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Posts posted by bsims

  1. I received the book a few weeks ago. I'll admit to being a cocktail-making newbie, the most ambitious being a mojito and that's mostly just because the previous owner of our home decided to plant some mint before they left which, as it wont to do has more or less taken over... But I can certainly appreciate well-made drinks with fresh ingredients and with a 9 month old impacting our ability go out, excited to try some at home (especially a Mai Tai with the orgeat - soft spot since our honeymoon in Hawaii) as the book seems to demystify much of it. My only criticism is that it doesn't seem to contain the recipe for the supremely delicious tiki drink you were serving at the Alex's Lemonade Great Chefs Event - which, of course isn't so much as a criticism as much as a thinly veiled request for the recipe. ;)

    Now I just need to make more friends so I have an excuse to make more drinks!

  2. Being a suburbanite, I've eaten at both the Exton and Royersford locations. With the exception of the default place setting being silverware instead of chopsticks (perhaps a pet peeve, but it somehow takes away from the authenticity - odd to me, given Han's vocal opinion about americanized cuisine, but I digress) and have found it to be a treat. However, it seems like a key point of the overall experience, if not food itself, is Han and his personality - this carries over to the print reviews as well. Given the ever expanding empire, has the dining experience at Exton and Royersford gone down any? At least, I'll assume that most of his attention would be focused on the city location now...

  3. Thanks for all the recommendations, we are going with Aux Petits Delices! We are going with two different types in different tiers.

    The Chambord - Light layers of almond/hazelnut meringue and chocolate sponge cake filled with fresh raspberries, chocolate mousse and white chocolate ganache.

    The Poundcake - A classic butter poundcake. But we are going to have them layer it with rasbperry filling.


  4. Apologies in advance if this is more appropriate for the other PA forum, but that seems to be focused on ingredients vs. final product... Plus this forum seems to get more traffic. ;)

    At any rate, title says most of it... We're going fairly small, perhaps 50-75 people with a cocktail/hors d'oeurves/cake reception at our home. We're looking for something nice, but simple. And, of course, tasty! We're in the Royersford area, closer would probably get consideration as well...


  5. Has anyone been to Bluefin lately? Their website seems to be gone, and when searching for their number to make a reservation, I stumbled across some more recent reviews and found more than one reports of service that, if accurate, can only be considered arrogant. While I didn't exactly experience that during my last visit in the fall, the wait staff wasn't exactly what I'd call attentive, and it did seem like we were rushed out...

  6. When I moved to my new house, I decided I wanted to upgrade to a stainless trash can. However, I had originally balked at paying $100+ for something I was going to throw garbage in and went cheap with a house brand at Target. Big mistake, opening is too narrow to fit many things, exposed hinge rips the bag, and anything with a sharp edge (boxes, etc.) often gets caught on the lip.

    So, "buy once, cry once" philosophy has once again been proven, and I'm soliciting opinions before I pull the trigger. I'd say my basic requirements...

    1) Uses standard 13 gal bags. I've come to terms with getting an expensive can, but I don't want to need to get expensive, fitted, liners to go with it. Tending towards the smaller size, as there are only two of us and I don't like to keep items that end up stinking in the house overly long.

    2) Wide enough mouth to fit reasonably sized objects in. I believe I've seen the ability to dump a dustpan used as a good measure here as well. Coupled with 1), I think that leaves the round cans out - ones large enough to dump a dustpan usually are pretty high capacity.

    3) Ability to get the darn bag out without wrestling with it!!!

    4) Prefer all stainless, but I suppose stainless body with a plastic top might be OK.

    5) Not a requirement, per se, but I'm intrigued by the ones with the auto-open motion detector... seems like one more thing to break, but a nice feature if it works properly.

    These are some contenders I've found so far, but interested in other recommendations, too:

    Leifheit Kicker - 9.5 gal (~$150)

    OK, I started out with a round one... but it looks like it tapers and claims to have an extra wide mouth. And it does mean that the standard bags, which are meant for rectangular containers have some "wasted" capacity - I'm guessing a 13 gal bag would reach the bottom of the can and work, but not sure.

    Simplehuman semi round - 40 liter (~$120)

    I've seen reports that the opening mechanism breaks on the smaller models and you need to pay shipping both ways for warranty repairs making it the warranty essentially useless, given the size. Not sure about this one, and not exactly sure what standard bag size might fit it.

    Simplehuman slim - 35 liter (~$100)

    Pretty much same thoughts as the model above.

    Brabantia Touch Bin - 50 liter (~$220)

    Bigger than ideal, but it's damn sexy and I'm intrigued by what can possibly make a kitchen trash can cost in excess of $200.

    That's about all I have for now... thoughts?

  7. I understand that it used to be traditional for a family crest or similar to be used as a pattern for pizzelles. My girlfriend's family is from Abruzzo, and her sister has pizzelle duty for the holidays who also has a high interest in genealogy. I thought it might be a really nice gift next year if we could get her a pizzelle maker with custom plates with her family's crest, but I've no idea to where to start.

