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baphie

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  1. baphie

    Terroir

    How does the earth and climate of a particular place tell anyone what a finished wine should taste like? I suggest you delve into the topic a little deeper before writing. It would help to avoid the superfluous redundancies of your arguments. Any predictive powers of terroir have been developed empirically from tasting a range of wines from a particular geographic locale. Chablis is a classic example - the Kimmeridgian substrate does appear to impart a particular quality to the finished product. The classic AOC boundaries of Chablis do have a remarkable correlation with the geological properties, surveyed independently. A winemaker can easily over-oak some Chardonnay that is too high yielding. The end result is something that is Chablis in name only and is of little value to those who seek terroir. I really get the feeling you have never tasted a proper Chablis or a Bourgogne Blanc from Kimmeridgian soils or a Daganeau Silex or ... If tasting is too much to ask, I suggest you read something like Wilson's Terroir and gain an actual understanding of what you are attacking. The ideas are certainly not without reproach, but you are not even in the ballpark. A.
  2. baphie

    Terroir

    Sharksoup, I don't think anyone is suggesting that it is not possible to remove terroir from the finished product. At least 95% of wines on the market either do this or had none to begin with. So what? To people who appreciate it, that remaining 5% is of profound interest and much investment of time and money. Earlier you suggest that discussing such matters only serves to confuse the beginner or dilettante. Well, screw 'em! Are you suggesting we lower our discourse to the lowest common denominator? The initial writer posted a brief, flawed, but useful entrée into the discourse of terroir. This should not be dismissed so cavalierly wth a list of winemaking trends and techniques. Your DECISION POINTS (sic) are actually extremely relevant to terroir. A winemaker who decides to express terroir is faced with decisions every step of the way. These decisions can either obliterate the unique character of his or her vineyards or express it. Sometimes only trial and error can show the way. That is why the great terroirs of someplace like Burgundy have a pedigree of hundreds of years. Yes, terroir has been and still is used as excuse for deplorable winemaking techniques. Yes, it is not relevant for a large amount of the table wines consumed around the world and for a goodly amount of the best wines as well. It does exist nonetheless. I have a report from a friend of mine, a geologist who recently attending a symposium on the matter, of tastings between identically viticultured and vinified wines from a contiguous slope with differing substrata that show distinct differences between the two wines. Personally observations and prejudices aside, there is a gathering of real evidence for the idea of terroir. A.
  3. Yeah, ask Tony about that look of utter bliss after his experience at the French Laundry. If dining at the best if not for you, just say so. Don't slag it as if anyone who does is wrong and being conned. The phenonemon of elite restaurants long pre-dates the modern cult of the celebrity chef. It is rather nice to see chef's getting their due (and gaining economic power) now. Why is there is need for these asinine pseudo-populist rants from people? Not once has anyone who appreciates the best restaurants ever said that is the only place to get good food and don't go anywhere or you are being swindled. Not once has anyone said to not ever darken the doors of our favorite temple of haute cuisine. It is actually the opposite- just like appreciating any art that is full of subtletly and grace, it does take time and exposure to gain maximum pleasure from it. Learn to use a keyboard and read what people actually wrote since no one said anything you are claiming. A.
  4. I hate to be contrary, but I would give 'M' the highest recommendation to avoid. The price far exceeds the value as it is bad facsimile of top dining establishments in other cities. The food is well-presented and sounds impressive, but has been decidely mediocre in execution. Cameron Mitchell restaurants also have the worst wine markups in Columbus. To be fair, the restaurant has been improving and has made an effort to become more wine-friendly. It is still not at a level commensurate with its ambitions or price. A.
  5. Cincinnati: I reviewed Maisonette in detail here about a year ago. I can also add that Nicola's Ristorante is a very good Italian restaurant. We did a huge wine dinner there in August and he produced some wonderful food including osso buco which could compete for the best I have had in the US. Excellent staff and a lot of fun as well. The Precinct (website devoid of info due to revamping) is a very good steakhouse - one of the few that dry ages their own beef. Great space as it is truly in a converted old police precinct station. I live in Columbus. tammylc's restaurants are OK for the middling end of things here. The North Market is a great place - I shop there nearly daily and Jeni's ice creams are not to be missed. Tapatio is a shell of what it was and not worth the price. Barley's does make excellent beer, especially the seasonal ones. The food is fairly standard bar food, though the deep-fried sauerkraut balls are a occasional guiltly pleasure. Betty's is a somewhat fun pseudo-dive, but if you can't take smoke, stay out completely. If you are downtown, you are in reasonable proximity to three