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  1. just the opposite, i've never had service better than snide, condescending and impatient at both locations. quite a lot of bullshit for a place that serves sandwiches, yet i continue to go because it's close, it's cheap and i don't expect much more from wannabe actors who serve on the side. the menu makes perfect harmonious sense to me - easy, italian inspired. a broad theme, i guess, but there's an obvious connective thread that runs through it all. the meatballs lean on the side of overrated but then again i didn't do backflips for a voce's either. however, the pastas are underrated and the pecorino fondue with hazelnuts and acacia honey is one of the best things i've ever put in my mouth.
  2. Korean groceries in the NY area, including Han Ah Rheum, carry conventional garlic; most won't even know what "Korean garlic" is if you ask for it. Garlic is a staple in every dish so Koreans prefer the convenience of pre-peeled cloves that come in jars and styro packaging. It's probably a combination of oxygen exposure and age, but pre-peeled stuff is stronger than garlic you peel fresh from a bulb. Try buying cloves that come in a plastic deli container and taste the difference.
  3. Just to clarify, I think I know what I said. The chefs, pastry chefs, sous and cooks I was referring to, like I said, are from out of town. Many hadn't known about ssam bar until he was nominated. Hence, the awards are a factor in filling seats. But that's enough of that; I'm not going to fight to the death over the merits of a burrito bar-cum-overpriced pork-and-pickle restaurant. This is crazy. Hats off to Mimi Sheraton for setting off these waves. ETA MORE clarification: by nomination, that includes the previous nod in 2006. What I'm getting at is that chefs and cooks fill up seats on a regular basis because buzz within the industry makes them feel obligated to try it. There's no judgment in that; it's just an observation.
  4. Of course the Beard nominations factor into its popularity. In the grand scheme of things, your average diner doesn't know who James Beard is, nor do they care about who wins the award. But the average diner isn't the average MSB customer. Who else pre-orders bo ssam and pays those prices for banh mis but foodies and industry people? MSB is the first place every out-of-town chef, pastry chef, and line cook I've met first asks about and then makes a bee-line for. Similarly, I have to drag every non-foodie I know to the place. Most leave unimpressed because they don't give a hoot about awards, buzz or hot chefs - they judge it on taste alone. If I may add, I find this entire discussion much more fascinating than MSB itself. It seems as if some are implying that if you don't like it, it's because you don't get it. It couldn't possibly be a result of JUST NOT LIKING the food, service or atmosphere?
  5. oui. 8% fat or less. american producers tend to stretch it to the limit or even secretly go over 8% because the consumer, whether they admit it or not, usually desires a rich product. i'm all for otto, don't care if it's technically gelato or not (though it likely is).
  6. defining gelato would help, for starters. apparently one very popular gelato contains too much butterfat to qualify as such. not that it seems to bother the lemmings.
  7. Ok, first off, I don't know a single 2 star pastry chef who makes 90K. If you do, let me now so I can have them overthrown and take their job. Second, let's establish that this question refers to restaurants of 2 star caliber or less. Shoot for three stars or more... forget about it. Consultancy is a sweet gig for the consultant; it's much riskier for the owner. What happens when the person/people who are trained quit/leave/have to be replaced? What about when you want to run a special with some amazing new produce, or need something on the fly? Are your pastry cooks skilled enough to do it with without an experienced person to guide them? These are all things an experienced chef/restaurant owner can deal with, but why do it when their plates are already full? Consultancy and outsourcing have their benefits, too. With the latter you can at least save tons of space. But you can easily find a pastry chef for less money. I mean shit, I know exec. chefs who make less than that.
  8. Achieving fame these days is just too easy. All you have to know is exactly what people are looking for. Top Chef can guarantee you fifteen minutes but at what price? You can go in with focus and a game plan, swearing off the drama, and still wind up looking like an ass (Marcel anyone?). The way I see it, you can put five years of hard work in a kitchen, build a solid repertoire and resume and live with some dignity. If it's really about the food and you take it seriously, chances are you'll move up in the culinary world. Or... You can be sequestered for weeks with strangers who are out to get you, have you life spun by hack producers, have your life, words and appearance dissected by people you've never met and possibly damage your own chances of moving up in the culinary world. I know plenty of people who went into cooking for the sole purpose of press, fame and recognition. Food is just a medium; if it wasn't food it would be any other industry. They'd be perfect for the show because they revel in said dissection - any kind of attention is good. Mom and Dad didn't pay much attention to them, I suppose. For those who take their work seriously, going on this show is a huge risk just for taxable prize money and a forgettable article in food and wine.
  9. Okay now I just feel like a douche because every walk-in I've known has been grossly dank and wet. And not rehash this, but what's wrong with calling himself a master cook? Look at any job listing for a Vegas megarestaurant. Master cook is what it's called. Blame the folks for thinking that its anything more than what it is. (Though I feel getting any Marcel hater to see things differently is pointless.)
  10. The walk-in is the coolest spot (obviously) but not necessarily the least humid. Isomalt is pretty sturdy but not indestructable. It loses shape like a tuile in slight humidity. The guys had 1 hour for service, anyway- taking time to work in a closed fridge wouldn't have been wise. Anyway, there's no winning for Marcel. Had he gone to work on it he would have been accused of not keeping an eye on his sous. I'm surprised Marcel didn't have any Silica with him in that kit- he could have possibly made the spheres and stored them with that.
  11. He actually gave Michael a lot of credit for that dish for his input. They are going to be done here next month preparing it as a team at an F&W event. ← Michael's idea was risotto, Ilan turned it into a paella.
  12. Several?! You're too kind! Shall we do a list? -Fideos -Pan con tomate (which he did TWICE) -The tortilla in the breakfast challenge -Sweetbread dish from the offal challenge -croquetas from the catering challenge -everything "a la plancha" from the catering challenge -Bay leaf "bunuelos" -corn with bacon (from another Mario restaurant) -paella (Not on the casa mono menu but an obvious safebet and lack of creativity) Even the pasta dish from the raw food challenge was similar to the pasta dishes served at a raw food joint that's literally in a building connected to Casa Mono. HA! If you think that this was a smart move on Ilan's part - to play it safe and go with what you know - stop for a minute and be honest with yourself. If Marcel had decided to play it safe as well and rely on replicas of Robuchon's dishes (he did once with the frogs' legs and that was enough) people would be screaming that he was an unimaginative cheater. Ilan's attitude towards food "I cook with soul... I cook with what's market-driven" come off as terribly affected - like perfect catch phrases from a politician. They're everything the public wants to hear because it's popular and it worked. (edited because I am the queen of typos plus I keep remembering more dishes!)
  13. transparent damage control for fear of lower ratings, but you obviously know that. awful.
  14. Midgley says no in an interview. Unrelated, but I just read a spoiler and found out who the winner is. UGGGGHHHHH I hate myself. This show has lost all credibility this season. Tom, Gail and Food and Wine ought to bow out now and save their dignity. Let Rachael Ray and Good Housekeeping come in as judges and sponsors.
  15. I screamed like a Tom Jones groupie when I saw the guests for next week. Wylie Dufresne, Scott Conant, Hubert Keller, Michelle Bernstein... opinionated, knowledgable industry folk, some with reputations for being real assholes. With respect to last years judges, they were a little too civil for my taste. And let's be honest, no one cares what Android-Lee Joel thought about the food. Now that we've established that this is dirty reality television and not a real cooking contest, I look forward to indulging in their (hopefully) catty remarks.
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