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Kent Wang

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Kent Wang

  1. Kent Wang

    Rotary evaporator

    This article from the French Culinary Institute goes into detail about the rotary evaporator that they have. Highlights: An initial question I have is that for doing something fairly simple like reducing pomegranate juice to make grenadine, could I just put the juice in a pan and put it in a food dehydrator, which is much cheaper? How about stock? Sure, you would lose some of the aromatics, while the rotary evaporator, based on my cursory understanding, would capture all of it. But that's a compromise I'm willing to make. I could see something like making brandy and syrup from wine (as detailed towards of the bottom of the above article) to absolutely require a rotovap.
  2. Kent Wang

    Miscellaneous China food photos

    In addition to the ones I've already posted I have a number of miscellaneous photographs that individually do not warrant a thread of their own, so I thought I would combine them together in this thread. Perhaps others can also use this thread to share their food photos from China. To facilitate organized discussion more detailed, "un-miscellaneous" photos should have a thread of their own.
  3. 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.
  4. Kent Wang

    Cloth napkins

    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?
  5. Kent Wang

    Cloth napkins

    How do restaurants keep their white napkins clean? Lots of bleach? That might be tricky to find. Would herringbone work?
  6. Kent Wang

    Reboiling water

    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?
  7. Kent Wang

    Luxardo Sangue Morlacco

    Is this the best cherry liqueur, or should I buy Cherry Heering instead?
  8. Briefly discussed in Cocktailian Ingredient Trends, Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum (Haus Alpenz profile) is now available at the Spec's in Houston. I had a chance to taste it at Anvil (a bar in Houston) and I can say it is indeed very funky, and has a strong vegetal, sugar cane aspect like a rhum agricole. Really, it's even funkier than any rhum agricole I've tasted like Barbancourt and St. James. Unfortunately I wasn't able to stop by Spec's while I was in Houston to pick up a bottle and it's only available at their headquarters store for now. I imagine you lucky folks in New York and California already have access to it? What do you think?
  9. Kent Wang


    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.
  10. Kent Wang

    The high-power blender topic

    The Sweethome exhaustive review of blenders
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Kent Wang


    Fairly vigorous blind testing on Serious Eats: The Best Way to Store Vermouth
  14. Kent Wang

    Service Charge

    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.
  15. Kent Wang

    Cost of Cocktails

    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.
  16. In about a month I will have some friends coming over from America to bring some bottles of liquor. Last time I did this I put each bottle in a gallon ziploc bag (in case of breakage) and then lots of bubble wrap. This is safe enough that you can drop the wrapped bottle four feet from the ground and it just bounces like a ball. This may seem overcautious as some people have told me they just wrap the bottles in clothing but I have also heard of people doing this with red wine and the bottle breaking and ruining all their clothes. But this technique is a less than ideal as you have to buy a bunch of bubble wrap and then it seems wasteful to just toss it away. The gallon ziplocs actually don't fit most bottles, you'd need an even bigger ziploc. I wonder if there was some sort of specially designed ziploc-type bag that's designed to fit a bottle and would be padded too. Then you could reuse the bags on future trips. The Carpano Antica canister thread has a good tip of using the canisters to transport 750ml bottles, but I wonder if transporting Carpano Antica itself in just the canister is a good idea?
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Kent Wang

    I just bought a Superbag

    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.
  20. Kent Wang

    I just bought a Superbag

    Thanks! I've been using the 100 and 200 micron bags and they're a little better than cheesecloth.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.