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jbzepol

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  1. Too many unscrupulous charlatans for this to ever be viable for any length of time; the majority of "coupon people" come to mind.
  2. Believe it or not I have had the best results with Cobblestone Mill Sub Rolls (not their Philly Hoagie Rolls funny enough). I've always had consistency issues with homemade bread (humidity, overworking dough, underworking dough, degassing dough, crappy home oven, etc..). Now if I could only find a respectable commercial roll for Banh Mi (I'm also in the south mind you) I'd be a very happy man.
  3. Satchel's Pizza is wayyy overrated. They need to SWITCH to a higher gluten flour as that "snap" to the crust is missing entirely; also if you're expecting even the slightest hint of those wonderous blisters which only a high temp wood or coal oven can produce forget it! It does NOT exist in this town at all. Blue Highway Pizza in Tioga Town Center is not artisan pizza by any means but in my opinion way better than Satchel's even despite their liberal use of cornmeal. For Chinese South Garden in Haile Plantation blows the competition out of the water. Do not expect anything transcendental, menu wise, but on execution alone they are the best hands down. La Tienda for Mexican food (and not Tex-Mex) is the G'Villes finest, although, El Indio is respectable AND has a drive-thru! Mildred's Big City Food and Mark's US Prime are still the two powerhouses for "Fine Dining". Ti Amo has slipped but, in all fairness, I have not been back in a while.
  4. Satchel's Pizza is wayyy overrated. They need to a higher gluten flour as that "snap" to the crust is missing entirely; also if you're expecting even the slightest hint of those wonderous blisters which only a high temp wood or coal oven can produce forget it! It does NOT exist in this town at all. Blue Highway Pizza in Tioga Town Center is not artisan pizza by any means but in my opinion way better than Satchel's even despite their liberal use of cornmeal. For Chinese South Garden in Haile Plantation blows the competition out of the water. Do not expect anything transcendental, menu wise, but on execution alone they are the best hands down. La Tienda for Mexican food (and not Tex-Mex) is the G'Villes finest, although, El Indio is respectable has a drive-thru! Mildred's Big City Food and Mark's US Prime are still the two powerhouses for "Fine Dining". Ti Amo has slipped but, in all fairness, I have not been back in a while.
  5. Aren't Canadian and Maine lobsters the same (Homarus americanus)? What specifically makes them different?
  6. Keep it simple! Premix Cosmos, Margaritas or whatever drinks you have in mind. Limit your well and speed rack to basics (vodka, gin, rum), 2-liter Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and maybe Ginger. Ice, ice and more ice. Just when you think you have enough ice, get more! Also you shouldn't have a problem finding squeezed lemon or lime juice in New York dude. Good luck!
  7. Amen to that! And thank you for the background information regarding the start of the trend prior to the jump in grain costs. It's little tidbits like that which industry loves to gloss over if not flat-out omit.
  8. You are cutting the chef(s) way too much slack here; absolving them of any responsibility for their establishment(s). Not only do I think you can judge them, I think it's essential that you do judge them; in everything from the menu itself to the food it is ultimately the chef-persona that is accountable. If Mesa Grill Las Vegas can't hold a candle to Mesa Grill N.Y. for whichever reason...ultimately it reflects on Bobby Flay thereby affecting his reputation. It is located where The Sovereign used to be; a very nice building indeed. We didn't catch the pig though; maybe next time. If you're looking for decent food in Gainesville this is the best bang for the buck. Edited for Punctuation
  9. Why? ← Is this a trick question ? If not - because I care more about the quality of the meals I'm paying for than getting trying to get some psychic satisfaction that I have dined at a restaurant where the chef is on TV (frankly - I don't care beans about the latter). BTW - what's new and good in Gainesville these days (I live near Jacksonville and usually get to Gainesville a couple of times a year)? My favorite food in Gainesville is usually the smoked turkey legs at the fall arts festival (no joke - they're terrific). Robyn ← "Trick"? Why it's only one word? I follow your logic but believe that your premises are fundamentally flawed-- the unspoken assumption(s) that (either) only the Executive Chef possesses the skill to execute their dishes and/or is conscientious enough for quality control. Any Sous chef worth their salt can execute; and sabotage in the form of knowingly expediting sub-par dishes would only affect their own careers in the long run. I think your view is popular but naive; though I'd bet you have a palate. For the record I really enjoyed MGFD. Simple, straight-forward and well executed food; not mind blowing but very well done and a good value. "New and good in Gainesville"? Probably that smoked turkey leg at the arts festival (though I had one at the fair that was in desperate need of salt). Seriously I think the best gig in town currently is Ti Amo, Chef Bert Gill's latest endeavor. It's not great; but the ingredients are good, cooked well and reasonably priced. I have to mention the superb hummus at Gyros Plus when I'm talking Gainesville-- it really is best bite in town.
