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Everything posted by BeefCheeks

  1. Suggesting that diners who go to one of Sirio's establishments (or any establishment, for that matter) are in complete control of their dining experience is, to say the least, hilarious and remarkably naive; to say the most, utterly ridiculous. And indeed, I agree with the previous poster, JohnL is likely a friend. But to the point: hypothetically speaking, JohnL, what would you do if the 1) service was abominable; 2) the food was marginally edible; 3) the sommelier hoped that, being a woman, you wouldn't likely notice the difference between a $30 bottle of wine and its far pricier mate on the list because the producer was the same? Is a letter in order, and will it, in your opinion, do? Indulge me for one moment: you have had this experience, you write your letter, and you receive a response from Maccionni's office. What does it say? (And remember, we are talking about Maccionni, not Meyer.....)
  2. Those of us New Yorkers who have spent time in the restaurants Le Cirque and Osteria del Circo know full well: if you're not an FOS (friend of Sirio), you're taking your hard earned dollars as well as your culinary life in your hands. You might be 1) fed something cold; 2) seated so close to the bathroom that when the door swings open, it hits your table; 3) forced to review your check with a calculator and a magnifying glass; 4) treated like dreck if you're a party of women; 5) treated like dreck if you're from out-of-town. Nevertheless, many of us try and try again to let by-gones be by-gones; we tolerate bad behavior for a tiny morsel of Le Cirque's black cod wrapped in crispy potato, or Osteria's bombolini. But in this day and age, when restaurants like L'Impero and Lupa and Cesca abound, why in god's name do we continue to torture ourselves? Recently, I had the following experience at Circo: party of three, we ordered appetizers and mains, and a bottle of wine ($30) from the fairly broad list. What arrived was not the wine we ordered, but a different wine from the same winemaker, at a vastly different price ($80). I rejected the wine when the waiter brought it over, and told him it was not the one I ordered; he argued with me. I gently asked him to bring me the wine list, which he did, and I showed him what I ordered; he continued to argue with me. When I asked for the manager, he said "this is what the sommelier gave me for you. But I'll bring you the other one." I asked if what I had ordered wasn't available, and he said no, but he had to go and get it from the "wine room upstairs." The correct wine arrived, was uncorked, poured messily, and plunked down on the table. Appetizers arrived cold when they should have been hot; main courses were extraordinary in their pricey blandness; sides were ice cold. For dessert, we ordered the bombolini and three cheeses, the latter of which arrived with a basket of toasted foccacia looking as though it had been leftover from another table's dinner service, and then run under the broiler for a moment. We asked for olive oil and never received it, our half-filled glasses of $12/bottle sparkling water were re-filled with tap water when the bottle was not yet killed. Bill including tax: $300+ Has anyone had similar experiences at this establishment? And why do we think--from a psychological point of view -- that diners continue to patronize "fancy" restaurants that offer shoddy and downright rude service when better places, offering better, more creative food and better service abound? (And does anyone have a copy of Ruth Reichl's (in)famous review of Le Cirque, or a link to it?)
  3. The writer in question is not a food writer to my knowledge--he's a features writer for the Courant who seems to like to write "edgy" and glib pieces about what he deems to be "trend-worthy." It was Dorothy Parker who said, "if you can't say anything nice, come sit by me," right? She was brilliant, though. I'm not sure how brilliant this guy is. Is it as irritating to any of you as it is to me that someone with virtually no food background (certainly not professional food background, no training, and if you asked him if he knew who Elizabeth David was he'd probably say he had lunch with her last week) feels so shamelessly compelled to spew vitriol about the qualitative aspects of RR's (or Alton's or Ina's shows)? I did find myself wondering whether he auditioned on "Be the Next Food TV Star" and they yanked him off the set with a large hook. Is there room for this sort of "writing" in the food pages of national newspapers? Because I, for one, find myself ill when I see that it's taking up valuable newspaper "inches" that might better filled by people like our dear, departed Johnny Apple, Kim Severson, Melissa Clark (who annoys the hell out of me but only because she's a size 2 and so it's a very personal thing), Jim Oesland, and others.
  4. Here's a link to the article: http://www.ctnow.com/dining/hc-gregcol0914...ertainment-dine
  5. I'm not sure that this writer is necessarily jealous of RR per se; I think he's just jealous of her success and visibility.
  6. Does anyone remember what the original broadcast model for FoodTV was supposed to be when it launched? Round the clock cooking shows, focusing largely on the classics: Child, Lucas, Kammen, even Beard (who made his television appearance in 1948). The model proved unsuccessful for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was that the "new foodie" was far too young to know who anyone was beyond Julia. So now, we've gone way off the deep end to 24/7 reportage on how one might go about deep frying a twinkie. Aren't most PBS shows produced by one person--Geoff Drummond? I've heard over the years that he retains all rights to everything he produces. True?
  7. Jealousy did indeed come to mind..... This guy (who appears to be very well-known in CT) hit everyone: "Mary Ann Esposito (chiding manner & overly-enunciated speech); Alton Brown (creepy, AV-nerd type who I'm convinced is on an extended acid trip; Paula Deen (verging on the unwatchable)." Last paragraph indicates that he will "watch Ray's show, if for no other reason than to boost his hate-on for her."
  8. Okay, I officially give up. Years back, when FoodTV was in its infancy, I made the decision to hate Rachael Ray. Her laugh annoyed me to death; her little witticisms drove me insane; her recipes appeared to be utterly lackluster and downright vile at times. She had a cutesypoo refrigerator. And then, suddenly, she was everywhere. So why is it now, years later, that it irks me -- nay, drives me crazy -- when self-proclaimed food experts treat the woman with vicious discontent, putting in print in major American newspapers their clear level of hatred for this woman who, like it or not, has gotten her audience (which changes, demographically, day-to-day) to cook again. I'm not talking about pro foodies, but real Ma and Pa Kettles of the world, who would rather eat at Denny's then boil water for themselves. Sure, she is annoying as a deep splinter, but she has a certain appeal to a certain group, and I, for one, applaud her for that. While I'm busy hating her, of course. On 9/14, a Connecticut-based features writer put pen to paper and wrote one of the most vicious, scathing, foul pieces about Ms. Ray and the general state of FoodTV ever produced; in 12 paragraphs, we are meant to understand why this fellow hates her guts, only he can't quite explain it clearly. He goes on to pan (naturally) Emeril, calls Chris Kimball a "fussy, uptight know-it-all who appears to be in serious need of sexual healing;" (what exactly does that mean?); and informs us that Ina Garten's recipes are wonderful but he wants to "very badly slap [her] across the face hard." Okay, so the guy clearly hates the medium. But why the viciousness...? At least when Bourdain referred to these folks as "bobbleheads" he had the class not to name names. I'm honestly curious about what ya'all have to say.....
  9. BeefCheeks

