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Posts posted by haresfur

  1. Doesn't bother me as long as the intent is sincerely friendly - like any other kind of social interaction. But I've learned that some people have emotional or physical issues that go beyond simply not appreciating the gesture.

    The only time I can recall getting a massage with my meal was when I had a job investigating groundwater contamination in a small town in Indiana. The work was outdoors and physical. The well drillers insisted on having lunch every day at a little blue-collar bar with a nice looking waitress. This place served mashed potatoes and gravy with everything. My favorite was lasagna and garlic bread with a side of mashed potatoes ... but I digress.

    The waitress took a lot of stuff from the patrons and I made a point of being extremely polite to her. So after a somewhat rude remark from one of my coworkers she made it a point of giving me a shoulder rub. I assume it was at least in part to let him know she wasn't warming up to *him*. Gotta admit it was amusing and my aching muscles appreciated it.

  2. Just curious on everyone's thoughts on this....

    Is it right for a local/regional newspaper to give a bad review to a restaurant who has probably bought hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of advertising over the years?

    Care to give us the name of the restaurant and publication so we can check out the review ourselves? :wink:

  3. Nice work, Katie.

    I just finished " Service Included" wherein out heroine meets her lover at a diner and feels she has to carry her own maple syrup for the diner pancakes.  I'm naive and sheltered  and all, but that rocked me back on my heels. All I could think was: "Er, if you have to tote your Canadian Amber Grade B, you should be eating breakfast somewhere else."

    Same applies to tea. If you can't get a good cuppa, just order the coffee. If you can, give that tea- loving restaurant your business.

    Actually, I had a girlfriend who did that :biggrin:

    Seriously though, why would anyone care if a customer didn't want to use the Mrs Butterworth's? I mean, maybe if they flavored the corn syrup themselves...

    Could be just karma to balance the people who steal sugar packets. :rolleyes:

    Someone better tell the boys over on the cocktail forum to quit bringing their own bitters.

  4. We have this problem at my place, and it's gotten even worse since Starbucks opened down the street. We have a casual but very nice BYO in NJ.

    I have had to post a sign at the door that outside beverages are not permitted. People still try to bring their own coffees in, especially during weekend brunches when there are waits for tables- even though we have take out coffees and espresso drinks. The quality of our coffee isn't an issue, either. We use very high quality products and most people comment on how great our coffee is.

    I think that people really don't think about what is or isn't appropriate. They just want what they want. On our end, we sell food and beverages (no alcohol). Period. Believe me, it's not easy without liquor sales. And our servers earn their living from tips based on what they sell. Period.

    Bottom line- bringing your own beverage (or food for that matter) into a restaurant is almost never appropriate.

    Well, I totally agree that it is inappropriate to bring an espresso into a place that sells them. I also agree that it is inappropriate to bring a drink into a place that has a sign forbidding the practice.

    Still, I don't think anyone is obligated to order a drink with a meal. Economically, bringing a coffee in is no different from ordering water. The only places I've seen with one drink minimums were ones where the beverage was not the major attraction :laugh:

    Order well, tip well, and rationally it is a net gain for the restaurant. But our rules for social interaction aren't necessarily rational and people can be boors. Personally, in some circumstances I don't think it is rude to bring a drink, but what is important is what the other party thinks is rude - that is the essence of being polite.

    I think jsmeeker hit the PNW phenomenon on the head - people see their latte as an extension of their hand.

  5. Along the lines of bringing your own tea bag into restaurants...

    It seems not unusual for people in my neck of the woods to bring a latte into restaurants where espresso is not served. Many places seem fine with that although I've seen signs forbidding the practice.

    This is similar to the byoT issue in that you aren't going to be ordering a beverage thus depriving them of hypothetical income. It's different in that you are not asking for any extra dishes or service.

    I can see both sides... I don't want to deprive anyone of making a living but don't feel bad about having a meal and only ordering water - latte or not (I *like* water). I prefer good coffee. The only time I can think of when I did this, I was sitting with a friend having coffee and we decided we were hungry and went across the parking lot to get breakfast, thus gaining them customers that otherwise would have stayed put and eaten mediocre sugary pastries.