  10. Agree 100%. Honestly...I don't see why someone would even care? Would these same people care if their mechanics swore? Or contractors? How about if English was not the predominant language in the kitchen; would that affect professionalism? They're chefs not salesmen nor members of the clergy nor state representatives. Just focus on what counts....the food, remember?
  11. Hi Lauraf, Here are the mistakes I've made which, upon correcting, have led to consistent souffles: Did not temper the yolks (ended up with sweet scrambled eggs) Over whipped egg whites (you'll know, they're nasty looking) Sloppy integration of whites and fats/flavor components Dumped them in all at once instead of in steps Mixed vigorously when I should have folded gently [*]Incorrect baking [*]Wrong temperature and wrong setting ("Clean" vs. "Bake" due to faded dials on my oven during my crappy apartment days). Good luck and let us know how you fare.
  12. Yup-- the trip was everything I'd thought it would be. Yeah the Miami material should be fun; thanks for lookin' out. So what's the story with the frozen fries? Has Bouchon stopped using frozen fries? When I ate there two years ago, the frites reminded me of McDonald's fries--great when fresh, but they aged quickly. And imagine my surprise when I found out they very well could be the same as McDonald's. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! I can't wait till you finish up the Miami reviews! ←
  13. Hi RJ, I meant a smaller portion of slaw; about half would've sufficed for me. It was good; but I think that I experienced a little of the Law of Diminishing Returns that Keller writes about. You'd be more than welcome to half my slaw next time! Rosemary's was absolutely worth the drive-- an excellent value. I was a little concerned pulling up to it ("...in a strip mall!?"), but alas I trusted eGullet and, as usual, I'm happy I did! Pics to come soon BTW. jbzepol, what do you mean by, "get away with about half the amount"? Well, bless your heart! Next time, you just give me that other half of the blue cheese slaw. I'll finish it up for you. Sounds like all y'all enjoyed Rosmary's a lot? Was it worth drivin' all the way out there to have dinner? I like that place very much. The food is great and the restaurant is off the Strip!! ←
  14. Back from Vegas! Thanks for all the suggestions and information; once again eGullet proves its worth. And now...on with it (with some pics to follow soon). Restaurants: Rosemary's, Nobu, L'Atelier, Picasso, Bouchon, 'wichcraft, Jean Philippe Patisserie Rosemary's Me Hugo's Texas BBQ Shrimp Twice Baked Parmesan Souffle The special (a Foie dish) Her Panko Crusted Crab Boulettes Tomato Bisque Grilled Veal Tenderloin Crispy Wonton Goat Cheese Mousse Amuse Bouche This one hit me in waves. Mellow and creamy/airy goat cheese segued into substantial-but-thin "crunch" followed by a resonance of sesame (oil?). Woah! Hugo's Texas BBQ Shrimp Overall one of my favorite dishes of the evening. The shrimp were cooked perfectly, the BBQ sauce was neither too sweet nor too smoky and the slaw was fantastic; crispy and fresh with a nice bit of sharp "substantialness" due to blue cheese. The only issue, if you could call it that, was the portion size for the slaw. They could get away with about half (or 3/4 at most) the amount. While the flavors were great, it had the tendency to weigh on the palate after about half way through, even after carefully negotiating shrimp-to-slaw bite ratios. Panko Crusted Crab Boulettes The little bit I got to sample was wonderful. The boulettes were light and crispy and the flavors delicate but with some presence. A home run. Twice Baked Parmesan Souffle On point execution; an "as it should be" souffle. Tomato Bisque A respectable soup, though not as attention getting as the rest of the meal. The special (a Foie dish) Unfortunately I can't remember all the flavors involved (mango maybe) but there was certainly onion marmalade and some greens. Once again the execution was right on point, but the foie itself was...a little pungent, gamey and chalky ("terrine-y" if you will). I've encountered this before so I attribute it to the grade of foie as opposed to how it