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Diner Girl

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  1. Well, it looks like Adam Erace at Philadelphia Weekly agreed with you! http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/food/reviews/Hoof--Fin.html
  2. Hoof + Fin opened in the old Gayle space on Third Street, south of South Street. The owners are Deanna and Lucas Manteca (Quahog's in Stone Harbor, NJ) and the chef is Carlos Barroz (also of Quahog's, and a few places in NY). Has anyone been?
  3. Just a quick note to say I had dinner at Charlie Palmer Steak on Friday night and had a fantastic meal. We started with the tuna tartare and kampachi, then had the duck and scallops with sides of mashed potatoes, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms (really made it feel like fall!), and frites. It sort of feels sacrilegious to eat there and *not* order steak, but the duck and the scallops just sounded so good! I hadn't eaten there in a really long time, but was in the area for meetings all day, so I thought I'd give it a go. I remember some of the service and food issues of years past, and I think that's why they fell off the radar for me, but I was really happy with our dinner, and our servers were great. I think I'm going to add them back into the Friday night rotation for two apps and a drink at the bar before heading home -- especially over fall and winter, which seems like the right time to indulge my cravings for mashies, mushrooms and red meat, no?
  4. Who wants to lay odds on whether or not Lisa will wash her hair for the next episode? Anyone? Anyone?
  5. Chufi, as someone who has done her fair share of global news media work, and as someone who writes a food blog, I hope I can offer some insight that might be helpful. My blog is singularly focused on cooking my way through The French Laundry Cookbook, so when I started out I didn't think I'd have to worry about the pitfalls involved in doing reviews. Boy, was I wrong. On the whole, when I started the blog I set a few editorial standards for myself not only to maintain my sanity, but also keep myself in check should I ever be confronted with a tough decision or feel myself wavering on how to say something that someone else might not like. Before I ever put fingers to keyboard, my guidelines were and still are: 1) Tell the truth, but don't go out of your way to be an asshole just because you had a bad day and need to vent. 2) Always wait 24 hours before hitting the "publish" button. Go back and re-read the post and make sure you're being honest in your writing and your intent. 3) Know that you're not going to please everyone, and it's okay as long as you've been honest and can stand up for yourself and what you've written. Much like I rely on journalists to report the facts of a story, I also rely on op-ed writers to have credibility and fortitude when it comes to tell me why they believe what they believe. In many ways, blogging straddles that line and it's a delicate balance. At the core, I believe it's about trust, honor and integrity, no matter what you write and no matter whom you write it for. When it comes to food (and many other things), I rely on the opinions of those I've come to trust -- whether it's someone I've known forever, or something I've just learned about online. With trust comes responsibility (whether you like it or not), and I realized a few months into my blog that many of my readers were already beginning to trust me and the information I was providing about resources and purveyors, so I took it, and still do take it very seriously. I've had great experiences with food purveyors, and I've written about those. And, I've had shitty experiences with food purveyors, and I've written about those. All with honesty and integrity, and the knowledge that if I were challenged on any of it, I could hold my head up high at the end of the day and be fine with what I published. I can tell you're conflicted by this, so perhaps you may want to trust your gut and just shelve the story for a few days until you have some time to think about it. You should probably also write your own personal set of rules for the blog. I think when you're expected to review things, it's easy to become swayed by people offering freebies and insider info. It is flattering, but if this is something you take seriously (which it sounds like you do), then you should probably set some rules for yourself that you can freely share with those who send you things or offer their goods and services in exchange for the possibility of a review. A good friend of mine writes for Vanity Fair and the amount of free vacations and high-end luxury goods that come her way is astounding. She has a template letter and email that goes out to everyone who sends her something that thanks them for their generosity, but also ensures that in no way will it ensure a review, favorable or not. You say that you're writing a series about a specific subject -- let's just say it's olive oil, for the sake of playing out this example. If I were to come to your blog and read only glowing reviews of every olive oil you'd ever tried, I would assume one of two things: a) you only posted reviews of the ones you liked and the ones you hated never saw the light of day; or, b) you're full of shit because not every olive oil is spectacular. There are duds and that's okay, because it's based on your informed opinion and your expertise in learning about and tasting different kinds of olive oil. So, in this series about olive oil (or whatever it is you're covering), you should be clear about what makes it into the series and what doesn't. If you didn't like this particular product, it's okay to say so. It doesn't mean that you are condemning this man's entire establishment. In fact, perhaps you can even share some of the angst involved in not liking this product -- that the other things they make/sell have been great, which is why you go there, and that the owner was really helpful in providing you with background information on the product and you are grateful for his help, but that this particular item just didn't do it for you, which was a disappointment. Everyone has experiences like this, and talking about it openly may engage your readers in an interesting discussion about unmet expectations in the comments section of your blog. You're not going to make everyone happy all the time. And, even though you may like this person, the world is not going to stop turning if you offer an honest critique of this one particular item. He may be angry, but that's his issue to deal with, not yours. You have to feel as if you are being honest without purposely intending harm for malicious reasons, and you have to know that your readers trust your opinion, and if you lead them astray, they'll figure it out and they'll go elsewhere. Steven's point about having to cut a section of his book because it didn't help tell the story is an important one. Your words need to be engaging and ultimately need to tell the story of what is is you're writing about. If this "olive oil" experience helps tell the overall story, then you need to find a way to write it that carries out that intent. If not, then it should be easy to just move on. I've blathered on long enough.... write yourself a set of editorial guidelines and stick to them. And know that it's okay not to like something. The sun will still come up tomorrow, and there will be plenty of other things for you to review and critique.
