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Everything posted by san

  1. certainly servers (even katie) make mistakes and sometimes even provide bad service, but this should be taken up with someone else. has anyone on this forum ever flown on a commercial airline before? They can delay your appointment by days and treat you like garbage and you have to jump through hoops to talk to someone, let alone try to get any money back. in a restaurant it's simply 'leave what you want'. stiffing a server is simply easier than having to confront a manager about a problem. i've dined with many many people who go out of their way to pick out flaws in service so as to have an excuse to leave less of a tip. if you have a problem with the service, the system, or any other aspect of the meal that you think warrants you paying less than everyone else does, you should have the stones to take it up with mgt. and not simply take it out of the server's pocket. they have a hard enough time dealing with dozens and dozens of people who are looking for reasons to pay them less while being gracious, cheerful, and hospitable, for $2.65 an hour.
  2. i ate there about a year and a half ago and if i remember correctly there was a sprig of rosemary sticking out of the vertical 1/w of the 'battleship' so that it was much closer to your face. i do remember cutting the steak and being really uncomfortable because the 'plate' was stainless steel (cutting on stainless gives me the creeps) i just found the picture and the 'scented' silverware (silverware with herbs attached to it) was what was sticking out of the battleship
  3. san

    Perfecting Gnocchi

    i recently had a 'liquid' gnocchi while in spain. it is basically a very delicate shell with the inside consisting of a soft creamy liquit. i had some last year as well at tru in chicago- does anyone know how this is done?
  4. saturday nights are the toughest, but at 6pm you probably have a good shot. i don't think they take reservations unless it's for a larger party. if you aren't with too many people the experience is much better if you can sit at the bar (not that it will be bad if you don't). i've also heard that if you mention you are coming in from out of town and/or an egullet regular that helps, but i haven't tried that personally. i was there (from out of town) a few weeks ago and got there at 10:15 on a saturday and put my name down, ate elsewhere, came back 2 hours later and walked right in. i really like going on sundays, though- the crowd is much more mellow and you can chat up the bartenders much much more. if saturday is your only option i still highly recommend going if you haven't been there yet.
  5. well put. i remember thinking (first at alinea and then at el bulli) that what i was tasting tasted exactly like lime (or olive, respectively). then as i thought more, i realized that if i were to taste a lime (or olive), it wouldn't have as much of the essence of itself as what i had just tasted. i'm really not good at articulating this point, but hopefully docsconz and FoodMan have sufficiently backed me up....
  6. i don't know how much lunch was, the dinner was 215 euros p/p. incidentally, be sure to alert your credit card company if you will be using it to pay. theft protection on my cc caused two of my cards to be declined (i ended up having to use my debit card, which went through, but was then unusable for the rest of the trip). my wife still thinks it was an elaborate scheme to get her to pay for everything
  7. el bulli photos (continued) (view from our table) oyster with yogurt (2 pics) px in tempura haricot bean with Joselito's iberian pork fat - there was some confusion in the explanation of the black item- it was described to us as garlic, but i didn't really get any garlic flavor from it. (steps outside) (outdoor patio) sorry about the quality (pool of water with candles and rosepetals at entrance) (restroom) tangerine flower/pumpkin oil - incredible. evidence of the the whole being far greater than the sum of its parts cocktail of fresh almonds.... - my lovely wife being the only thing that could make it look any better .....almonds jelly tomate soupe with virtual iberian ham - clear tomato broth with ultra-thin strips of ham flavored gelatinous delight (i can't recall what this was and it doesn't seem to be on our menu) - 2 pics grapefruit thai risotto - was actually described to us as carpaccio, but i like the menu description of risotto better. regardless, the first thing i thought of was the 40 chefs prepping the grapefruit for this dish. amazing. asparagus in different cooking times - each had a different sauce and we'd had too much wine for them to stay in my memory, but this was a great great course. the yellow dots are frozen egg yolk spheres begonia leaf with peas and almonds oil - the only course my wife didn't like. we both had a hard time getting the leaf and peas onto the fork... the artichoke was awesome. the plate was really cool too, so i took an extra pic gnocchi of polenta with coffee and safran yuba - hands down my favorite course. gianduja sprinkled on top made it, but again the texture of the gnocchi (how is this made?) was almost liquid and totally melted in your mouth. razor clam with seaweed stone crab- marrakech capuchina leaf with eel and veal marrow - neither of us recognized the flavor of the leaf in this course, but in the next course... hare juise with apple jelly-cru with black currant marinated - the leaf, described as an 