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fendi_pilot

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Posts posted by fendi_pilot

  1. If anyone has the chance to visit Camp in the yoyogi section of Tokyo, (fairly close to the yamanote line if I remember correctly) in an unassuming storefront which you must walk down a few steps to enter - then please do.

    Camp offers a style of curry that is perhaps similar in taste to what I see as fast food style that's so prominent but really makes a huge effort to focus on fresh seasonal vegetables, cooked to order and presented in a tiny cast iron skillet. I think overall the flavors, and focus on ingredients, are just a little more sophisticated. The forks, drinking cups and overall aesthetic all echo what you might use while camping - that is tools designed that are both efficient and portable.

    Anyway this place really stuck out for me among the other more katsu type curry places. I can't remember whether they even served a meat option or not. Our lack of communication skills in the japanese language might have prevented us for ascertaining one way or the other. I think we ended up going at least twice b/c we loved it so much. I hope it's still doing well.

  2. I don't know why anyone would say Tien Ho is one of the best chefs in nyc. My impression from seeing him work and in conversations with him was that's he's very old school product of the french system in ways I find both bad and good. Chang build his empire on imaginative cuisine that borrows from many different cultures. He was able to do that because of work horses like Tien Ho. His standards for quality are high, but it's no surprise to me that his food lacks something special. But what I do find surprising is that Chang wasn't able to produce a restaurant where 'straight' food was also something notable. This may serve as evidence of what he's best at. No twist, no dice ?

  3. Le Bernadin is a good restaurant. However, a bit like Tom Hanks. Showed some early promise, got famous, commands a high price and overall isn't that interesting to me anymore.

    Edited to add : I think we could extend this comparison to the decor as well - both looked their best in the 90's.

  4. Everyone, especially Adam - thanks so much for your replies. It's great to hear some details about Visa stuff and ideas - I didn't really know about international recruiters. I'll do some searching on that but would appreciate any leads if someone has them.

    Adam, it seems like you were already in China before getting your job? Just curious what part of Shanghai you're in. I was in Shanghai last June and was amazed how much construction was going on along the river for all the Expo stuff. Both Shanghai and Beijing seem to have grow so much in the past decade. While my wife speaks decent Mandarin, my chinese is pretty limited but I'm assuming at many Western style restaurants and hotels that I could get away with this ? I'm not really sure how big the expat community is or how mixed the work situation would be but I definitely did not meet many people in China who spoke English. Any job I would take would most likely be for sometime in 2011, so not looking for specific openings right now but just trying to investigate possibilities and avenues of finding work. Thanks again.

  5. After spending 5 months in all over Asia last summer, I'd love to move there on a more permanent basis and work for a year or two. Specifically, China - Beijing, Shanghai, or Tokyo, or possibly Bangkok. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience or advice. I'm assuming that in any big city there are upscale Western food type restaurants, possibly at Hotels, or JG extensions etc.. where I could fit in well. I'm not expecting or looking to necessarily slave away at a ramen place or have chinese dudes laugh at my mediocre dumpling chops - although that might be a fun challenge. I've read and heard many stories of people going to France or Italy to work/learn but not much on Asia. Also wondering about work permits / visas as well. Thanks for any personal experience, advice or research ideas...

  6. Yes, I am familiar with the heat levels varying some. And even though I got down and dirty in thailand and vietnam this fall, this can be seen strictly in a taste paradigm though.(i still have some hot sauce i made this summer that kicks my ass in a good way of course.)

    If you gut the chili the flesh still lacks that unique jalapeno or unique habanero flavor. These peppers in question taste like a dull bell pepper (without the full flavor of a real one). I often use chilis for flavor and try and keep the heat component minimal or background so these peppers have been a complete loss.

  7. Well, I definitely don't know why this would happen and it seems even more suspicious that it's happened consistently with me in different areas of the country over the past couple months. I am stopping by WF tomorrow actually and will boldly take a bite of a habanero and when / if i am not on fire i intend to seek some answers. The last peppers i have all bought at supermarkets have had this - a latin market seems like a good choice as i would be very surprised if those customers would not be like "wtf ?"

    still curious if others have had this happen on the east coast or elsewhere

  8. Ok, so I've shopped at Whole Foods in nyc and charleston, as well as local grocery stores in the south carolina area and have noticed that what now passes for a jalapeno or habenero pepper now tasted like a bell pepper ( incidentally, the only food i really strongly dislike, i even prefer tripe when done right ). so while it looks like the real thing, it has almost no heat at all and none of the true flavor of the original pepper.

