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Everything posted by faine

  1. The official days of parent honoring are upon us, and I was wondering if the Egullet community had some great gift ideas for the hardcore foodie set. What's the coolest cooking stuff/gourmet treats out there? What are you getting for your parents, or what have you received if you are a parent? As for me...my gifts for my dad always seem to revolve around meat. Considering getting him a subscription to a gourmet bacon of the month club but my mother may disown me.
  2. Waitresses should not make commentary on people's eating habits or proclivities. I think that should be lesson one in training, actually. No one wants their person critiqued, insulted, or questioned when they're just trying to eat some tasty food. Not sure if it's worth writing a lettrr over, but not going back or sitting in a different section? Absolutely . Anyone else encounter Presumptuous Waitresses? Sorta curious now about how far this sort of thing can go.
  3. Yes, this. I'm always amazed at how little most people care about what and how they eat. Like most of us, food consumption and prep takes up roughly 95% of my brain space - and people who are mostly ambivalent to food think I am completely insane. I suspect the way organic/sustainable food is going to be sold to most people is by advertising health and fitness benefits, not just excellent flavor. Excellent, subtle flavor seems to be a secondary concern for a good percentage of people, far behind value and quantity. (Not necessarily saying they're all philistines either, but that's the way of the world).
  4. Being asked "Is everything yummy?" fills me with incoherent rage. Anything overly cutesy in the presence of a fine dining experience pisses me off, actually. If I wanted cute I would be patronizing, well, Cracker Barrel or something, alright? Buzz off. I also despise "You still working on that?". The word "working" makes me think of a caveman gnawing on a tremendous bone in a forest somewhere and that is not appetizing at all.
  5. I'm on the fence. I like her, I like her restaurant, and I think her contributions to the whole notion of locally sourced eating to an urban audience have been useful and valuable. From my meager understanding Chez Panisse pioneered the California cuisine movement that has now found its way into just about everything, and props for that. Although I really don't care to know the name, personality, and favorite color of the cow I am eating when it comes to that. I also agree that she ain't the messenger the local and organic food movements need. She may be a wonderful woman but she simply isn't a populist, and she's not going to bring outsiders into the fold. As previously stated, she's going to have to figure out a way to address the aforementioned single-mom-on-welfare audience. As it is now, she's going to have a time getting them NOT to see her as a deity descending from Berkeley to preach among them. Good luck. She has a lot of good, lofty, and aesthetically pleasing ideas that need some serious tweaking before they have a hope in hell of succeeding in the real world. I do think the Edible Schoolyard idea is great. We have one in New Orleans that is doing cool things. I hope to volunteer with them next year. And yes, a meal of Coke and fish sticks really is cheaper then a meal composed of healthy food. Ask this poverty ridden college student about the price differential between fresh, good food and junk any day. The Gourmonsters bit was a hoot.
  6. faine

