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Everything posted by Naftal

  1. Naftal

    BYO tea

    Hello- The restaurant I go to regularly (atleast once a week) lets me bring my own tea (I did ask them first and this may be the key). I bring loose tea that I have previously packed in the empty tea bags I buy at a local market.
  2. Disclaimer:I have never been to Ireland, and have never been in a real Irish Pub. That being said, I went to Gus O'Connor's in Novi and had a really wonderful time I had a large salad contining Michigan cherries and walnuts (along with the usual suspects!) It comes with fresh scones . My dinner companions had the burger (amazing) and the fish sandwitch and chips. This last dish came with an incredible amount of fish and is a good bargin at the price ( retired folks often order it). The building itself was built in Ireland by an actual pub architect-yes they have such things!-and then it was shipped to Novi and reconstructed on the site.Obviously they claim to serve real Irish pub food. I don't pretend to know if they are correct in that assertion. Has anyone familiar with this style of cooking gone there?All I know is that the food is wonderful and they show soccer,and other sports, on their multi-screen T.V.
  3. I am afraid some restaurants may use the term "Empress Chicken" for different dishes. Would you describe your hot Empress Chicken? Is it one whole chicken (or half a chicken), chopped Cantonese style, with bones in and skin on? ← Hello- The restaurant I frequent serves a dish made of chunks of boneless chicken served with an spicy translucent sauce. It is served over rice.
  4. As usual, I must be in the minority:my favorite place serves Empress Chicken hot.
  5. Thanks! Now I cook Sriracha with my oatmeal on a regular basis
  6. Here is a question regarding sumac and turkish food: Would sumac work in imam bayildi ? I am thinking that I could use it instead of the 2T of lemon juice my recipe calls for. What do you think, should I do it,or not?????????
  7. Cloverleaf is my favorite wine-shop Question: Does anyone know if Gibb's is still around? They were/are the greatgrand-daddy of all MetroDetroit wine stores, at least in my opinion.
  8. Thanks! I have another question for those of you who are science-minded:Apart from differences in taste, is there any reason why I cannot use olive oil in all recipes that call for melted/liqufied butter and if I should not do it, which types of recipes should I "not do it" in?
  9. Have you tried this website ? It does contain info on restaurants.
  10. hello- I have a stupid question What is the difference between a terrine and a pate? From my reading it seems like the only difference is the type of container one uses as a mold . Can this be right ?????
  11. Interesting. I've made truffles with creme fraiche before and loved the tangy addition. I think the shelf life would be equivalent to truffles made with just cream or perhaps a bit longer because the 'good' bacteria in the yoghurt would help prevent the growth of undesirable bacteria. ← Hello- I have two really stupid/basic questions: First, does the cream/yoghurt/etc. act as an emulsifier(sp?)? Second, could one use yoghurt cheese (strained yoghurt solids) in place of the creme fraiche/plain yoghurt? Thanks!
  12. Naftal


    I use canned tomatoes for tomato sauce, too. I add tomato paste to thicken it That is a really good rule, I use yogurt (in various forms) as a substitue for other dairy products.
