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    St. Louis, Missouri
  1. never mind lutece -- "opened in the last 30 years" oops
  2. why mesa grill? since we're looking back 30 years, i'd add lutece. i'd also add masa.
  3. I think the episode used the awkwardness (to great effect) in order to evoke a sentiment shared among many second-generation [insert ethnicity here]-Americans. This sense of connection back to one's homeland while still feeling somewhat of a stranger is such a common theme among immigrant descendants, and I'm glad that AB highlighted this in this episode. It's a unique approach to the travel show that typically uses knowledgeable locals as guides. Rather, in this episode, we're brought along with Augusto as he himself experiences in the discovery. It was a bit of a risk, but I think the episode pulled it off, even if it was at the expense of Augusto.
  4. Harold McGee did a piece on this a while back, citing the use of vodka by Heston Blumenthal for his fried fish. Blumenthal's recipe is too labor- and equipment-intensive, but there is a link for McGee's simplified recipe in the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/07/dining/0...ing&oref=slogin Good luck!
  5. I like Leah too. I think she'll go far, but she was one of the few people who lucked out and got exactly the cuisine that they specialize in. It was easy for her to shine under the circumstances.
  6. I've had similar issues. Not much you can do given the circumstances. I'd say deactivate the smoke alarm, open all windows, and have a fan or two going full blast. Man, I can only dream about what life would be like with an industrial exhaust system in my kitchen.
  7. just a wild guess here -- a butter dish?
  8. At first, I thought that it was rather disingenuous of them to come up with a dish first and then to choose an appropriate movie to 'inspire' that dish. But pretty much everyone else did that, except the Willy Wonka group. So I think it worked out well in the end, since the people who abided by the spirit of the challenge produced a killer opener for the meal. Then I tried to do the same exercise in my head and realized that it's really hard to find inspiration when your course for the dinner is fixed. I cut them some slack after I found myself doing the same thing.
  9. ditto, except it's a big clear plastic container that can hold 50 lbs of rice.
  10. shengcai

    Embracing the Heat

    Steak! I get my cast iron skillet smoking hot before searing for a couple minutes on each side for medium rare. Too bad I have a wimpy exhaust fan, but I'm willing to bear a little smoke for a beautiful crust on my ribeyes.
  11. Will be coming to Atlanta (my first time) for a conference from Fri until Tues morning. After doing some research, I've decided on a few places but I would like some feedback from you experts. For a number of these meals, I'll be dining alone -- eating at the bar would be perfect for me. I'll have a car, so getting around won't be a problem. On Friday, I'll be arriving around 2 and plan to spend the rest of the afternoon at the aquarium after a quick lunch at Nam. For dinner, I've made reservations at C&S Oyster Bar. Dinner on Sunday will be a catered event at Anthony's. Which leaves dinner open on Saturday and Monday night. Based on the reviews, I'd really like to try MF Sushi (I'm a sushi fanatic) and Rathbun's (I'm dying to try their roasted marrow bones and other small plate options like the snails and crudo). My question is on which night should I go to each restaurant? If the bar at Rathbun's is going to be overcrowded with scenesters on a Sat night, then I'd much rather go to MF on Sat for a more peaceful dining experience (or is that not the case). Also, does MF offer an omakase option at the bar? I know they offer sushi "chef's choice" combinations with Cali rolls (which I'm not interested in) on their dinner menu, but if possible I'd like for the itamae to keep coming out with items until I'm stuffed. Would this be a reasonable thing to ask for here? On Sat, Sun, and Mon, I'd also like some recommendations for a quick lunch within walking distance of the convention center. I'm open to all ethnic cuisines. Of course, I'm very flexible and am open to additional recommendations for must-go places that I may have missed.
  12. shengcai