was cooked, though I am not quite certain about that. Is it execution or product? If anyone can help me figure it out I'd greatly appreciate it. Grilled Veal Tenderloin Once again a solid dish. She wasn't too keen on the lentils, but she's generally not keen on lentils. The meat was excellent. We were so stuffed and still on Eastern Standard Time at this point that we had to, regrettably, forgo dessert. The next night's meal was at Nobu. I wanted to go to Wing Lei but was accused of the "always doing what you want to do" thing. She wanted sushi rolls not "Chinese food" (obviously not an eGullet reader). Through gritted teeth I suggested Nobu figuring, perhaps incorrectly, that it would be as good as any roll can possibly be. So...Nobu: Nobu Us: Various Rolls Yuzuscicle (twice) Various Rolls Alas she had her rolls. Yuzuscicle The dessert dish that made it all worth it! Light, clean, citrus, yuzu (a first for me...I love it!! I'm hooked!! Yuzu rules!!). The dish consisted of 4 mini cylindrical white chocolate sake cream panacotta-type things topped with a layer of yuzu gelee with a tiny scoop of yuzu sorbet over crunchy vanilla streussel/cookie crumb wonderfulness on the side of the plate! It was remarkable. For the first time in my life I ordered the same dessert twice in one sitting! Bravo! I'd love to go back and try Nobu sometime. Bouchon Me Boudin Blanc Pomme Frites Her Potato Leek Soup French Toast Pomme Frites Server: "In what order would you like your soup?" Me: "Whatever the kitchen decides. Leave it to them." Server: "Excellent sir." Potato Leek Soup The soup was served with a quenelle of creme fraiche, white truffle oil drizzle and finely minced chives. She thought that the potato could have been more pronounced; to me, it was perfect. The potatoes played the role of a subtle bass line, the leeks hit the high notes in dulcet fashion, the quenelle added a soothing lushness while the white truffle oil provided the ambient effects-- only noticed during fade out. Boudin Blanc I must confess that I was immediately thrown. This had been my first experience with Boudin Blanc and right away two things struck me: 1.) It was tangy. 2.) The texture was...and I apologize in advance for this...with all due respect to Thomas Keller (and probably demonstrating my utter ignorance)....perilously close to canned Vienna Sausages. It was not a bad thing mind you-- just unexpected. At least I now know that I favor Boudin Blanc to Boudin Noir but will not go out of my way for either. The scrambled eggs were perfectly cooked and that beurre noisette the ideal complement. French Toast "What is that?" the lady half of the couple seated next to us asked her server pointing to our dish. "That's the French Toast." He replied. "No it's like a pastry or something-- with apples." She continued. "It's our French Toast." He said poignantly. Now she was getting angry. With a look of 'you stupid waiter' and a frustrated sigh she spoke slowly: "Look. It... can't... be...." "It's the French Toast." I interjected before things got really ugly. Long story short-- they were a nice enough couple, with obviously no previous restaurant work experience, who I think agreed with my final assessment of Bouchon's French Toast: "It's the best French Toast you're ever likely to have." Pomme Frites What fries should be. L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon Us Menu Decouverte (with some substitutions) The stellar kitchen staff was very accommodating. In fact...the big bad-asses were kitchen (of course) and the food runner Oscar (he more than our server, was on top of our timing). Our server (name reserved), however, seemed annoyed at the very hint of a question. I asked if we could substitute the Langoustine Fritter for the Langoustine Carpaccio. "I'll have to ask the kitchen" he replied. "Of course." I said. Another dish was the poached oysters. Due to dietary constraints my wife was not disposed to eating anything raw, but especially oysters. When it was time for the oyster dish, I had assumed from the description that they would be cooked (poached), my wife asked him how they were done. "Raw with warm butter." I explained the dietary constraints and the dish