus and Lamb Chops at Periyali. Not much else I would eat there though.
  3. I echo Chez L'Ami Jean. For a splurge lunch I would recommend Le Meurice. The room and service are spectacular and Yannick Alleno is immensely talented. The 7th is great for food - Marie-Anne Cantin for cheese, Millet for pastry, Michel Chaudon for chocolate, the Rue Cler market if it is open when you are there.
  4. I sense some second city-itis in your post, but that's ok. The categories that you mention are really niches. The fact that LA has the best Mexican or Lockhart, TX the best barbecue doesn't make them contenders to be the best food city in the U.S. New York is clearly at the top due to its sheer size and the resulting breath and scope of its dining scene. There are more solid to excellent restaurants here than anywhere else in the U.S., and not only for big spenders. San Francisco and Chicago would be next. While I have had spectacular experiences in Chicago (Topolobampo, Alinea, Spiaggia), I have also had duds, even at the very top of the chain (Trotter, Tru, the former Avenues). I love Chicago, and think it is a great place to eat, but this becomes a numbers game when you really think about it. The argument would not be terribly long or drawn out.
  5. This topic is particularly timely for me as I spent the last two evenings rifling through my five year old's Halloween loot to conduct a similar rxperiment. I tasted a bunch of chocolate bars and suddenly had a vivid recollection of why I stopped eating them years ago - they suck. They were uniformly awful, featuring terrible chocolate, mealy or grainy textures and an overdose of sugar. I think Walker's shortbread is a good product, and Haagen-Daz, at least the basic flavors.
  6. Joe Gerard

    Wild Rice Help

    I found an extraordinary canoe-harvested, wood-parched wild rice sold by the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa that puts cultivated "wild rice" to shame. You really must try this stuff - it has an unmistakeably robust, smoky and nutty flavor and it cooks in only 15-20 minutes. Its in the Zingerman's catalog, but you can order it directly at www.nettlakewildrice.com and save some money.
  7. we're ging to try to make it to Eve's for lunch on Friday or Saturday... Do try to make it to Restaurant Eve - it is superb and a destination restaurant in every sense of the term. You don't want to leave with regrets!
  8. I haven't been since last year, when it was $300 without drinks, tax and tip. I don't know if it has gone up, but its worth it.
  9. David, Looks great! Crostadas are my favorite things to bake in the summer. They don't require the commitment of a double crust pie and they really show off the fruit. Unfortunately for New Yorkers, even the blueberries we get at the farmer's market these days are pretty wan. I have been enjoying your bumper cherry crop this season, though!
  10. Saratoga Springs, only five minutes off the Northway, for a stop at Mrs. London's, one of the greatest patisseries in the country. Great croissants, Kugelhopf, pecan danish and French pastries of all kinds. They now have a small restaurant next door for a full meal which I understand is excellent. They're right on Broadway, the main drag into town. There is also a nice little diner called the Country Corner a block in from Broadway near the post office. The breads and preserves are home made, the eggs are farm frsh and they serve good coffee. There may be another location now which I can't vouch for. Hattie's Chicken Shack used to serve really good fried chicken and soul food but its changed hands since I've been there. Still supposed to be good, I think. Bon voyage and good eating.
  11. I had an opportunity to have lunch at La Mar on their third day of operation, and was surprised both by the explosive flavors and the kitchen's ability to hit the ground running. It indicates that Acurio is serious about introducing refined Peruvian cuisine to the masses. More comments and lousy pictures (the drinks are strong) on the blog.
  12. I realize this rquires more planning then you intended, but I often buy a chicken from my butcher on the weekend and use The Zuni Cafe roast chicken recipe. Clean bird, dry, stuff various fresh herbs under skin of breast and legs, season thoroughly with just s&p and wrap up in foil for two to three days. When you get home the day of, preheat oven to 450-475 (depending on what temperature will fill your kitchen with smoke) while you preheat a skillet on the stove. Add a touch of oil to pan, roast bird 25 minutes breast side up, flip it for another 25 and then flip right side up for about another 7 minutes or so. This never fails to provide juicy meat, really crisp skin, and a quick easy meal. Man, I want one tonight.