    So is this a Pacific Northwest phenomenon? Under what if any circumstances is it acceptable to bring a coffee drink into a restaurant?

  6. When I worked in bush camps in northern Canada, we maintained a supply of canned food that was intended to keep you going if the supply flight was delayed. As such it had to be something that wouldn't disappear because of midnight munchies, or more likely sheer boredom. The canned chicken was firmly entrenched at the bottom of that barrel.

    Well, boredom is a powerful thing and one time, when the fresh meat was gone, we broke into the canned chicken. The sound of opening the can has already been described. I can only say that the taste was everything you imagine it to be.

  7. The hoppiest beer?” Garrett asked. “It’s a fairly idiotic pursuit, like a chef saying, ‘This is the saltiest dish.’ Anyone can toss hops in a pot, but can you make it beautiful?

    This pretty much sums up my attitude.

    Maybe ultra hoppy beer is new to the rest of the country but in the Pacific Northwest there are decades of experience with mouth-puckering beer. Gotta use up those Chinook hops.

    It seemed odd that the article talks mainly about heavily hopped beer but then doesn't provide any measure of the bitterness - just a reference to the alcohol content. I suppose there is some sense in that because, as they say, I would want a pretty strong and malty beer to balance the hops. Could they at least give a hint of which hops were used? Or does beer tasting have to sound like wine tasting for people to think it credible? Somehow knowing a beer is "robust with chocolate, caramel and balsam flavors" doesn't help me guess if I'm going to like it. I like chocolate but am not big on caramel...

  8. I guess I just have a high heat tolerance. I now ask them to take out the little thermometer, stick it in the milk and heat the milk to 90 C. This gives me a hot latte & sullen looks from the barista person. I go and sit in my corner and sip my hothot coffee, and I'm happy.

    Now I know I'm wrong, but that won't stop me from ordering it that way.

    So, you are getting what you want. Keep ordering it. This will stand you in good stead when Starbucks arrives (although why anyone would want that over the ambiance of a good Amsterdam Cafe, I don't know). It is one thing to use a half-dozen adjectives for your espresso order, but a real master asks for the exact temperature rather than a vague "extra hot". :laugh:

    I do find different places do different drinks better than others so it can take some experimenting.

  9. A friend of my parents, who would spend extended periods in London alone for her historical research, described how to get respect as a woman dining alone:

    She went to the local Italian restaurant in Hampsted where she had a flat and with her meal, ordered a very good bottle of wine that she consumed in its entirety. The next time the staff fell all over themselves to take care of her. As she explained, "It's not just knowing a good wine, but showing you know how to appreciate it."

  10. Ok, since you asked. Here's my father's recipe as handed down to each of his children. I tried to more or less preserve the formatting as he wrote them:

    German Pancakes - my brother's

    4 c. flour + 1 tsp salt

    - add milk in glugs and stir in each glug til the dough is thin.

    - add eggs (2 per person), beating them in one at at time

    - fry about 1/3 c of batter per pancake in butter.


    - make a white sauce, using water instead of milk

    - add lemon, salt + sugar


    German Pancakes - my sister's

    3/4 cup flour per person

    pinch salt

    add milk with minimal stirring until consistency of thick glue

    add eggs - about 2/person - you can skimp a bit

    beat well after each egg

    adjust consistency to that of heavy cream with milk

    fry in butter, hold in oven at 250 Degrees F



    2 c flour

    dash salt

    4 eggs or so


    Add milk, about 1/2 cup at a time to flour, mixing

    only lightly. Result is a gloppy, sticky, lumpy

    mess, thicker than glue. Now add as many eggs as

    you can afford, one at a time, beating like all hell.

    Maximum is about 7 for this amount. The batter will

    still have lumps, but they won't be big and don't

    matter. The consistency should be that of heavy cream,

    or slightly thicker.

