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david coonce

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Everything posted by david coonce

  1. . . . and if he'd only kept his mouth shut from the outset, the foie gras ban probably never would have even seen the light of day. =R= ← To be fair, Ronnie, he never asked to be an advocate. On this he has been very very clear. He has said numerous times that he does not believe this should be a political issue, nor does he believe FG should be banned. He made a personal decision, and a newspaper reporter asked him about it. Should he have lied? I don't think it's fair to ask anyone to lie simply to accomodate the whims of other chefs. And I don't believe Mr. Trotter has any desire to see a FG ban. I think that newspaper writers are paid to write a story, and that among the simpleminded, the idea that Charlie Trotter doesn't serve FG = FG is bad. and that's disingenuous. At my restaurant I won't serve Tyson Chicken or stuff loaded with chemicals/pesticides, etc. Does that make me an advocate? Or simply someone who chooses not to deal with products I find inferior? ← I know, I know . . . but his comments really gave the "anti" foie gras camp a lot of momentum and what has turned out to be some well-leveraged credibility, too. =R= ← But that's not his fault, is it? People have their comments taken out of context all the time. And people who are very adamant on either side of an issue will exploit whatever they can to win points. It's not as if Trotter has continually been out there flying the flag against FG. It was just that one newspaper article, in which he explicitly said he didn't believe in a ban or in politicizing his personal choice. Like I posted above, the simpleminded anti-FG people use Trotter as a crutch, but we can't resort to simplemindedness (I.E, "Trotter sucks") to oppose them. We're the ones who are right on this issue, and we need to come up with a more thoughtful and sophisticated approach to let people know why we are right.
  2. . . . and if he'd only kept his mouth shut from the outset, the foie gras ban probably never would have even seen the light of day. =R= ← To be fair, Ronnie, he never asked to be an advocate. On this he has been very very clear. He has said numerous times that he does not believe this should be a political issue, nor does he believe FG should be banned. He made a personal decision, and a newspaper reporter asked him about it. Should he have lied? I don't think it's fair to ask anyone to lie simply to accomodate the whims of other chefs. And I don't believe Mr. Trotter has any desire to see a FG ban. I think that newspaper writers are paid to write a story, and that among the simpleminded, the idea that Charlie Trotter doesn't serve FG = FG is bad. and that's disingenuous. At my restaurant I won't serve Tyson Chicken or stuff loaded with chemicals/pesticides, etc. Does that make me an advocate? Or simply someone who chooses not to deal with products I find inferior?
  3. While I don't support the Foie Gras ban, I do think it's dangerous to take the most extreme examples of animal mismanagement (chickens having thier beaks removed and nailed to the floor) and use those as the norm by which all other animal products should be measured. Obviously, there are many, many chefs who would argue that free-range, natural chickens are the best to cook. Even Bourdain makes this argument in his "Les Halles" cookbook. It is, I believe, counter-productive to use this if=then argument. In other words, I don't think it does any of us any good to argue that Foie Gras is okay to sell because lots of other animals are tortured and treated badly on their way to the table. I think we have to have a position that is purely applicable to Foie Gras, and doesn't rely on the terrible treatment of other food animals to support its case. Because us Foie Gras advocates will lose out completely if we try to compare FG as okay in the same way that nailing chicken to the floor is okay. We have to find a different angle than that used by Moore, et. al.
  4. Don't know about locally, but I know Amazon has it, as well as a bunch of other web sdources.
  5. [ i've passed through bloomington and it is a booming metropolis compared to findlay. to be brutally honest, the risk of opening in such small town is huge, but i can't let myself get discourged. when i drive by the packed parking lots of chain restaurant after chain restaurant i can't help think that people want something better. they just haven't found it yet. i truly believe that if you give people a quality product with great service at a fair price, you can be successful just about anywhere. hopefully i can survive the wal-mart mentality and develope a devoted clientel. one of the main stumbling blocks i've experienced is acquiring a licquor license. it is quite possibly the most bizare and unfair system i have ever seen. the number of licenses issued to a municipality are based on population. so there is a finite #per town. once they're gone it is impossible to get a new one. so in order to sell alcohol you must find someone to sell an existing license to you. currently the going rate is between 40k and 60k. this is insane! i think this is a big reason why chain restaurants are so predominent in ohio. they have no problem spending this kind of cash. are there any other states like this?