  13. John, Your services to EG will certainly be missed, but please continue your dignified and thoughtful posts. No one made a greater contribution to the culinary community, and the cause of great cuisine. All the best, Joe
  14. Likewise, I doubt I will top 2007 any time soon. My list, in order of preference, The French Laundry, Yountville, CA Extebarri, Axpe, Spain Martin Berasetegui, Lasarte, Spain Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain Guy Savoy, Las Vegas, NV Alex, Las Vegas, NV, Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas, NV El Bulli, Roses, Spain Can Fabes, San Celoni, Spain Manresa, Los Gatos, CA Hispania, Arenys de Mar, Spain The Modern, New York, NY Joel Robuchon at The Mansion, Las Vegas, NV Alkimia, Barcelona, Spain Gaig, Barcelona, Spain Aligue, Marnresa, Spain Soto, New York, NY Osteria del Circo (menu prepared by Luciano Zazzeri of La Pineta, Maremma, Italy)
  15. It is still there and their brought-in croissants are still baked daily, right out of the freezer. Try City Bakery on 18th and Fifth, their regular croissants are good and the pretzel croissants are great. However, the quality of pastry in NYC is, sadly, disgraceful.
  16. The reason I think it's a yes/no proposition is that there are probably very few people who are going to buy more than one guide. So either the guide you've bought is (mostly) reliable, or it's (mostly) not.In any case, I think the vast majority of even the one-star ratings are reasonable. If you asked anyone else, they'd just make different mistakes. ← Not sure I understand what you said. My point was that in the Michelin guides, it seems that the two and three star ratings have some semblance of reliability, while the one stars seem not to have any. Not only are they bizarre by many accounts, but they seem not to have been arrived at by the same process as the two and three star ratings. In fact, I maintain that if Michelin had the manpower and will to do so, they could get the one stars on the same level of reliability, but with their limited resources, they clearly don't make the effort. ← I agree. The problem with Michelin's ratings at the one star level is that they appear to be determined by an entirely different mechanism that categorizes restaurants, and then selects those believed to be "a very good restaurant in its category". In other words, grading on the curve. Thus, we are left to presume that Michelin believes Eleven Madison Park is not good upscale French, Felidia is not good upscale Italian and Sushi Yasuda is not a good sushi place, but The Spotted Pig is an above average gastro-pub, so it gets a star. If the one star ratings were determined using the same methodology as the two and three star ratings we probably wouldn't be having this discussion. Having said that, Michelin is still hands down the best guide available.
  17. Thanks for reminding me of this trick. I'll give it a shot this week as well.
  18. Not to guilt trip you or anything, but if you're baking pies only once or twice a year (thanksgiving, etc), you're probably not going to be completely happy with the results. You may need to practice pie making a bit more to be any good at it, especially the crust aspect. Okay, that out of the way, you could try another sort of pastry dough which might help (a sweet, cookie dough crust might work better). And I'd reiterate the questions Ruth asked. It's important not to stretch the dough as you fill the pan. I've had the same problems, and I solved them after getting a fair amount of practice (more than once or twice a year), and by freezing the pie crust for at least an hour and playing around with pie weights/beans techniques. I use foil and beans, making sure the pan is filled a little over the top, the foil higher than the sides of the pan, and the beans pushed all the way up to the top and even a little higher. The foil, standing straight up around the edges will keep the beans in. You might try blind baking a little hotter than many recipes call for and then lower the heat to the recipe requirement and baking another 5 or 10 minutes after you take the beans out, pricking the bottom crust. ← Well, I bake pies throughout the year but the majority are double crusts. I have a very reliable dough recipe that is easy to roll out. I always have plenty of overhang and try to be careful lifting the edges and dropping them rather than pushing them in. Double crust fruit pies are great if I do say so myself, but still no luck in the blind baking area. I will give your suggestions a try and see how they work out. Thanks.
