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odysseus

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Posts posted by odysseus

  1. I am fairly new to eating Indian food, and I'm looking for a good place to try in the Montclair/B'field/Nutley area.  Non-vegetarian would be preferable.

    Also, if you want to recommend your favorite Indian dishes, that would also be appreciated.

    Thanks for your help!

    I would suggest driving down to edison, it is worth the trip, and you can get food that you really would find in india. I like masala in edison, but the city is full of authentic indian places

  2. It's really bizarre that so many are popping up at once.  It almost feels like a (perceived) void appeared in the market a while back and a bunch of folks all decided, at around the same time, to attempt to fill it.

    Of course, it's also a bit bleak.  Knowing what the overall odds of success are in the industry, you look at this list and you've got to figure that, even with the deep pockets behind some of them, with a year or so, half of them will probably have already been closed or reconcepted.

    Tough, tough biz.

    =R=

    I am relocating to chicago from NYC. I found it very difficult to find authentic italian food in NYC. any of these new (or old) italian places have food that is similar to food that you might actually find in italy? nice simple, fresh foods, pastas, classic sauces, simple small pieces of meat, cured meats, fruits, that kind of thing?

  3. I think this will be a great drink on ice during the summer.

    I agree with you. Actually, many Turks drink it in the winter because it is considered to be incredibly healthy with lots of vitamins and minerals.

    I had my first glass of tart-intense salgam in the city of Gaziantep in southeast Turkey, a place where dishes can never be too sour.

    Grilled lamb kebabs sprinkled with sumac and accompanied by a plate of pickles.

    I have had this as a chaser with raki - the way you would drink sagrita in mexico with tequila. the first time I almost threw up, just from suprise, but it grows on you.

  4. goodly number of hi-techies in Israel are far more partial to diet Sprite than wine with their meals

    I must note that during my stay in Israel, I noticed it wasn't a drinking culture overall.

    Daniel,

    may I say that my wife and I are huge fans?

    if I may add weight to your posts - I am recently of the israeli high tech industry. To be specific, I was a top performer (in terms of sales) at one of the 3 largest companies in Israel, with a title of Regional Director of Sales. my annual take home pay was about the sticker price of a compact japanese car. in the US, a comparable position would have a take home basket of perhaps 3 times as much. I was still in the 95th percentile of household earning level for the country.

    I ate all of my lunches on coupons on the street where my company was. as I basically had a pretty good free lunch, usually at erez's bread or a pretty good italian nearby, it would never dawn on me to spend $50 or more on going out for lunch.

    As a high tech exec, I spent 150 days a year on the road, often in italy, india, france, thailand and china, as well as more exotic places. while on the road, I was able, if I wanted, to take customers to very good resteraunts, which would then cost me nothing. my wife and I traveled together abroad a half dozen times a year for short vacations. most of my friends lived similarly.

    pardon the long personal introduction, but here is my point - I ate very well on the road, in very good, although seldom starred, places in some of the food capitals of the world. Once a year I might blow $100 a head on a good meal in israel, but never more than that. I mostly liked a few very good italian places in israel, and the various takes on fusian asian, as well as the local arab places. I would never have thought about getting into the habbit of going to mechelin 2 star level places in israel.

    I think israel has some great food. there are types of food that are a great deal better than you can get in ny city, even. but I can't see, just from a critial mass and economic perspective, israel getting to be a superpower.

  5. I couldn't tell you about the ritual, all the times I had coffee in a yeminite household it was with people who had been born to emigrants and were younger, so they drank the coffee, but didn't follow a ritual, but that doesn't mean that there isn't one.

    typically cooked like turkish coffee, without a filtering mechanism, let to semi-settle, and then poured through a long spout.

  6. wet dishes are dishes where there is a souce to mop up. dry are when there is no sauce, or too little to be relevant. it would be considered strange to have all your dishes with no sauce, or all with sauce, a nice combination would be valued. the starch is used to do the moping.

    at least in resteraunts in india, appatizers are common - appitizers are usually drier foods, like kababs, papadams, samosas. samosas are also often snacks.

    dosas are usually a free standing light meal.

  7. I would stay away from trying to make naan, but then I don't think that I would attempt to roast and grind my own spices, either. chapatis can be cooked on the stove top, and most of my indian friends ate those on the day to day.

    I buy very good chapatis from an indian grocery store near me - I dont know if you have decided not to buy anything?