    Making gravlax

    There is, I believe, a very good gravalax recipe in the new book, BIG FOOD, which is about cooking well with ingredients you buy in bulk in places like Costco. Farmed is fine since you're curing it anyway; keep the skin on.
  10. My cookbook has been out since August---Feel free to send me anything to test.
  11. In two words: appalling and unnecessary. I agree; I too am all for knowing where one's food comes from. However, I would not drag viewer into a slaughter house of any sort, no matter how humanely or grass-fed the animal has been raised. It's shock value for the sake of shock value, and that, simply, is that.
  12. Velveeta? (Just kidding.) Bringing cheese to France is a bit like bringing coals to Newcastle, but perhaps something like Humboldt Fog if you can get it to survive the trip. Roasted tomatillo salsa? Bagels from H&H? A jar of Bubbie's Dill pickles? Dried chipotles/habaneros/anchos from Dean & Deluca? Creole seasoning?
  13. Is it true that the French have formally banned anyone from riding the Metro while carrying fresh Epoisses? Does anyone out there know for sure?
  14. My suggestion is La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange: The Original Companion for French Home Cooking --Originally published in 1927, it was just released here in the states. It has been to French housewives what Joy of Cooking, or Doubleday Cookbook has been to their American counterparts. Beyond that, I concur: Larousse is wonderful, and a blast to read, especially if you're a gastro-literary wonk (like me).
  15. BeefCheeks

