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Qwerty

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Posts posted by Qwerty

  1. 35 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

    Last one - 13 minutes at 167F.  It had the best shape and the least white left in the shell.  The yolk was nice and runny.  But the underneath part still had some, though not a lot of what I call slimy white.  It was the best one of the bunch.  I still have quite a few eggs so am going to read up on Serious Eats and Chef Steps and practice some more this week.  

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    The "slimy" white as you call it is just the watery part of the egg white. If you look closely at an egg (say, crack one onto a plate) you'll notice a "firm" bit of white, and you'll notice a runny, watery bit of white that easily separates itself from the rest of the egg. This is the part (in an otherwise normal egg) that "feathers" in a traditional poach...in other words, its the bit that clouds and collects in your poaching pot. Anyone who has ever poached more than a couple eggs at a time knows what I'm talking about. 

     

    The best thing to do is to use a large perforated spoon to drain this part of the egg off. I crack my sous vide eggs directly onto a slotted or perforated spoon, usually set over a paper towel, and let that watery egg bit slip off. You may need to tilt the spoon a bit. 

     

    I assure you it is fully cooked it just looks weird. It is 100% normal and, unless you go to full hard boil stage, unlikely to go away completely. 

     

     

    • Like 3
  2. I have mixed feelings about this.

     

    Of course Freidman is a pig and shouldn't be in business. But the reality is he is still in business, and unlikely to go anywhere--who better to right the ship and re-think and instill a more progressive culture than Gabrielle Hamilton? They might have a chance to be at the forefront of a kitchen culture revolution and to spread it from the inside out. 

     

    Where is the outrage thread against April Bloomfield? As far as I'm concerned, she's (almost) just as guilty. She worked along side him for 15+ years, never once reported or called the authorities (as far as I can tell). At best she's complicit in all the wrongdoings that went on...why does she get to continue to own/operate restaurants on the West Coast and in the city? Why all the hate for GH (who, at least, seems to be trying to actively change things)?

    • Like 2
  3. 15 hours ago, gfweb said:

    Down boy.  The post wasn't defending bad behavior it was wishing it wasn't true. 

     

    No, I disagree. The statement clearly said "hope there's no truth to it" not "I wish it wasn't true."

     

    The difference is: "Wow, I wish this wasn't the case because up until now I had respect for John Besh."

     

    vs

     

    "I hope these 25 women aren't telling the truth so I can continue to respect John Besh"

    '

    The sympathy lies with JB, not the women. IMO that is a huge difference. And also, I might add, indicative of the overall problem we are talking about here. 

    • Like 2
  4. On 10/31/2017 at 11:30 AM, Bob McKeown said:

    Sad, I do hope there's no truth to it.

     

    Yeah, it sure is sad when men get caught repeatedly sexually harassing women. Sure do feel bad for those guys. /s

     

    Do you really think and/or hope there is no truth to it? You think those 25+ women are lying about a culture of harassment? Did you read the article? How about some sympathy for the women who had to put up with that sh*t?

  5. All right everyone, I'm calling it. eGullet has officially run out of ideas. Everyone go home, nothing to see here. The site had a good run, really. There has to be a self destruct button under a "Break in case of intense PB&J discussion." You've exhausted everything else there is to talk about. 

  6. On 4/2/2017 at 6:35 PM, Smithy said:

    I have a question about sous vide cooking that I did 2 days ago and finished yesterday.  I bagged a tri-tip steak and cooked it at 120F for around 6 hours two nights ago, then chilled it thoroughly.  Yesterday afternoon I removed it from the refrigerator and (I thought) allowed it to come to room temperature while I assembled other elements for our dinner: relish of cooked onions and red peppers as well as smoked peppers; fresh tomatoes; shredded cheese; cilantro; tortillas.  The intent was to dry, season and sear the tri-tip in a very hot pan to get good browning, but still have a rare interior. That's one of the benefits of sous vide, yes?