    Am perhaps being punished for my dislike of bell peppers or is this something that other people have noticed ? and also why / how is this happening ? While I have already planted seedlings of actual ( i really hope) peppers, I think this is really depressing and suspicious and you know pepper plants take a while to grow.

    Any other takers ?

    Thanks.

  9. Thanks Jackal - I was planning on doing it like I do most other bbq - keeping the temp slightly below 200 degrees F.

    Are you really sure you want to do it personally, rther than organsise others ? Your bride must be very tolerant, since you will bw filthy from teh charcoal, greasy and smelling of pig, besides tired and  distracted...

    Haha - That's true love, my friend.

  10. If you're serious, I might tell you. Coming from Jersey I think you'd break your record - it's a little over 700 miles from nyc.

    What time is dinner...I drove (well actually sat on the back of a motorcycle) over 500 miles for that bathtub pig

    tracey

  11. My wife and I just did the tasting menu at Corton the other night along with the wine pairing. It seemed fairly hard to get a res the week before - mine was the only one available on open table for the next 30 days. That said when we entered the restaurant near 6pm there was no one else there for the next 30 minutes or so. It was actually kind of nice that way. They do reserve "some reservations on some days" i was told that are not put on open table.

    After reviewing the all posts about Corton here, I was surprised I had one dish that was basically very similar - in Brian's dinner back in Oct 2008. The Uni with Konbu gelee and cauliflower creme with sancho pepper leaf and a jalapeno oil w/ the edible but tasteless gold leaf as well. This was the second course, however. the first of which was a Fois gras w/ cauliflower puree that was gelled along with evoo and salt.

    The cauliflower on the first and second courses struck me as odd at first - moreover it was the cauliflower creme in the second that was so devoid of the cauliflower taste I thought it strange to even mention it. It was used basically as a slightly flavored fat, to balance the overall dish. It was an attempt to continue flavors from one dish to the next that was reoccurring, although considering it wasn't done continually throughout the whole meal, was perhaps an unnecessary addition.

    Chef Paul is a master at balancing. He takes an artfully gestault point of view that continued throughout the night with thoughtful, inspired combinations. Take for instance a sous vide Ocean Trout(they love this technique with proteins - and who can blame them with Paul's food in fits very well). Not knowing what an Ocean Trout was, I will say it is very similar to a mild arctic char or salmon. The fish was served mid-rare overtop butter fried clams, spinach leaves, a dark green curry ramp sauce, a lighter banana avocado puree w. crisp skin and some tempura like thing I couldn't quite place.

    The whole dish was delightful and pleasing. Very well balanced. But what exactly was I eating. I had to know. I couldn't place anything. It just tasted... good. After tasting each component separately, as I would throughout the meal - the result of which was a truly enjoyable pacing that was significantly slower than my normal eating so much so that my wife who usually finishes after me was always first by several minutes - I finally could nail down the flavors. But it was beyond difficult. The ramp sauce doesn't taste like ramps, it tastes of green curry that is reigned in - balanced ! - by butter and pickled onion and something sweet. If someone serves me ramps, as it is spring and they are just barely here, I would ordinarily want to taste ramps. But the part is in play for the whole here. The avocado puree is sweetened with banana but isn't so strong of a flavor that it meddles with everything else - it is the fat and the sweetness that balance out the rest of the dish. The skin and tempura thing add salt, the clams, more salt, more fat etc...

    The result as I have said, is always pleasing and delicious. However I will say that it is mostly at the sacrifice of the ingredients themselves. Rarely throughout the meal was any one ingredient the star or allowed to hit the high note that would soar above the pleasingly compressed balance. Chef Paul tends is a sweet and sour chef. His love of asian food is obvious. It is perfectly incorporated. His food, based on this experience, is always sweeter than most chefs tend to be comfortable with. He balances this with acid and a bit more salt than others with his talent and experience. To my taste I found it pleasing, as I tend to cook more this way myself. The only possible complain I could see was that his over-manipulation of ingredients might give pause to some purists like Thomas Keller, Sean Brock, others who love to let the produce largely speak for itself. There are many such purists indeed, and should be well appreciated, but I do hope that there is room for chefs such as Paul as well. In his hands, a heavy hand is still a reliable one.