was quickly whisked away-- but no mention of a substitute. The next course arrived. We finished it. Then her previous substituted course appeared (it had been sitting on the hot plate while I was still on the oysters course, only to be noticed soon after by the food runner who was all the while vying for the waiter's attention (who at this point was engaged in small talk with a female customer)). Demonstrating once again that the kitchen was spot on and hadn't missed a beat, the food runner was on top of his game and the waiter....was not home. L'Amuse-Bouche Foie gras parfait with port wine and parmesan foam A pleasantly substantial and not too rich intro. It definitely piqued my curiosity. La Langoustine We'd substituted the langoustine fritter for this one and I am happy we did; light, fresh and crispy with subtle but present flavors..this was excellent! Les Huitres The oysters were nice and briny smothered in that wonderful butter; nice but not stellar. L'Oeuf "Earthy and rich but not overbearing" was the way I described this one. The meal was getting better and better, excitement mounting. Le Potiron Possibly the best dish to ever hit my palate! I'm still dreaming about this one. We moaned out loud! Intense pumpkin flavor, smooth creamy buttery "mouth feel", interludes of soft and sweet chestnuts, crispy croutons with whispers of a sliced truffle "back-end". Absolutely glorious! There is little I won't do to experience this dish even just one more time. Brilliant! Le Saumon Perhaps it was because I'm not very thrilled about salmon or maybe since the previous course was beyond all known compare. I really did not enjoy this one. Don't get me wrong, if you love smoked salmon you'll never have it this good; but I think you need to love salmon (not merely like it) to appreciate this dish. We took one bite of the salmon (meh) but ate the potatoes. The sous chef who cleared our dishes had jerked his palms upward, as if to convey the exclamatory question: "What happened!?" "Saving room." I replied to his gestured query, which was more omission than lie. We were indeed saving room, for had we finished the salmon dish we'd have most certainly only nibbled on the next course... La Caille "Amazing." After heaving read the eGullet posts, I went with the Quail/Foie/Mash dish and boy was I ecstatic I did (so was she). The potatoes are everything you've heard them to be and the quail/foie is phenomenal. This dish had so unleashed the primitive in me that I threw all civility out the window and picked it up and ate it with my hands when I could pry the meat off the drumstick with a fork no longer. La Frambroise We were told that if we opted for this dessert it would count as both of the ones on the set menu; since we were on a yuzu kick..."That's fine". It was the perfect ending to a stellar meal followed by espresso with a chocolate truffle. I am a little curious as to how the "La Mangue" was like, especially after having seen it, but no regrets here. A quick note about the silverware. I didn't like their spoons. I found them to be a bit too deep. When I was having the amuse, after my attempt to down it all at once like a shot was unsuccessful (resulting in wiping out the parmesan foam layer), I had reached for the spoon. After my first bite and every subsequent one, there were remnants of the foie component left behind on the spoon. To maximize yield (and mitigate the gross factor of leftover food on your silverware) one was required to invert the spoon and use the tongue to scrape off the excess...kind of a pain in the ass with egg and soup dishes to boot. Picasso Yes the fountains of the Bellagio were an awesome backdrop-- on to the food: Us Prix Fixe Menu (with mains and desserts the only deviations between us) Pheasant Croquette with Red Pepper Soup (Amuse Bouche) Stellar! Absolutely stellar! The croquette was crispy on the outside and the filling was neither too gooey nor too congealed. The soup? Delicate yet rich flavors which hit all perfect notes; accentuating the golry of red pepper's only finest attributes. Overall my sentiments were identical to Robuchon's Pumpkin Soup. Possibly the best dish to ever hit my palate; my sharp-palate wife