    Heat frying pan very hot, use lots of butter to fry

    pancakes, turning when they are no longer liquid on top


    The details:

    These are thin, crepe-like pancakes about 10 inches in diameter. A cast iron skillet is traditional but a non-stick pan works well. Getting the temperature right is tricky, especially since I try to use minimal butter (sorry Dad!). They should cook quite fast. My father would fill the kitchen with smoking butter (and cigarette smoke - don't watch if a few ashes in the food worry you). Once the pancake is cooked it is folded in half and half again and added to the stack in the oven.

    To eat the pancakes are unrolled on your plate and served with the beef ragout alluded to in my bro's recipe (very tiny cubes of roast beef in the sauce) or apple sauce. The sauce is ladled into a strip down the center, the cake re-folded over top and (especially if you are a kid) sugar sprinkled on top.


    I substitute 2 egg whites for about half the eggs (that low saturated fat thing). Mushroom sauce or a cauliflower-cheese sauce is good for the vegetarian branch of the family. I usually do a mushroom sauce or a scallop sauce along with the apple sauce (don't think I've ever made a roast).


    With all that sugar??? We never got dessert with this meal. Try to end on an apple sauce one. :raz:

  11. "Feeding people is almost always a good thing to do" - haresfur

    I don't worry much about whether or why the food bank customers need the food. The upside of a full belly is profound even if it just helps someone maintain until they get it together.

    It's worth asking what the food bank needs most, but I also feel the need to give something within the bounds that satisfies me. I have settled, personally, on canned fruit in light syrup. It's healthy enough, perhaps a bit of a treat, and I hope it is palatable for many of the young and elderly who may have trouble maintaining nutrition.

    ...protein is good, too.

  12. Not a specific answer on the varieties you are interested in, but Murchies in British Columbia has a reasonable green tea selection. I have seen sencha at upscale/wholefood grocieries like PCC in the Pacific Northwest.

    If you are after bags, I'm particularly fond of the sencha/matcha blend available from Costco in their typical substantial boxes.

    For that matter you might consider matcha since you drink the powdered leaves which probably gives more concentrated chemical delivery. You can also cook with matcha. The best price on cooking matcha I have found was from Bobateadirect.com (do a search because it isn't their main product and can be hard to find). I get the pure matcha that isn't cut with sugar. There are also some EG members that sell matcha and possibly other tea that may chime in or pm you.

    Hope your friend does well; chemo is so unfair - when you go to the doctors they aren't supposed to make you feel sick. :sad:

  13. Maybe I'm a bit biased after all, but for higher-end cuisine it seems like one would expect the reviewer to have some more intimate familiarity with Japanese cuisine and customs?

    Perhaps, but would you expect that of a reviewer for The Stranger :hmmm:

    I guess I would expect a Seattle reviewer not to be clueless about Asian food. I would certainly wish that a reviewer in a free paper with a diverse audience could educate the rest of us, so I would be less clueless (more clued?).

  14. Pringles? Is it because they aren't fried? If you are going to eat potato chips they aren't going to be healthy. If you want to pretend they are healthy or want to actually taste potato, then buy the lower fat ones cooked in canola. If you want to eat cardboard, throw out the Pringles and eat the tube they come in.

    The only advantage I see, is that they pack better for camping trips.

  15. Thought I would revive this thread since I was just introduced (much to my surprise) to a nice place in the Dalles, called the Baldwin Saloon. (Hood River is probably deserving of it's own discussion). The Baldwin is on Court St. north of the main E-W streets. Its one of those places I'm seeing more of in smaller towns, often in fixed up older buildings, where the food ranges from burgers up to quite expensive (for me) dinners (another thread, perhaps?).

    I think it was worth a visit just for the walls covered in oil paintings - mostly Pacific Northwest scenes (and a classic reclining nude over the bar). I had bouillabaisse that was a trifle spicy for my tastes but with very nice seafood, especially the mussels. Service was friendly and good. Apparently there sometimes is piano music from a loft accessed from a wooden ladder.

