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  1. The wine team at alinea will split a wine pairing upon request. They just like to be sure that the guest is aware of how much wine they will actually drink. Some guests hear the amount of glasses they will receive and assume they are going to get an 8 oz pour each time. So more often than not the guest will change their mind and go for the pairing. Another thing about the pairing is they are very flexible on the pours. During the menu at any point the wine team can pour lighter or heavier upon request. Also the price of the pairing is 3/4 to the full price of the menu you are eating that night depending on your pour requests.
  2. Thanks for the recomendations on uchi and bedford. They both look like they are doing good food in the lone star state. I really want to try uchi and have known about the restaurant for a while. Chef clole seems like a down to earth guy as well. I have looked for pictures but there isn't really a lot out there. It would be nice to see as much food as possible from the two chefs.
  3. Its hard to say it could never be done in the lone star state. Its true not even chicago knew that they were going to have such a change from the deep dish to weird service piece and the frozen meat. You really don't even need a city when you think about places like the french laundry, the fat duck, mugaritz, and michele bras. They are restaurants doing food both traditional and foamy at places in the middle of nowhere. Would blumenthol fail if he opened a restaurant in houston? What if somebody could blend the avant garde with the french laundry and meet in the middle could that work. Who knows but I've got some avant garde under my belt and I'll be cooking at the french laundry monday and tuesday. But for now this is just research which means Ill probably end up running a diner or a bistro. That way is much easier.
  4. avant garde in this case is restaurants that are using molecular gastronomy
  5. I was just wondering if there are any avant garde restaurants in Texas? To my knowledge there are none. I just wanted to hear peoples thoughts on the subject and if they think one could survive. And what city would be most accepting to a place like that.
  6. I was lucky enough to see a draft of the whole book and it will be worth the wait. The pics were in black and white but really show the process of the recipes and how the dishes come together. You will have a great example of how the restaurant works from the essays in the book as well. I think it ranks up there with the best of them.
  7. is it just me or did you get the picture mixed up on the bbq pork and baked beans course?
  8. Another way that might help is to mix the spices into the butter first. Fat is a great vessel for spreading flavor. If you are not melting the butter then maybe you could make a compound butter and then use it in the recipe as you normally would. If you are using melted butter then just add the spices to that and let it steep. I saw this technique used for adding unusual flavors to puff pastry.
  9. The last I heard he was in spain doing stages. I have always wondered what the atraction in arazona was for him after he did well in a pretty big market like chicago.
  10. Most of the better restaurants in chicago still serve foie gras. They are using the code words for you by giving it to you complimentary. Many chefs don´t care about the ban and are still serving foie. Also the city really isn´t cracking down on offenders so there really is nothing to be scared of. Hot dougs a gourmet hot dog joint got a warning letter and maybe a fine I am not sure, but he framed the letter and has it for all his customers to see. The mayor even said the ban was stupid. There is a thread going in the heartland forum as well that might offer more info.
  11. I have never really had anything to post on egullet but after lunch at Mugaritz and Arzak I feel like the info could be useful. This was my first experience with a three star restaurant and I was excited to compare it to past experiences in the states. Not only am I a foodie but I have also been in the industry my whole life. So even though I critique I had a great meal at both places. I took notes so I can try to learn from places that are so reputable and famous so here they are. I arrived at Arzak almost a half an hour early to make sure I wasn´t late for my reso. The place wasn´t open yet so I was asked if I would like to sit in the lounge and have something to drink. Since I am an alcoholic I gladly took some white wine. The first things I noticed were that the lamp shades and pictures on the wall were all crooked. A small detail that doesn´t really matter to me but something I thought would never happen with 3 stars. Also the servers were having espresso and leaning on the counters in front of me and another couple. I know I was early but I would get in trouble for this action in the places I have worked. My glass was empty fairly quickly for obvious reasons and I was not asked if I wanted another nor was it cleared (15-20 min). The whole time there was at least 2 and at times 4 servers in the room. The last thing I noticed was that the matre d was staring me down. It was like he was angry with me for some reason maybe because I was early. If that was the case I would have waited at the bar next door and had an Estrella damm. After they sat me down in the dining room a menu was handed to me and I quickly chose the biggest tasting menu they had. The servers were very professional but not the most graceful service I have ever seen. Making unnecessary reaches to serve and clear and not very coordinated at times as well. 1st course five bite size items came out all at the same time and on many plates Mellon relleno with cheese and poprocks was just ok puffed rice disks sandwiching mushroom mousse radish on a stick with pickled fish was outstanding fried lotus roots sandwiching a fish mousse was also fantastic 2ond course Three towers of sauteed apples on top of foie gras and caramelized sugar on top One of the best dishes that I had in Spain. 3rd course Langostine with whole and pureed corn, micro bitter greens and lemon water served on the side. The langostines were cooked very well because they were super tender. It was a good dish but I didn´t really get the lemon water. 4th course Poached egg with black truffles, chorizo vin., and migas of bread. Minus the blk truffles I cook this dish for myself more than any other dish (especially at three in the morning after a night out). It should have blown me away and I had the biggest smile on my face as soon as it was put in front of me. The migas destroyed the dish however. I hate to say it because I know first hand how much work goes into working in a kitchen like this one but how could this be served. It was like somebody spilled the container of salt into the migas. I understand that because the yolk is very rich and fatty to need to balance it out but this was too much. It was too late as well I had already mixed everything together on the plate. 5th course Sole with braised and charred lemons was a good dish all of the components worked together but alone were very strong. 6th course Duck breast with purple potato mashed and glass. also on the side the leg with sliced purple potatoes. Everything about this dish was great except for the leg which was very tough. The duck tasted a little stronger and I enjoyed that. It also came with a duck and rosemary sauce that was my favorite part of the dish. It was nice to have mashed potatoes that weren´t half butter not that I am against butter it´s just that it has been a long time since I have had them with olive oil as the fat. By the way I really love butter. 7th course desserts Two items came out here the first was choc. disks brushed with silver and sandwiching candied pumpkin puree. Also the mint foam that I think was dropped in to liquid nitro came out in a deflated form. I noticed that on other tables it was fine and held its shape. The second was oranges in broth and banana ice cream with spinach. A very unlikely combination that was fantastic. I always check out the bathrooms at places like these and Arzak did not disappoint here. They were very cool with all kinds of automatic devices. It wasn´t the meal of my life but I am still glad to have eaten here. It is a very important restaurant in Spain. If Arzak had not spent time with Bocuse spanish food would be very different right now I think. I am glad that he and others had a movement to energize spainish food because afterwards they influenced so many other chefs. I will post another reply for mugartiz but want to post now because last time the computer died and I lost everything.
  12. I just had dinner at La Cepa in san sebastian and had a great meal. I was with people from my hostel so we they were worried about the budget. However I still managed to do some damage and enjoy some great tapas without busting the wallet.
  13. depending on what day it is I may be able to help your freind out. I offer the services you were asking about but have a very tight schedule. You can email me back at rene@renedeleon.com or visit renedeleon.com
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