agrees (with respect to both soups). Creme of Butternut Squash Soup with Marshmellows and Quenelle of Wild Mushrooms (Soup) It seems as though Mr. Serrano's interpretations on soup lean toward the lighter side; lost somewhere between soup and consumme. Not that that's a bad thing. The flavors. It's beyond me how Mr. Serrano can coax every last bit of wonderful essence from its main component. Bravo! Boudin of Fresh Lobster, Shrimp and Scallops with Tomato Coulis (App) I had my doubts about seafood sausage, especially after having sampled some truely ghastly manifestations, I needn't have worried; once again a beautiful dish. Light, "citrusy", clean and very fresh-- each component shined brightly in a progression of flavors with whispers of tomato lingering on the palate shortly afterward only to dissipate as quickly as it came. Brilliant! Me: Sauteed Medallions of Fallow Deer with Caramelized Green Apples and Zinfandel Sauce (Main) Perhaps I'm not the biggest fan of deer. There was nothing really wrong with the execution. The sauce and the veggies were absolutely spectacular. The protein was just a bit dry and gamey (despite its rare state). I should have gone with my first instinct and ordered the Pigeon dish. Her: Slow Roasted Prime Short Ribs with Gratin of Potatoes and Cabrales Blue Cheese (Main) Meh. Honestly-- the short rib dish at Michy's (in Miami) was better. There was not a whole lot of flavor other than the meat which is not, in and of itself, a bad thing; however it didn't have that "fall off the bone" quality. It was good, just not stellar. The Blue Cheese Gratin though was so pungent it blew-out the palate. Add in the fact that it was on the dry side (not quite hockey puck but almost) and this one was a disappointment. Perhaps she too should have gone with the pigeon. Me: Mandarin Orange Chocolate Torte with Port Butter Ice Cream (Dessert) Over the top! Out of the ball park! Brilliant! Bravo! Magnificent! Quite possibly the finest dessert I've ever had! The oranges in that sauce and the torte were to die for but the port butter ice cream was to live for! To add "perfection" to "awesomeness" what I had thought was a sculpted piece of dark chocolate turned out to be a dark chocolate tuille! Her: Chocolate thing with a crispy chocolate other thing, ice cream of some flavor and Caramelized Pears (Dessert) Once again this was amazing! Unfortunately I cannot recall very much of it since I was caught up in the rapture of my own dessert; but I remember taking a bite with plans on having another but I never got there. It was gone. She had devoured it. All in all Picasso was an excellent experience. The main dishes were the worst part of the meal; but I attribute this more to ordering badly than anything else. 'wichcraft Me Slow-roasted pork, red cabbage, jalapeÒos & mustard on ciabatta roll. Very good! The pork was not quite what I was expecting tending toward the dry side, but it was done well and the red cabbage worked wonderfully. Her Meatloaf with cheddar, bacon & tomato relish on ciabatta roll. The meatloaf was dry and could have been more flavorful. Sorry chef Colicchio..this one was a miss in concept (the meatloaf recipe) and execution. The relish was great though. 'Jean Philippe Patisserie Go. Just go. Don't miss this whatever you do. I wished my stomach was a bottomless pit so I could've had everything. If you're ever in Vegas do not miss this place. In-N-Out Burger My favorite fast food burger by far. For those of us on the East Coast..it is reminiscent of Johnny Rockets but better (IMHO). Thanks to all the "eGulleteers" for helping me out with our Vegas trip (rwong, bryanZ, et al). For our next visit we will get to: Wing Lei (dammit), Alex and Guy Savoy with aspirations of Mix and Joel Robuchon. Look for my Miami "reviews" coming soon. Where I'll post my honest opinions about: Sit Down Restaurants Barton G Michy's Rancho Luna (with pics) Quick Eats The Crepe Maker (with pics) The Daily (with pics) Le Sandwicherie (with pics) Steve's Pizza Sweets Paul Bakery (with pics) Sweet Paradise Bakery (with pics) El Brazo Fuerte Siciliano's Frozen Custard (with pics) Thanks again guys!
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