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Jack Rose

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Everything posted by Jack Rose

  1. Chris, this is one of the newer restaurants that you mentioned and unfortunate to hear about its lack of decorum or service. Admittingly, I have never been there or experienced Red Stripe myself, but truly am not surprised by this. You can change the name, location, and city but the formula still fits. When are restauranteurs going to understand that a postive, pleasant, and welcoming demeanor will take one much further and garnish more success than the more common and ubiquitous sneer of disdain and rudeness. Even if a hot new restaurant packs them in night after night, a city's populace will eventually catch on and word of mouth spreads. Horrible service and attitude will keep customers away, even if the food is exemplary. At first I was excited to hear that about the Red Stripe and had considered checking it out next time I am down in Providence, now I am not so sure.
  2. I know a couple of us have discussed this in person to a certain degree, but looking for some more feedback and suggestions. Where does one go in the greater Portland area for a properly made cocktail? Any specalities or house drinks worth mentioning? So and so at (Bristol Lounge, ex.) makes a great Negroni variation. I have tried Una without much success. Seemed popular but I think that attitude was more important than anything being mixed. Bartender(s) didn't have or understand the need to use fresh citrus juice. A raised eyebrow and sigh, combined with a maybe I can go squeeze some for you when I get some time. Also, what I have noticed is almost a comical "quick shake" w/ the Boston set-up in a few popular Old Port establishments. Literally, one short vertical motion and then a poured out the contents of the latest fruity vodkatini of the moment. That wouldn't even remain cold in two minutes or take in any water component from the shaking. Beats me, but it looks like the barman/barwoman are putting more effort into smoking cigarettes outside or talking on their cellphone. By all means, you can do both as long as you like when you are off work, not when there is a bar three-deep of thirsty patrons trying to give you their hard-earned money. A little more effort would be appreciated and discard the nonchalance.
  3. DiSaranno is a liqueur made from the maceration of apricot kernels, or pits. Apricot kernels are also ground into a paste which is used as a substitue for marizpan in baking, because of the similar flavor profile. Which interestingly enough contain trace amounts of cyanide, which evidently is not passed into the liqueur.
  4. Previous posters had some entertaining answers but not exactly solving your dilemma. A liter is 33.812 ounces, which is larger than a quart by close to two ounces. A quart is one-fourth of a gallon, being 32 ounces here. The 8/7 ratio solves nothing besides showing what 1.14xx is, for 1.14 L is actually 38.628 ounces. Also there seems to be confusion on to what constitutes a "fifth" for the average person. It is not a 750ml that is the most popular size sold in liquor shops and package stores - but that is the general consensus. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this from bartenders and other spirit professionals, even winning a wager with a package store owner of thirty plus years. A "fifth" is simply as its named suggests 1/5 of a liter, 200 ml. The smaller bottles generally sold behind the counter, away from prying hands. Sometimes unfortunately called "bum" bottles because of the customer profile who commonly buys this size for its easy portability and it wraps easily in that tell-tale brown paper bag. Well, my ramblings have not really answered your initial question but my curiosity is peaked. I have never seen that bottle size in the Caribbean, but only been down four times and I generally stick to duty-free because of the substantial savings. Good luck!
  5. I would definitely suggested the Guyot (a blue-ish red label with L'Hertier Guyot at base) for it is available here in the U.S. - it is imported by Kobrand (or) the Marie Brizzard. I would enthusiastically promote Marie Brizard for any and every cordial used at a cocktail bar. Their products are really above and beyond what else is distributed (Dekuyper, Arrow, etc.), hence being twice as expensive. But truly worth it, considering liqueurs and cordials are used much more sparingly than base spirit. I tried approximating "crème" by lengthing a non-alcoholic cassis syrup ("sirop") that I purchased in France and brought back, made by Tesseire. Doesn't come close to either of the aforementioned brands. Even separated out after sitting in a bottle. I just used premium vodka, but was not happy with the results.