'oyster leaf' tasted exactly like an oyster. even after i sat for a minute or two after eating it i could still completely taste it, just like as if it were an oyster. when i asked our server how that was made our server said a gentleman from holland had recently cultivated it. this totally blew me away gorgonzola shell - filled with gorgonzola and shaved ice. truffle ice cream - again served with an incredibly moist sponge cake autumn landscape - all had different types of chocolate and were gorgeous. not sure why autumn in early april but didn't really care (mignardises) (tea) - the table next to us ordered loose tea. the server brought a trolley with a fresh garden (still in soil) of herbs and cut leaves with scissors to french press at the table. absolutely amazing. (birthday cake at another table) (cortado) (menus) (petit fours) it should be noted that as amazing as the food was, we were also impressed by the incredible charm that the restaurant exudes. the 30 minute taxi ride from roses was similar, but more dramatic to highway 1 in the north bay of san francisco, and the spanish charm of the restaurant is only exceeded by its warmth and comfort. again, food aside, this sets it apart from any other restaurant i've been to- there is absolutely no sense of stuffiness or self-righteousness in any part of the restaurant whatsoever. i cannot wait until the dollar recovers so i can afford to go back (if i can get in, of course)
  8. Unfortunately some of our pics didn't come out so well, and i couldn't figure out how to caption the photos individually, so I will do my best to describe the dishes in the proper order based on the order of the slideshow. a few of the courses were somewhat lost in translation and i didn't really feel as if i had a hold on exactly what they were. anyway, here goes El Bulli Photos Tangerine Spherical Olives- amazing flavor that lingered forever. I couldn't really see into the container and after a couple of minutes when our server offered me another i was overjoyed. the texture wasn't really like an olive at all, more like a bubble filled with the true essence of olive, more so than a regular olive. I remember feeling this about a lime course at alinea. it's impressive that someone can make something taste more like itself than it does by itself. not sure if that makes sense..... rose a tiny white sphere kind of like a really soft pill that (of course) tasted exactly like a rose. (olive container) (charger) (curtains) pine kernel and chocolate bonbons - heavenly crunchy rabbit ear nori- trias tomato cookie crunchy like a potato chip and intense dried tomato flavor (tomato cookies) beetroot coral "coquito 2008" coconut - i don't recall what they called this, but it was coconut two ways, and aside from the incredible coconut flavor, the texture was amazing. sort of like ice cream made of powdered sugar (view from our table) sisho flexia caramel with soft candy this was like a thin and easily breakable fruity candy shell (every time i tried to grab it it broke, providing my wife yet another reason to make fun of me) (soft candy) jello like fruity candies black sesame sponge cake with miso (2 pics)- unreal. the most moist cake i've ever had, and a brilliant placement of this dish in the progression of the meal. flowers paper (3 pics)- cotton candy with flowers. awesome. the table next to us was in hysterics over this. fried brioche shanghai 2 pics- kind of like a slider. again, amazing texture of the bun, my wife's favorite course. (spoon) silverware had cool designs that didn't come up in photos horchata truffle - the only course i wasn't blown away by. the truffle cream and truffle oil were spectacular, but the item in the center (some sort of nut?) had a texture that was difficult to chew and i had a hard time enjoying it. more to come......
  9. We tried going to Rafa's. I had heard that you had to call on the same day to make a reservation; we came by around noon and he said we had to call the day before. horribly disappointed (we had to leave early the next morning), we went to La Barretina instead on the recommendation of our bulli taxi driver. we couldn't have been more thrilled- though it was over $200 usd for my wife and i (lunch), it was probably the best seafood either of us have ever had. Here are the pics from La Barretina. The blue bottle was served with our fantastic and hilarious server's compliments and was described as 'gasoline'. i don't recommend it. other than that the sole, shrimp, clams, and anchovies were amazing. we did see a gentleman walk in with a giant rubber bag filled with just-caught fish about halfway through our meal. The pics from Bulli are coming up...
  10. my wife and i went on wednesday april 9th and i will have a full report when i return home....
  11. Tried the Rusty Knot for cocktails on Saturday at sunset to kick off a 24 hour trip to nyc. The food was bad ass and the cocktails were spot on. It was the first time I'd ever been to a place that was described as a 'dive bar' whose drinks put most other bar bars to shame. Well done, Toby. It's quite nice to be able to have a perfectly executed rye manhattan in a bar that also has yuengling on tap and blares Journey over its speakers. I can't wait to return.
  12. I am going to Dublin for 2 days next week and would like to spend some time in one of the neighborhood pubs where I can drink Guiness for hours on end- are there any stand-outs that I should seek? Any help would be much appreciated!
  13. san

