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Posts posted by HVRobinson

  1. Okay, I'll bite. Last night my wife and another couple went to Vigilucci's in La Jolla. We've been to the one in Encinitas many times, and have have several good meals and some badly overpriced meals. Last night was an exceptional experience. The front of the house was attentive and accommodating without hovering. The specials were well thought out and beautifully presented. The caprese used a fantastic buffalo mozzarella on heirloom tomatoes with a fresh organic basil. My bride and the other couple all ordered one of the specials, a petite fillet to order with a single prawn and a single (huge) scallop presented on spinach and roast potato circles with a rich Bearnaise sauce. The plating was magnificent, the fillet was prepared exactly neither undercooked nor overcooked, and the entire dish was a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth. I ordered the paperdelle with scallops, mushrooms and a brandy cream reduction sauce. I received 3 scallops roughly the size of hockey pucks, but the consistency of butter -- beautifully seared and plated atop wide noodles with a well constructed sauce full of wonderful fresh mushrooms of many varieties. I shall return for this again.

    Because this was a birthday dinner we had a gift from our server (David)... he promised not to sing. We did have creme brulee and tiramisu as desserts. Both were well done, with the tiramisu not being too cloyingly sweet.

    The space is open and done in muted earth tones surrounding a tasteful center bar. This is upstairs in the former "Moondoggies" location. While we ate early on Saturday evening (6:00 reservations), by the time we left at 8:00 the tables were mostly full. Vigilucci's has a habit of bringing staff from one location to the next... so we recognized some of the maitre'd staff and some of the waitstaff from other locations. This evening we did not indulge from the wine list, but a cursory inspection showed a respectable (not deep, but respectable) cellar and prices that aren't out of line for San Diego.

    I plan on returning, at least once I find employment once again.

    Vigilucci’s Seafood, Steak & Chop House

    909 Prospect St. Suite 290

    La Jolla, CA 92037

    (858) 454-9664


  2. Sigh--- I haven't been on the forums since mid April and I get to open by putting my foot in my mouth. San Diego is not a terrible food city, but compared with the good food cities, it (plainly said) leaves much to be desired. There is good (but not excellent) food to be had here, but there are few true values. By that I don't mean that the food should be cheap. What I am saying is that for a $100 meal in San Diego you will get --at best-- an experience that rates "feh" on the food and ambience meter. For this same money you can have the experience of a lifetime in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Austin, New Orleans, Miami, Nashville, Houston, Boston, or... shall I go on? I have lived here for 5 1/2 years now. I've had limited money to spend on dining-- and realize that you can't eat like a Czar if you can't spend like a Czar. But IF you spend like a Tsar and get fed like a peasant... there's something wrong. There are easily two dozen places worthy of acclaim in this metro area. But I still contend that they would have a tough go of it in Manhattan or San Francisco, and the value for the dollar would probably leave them out of business in 6 months.

    Just my two cents.


    (and happy birthday to me.... nyah!) :raz:

  3. In 2008,

    I will eat more in line with my diabetic needs (heavy sigh).

    I will make smoked trout for brunch.

    I will find a butcher who will supply sweetbreads!

    I will learn how to do bread in a dutch oven when camping.

    I will teach my Lutheran wife what Kosher means (I should live so long....)

    I will read the proofs of my cookbook.


  4. Wow--- fair question. When I'm in production mode... short sleeves. When I'm frying long sleeves turned back two folds. When I'm doing grilling or hi-temp wok work- frequently long sleeve cotton tee shirts all the way down and soaking wet. When doing butchering.... I've been known to just wear an apron and old short pants. Go figgure. The real question is more along the lines of... what keeps you safe, comfortable and keeps the food from getting contaminated? One thing is sure... I don't wear a toque... it's a flame hankie/hat that's been bleached a couple thousand times.


  5. Cash only? No problem. My favorite BBQ place has a cash only policy too. I paid in loose pennies. They now will take my check. Actually, they'll take anybody's check. This brings up an interesting question... just how much cash do you carry? I will rarely have more than $40 to $50 in cash on me unless traveling by air. Even then I won't carry much more than $100. I carry ONE credit card and ONE debit card. I haven't had a problem I couldn't solve yet.

    hvr :raz:

  6. When it comes to baking ... that's black magik. You follow the incantations and do it EXACTLY as you're told or turn into a newt. For everything else... it's a lot like sex. There is no right way. You want to understand the theory, the don'ts and the taboos. After that--- it is all what makes YOU happy. And when you're in unexplored territory... then you get the thrill of being your own Magellan and get to bury the mistakes... deep in the trash ... of the medical building down the street... with biohazard stickers all over the trashbag. (And you don't tell anybody-- ever.) Dozens and dozens of cookbooks, google searches and other tools for learning theory. If you still don't feel right-- Ouija Julia Child or kidnap Alton Brown. But that's my thing.

