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Jack Rose

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  1. Now for a a derogatory point concerning Maine shrimp. Since moving here to Portland and experimenting with these delights, I have had anywhere from great to mixed results. I think that the glut of product and the handling of the shrimp - both Harbor and Free Range have them out atop ice, but when you think of thirty pounds of shrimp stacked 8-10" above the ice, they are bound to be held at a warmer than desired temperature. My last two purchases have actually turned out to be partially spoiled. I know what you are thinking of leaving the bag of shrimp in the refrigerator for a few days, but I shelled them promptly and cooked them in a span of a couple hours both times and then sat there pondering how I was going to throw out that night's dinner. By the way, the smell after cooking is incredibly bad and worse if it sits in the trash bin overnight
  2. Myers, thanks for the question and putting a few of us to task at its discovery. I had an awful episode with basil and rum, likely falling for a trick regarding a mojito variation. Basil does go well with Martini and Rossi Bianco vermouth though, but that pairing is not mine but Jody Adam's from the Rialto at the Charles Hotel in Boston. I have planned on stopping in and am just waiting to hear back from Johnny D. I will have to come regardless to make an introduction and see Oolong for myself.
  3. Myers, it looks like enough time has passed for appropriate responses, are you going to let us in on what makes up a Rathbone Sour? It looks like no one was correct, but I am still interested in its components and how you devised it.
  4. Anyone out there heard or talked to Siren? She has curiously been absent and not participating since prior to New Year's. Probably upset that egullet took down a couple of her posts. Hopefully she can and will come back and add her opinion, for I know I miss her perspective. Pass on the message if anyone knows her personally.
  5. If that number on square footage is accurate, then the footprint of the PPM is larger enough, but it seems likely that it is just an excuse proffered up by the Whole Paycheck company. A couple of months back we heard that the Whole Grocer was purchased by them and would be operated until a full-sized store could be built and opened. Anyone know where this is slated to be going - I am guessing in the same general area but have not seen anything as far as a construction site. Also, anyone have more on the Trader Joes rumors?... That article that was the first to mention the Libra Foundation to sell of its real estate holdings make its sound like it was a bittersweet decision. As far as the PPM goes, it has never turned a profit (mind you that the group is set up as a benevolent not for profit trust, one that hired a lawyer last year to re-examine and to be a consultant on turning it around. Maybe its me, but a lawyer who specializes in estate settlement may not be the right individual to affect change and revamp a market. Interesting sidenote, Libra also owns and operates Wolf Neck, which shockingly is not represented at the market that it also owns, but whose products are carried at Hannaford's. Is it just me, but does the Libra Foundation have its head up its ass with the operation and running of the soon to be defunct Portland Public Market? Sadly, its eventual sale will evict the few tenants that are performing admirably and are making a profit.
  6. I walked through the Public Market a couple of times this past week, both for some quick shopping and also for curiosity - more to rexamine its layout after the news went public that it is up for sale. As the rest of Portlanders now know (always the last to find these things out, but I asked a few months back) the PPM was owned and operated by the Libra Foundation, the benevolent philanthropic trust of the late Elizabeth Noyce (not Noyes as we saw written in a post a few weeks back and was a source of frustration trying to dig up info on it). The group was mentioned in hopes that it would purchase the market, when in fact they are the owners who are selling it. First group approaching was Whole Foods, who have passed with the rationale that it is too small for their needs. Not that I have been to more than two or three "Whole Paychecks" but I think this is marginal in that the market is quite large and there is a good portion that is unseen, consisting of the kitchens and storerooms of the various vendors (Maverick's, Foley, Scales). After seven years of never turning a profit, the Libra group is determined to cast off the property and is not renewing leases or allowing new vendors. According to Kris Horton, add Stone Soup to the soon to be closed and vacant spots. The management group has offered the other side to Horton's, but will not budge on the lease policies and will not allow any heating or cooking equipment. Seriously, who are the members of this braintrust that make these decisions? Evidently, business has been noticeably up since the news hit the street, likely due to local residents that are realizing it may (actually, will) be soon gone. I don't like the idea of not having a working market of any sort on the peninsula - but the large scale grocers along Marginal Way must be thrilled.