    Work Schedules

    agreed. if the circumstances warrant it AND the restaurant is up front with you it is totally acceptable. when i started one of my jobs i worked 20 strait days but was told i would need "legs" to do the job, and that the g.m. would be out of town for my first week and a half and restaurant week would start right after that. i would later find out that if the restaurant was busy, the g.m. would always be there longer than me, even if i was there 14 hours. when it was slow he wasn't, and i worked less than normal restaurant hours. i think that is the most fair situation there can be
  14. having said that a light pat on the back is one thing, caressing a woman's wrist is not appropriate in any situation i can think of.....
  15. I disagree. the main reason i go to nice restaurants is for the experience- If I want the above I go to a diner or get carry-out. I think many servers take pride in their profession and put forth their best effort to provide hospitality rather than simply being order-takers. I also find meals to be far more enjoyable when the diner (me) and the server can let our guard down a bit and communicate in a non-superficial way, and certainly more than the 'master/servant' type dynamic. this often leads to personal recommendations on the best menu items, how to get the restaurant's most coveted table, and often extra courses or wine tastes. simply stated it's nice to connect with people
  16. I was also really disappointed to see this selection. While MJL does do a good job with some dishes and might even be among the top Chinese restaurants in the area, I think it's a very, very sad time in the Detroit restaurant world when this is the best we have to offer. On a slightly different topic, I wonder why our major publications (News/Free Press, Hour) almost refuse to name a Restaurant of the Year more than once (I believe the Lark is the only restaurant to win the honor twice). It seems as if you're around long enough you'll eventually get a ROY award.
  17. i left philly last august, and the places i miss the most are: davio's (best steakhouse in philly, though my opinion is biased as i spent about 75 hrs a week there) snackbar southwark ants pants cafe for breakfast the good dog burger
  18. If the restaurant I currently work at used the living wage system we could afford approximately 1 dishwasher/prep/line/sous chef and 1 executive chef (paid about 30k a year) for the back of the house and 1 general manager (also at 30k a year), no host/hostess, no bussers, no runners, and 2 servers with 12 tables apice (in a restaurant with a per person check average of about $70). Everyone's back would break until either the restaurant closed or the staff demanded less pay for themselves so that we could hire more people. IMO paying someone based on their need rather than their ability is quite disturbing. It is also worse for the person who is more in need since the establishment will most likely fail sooner than later and that person's income will go from "under living wage" to "zero".
  19. In my experience, yes. If someone who is accustomed to selling a $300 dinner for two receives a 15% tip (assuming there weren't any problems with the food/service) , my guess is that they'll be disappointed. In the states (in my experience) the more upscale the restaurant, the less chance you have of getting a lower percentage tip. At a casual restaurant where a dinner for two costs $30-40, I presume a 15% tip is less of a disappointment. When the bill isn't that much, the percentage becomes more a matter of principle than one of gained or lost money. I think perhaps often servers see large bill tip percentages in terms of lost money (in terms of percentage) rather than gained (in terms of dollar amount vs. a less expensive dinner). 25% on $80 = $4 over the standard 20% tip, but 15% on $300 = $15 under the standard 20% tip. I think barring issues with the service and/or food, standards in the US (a 2.50$ per hour wage for servers in many cases) create an expectation that they should receive 20%, or 18%, or whatever, and anything less is simply the diner choosing not to pay with no justification other than that they are cheap. I think it gets a little trickier when you get to San Francisco (as you can see in this thread) where servers still expect 18-20%, plus the new 5% insurance charge, and get paid close to $8/hour.
  20. I think mostly everyone is in agreement that there is an issue with servers making sometimes up to 10 times as much as dishwashers and line cooks. I personally like the way french laundry takes responsibility for paying all of its staff and overhead by working the costs into the price of the menu (they state that service is included and the only extra charge is for tax). My main issue with a 5% insurance charge is that I doubt that the restaurant's food prices were reduced 5% when they started the charge, or that their menu prices are 5% lower than their comparable competitors. My guess is that the prices on their menu more or less resemble the rest of the similar S.F. restaurants, who don't have an extra charge for overhead. Unless there is a notable price difference, any overhead fee to me just seems like an underhanded way to trick people into feeling good about giving more of their money to the restaurant.
  21. san


    I think it depends on how much you'll use it. The obvious benefits are not only allowing your guests to book online, but being part of the open table website (many diners simply go to the site and see which restaurants are available on it. IMO though, the real benefits are the organization capabilities in regards to database management and running the door. this only works if you a) recommend resos, and b) really want to utilize the software. I personally love it and think it's worth every penny
  22. i lived there several years ago and often dream of the best ice cream i've ever had at Mitchell's Ice Cream on 29th and San Jose... my best real meal there was at rubicon which was somewhat expensive if i remember correctly
  23. a little late but i suggest southwark as well. by far my favorite bar for drinks that are made right and taste good (though I haven't been to chick's . if you like margaritas try Xochitl. have fun- I miss philly
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