excellent choices for a little higher range of dining: The Burgundy Room (no website)is in the Short North, just above downtown. It features small tapas-style plates and a large by-the-glass wine selection to match. Some of the dishes have been outstanding and the worst have been average. A lot of good wines and at reasonable (for Ohio) prices. Rigsby's Cuisine Volatile is also in the Short North. It is one of our top 5 restaurants and really responsible to pushing our dining scene to new levels starting close to fifteen-twenty years ago. Mediterrean in influence, excellent pastas, laid back, but serious about the food. Finally, there is Alana's. Alana is simply the best chef in town for creativity and energy. Extremely laid-back place just north of OSU campus with funky, eclectic art everywhere. Menu changes constantly as Alana forages for the best and more interesting ingredients. Wines are price at retail + a couple of dollars and the sommelier/co-owner Kevin is a great guy who can find a good wine for anyone. That would be the top three really worth checking out, meaning they are of a high enough quality and are rather singular. There is a very good sushi/asian fusion spot called Haiku, also in the Short North. Very good noodle bowls. Also something on the more unique side is Dragonfly Neo-V , a totally vegan restaurant that can create some excellent food - excellent on an objective scale, not just for its genre. It is just south of campus. There is a smattering of diverse restaurants, ethnic, casual and high end. If you tell me where you will be and what type of things you are interested in, I can be more specific. You might check out Columbus Originals to find out more info on some of our better restaurants who are non-chain, based-in-Columbus, small-proprietor kind of places. A.
  6. The point is Bux was guilty of not doing the five seconds of research needed to find an answer that was better than the best of his knowledge, which fell short. And yet he directs hostility at the initial reviewer for same. It isn't about whose mojo is better or whose has a culinary dictionary in their mind. It is about motes in one's own eye and all that. A.
  7. Which is precisely correct. A.
  8. Poussain is a sexless chicken? Weird thought indeed. I'm a poor speller myself and understand why greater minds have trouble with little things like spelling, but it hinders communication sometimes. Poussain is likely a last name in France, or maybe Cajun country. Poussin, to the best of my knowledge, is a little chicken--bred that way rather than just young. Capon is a desexed (castrated?) rooster. The confusion here doesn't speak well about the depth of your interest in food. You are wrong as well, Bux. And showing some un-needed hostility when you are wrong. I initially referred to a poussin as being 'unsexed.' This was probably unclear to someone with no agricultural background and came across as 'sexless.' A poussin is a very young chicken, less three weeks usually. It is not a breed or a chicken bred to be small. Referring to it as 'unsexed' simply means it is too young to have developed secondary sex characteristics which is around 4-6 weeks. "Sexing chickens" has a long history wrapped up with old wives tales about the best way to do it. Modern breeding has eliminated most of the problem by breeding species who have sex-linked characteristics which show up almost immediately. The reason it matters is one doesn't want to waste feed and resources on a cockerel who will have no value in egg production and one is all that is needed to fertilize the hens. Roosters will fight as well. Poussin is considered a luxury item since traditionally the chicken would have been butchered before its sex was determined, thus having the potential of eliminating the resource of an egg-laying hen. A.
  9. Well, you heard from someone else that night who ate the exact same food and said: "I agree that the food was very good, but not spectacular." And I completely, 100% disagree that I was in a "state of inattention": I was incredibly focused on the food. Did I understand everything I ate? No. But did I want very much to enjoy it? Of course! I think your "arch" take on the dinner dynamic is incredibly off. Instead of me trying to impress Alex with mockery and scorn, it meant very much to me that she be blown away by the food. You have to understand that I am a lone rider in my group of friends when it comes to eating: I am trying to convince them that the pursuit of good food is, indeed, a noble one. If anything, I was incredibly sensitive to the food that night because it would have been the best thing ever if Alex had burst with excitement at the table, smacking her lips and saying "this is the most amazing meal I've ever had!" The fact that it wasn't and she didn't may be due to an off night in the kitchen or unreadied tastebuds, but in either case the idea that we blithely dismissed the food is wrong. Fair enough. I think I was unclear - my reading was not that you were trying to impress Alex by heaping scorn on the food or by otherwise betraying what may have been your first inclinations. I felt you were more playing off of her, obviously a strong and witty personality from her profession, though also of a certain anti-elitism/classist edge from your account of her. I feel your own, authentic account or reaction was subsumed or supressed by her reactions. The food may not have provided an epiphany - it did not the last time I was there - but Alex may not be of a mind set to have had one regardless. As I said, that is my reading based soley on your text. Good luck, in all seriousness, on your pursuit. If next time you are in Chicago, I would recommend Tru as a better place for both of you to go. It has a different vibe, no less serious about the food, but also not attempting the same all-encompassing experience as CT. We have taken our (then) 3 yr old son there, not something we would do with CT. A.