  7. I don't have any experience with Ebay regarding soda siphons, but as others mention be wary about getting one that is in working order. Of all the vintage siphons that I have come across and found at antique fairs, like Brimfield, none have ever worked - usually missing pieces for the housing and the rubber gasket. ISI makes a sold, well-built modern version that performs admirably. Buying and changing the CO2 is super easy, the small cartridges seem to be a universal size and can also be purchased in sporting good shops, same are used for paintball guns. The internet is the cheapest way to go and likely to find a complete siphon at a discounted rate for the suggested retail is close to $40. I found mine (turquoise, I know but not my first choice) for $6 at an inventory close-out sale at a cooking and kitchen store. Brand-new, is was sold at a cut-rate because it was missing the top black screw cap that holds the cartridge. I had an extra from a Whipped Cream dispenser made by ISI and took a gamble on it being the same size and dimensions.
  8. For mixing cocktails and for cooking usage, the big three cognac producers (Remy Martin, Hennessey, and Couvoisier) make solid VSOP that really performs admirably. To a certain degree, even the VS bottling of Remy if used in a Sidecar or Between the Sheets, fits the bill. All are priced at close to thirty dollars and less. Think about the question, with regards to cost and what the brandy will be used for. This topic is one of the few, if only subjects, that I will disagree with Eric (Eje) on. Really, I have never seen cognac bottles left in my front yard, but in these parts Alan's Coffee Brandy rules the roost for the down and out in Portland, ME. But that is another story.
  9. I cannot say that I was surprised by the news. I had written back in the Opinions in Portland thread about my impression of the Public Market, but really didn't get any feedback. Here I was thinking that the city or other group (sounds like Libra is a trust of some sort) had to be supporting it, for it is always close to empty. Being here only five months, three vendors have left since I moved here and after hearing that is just the tip of the iceberg (Commissary, previous wine shop, sausage maker, etc.) - kind of a shame that it was not better managed and more importantly patronized by locals. Now that the Greengrocer is closed on Commerical and with the demise of the Public Market, where does one shop on the peninsula? Surely, there are larger supermarkets (Wild Oats, Hannaford, the forecoming Whole Paycheck) down around Marginal Way - but part of living in such a small, closely-knit city is that one should be able to walk to a local market for buy fresh produce (before, you jump all over me about the word fresh with regards to the two vendors at the Public Market, where the same fruit and vegetables have been on display for the past few months. Not kidding here, the same actual pieces until they have become either too dried up or visibly rot - well, whose fault is it if no one is buying anything and they are not making money?
  10. What really is the difference between this and a soda siphon, such as an average one by ISI? Really, does the design merit the $250 price tag. I paid $12 for a brand new ISI turquoise model, which is normally around $40 - store was going out of business and never sold either of the two they had since opening. It pays to look around, great deal and happy with it. Works like a charm. Does anyone who has a siphon, keep it in the refrigerator? I just add in a bottle of cold spring water before charging, since I don't get a chance to use it as much as I would like. Any tips or ideas besides the obvious club soda/soda water for cocktails?