    Cracker Barrel

    We used to eat at them when I was a sproglet and I recall tasty greens and cornbread and forgettable other-things. However, having a trusty dispensary of good collards by the side of the road is something to be valued, even if you are forced to eat amidst a collection of downhome souvenirs and screaming children. I did not know that about their hiring policies. I'll have to hold off on the roadside greens...
  7. I don't have enough material to fill out the entire survey, I'm afraid, but these I have off the top of my head. I read and reread Gerald Durell's My Family and Other Animals seemingly a hundred times when I was eight or nine. I remember especially how Gerald wrote about eating fresh watermelon, salty goat cheese and fresh olives on Corfu, where he grew up. I think that set off a deep love of simple Greek food that's stuck with me for a long time. I read Gogol's Dead Souls a few weeks ago and was struck by the gigantic gut-buster Russian feasts the antihero is given wherever he goes. The constant discussion of sturgeon and lambs-foot and sweetmeats and god knows what else was consumed in the Russian kitchen of latter days really piqued my interest. I have never found Russian food even vaguely appealing before encountering Gogol but I may have to go back and reconsider the cabbage. Rehovot, I also have vivid recollections of how damn well Roald Dahl described candy! I remember reading his autobiography about his boyhood and being fascinated by all the mysterious old-style British candies my late nineties kid self had never encountered - sherbets and licorice ropes (made with rats blood!,) the inspiration for the Gobstopper... It's interesting how many of our most vivid literary food memories come from childhood. Anyone else get that sense?
  8. Thanks for the great recs! I've stayed at the Hilton before and I think it's a really lovely hotel...and the pool area and the view from the VIP floor are pretty hard to beat. I found the free shuttle into town pretty convenient last I was there, but some make grumbling noises about its distance from the center. Enh. We are very big on lamb in this family. (As well as langoustines!) I would love to get a sense for real Roman specialties since they're not particularly common in the USA. I think Checchino dal 1887 would be a huge hit for my father. He has not visited Rome before (my mom and I ditched him last time since he had to work) so I'd love to make this special for him gustatory-wise.... Any decent osso bucco in town? One of my beloveds and we won't get to to go to Milan this time, unfortunately....
  9. I was in Winston just two weeks ago visiting family. It's pretty nice this time of year in the spring. Made a visit to Milners, and was pretty impressed. The restaurant bills itself as "American Southern" cuisine and serves up slightly more refined variants on traditional Carolina dishes. (Though the green papaya salad on the menu really threw me off..) The bar also is pretty hopping on weekend nights and attracts what appears to be Winston's beautiful people crowd. The small plates menu is extensive and seems to be just the thing for shooting the breeze and drinking. This is the baked pimento cheese, Surry sausage and goat cheese, and roasted garlic blue cheese with flatbreads. This was basically gussied up and bubbling hot pimento cheese and was as tasty as you might imagine. The goat and blue cheeses were also excellent. I tried the Frogmore Stew with shrimp, mussels, white fish, scallops, sausage, and "aromatice vegetables". Other then the odd addition of baby corn, this was perfectly cooked and very fresh, and had a nice zingy, tomatoey flavor. My aunt had the yellowfin tuna with a black bean cake, sauteed spinach, tomato butter, and chow-chow. This is definitely Tall Food but the flavor combos worked, and the tuna had a good meaty flavor that worked nicely with the spinach and the rich tomato butter. The portion was also crazy-huge which is either good or not good depending on your opinions on these things. We also tried the steak special. This was pretty good, although the cheese-infused mashed potatoes were the star of the show here. We tried the salmon crusted with moravian cookies and it was really very nice: wish the photo had turned out. We also tried the pecan pie, which was very hot and about what you would wish for in a pecan pie. Final summation: I think Milner's is definitely a good choice in the Winston area for good, upscale Southernesque food.
  10. Curious...what's the primary difference between these guys and Banh Mi? I've only encountered bahn mi and these sound rather tasty.
  11. I am intensely suspicious about their grilled chicken, but I'll try anything once. I think those Famous Bowls from a few years back perhaps turned the national stomach. KFC did seem to be doing a rockin' business in India when I was there. I am rather surprised by this news.
  12. Looks like I'll be in Rome with my family in July. We will be staying at the Hilton outside of town (I know, I know, we had the points, though!) I was wondering if I could get a few specific restaurant recommendations. We are extremely big on red meat and truly excellent seafood, and would like to focus on those areas. I think my parents would also very much enjoy visiting a couple of off-the-beaten path but really top notch little restaurants. Something distinctive, unique, so forth.... We will also being going to Pompeii. Is there anything worth eating within easy reach of the ruins? Here's what I have so far...please let me know your opinions! This thread is a hell of a resource. La Pergola - This is going to be our blowout meal. (And so convenient from our hotel!) Chowhound seems to think it's still worth it...thoughts? La Rosetta (seafood) Matricianella Osteria Il Bocconcino
  13. That is a killer idea! Especially since roast cauliflower is so vastly delicious. It never occurred to me to sub it for grits. Hopefully I will get to try this soon and let you know how it goes.
  14. Do you know of any good web resources for typical New Mexican food? What defines New Mexican food as seperate from other Southwestern cuisines? I think I know, but I want to read an experts definition! I recall really enjoying Navajo goat stew when I was on the reservation near Gallup...I need to order some chilis myself!
  15. Salman Rushdie is incredibly brilliant and thus is probably more capable of charming gorgeous women then most hairy and frog-like men. For what it is worth. I can't censure Padma for shilling for the Thickburger. I never saw her as a particularly authoritative Food Expert, and I don't think admitting to an occasional fondness for a burger bigger then your head denies one of any foodie authority. Also, it's rather pleasant to see a gorgeous model-type woman actually eat food (as Padma does) then survive on lettuce and lemon juice and those horrible Master Cleanse things that Gwyneth seems to rely on. As for the nudie photos...hey, if the money is good. She should have posed nude with a Monster Thickburger covering the relevant bits. Sales would have been incredible.
  16. Really really good garlic naan, with plenty of blackened texture and plenty of tasty chew. Other contenders could be Xinjiang nang with sesame seeds (omigod so good,) roomali roti with copious amounts of butter, and Chinese onion cakes...if those even count.
  17. I admit that I use the pre-minced ginger, although my parents are eternally horrified when I break it out. This is because I really suck at mincing ginger. I do have pre-minced garlic, but I only use it when I cook for myself and even then with a profound sense of guilt. Here in New Orleans, I was totally thrilled to find that Rouses sells pre-chopped gumbo vegetables (onion, green pepper, celery), complete with parsley and garlic. Might be lazy, but those convenience veggies halved my gumbo prep-time and I am eternally grateful. Pre-cooked bacon tastes like fatty wet cardboard. Avoid it at all costs. Those PB Slices also remind me of something that might be used to torture political prisoners. My all-time most hated product is that pre-made Loyd's BBQ crapola. The fact that I have been subjected to that junk on multiple occasions at college parties makes me all the sadder. Amen on the weirdness of pre-made salad dressing. The bottled stuff always tastes gross and is mind-blowingly awful for you. Tossing together a quick and healthy balsamic vinegar or fish-sauce based dressing takes roughly 2 minutes if the ingredients are on hand (and you can even use squeeze garlic if you're an infidel.) On the whole, I think convenience ingredients are swell for emergencies and should be shunned for Real Serious cooking. And there is simply no excuse for those frozen P B and J sandwiches.
  18. What an awesome food blog! I am a total ignoramus on Filipino food and this has been most helpful (complete with gorgeous photos.) Especially liking the looks of the bangus and that glorious looking lechon. Know any good Filipino cookbooks by chance?
  19. Gotta throw my hat in the ring! Everyone else's preparations look simply divine. We made osso bucco using Marcella Hazan's recipe from her Essentials of Italian Cooking. It came out delish: we served with some simple sauteed kale and collard greens and a bit of cheesy polenta. Just about my favorite Italian dish. You can see a sort of step-by-step at my website: Teenage Chowhound
  20. For a specific and eminently readable look at the food history and culture of Italy and France, I can think of no more pleasant introduction then Waverly Root's books. Beautiful writing, deeply informative.
  21. faine