  6. Eric- Knowing that California is one of the few, if not only states that allows mail-ordering spirits, why not order Pitù from operations in New York. Recommended brands include Pirapora and Mãe de Ouro. I advise to steer clear of Pitù, for it is overly harsh and still has noticeable bitterness when mixed in caipirinhas or batidas. Pirassunga "51" and Ypioca are good, middle of the road offerings that can be used if needed. Once obtained, try out a Melzinho which is pinga (another more common name for the spirit in Brazil) mixed with honey. I lenthen the honey with spring water (2:1 on average, but it depends on the honey), so that it is pourable and dissolves in a shaker. I have seen honey syrups used in Europe and it is known as "runny honey" in the UK, which I have seen for the last 7 or 8 years at cocktail bars in London. Dale DeGroff also has a recipe for an Absolut Aphrodisiac in 'Craft', which is equal parts Grand Marnier and cachaça. As for Maine, I am not even sure if anything is sold outside of the Pitù, so I am a bit jealous of your options.
  7. Jack Rose

    Gilt

    It is remarkable how many postings and comments have been made about Gilt, considering it has been open only a month and a half now. Whether it is plaudits or criticisms, it is refreshing to see so much feed-back. I have only read the Bruni article in the NY Times and the threads in this forum, but wanted to remark. Firstly, from the photos the Villiard House looks amazing and it is quite a startling transformation from the previous Le Cirque 2000. I worked as a chef there for close to two years, leaving after New Year's 2000 and with the departure of Sottha Khunn and Jacque Torres. Curiously, who paid for the multi-million dollar renovation and outfitting. Although it was never expressly stated, the Maccioni family certainly did not foot the bill for the 7 million dollars+ transformation in 1997. I could only imagine how these dealings work, but the Palace and conversely its owner the Sultan of Brunei evidently paid the vast majority if not all of that cost. Anyone privy to a similar set-up with Gilt? I also read that there are now only fifteen tables and seating for approximately forty in the converted "Red Room" that was officially known as the Villiard Room that led to the barely open kitchen. What became of the front "Purple Room" that faced Madison Avenue. As far as price goes and the stellar costs, I think it boils down to relative value for an individual customer. Obviously it is very, very expensive but it is a matter of it being worth the experience to the diner. Le Cirque 2000 was definitely one of the most expensive restaurants of its era, mostly due to its menu being "a la carte" and a substantial mark-up on wine and spirits. I question the oft-mentioned 92 people in the kitchen. We had a staff of seventy-four in the same space and that was pushing it. With the two room, Le Cirque had around 140 seats depending on table orientation and a significant banqueting operation for the upstairs facilities of the Palace. Twice as much output if not more, plus Le Cirque was union - Local 6 meaning that there were numerous support staff included. Thirty or forty of the staff were included in this number, janitorial, dishwashers, stewards, receivers. We had several employees that visibly did close to no work - either sitting at a desk or sweeping the same serviec entrance stairs every two to three hours. Knowing the premises, I cannot see how this number is even close to theoretically possible - more of a public relations twist put out there to justify inflated prices.
  8. Alright, it seems the last bit of thread and the argument about licenses in the old Port should be stuffed somewhere else other than this forum - realized it this morning after a good night's sleep. One of the things that surprises me about Portland is the relatively lack of restaurants specializing or even focusing on fish cookery. Given the proximity of the Casco Bay, especially considering that I walk or run by it every day has me wondering why? A question I pose to those with more tenure here in Portland, what restaurants are known for fish? Hopefully, for the sake of discussion here, one can omit the floating barge and the glut of wharf standards that crank out food-service quality to teeming hordes of tourists. I am more interested in creative, inspired quality dishes emphasizing fresh, local product. For example, Bangs Island Mussels roasted in garlic and almond butter (Fore Street) the aforementioned Codfish tasting plate served at Hugo's
  9. Now that were on to Councillor Gorham's crusade, I will throw my ten cents in. The approved legislation reduces the number of full spirits licenses in the delimitated Old Port from 27 to 22, the current existing number. On paper, this equates to having no new permits for future businesses and new establishments. i think that the Commission are slowly taking the high road to a mass gentrification of the Old Port - by not allowing any more bars and night clubs to open in the future. From what I have read and heard, Portland's leaders would prefer upscale retailers and boutiques to replace the seedy nightclubs that abound on the Union end of Wharf and Fore Streets. What issues will arise in the future? Now that there are no more unclaimed licenses, the price of buying an exisiting one (assuming that the permits are transferable in Maine and not specific to a location, for thats how most other states operate) will increase dramatically. Five years ago, a full spirits license was over $50,000 for the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston along the Newbury Street and Bolyston Avenue corridors. There were only so many and this extreme cost would be a huge obstacle to overcome for those looking to open a new establishment - this is in addition to huge operating costs and insurances. Portland and the Old Port need to re-examine what types of establishment foster the dangerous and undesired environment that the commissioners and average citizen are so fearful of. Everyone in my peer group and person that I know sees it plain as day and makes it a point not to patronize these establishments. But go out on a Saturday night and see that there is no shortage of willing participants, many underage and visibly intoxicated. Reducing the number of permits or even pushing back the hours of operation to a later last call, will not curb this behavior or chaos.
