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Everything posted by MikeM

  1. Minneapolis, Minnesota - All of the items listed are readily available from the grocery or speciality markets.
  2. Regarding Jamie's comment - obviously she can have an opinion regarding Ripert's food. I think it's more in the context of the forum that she said it in. Hey - I respect people who don't feel the need to kiss a little ass to get ahead. But it doesn't always hurt either. My point - Jamie's on Top Chef NOT because she was a well known chef, but rather because she WANTS to be a well known chef. I certainly don't think doors are slamming on her - but it certainly doesn't help her cause to make that comment KNOWING it will be published on national television.
  3. Actually, more like KFC's popcorn chicken. Fantastically yummy! Eating a perfectly prepared sweetbread for the first time was one of the best food revelations I've had in my life!
  4. Stan - I apologize for immediately jumping on you as a result of your post. It just seemed to me that your post was more about stereotyping midwesterns than about the food or the economy. It's a soft-spot issue for me.
  5. We went to Restaurant Alma again last night with friends. Wow! Every time I dine at this place the food is consistently fantastic. Anyone else been there lately?
  6. Sorry you had a bad experience - believe me, I grew up in NW Iowa/Nebraska and it is highly unusual to receive a "lean" prime rib. Further, most people in this area of the country do not need to be educated regarding the virtues of fat marbling in beef. I'm responding to your post because I'm just curious - what would have been the appropriate way for the server to address your table? Would it have been better for her NOT to ask how your meal was? I don't get it. Also, what type of service were you expecting? I'm guessing this wasn't a "white table cloth" establishment. Finally, what do you believe the restaurant should have done in response to your experience?
  7. David - I posted a number of restaurants above. However, looking back at your post I would highly recommend these two restaurants: Heartland (www.heartlandrestaurant.com) Alma (www.restaurantalma.com) Both are into the slow food movement. Both chefs are true craftsmen, at all times attempting to use local ingredients whenever possible. The food is not overplated, and is quite simple, yet absolutely fantastic. I hope you enjoy the Twin Cities!
  8. What is the relation? ← Same chef, I believe, but of the two, my wife and I enjoyed Cue much more. The space is amazing, on the river, etc., and the seasonal food not too shabby either. Heartland is good for being close to Izzy's ice cream. ← Prior to Cue, Lenny Russo was the executive chef and owner of Heartland. In or about 2006, Cue hired Russo as its executive chef while Russo's wife managed Heartland. (I believe Russo's sous chef also took over the Heartland kitchen) However, after only one year, Russo left Cue and returned to Heartland. I do not believe Russo has any ties to Cue at this time. Needless to say, since Russo's departure, the food at Cue has significantly declined and I would not recommend the same.
  9. If your looking for moderately priced slow food and/or bistro type restaurants: Corner Table Alma Broders Craftsman Lucias Heidi's 112 Eatery Asian restaurants: Little Szechuan Tea House
  10. I tend to feel a little sorry for Bourdain ... he began his television career making a name for himself eating wildly crazy food (i.e., still beating cobra heart etc). Now people expect Tony to eat this stuff. It seems to me like he's trying to get beyond this, but unfortunately I don't think he can escape the label. Maybe the Vancouver episode is more Bourdain than many of his fans would like to believe. If you look at his reaction to eating Tojo's sushi - looked to me like Bourdain was certainly enjoying himself. Of course, I don't know him - so everything I said above is likely BS... Wait - who the hell can feel sorry for someone who has a job like Bourdains? OK - so everything I just said above is completely BS!
  11. I understand your disappointment, I'm sure the show barely touched the tip of the iceberg regarding Vancouver. It seems like almost everyone has that reaction when No Reservations covers their city. I can remember the Seattle episode sparked similar disappointment among the locals. However, I was scouring the internet the following day to plan a trip to Vancouver. I guess the episode worked for me!
  12. I completely agree - the Vancouver episode was great!
  13. Anyone dined here lately? If so please let me know your thoughts.
  14. MikeM