    I am NO expert, but.... As I recall from India, the fish I encountered most often were pomfret (usually cooked whole in a tandoori oven,) yellowfin tuna (often found in tandoori maachi), rawas (described as indian salmon,) shark or "mori", bombay "duck" or bombadil, Indian mackerel...and probably a whole bunch more I'm forgetting. And king fish (surmai) of course. Lucky you for having an Indian seafood supplier nearby! I'm quite jealous. Rawas Pomfret Surmai (Indian mackerel) Bombay Duck And for my very favorite Southern Indian fish dish, usually prepared with pearl fish (karimeen) or pomfret: Meen Pollichathu
  22. faine

    Oysters - The Topic

    My Louisiana born grandfather considers Pacific oysters to be "utter swill". I'm a West coast semi-native and a current New Orleans resident: I need to do a compare and contrast but I can't say I'm detecting any vast differences. (Seems like the Pacific guys are bigger, especially the 5 bite monsters they serve at my favorite Chinese restaurant.) Opinions on the differences? Also: as a Sacramento resident, seems like it'd be wise to mention Hangtown Fry. Which is probably simply one of those delicious Chinese oyster omelets with a different name.... And another Norcal favorite (though simple and good, i think they don't hold up all that well to NOLA's divine beauties) - BBQ Oysters.
  23. It makes for a lovely seafood stirfry - very easy to find where I'm from in Northern California. I very much enjoy the pungent taste. I do seem to recall seeing it on menus in Beijing (As well as Hong Kong)...
  24. I'll be there and blogging it. Perhaps I can get my department at Tulane to host a blog about it or something of that nature....we're really into Lousiana food heritage. Hem....
  25. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Avocado-Pie/Detail.aspx Howzabout an avocado pie? I've always wanted to try it myself. I like Vietnamese avocado bubble tea so I think avocado pie could potentially be quite toothsome.
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