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Everything posted by Mayur

  1. Nothing, if you can buy Herbsaint. Add that to the list of things unavailable in Canada. ← Oops, sorry; assumed you were still in NYC. Both Astor and Warehouse carry Herbsaint.
  2. Also worth noting: Chris Coffee (a retailer up in Albany, NY) sells a QuickMill grinder for $275 that is compact, doserless, stepless, has super-solid burrs, and is a proper workhorse that delivers excellent quality. It beat the Rocky doserless hollow in a side-by-side in my kitchen. http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/home/g...uickmillgrinder It isn't a Mazzer Mini or a Macap M4. But it also takes up a LOT less space and is a lot less pricey. Plus Chris has amazing service and a full-replacement warranty.
  3. What's wrong with using Herbsaint?
  4. FYI, Dean & DeLuca (multiple branches, including but not limited to the store on Prince St. and Broadway) stocks the entire Fee Brothers line, as well as a bunch of other interesting drink-mixing ingredients. LeNell's is not THAT inconvenient once you figure out where it is (!). Specifically, when coming from Manhattan, just take the Brooklyn Bridge (not the Battery Tunnel, even though that seems the more logical route), hang a right (toward the water) on Atlantic Avenue, turn left onto Columbia Street, right onto Degraw Street, and then left on Van Brunt. This is something you can certainly direct a taxi to do. LeNell's opening hours (till midnight most days) and proximity to some decent restaurants also offset its inconvenience. It is, however, not cheap. Astor or Warehouse are definitely a couple bucks a bottle down in price. As for rye obtainable at Astor: They've got the Sazerac 6-yr for $25, and a few other decent specimens (Michter's, etc.).
  5. Replying to my own post: Yes, they are open Monday. Although I couldn't go yesterday due to sick girlfriend (sigh). So today it is!
  6. Other question: Are you guys open on Monday, the dreaded Day of No Exciting Food? I'd love to stop by tomorrow., er, today...
  7. Yeah. Read the espresso machine thread. If you want true insanity, check out coffeegeek.com or home-barista.com for input from folks who believe that the minimum for a satisfactory home machine (the heat exchanger models) is around $1100. Someone else with more experience will sum this up for you, but essentially espresso machines come down to the following: 1) Stovetop moka machines. Those are the all-metal ones where you put the water in the bottom, the coffee in a filter basket above that, and screw on a top assembly, and then put the entire thing on the stove. These are not really "espresso makers" in the sense understood by most enthusiasts. They may produce a good coffee product, but it isn't espresso. 2) Steam machines. These are possibly the inexpensive ones you're talking about: In the $50 - 100 range? IMX, they almost never produce espresso worth the name, and they break down easily. At best, I've been able to do as well as a french press with the one I used to have. 3) Cheaper pump machines. These are the first category that most of the coffee geek types likely would term a "true" espresso machine. Some of these can be quite good even at the cheap level; I got the Krups I used to own for $50 at an online discount retailer, and it made fine coffee. Slightly higher-end machines (the typical "home" branded Saecos and Gaggias, for example) can be had for as little as $100 or less here or there. These machines are, IMHO, excellent value for their price; I can make wonderful espresso on my friend chris's Gaggia Carezza, a model which can run as little as $90 on eBay these days. The only real drawbacks to these machines are (a) sheer pumping power; (b) potential temperature inconsistency (although you can control for this to a certain extent); and © the lack of a solenoid, which allows the water to get sucked back into the machine and vented out a different way rather than letting the portafilter and dispensing assembly drip water. The key thing when buying a machine in this category, IMHO, is to look for one with a boiler, rather than a thermoblock. Boilers heat water much more effectively for espresso making, and maintain temperature better than thermoblocks. This is also what I would say is the minimum category for making serious espresso. If your grinder is good and your coffee is good, you can make excellent espresso with machines in this category, provided you buy the right one. IMHO, the Gaggia Carezza is the right one to get. 4) Pricier pump boiler machines. These machines have better (usually larger) boilers that have better thermal control (or at least the ability to maintain sufficient temperatures and pressures for espresso making even after pumping out multiple shots), durable bodies that trap in heat, and various commercial-style goodies (nice heavy brass portafilters, etc.) The favorite in this category is the Rancilio Silvia. This is the category that I'm in right now, and I can't imagine a reason to go up. However, I can tell you that you can feel the difference in the quality of your espresso from the extra $300-400 you spend to get here from category #3. It's material enough that the coffee I drink is simply much better now than it was with my last machine, and I can pull better shots off my machine *every time* than I can from, say, the Carezza. 5) Heat exchanger machines. Oh boy. Here you need Owen to post, or someone else who feels like spending in the $800+ range (usually $1100+). Having used some, I can say that it's nice not to have to wait for a boiler to heat up. Getting the right temperature and pressure for your shot every time. Being able to toggle between shot temp and steaming. But is this worth $600+? I don't know; only the owners of those machines can answer. Of course, there are massive issues involved other than the type of machine. Grinder is incredibly important. IMHO, ones that cost more than $300 simply aren't worth it. I've got a QuickMill doserless grinder that does everything I need and cost me $250. The Rancilio Rocky (another market leader) costs about $275. The next step up (the Mazzer Mini or Mini E) is almost certainly not worth it for a home user, if only because it's too damn' big. Quality of beans is massively important. And, of course, technique is everything. Grind to the right consistency (depending on the beans). Get a water temperature of 197-200 F when the water hits the grounds (also depending on the beans). Run the machine for around 25 seconds. Make sure you're getting big dripping emulsified crema from the portafilter the entire time. Congratulations! You've got an excellent shot of coffee.
  8. Man what?I think you may have had the worst luck of anyone I've known shopping in NYC, if that has been your experience. The meat and fish purveyors at the USQ Greenmarket, Fairway, Chelsea, and Essex are IMHO far and away better than their Harvey Nicks/Sainsbury's/local tradesman counterparts, and substantially cheaper. The only stuff I've had a hard time with in NY is what's simply not available in North America (pata negra, particular species of game, , and a few fruits.)
  9. Mayur