    After dinner sipping

    My strong suggestion: go to a decent wine shop, and buy yourself a bottle of Banyuls, which is a fortified dessert wine made from the oft-maligned Grenache grape; it won't set you back too far, and it is virtually miraculous when paired with anything chocolate.
  16. Brava, Maggie-- a brilliant piece; I enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed reading the books! Tiger Beat, indeed! Are you next?
  17. In no way, shape or form do I believe that Doubleday knowingly published false material; but there does indeed seem to be a gap between what Mr Psaltis claims he did, and what his former co-workers say he did. The truth may indeed have been stretched, but certainly not by the publisher.
  18. First, how are you sure that I don't know him? And second, yes, I have indeed read the book--in bound galley form long before it ever hit the airwaves.
  19. Forgive me if I don't delete your comments, Rocketman and continue to attach them to my posting; they're priceless. The connection you make to my working for Psaltis' publisher is, to say the least, misguided; to say the most, it's hilarious. In fact, Random House is the umbrella under which at least 20 small publishers bring out wonderful books like Mr Psaltis'. But the bottom line here, really, is the issue of tale-telling or, rather, "tall" tale telling--neither of which is a seemly way to make a living as an adult. But seemly or not, it does sell a book. Good or bad, publicity works. Especially in the food business. Beyond all this, I think that perhaps you are clearly taking my phrase "food porn" too literally; it's simply another way publishers describe the category of food memoir. With or without sex. Mr. Latte? Food porn. Gabrielle Hamilton's new book? Food porn. Appetite for Life? Food porn.
  20. Mimi, What is your theory on why Psaltis keeps getting these plum jobs when he is "mindless" and "taste blind"? How is he hoodwinking all of these top chefs? ← I am wondering about that myself. Had I the time - and perhaps even if I don't - it might be worth researching. First stop would be at Country to taste the food there. It is one thing for a chef to look good when he or she is following the style and precepts of an executive chef who sets the tone --i.e. Ducasse, Keller, etc. Quite another when he is given carte blanche to create on his and, God help us, freely express himself. That's where the rubber hits the road. ← OK folks, speaking as a both an author and an editor, I'm going to venture a wild guess as to how/why Psaltis did what he did (or didn't do), wrote what he wrote, and, perhaps, cooked what he cooked at the Beard dinner. I may admittedly be wrong. First, the category heretofore known in the book biz as "Food/Memoir" has been reinvented recently as "Food Porn." And if we're going to be literal here, porn=sex=smut=making things seem much larger than they really are. 'Nuff said on that subject. Some poor marketing shlub at Psaltis' house possibly read the first draft of the manuscript and said, "there needs to be a lot more food smut in here." And hence, there is. Two: sex and smut -- whether literal or figurative -- sell. Psaltis is a smart guy, and given that his brother is a literary agent, they know this. Assuming he honestly doesn't give a rat's behind who he talks trash on, doing this is a sure fire way to get gums flapping and tongues wagging. How many people have been following this thread and are now champing at the bit to read this thing for themselves? Probably a fair number. That translates into sales, publicity, and a nice earn out on the royalty statement. Old pr saying: there's no such thing as bad publicity. Three: Taste is relative, both in dress and in food. Psaltis' head is clearly the size of a small planet, and rather than err on the side of taste (and safety), he cooked what is now purported to be one of the worst meals ever served at BH. Maybe he was having a bad night; it's entirely possible. Perhaps he bit off more than he could chew. It's even more likely given that his peers were going to be eating his food; he was front and center that night---not a sous chef. He should have played it safe. As for Ms. Sheraton's comments: I suspect that she has seen more 15-minutes-of-famers running around our industry than she could shake a stick at, and has grown tired and bored of their shenanigans. I wouldn't dare to speak for her, but it takes a very brave woman to tell the truth in the face of popular (or in this case, not-so-popular) opinion.
  21. Something along the lines of the dark and evil secrets of Julia and Paul Child and their chamber of horrors might fit the bill. Just kidding. ← Not to stray off subject, and all kidding aside (if you are in fact kidding, Jason), does anyone know what happen to the Thornes after they wrote that famous piece about Julia?
  22. I'm not sure, but I think the original was on Union Tpke and Queens Blvd, right at the foot of the LIE. And while we're on the subject, does anyone have anything bad or good to say about Ben's franks?
  23. We're strict traditionalists (ethnically speaking) and shy away from anything meat or fruit-related after the fast; meat is too harsh on the empty stomach, and, well, being a Jew, fruit on an empty stomach causes a reaction not unlike Sherman Through Georgia. This is why most people break the fast with dairy and/or eggs of some sort: soft scrambled eggs, bagels, whitefish salad, herring in cream sauce, Nova from Russ & Daughters, and maybe a piece ONION PLETZL. Oh, and by the way, that killer kugel could kill.
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