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Everything posted by menon1971

  1. I am with you, but sadly I have had friends and acquaintances in the industry over the years report that many of their patrons really believe that you need to spend at least $25 for a good bottle of wine. One liquor store owner I knew in DC told me once that when recommending a really excellent Ribera Del Duero that was superbly priced at $9 (I was a grad student at the time and could only afford a couple of bottles, but it was excellent), the patron chastised him stating that she could never serve her guests that. She ended up buying two very pricey Californian's, which I am sure were excellent. Your "genuinely serious wine lover" comment I personally agree with, but it reminds me of the "no true Scotsman" rule in philosophy, which goes something like this: X: Wine loving Scotsmen like good bottles that span the spectrum of price, prestige, and region. Y: I know a wine loving Scotman who only likes wine from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (never had one, by the way ). X: Well, no TRUE wine loving Scotsman likes only very expensive wines from one part of the world.
  2. As a point of history, menon, that also was the standard model for most US wine newsletters until about 20 years ago. (I have many of them on file.) ← I was 16 so no wonder I missed it. What do you feel precipitated the change? For the life of me, and perhaps due to weak palate, I have no qualitative inkling as to the difference between an 88 and a 92, but then again I have no idea of the demonstrable difference between a B+ and an A- either. It would be interesting if someone did a statistical analysis of the frequency of the various scores (and also ran a regression for price). I mean how bad does a wine have to be to get less than 80 points?
  3. I will not lie and suggest that if I had chosen a more lucrative profession I would not be more apt to lay out $50 plus for a bottle, and certainly with price often too follows quality. However, I really think that I would fall into the latter camp regardless. I just like the hunt for that Bordeaux supérieur, for instance, that is drinking more like one of the big boys. I think looking at wine critiques is fine if it helps you make an informed decision, but think that most of this scoring business has become a bit fetishized and thus has led to an irrational increase in prices of the world's more established wines. By this I mean the wine takes on mystical characteristic or becomes an object of lust or status, as opposed to being purely aesthetic. I know this sound a bit pedantic, and perhaps a bit elitist, but do we pay the price, no pun intended, for those who simply point shop. Personally I like the way Decanter does its scoring with stars and tasting notes: the stars give me an idea regarding overall quality while still allowing for a good deal of subjectivity; the notes help me to determine whether the wine would be a good match palate-wise.
  4. I bet Bittman had something to do with his getting the PBS gig.
  5. There are at least several brands of Sriracha sauce available, and they all taste different. So, to just say "Sriracha" isn't all that helpful in some instances. Has anyone tried Shark brand? It's from Thailand, no preservatives, and from what I can tell from reading descriptions, not quite as sweet as the more ubiquitous "rooster" brand. I like the idea that it comes in glass bottles rather than a plastic bottle. Shel ← I just happen to have some in my fridge. My verdict: it is just about as sweet as the rooster brand, but thinner, lighter in color, and a little less robust (a bit ketchupy), but overall good. I believe it is a bit less expensive as well.
  6. When I moved to Bham four years ago I was concerned that it was going to be a culinary wasteland. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the cuisine. You hit some of the choicest spots, in my opinion, John's especially (I knew the restaurant as soon as I saw the cornbread).
  7. I am not sure about Ann Arbor, but the National Cherry Festival starts the 10th in Traverse City: http://www.cherryfestival.org/ Michigan produces the best tart cherries I have ever tasted.
  8. I keep mine in a small 18th C. repro stoneware bowl that was bought at a scratch and dent sale. I have yet to note much schmutz. Also, bear in mind that most living organisms need water to survive and salt usually dessicates the little nasty things like it does when curing a ham.
  9. I know there is great gumbo to be had in N.O., but isn't it primarily a Cajun dish while N.O. is primarily a Creole city? I know N.O. is quite the melting pot, but is that the most emblematic dish? Just curious. So long as basic health codes are followed I cannot see anything but good things from having these trucks.
  10. I suspect that the book does reflect a profound French influence as the British aristocracy and bourgeoisie became quite the culinary Francophiles in the 18th century, while they were simultaneously bemoaning its extravagance and usurpation of more traditional British fare. Janet, if I may call you that, could you tell us the name of the text? My knowledge of old cookbooks gaps with the 19th century. Is this more similar in tone to 18th century works like The Universal Cook and The Practice of Modern Cookery? Or, was there a 19th century backlash against French cooking? When it comes to sauce I feel that so long as it does not "predominate," to the extent of destroying other flavors, then it is good. So far as as tasting of nothing and everything, I think I will get into the lotus position the next time I make steak with a Marchand de Vin sauce.
  11. I thought that was a strange comment coming from you given your acumen and proclivities. However, I do not decry those who are curious about what equipment chefs use, should these professionals make their choices honestly, i.e., not for endorsement money.
  12. Rubbing my hands with a stainless steel spoon and soap under running water seems to cut down on the heat. I personally have never experienced hand burning but have rubbed an eye, etc. - not pleasant.