  6. According to Nationmaster.com, Findlay's population was 40,175 at the time of the 2004 census. You can click on the above link for more details. =R= ← Thanks. I suppose I could have looked it up. 40,000 is small - I think of Bloomington as small but it's closer to 75,000, I think.
  7. Bloomington. It's where IU is located, a progressive college town with a burgeoning slow-foods movement (there are slow-foods dinners, featuring chefs from a handful of local restaurants - that draw upwards of 150 guests), surrounded by numerous organic and heirloom farmers, and home to a huge farmers market - at its height in the summer the market draws 5000 visitors a week. Plus, I lived there for ten years and have developed a pretty strong connection to the community.
  8. the restaurant will be located in downtown findlay, oh. i am returning home(findlay) from an 8 year stay in chicago. i had considered opening in chicago but having a daughter just starting school, so my wife and i felt returning to ohio to open would be the best decision for all. also the benifits of opening in small town ohio i.e. start up costs, less competition, no need for investors. the concept is modern midwestern food in a mid-century modern atmosphere. ← Thanks for illuminating on the reasons why Ohio. I, too, thought about Chicago, until I thought about the costs/beauracracy (sp?) and etc. Plus, I am getting married and want to eventually have kids too, and I really think Chicago is a bad place for that. On a more philosophical level, I don't care much for the herd mentality that surrounds Chicago restaurant culture, and I really want to serve good, creative food to regular people. I know the city I'm moving back to (Bloomington, Indiana) very well, while Chicago, where I've lived the last year-and-a-half, is still more than a bit foreign to me. PLus, I don't particularly want to cook for stuck-up, condescending Yuppies - and to be successful in Chicago, unfortunately, you have to cater to those people. On a side note, one of my first meals in Chicago was at Green Zebra, and it was absoutely astounding - so much so that I asked to work there on the spot (I was denied!) and then replicated the meal at home the next day - corn mezza lunas, pureed salsify, the whole works. So thanks for inspiring me.
  9. Count me in. I will be undertaking a similiar opening in the next year, in Indiana. Although I may have some financial backing, I may not. I would very much like to read about the process from a first-hand POV. Thanks.
  10. The list seems very euro-american centered. Hmmm. Anyway, I've eaten at French Laundry and Chez Panisse, both deserve their spot, in my opinion.
  11. Trotter Boycott anyone ? ← Not sure this is Charlie Trotter's fault - he has said repeatedly that his decision to not serve Foie Gras is a personal choice, and he doesn't believe it should be banned or restricted in any way. He doesn't believe politics should enter the debate, period. He had a personal choice on the matter that got widespread press - he would be the last person to claim himself an advocate on the issue.
  12. Yeah. we brought a Chilean white (Crios Torrontes), a lot of complexity and flavor, and a Chilean Malbec (Burundi?), and they both went well with the various parts of the meal. I'm not sure if the wines being from Chile had anything to do with that, but they worked.
  13. Well, back from Schwa, and the meal was truly outstanding. One of the best I have had in Chicago. Started with the quail egg ravioli (we actually started with the chees plate, but nothing remarkable there.) We each ordered the ravioli, and damn, it was as good as advertised and then some. It was literally something neither of us didn't want to end. We ate those raviolis so slowly - unctuous and rich and the eggs perfectly poached inside those raviolis. Damn. I had the pork (no quail on the menu), and it was fantastic. The textures of the loin versus he belly were perfectly contrasted, and the little roasted matchsticks of salsify were delicious. My fiance had the barramundi, with a coating of leeks and pistachios, with roasted, finely diced butternut squash. It was almost better than the pork, and at least as good. It's a fish I never see on menus and it was cooked so well, with so much flavor. We just kept saying, over and over again, "My god!" For dessert I had the pineapple upside down cake with salt caramel and ginger custard. The cake and caramel were good, but the custard was awesome - not sweet, just rich and gingery. The SO had the chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and buffalo mozzarella with shaved truffles and, yep, a white chocolate-truffle milkshake. That milkshake was one of the finest things I have ever put in my mouth. The cake was decadent and the cheese was perfect with it. The one odd thing was that there was no waitress/FOH person - the two chefs took the orders, brought out the food, refilled water, opened wine, etc. Weird. But because we got there so early, and were the only people there for a while, we got great service and I was able to talk to the chefs a little bit. Oh yeah, each course was started with a little amuse, the first was a carrot/cardamom marshmallow with carrot juice/cardamom foam chaser (very, very good), the second was a crispy radish with black trumpet mushroom and eggplant confit, which was just a spoonful but had lots of nice flavor and texture going on, and the third was a little shot glass of sunchoke puree with a raspberry puree and a microgreen, it was a litle odd - at first it tasted strange and then it suddenly tasted really good. Maybe because I'm not that familiar with sunchoke. But all the little amuses were a really nice touch. We'll definitely be back.