  11. Anyone out there have comments and suggestions for local bakeries? I regularly patronize One Fifty Ate at Wiliard Square in South Portland, for they make a really solid baguette especially when they are coming out of the oven. Different than a classic French baquette that I found in Paris the three odds years that I lived there. Floury, nice overall crust and texture. Standard is hit or miss, depending on what you go for. Admittingly, I have not had all their offerings but have only really liked the Pain au Levain, plus the staff is always rude and snooty. It is a bakery, come on now! Felt the same current upstairs with regard to decorum. Really, more people would patronize if they had better treatment - this is what has been relayed to me from peers and the few friends that I have met so far (new in Portland). Big Sky is overall pretty good and consistent, but I would not say consistently great as far as products go. I am there at least once a week at the Firehouse (usually Mondays for double stamps on loyalty card and to have bread for the week). I think the German Rye, with sauerkraut mixed into it, is one of their best. Their ciabatta is pretty good and their baguette is a bit above par. Their seeded breads (one is called 3-seed) and honey wheat are decent for sandwiches as well. Not a big fan of there danishes, goods, and baked goods though. They need to figure something out with their coffee, not all that great and only one offering, save for a flavored and a decaf. Staff is pretty cheerful and friendly, which is a big plus. Only drawback for me is that it is usually filled with children - don't get me wrong I like kids, but they are usually out of control over at the mock worktable playing with dough while parents are chatting and blissfully unaware what type of scene is going on behind them. Foley is more for cakes and desserts, but really have not found them to be mediocre at best. Two Fat Cats has a horrid name and I think it is way to expensive for what you get. I still patronize them but find it hard swallowing the bitter pill of $17 for an apple pie. Homey and a intentionally retro with regards to desserts of prior generations, just don't think that their prices are in line with the results. I had tried Katy Made desserts and thought that they were average, surprised at how many restaurants sold their products instead of making desserts in house. Any that I have missed? I am on the look-out and hoping to find some hidden gem. Bagels? Cookies? Tarts? Donuts? Please save time and don't mention Dunkin Donuts and Mister Bagel.
  12. just to clarify, a bourbon sour using one of Jim Beam's specialty line of small batch Kentucky Bourbons, both Basil Hadyn's and Baker's, make sense here (Holmes lived at 221B Baker Street). I will try out the Basil Haydn's tonight for I have it here at my bar at home and tell you how it goes. I have always made my own fresh sour - 3:1 fresh lemon to lime juice, a third demerara by volume and egg white (usually one or two depending on the batch). I guess that qualifies as my answer.
  13. Well, thinking of the Rathbone Sour has me going in a couple of directions. Basil Rathbone played Sherlocke Holmes on the silver screen, but I can't recall any particular choice of libation, content with his pipe. Don't think that it involves the herb basil because of its flavor profile and really don't see it flavoring gin here, in a smash or an infusion. I heard of basil mojitos a few years back in disbelief, but being something of a curious sort, gave it a shot and will be the first one to admit that it had to be an April's Fools Day joke. I am thinking that it is a mention to his name, referring to a bourbon sour using Basil Hadyn's. I just finished my bottle of Baker's, but that seems fitting due to Baker Street and the Sherlocke Holmes connection. Do you want proportions, fatdeko?
  14. Jack Rose

    Buffalo Wings

    Nice run-through on the preparation of buffalo wings pork - the pictures really drove the points home. I make buffalo wings the virtually the same way, save with really drying the disjointed wings well with towels and shaking in a bag of seasoned flour (Ziploc, flour, salt, fresh white pepper, touch of cayenne). Other than that our recipes are the same and I have never been to Buffalo, just learned that way years ago. Liked seeing the baking rack method for bringing them to a party. I am the same way and have only made them right on the spot in small batches - usually keep the party on the small side and do single batches for each person. One quick question, do you ever have a problem with the wing sauce breaking or seperating once the wings are coated. Considering it is just melted butter and Frank's (I usually add a touch of Tabasco for a little more heat depending on preference) - the taste is great but when the wings come out of the oil, it seems the heat will "break" the coating sauce a bit - if wings are left uneaten, the sauce is seperated at he bottom of the bowl or serving plate after a while. Not that big a deal considering there is not often even one straggler left behind. I have close to the identical blue cheese sauce recipe, but think that the kind of blue cheese does make a difference - there are some poor commercial products and have been disappointed with the lack of flavor in a few and the "crumbles" purchased by other would-be shoppers in attempt to make things easier. A locally-made blue cheese(s) in New England is Great Hill Blue (also there is a Berkshire Blue, a good second option) which are in the same league as a Maytag.
  15. Anyone hear about the break-in at Fore Street? There was a blurb in today's Press Herald, saying that the robbery involved taking out the entire floor safe - guess they didn't have the key! What's the odds it is an inside job? Anyway, Portlanders and anyone in the surrounding areas, please take a second to post in the 'Cocktails in Portland' topic. I am trying to get some good feedback and maybe some suggestions. If not, just to laugh a bit. Please stick to the general vicinity. It is great to find out about a spot in Boston or Vancouver, but I would tend to care more about what's in the neighborhood.