    Ideally, for convenience sake, it would be best to get an electric maker or something that would work with a commercial device vs. traditional irons. Any ideas?

  8. Christmas cookie time is nearing, and my significant other tends to go a bit overboard (gifts, etc.)- to the point where the process is a fairly significant financial expenditure. She mostly laments the cost of nuts purchased at the local market - are there any good online (US-based) sources for quality nuts in bulk quantities that may end up being a bit more economical?


  9. Don't forget that unlike some other cooking-based contest shows, the competition isn't for a spot at a restaurant or simply a monetary reward - it is a competition for a slot on a television show. While the credentials of all the contestants show there are no slouches in the kitchen, don't doubt for a moment that the winner chosen has just as much to do with their ability to draw viewers to the parent program as their culinary skills, if not more. All of the existing iron chefs have something that makes them unique, some ethnic or regional specialty, with the exception of cora/symon, which have a Mediterranean overlap. And it may not be PC to say so, but Cora's primary "unique" contribution to the show is arguable being a reasonably attractive female.

    I really don't think it is any coincidence that the contestants had strong representation from French, Indian, and Latin American cuisines - none of which are present in the existing lineup. The program is looking for someone that either has a unique personality or to fill what they perceive to be a gap in the current staff. To that end, I find it no surprise that comments on the cooking or not, Frietag was the one who went home. I predict it will be Garces and Mehta in the top two. Mehta definitely has the stronger personality (some of his expressions just freak me out!), but he may cross the line into bizarre and turn some viewers off.

  10. Oh wow - I finally got there for the first time on Wednesday, without having any idea they were closing... Was a great meal, very sad to seem them go. Phoenixville has definitely come up in the last couple of years, and I can only think this will be somewhat of a blow.

  11. Just got back from Ken's, admittedly I was a bit nervous at first, as we were the only ones there on a day where I presumed they'd be busier than normal as it was the Moon Festival celebration, but overall it was a very good meal. No pictures, though :(.

    Unfortunately, they did not have the live scallops, but just asking about them seemed raise us up a notch or two in the eyes of the host, who I presumed to be Ken (he later came over and asked how I knew about them). He recommended steamed oysters as a sub, which we got with the black bean sauce. They were exquisite and definitely the highlight of the meal.

    We were really tempted to go with a whole fish, but the pictures of the duck I was looking at earlier today won me over. I must say, traditional or not, I much preferred the fluffy pancakes served here over the flat ones from Sang Kee, which was previously my go to place during my infrequent trips to Chinatown. This was also very, very good - I think I'll need to concur that it was a better overall dish than what I remembered from Sang Kee.

    Next up was the salt-baked squid. Unfortunately, this was the least impressive dish of the night. Flavors were good, but it came out a bit greasier than ideal.

    Last was Beef Chow Fun, on recommendation of our waiter (Ken was away at this point). We wanted a noodle dish, but I forgot if/what was recommended here. It was a good example of the dish, but not particularly memorable - in retrospect I would have preferred something with pork.

    And of course, stopped at a bakery for both red bean and lotus seed moon cakes! I can't comprehend that many people don't seem to like these...

    Overall, I'm very glad of the recommendation - ordinarily I'd probably have passed by a place called "Ken's" in the middle of Chinatown without a second thought (although Ken is probably a common Chinese name as well, and it is my american-centrism that equates ken with kenneth) and I really needed to get outside my previous haunts here, most especially away from the gravitational pull Sang Kee seems to have on me. I'll definitely be exploring this place more as time permits - although I still need to hit Szechewan Tasty House as well. Ah, the travails of living almost all the way out to Reading...

  12. Thanks, I'm definitely a neophyte foodie, but even I noticed the lack - you are correct in the assumption that I'm not looking for a chain. Was sorta hoping there was one tucked away somewhere reasonably close that I missed... Exton is close to my place of employment (thanks egullet for turning me on to Han Dynasty - some tasty lunches have been had!), but from home, unfortunately might as well be driving to the city at that point.

    I have heard that the owners of the Black Lab in Phoenixville are supposed to be opening an Italian spot on Bridge Street (might have actually read it somewhere here, but I can no longer find it). Anyone know if this is true, and if so, have a projected opening date? Looking forward to this one, based on a couple of meals I've had at the Black Lab...

  13. I've poured over both the Chester County and Montco threads, but there seems to be a dearth of recommendations for Italian - posting a new topic as my area sort of straddles the topics of those threads. Looking for something with a nice atmosphere suitable for taking a lady-friend one might be in the early stages of trying to convince to spend more time with him, pref with entrees in the $25 range. BYO preferred, but not an absolute requirement.

    Ideally somewhere in the rough triangle formed by KoP, Phoenixville, and Skippack - I'm willing to stray a bit farther, but much beyond that area and I may as well go down the city.


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