  10. Now I feel like an a-s-s, for Jon even gave me his business card. I cannot still wrap my head around why I called him Dave. I gave him a great Campari-based drink recipe for a Teresa, that mellows some of its bitterness with cassis and fresh lime juice. Don't worry, Campari's unique flavor doesn't get trumped but melds well for a play on sweet and sour. He also mentioned Bar of Chocolate which I need to check out. I hadn't realized it was even there, for I thought that end of Wharf Street was all dance clubs and the like.
  11. I am glad to see that L'Os et Moelle is still performing admirably. When I lived in paris, 1996-1999, it was one of my favorite spots. It was always one of the best values for the money and interesting to find out that Thierry has opened a bar à vins across the way. Its location (being in a quiet residential end of the 15th has always kept it more low profile, but the food is consistently great and there are always intriguing pairings. This is where I first had the opportunity to taste cervelles de veau. I love the blackboard menu and the format of soup, small middle course (often fish), then plat principal followed by dessert. The four of five times I visited, the only choice to be was for dessert and I am glad to see that there are more options now, but was never disappointed. Bon app!
  12. What's not closing these days? The winter doldrums is tough on restaurants and food shops, but it sure seems exacerbated in greater Portland. There are several websites still up and running with reviews of Aubergine, Rachel's Wood Grill, Meritage Wine Bar - I still learning that these places have closed over the last couple of years and trying to sort out what's left. Esme, I just recently met your boyfriend Dave over at the Clown. Small town as I am learning. We talked about how underappreciated some Italian amaro is here in Maine, specifically Campari and Cynar. First time in the shop and think that its great. I will head over to the tasting this coming Thursday.
  13. I know it's a little early in the year, but this great weather outside has me inspired. I cannot wait to grill over a wood fire in the spring. Cooking littlenecks on the edge of the grill until they open - a quick brushing of herb and garlic butter and a drizzle of chorizo oil and there you have a great finger food while you wait for the remainder of dinner to finish cooking.
  14. Agreed, it's a total shame that the fishermen cannot find a market for Maine Shrimp. Being new to Maine, I had only heard of them a few times and read a brief mention of them in the N.Y. Times a couple years back. In my opinion, Tiger Shrimp are overwhelmingly bland and would hardly ever consider cooking with them. Have you ever tried to make a stock with the shells? Don't bother, for there is no flavor and the remainder is pretty much tinted water. The average American is so used to a larger, uniform size due to the popularity of shrimp cocktail and "shrimp scampi" style pasta dishes, that they overlook Maine shrimp - likely due to being whole and shell-on and probably don't even notice the substantially lower cost. As I related in an earlier post, 5# was incredibly cheap and was the source of three meals last weekend. I have a catering job in February and will definitely be spotlighting Maine seafood and showing off these beauties.
  15. Wow, I had heard about Whole Foods coming in next year but assuming control of the Whole Grocer in the meanwhile is interesting. I doubt most of their hippy clientel would notice in the haze they usually walk around in. I think for Portland in general, the competition and selection is good with both outlets and maybe we will see lower prices! I heard that Trader Joe's is working on finalizing on building a store in that area as well. The Public Market is looking a bit sad of late and is often close to empty. I don't know how half of the tenants survive. As an note of interest, the Market is planning Friday "happy hours" starting at five and offering free tastings. I heard about it and picked up a flyer from Hortons, which is offering a cheese sampler plate for $5 at that time. Also, they have reduced the prices on locally-produced State of Maine-made cheeses. Maybe, from my suggestion that their prices were too high. The manager had a rejoinder that the higher Euro was the main reason and it drove up the cost of imported cheeses. My logic of offering farmstand cheeses from ME and the rest of New England must have made an impression.