  16. I have heard positive things about drinks at Katahdin and thanks for the reminder. Evidently, the bartender is named Winnifred Moody and is also the manager/part-owner. She has been doing it for years for the restaurant opened in 1991, although I am not sure she has been there the whole span. I know that cocktails served "up" are served with the remainder in a small iced carafe next to your drink - a nice touch and one that has been used in serious cocktail bars and hotels for a number of years. I have to get in there and sample the goods for it is located less than a five minute walk from my house in the West End. I always that their menu was a bit "kitsch-y" and a little too home-spun. At least for me, does one really need to go to a restaurant for salmon with asparagus and rice pilaf - cannot this just as easily be prepared at home with a quick stop at the local grocery store before hand. Yet, a huge section of customers dine out in lieu of cooking and may want simplified fare. Katahdin seems like it has a loyal group of regulars and always has some tables full, no matter the day or the weather when I pass by (realize we are in the middle of winter, albeit a mild one at that). Although, I heard that the food was uneven and a bit overpriced, I should try it and draw my own conclusions.
  17. I just took at a gander at the Booze Brothers website and listing, having never heard of it before. I realize that the business is out of Hong Kong but their prices are so absurd that it is humorous. Kind of like bottle prices for "table service" at a nightclub in South Beach. Angostura Bitters is $169 for a six-ounce bottle.
  18. After working in restaurants for over fifteen years now, once a server and bartender, and now having worked as a chef close to ten years now - I feel that I can elaborate on this policy. By and large, all restaurants should and likely have the means to print up menus for their daily specials. My preferred approach is to have them as an insert to the normal menu, which the server may mention and discuss them as he or she sees fit. More casual establishments may use a dry-erase or chalk-board to list the specials, opting to use this approach and likely to save money on paper (ink, etc.) probably because of size and orientation of the dining areas. Along with descriptions of the specials are prices, clearly stated, whether on printed paper or kisted on a type of board. The approach of verbally relating the specials seems to be becoming obsolete, mostly due to the long-winded discourse of multiple options and an increasingly more knowledgable consumer. Prices should be recited at the same time. The old bait and switch practice of charging a sigficant higher price than the normal menu is still out there and will likely be attempted as many times as a greedy restauranteur can get away with it. If main courses are between $17-25 and a unpriced bass special for the night is $28 on the check, know that you likely have been had. I have even been privy to owners or managers directly telling the waitstaff not to tell customers the prices unless directly asked and then to tip toe around giving away. It's not a big secret, unless you are a rube and easily conned. This happens quite often in smaller, independant restaurants where the check is hand written and a POS system is not in place. To play devils advocate here, not every time is the fault of the management for I have witnessed servers take it on their own to conveniently forget to include prices when reciting the daily specials. Not to impugn waitstaff here, but it is not that uncommon to have added sides and plates to larger tables of diners, expressly put there in hopes that it goes unnoticed and gets paid for - why? you ask, well the check and subsequent tip is larger and savvy, somewhat unscrupulous servers can later send in an order to the kitchen with a "don't make" modifier prior to a check being printed out and then have their manager take it off the check citing a mistake and showing the "don't make" - where as the items often get overlooked and paid for and straight into one's pocket. While we're at it, check your credit card bills for it is a common trick to run your credit card bill twice - you wouldn't believe how often this occurs with restaurants and bars getting away with it because a diner did not go over the bill carefully enough. Just know that there are these types of people out there and it occurs much more frequently than you would expect. Not being a nay-sayer here just putting it out there for those who look through the world with rose-colored glasses.