    Park Slope

    Seconded on Tacos Nuevo Mexico. Applewood, really? Why does everyone like that place so much?
  10. I think a lot of people do. I certainly have been known to do so. ← Actually, me too. I never have more than one glass of wine with breakfast. ← How very uncivilized. I prefer a bracing cocktail beforehand, starting with a decent white (nice and bright, with good acidity) with the fruit, moving on to a decent Burgundy with the pancakes and sausages, with a light digestif afterward.
  11. Mayur

    Park Slope

    "Undiscovered" is difficult. For a discovered, but not on your list, place (or should I say DISCOVERED!!!!!!), I recommend Franny's (Flatbush & Prospect Ave), since you can actually be there at a civilized hour and maybe get and hold a table for a while. Franny's isn't very big, it's certainly cool, and the food and drink are of mighty high quality. For actually in Park Slope, I quite like Moutarde (the bistro across the street from Al Di La). Long Tan (5th Ave. & Union) looks like a generic, boring Pan-Asian place, but is IMHO shockingly tasty, especially if you go with the specials. [EDIT: Cafe Steinhof, on 7th Ave & 14th St., is nice for local flavor. The food is not to my taste, but those friends with more of a liking for heavy Mittel-Europeen (in this case Austrian) food find it quite tasty. The beer and wine are of excellent quality as well.]
  12. Even though Landmarc is my single favorite brunch destination (it also has the advantage of never being too crowded), I'd say it falls a bit short of something like Perry St. or Wallse. OTOH, if you're out to celebrate, a magnum of Bollinger for $100 beats half the quantity at only $5 less at Balthazar... Personally, I hate Balthazar at brunch, even though it's fun... simply because of the absurd crowds. But, it's not too bad.
  13. Mayur

    Spicy & Tasty

    Ditto. I do agree with Dave H about the high quality of Little Pepper, though. It was the second thing that occurred to me after hearing about the impending Bruni review (the first being my fear of massive crowds).
  14. I think the maple flavor definitely comes through, although it does depend on the type of maple syrup you use. I used New York State Grade A dark; light maple syrup would probably need a little reducing to get a strong enough flavor to cut through apple and spice.
  15. Mmm, point taken. So here's the question: My preferred take on a "winter" cocktail would probably be Hendrick's + lime + pomegranate + stone pine, in order to avoid juniper/pine overlap. Is 2 gin/.5 lime/.5 pom/.5 pine/.5 dry vermouth or something else a cocktail that would likely work?
  16. Wow; that's too funny. My Thanksgiving cocktail, the Canadian Commonwealth: 3 applejack 2 pear cider (unpasteurized fresh) 2 Pimm's No. 3 ("winter") .25 Vya dry .5 spiced maple syrup (cinnamon, cloves, star anise infused) .75 lemon juice dash of old-fashioned bitters Topped with a slug of sparkling (alcoholic) pear cider. Dusting of five-spice powder on rim of glass. If I'd had Poire Williams or another suitable eau-de-vie (Quetsch or some such being my favorite), I'd probably have gone with that. Great minds? Incidentally, eje: How do you think that pomegranate-y Juniperotivo variant would work with a slug of stone pine liqueur? I've been after the ultimate Christmas cocktail...
  17. Mayur

    Spicy & Tasty

    Exactly. It's full enough of people as is; if it gets whacked with the Bruni two-star treatment, I don't anticipate being able to go there on my designated Queens dining night (Friday). Maybe I'll have to start slacking off early one other day a week...
  18. And, IMHO, their breads have a slight edge over Devi's, quite possibly simply due to quickness of turnover and volume. Saravanaas blows MM out of the water, IMO, although the cuisine is more specialized (the only non-Southern dish on the menu, IIRC, is the excellent channa batura). Their food's also properly light and not chock-full of ghee. Well, I've been dying to go say hi to Hemant and Suvir soon, and I have an old friend (and eGullet poster) who's wanted to go for a while. I'll PM you when we've got a plan going. Perhaps you'll trade your Japanese food expertise?
  19. Mayur

