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Everything posted by violetfox

  1. Thanks, Maggie - the handle actually belonged to a distant relative, a real name. One of my sets of eggcups was found on sale at Williams Sonoma, mostly nondescript but with fairly huge attached saucers, and in cute pastel colors (for spring, of course!). Now, with the approach of Easter, temptation will lurk everywhere I turn. I hope that I can resist, but I'm not sure. The original idea was "oh, I won't just use them for family Easter brunch, I can do all of those cool egg things that I have in cookbooks and impress EVERYONE!" This has yet to happen a single time. I do use my eggcups, usually on Easter morning. I think that you have inspired me to use them more often. Thanks!
  2. I completely agree, Chris. I'm getting more than a little tired of cheap shots aimed mainly at Achatz by people who have elsewhere pandered to the practice of "molecular gastronomy." The ad implies that this sort of presentation is preposterously theatrical - surely nothing of which Top Chef could ever be accused! I'm not very fond of Top Chef, but I've always had respect for Colicchio, and this is disappointing. As far as the argument that "well, he didn't write the ad" - I'm sure that he didn't, but no one held a gun to his head to make him appear in it, either. If anyone doesn't want to eat or do this style of cooking, that's fine - but to disrespect another chef's creativity and vision is beyond tacky.
  3. This experience/experiment sounds worthy of it's own thread to me! ← Amen to that! Anna, best of luck to you! I'd love to see a thread focused on how it's going for you.
  4. JeanneCake wrote, in part: "As a customer, if my experience is less than satisfactory during the meal, it's my job to let the server know so my experience can be improved. If I don't tell them, but pretend that everything is "just fine" then give them a small tip, how does that help them not repeat the offending behavior if it was the server that is contributing to my less than satisfactory experience?" Hi, JeanneCake. I couldn't agree more. If service is good or better, I leave at least a 20% tip. There have been a few times in the past where I left 15% if the service was a little dodgy- with some real mistakes or omissions, but not huge ones. Afterwards, I thought "I probably should have said something." I tend, though, to leave 20% even when I perhaps shouldn't, because there are a lot of things that can go wrong that might not be the server's fault. Your point that, if something is truly wrong, you need to tell someone specifically what you found unacceptable and not just leave a low tip, is exactly right. Just leaving a low tip when you are displeased isn't helpful. It would be especially helpful in a restaurant which has, say, excellent food and might have a problematic server. You'll either get a positive, respectful response and be able to enjoy the place in the future, or you'll find out that they really don't care, and your money is better taken elsewhere. On the other hand, yes, there are people who are jerks and leave shamefully low tips. There's no excuse - NO excuse - for chasing down a customer and demanding to know why they did it. If that customer shows his or her face at your restaurant again, though, I'd say that no holds need be barred.
  5. Thank you, Maggie, for your brilliant and entertaining essay! My dad used to say that he didn't think that I really liked eggs. I love eggs, and I love the warm, runny yolks. I truly hate the snotty raw egg white. He actually appeared to like it. Weird. I also use a push pin to prick the egg - seems to work better than anything else I've tried. I don't know whether I read or heard that somewhere, or if I happened to have a push pin in the "miscellaneous," aka junk, drawer which is next to the stove. I'm also really relieved to know that I'm not the only person who has purchased at least two sets of cute egg cups on sale because they were SO adorable - and I think I've used them once in about a decade.
  6. I had my eyes on the Plogue a Champlain since seeing the menu online. The Melting Pot also sounds delicious. Watch right when I think I'm decided the server will throw a line of tempting specials at me. Thanks all. I'll be sure to report back. ← Well, I seriously doubt that you can go wrong with ANY of the specials - but the Ploque is really fantastic and totally unique. Have fun!
  7. Heh heh, I did too. I'm just wondering if anyone here knows more - but thanks!
  8. Can anyone provide more information the rumored APdC cabane a sucre? Thanks in advance!
  9. Hi, jenc! I'd certainly agree with a number of your choices. Au Pied de Cochon - sublime La Banquaise - poutine at 3 AM, what could be better? seriously, it's a great place. I like the poutine with chicken and peas, the original, and the poutine with bacon. I really liked l'Anecdote on Rachel better than l'Avenue. I think it's a little cheaper, and the food is wonderful. Jean-Talon Market is an absolute must - even in March. Les Chocolats de Chloe is fabulous, and if you're there on the weekend, she makes hot chocolate. I haven't had it, but it sounds amazing. Do not miss the brownies! The blog an endless banquet is incredibly helpful - if somewhat overwhelming. Enjoy!!!
  10. I'm a little surprised that I haven't seen anyone else mention this - maybe I didn't look back far enough - but I mainly like it for the equipment reviews and would just as soon have it only online because I have plenty of food-porn magazine subscriptions. I don't think that anyone could call Cook's "food porn." Hence, I don't need the actual magazine. I don't know if it should be scary if others understand my "reasoning."
  11. Thanks, FG, for this very interesting and informative thread! I just glanced at the Top 100 website and saw a restaurant in Maine that I've driven past without trying many times - now I know better.
  12. Hi Daisy, I completely agree. I just wanted to hop a plane for some of those tacos! The doll head thing was beyond weird, but I'm glad that they showed it. I'm a big fan of the Weird USA books, which probably explains my interest. I thought it was an excellent show.
  13. I'm reading the new edition of Rowan Jacobsen's "A Geography of Oysters" and have been inspired enough to buy two dozen oysters and open them myself. The first couple were tricky, and I didn't think I'd manage, but then I got the knack. I was inordinately proud of myself, and the oysters were delicious. I struggled through "Bottomfeeder" - I know that it's important. I tend to look at what seafood is more sustainable, and eat that as much as I can. I love the Alinea book, and the website is cool. I also have Thomas Keller's Sous Vide, and saw him on CBS This Morning telling Harry Smith something like "it's really best left to professionals" and had to chuckle a bit. Grant Achatz not only gives wonderful, precise AND poetic instruction, but also the website. There are also some more approachable techniques in Eric Ripert's new "On the Line."