     

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    The pan began almost dry, with the barest film of oil. (I had oiled the meat before adding a rub.) The left-hand photo above was taken after the meat was browned and while the interior was warming; the bag juices went into the pot at that point. The meat's interior took much longer to rewarm than I'd anticipated.  It doesn't look overdone (by much) in the right-hand photo above, but take a look at the collage below:

     

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    We had no complaints about the taste or texture, but I'd have liked it rarer.  It cooked too much during the rewarming phase.

     

    Next time, what should I do differently if I have to cook in advance?  Rewarm in the sealed bag, using sous vide circulator, before the sear?

     

    I agree with all the follow up advice. Retherm in the bag slightly below cooking temp, then take out, sear, etc. 

    I will also add: It looks like to me, from the amount of juice that is left on your cutting board , that you neglected to properly rest your steak. Resting after the sear if you've sous vided something is less important than, say, when you roast or pan roast something (gentler cooking, not as hot, etc), but since you admitted you overcooked your meat when you went to sear it, it probably got too hot and needed to rest. 

     

    What color is all that juice on your board...? Red...lol, that is where your color went. 

     

    Also, if you are using previously frozen meat, that can lead to a lot of water/juice leeching during cooking and/or reheating. 

     

    Also also, if you have a huge piece of meat like a tri tip or something, don't be afraid to warm and sear in smaller pieces. You could easily have cut that sucker in half and cut down on the time it takes to heat it back up, thereby possibly preventing you from overcooking it. Just a thought. 

    • Like 2
  7. This thread pisses me off. You sound like a toxic chef, burned out and grouchy. 

     

    On 2/12/2017 at 0:23 PM, Chris Ward said:

    What they don’t want is for you to tell them how they should have written the menu. That you’d like the beef but with the sauce from the lamb. And the vegetables you think should be served with the fish. And on the side, please. Put the sauce on the side. In a pretty little pot. So I can dip my fries in it. Because now that you think about it you’d prefer fries to mashed potato. Even though there are no fries anywhere on the menu.

    Can you not read? Was it not clear on the menu? You won’t like the rosemary jus with the beef, and the steamed spinach isn’t suitable for the beef or the lamb. And we don't have a deep-fat frier.

     

    I mean, are you such an "artiste" that subbing out spinach for carrots (or whatever) is somehow going to ruin the intricate nature of the flavors you have composed for your guests enjoyment? Is it too difficult to execute or something? Is pouring sauce into a small pot really harder than pouring it over the meat? Lol, the steamed spinach "isn't suitable" for the beef? You're making mashed potatoes and steaming spinach, not chiseling David out of marble. 

     

    Customer SERVICE. Get over yourself. 

     

     

    On 2/12/2017 at 0:23 PM, Chris Ward said:

    Cooks want you to arrive at the beginning of service. Come at 7, if that’s when the restaurant opens. 8 at the latest. 9 if you must, but order quickly. If it says that last orders are at 9:30 pm, don’t turn up at 9.29 and expect the kitchen to love you for your custom. Expect them to grunt and moan and whinge about your lack of consideration.

    And if you do turn up one minute before the end of service, don't hum and haw over your order and not be able to decide. And don't, whatever you do, order the tasting menu if you arrive so late.

     

    There are so many variables that dictate when people arrive in a place for a meal...you seem to lack perspective. You never know who will be coming through your door to custom your place. A couple that has been traveling all day and finally needs a break at 9pm to grab a nice meal. Maybe the movie got out late, or the concert went long. Maybe there was traffic. If the restaurant doesn't want to accept orders past 9pm, the restaurant should close at 9pm. Why stay open until 9:30? Why work in a place where this happens? Go work in a place that closes at 8 if that is what you want. 

     

    There is a favorite story of mine where, in the early days of the French Laundry, the maitre'd informed the kitchen that a 4 top had been seated late (they had been waiting sometime at that point.) A cook let out an audible groan, and TK fired him on the spot. Clean out your locker and GTFO. Because it is a bullshit attitude. And attitudes like that are infectious, and need to be weeded out. 