  19. Tanqueray 10 has a lot more citrus notes than the flagship brand. Really mixes well with other fresh citrus juices. Great in a rickey or a gimlet (although the classic recipe for the latter calls for only Rose's cordial, I use 50/50 with fresh lime juice and rim the glass with a lime zest sugar, since there is less overall sweetness with the substitution). Also great mixed with a mixture of citrus, in a long drink or "cooler" with grapefruit, orange, and lime juices. Great with fresh raspberries (muddled) and lemon juice as well. I think it is too citrus-"y" for a Pink Gin, as suggested above, but that is just my taste, preferring the classic Plymouth for that. Nothing is sacred, but its softer gin feeler goes great with the Angostura bitters and is the reason it is a classic cocktail.
  20. Thanks for the correction regarding "gluten" with regards to potatoes. I used the wrong word. This is why coeliac suffers substitute potato starch because of their gluten allergies. The information is otherwise accurate, omitting the word.
  21. I have seen both the Sortilege and the Amber, Macallan maple-scotch blend at bottle shops here in Maine and New Hampshire. Have not tried either but think that maple is such a wonderful flavor and love to use it in cooking. Vanilla and maple really coexist well, so maybe someone should try a cocktail or devise a recipe using both.
  22. Thanks for the mention of No. 9 Park, but trying to stay a little bit more local. I worked in Boston for two years as a chef and used to take drinks and grab dinner at the bar there whenever I actually got the night off - and would sometimes chat with Barbara. It is good to see that the restaurant has evolved and the drinks are on the level of the food. This was back in 2001 and none of the three mixologists you mentioned were working there at the time. A lot changes in five years though, looks like for the best.
  23. Salting water for "boiling" potatoes certainly does make a difference. It think it is a question of how much salt to use. Potatoes are a starch and much like grains, pasta, and rice they take in a large amount of salt before the flavor is accentuated. Try using more salt in the water. Also, you don't ever really want to "boil" potatoes, meaning a hard, rolling boil on high heat for this causes the gluten in the starch network to activate and results in a heavy, sticky end product. Although it takes longer to cook, lower the heat and compare the results. Leaving the skin on potatoes when cooking in water almost completely inhibits salt absorption, meaning that the water was below boiling and potatoes stay relatively intact and not bursting. If making a mash or puree, a good method is to heat your cream or dairy mixture (and butter) in a separate pan so it won't cool the potatoes and dissolving salt in that mixture, if you want to keep the skins on for a more rustic preparation. Brining potatoes does in fact work, but again it is a higher concentration of salt and a longer time period. This works best for cut potatoes for french fries, especially if they are being held previously cut and being held before daily blanching/frying in a restaurant setting. Large-scale franchises and fast-food vendors have factories (commissaries) that peel, cut, "brine" (also treated with other chemicals to resist oxidation), pre-cook, and then blast-freeze the fries. The end user (fry cook) has to just open a bag, put them in a basket, and set a timer - automated and hopefully idiot-proof in order to serve customers the same French Fries at all their varied franchisees.
  24. The comment about the "Old Port Chisel" had me laughing for most of yesterday morning. Playing in the Cribbage Tournament last night, I was able to observe it in action again, were talking two quick pumps with the end of the spoon and about a second and a half max. I saw it with my own eyes three times throughout the night. I wholeheartedly agree that it is almost at the point of not ordering a cocktail when out at bars. The bar has been set so low and the vast majority of those who are working behind the bar are utterly incompetent (I refuse to use the word barman or mixologist), why bother anymore. In the past few months, I have been told that they had never heard of a Manhattan, persisted with they didn't have the ingredients. Pleasantly, I told them that I would walk them through and they could learn a drink in the process - after which I was handed a drink list and told that these were all they could make. For sake of propriety here, I am not listing the establishment. A second episode at a hotel bar in downtown Portland, had me receiving Seagram's 7 and some odd well sweet vermouth and a splash of maraschino cherry juice (talking, poured out of the removed container of a condiment caddy and held back the cherries with fingers). No questions asked, no mention of bitters, and as the drink sat there untouched for twenty minutes while waiting for a companion to finish. Incredulously, presented with the check for over twenty dollars and never a mention of the untouched drink. Not willing to make a scene, I paid and left. I am not trying to ridicule here, just relating an incident and why likely beer is so poplar here in Portland.
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