  13. "Generic" was used in the sense of "general/not specific identitiy". I said earlier that if I am eating in Italy then I want to eat something that is Italian and delicious, not something generically delicious. Maybe this is where Italy fails on the fine dining scene, not generic enough? I think that at some point FG (?) mentioned that at least one present cutting edge chef produces food of the highest international standard without in reference to local food traditions. In this discussion I have trouble keeping track of what level of cooking we are talking about. I'm not at all sure that restuarants serving food of the highest international standard for a restricted group of diners can be compared usefully to fiaschetteria, osteria, ristorante, trattoria, taberna.... When we are talking about "Contemporay food", does this mean "International Modern" of the moment or are we talking about the development of at new wave of "Contemporay Italian"? I think that FG is correct, restaurants at international cutting edge have no need to have a basis in tradional cooking, and in part the emphasis on technique and ingredient quality excludes this. Which isn't to say that inspiration can't come from local dishes or traditions either. What is proberly more important at this level is originality of thought and execution of the dish. For example, I notice that Robuchon is now being criticized for selling dishes that are too heavily influenced by other chefs creations. No matter how delicious these dishes are, they are not his "original creations". In terms of fiaschetteria, osteria, ristorante, trattoria and taberna it could be possible to contruct some sort of hierarchy in terms how they relate to one another and what sort of food they produce, but for the vast majoritory of them "delicious" is going to be a much more important criterion then "originality". Getting back to the original question "Tradition v. Contemporary Italian Cuisine, Is it a conflict or a building block?", I feel that on an intellectual level that their is no conflict between the two, but also at a high end international dining level there is no requirement for any real overlap either. On the otherhand what Italy does have in vast amounts is food that fits many peoples definition of "Delicious". One conflict that I see is that some individuals that have a primary interest in high end international dining level food is the way in which all this delicious Italian food is discussed is in the negative. Italian food culture has failed in someway because it hasn't (and maybe can't) produce the required high end international dining experience. I think that the view that Italy has failed to deliver the high end international dining experience and the view that traditional food in Italy is delicious are both correct, I don't see the conflict in the two opinions. What I think is an interesting question is if it is true that Italy has failed to deliver the high end international dining experience, why is this so? A few years ago I would have said it was because the tradional food were so good that there wasn't a niche for the high end international dining experience. I felt then that this type of dining came from regions where the local traditional food culture was either degraded or never really existed. To a certain extent I have changed my views on this, I don't see a conflict with the development of an international dining scene and having strong local food traditions. I don't have a simple explanation of why Italy doesn't have this high end international dining culture, and I don't think there is a simple answer. ← Greetings Hathor!-I guess that I am using the term "generic" the way Adam Balic is defining it. Also, given the fact that many places serve pasta with cream, I am curious:Is it wonderful everytime and in every place that it is done? I do not mean to be difficult,I am seriously asking this question.
  14. Hello- I know I am in the minority here but, in my opinion, an Italian dish cannot (by definition) be generic.It can be tasty or disgusting, but it will never be generic.In my opinion a generic dish (regardless of quality) is one that shows very little regional influence. A generic dish is more about contemporary trends than local traditions. I have never been to Europe, but I can tell you that if I ever go to Spain,my plan will be to find a really,really, really good paella and not to eat at a temple of molecular gastronomy.
  15. Hello- I have two questions: Bourdain claimed that Italians/Tuscans? on the show prefered pasta dressed with olive oil and cheese. Is that correct? He also said that meatballs are served on the side with pasta. Is this also correct? I do not want to accept this fact simply because Tony Bourdain says so, I woul like some confermation(sp?) from the experts.
  16. I am familiar with the Spanish jujube. This is the one that I too associate with the taste of apples.
  17. I think that's true because chefs and cooks can lose interest in cooking a dish, and when they do it by rote, the energy and excitement that's missing in the cooking is severely lacking in the the diner's mouth. Jean-Georges has been making many of his "classic" dishes for ten years. (The young garlic soup with frog legs, the turbot with the Chateau Chalon sauce, etc.) But each time they make it, they give it the same energy and excitement that they put into it when it was new, and that comes across in the dining room. I think a lot of things fall out of vogue because kitchens become complacent, and then people think the need a "new" type of cuisine to bring the excitement back. But they don't. They just need a chef dedicated enough to keep the excitement in the dish he's making. It's what they say of actors who get bored in part and want to change it each night: don't. You may feel bored, but it's the audience who's paying money to be entertained, and you have an artistic obligation to find the way to reproduce the same thing you did six nights ago, and three nights ago with a new energy each night. I know somebody will say, "but the chef gets bored making the same thing", and I'm saying that whether he is or not, he still has a professional obligation to make it just as well as he did when it was exciting for him, just as the Jean-Georges kitchen does with their classic dishes. Last year I had a Bolognese sauce at Babbo that one of my party likened to what's in the can of Chef Boyardee meat ravioli, and we all had to agree that that was a very accurate description of that batch of sauce. But I don't think the answer is a molecular Bolognese, or a deconstructed Bolognese. I think the remedy is to make the sauce as if you had just tasted a great rendition of it in Italy for the first time, and were trying to make a batch that captured that same excitement for your patrons. Now, I'm not saying that chef's shouldn't create new dishes as well. But to go back to the opening post of the thread, "I've wrestled for 2 seasons with how to sophisticate the classic combination of melon and prosciutto. I've tried pulverizing dried prosciutto, I've tried melon sorbetto, melon aspic...but nothing comes close to the texture and flavor contrasts of the original dish. For me, this exemplifies what I try to do in the kitchen....respect the original dish, while attempting to seduce the diner with a new rendition that is equally satisfying. I haven't found the answer yet..." I think that there are many dishes that don't need to be improved upon - they just need to be made with as much energy and respect as if they're being made for the first time, so they'll come out tasting fresh and exciting. If you want to take ingredients that are now in the market that weren't there twenty or thirty years ago, and find delicious ways to cook them, fine. But I'd still rather have prosciutto and melon to start than prosciutto dust and melon foam in it's place. Side by side I might be able to appreciate, but not instead of. I couldn't agree more! ← markk- Your brilliant comment about acting got me thinking(always a bad thing ). When I go to a performance of "Richard III", I am not interested in what comes next-I know the story-rather I am interested in seeing this particular troups take on a classic. They can dress their actors in cloths from the 1930's, but I want Shakespear's dialog, nothing is gained( in my opinion) by giving it a "contemporary" twist.Good actors and chefs have enough of a challenge creating great versions of the classics, they don't have to reinvent them.