     

    On 2/12/2017 at 0:23 PM, Chris Ward said:

    The example I always quote is from Christmas, 2009. The restaurant where I was working was closing on Christmas Eve after the lunch service for three days. Chef had already left to go on his Christmas vacation, so there was just me and the dishwasher to do the lunch service. Which, as we'd told the owner repeatedly, would not be worth doing; most French people do NOT go out to eat lunch on Christmas Eve.

    So we hadn't stocked the kitchen with anything fresh, the 'Menu du jour' was what was left in the fridges together with anything interesting we could find in the freezers. The salad of the day was bamboo shoots from a can, mostly. We did three covers, clients leaving the hotel (which was also closing for three days) as soon as we opened at midday.

    Then we did nothing; we cleaned the kitchen, changed the oil in the fryer, cleaned again and stood around, the two of us moaning about how stupid it was to open on Christmas Eve.

    Until 1.27pm, when I saw two cars pull into the car park behind the hotel and eight - eight! - people get out and walk towards the restaurant. I called the Maitre d'hotel and warned him that we didn't have any food, certainly not enough for eight people and, anyway, it was closing time.

    Unfortunately the restaurant owner caught the arrivals at the door, welcomed them and seated them and gave them the à la carte menu, from which they ordered liberally. Foie gras, pigeon, bull steaks, fish. Starters, puddings, wines, everything. I listened to the order in dismay as the owner read it out and told him, flat out, that we didn't have two thirds of the dishes he'd allowed the clients to order and that, in any case, it was now 1.45 pm.

    But he insisted we serve them, that we defrost everything necessary and serve the group who, it turned out, were old friends of his from his previous workplace whom he'd invited over for lunch.

    'Invited' in French means that you don't pay. So we ended up working one and a half hours unpaid overtime on Christmas Eve to serve a group who weren't even paying for their meal.

    And yes, I hated them but yes, I did cook perfect meals for them. Complaining all the time.

    Cooks like to complain.

     

    Sooo, you were upset because you had to cook lunch for 8 people? I dunno about you, but I can do that in my sleep. Yeah, working on Christmas Eve sucks...go find another career. Having a slightly oblivious owner? I call that Monday. 

     

    Sounds like you were unprepared for lunch and got caught with your pants down. Mise en place, chef. Plan for it. 

     

    On 2/12/2017 at 0:23 PM, Chris Ward said:

    What you won't get is the mythical spitting-in-your-food treatment; I have never, ever witnessed this in all my years cooking. 

     

    I mean, good on you? That's a pretty low bar to set for yourself. "I'm mad I have to cook lunch for 8 people, but at least I didn't spit in their food." 

  8. I also don't understand the "sharing" thing. Seems simple enough to cook 2 steaks...but whatever. My solutions is that you should stop wasting money on steaks.

     

    You'd most likely find much more pleasure in braising a short rib or pot roast or something than spending money on Filet that you are going to cook to well done. A properly cooked braise will be tender, juicy and well cooked. I'm not trying to be snarky but I think that you'll find much more pleasure in eating a braise than a well done steak. 

     

    I mean...well done steak...what's the point? The things that make a steak delicious are long gone at the well done stage. 

  9. I got some advice for you, as someone who does sous vide in my pro kitchen, and yes, I sous vide fish all the time. It can be wonderful. 

     

    Number one thing: Make sure you are sourcing quality seafood. You may have gotten previously frozen halibut, which can lead to a mushy texture and a greater chance of flaking apart. That is probably your #1 thing to do, source better fish. 

     

    We "cure" out fish for about 30-45 minutes before we bag it. I say "cure" because we don't do a traditional, heavy-ish cure on it, like if we were going to smoke it or dry it, for example. We make a pretty basic salt/sugar mix (I use 2 parts salt to 1 part sugar) and whatever herbs and spices you'd like. Dill is great, thyme is great, sometimes I use a black pepper/coriander/fennel seed mixture. I usually blend this with the salt/sugar mix and then sprinkle it on the fish. We generally eyeball it, but we season the fish as if we were seasoning it for immediate cooking, if that makes sense. So it is not as heavy as a salt cure (again, for smoking/making lox/etc) but it is probably more cure mix than a "normal" home cook might put on it. I wish I had a better description, but basically we sprinkle it on pretty heavy like we were going to go straight into the pan. I hope I make sense. 