  19. With Thanksgiving here I am once again facing the prospect of watching my blind baked crusts meekly shrink off the sides of their pans until they form an amorphous mass of dough, destroying my decorative crimping efforts in the process. I have tried reinforcing the dough by folding it under itself before crimping, overhanging the dough and adhering it to the outside of the pan, freezing the crust first, using pie weights or beans, etc. Nothing works. I need help - I'm getting tired of graham cracker crusts.
  20. As one who lives on the lower east side, I won't be able to report back - as I stated earlier, I have no interest in the drive or 3 - 4 hours round trip on public transportation. I will say, however, that I took a 25 minute drive (door-to-door) into Astoria yesterday for a major Thai pig out. ← Which place did you go to? Arharn Thai?
  21. Not so in Vegas based on my experience. Salmon rilletes bland, fries an abomination, profiteroles icy and completely flavorless. I think Michelin nailed this one.
  22. Michelin is usually very accurate at the upper levels, but I think Guy Savoy at two instead of three is their first big miss in the U.S. As always, their one star choices can be surreal. I would have liked to see Lotus of Siam get a star.
  23. Hoboken is really easy and quick to get to from Port Authority. But I guess it's close to the PATH station than to Washington Av.? How do you get there from the station (or the bus)? Their menu looks great! ← Cucharamama is exactly the type of place FG is referring to. I have been there many times and I don't think it would be a reach to say it is one of the best Pan Latino restaurants in the U.S. It is a destination restaurant the equivalent of which does not exist in New York. But even giving FG the benefit of the doubt on Moksha, that makes a grand total of two such restaurants in the entire state. They are not sprinkled all over the map like grains of sand. In fact, to the best of my knowledge there are only three other restaurants (now that the great Ryland Inn is closed) in NJ that are noteworthy at all - David Drake, Nicholas and Shumi - and none of them offer anything that can't be replicated very easily in NYC.
  24. SG, Just curious what sorts of service issues you've noticed over the course of your visits. Could you elaborate a bit? While the service does lack stiff formality, I personally find this quite refreshing.I'm with SG. Great food, but the service I had was very unpolished. I don't need stiff service, in fact I prefer a more relaxed service, but I would like my wait staff to know what they're serving us.To be completely fair, I've only been once (Jan 2006) and I got the impression that our server was new not only to Manresa, but to fine dining as well. Beside the lack of knowledge, some additional examples that I would think would prevent a 3rd star would include 1.) having water poured over the table in a manner that allowed condensation from the pitcher to drip onto the food plate 2.) waiting far to long for our coffee and after dinner drinks. By the time they came, we were just plain ready to leave, so they all were barely touched. We still really enjoyed our meal and the unpolished service really didn't detract from it in any major way. Just agreeing with the point that for Manresa, "service is it's weakest point", which could be argued is actually a good thing Manresa Photo Set snekse's experience sounds similar to mine. I have only been to Manresa once, as well. However, I experienced some of the same service issues. Our server did not, for the first half of the meal, know what he was serving us. This may not be as problematic at a restaurant where the diner has ordered his/her meal. But, when the chef is cooking for a diner, as was in my case, and the diner has no idea what is coming out of the kitchen, the server should be very well-versed in what is being presented. I will mention that half-way through my meal, they switched out my server. The later half of my dinner was much more lucid. ← I have to concur as well. I dined here solo a few weeks ago followed by Cyrus and TFL on the next two nights. Service here was perfunctory at best and was clearly below the level I experienced on the following evenings. They also seemed thrown off by someone dining solo as if they had never encountered this situation before. I also think the sweet kitchen needs some help - the mignardise were skimpy and were served well after coffee as if they were an afterthought. When you throw in a rather drab room with those mismatched rugs, my feeling is that they have a long way to go to for a third star. Kinch can be a dazzling chef, of course.
  25. Enjoy Manresa! I had dinner there last Saturday and while I didn't enjoy everything the abalone with slow-cooked egg and the suckling pig with housemade boudin noir were the work of a chef of enormous talent and creativity. It is still not on the level of TFL in terms of food, service or ambience.
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