  6. Oh, ChefJohnny, honey, baby, sugarpie, love.... I need you to teach me how to do those chips. I failed miserably at them. I've now done 82 out of the 100 dishes in the book, and I'm still pissed at myself that I can't get those chips done right. I'm doing trotters and the rabbit dish on Sunday, and am gearing up for the pig's head, which I'm actually looking forward to.
  7. You're kidding, right? I was just in Mount Wolf, PA (population 950) and the local grocery store there carried veal bones. And, it's far from a millionaire town. Yipes...
  8. I've been reading more and more of Claudia Young, who writes CookEatFret. She's also now writing for the Nashville Tenneseean. She recently did a post about her Thanksgiving turkey; it looked like the space shuttle.
  9. Heather, I can tell the difference, too. I'd much rather spend a few days making veal stock a la Keller than do beef stock. In fact, there've been dishes I've made that call for beef stock, and I use veal stock instead, and it made a cleaner, better-tasting dish. Veal bones are easy to come by, and the guys at Union Meat in DC's Eastern Market will cut them however you need them done. I've always loved McGee, but used it as reference... not as often as I used The Professional Chef, but nonetheless, I would refer to it from time to time. I actually sat down and read Ruhlman's Elements cover to cover, and found it really useful. Not only did it reinforce what I already knew, it clarified some things I thought I knew, but wasn't too sure about (or was completely wrong about). I like Ruhlman's tone and approach with this book. I enjoy reading the work of someone who knows what he's talking about, has worked with the best in the business, and can find a really thoughtful way to share what he's learned. It's almost like getting to have a conversation with Keller, Ripert, et al about their technique and the things they think are most useful to know about cooking. I think it's a great book, Michael. Thanks for writing it.
  10. Whatever you do, don't buy black truffles at Dean & Deluca in Georgetown (Washington, DC). They're trying to pass off old summer truffles as black truffles and they're horrible. The store manager didn't even know the difference between the two, and didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with what they were doing. He claimed the black truffles they were selling were from Italy and the same as the ones Urbani sells. I have both sitting here in my fridge and they are very, very different. Stay away, stay far, far away.....
  11. Hey y'all..... DinerGirl of FrenchLaundryAtHome here. Thanks for the kind words about the blog! I love doing it and am nearly halfway through. I originally planned to take two years to do it, but I think I'll be done in 16-18 months. Off to do the blueberry soup and cauliflower panacotta!
  12. But in this era of reality TV, Aunt Sandy has the only remaining sitcom. Take a NY strip, melt chocolate chips, add a taco seasoning packet, pour over NY Strip, put in a slow cooker for 6 hours? Hilarity ensues!
  13. The two strangest, and yet most awesome, food books I own are: The Jill St. John Cookbook and Liberace Cooks!
  14. Bon Appetit wants you to calculate your "carbon cost" of eating. Here's a link to the article.
  15. The stapler.... THE STAPLER!!!!!! Brilliant.
  16. Please. If there were any fact-checking at FN, SLop woulda been off the air by now. Turn off TVFN. That's the only solution.
  17. First off, I have successfully used Chilean sea bass in place of Moi with good results. Second, I took a quick look at your blog. I applaud you for your work! Everything looks great and I love to see people cook TFL food. I worked there for 8 months and I always love to see people venture out and try new stuff in the kitchen. Keep it up! -Chef Johnny ← Thanks for the suggestion -- I was going to try halibut or hoki, but the sea bass makes sense. And thanks for the kind words about the blog. It's been so much fun, and something to get me out of my food rut.
  18. SmittenKitchen and MyHusbandCooks are two of my favorites, too. I feel like Chocolate & Zucchini is past its prime. Also, I can never get enough of Ruhlman.
  19. And that's what makes reading certain blogs so much more enjoyable... when you can tell the person is doing it purely because they love it -- not for the big book deal or whatever other motivation comes to mind. The food blogs I enjoy reading most are the ones written by people who do it as a side thing and let their "voice" speak for itself.
  20. Bumping up this thread to get some input on the Pacific Moi dish. I noticed that someone earlier in the thread said they substituted salmon. Trouble is, I really don't like salmon. Anyone have any other suggestions for something that would be as good as Moi? I've set out to do every recipe in the French Laundry Cookbook, and I'm writing about it here.
  21. Anyone know if Tee Eva's is open?
  22. We've got our annual Easter week trip booked. April 12-18. Airfares are dirt cheap, as are rental cars. Calling Joanne tomorrow to book a few nights at Upperline. Otherwise, we are just going to wander around and eat where we can eat. We're staying at a friend's house when we visit, but we may have other friends flying in to meet us. Anyone have any knowledge of the hotel situation these days? We've booked people at the Garden District Hotel (used to be a Clarion) in the 2400 Block of St. Charles (near Igor's). We'd like to do that again -- anyone know how that neighborhood made out? We might be down in March to help rebuild Willie Mae's but if anyone has any status on hotels in the Garden District, I'd love it. Thanks mucho in advance.
  23. We placed an order for about $100 worth of product from Poche's right before Christmas and it was our favorite gift to ourselves. We had the cornbread-stuffed chicken for Christmas Eve dinner, and absolutely loved it. Juicy, delicious, and heartwarming (if that makes sense). Over past few days, we've gotten together with family and friends to sample the tasso ham, andouille, chaudin, and both the smoked and regular alligator sausage. I grew up in the Amish country and am accustomed to "interesting" sausages and uses of pig stomachs. Their food was right on the money and incredibly delicious and satisfying. Thanks to everyone for their postings about it -- I think we'll make it a regular ordering spot. Happy new year everyone!
  24. She also likes those tins of multi-colored candies. Let me find a link: kind of like this ←
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