     

    There are a few reasons why we do this. First, it seasons the fish and makes it taste better, obvi. It also pulls out some protein rich liquid, which helps prevent a lot of the albumin protein from coagulating on the fish as it cooks. Basically, when ever you cook fish sous vide (or any other way, really) you get a egg white looking protein leech out of the fish. This is totally normal--most people notice it the most on salmon but it happens a lot on halibut too--but leeching out some of that protein rich liquid by salting ahead of time prevents this. You will still most likely get SOME albumin, but it really cuts down on it and makes the final appearance easier to clean up and look nicer. It also firms up the flesh of the fish, making it less prone to flaking apart after it is cooked--which is a big deal when cooking fish sous vide. We then bag it with whatever fat and aromatics we are using for the dish. Duck fat, pork fat, butter, EVOO, are all options. Dill and thyme are my favorite herbs. 

     

    I generally don't sear my sous vide halibut (I do for salmon on the skin side only), but curing the fish should help quite a bit. Just make sure your oil is hot and try not to move the fish in the pan until it releases. I usually like to add texture to the plate in other ways other than searing, but again, this should help. A hot cast iron pan (well seasoned) should work just fine. You might try gently patting the fish dry before you sear, as moisture on the outside of the fish could cause it to stick. 

     

    Good luck. 

    • Like 10
  10. One thing that might be noted is that, at least here in the states, our food contains so much animal protein (in general) that we don't need umami to enrich a lot of stuff. A bowl of rice and vegetables would benefit more from fish sauce or soy than a bowl of Texas red, for example. The fish sauce or soy would fill that "gap" in the dish, making the flavor more rounded and hit more areas of the palate. "We" also use a lot more dairy in our cooking, where there isn't that tradition in Eastern food (and yes, obviously I'm generalizing)

     

    But since so much of our "traditional" cooking is meat-centric, and indeed the way we eat is meat centric--things that bring umami aren't really the necessity that they might be in other, specifically Eastern, cuisines. 

     

    It might go a small way to explain why there isn't a tradition of "umami" as a flavoring ingredient.

    • Like 4
  11. Ah yes, the inevitable tear down after the build up. Took longer than expected. Que the "I knew it was going downhill last 3 times I ate there" and the "Thomas Keller must be slipping" comments from the Can't Do and Never Was brigades. I'm sure I already missed some. The world LOVES this kind of stuff. 

     

    There's nothing snobby eaters like more than a good take down piece--except maybe claiming that they knew it all along. 

     

     

    • Like 3
  12. Lol, Sancho.

    To the unitiated, a "sancho" is mexican/spanish slang for the guy who your wife/GF is cheating on you with. The reason people call out "sancho" when you sneeze is because when you come home from work (say a couple hours early) the Sancho runs and hides in your closet or whatever, but when he sneezes he gives himself away. So when you sneeze and all the Hisapnics call out "sancho" its because that is how you know a sancho is in your house.

    Pretty funny stuff.

    A sancho can also be a kind of slang (what is that called? Slangier?) for someone who is nice to your face but talks or acts differently behind your back. Like, a sancho might shake your hand at church or at a party, but as soon as you go to work he sneaks in the back way, eats your food and bangs your wife.

  13. Maybe you could try thinking about what would be a fair yearly wage you would earn as their Exec. Chef, figure out how long you will consult, and then extrapolate a price. Maybe add a bit more.

    Like, if you would make 50k for a year, and you would work for them for 4 months, then it would be something like 16k. Maybe charge them an even 20k for example.

    I dunno, but it seems a place to start. You would expect, at the minimum, to get paid what they would pay a non-consulting exec. chef I would assume. You obviously don't want to take advantage of their situation (they wouldn't ask if they didn't desperately need help) but you should get value for your time.