    Fresh Pork jowl/cheek

    I agree that a slow braise is the way to go. However, I grew up with my grandmother making pig cheeks on a regular basis. She actually cut the cheeks into cutlets and then seasoned them with salt and pepper, floured the cutlets and then pan fried them. Once finished she made a pan gravy from the rendered fat - believe me there was plenty of pork fatty goodness. She called them "pork cutlets" and I had no clue they were actually pig cheeks until I was a teenager. The cheeks were "chewey" but in my opinion it didn't matter b/c the flavor was outstanding.
  15. Wow - that is a pretty big allegation. Although I'm not nieve to the "hidden" agendas relating to reality television, I have a hard time believing 3 chefs (who essentially make their living off of reputation) would vote for another chef based on contract. Even taking this theory into account Symon won this contest based on record alone: Week 2- Simplicity Challenge (2 challenges in first episode) Week 3 - Resourcefulness Challenge Week 4 - Create Under Pressure Challenge Besh's only win was the artistry challenge in Week 1. In Week 5 they did not crown a winner - only a loser.
  16. OMG moosnsqrl, so I wasn't the only one at home squirming and feeling somewhat uncomfortable when she was pontificating on what is and is not Iron Chef caliber food!? Yeah, that was too funny. Though, in her defense, I think she has improved as time goes on. Back to the secret ingredient, my take on it was that swordfish is a pretty unforgiving fish and real easy to dry out and screw up, so maybe that's why it was selected? Would've been more interesting if they were given an array of fish/shellfish we don't see on a regular basis in the States maybe. Congrats to both Symon and Besh. I think the best two made it to the end. Can't wait to see what Symon cooks up in Kitchen Stadium. ← Completely agree with both of you - I was cringing at Cora's comments. However, I knew Symon was going to win after looking at Flay's response to eating Symon's Swordfish collar. It looked like Flay needed a moment alone after that one.
  17. I quite like the show. I will admit the editing is a little much, and I would like more disucssion from the judges. However, finally we get a show that is more about food than drama. Further, considering this is a Food Network production, I'm actually relieved ...think about it ... Rachel Ray could have been a judge
  18. I went to Frontera Grill last night, and the food was great. I was also very surprised to see Rick Bayless walking around the FOH.
  19. Honestly, my wife and I were seriously thinking that we should blow them off for an evening. BUT I just found out I will be in Chicago in early June. No worries - ALINEA HERE I COME.
  20. I'm headed to Chicago as well this weekend for my best friends 30th B-day bash. I lobbied 3 months sraight for Alinea, but several of my friends within the group refused. All is well. OK, maybe not. But I'm dealing with it. I guess we are going for a more causual evening and have reservations at Fronterra Grill. No complaints. I've never been to FG and have heard some fantastic praise regarding the same.
  21. I will disclose up front that I'm from the Twin Cities and Zimmern is a food critic for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine. I enjoy his reviews - and I personally think he has done a tremendous job promoting the Twin Cities' restaurant scene. Presently, I dislike the show. For me, the bizarre food concept tires quickly. But I have to think the concept of the show was created by the Travel Network rather than Zimmern. Of course, I could be wrong. I honestly think that this show was simply a chance for Zimmern to "cut his teeth" on national television. Further - don't you think that Bourdain's fame began when he was filming episodes, which seemed to focus on obscure foods? Would this be an issue if a thinner, more handsome individual was hosting the show? Would the concept of the show be an issue of Bourdain was hosting?
  22. Did anyone else think that Ilan came off extremely arrogant in the March issue of Food & Wine?
  23. We took my mother-in-law out to Oceanaire for her birthday on Saturday night. The food was great. We were all very pleased with our selections. I have never had a problem with the quality of Oceanaire's food. However, I am concerned about Oceanaire's service. First, we were not seated at our reservation time and waited over 30 minutes for a table. I guess this is better than my last visit in which we waited for our table 1 hour subsequent to our reservation time. Second, the restaurant seems to be a mad house. There was absolutely no where for us to wait for our table in the restaurant despite its large size. I estimate there were 50 people waiting outside the restaurant, 20 people waiting at in the entrance of the restaurant and the bar - well the bar was so packed I couldn't actually see a bar or the bartender or a drink for that matter. Third, we ordered a crabcake appetizer and a bowl of clam chowder. It seems that they forgot the apps because after waiting what seemed like 20 minutes or so, they served our apps and then 2 minutes later served our meals.(the server was extremely professional and comp'd our apps). In my opinion, this overall service is inexcusable at a restaurant like Oceanaire. I presume they overbook their reservations, but has anyone else experienced this? If so, does it bother you? (or am I just an impatient ass? )
  24. I'm not sure why my wife and I waited so long to try Alma. After all, we have heard its praises for quite some time. After our visit on Wednesday night, I don't think I can go another week without it. Alma is absolutely heartwarming! Pure, simple, creative ... at Alma the focus is entirely on the food. Lacking pretense, gimmickry or glamour I am delighted by this Twin Cities' gem and I hope to become a regular who can repeatedly partake in Alma's main ingredient: Soul. Marinated Hamachi Tartar - jalepeno, shallot, ponzu, crispy yam Bright, fresh and focused. The buttery rich hamachi, the wonderfully acidic ponzu, the (not too) spicy jalepeno and the sweet crispy yam danced on my tongue. What a tremendous start to the evening. Parsnip & Braised Duck Ravioli - foi gras sauce, thyme, vin catto I thought I was taking a complete "180" on my selection. However, I was pleasantly suprised. Suttle, sweet, savory - the dish just worked. The flavors melted together. Nothing was out of place. The ravioli were light, fluffy pillows filled with comfort. I found myself slowing down in order to savor each morsel. Braised Kobe Beef - port wine onions, caramelized cauliflower, black truffle oil Velvety smooth. This comfort dish transported me to my home in front of a crackling fire. I'll be honest. It was nothing that I haven't seen on a menu before. But once said meat touched my taste buds, predictability all but left the building. Chocolate Tasting - dark chocolate mousse, boca negra cake, chocolate truffle I am a chocoholic. My expectations are high. This desert was the low point of the evening - but it was good. The mousse was rich and creamy. The truffle was a chocolate explosion. The boca negra cake dry. (There was another component but I just can't remember what it was). Overall, the experience was tremendous. As I walked out Alma's door I couldn't help but think how many great meals I had missed. But I departed with a smile dreaming of more amazing meals to come.
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