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Kent Wang

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Kent Wang

  1. I've always done my infusions in the fridge. My fear is that the pieces bobbing up at the top might get moldy, though with all the alcohol fumes, maybe that's not a concern. I've done blackberries and raspberries and the flavor is very mild. Strawberry is much stronger.
  2. How do restaurants keep their white napkins clean? Lots of bleach? That might be tricky to find. Would herringbone work?
  3. I'm thinking about making my own. I think I've only seen cotton ones, but is linen a good alternative? Any pros and cons between the two? What do you use at home? Darker colors and patterns for hiding stains?
  4. I live in London and the water is pretty hard and leaves scale everywhere. But why does reboiling result in worse tasting water for tea?
  5. Is this the best cherry liqueur, or should I buy Cherry Heering instead?
  6. The Sweethome says that vacuum doesn't work that well and that inert gas is the best for keeping wine fresh. The article is about wine, so a bit less applicable to vermouth. Should you also avoid storing vermouth bottles on the refrigerator door? It'll slosh every time you open the fridge. Anyway, I'm starting to get the feel that one shouldn't worry too much about vermouth at all.
  7. The Sweethome exhaustive review of blenders
  8. Let us know how it turns out. I've usually just tossed fresh cucumber in the blender, strained (or you can use an electric juicer), and added that to cocktails. I'm not sure how well that fresh cucumber flavor would keep in an infusion.
  9. I recently had lunch at Quique Dacosta in Denia, Spain (it was amazing). As the town is quite remote (1 hour drive from Valencia), the only feasible way to get there is by renting a car. After having the wine pairing, it would be unsafe to attempt to drive back. Fortunately the weather was warm and we were able to take a dip in the Mediterranean and nap on the beach for a few hours before driving back. How would one handle sobering up after other remotely-located restaurants like French Laundry, El Celler de Can Roca, or Osteria Francescana? Do you get a local hotel? For lunch, this seems less ideal than dinner, especially if the town is not particularly exciting like Denia and you don't want to spend that much time there. Spending a night in Yountville and seeing Napa Valley wouldn't be so bad. Steven Shaw hired a van with driver to go to El Bulli and back. In a pinch, one could nap in the car for a while.
  10. Fairly vigorous blind testing on Serious Eats: The Best Way to Store Vermouth
  11. I've been living in London for a year and still haven't quite gotten the hang of the service charge. Should one tip if the service charge is not automatically added? By 'should', I mean the same way that you 'should' tip 20% in US bars, which is pretty much mandatory. It's been three years since I've been to Singapore, but my friend there says Tippling Club and 28 Hong Kong Street are around S$22 (US$17.62) plus 10% service charge. But the alcohol tax has just gone up from S$70 to S$88 per liter of pure alcohol, so S$26.40 (US$21.14) per 750 ml bottle of 40% ABV spirit.
  12. Factoring in New York City sales tax (8.875%) and 20% tip, and UK service charge of 12.5%, and current foreign exchange rates (1.69), US menu prices should be 1.45x UK prices. For example, a cocktail listed on the menu as £9 in London is equivalent to $13.09 in New York. These prices are considered the baseline minimum at a proper cocktail bar in both cities. The highest price I've paid in London is £16.50 at Artesian and £17 at Dukes Bar. The latter would translate into a US price of $24.73, which would be unheard of in New York. The most I have paid there (NoMad) is $16, equivalent to £11. Artesian is in a fancy hotel (Langham) and has a well-regarded program (#1 on the World's 50 Best Bars), though I found the drinks overwrought with silly presentation and not half as good as, Death & Co, PDT, or Dead Rabbit. Dukes Bar has just really simple martini variations but it's in a historic hotel and is where Ian Fleming invented the Vesper. Other good cocktails bars in London that aren't in hotels (Milk & Honey, 69 Colebrooke Row, Happiness Forgets) are more reasonably priced at £9-11.
  13. I was going to buy a Nalgene, but bought the non-rigid, collapsible Platypus bottle instead. These are even lighter and when transporting them empty, they take up no space at all. I have non-rigid suitcases (duffle style, because they're lighter) and was a little concerned that in handling the bottles would get squeezed and potentially break, so I put them inside a cardboard box, and then put the box into the suitcase. This worked perfectly. TSA did check my luggage, but no harm done.
  14. Kent Wang