  8. Any ideas for a post-opera supper/snack near the State Opera in Prague? Do restaurants/cafes tend to stay open late in that part of town? The preference would be for a Czech restaurant - attempts at pan-Mediterranean food we can find elsewhere.

    off the top of my head I would say the municipal house. first of all, it is one of my favorite corners in the world - 4 fantastic buildings from different periods of time in site of one another. there is a cafe with nice cakes and coffee and beer, and a very nice sit down resteraunt with very good food.

    the other option is the impirial cafe,- the food is less good than the archetcuture, but a great historical cafe with good beer, cafee and jelly donuts.

    both are an easy walk from the state opera

    both are open late.

  9. A few things to comment back on...

    Odysseus, I don't know what restaurants you've been going to, but in the world of, at least, fine dining, I can't think of a single restaurant I've been to, or know of, where the owner is regularly in the dining room during dinner service. Doesn't mean they don't exist, but it's in my experience not at all common. (Look, for example, at the feature article on the main page here, about Richard Corraine - he's essentially the chief of operations for several major restaurants and he's done and out of there by the time dinner starts, and don't expect to see the owner Danny Meyer or the other investors hanging out either. Occasionally yes, but regularly, no.)

    I may very well not be going to the right level of resteraunts - I prefer to eat in a place where I can see the owner, and if possible, the owner spends time in the kitchen and in the dinning room. I do not need to eat in a resteraunt whose owner is a celebrety, or where one of the partners is an actor or a producer or something - I want to know that the owner cares about food and about the expereince that I will get from the meal.

  10. twice in my life I have had troubles with Holiday Inn, both almost identical issues. once, a front desk clerk called me in my room and told me that I had to come down right away because I had maxed out my credit card and needed to provide an alternative card. I had been staying in the room for 3 or 4 days, apperently my credit line on that card was only good for enough to cover 3 and a half days, and they wanted additional coverage. I suggested that when I came down next I would deal with it, and he insisted that I had to come down right away. I came down, checked out, and didn't stay in a holiday inn for about 10 years. about 15 years later, I was checking out of a holiday inn, and the parking lot attendant wouldn't let me pull my car around front to check out - she wanted me to back up 3 fligths to the parking lot, pay my bill and then I could take my car out, even though I was a frequest guest and had given them a credit card (this time a better one)

    both are symptomatic of holiday inn - the hire idiots, and they give them very strict guidelines with little room for personal flexibility or judgment. in the first case, I didn't say to anybody but the clerk how pissed I was. the second time I spoke to the manager, and she immidiatly gave me a voucher for the full amount of my stay, to be used in the same hotel. this was enough to have me continue to stay in holiday inns and completly calm me down. I never used the voucher, by the way, so the hole "cure" cost the hotel chain nothing.

    to clarify the weight of this - I stay about 120 nights a year in hotels, and I decide where up to 25 other people stay, as well. if I decide to boycott a hotel chain, that can cost them easily $100K a year. I don't flaunt this, but I think that it is a relevant point to consider.

    my point being that a little comp goes a long way. getting the dish right is what I expect - of you get it wrong, and then fix it, I am not impressed. get it wrong, fix it, and then don't bill me, and I am happy.

    to me, if you don't get it wrong the first time, the event is off, anyway. the only times I have been realy upset with a resteraunt have been when a problem caused people not to be able to eat at the same time. if you mess up part of a meal, or one dinner's meal, then find a solution that helps keep everybody on the same schedule, or compensate for the matter.

  11. Odysseus,

    In a world where the owners of restaurants were hanging out waiting to talk to you, you might be right, but that isn't reality. Restaurants are businesses. I spent twenty plus years in the restaurant business in New York and simply, for a large percentage of restaurants, the owners are rarely that directly involved. They are often very much behind the scenes investors. They're not in the kitchen. And that includes the small "mom and pop" varieties - mom and pop aren't necessarily there. And "get out of the kitchen and walk around"? Cooks/chefs are rarely the owners.

    Yes, it's the owner's job to hear about these things, that's why they have managers, to run their businesses, and pass on the things they need to get involved in (which, in most restaurant groups, would include a complaint letter). I don't know what field you're in, but I'd guess in the majority of companies, the CEO, or the stockholders, aren't out in the office space, or the retail space, wandering around to handle customers complaints; why should a restaurant be any different?

