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  1. Nargi

    [LA] Sushi Gen

    I wasn't impressed. I went here for my last birthday and on many people's recommendation, I ordered the sashimi dinner/platter, an assortment of sashimi, along with soup, tempura, etc. There was cooked tuna on the plate. Cooked to the point of being like cat food. Other things just weren't seasoned properly. To finish the meal, I ordered hamachi sashimi. It was cut so thick I had to slice it in half just to eat it. Now, I love sushi. I love it. But I don't like chewing big chunks of raw fish for several minutes just to get it down. Maybe I went on an off night, but I've had much better sushi in other places in LA, Orange County and San Diego.
  2. In reference to most restaurants, the difference between "mashed" and "smashed" is the degree of uh... mash-ed-ness. Mashed potatoes are often more pureed and have more liquid added (sort of a thick, chunky puree). Whereas "Smashed" potatoes are just lightly broken down and there a lot less, if any, liquid added.
  3. Awesome. I'm glad everyone's responding and giving real information. I really appreciate it. I was sort of wary when I posted this, it would be perceived negatively, but it hasn't received that sort of response at all, so thank to everyone contributing. That said, if anyone's ever in San Diego and wants a good meal, let me know. French Laundry it is not, but you won't be disappointed.
  4. What pre-made sauce do you find that you actually like to use? I tend to find issues with most of them (I'd say most of the time, it's the fact they have sugar or HFCS in them).
  5. So, a lot of us are familiar with places like StudioKitchen in Philly, SubCulture Dining in San Francisco and ZKitchen (is that place still around?) in North Carolina (I think), but is there anywhere like this in San Diego? Or maybe close to San Diego, like lower Orange County or Temecula? I haven't heard of any, and I think this might be because not a lot of people consider SD to be much of a food-centric place, but I'd definitely like to see if there's anything around like this, OR... if anyone would be interested in setting something up. I've wanted to try something in this vein for a while, but I haven't found too many people who are willing to pay $75-100 for a meal. Any help in either part of this would be greatly appreciated.
  6. yeah, that makes sense. sort of forgoing some other nicer things in life in order to save up for the food-related ones.
  7. Let me preface this by saying that, yes, some of this question comes out of some amount of jealousy, but it's more rooted in curiosity and wondering of how certain things are able to occur. That said: I'm 25, I'm a chef (yes, a chef, not a cook, not a student, an actual chef), I live in San Diego. Now granted, I'm not Thomas Keller, I don't make a ton of money, and I often subsidize my income by teaching classes and doing catering events here and there. I often try to eat out as much as I can, both to learn about food culture and to further my education in my career. I have the same expenses as most people. I have rent, a car payment, insurance, bills, groceries, etc. And aside from buying books (of which I have quite a few), I really don't spend money on anything other than those necessities. Yet, when it comes to eating out, I find I can afford to eat at "nice" restaurants maybe twice a month. Here's my actual question: How is it that it seems that everything other than me on eGullet can take yearly (if not quarterly or monthly) trips to culinary hotspots around the globe? How is it that a far larger number than I would've imagined are "regulars" at places like Per Se and The Fat Duck? How is it that people can afford to "test" cooking wagyu beef and foie gras in their kitchen with PacoJets and immersion circulators? A lot of people seem to be younger than me. In that regard, I can only assume either they've received a large inheritance or their parents subsidize their culinary adventures. On the flip side, are most of you in extremely high-paying careers? Are you doctors or lawyers or investment bankers? I'm really curious to know. There are people here who claim not to be professionals in the food world yet know more than me about many subjects. I study day and night while working IN this field and feel like I learn tons of things every day. Yet in that same regard, people can seem to know all this and still work in other field. I'm assuming that any of you are quite as few year older than I am, but still, I'm astounded. Someone help a brother out.
  8. Nargi