    hvr :biggrin:

  7. There isn't much I don't eat... and my large waist seems to show that. But the one thing that I just can't seem to get by is UNI. I've wanted to like uni for over 30 years. I've tried eating it (I can choke it down) dozens of times (at least 50 times)... but it still tastes awful. My wife was able to convert me to brussel sprouts, and I now ask for them. I still don't drink gin, but that's not a loss to me-- I drink everything else, and just don't care. As for sea urchin--- anybody who wants mine can have it, with my blessings, cause I've tried it more times than I ever required my kids to try other foods. And as a full grown adult I get to have dessert even if I don't finish my dinner, so there! Pbfffffft!!!!! :raz::laugh:

  8. I met my beautiful bride ten years ago on a flight from Oakland, CA to Burbank, CA. She noticed that I drank cranberry juice and on our first date made sure to have a supply of said juice ready at hand. She laid out a spread of everything wonderful, pate from Marcel et Henri, a half a dozen cheeses, several different types of crackers and breads, nuts, fresh fruit, all kinds of wonderful stuff! And what did I do? I was on my first date after separating from my wife of 14 years and was terrified. I couldn't eat. I could barely talk. I drank a little bit of juice. I nibbled a few crackers. I think I tried some pate. Five years to the day later I married this fine lady. On our honeymoon we spent $100 on illegal (unpasteurized) cheese... but on that first night... I didn't acquit myself very well... and I'm the real foodie in the couple. Sigh... ain't love great?

    hvr :wub:

  9. Just got home and discussed this with my loving wife. We will probably have Alaskan Dungeness crab for New Year's Eve, but alas... it appears that this season will truly be == sucky == for our favorite local type crustacean. My heart goes out to the fisherfolk from the bay area... it's hard enough to make a living when things are good. May they catch a break somehow.

    hvr :unsure:

  10. I don't mind the 18% for service. BUT... if the service really sucks... you better believe that the manager will get a visit and a serious chewing. I will expect comps, a reduction or I'll write a letter to my credit card company for a disputed charge on that 18%. I usually tip 20% in most major markets... and 15% or more in most minor markets. (A minor market is a town of less than 5,000) Heck-- even on a $4.25 lunch I leave a buck. But at least make sure that there's some water in my glass and that I have a clean set of utensils before you disappear forever?


  11. You know that you're a foodie when you're looking for a recipe for bread and butter jalapeño peppers... just because you want that sweet and hot zest ... for a kick at a holiday table. You know you're a foodie when you throw the cook away from the grill at the company BBQ for murdering the meat. You know you're a foodie when you go to the Asian market and don't know the English name for what you're in need of. You really know you're a foodie when you iPod has a "chopping the vegetables" mix and a "doing the butchering" mix --- right next to the "kneading the dough mix". You know that it's terminal when you have an excellent meal out and you hug the owner of the restaurant for making you so very happy.

    hvr :biggrin:

    (You get the heebie-jeebies to see Wine Sonoma smiling from the grave when you read a topic that is resurrected after a long pause...) :sad:

  12. What do I want in a bar? Wowzers! Like everybody else... several different bars. A huge mug of leave me the heck alone. A corner to hold court in. A place to practice bar magic. Someplace for cigars and port (or bourbon or ....). About 472 taps with my favorite barley wine (of the week) flowing. Someplace that does the world's greatest onion rings. A place with a jukebox that covers MY era and not the crap the kids listen to today (when did my dad channel thru me?) A real dartboard with a clear toeline and no tables in the throwing path.... and enough light to find a bounced out dart. A bathroom that doesn't feel like somebody could have died in it last night... and that it had been cleaned within the last decade or so. A real HONEST TO GOODNESS brass rail at the right angle to put your shoe on and not feel like you're climbing K2. Did I mention a place for cigars and pipes ... where you don't pollute out those who don't smoke... but can have a pint in peace without having to shiver next to the dumpster with yesterday's mildewed coleslaw fixings? At least 5 good ports that pour often enough that they're not 2 years since opening and taste severely corked. PASTIS! (Rest in peace, WineSonoma!) Tapas. A sound effects machine near the pay phone (or telephone corner) with excuse background noises (office, garage, hospital, etc) so that you can get some down time at the bar without more guilt (garage noises.... "honey- they found that bad Johnson Rod.... and will try to balance it now. I'll be home in about 3 hours....")