  16. One must understand the learning curve and the indoctrination of reviving classic cocktails. The people that live in the North Shore of Massachusetts (might as well include the rest of New England as well) surely will think that they are "cosmopolitan" or hip, but the fact of the matter is there is a uniformity of simple tastes and trends. Overly sweet vodka-based "martinis" (which one can include the aforementioned Cosmo) have been all the rage for the last decade and still growing as small town America and suburbia (read: Beverly with Monserrat Art School and upper middle class commuters to Boston) warms up to what they have heard is the popular thing to do. I disagree with the concept of trying to disguise gin as juniper-infused vodka, although something similar worked for Heublein to initially introduce Smirnoff Vodka to the American audience as "white whisky". Give credit to consumers, although surely some do not deserve it, make it a focus for you and your staff to talk with the patrons and introduce them to classic cocktails. Instead of the perfunctory walk-over and bar-nap slide, greet them with a warm welcome. Ask them if you would be able to mix them one of your signature cocktails as a taster. These classic cocktails (Aviations, Corpse Reviver No. 2, Between the Sheets) all are incredible if made correctly and with quality ingredients. You just have to get a customer to take a sip, even if it is complimentary 1 ounce portions for two new customers. Take baby steps and realize that just writing your new-fangled favorite out of the Stork Club Cocktail book on a drink list, will not make it any more likely to sell to an uninitiated twenty-something weened on Flirtinis and Chocolate Martinis, or whatever they are calling them this week.
  17. Just purchased and cooked 4# Maine Shrimp last night, for the first time. Kind of played around with them and tried a couple differenet preparations. I bought whole at Free Range for $1.20/# and can confirm that there has been a glut on the market. Evidently there are large amounts out there in the ocean and not enough demand to drive a high enough price to make it worthwhile to fish. The note about the shrimp being dumped on the beach has me scratching my head in disbelief and I was told that more likely the catch would just be frozen for later sale or foodservice usage. Anyway, with the largest whole shrip (2" length or more), I rinsed and deberried the eggs, then I quickly panned them as one would for Gambas al Ajillo with Spanish olive oil, chopped garlic, and finished with sea salt, Sarawak white pepper, and smoked paprika. Really great flavor and retention of juices, plus it took the least amount of time and work. I deshelled the remainder (2 1/2#) and poached them in a light Thai coconut curry sauce with lemongrass, citrus, palm sugar, nam pla, and sesame oil (with the last being non-traditional for Thailand but really adds a nice flavor profile. Served with basmati rice. Overall, less happy with the results although it was well-made and flavored. Moreso, I felt that the fourty minutes of deshelling was not reciprocated in that the shrimp's delicate flavore and sweetness were muted. I made a shrimp stock with the shells and heads for I will make a shrimp risotto for dinner tonight with caramelized leeks. Unlike tiger or white shrimp, the Maine shrimp produces a rather unattractive grey-colored stock from the eggs they are carrying. Tomato product and saffron in the simmering stock solved that issue. Overall, great results and looking forward to having Maine shrimp later on in the week again. Anyone out there know what the window is for availability for fresh shrimp, under normal circumstances and a normal year? I am guessing that these are not at the market in the spring and fall.
  18. Thanks for the recommendation. I assume that south of the city means Boston? I always thought it was great that the New Bedford / Buzzard's Bay area was great due to its Portugues heritage and its wonderful mix of cultures. I have never added linguiça to steamers, but imagine the mingling of the flavors works great. As johnnyd surely could attest to, Portugal has traditionally marries pork and shellfish with great success.
  19. Jack Rose

    Skate

    Supposedly. I have never seen it with my own eyes but have heard it often and even read about it. From what I here, it is relatively common practice in the UK and I am curious if the fishmongers are forthcoming or up front about it. Knowing all about "wet" or "dipped" scallops (treated with tripolyphosphate to absorb more water and add to its weight), I would tend to doubt it. Unless the skate caught is of a really large size, the punched out rounds would still be quite thin and really do not look much like scallops, so I had always wondered about it myself.