    One of our bonus courses seemed to prove this without a doubt. It is a salad he is "known for" our waiter informed us. It was probably the best salad I've ever had. Thinly sliced raw produce abounded, sitting alongside the requisite "balancing act" of some quickly blanched vegetables, pear poached with yuzu, sweet potato puree that tasted of white wine and a brilliant egg plant puree that i am at pains to recreate.

    Cheers, Paul. You rock.

    P.S. all but two of my wines were white which I normally would have minded more had not the selections been so well done. the first two (one of which was sake) were not as memorable but it got better and better along the way. also the service and knowledge of the staff was very refreshing, all the more so after having finished working in a place where the staff didn't know shit about our food.

  12. I've cooked over 100 octopi so far and thought i would share my method.

    while not necessary i do like taking the time to first quickly blanch the octopus (especially if it is previously frozen which most seems to be) in water. to do this i get boiling water hold onto the head and dip it in for ten seconds at a time - usually 2 or 3 times. This has the effect of helping the leg muscles relax and after braising it in the next step will not curl up too much on you.

    The Braise - any big ass stainless steel pot will do. wine (red or white), mirepoix, ginger, a little vinegar (the more acid the softer the octopus will be) and the special secret ingredient is mango !! i've heard the cork thing which i would probably guess is a myth but mango does seem to have the effect of helping relax and soften the protein. nearly cover the octopus in liquid, i guess in this respect you could call it more of a poach than a braise. you can use water to help cover it. i would use one bottle of wine per 5lbs of octopus.

    Bring to a boil then turn down low and simmer for 30min to an hour usually, to get the texture you want you can continue to squeeze the thickest part of the leg with you fingers. yes it will be hot. don't pussy out. if really not sure, just slice off a piece and taste. once soft enough to your liking. take out and let cool. at this point you could eat the octopus. you could also keep it in the fridge for a few days. i usually slice the head off- toss it in the garbage. keep the legs and make sure you get the vagina like mouth out of the center below the head.

    then for a true bbq octopus - get a grill hot, throw some wood chips down, wait until mass amount of smoke occurs, throw it on - get a nice roast on each side then serve warm.

    this is like bacon of the sea. delicious.

  13. Many thanks to everyone who has replied.

    Tracey - that looks like one hell of a party and I think I'll need about four hours to go through that whole post. Brining a pig in the bathtub ? Priceless. (and something I most likely will do, I'll be sure to post pics of a huge pig with its feet sticking out of a 18th century claw foot tub ) Mom will not be happy.

    MSRadell - I'm inclined to go your way. As I will be in the lowcountry (and I know most of my neighbors have all cooked it split in the past), I think splitting it makes the most sense. The links domestic goddess sent look amazing, but it seems to more in line with the asian style i've seen in the past - all the pigs seem to be no more than 100 lbs. and thus much easier to handle and deal with.

    Putting such a big boy on a spit would be messy and slow roasting I imagine could easily take over 12 hours and possibly even an entire day. I don't want to hire a crew b/c I'm stubborn and want to do it myself. So I am splitting it. I think it would be brilliant to try and brine it overnight - I'm thinking salt, brown and palm sugar, black cardamon, bourbon, green tea, jalapeno and kaffir lime. How long should it take split though ?

    Who wants to come for dinner ?

  14. Thanks for all the advice / photos! Really nice to get some perspective on this as tackling a whole animal this size is something I have not yet had the pleasure of. Myself and another friend, we're both chefs, are already doing all the food for the wedding so I'm sure I already got myself in too deep - why not stay up all night hanging out with a pig as well ?

    I'm curious if the results of cooking a whole hog on a spit are that much better than cooking it split ? I'm sure if would reduce the cooking time significantly, and with a hog that will be around 300 lbs. sounds like less trouble since I'll be so busy.

  15. So I've purchased a Tamworth breed pig for my wedding. Not sure yet how much he'll weigh, as he is still alive and growing but somewhere most likely b/t 300 - 350 lbs.

    Just wondering if anyone has any advice and specifics on cooking a whole hog or a hog split in two. I have access to a charcoal style grill where the pig can be cooked split but haven't seen it yet and won't get a chance to until I return to South Carolina in May.

    Considering the cost and the event, I want to make this as great as possible (i.e. not fuck up) so any help or resources are appreciated. I don't want to buy any expensive cookers, but am willing to build or do whatever I can, for instance if it's much better to cook whole vs split.