    hvr :biggrin:

    Edited for Bruce

  13. I just don't want you do drop dead before dessert.

    You know, the closer we get to the Presidential season... and the more political the discussion seems to get at my dining table... there have been cases where... well... can I put some ground peanuts on your bread pudding? May I light your brandy while you're drinking it? Perhaps put a live piranha in your port? Oh well. At least the food isn't a problem. And the discussion is .... "memorable".

    hvr :biggrin:

  14. Orange County is also home to one of the largest Vietnamese populations outside of the nation. Little Saigon is a destination all by itself. If you crave the cuisine... it is a place to go... and you'll have a hard time going wrong. My favorite place? I don't remember. But after most of a bottle of brandy... it was a fun evening. At least that's what all my friends told me....

    hvr :blink:

  15. Jamie-

    I'll second that. Not only can chemo be a real toughie... the fruit is hard on those in full health. Kudos for the attempt. When I was just about 18 (and Nixon was President) I had a strawberry cheesecake slice and a gin and tonic. I still like (and on occasion eat) strawberry cheesecake. Gin and tonic hasn't passed my lips since. Hope you're more open minded about durian.

    hvr :sad:

  16. In my experience there are a couple of tricks... first and foremost... the soup has to be spinning. No "slight current" stuff. Get a whirl going there. Don't slop it over the sides,,, but a serious 10 rpm or so. Do add some water to the eggs. I usually have about a gallon of total volume in the stock pot when I do this (I love leftovers). To the gallon I'll do about 4 or 5 eggs. Extra Jumbo will be 4. Anything smaller will be 5. I thin this down with about a tablespoon less a 1/4 teaspoon (about) of water. I prefer my eggs at room temp... right out of the fridge helps promote clumping. Whisk the heck out of these poor unborn chickens with water in a coffee cup (a measuring cup focuses the stream too tightly). Once all the white clumps are broken up and you're looking down into a whirling pot, start adding the stream from the outside edge moving towards the inside (center of the whirlpool). The goal is not to overlap... while running out just about the time you reach the middle. It's a timing thing. The hotter the soup, the more the eggs will become like "rags" (the Italian term for it)... and then just let it cook until it is done spinning.... and serve. Final garnishes for me include a touch of sesame oil (dark) and a little green onion or cilantro. But I'm quai-loh so what do I know? Let me know how this works out for you.

    hvr :cool:

  17. Good Shabbos all. It's a couple hours before havdalah and I'm here at work... Feh. Today I cooked (yes, I know) latkes for 6... for a friend who just got out of the hospital after a second bout of Leukemia. She can't stand on her leg after a marrow transplant... and some things take precedence. I did this by hand... the world at home is in disarray pending painting... and the food processor is just not accessible. My poor knuckles told me that it's been a long time since I've ribed by hand. But I left a clean kitchen and a happy friend. May she heal well and go on to do good deeds. To the rest of you, a good week and may the peace of the day last all week for you.

    hvr :biggrin:

  18. Couple more quick thoughts before the panic sets in:

    If you haven't done this before, figure out the serving dishes, and also the intermediate holding and prep dishes. Now is a great time to look at just how much you can prep 2 or 3 days in advance. After hosting Thanksgiving for 12 years with wife number one and for 5 years with wife number two, there's a lot of lessons learned. Do practice your gravy skills. Do your stuffing separately. If your family is strange about stuffing the bird formally... use a cheesecloth "condom" to contain it and it will all come out in a single tug without being part of the bird... or changing the cooking time. You really CAN do two types of stuffing, one in the neck/breast cavity and one in the "kishkas". The cat or dog will love you forever if you cook down the innards that you don't use in the gravy and feed them instead. Turkey neck makes a good stock start for gravy, too. Always remember to leave adequate thaw time if you buy frozen. Don't buy frozen. When it says cook 20 minutes... that means per pound (unlike x SIL who fed us very, very, very late one year). Don't tolerate grace that goes over 3 minutes. A 45 minute grace will make the most wonderful meal cold and congealed. Do realize that it all tastes better when done with love and not stress. Plan a 5 minute wine break at least one an hour. DO post a full to-do list and check stuff off when complete. If you cross it out you won't be able to double check.

    Lastly, reflect on how wonderful it is that you're not a Pilgrim, just off the boat in a strange land, trying to eke out an existence in a hostile and foreign world. May you have all the joy of the holiday and your friends and family.

    hvr :biggrin:

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