  10. I think this is where you will find the biggest disagreement from at least me. Such an account is worthwhile pretty much either for entertainment or for exposing the psyche of the writer. I know it is rather fashionable and post-modern to mock expertise and consider all POVs equal. I think it is solipism run amuck as the writer places themselves before the material and spends more time navel-gazing than interacting with the subject. Interestingly you did attempt to stake a claim to 'expertise' or at least something more than a random truth-spouter. You called yourself an 'aspiring gourmet.' It is also not pretentious in the least if one is an expert on something. Maybe you didn't know what poussin was, but you didn't ask either. It is little intra-textual cues of that sort that lead me to believe you were more entranced (and penis was meant more archly than sexually) with your companion than the food or the dining experience. While it is well and good to post a piece about your experience, you can hardly expect to not be called to account for it - and you have handled that far better than your defenders. Finally, it is common rhetorical dodge to claim to be telling the truth, no matter what. Let me ask you this: The truth is you don't remember the food. Was this because the food was intrinisically unmemorable or were you in such a state of inattention to it that it was not remembered by you? Those who criticize you tend think the "truth" is the latter. A.
  11. When you dine at some place in the upper .01% percent of restaurants, you are paying for a whole experience, not just food. Ingredient costs are higher to a degree as items are rapidly shipped from producers who sometimes produce exclusively for that restaurant. Items are also chosen with extreme care and some restaurants (Chez Panisse orginated this) have dedicated 'foragers' whose job is to find the best .01% of ingredients. Also on the food, there are larger labor costs. Certain preps are labor intensive and will have a dedicated person for that job alone. Other items may take two or more days to prepare. It is true that a lot of the expense goes to things like the flatware, the china, the linens and other element of the decor. The idea is to create an environment that removes the diner completely from the mundane and places them in a world of nothing but the dining experience for 3.5 hours or more. The job of the staff is the same and there is an abundance of staff to ensure that no single thing is overlooked. This staff is also very well-paid, vis-a-vis restaurant averages and places like Trotters have nice benefit packages to ensure loyalty and reduce the turnover rate. When you go to a place like this, you are buying more than nourishment. Evidently for a lot of people, it is not worth it. That's fine -don't go, don't slag it. OTOH, you can look it another way - if you appreciate fine things like high-thread count linens or beautiful china and you can't afford it (and its maintenance) in your household, the price of dinners at these restaurant can be within your reach. A.
  12. We know more about Adam than about the restaurant or the food. That is why it is a pseudo-review. When the "well-dined" have criticized CT, they are actually able to describe what they ate and what was wrong with it. If a dish is remarked upon as being 'unmemorable', the reviewer has credibility, often within the context of the review itself, that it was the dish, not the inattention of the diner. His pseudo-review is like that of someone who wore a walkman to the opera and then criticized the soprano. A.
  13. Ian, I think the issue is that he had to begin somewhere with an open mind. I think, based almost solely on his review, that it was impossible for *him* to have had a great experience at CT *that* night. His mind was far more focused on other things like yukking it up with his companion. If was he following his stomach and not his penis, he might have done a lot better. I remember your review of CT which was less than positive. Your age had nothing to do with it. You precisely and accurately noted the dishes and where you found fault with them. Some defenders of CT attacked you. Since you had actually paid attention to the meal and focused on it, you defended yourself quite well. It was not about you, it was about the restaurant and its triumphs or shortcomings. That, in a puff pastry shell, is the essence of my problem with the pseudo-review. A.
  14. At a time like this I miss those whose electrons no longer grace this place... The quote I believe captures the essence of what troubles me about the review. Poussin is a small, unsexed chicken. It is not 'poisson' or fish. It is like you don't really remember this dish at all (a criticism of the dish or a criticism of you as a critical diner, I can't say), but in using your menu as an aide-memoire, invented what it tasted like. Your prose, while punchy and dramatic, really does lead me to believe you went in with a certain attitude at least subconciously. While there, it was all too easy and fun with your companion to egg on one another one and giggle and dramatize and try to out-do one another in the wit department. I bet the cab ride back was a blast too. That is all well and good and can make for great reading, but is really not conducive to any restaurant criticism of merit. A.
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