    I have some natural fruit trees growing in the same area so am thinking of using those for smoke, as well as trying to find some wood charcoal in the Charleston area. Curious about the need or effects of basting etc.. I've seen in Bali they use coconut water and the skin comes out looking really shiny and crisp.

    Thanks for any/ all advice or experience.

  16. Charleston has a lot of great restaurants - after living in New York for 5 years, I still enjoy dining in Charleston, perhaps even more overall for different reasons.

    F.I.G. (food is good) is worth a mention as it's a great restaurant and along w/ McCrady's, 2 of the best in fine dining. Also the Wentworth Mansion downtown has a great restaurant in the old carriage housethat's slightly more upscale in feel, not too pretentiously so but with really good food - it's called Circa 1886.

    The Wreck is a great local seafood place - almost everything is fried but all the accompanying sides are delicious and with good friends / a few beers is pretty close to my idea of heaven.

  17. if you've tasted calcium then you know it isn't a pleasant taste. it does taste very bitter and slightly sour without perhaps being either entirely. this could open the door to a myriad of other 'tastes' though if it doesn't taste good or have the potential to be good in some even bizarre way, i'm not sure i really care to open that door. (i.e.) i can just imagine there being a taste receptor for feces or something - " tastes terrible really, not quite sour or bitter but yet very very shitty"

  18. I marinate with raw aromats, cooked off wine and meat. Then separate the components, sear meat, caramelize vegetables, deglace pan and braise with everything together once again.

    (That was the way Keller did his beef cheeks at the French Laundry when the cookbook was written)

    I definitely wouldn't throw away the aromats if they were used in the marinade. They will surely contain both a lot of remaining flavour, quite a bit of red wine and maybe some meat juice. But I do see a point of keeping back (at least part of) the aromats and adding them the last hour.

    I find that too really absorb flavor and to enhance the 'meatiness' of a dish it's best to make a marinade first and let it sit for 24hours.

    Example - with short ribs I reduce red wine and add aromatics (carrots, onion, celery, herbs_) pour that over the meat (once it's cool) in a small dish and cover for at least 24hours.

    Then I usually have a stock that's appropriate for whatever dish I'm making - in the example case I would strain the marinade use the wine leftover with some veal stock as a braising liquid. The liquid will have absorbed all the flavor - just think of a stock. You shouldn't have to reuse the previous aromatics at all.

    Remember that braise is NOT a poach and you only want a small amount of liquid in the pan. It's usually appropriate to brown the item before braising. And concentrating the braising liquid is key since you only use a small amount. Of course it will further reduce with the added meat juices while cooking as well. Make sure you have a tight lid to your braising pot - i usually put a piece of wax paper underneath my liquid to further concentrate the space as it's basically a condensation/rain procedure that is going on in the pot. the less space the better.

    to finish it's usually great to roast the dish or apply some high heat to further carmelize the outside portions. the sauce is really the bonus of a braise and it's where you will also introduce a lot of flavor to the dish. while your meat is browning, concentrate on perfecting the braising liquid into the sauce with the flavors you desire. add whatever herbs or flavor agents that you want more pronounced here. voila, braising it.

  19. The hot dogs are Niman Ranch I believe - topped with pulled pork and bbq beans and cole slaw is hard to beat.

    The baby back are also good - smoked then braised.

    The pulled pork is good but not great - in my opinion the defining dish of a bbq place.

  20. And at Ko, unlike those other places, the prime time tables aren't held in reserve for regulars and VIPs.

    You say that like it's a good thing. But for someone who builds a relationship with a business as a repeat customer, it's entirely reasonable to expect priority in making reservations. For now, Ko has rewarded loyal customers of Momofuku with preview seatings. But what will happen going forward?

    It may be bad in a business type way and restaurants are a business of course, but chefs on the whole aren't entirely business minded (at least the best ones in my opinion, thank god). I think for chefs and restaurants with a large following they can afford to look out for the people who really care about what they're doing vs. the type that just show up b/c of the hype, name recognition etc... (i.e. all the people who would go to Per Se but then want to request to change the menu b/c they don't like fish or something ridiculous, the hedge fund diners, etc...) I think David Chang has shown more balls / integrity than anyone else as far as being as much about the food as possible.

    It makes sense b/c usually chef's enjoy to cook for people who really love food, I think the way David has structured the res system is trying to reflect that. Unfortunately I haven't got one, I guess I will try before 10am tomorrow.

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