    Jean Claude

    Do they allow BYO at a non-outrageous corkage?
  20. Like raji, I'm of South Indian origin myself; I've lived in London and in India as well, though I'm NYC born and bred for the most part. While I rank my father's kitchen as the #1 (South) Indian dining experience in NYC, my vote restaurant-wise is for Devi as well (although I happen to be a sort of friend of the house, so my impartiality is questionable...). While the take on Indian food is theoretically "contemporary," it's worth keeping in mind that Indian cuisine is an ever-evolving melting pot of culinary traditions from all over the place. (Get to a house in India and have an omelette if you want an example!) [EDIT: There's also a heck of a lot of flat-out traditional stuff on both the a la carte and tasting menus at Devi, in any event.] For that matter, I'll actually buck the trend and suggest that Tabla is perfectly worthy of the title of "Indian restaurant." Chef Cardoz's approach to spicing and to honoring regional cooking techniques is far more authentically, solidly Indian than practically anything else in NYC. Sure, there's tons of stuff on the menu that could only have originated in the US or Europe, but look at the number of restaurants in India that have random non-Indian dishes on the menu! As for regional cuisines: I've heard tell of excellent frontier cuisine restaurants in Flushing, but haven't been yet. Mina Awad is pretty good for Bengali food. My hands-down favorite for South Indian in NYC is Saravanaas (not to be confused with Saravana Bhavan) on 26th and Lex. [EDIT: I'm not wowed by Jackson Heights Indian restaurants, to be honest. Most of the stuff I like out there is really just junk food. Rajbhog and Dimple both do excellent chaat, and Rajbhog's sweets are passable if you like that sort of thing. Dosa Diner in JH, and Dosa Hutt next to the temple in Flushing, are both cheap and excellent places to get dosas, iddlis, etc. Kababish does pretty good kababs, but it's not what I'd call a full-fledged restaurant.]
  21. Atomics were made by Brevetti, not La Pavoni, and although they fetch high prices, are not a piston lever machine. They're no different really to any other Moka pot (aka, erroneously, as a "Stovetop Espresso"). There's also a suggestion that fake vintage ones are now being sold ← I think we're talking about two different atomics. Presumably, you're talking about the Brevetti: http://cgi.ebay.com/ATOMIC-COFFEE-ESPRESSO...1QQcmdZViewItem The ones I saw on eBay were called "Pavoni Atomics," and were actual lever machines, including the full lever assembly and a plug-in for heating: http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-PAVONI-Italy-E...1QQcmdZViewItem But they may have been mislabeled.
  22. La Pavoni Atomics seem to be cropping up on eBay on occasion; the last one (from a science lab, no less!) went for $280, which is molto cheapo for one of those.
  23. Reviews said so, anyway; as it turns out, I have the machine in front of me and it does indeed have the easily-removable (and now removed!) rubber ring thingy. Much obliged for the (excellent) advice! I have a number of excellent procurement sources for roasted coffee (my local favorite being Rohr's on E.85th St) and substantial experience pulling shots off lower-end home machines (I've never owned anything over $100 in price). However, it will be interesting playing with new stuff! I can totally understand that. I'm the sort of person who hunts around endlessly for bargains, and I've never spent over $1000 on anything except my computer. Some day, though...
  24. I'd imagine that 9th street is unlikely to open another store (part of the appeal of the place is its East Village cachet, which will be lost the moment they drift westward of Tompkins Square). Grumpy, however (which makes a fine espresso) will be opening a place on 20th St. between 7th and 8th Avenue this month. That's probably a bit closer to most people's sphere of activity. [EDIT: Another possible coffee option might be the Tasting Room. Word has it that they're getting in a Synesso, and I can't imagine someone shelling out $10k on a machine and not using it properly. However, there really isn't anywhere to grab a coffee there, so I don't quite know how this would work.]
  25. Yes. Pontormo makes a good point, though... to a certain extent. Given the exchange rate, I'm actually unwilling to say that *my* price point (I go to 9th St. Espresso in NYC) is that high. $2 for an espresso (1.7 euros) or $3.00 for a latte (2.5 euros) doesn't seem that bad, and for that, I can *sit* (so, these aren't "bar" prices) for as long as I like with a newspaper or laptop. The real issue, of course, is a) how few places there are to get quality espresso drinks and b) the difference in attitude. I'm really not so fond of the emphasis on mechanical technique displayed by the best espresso places; I'd rather just not know how many seconds my coffee was pulled for at what dosage and temperature. (I need to know those things at home, but when I'm downing a cup out somewhere?)
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