  14. To clarify, this diner has been open about 6-9 months. They had a good crowd at first, but it dwindled in two weeks. everyone who has eaten there shares similar stories - things as simple as hamburger and fries screwed up.

    Good advice from everyone though.

    I'm confused as to why you would want this restaurant to stick around?

    Seems like there is good reason the crowds thinned so quickly. No one ever went back. There is a difference between getting one or two small things wrong and being a complete train wreck from start to finish. While I agree with Chris Amirault that 6-9 months isn't always sufficient time to work out ALL the kinks of a place, I don't think 2 years is required to hone on systems to cook burgers, eggs, and hash browns. 6 months should be plenty of time to start humming along in most restaurants. One year tops. Hell, most places don't even make it to two years.

    Being in the business, I have some measure of sympathy and empathy for restaurant owners, especially "mom and pop" type places. But someplace that can't get the basics right, or even close, probably wouldn't benefit much from criticism from you, no matter how polite or well intention it was.

    You could try leaving this at their entrance:

    http://www.amazon.com/Running-Restaurant-Dummies-Michael-Garvey/dp/0764537172/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1334485783&sr=8-2

  15. Ah, qwerty, thank you for taking the time to write such a long post.

    1) Guy knew washrooms were for customer use only, because he said he'd get something after using it. I believe I said this in my post.

    2)Why was I a jerk? The guy was obviously trying to weasel out of buying something when he said he would. I gave him a way out and he took it,(without putting any change into the tip jar...) is that being a jerk?

    3)Yes, many merchants including myself and even my church and kid's schools will call the city to have cars towed when they need to. So, yes you are right, everyone does it.

    For me, when I advertise , I like to promote my products and service. Everyone who walks into a store sees what they want to see. Mr Realtor only saw a bathroom,because that's all he wanted to see. One of my biggest sources of amusement is with some of my "regs", the ones who come in all the time for coffee. It is only when they come into the store with a friend or child that the other sees a 6' display case of pralines and a 8' display wall of chocolate figurines and bars. The reg's eyes pop open, "When did you start selling this stuff?" they ask.

    Hey no problem. You did solicit opinions, did you not? Sorry I couldn't provide you with validation for your actions.

    Again, how you run your chocolate and pastry shop (with coffee) is your own choice. You seem intent on being defensive and trying to justify your behavior instead of taking some advice (that you asked for, again) and maybe gleaning some insight into how you could improve your customer relations. The fact that your snark and rudeness is probably effecting your business more that letting people use the restroom seems to fall on deaf ears. I hope, for your sake, that you make really good chocolates and pastries.

    It's easy to be nice to people who are nice to you. Being nice to the ones who aren't...that's customer service.

    I'm tired of beating this horse...I've said all I can. Good luck man.

  16. You say you aren't upset, yet still called the parking enforcement/towing company in an effort to get revenge on a guy who just wanted to take a pee in your bathroom? Doesn't add up. I somehow doubt you were doing some sort of civic duty, otherwise your parking surveillance would be a full time job. You keep an eye on all cars parked outside your door? Or just the ones from people who pissed you off? Honestly, I think that says more about you and your state of mind about the issue than anything else.

    Like I said, I think you should change your thinking on this issue. Just look at everyone who walks through the door as a potential customer, whether or not they intend to buy or not. I don't think that most places that sell goods would mind more foot traffic. I doubt car dealerships are chasing people off their lot because they are just browsing with no intent to buy--because they know that someday in the future those people will most likely need to buy a car.

    Obviously its up to you to decide how to run your business. If you feel that being rude to customers and getting their cars towed is good for business, more power to you. Me, I wouldn't want the potential bad juju...the less people you have out there bad mouthing your establishment, the better. If the price is to let the occasional customer pee for free, I'd see that as an even trade. You could even think of it as advertising...I assume they have to walk through your store, past all the pastries and chocolates, to get to the restroom. That is just more people who get a look at your display case.