  18. Yes, if hot dogs count, this would be the winner Otherwise, my vote would go to the lamb sandwich at Fiddleheads (I am counting on those of you who have had it to back me up now ).
  19. "Tu proverai si come sa di sale Lo pane altrui, / You shall learn how salt is the taste of another's bread" from The Divine Comedy may establish that Tuscan bread was unsalted in the 14th century, though it may also establish that other "Italian" breads were salted. I'm not sure how far back you're looking to go, and you'd be correct in theory to want earlier references to establish "tradition" though I don't think you could generalize "Italian". But as I understood the original post... Whether or not Tuscan bread was saltless because of Tuscan frugality, I don't think that pulverized dried prosciutto and melon foam will ever be thought of as a "traditional Italian" dish. I see a different issue. I personally am not, and have never been in favor of "fusion" cuisines. I think you are in danger of taking two perfectly wonderful cuisines, and losing at least one of them. You get a French chef who has traveled to China and is inspired to use soy sauce, ginger, and scallions in his duck, and a Chinese chef who is fascinated with French ingredients and applies the traditional soy sauce, ginger and scallion treatment to foie gras, and the next thing you know, you're eating the same things in restaurants in France and China, whereas before, you could enjoy two distinct cuisines. I think that people should definitely fuse (for many reasons), but that their traditional cuisines should remain distinct. And if any of those cuisines goes off on a molecular tangent, I hope that it won't be at the expense of people who remember how to make the traditional dishes. Or one day, no matter what restaurant we go to anywhere in the world, the only thing we'll be offered is pulverized ginger powder, soy sauce molecules, and protein foam. Or protein beads, ginger foam, and soy sauce dust. And like an episode of Star Trek, we'll discover ancient books with photos of Lasagne Bolognese and wonder what it even could have tasted like. ← Hi-Just a note to say that (as usual)markk, you have made some very good points.
  20. Certainly a thought provoking discussion. Back at the restaurant, here's a real world experience (versus our intellectual discussion): Yesterday we got a beautiful case of pencil asparagus. I asked my Roman co-chef what he had in mind for the asparagus since he brought them into the kitchen. He gave me the 'you have 3 heads' look, and said you boil them in water. I didn't have time to go into the finer points of my love for asparagus and he proceeded to boil the shit out of those poor little aspargus, their heads turning into a soggy mass. Now, my experience in Italy is that 99% of Italians cook all vegetables into a pile of mush and when I've tried more 'al dente' vegetables, the tourists eat them, and the Italians don't. Italians want their vegetables to be pre-chewed. Which is my long winded way of saying, there IS a defect in the cuisine. So, now what? Continue to serve traditional mushy vegetables? Or just quit my whining, and save some of the crunchy, fresh tasting stuff for myself? Naftal, I agree with you in spirit, but after you've had essentially the same menu put in front of you 10 times at 10 different restaurants, wouldn't want to branch out a little? Sometimes I've felt as if the Umbria Tourist Board mandated the menus! There are no simple answers, and I'll continue to look for balance. ← Hi-Actually, I like the idea of doing the al dente thing. At least the food will still look like food. It occurs to me now, that what I object to is not innovation per se rather, it is the tendency of food to look like a science fair project or like it came from a sculptor's or painter's studio (instead of from a kitchen)that I have a problem with. Though I know that I am in the minority here...