    Dinner! 2007

    A friend was kind enough to share some of his catch from Alaska -- sockeye salmon I simply roasted it with lemon juice, olive oil, S&P, and some dill: Served with a simple salad of romaine and radicchio tossed in a sherry vinaigrette:
  13. Good news, indeed. I'm originally from Cincinnati and look forward to paying a visit to Rue Dumaine after it opens. Thanks for the scoop!
  14. It's the exact opposite for me. I like having complete reign over the seasoning, doneness, etc. For example, I tend to like more pepper (crushed red, white, black, you name it) and more garlic/onion/scallion (when such items are called for) in dishes. My ideal flavor profile of a particular recipe isn't fixed and evolves with each tasting and adjustment that's made, until voila, the flavors are balanced and I'm content, knowing that I've done everything in my power to get it to how I want it to taste. Likewise, there are exceptions, but they are definitely in the minority. I do have to say though, that there's a distinct pleasure in having others cook for you, and I'm willing to give up control to experience that hospitality, especially when there are no dishes to be done afterwards!
  15. Our last day in New York ...... We had lunch at Chikubu, which unfortunately is now closed. Hitsuma bushi (mixed eel rice) -- grilled eel was served on top of rice in a HOT stone bowl and mixed tableside. Sides included miso soup and pickled seaweed mixed with dried bonito flakes (katsuo bushi) Check out those beautiful grains of rice! There was a teapot of light broth that was used for pouring into the rice bowl at the end of the meal to get all of the crispy browned rice bits out of the stone bowl. It's really sad to hear that a place as good as this would close. I'm glad I got to try this real-deal Japanese eatery while I had the chance. That night, we treated our friend to a belated birthday dinner at Babbo. This was the one place where my camera really failed me. The lighting was too dim, and I started getting looks from a nearby table after the first couple flashes. Ceci bean bruschetta Grilled octopus with "Borlotti Marinati" and spicy Limoncello vinaigrette -- the most tender chunks of octopus I've ever had. Out of this world good. We also got Armandino's salumi (finnochiona and culatello). As this was my first time trying culatello, I could only make comparisons to prosciutto. But it was more delicate than prosciutto. The saltiness was tempered by a mild, nutty sweetness. I don't know, perhaps this is what your typical culatello tastes like. More likely, based on what I've heard about Armandino Batali and his artisanal cured meats, this will probably be the best culatello I've ever had. In any case, this turned me into a huge fan. We chose to stick to the pasta dishes, heeding the advice of a couple Babbo veterans. Black pepper pappardelle with wild boar ragu Beef cheek ravioli with crushed squab liver and black truffles Black spaghetti with rock shrimp, spicy salami calabrese and green chiles -- This was my favorite pasta dish of the night, with perfectly cooked shrimp and generous amounts of crispy/chewy calabrese that added a nice hit of spice and salt. All 3 of these dishes elevated pasta to a whole new level for me. I've cooked a number of pastas, but I never got an idea for what the ideal texture of pasta should be. Now I know what is meant by a good al dente. And, this may sound incredibly naive, but I learned that something as simple as doneness of pasta makes a HUGE difference. For dessert we shared a pineapple cake and the gelato/sorbetto assortment. I wanted to try the famous olive oil gelato, but sadly that wasn't included among the flavors. After Babbo, we went out for a few drinks. Being a complete lightweight when it comes to alcohol, I was pretty tipsy. What better place to cure the drunken munchies at 2am than the famous halal cart at 53rd and 6th? Even at 2am, there was a line, which means high turnover! Chicken/gyro meat combo platter, with the heavenly white sauce And so, this ends our eating tour. We had a blast, meeting up with family and friends while enjoying all the sights, sounds, and tastes of NYC. We were given the rare luxury of taking a week away from the demands of work/school/etc. in order to really savor food, to appreciate it on the level of fine art, created by people who really care about what they're putting on your plate (or styrofoam box ). I'll stop with the schmaltz now (I get that way whenever I start pining for another visit, which sadly won't be for a while). Thanks for humoring me and for allowing me to reminisce on this unforgettable trip!
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