    He knew that washrooms were for customer use only, but was too cheap to buy something.

    How did he know that? Did you tell him? if you told him, doesn't that mean he asked? Didn't you say earlier that you never refuse someone who asks? Again, I don't understand why you seem unable to let it go.

    Do you think he would actually come back? He knew he embarassed himself and made himself look like a cheap a-hole. Do you actually think he would have the kahunas to come back and buy something at a latter date? It's a question I'm pretty sure you won't answer.

    Well, it's a question I can't answer. Who knows--my crystal ball is cloudy today. Maybe he wouldn't come back, but at the very least, he's probably not venting to the neighbors and everyone else he knows what a jerk the owner of that little coffee shop is.

    If someone parks their vehicle underneath a sign that states 1 hr parking and camps out for a whole afternoon, it is their business. Some of the stupidist things I've seen are very angry people arguing with traffic cops or tow truck drivers about parking signs. Many merchants along the street call the city to ticket when cars are camped out for whole afternoons--it really screws up the parking for other customers. I did not identify myself when I called him up, just told him his car was being towed.

    Don't know what to say here. If you are using the old "other people do it" line to justify why you feel the need to get back at this person, I can't help you. Seems petty to me.

  17. Ehhh... Not really.

    Several times in the past few years the Chief Medical Officer of the Vancouver Coastal Health Dept. has appealed to the public on various media and "educated" the public that restaurants are not indebted, coerced or otherwise made to have their washrooms available to the general public, but only to paying customers.

    About 50% of the time the following situation happens: Customer walks in and needs to use the washroom and says he will make a purchase. Afterwards they will hem and haw, ask about prices, quality, origin of ingredients, etc, and then walk out. Last week was pretty typical, gentlemen does the "thing," comments that my coffee is fair trade and organic, but not bird friendly, but by the time he started comparing my prices to Starbucks, I salvaged what was left of my patience, cooly looked him the eye and asked him to put some change in the tip jar and just leave. Didn't go over to well.

    Two days later, on Sat., he was back--well not exactly. He had parked his car directly in front of my entrance fastened balloons and a realator's "open house" sign on the roof of his car and walked away. My business is located in a small building with 8 commercial units on the street level and 50 condos above. Typical price for a 1 bdrm and den in our building is $280,000.00. The bathroom thingee was long forgotten, but parking in front of my place refreshed my memory. Perhaps it was the red ball,oons. Parking on our street is 1 hr, so I gave him that, and afterwards I called the city to have it ticketed. After another hour I called again to have it towed. As the tow truck driver had the car on his hoist, I called the realator's number that he had so handily proved on the "open house" sign on his car roof. He made it just in time to see his car being towed down the street.

    I'd much rather sell chocolates, which is the bread and butter of my business, in fact I'd much rather go wholesale.

    But I do have a business to run.

    So, let me get this straight. A guy came into your store to use the bathroom, pretended to be interested in a coffee, but then just left without buying one. And you somehow thought it was, what...funny? cool? your civic duty? revenge? to call and have this guy's car ticketed and towed?

    This guy, who obviously does business in your building. Sounds like he sells real estate to people that live ABOVE your business. He is in a position to recommend it to people who are literally within a minute or two walk of your front door, on a daily basis, will walk by your store probably twice a day, and you do that to him.

    Sounds like a smart business move. Bet that felt good, get that A-hole who had the audacity to use your bathroom. You certainly aren't over-reacting. Thumbs up, sir.

    IMO, you might want to take a look at why this bothers you. Seriously. If you are so pissed off at people for using your bathroom that you somehow feel good about "getting back" at them then I feel sorry for you. If I were you, I would re-prioritize my thinking about it, and look at every person who walks in your door as a potential customer, and stop worrying about if they use the bathroom or not. Even if they don't buy something right then, they might remember you next time they are in the neighborhood and stop by for something. Especially if your store is nice, the display's look yummy, and yeah, even the bathroom is clean. Maybe in a week or two they want/need to buy a box of chocolates for a friend, and they remember how delicious looking yours looked in the display. I mean, I'm assuming your business isn't doing so well that you can afford to alienate a bunch of potential customers.