  13. A bit antiquated all around: I think the phrase was coined by Parliament in the late 1970s. Plus, I have heard that the Furi knives are made from inferior soft steel - soft, like RR's knife skills.
  14. Try a funkier corkscrew. I just procured a vintage Zig Zag and it is pretty foolproof, even on those pesky composite corks. Plus it looks really groovy.
  15. Aside from some abominably but predictably bad church cookbooks I have accumulated over the years at thrift store, yard sales, etc. I am going to have to go with a sixties piece once owned by my parents entitled "It's Fun to Fondue." I am still unclear what a "Monkey" is exactly.........................
  16. I have been taken by friends to the one in DC and each time it has been quite good. The fish (and shellfish) is very fresh, but simply prepared, and in fairly huge portions - no great innovation and the shared side items are old school steak house style. Overall, I would eat there again, but if left to my own devises would probably eat somewhere else. The best thing I had was something a friend ordered but could not finish, the Arctic Char cooked in a salt crust.
  17. I was under the impression that Bourdain is no longer a fan of eG.
  18. Any opinions about and suggestions for using Luhr Jensen smokers? I picked up a Mini Chief at a local thrift store and have used it a couple of times to smoke trout. Seems to work well enough.
  19. I have eaten Walleye in Michigan many times and am curious if anyone has a special sauce/condiment that they like as an addition. Also, any favorite methods/techniques for cooking Pike, Lake Trout, and Whitefish?
  20. Jamaican Jerk Paste This is a versatile condiment and marinade for pork, lamb, goat, chicken, and shrimp. 5-6 Scotch Bonnet peppers or 2-3 Habeneros, roughly chopped (stem removed with most membrane and most seeds) 10 scallions, roughly chopped juice of one large lemon 4 - 6 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves only) - or 1 1/2 Tbs. Dried thyme 2 tsp. olive oil 5 oz. raisins, or other dried fruit like apricot 1 tsp paprika 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground ginger (1 tsp. if fresh) 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 Tbs whole allspice (heated in skillet and then ground in a mortar and pestle, spice grinder or coffee grinder) 2 tsp salt 1 tsp granulated garlic 2 tsp dried onion 1/2 freshly grated nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground ginger (1 tsp. if fresh) 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon Blend into course paste in blender or food processor. Keywords: Easy, Carribean, Condiment, Hot and Spicy, Marinade ( RG1974 )
  21. All of the bottled marinades from Jamaica I have seen (one or two, to be honest) contain no soy sauce. However, I have seen in it some recipes leading me to believe that it is most likely a more recent addition. I had the pleasure of being invited two years running to a Jamaican BBQ hosted by some of my international students and did not see the couple of grill masters among them use soy. However, soy has become such a global salting agent it may have evolved into a more standard practice. I use a paste both as a marinade and as a condiment. It is based on a recipe from a restaurant on the Outer Banks that I am quite fond of. Wet Ingredients 5-6 Scotch Bonnets or 2-3 Habenero, roughly chopped (stem removed with core and most seeds) 10 scallions, roughly chopped juice of one large lemon 4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves only) - or 1 1/2 Tbs. Dried thyme 2 tsp. olive oil 5 oz. Raisins (3/4 cup) - or other dried fruit like apricot Dry Ingredients 1 tsp. paprika ½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg ½ tsp ground ginger (1 tsp. if fresh) ½ tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1 Tbs. whole allspice (heated in skillet and then ground in a mortar and pestle, spice grinder or coffee grinder) 2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. granulated garlic 2 tsp. dried onion Blend into course paste.
  22. Supermarket ducks are generally more expensive than chickens, but as has been stated previously, you get a lot of bang for your investment. I too remove the breasts, legs and thighs. The breasts (skin on) I reserve for pan searing and I make confit from the legs and thighs. To do this I cut every scrap of skin and fat off of the carcass and render into duck fat which I then use to make the confit. After the confit is done the fat is then strained and put in the freezer for frying, etc. I generally cut up and roast the carcass for 20-30 minutes or so and then use it to make stock, which I find to be much richer, almost sweeter, than chicken stock. Also, with reference to a previous post, I find goose fat very similar in taste and performance to duck.
  23. I am not sure this is what you are looking for, but there is an 18th century text entitled "The Pythagorean Diet, of Vegetables Only, Conducive to the Preservation of Health, and the Cure of Diseases" by Antonio Cocchi. It was translated into English from an Italian lecture. If memory serves the Pythagorean movement morphed into "vegetarianism" in the 19th century. The aforementioned text can be accessed via the Eighteenth Century Collections Online database which is available at most university libraries.
  24. What would that be? At this point, based on his reported rant in Miami, the uninitiated.
  25. A point of diplomacy: why not give the restaurant two options? Either split the cost of the laptop or give the potential plaintiff a $1,500 gift certificate to the restaurant. The latter would generate good will, tips for the wait staff, and potential future business from guests of the person redeeming the certificate. The ultimate benefit, as someone who recently had jury duty, is not having to go to court.
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