    It's curious that the smallest particle size Superbag is 100 micron. I've used the 100 micron McMaster-Carr bag to filter a lemon zest infusion (I microplane lemon peels and soak in rum) and even that still leaves fine cloudy particles that settles to the bottom. I want to try 50 micron or even smaller. Has anyone had experience with this? McMaster-Carr has many different shapes of bags, but for sub 100 micron, the High-Performance Filter Bags seem to be the best choice.
  15. Kent Wang


    Thanks! I've been using the 100 and 200 micron bags and they're a little better than cheesecloth.
  16. I have a Vita-Mix Total Nutrition Center and I love it, mostly using it for smoothies. Instead of buying even more expensive, space-hogging tools, can I use my blender instead? I used to own a Phillips centrifugal juicer and I find the blender can do a similar job crushing the ingredients, though of course it can't apply the G forces to strain it, but a cheesecloth, Superbag, or polypropylene bag works decently enough. It's slower and not as effective at straining, but then it's easier to clean than a juicer. Can it replace an immersion blender or electric beater for whipping eggs? I tried it once for making egg nog and it didn't seem to get the eggs very frothy—I guess the blades are not very effective at incorporating air. You also have to make sure the blades don't cook the eggs. Can it crush ice for cocktails? Crushed, like for mint juleps or tiki drinks, not smoothie consistency.
  17. Even the newest recipes don't have weights, and I looked at all three of their sites. Good thing it was only a trial subscription. Looks like I'll be sticking to the UK websites.
  18. I signed up for a Cook's Illustrated trial account but all the recipes are by volume. Is there a way to see the weights? I'm looking at their basic muffin recipe.
  19. On the sites that have both weights and volumes, do you think the recipes are originally developed in weights, or in volumes and then converted? How accurate are conversions? I can imagine for flour there is a significant amount of variation.
  20. Why? See The Kitchen-Scale Manifesto. Are there any websites or books that have a comprehensive collection of recipes by weight? Comprehensive like Joy of Cooking or Epicurious. A Google search for "recipes by weight" turns up a bunch of stuff about weight loss. I have Modernist Cuisine at Home (ebook) and it's pretty good but is not totally comprehensive; it doesn't cover any pastry. Perhaps the full Modernist Cuisine does. BBC Good Food is mostly by weight but still uses tbsp and tsp for some minor ingredients like baking soda.
  21. Has anyone tried Steenberg's or Nielsen Massey? I found the below review about Nielsen Massey on Ocado. It's geared toward cosmetic use, but still sounds relevant. Most importantly, how do they compare to Monteux, which is what most bars in America use.
  22. No, I haven't tried that yet. It's not a major issue for me as I can buy unwaxed lemons and oranges (can't get unwaxed limes though). Btw, there's a whole thread on Cleaning & De-Waxing Citrus. I wonder if suspension would not work nearly as well with only 35-50% alcohol. Microplane and infuse works pretty well though. When I invite a bunch of people over I get the first person to arrive to microplane all the citrus we'll use that night, and two hours later the infusion is ready to go.
  23. That's incredible that you can just suspend them. Do you suspend them for 2 weeks? Surely the oranges will spoil over time—or do the alcohol fumes preserve it? What spirit do you use? For my infusions, I usually use Havana Club white which is only 37.5%. Why add sugar at all? Does that help with preservation? Does waxed/unwaxed matter? If you're able to get your hands on some bergamot oranges, I'm sure that would be incredible. I've been taking unwaxed citrus, mostly lemon and bergamot, using a microplane to remove as much of the peel without removing the pith, soak in Havana Club white for 2 hours and strain. I've tried it a few times with waxed oranges and even tried to remove the wax by boiling for 10 seconds and rubbing with a paper towel, but it seemed to give the infusion a slight waxy mouthfeel—or maybe it's all in my head.
  24. I've always used salt cellars but I wonder if a shaker would be easier to use, as you can use just one hand. This Norpro adjustable shaker looks ideal and has good reviews on Amazon.
  25. Consider decanting the contents into a plastic bottle. Much more resistant to breaking and lighter weight. For a sturdy bottle, I suggest Nalgene.
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