    Anyway, a good place to stop after a day kayaking.

  16. When I was growing up, one of the main points of Thanksgiving was to make turkey in Hollandaise in the next few days (well, after feeding the family, friends, and any stray graduate students that were around). Actually a mock hollandaise - lighter and better IMO - with those canned button mushrooms in the old days when decent fresh ones weren't available.

    Nothing wrong with picking at the remains in the fridge or sandwiches but why not inspire people to try something different?

    That being said, I'm stuffing and roasting a pumpkin this year. Not sure what to do with the leftovers of that.

  17. Funny story:  Shortly after moving to Paris, I was having dinner at Le Suffren and committed a great faux pas – I ordered coffee with my dessert.  The waiter just looked at me and said, Non Non Monsieur.  Apres.

    He really wasn’t mean or condescending about it (ok, maybe a little condescending…) but he let me know that it simply wasn’t done.

    Hmmm…. Never did get my coffee.

    Hey, John, Thanks for pointing out the article.  That was a good read. :smile:

    Reminds me of when I was eating dinner in a very busy place in Paris - sharing a table with 2 Italian business men and a young French guy, who made it very clear he was in a hurry. After his main course, he was trying to get the waitress' attention and she was pointedly ignoring him. Finally she asked from about two tables over if he wanted dessert. He said he'd have a coffee.

    She lit into him saying that she didn't ask him if he wanted coffee; coffee wasn't dessert; did he want dessert?

    He said, ok, he'd have some ice cream.

    A couple of minutes later she whisked by our table and without slowing down, slapped a piece of apple tart in front of him.

    Must have annoyed her to no end that it wasn't until after I left that I realized that she had brought me the wrong salad. :blink:


    I try to be easy going about silly language stuff but I really hate "How's it tastin'?"

  18. I just succumbed to the hype and bought a purple clay tea pot.  My tea still tastes the same  :huh: Does anyone else use a purple clay tea pot?

    I think you have it backwards - the tea enhances one's enjoyment of the fine pottery :wink: - but I love ceramics.

    Seriously, it is the whole experience - kind of like a restaurant with good service and good food. I'm not compulsive about it or anything (I use a lot of tea bags) but using a nice tea pot or drinking out of the perfect (for you) mug is satisfying.

    The Yixing teapots do age. A friend pointed out how a well used one had developed a softer surface sheen. This may well affect the flavor. Even glazed pots are said to get better as they develop a thick tea-stain. I think this would be more pronounced with an unglazed stoneware. So give it time and enjoy your teapot.

  19. Maybe I'm too sensitive, but I wonder if we should be so adamantly critical about the kind of Chinese food served in the 60s, 70s and even today. We can rave about how wonderfully authentic a certain cuisine is today, but we shouldn't bash what it was in the past. Everything evolves.

    On a historical note, doesn't Chinese-Canadian and Chinese-American restaurant food go back at least as far as the construction of the railroads? I recall seeing some turn-of the century pictures of Chinese restaurants in Prairie towns. The railroads workers included cooks and effectively spread their influence across North America (I speculate that that may have been at least in part to get away from the conditions in the work camps).

    I'm not sure what this means for the home vs. restaurant N. American Chinese cooking, but I'm not sure that distinction is that important. Don't many regions with strong restaurant cultures have quite different cooking styles at home?

    I, too, think there are regional differences in Chinese restaurant food across the U.S. as well as with Canada although there are perhaps more overlaps. I haven't seen "Duck Sauce" in my western home town.

    I do miss the local Thai, Chinese, Mexican restaurant that had been run by a Thai woman who emigrated to El Salvador then to the U.S.

  20. I like Murchie's in British Columbia, Canada. I think it is getting easier to order on line from them. Often I can manage to get someone to bring some down, though. I'm partial to their No. 10 blend, Empress Afternoon and they have a good Earl Grey. They shine most with the black/green and black tea blends IMO.

    Murchie's Tea

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