    The French Laundry 2006 -

    Just hearing this makes me die a little inside. I live in California, so obviously Per Se wouldn't be on my list of "regular" restaurants, but I have a dream to be able to one day be able to eat at the French Laundry. sigh. Maybe being a chef wasn't the route I should've gone. I should become an investment banker or something.
  9. I think you're over-thinking this. I agree, everyone wants something special and, as a few people here have stated, a "wow" sauce, but I don't think it needs to be so technical or intricate. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I was really looking for something simple that I could just "throw together", so to speak. It wasn't that I was asking anyone to invent something magical or work day and night to perfect tomato sauce. I suppose it was more of just me simply asking "Does anyone make a tomato sauce with pantry staples alone?", which granted, you answered the question well enough (I actually has some sauce I already made and just added butter to it and it was awesome), but I think the simplistic nature of my question has snowballed into something a little overly complicated. Incidentally, in response to a previous post, I'm a chef (as in, I went to school, worked my way up the line and now run a kitchen) and I still subscribe to the "everything is better with a million cloves of garlic" camp. Garlic is nature's candy.
  10. I agree for the most part. I was kind of looking for ideas from all over. I will admit, though, that even being Italian (well, Sicilian), I never really thought about butter in a tomato sauce and it is definitely fantastic (I added some butter to my go-to sauce that was already made, and paired with some fresh pasta, it was definitely new and delicious.
  11. There can never be too much garlic, sir. ::bites into a head of garlic, Iron Chef Chairman-style::
  12. I do that quite a bit, but I'm a big fat Italian guy, so I go through it pretty quickly and was basically looking for something make when I didn't have a lot of food in the house (or money to buy food).
  13. hmm, well, in all honesty, nothing like this has ever crossed my mind, but everyone seems to be in agreement that it's good stuff, so methinks i'll have to try it soon. thanks for the quick reply.
  14. Tomato Sauce, Red Sauce, Pasta Sauce, Marinara, Gravy (if you're super Sicilian), whatever you want to call it, I often find myself with nothing but canned tomato sauce (sometimes the odd can of whole/diced tomatoes or paste) and dried herbs. I can make some really stellar sauces with fresh ingredients (My marinara has like 5 ingredients and it's ridiculously good), but I'm trying to figure out an acceptable alternative when I'm broke and/or lazy. I'm looking for variations with dried herbs and spices, possibly even up to the point of nothing fresh. And before I get the onslaught of "that's culinary blasphemy!" and the like, please note that I am an actual working chef and I do know the difference between "pasta sauce" and marinara" etc., but in general I really only use dried herbs (oregano, specifically) when making pizza sauce and I just want to find something I can make and stash in the fridge or freezer to have on hand when I get hungry and either don't want to spend a lot of time preparing anything or just don't have the ingredients in the house. Just for the record, I tend to stick to a pretty much tomato, onion and garlic (generally just seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh basil) based sauce, but I welcome the addition of mire poix and carrots and sugar and all that jazz. Not looking for a culinary masterpiece here. Not looking for anything "authentic". Just something good. Thanks in advance. Edit: On a side note, I make a pretty common sauce in terms of consistency and flavor profiles, but when I was young, my grandfather and father (both Sicilian), made a very thin sauce, probably just with tomato sauce (no whole/diced/puree, etc.) and the only other ingredient I remember is bay leaf, for some reason. I've tried looking for something similar but to no avail. Any help in this area would be appreciated as well. Thanks.
  15. Nargi

    Top Chef Season 4

    i mean this in the nicest way possible, but have you ever worked in a kitchen before? people always assume cussing and the like is some horrible, off thing, but kitchens are rarely, if ever, quiet places of meditation. generally only the extremely high end, 3 michelin-starred restaurants are zen-like and most people tend to work there for the sake of a high point on their resume. i work with someone who worked at french laundry and bouchon and after 2 years he was asked to be the sous chef and he quit because he was tired of never having fun at work and having his food thrown against the wall. just a thought. we blast music at my work and drop the f bomb like it's going out of style and we're one of the (if not the) busiest places in san diego. it's all about personal preference, i suppose.