  14. Hey there. Going to Schwa for the first time tomorrow night - had to reserve two weeks ago for a 6 pm friday (!) but still.. any recommendations. I am looking at the online menu (probably not updated?) and am reading other's reviews of the place, but am torn between the pork and the quail. Anybody had both? Either? let me know - it will be useful to know what kind of wine to bring. Also, do we need to bring our own wine glasses? I am fine with drinking out of rocks glasses or whatever - do I need to bring a wine key?
  15. Thanks again. I think definitely Hammersleys, #9 Park and Craigie and Toro are on the list.
  16. Wow, thanks everyone! I hadn't really considered Olives for real, I just knew of its reputation. Glad to find out about so many other places to check out. I also just managed to score Red Sox tickets, so that'll be another exciting first (Fenway.) Although our inexpensive mini-honeymoon is starting to get not-so inexpensive (as anyone who's ever tried to get Sox tickets can probably vouch for!) Ah well, you can't take it with you. Thanks again everybody.
  17. Hey all you Bostonians. I am getting married this summer, and because we are broke as hell, we're gonna put off our real honeymoon a while and go to Boston. Just because. Anyway, I am a professional cook, we are both dedicated aficionados of good food, but neither of us have the faintest clue about Boston restaurants. Where are the good places? We've heard Oleana (sp?) and, of course, Olives. Price is no object (although ideally under 100$/person!) , location is no big deal either. We'll be there probably 4-5 days, so if you know any good casual breakfast/lunch places that would be awesome too. I wanna eat a real lobster roll! I've never been to Boston. Tell me what's good, Bostonites!
  18. Indianapolis, for being a big city, is woefully inadequate when it comes to food and inventive restaurants. Bloomington has restaurant Tallent - www.restauranttallent.com - which is similar to Chicago's Blackbird - seasonal, regional emphasis, lots of organics. Truffles in Bloomington is very good, too, although a little more traditional. I'm sure you can find info on the web somewhere on it. Also in Bloomington, The Limestone Grill does amazing stuff with food. Bloomington is a pretty amazing city, a progressive oasis surrounded by farms, the Saturday Farmer's Market, which attracts around 5-6000 visitors each Saturday to the Showers Plaza, is a pretty amazing place, where at least half the Farmers farm organic, and the rest are amazing old grizzly 70-year-old dudes who raise the tastiest pork and elk and beef you could ever eat. And, of course, Capriole is there, too. Well worth a road trip. (I lived there 10 years)
  19. They're a little milder than some onions, a little sweeter than others. It sort of depends on what onions you normally use. I think shallots have a distinctive flavor that's different than onions, but can be used much the same way. Often they're used finely minced to enhance a vinaigrette, or melted in butter to start a soup/stew/sauce, etc. Certainly you can slice them thick, pan fry them in butter or olive oil and squirt 'em with lemon and they'll be great. You've got 5 pounds, go ahead and experiment! After all, that's what food is for. Generally, though, shallots will give you a milder flavor than most yellow or white onions. Warning though, if you're new to them: they're a pain to peel and cut, because there are generally two halves inside each shallot, and they're not as uniform inside as onions. They're misshapen more often than round. When you cut one open youll see what I'm trying (poorly) to explain.
  20. Another option is to marinate the wings in hot sauce overnight, and then toss them in flour prior to frying. The flour creates little nooks and crannies for the sauce to cling to. But either way, wings are wings, you know?
  21. It should work allright, but reduce the smoking time (because the heat source is so close to the meat) and, of course, with those stove-top smokers, removing the smoke-alarm batteries is a must!
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