    How can food traffic be bad?

  18. While I have never personally installed a commercial dishwasher, I can't imagine the two would be the same. There are so many more parts in a commercial dishwasher, different chemicals, pumps, boosters, disposals, etc. Not to mention that you have to have proper disposal of the waste water as well.

    Just make sure to talk thoroughly with the installer and make sure he explains to you in plain english what he is doing and why. It's good for not only keeping an eye on him, but for future reference so if (when) the dishwasher breaks down you have some working knowledge of what the system is made of.

  19. Hi,

    There are also the dinosaurs that insist a demi-glace has to begin with espagnole sauce.

    Tim

    I'm not really sure what you are trying to say...?

    Classic, as in Escoffier, starts his demi-glace with espagnole sauce. IIRC, it was equal parts espagnole sauce and veal stock, reduced together to nappe. But I personally have never worked in a kitchen that utilized that method, and in fact, am only familiar with it through culinary school.

    Even today, most things like a quick turkey gravy at thanksgiving are thickened using pure starches like cornstarch or arrowroot.

    And I don't technically think you COULD make a bechemel without roux, as roux is a key part of the bechecmel sauce...no more than you could make a true espagnole without roux. I would also think that a bechemel sauce for a gratin would be too thick, and if properly made, the potato starch that leeches into the cream while cooking should be enough to hold a gratin together.

  20. Roux thicken sauces are dinosaurs and are almost never used in high end restaurant kitchens. There may be a FEW exceptions, but I honestly can't think if any off the top of my head.

    Some places may still use roux for things like mac and cheese, souffle bases, some soups (chowders), gumbo, etc. But if you are talking about true fine dining, destination type restaurants I would say roux is probably never used, unless someone is making family meal or something.

  21. You want the potatoes, in respect to the soup, to have some thickening power, yes? Would retrograding the starch remove the ability for the potatoes to properly thicken the soup?

    I'm at a loss too...what would the point be? What was wrong with potato soup 10 years ago before anyone ever heard of starch retrograding.

  22. In response to the immediate comments about negativity, I would request that you look at my contribution to my area's restaurant discussion thread. I've posted heavy compliments for several of the area's restaurants. Most of the reviews I write for publication are glowing; the exceptions almost always being chain restaurants I was asked to review. (And let's face it - who goes to a place called "Fuzzy's Tacos" anyway?)

    Short of any type of flat out rudeness, or a tragically bad experience, there is absolutely NO excuse for not tipping. It needs to be factored in to your budget for dining out.

    And this is where we get to the largest problem of all:

    These restaurants wereexpensive.

    At each of the above restaurants, I placed a total order exceeding twenty dollars. While $20-$25 might not be much for New York, it buys quite a lot in a small Midwestern town. I can count on one hand the restaurants that exceed it - and at all of those, I've been treated just fine.

    In contrast, I've had nothing but flawless service at the less spendy restaurants in town. I can walk into the local gastropub and order a burger during the dinner rush and expect flawless service, and I've never had a major quibble in the many times I've visited my favorite taquería. If my standards for service are set by a place where you can get lunch for $4.50 and caters to drunkards at 2AM Saturday morning, I don't feel they're totally unreasonable. (In fact, often tip as high as 50%. Of course, on a $4.50 tab, that's not difficult.)

    I genuinely suspect that the poor treatment was a function of lack of interest. I've never had any of the above problems occur when I was dining with someone of middle age and apparent wealth. However, when I choose to dine out alone or with friends the same age as myself, I've had horrendous problems at the same restaurants that so politely served my parents the month before.

    I'd also add that if a waiter is rude or otherwise a serious problem, a quiet word with management seems more appropriate and effective than slamming the establishment for the errors of one staff member.