  21. But we're talking about restaurants. This topic opened with the question, "Is there any reason to cook totally traditional dishes, if you want to be a cut above a trattoria? Can a restaurant attain and/or maintain 'stars' cooking completely traditional, regional foods?" So that's very much a question about tourism marketing. I mean, the average person in Spain isn't eating El Bulli food at home. The whole culinary avant garde is utterly irrelevant to the average Spanish mother cooking food for a family. Nonetheless, from the perspective of the restaurant industry in Spain, it's very important. It's Spain's big culinary selling point to the world right now. Whereas, Italy's big selling point is "We cook the same food our grandparents cooked, we hate change, our food is simple and old-fashioned, if you walk ten feet your're in a different region, hooray for Slow Food . . ." ← We’re missing the point here. The idea of cutting edge in restaurants in Italy is a non starter. I can’t speak for the restaurant situation in Spain, but in Italy we are talking about 10 perhaps 20 restaurants that can carry out cutting edge techniques and/or food combinations. Several restaurants have tried and failed badly (i.e. Fulmine in Trescore Cremasco) or haven’t tried ( Ambasciata in Quistello).A very small number of Italians have any interest in even the few places which can carry it out. My neighbors, aside from the locals, in the town where I live in Italy are mainly wealthy people from Milan, Bologna, Brescia, Turin, Bergamo, Modena, Florence, etc. These are people who have the money as well as the desire to entertain in restaurants, for both business and social situations. They have absolutely no interest, except perhaps (and that is a very big perhaps) when entertaining stranieri, of going to a cutting edge restaurant. That is simply not their idea of enjoyment. They want to go out and eat food that they can recognize and enjoy, and they want to have a good time. They are not going to restaurants to worship a chef and his/her food creations. They are going to enjoy themselves with family and friends in a restaurant that hopefully serves good food and has at least a few bottles of wine that they know. I’m talking about the high end of Italian society in terms of financial resources, the only Italians who would even think of going to expensive cutting edge restaurants… and they don’t do it and have no interest in doing it. They might do it when they go to New York or London or Spain, but they are not frequenting those types of restaurants in Italy and never will. Those cutting edge restaurants in Italy are going to be dependent to a large extent on non Italians. ← Hello- I may be really off-base with this; but it seems to me that the real question is: Do you want to serve really, really, really good food that Italians would eat, or do you want to serve really, really, really good food that tourists would eat?In my opinion, that is what all this comes down to. Please correct me if I am wrong. I should add that I am one of those rare tourists who prefers to eat what, where, and how the locals do.
  22. Hello-I have pointed this out in other threads :there is a restaurant in Detroit, MI. that makes its own cheese, its own bread, and its own beer.It occures to me that perhaps the only reasons they can afford to do this are: 1)They have a very large dining area(which in one section has a small up-stairs area) And, 2)They also have long lines of patrons waiting for seats.
  23. Exactly, not only does my favorite restaurant in Detroit serve a cheese plate, but they make their own cheese. ← OK. I'm obviously wrong. These restaurants actually do have cheese plates but keep them from me. Must be a plot. ← No, we learned in another thread that his favorite restaurant in Detroit is a truck stop. They apparently make their own cheese to go with their onion rings and fish sticks. ← Do truck stops make their own cheese? and bread? and beer? I think not No one who has ever been here and seen how well they do all three would think of it as a truck stop. Also, the decor is not truck stop decor.Most Truck Stops do not even have a decor. Lastly, you continue to make this observation without once visiting this restaurant without once even visiting any resturant in MetroDetroit (Milan is near Ann Arbor).I will say this again: the next time you find yourself in the Great Lakes region, look me up and I will take you on a tour of my favorite eateries,then if you choose to berate them you can do so fairly.
  24. Exactly, not only does my favorite restaurant in Detroit serve a cheese plate, but they make their own cheese.
  25. Hi-Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes SWISS CHEF and markk express my personal view exactly. And they do it much better than I can .Just let me ask: Has anyone read Daniel Rogov's take on molecular gastronomy? It's in a thread on molecular gastronomy in Israel(Middle- East forum). If I really knew what I was doing, I'd creat a link. But, I don't, so I won't
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