    And of course, you have the right to not complain and just to not go back, and go bad-mouth the restaurant to your friends, or here, or to whomever else will listen. That wasn't the point of this discussion,which was - how can you make it work? Your approach doesn't accomplish anything in terms of improving anyone's experience, including yours. Unless of course you're the type of person who just gets off on doing that.

    salt shaker,

    the whole idea of this is to make the customer feel that he or she has been treated fairly, or to resolve the conflict in such a way that the customer feels they have been treated fairly. I honestly can't be bother to write a letter to the owner of a resteraunt unless perhaps something happened so terrible that I expect some type of compensation, but I can't think of anything like that. I think that the attitude that the owner, or a responsible person, can't be bothered to be present is a poor concept - frankly, it may be the reality of resteraunts, I haven't worked in a resteraunt since I was a teenager, but I believe you. the best resteraunts that I have gone to, and have frequented, had the owners on site most of the time.

    I work in the corporte world. I think that if a customer of mine wanted to reach my boss, or the CEO of the largest corporation I ahve worked for, he could do it in 2 phone calls - which, in the nature of things is the equivelent of having he ownder walk around. I am sure that there are pleanty of resteraunts that don't need my business, and where the owner doesn't really need to care waht is going on at his place. I would hope that that is not the case in the places that I frequent.

    I don't get off on complaining, I am actualy pretty laid back and tolerent about things, but I don't think that it is the correct business attitude to basically say "well, send us a letter, and we'll see what we can do". if a responsible person can't bother to be present at a resteraunt that I frequent, then I won't bother frequenting that place.

  12. Salt shaker,

    sorry, I am not sure that I agree with this. the owners job is to make sure that he hears about these things, to make himself accessable. I do not complain often at resteraunts, as a matter of fact if I have done so a half dozen times in my life it would be a lot. I have, however, dropped places over very small service issues, without thinking twice. If I go to a place on a regular basis, and drop a days net income for a meal, and the server is not on top of things (and isn't clearly learning the job, I will cut slack for new servers) I will simply no go back. if I mention something to a server and do not get satsfaction, I will leave, and I will bad mouth that place from any and every stage I have access to for as long as I can remember it.

    so, if you want, ask me to write you a letter. I won't be writting, I will be spending my next few weeks telling everybody I can get access to about the experience I had at your place. maybe it won't cause you a penny in dammage, maybe it will cost you a fortune.

    how about this for an idea - get out of the kitchen, walk around, talk to servers, keep an eye on people, and get an idea if people are happy or not.

    the last time I complained at a resteraunt, maybe 3 years ago, I was at a place with my wife and mother in law, that we went to perhaps twice a month - a casual but nice type of cafe. my mother in law had soup, but didn't get a spoon, I had a hot sandwitch and y wife had a quiche. I asked the server for a spoon, and she didn't bring it. so we all waited, and I asked the server for a spoon again. after a few minutes, I cought ther servers eye, and asked for a spoon, and waited. then I got up, went looking for the server, and she told me she would bring the spoon. by now, the soup is cold, the quiche is not so edible, and my sandwich is cooling. she still hasn't come. so I go into the kitchen, and ask for a spoon. they shoo me away, and tell me to ask my server. at the table, everyone is chattering about why we don't ahve a spoon. when I get the server, I ask to speak to the manager, and she tells me that she is the shift leader, and that no body above her is available. and now we have an agruemnt over whether they redo the whole order, pop it in the microwave or leave it for us to eat cold.

  13. I can't add anything helpful, I just saw the name and had a great memory. the first really nice place I ever went to and picked up the bill was the beaver club. I remembered it as bieng fantastic, but I was a 21 year old kid, and that was 17 years ago.

  14. once in india, I went to a sikh temple with a valued employee, who was sikh. after spending time walking around, and then spending time in the meditation center, we started to leave. part of the worship in a sikh temple, I now know, is to eat a portion from a communal pot. the idea is that anyone can come to eat, but in order not to embaress those who require the food, everyone has to eat.

    it was a pretty hot day, and everybody was bare foot. the smell of the temple was not condusive to a even tempered belly, to begin with. as I approched the "pot" where the food was being mixed, I saw a large man, naked from the waste up, using his whole arm to mix the pot, pretty much up to his shoulder. I had to wait about 5 minutes in line, and the whole time I was getting a little aprehensive. of course, it would be ahuge insult to my employee to grimace at the food, and it would mean insulting thousands of sikhs who were now all watching me, as I was the only foreigner on the temple at that time.

    the mixer, as he saw me, decided to "honor" me with a huge ball of the food. the food wasn't horrible, it was basically a ground bean and rice mixture, mildly flavored with spices and brown sugar. not good, but not in and of itself bad. the delivery, and the heat, and the smell, and the size of the ball, all made it very difficult to get it down and make happy faces.

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