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Posts posted by haresfur

  1. I'm off and on trying to work out a a variation on the sidecar that I want to call the "motorcycle diary" that turns out to be more of a variation on between the sheets - using Pisco instead of brandy and maybe dark rum (Cuban rum?-). Think I might have to go to lime juice because lemon doesn't seem quite right. My current sip using Gran Gala instead of triple sec shows some promise.

    Any suggestions are welcome.

  2. Certain kinds of beer can be aged, and can really improve with time. The higher ABV beers tend to fit this mold, along with lambics. This is why my apartment has a whole closet of beer to be drank at a later date -- whether it be a year from how or 10 (the lambics in particular are waiting for a while).


    ... my boyfriend ...


    Well the "aficionado" I referred to is my 22 yr old niece. ... what's your annual income? :raz:

    I knew some beer aged well, what I found most interesting was the difference between the two bottles. I suppose this could tie back to the screw cap vs. cork controversy for wine. I wonder what it would have been like if I had started with a really good beer.

  3. You might be interested in a happy discovery I recently made.

    I stopped brewing beer quite a while ago – I didn't seem to have time and wasn't drinking enough to get good at it (the former excuse still holds but I'm not sure the later still does). My last batch, christened by my DB as “Trash the Kitchen Imperial Stout” (never let your Imp. boil over) was a disaster in other ways, too. In a mis-guided attempt to sweeten up the recipe, I added too much molasses, not knowing that the molasses flavor results from unformentable chemicals. This resulted in a vile, highly alcoholic watered down blackstrap.

    So about 8 years later, I found some liter bottles with ceramic caps and a 12 pack of 12 oz bottles of the stuff left in a basement cupboard. I cautiously slipped some from a liter bottle to a beer afficionado who said, “High abv but drinkable.”

    Sure enough, after almost a decade, the alcohol had kept the beer preserved but the molasses had mellowed away.

    But wait, there's more. We opened one of the 12 oz bottles with a regular cap and the beer hadn't gotten any worse but there was still an overly strong smack of molasses. My theory is that the cap sealed too well and you needed the little bit of oxidation through the rubber gasket on the ceramic cap to take out the unformentables.

    Is there a moral here? Maybe that brewing chemistry is way more complex than I understand or that beer-gods are benevolent if you are patient.

  4. Dulse and beer?

    My parents immigrated to Nova Scotia from western Canada after I left home so I didn't gain much knowledge of local cooking - aside from getting jugs of seawater for boiling lobster.

    The other thing I remember is the availability of wonderful old varieties of apples.

    You didn't mention the immigrant freed slaves who found refuge in Nova Scotia (as opposed to the Acadians who went the other way). Are there any remnants of their cooking culture?

  5. First trial of the ginger infusion I made. It didn't freeze in the chest freezer - so far so good. Straight it is strong but sippable - not bad. Then I threw some stuff together:

    2 oz Appleton White Rum

    1/2 oz ginger vodka

    1/2 oz cheap Triple Sec

    2 oz lime juice

    1 oz 1:1 simple syrup (or was it 1/2 oz :-(

    Shake with ice, strain, serve with 1 cube and a lime wedge.

    Threw in a tad more ginger. I think it has promise :biggrin:

  6. *What are a few basic, well-balanced drinks that will make it look like I'm not a clueless idiot or an overgrown sorority girl?*

    I think it depends in part on what you like (or can develop a taste for), in part on what sort of image you want to convey (what *do* you want to look like?), and what sort of establishments (something that they won't totally screw up but will be really good when made well).

    You probably don't want to order something they won't have a clue how to make but it sounds like you want to show a certain level of sophistication. Just avoid anything with too suggestive a name :raz:

    I agree a sidecar may fit the bill. Maybe something rum based like a daquiri, if you don't like gin, a rum collins could work. If rum sounds to "pirate" for your crowd, you could try a whiskey sour.

    If you like wine, but want to go a bit more unusual, kir is tasty. Or Dubonnet on the rocks with a lemon twist. What's the point of drinking if you don't enjoy it?

    Maybe you could conscript a friend to go do some research with you?

  7. I recently celebrated surviving the 'flu season by infusing some of my massive bag of candied ginger into vodka and have a few questions like, "Now what?"

    I filled a pint mason jar about 1/3 - 1/2 full of coarsely chopped candied ginger topped it up with Fris vodka and let sit for about a week. Had a really hard time filtering it through coffee filters - clogged immediately. Any ideas why or a better way to filter?

    BTW, I mixed the leftover ginger with orange marmalade and slathered it on a chunk of halibut that I baked - yummy.

    Right now the infusion is sitting in the deep freeze and I have only tasted the potent drops spilled on my fingers. Do I want to let it age at room temperature for a while longer? Would that kill the heat (and would that be a good or a bad thing?).

    So where would this stuff work better than say, ginger beer, in a cocktail? I don't think it is something that would be wonderful neat. The only idea I found upthread was #42.

    Then, I was wondering if you get a different flavor from a ginger-alcohol infusion from a ginger syrup, and if there is any advantage to each. Opinions?

    Thanks everyone. In the last year my liquor cabinet went from an ancient bottle of Oban, Cointreau, and some CC to overflowing so I'm still getting the hang of things.

  8. Perogies (deep fried) and sour cream - a favorite in Manitoba pubs. At home I like to eat them with mango chutney.

    Never developed a taste for dulse and beer - Nova Scotia style, but I love the idea.

    We were really popular in Yellowknife NWT when we showed up at the bar with insanely salty Dall-sheep jerky.

  9. Most of my family's reminiscences about growing up seem to involve food, "Do you remember that restaurant where..."

    I guess I'm lucky to have too many good memories to include. The first that came to mind though was from a small town on the Italian Rivera when I was 7 years old and camping around Europe with my family. The menu was only in Italian and I ordered the most amazing plate heaped with mussels in a spicy broth. Can't recall if I knew what I was ordering or even knew what a mussel was, anyway. The memory is even better because my vegetable-hating brother wound up with a plate of cold green beans in olive oil. :laugh:

    Actually many of my memorable meals are from Italy, so one more. My wife and I were living in the Washington D.C. area and she had to go to Budapest and Florence for work. Naturally I invited myself along. Florence was sensory overload, so one day we took the bus to Fiesole, which I remembered as a sleepy town in the hills with one restaurant worth visiting. When we got up there it was bustling and well into midday dinner. We found a promising looking place to squeeze into. The owner was charging around making sure his staff were on top of things, providing the grated cheese for my plate, explaining that my wife's dish really didn't need any, "Ok, just a touch". When we finished, the place had pretty much cleared out and he talked with us for quite a while before we left. His shirt was soaked through with sweat.

    The crowning moment, though was when he found out we were from D.C. and took us outside the door to show us the Washington Post review of his restaurant hanging in the window! Those of you who know Washington know that just about *every* restaurant has a Washington Post review hanging in the window, even if the review says the food was horrible (naturally his review was very positive).

  10. 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.

  11. 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:

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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."

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