  20. Sam, those are some great pictures. I noticed the bottle of Laird's Bonded, where did you get your hands on that. Audrey mentioned that it is not distributed in NYC and definitely in New England. I have been on the lookout for the past year. I have been told that it is a remarkable product and that the prolonged aging really makes an incredible difference. For my taste, applejack is very mellow and incredibly mixable already in its current state. Combined with the bargain price, it is hard to find a better overall value.
  21. I am not sure there are many options at this time of year - as far as the CT shoreline goes, pretty much all of the "lobster shack" type places would be open from Memorial Day to Labor Day w/ a few weeks on each side depending on the weather. Plus, I am not too sure that there are many places left that serve the rolls CT-style with butter. http://merecat.org/food/dining/connecticut.html I have not figured out how to actually attach an active link yet, but the above was the best reference I found.
  22. Well I think it can be surmised that the best overall preparation is to purge them with the cornmeal in cold sea water. Drain and quickly steam the soft-shell ("pisser") clams w/ fresh boiling sea water using the rockweed as a effective base. That remainder of liquid is served as the accompanying broth for dipping. For my taste, the quality of the butter is equally important and it really makes a difference in any method of cooking, but especially here. Knowing the restaurant industry, I would guess that many mid-level establishments serve simply melted blended butter. For the unintiated (I certainly had never heard of it prior to moving to Maine), it is a 20-30% butter blend with the remainder being margarine or hydrogenated, emulsified oils. Reason: half the price. Sysco and other large scale purveyors (Northcenter, US Foods) sell nearly four times as much compared to butter. Not that their respective butter(s) are any great shakes or any better than mediocre quality, but at least one knows what it is. All for what amounts to several cents in restaurant owners pocket.
  23. Anyone hear about Walter's flooding? Evidently, upstairs apartments and/or business had water problems and it has all come down to the restaurant. I just heard it and that it would be closed for a couple of weeks.
  24. Jack Rose

    Skate

    Wow, I just spent the past hour sifting through the five pages of threads. Everyone offers up opinions and who knows where half of these came from. I think that there is a bit of confusion over the smell and what constitutes fresh skate. First off, although there are several types of skate with five types alone in the Gulf of Maine, ray and skate are two names for the same fish - whether that be in French (raie), Spanish (raya), Italian (razza), German (rochen), or English. I have been luckily enough to work with skate that was brought to the restaurant (in Brittany), still breathing and caught an hour before. At those times, we actually waited several hours before fabricating for the rigor mortis to end and teh muscles to relax (stuck in odd flexed positions). Much like trout, skate has mucilaginous skin and this is actually secreted for a good part of the day after the fish has expired. All fish have a thin layer of mucus on their bodies, but these types of fish produce a great deal more to compensate for the lack of scales. I saw a reference to ten hours, which could be accurate. This secretion has a faint odor to it but it is definitely not what I could compare to an ammoniated scent of fish that is rancid or "off". Anatomically, I know and have read that skate exude urea through pores which does convert to ammonia after death. and there is other websites that can give you the specifics on the biological functions and rareness of this, maybe even if skate menstruates. But as far as the debate on whether it should smell ammoniated, the answer is no, but this is a bit complicated. Rays (and sharks), if improperly handled I think some of this confusion arises from the translation from the original French of the Larousse guide. Also, because urine is ammonia-based and decomposition (breakdown of organic matter, or rot) releases ammonia compounds(NH3) and hydrogen sulfide (HS) compounds that are quite odorous and signify when fish has spoiled. One thing that I can definitely say for certain is to avoid frozen skate, or frozen fish entirely for that matter. Once frozen, the actual process of thawing destroys the cellular structure of the respresentative fish - this ruins the texture.
  25. Sorry for the delay in replying. I unfortunately do not know New Hampshire very well, though hear that Portsmouth is really on the upswing and think it is charming. My knowledge extends from Connecticut to Massachusetts (Boston) up to Maine. Check out Rickman's recent article from GQ with the Top 20 burgers in America. I have not the travel miles nor the expense account to compete with him, but think that Le Tub is off-base. I lived only fifteen minutes from there and quickly realized that the hype and mystique were not well-deserved.
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