    I did. They couldn't be bothered. I've had less than pleasant service out of the same restaurant twice. Having your order mislaid at ten P.M. is reasonable; having it ignored at a quarter past eight, not so much.

    One should note that almost all of these apply to two specific restaurants, with the same owners. Not coincidentally, I believe they were recently done in for tax evasion. Again.

    Serving carpaccio to buddhists? What planet are you on? Most people don't get served stuff they don't order...the only scenario I can think of is if someone else besides the waiter brings out the wrong food to the table. Hey guess what...mistakes happen. If someone orders a vegetarian pasta and gets a load of bacon in it, sure, that is a mistake. How do you know who's mistake it was? Maybe someone grabbed the wrong pasta for another person and took it to the wrong table. It happens. To summarily decide that a server doesn't deserve any tip based on a mistake like that says more about you. I chalk it up to some sort of elitist attitude.

    You ever work in a restaurant? I really wish diners had a bit more perspective when the go out to eat. I don't understand the plague of impatience and entitlement that seems to permeate dining nowadays. People somehow act like there is no room for error if they are somehow paying for a meal. Jesus--it really irks me. I can't think of one other job where no one ever makes a mistake. Cops arrest the wrong guys sometimes, cashier's miscount change sometimes, lawyers lose cases, business people accidentally delete the slide show, students misplace homework...etc etc.

    One man owns roughly half the restaurants in town. I've been to almost all of them - some, dozens of times. The food is inexpensive, the waiters are frequently overworked, and the crowds are often enormous. And not once in the last eight years has any of his restaurants made a mistake larger than serving me the wrong salad dressing. I tip them 20%, no trouble.

    However, I do question why I'm obligated to pay someone for completely screwing up my evening. If a tip is a gratuity, it seems strange to provide it in the complete absence of gratitude; if it is a mandatory payment, then I question why I should pay it in the absence of services rendered. My father, who served as a waiter for over fifteen years (during which he was lit on fire at least twice) was horrified by all events mentioned above.

    I had a few beers last night and was admittedly less than tactful in my response last night. There was probably a better way to say what I was trying to say.

    All my words weren't necessarily directed at you, because seriously, if you look at the first 2 or 3 pages of this forum, it's a few pro. chefs and people asking question, then a bunch of topics about people doing nothing but complaining about dining experiences. It just grates on me because I think, no offense, most people have no idea how difficult it is on a day in, day out basis to pull off a great restaurant. Hell, even a decent restaurant.

    It irks me to hear you say things like "I did manage to get another table, but going that far out of your way to make me feel unwelcome is not acceptable." when the most egregious thing seems to be seating you under a dripping ceiling that I'm sure the restaurant had no idea was dripping. I mean, if they KNEW about the leak, then it's obviously unacceptable, but I highly doubt it.

    Again, my issue is you seemingly asking permission to punish the waitstaff for a variety of mistakes that may be beyond their control. Everyone makes mistakes dude...do you want some of your money back if you go see a play and the actor flubs one of his lines? Of course not. Did it RUIN your evening if the actor forgot a line? I certainly hope not.

    Now, I'll repeat, if the waitstaff is straight up rude then yes, it is probably permissible to not tip. But if you're looking for validation about why it's ok not to tip when a restaurant brings you the wrong food on accident, then I hope that you don't find it here.

    I'm glad to hear that you frequent that guy's 12 restaurants, receive good service and tip accordingly. It sounds like there is a reason the guy owns 12 restaurants--he knows what he is doing. He knows how to train staff and run a solid restaurant group. That's good. There is a reason he owns 12 places.

    I'm hard pressed to see anything in your initial list of "reasons" that would "completely screwing up my evening." If a couple drips on your head screw up your evening, then I feel sorry for you, quite frankly. Nobody should be that high strung. The exception may be when the server forgot to place your order...in that scenario, then I would say yes, even with the cheese plate, I would not tip. But since the server didn't really perform any services, I wouldn't feel bad.

    Anyways, again, I do apologize for my initial response. As a dedicated restaurant professional, it irks me to only hear and read about negative things all the time.

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