  14. Really good question, and I'm glad the thread got bumped. This happened probably ten years ago, perhaps more, and I don't see these people anymore. At the time, this couple had a totally spoiled and obnoxious daughter of around five years old. Now, I adore children and will put up with a lot, but this was a child who threw a full-on, flinging self on the ground, pounding hands and feet, wailing and screaming fit literally every time anything displeased her in the least. Her father tried to reason with her, her mother thought it was a battle of wills that she could win. Not pretty. Anyway, we were out for someone's birthday dinner at an indifferent chain restaurant with 11 people. The couple had invited everyone to dinner - "please come and help us celebrate!"Several people in the group were late, so we didn't order for at least an hour. This was a teetotaling crowd, so everyone was having soda or even water while waiting - after an hour, the table hadn't spent $10. This was also a busy Friday night. Eventually, we ordered. It was a complicated order, with lots of special requests like "I'd like the taco salad, but no tomatoes and I'd like some sliced green olives on it" The couple was careful to tell the waitress "oh, we want separate checks - these three together, those two, those two, this one is a single..." At this point, I was more than a little suspicious of the "invitation." We must have spent three hours there, maybe more. The daughter was exhausted (understandably) and getting crankier by the second. The separate checks were sorted out. "Oh, we'll get the tip!" said the "hosting" couple. They proceeded to add all the checks together, and unapologetically placed 5% of the total on the table. I was horrified and disgusted. After everyone else had left the parking lot, I went back in and gave the manager an adiitional 25% and apologized for the shameful omission. I don't know that I ever had dinner with them again, but I don't believe that I did. I've never been back to that restaurant. What was interesting and also disturbing was that I was the only one who did anything about it. Another person from that crowd would habitually invite someone out for dinner "I'd like to take you to dinner!" and after the check arrived, would look in her purse and declare "I left all my cash at home!" What can I say? I was young(er) and feckless, This stuff doesn't happen to me much now, because I'm a known curmudgeon about restaurant behavior. I also dislike, almost to the point of lecturing strangers, loud and usually unpleasant cell phone conversations, and people who while dining in one restaurant loudly extol the virtues of other restaurants, usually famous ones. Blech!
  15. Wild mushroom and chestnut stuffing/bread pudding with gravy! Curried onions, cranberry chutney, too.
  16. It's probably a bit of both, I would guess, but I suspect that the breed of sheep would make a lot of difference in the gamey taste. I've had some very young lamb that was extremely strong-flavored, and some much older that was relatively mild. Just checked this agricultural article: http://livestocktopics.wsu.edu/Presentatio...ty/sduckett.pdf Apparently, the breeds with finer wool (Merino etc) have stronger-flavored meat. I don't know why I hadn't thought of it, but in addition to the breed and what the sheep are eating, the flavor can be affected quite a lot if they are finished on grain. I think the idea of lamb bacon is brilliant! Good for you! I'm anxious to hear how it worked.
  17. "Waiter Rant" by "The Waiter." I definitely recommend it. I'm also reading and cooking from the Shelburne Farms cookbook. Mac and cheese with ham and horseradish is great.
  18. Let me preface this by saying that while it bothered me personally, I'm not saying that anyone can't or shouldn't get what they want. I just wasn't at all sure if he wanted the shirt, got pleasure out of the shirt, or it was merely a case of "look how much I can pay for a shirt!" I don't know, I suppose that food matters more to me than fashion, but a meal is something that I can enjoy on a deep level, and as he said about dining at Masa, the experience is something that will be with me for a very long time. I value experience more than stuff. I think the question of how much any of us are willing to spend on anything and why is far from trite or easily dismissed, especially right now. It's a question that I'm asking myself a lot lately.
  19. Uh, no. I have not bought products from his store, but almost every product he recommends has been excellent, and there are some fine recipes. Yes, the tone is rather glowing, but so what? He provides useful information.
  20. It mostly jumped tbe shark for me. Ted Allen and Tony were fine, but Amy Sacco "I don't eat street food, I'm a diva", Bill Buford and the other guy (with his absurd comments at the end) were all equally pointless. I'm probably one of few people here who found "Heat" nearly unreadable for the level of bombast and breathless celebrity idolizing - don't get me wrong, I think Batali is wonderful, I just found Buford's writing overblown. I disliked how little it was about the clearly wonderful food that was in front of them. The one good thing that I took away from it was that I really want to go to WD50. Fascinating stuff, and it made snese to me. I've also seen Daniel Boulud's "After Hours" and agree that it is much better. Yeah, the Hawaiian Shirt thing bothered me, too. I think maybe that the great shows raise our expectations, as they should. Spain, pretty much anything in Asia. Perhaps anything that producers "think" - to use the word in its loosest sense - would be "great television!!!" is best avoided. Let Tony do what he does best.
  21. I've tried, not very successfully, to read "Bottomfeeder." I found it pretty depressing, enough so that I quit not far into it, though it's undoubtedly important. I went back to Rick Moonen's book, and am eating the fish that he says are OK. The recipes are fine, and I'm a lot happier.
  22. I like Mike's Pastry a lot. Neptune Oyster is terrific, though not cheap. I have occasionally had decent meals at Legal Seafoods, but as often I've had very overcooked - dried and hard - fish and shellfish, and I've never been pleased with the service. I did try Top of the Hub, though I figured it would be a bad idea for a meal. I had some fries - adequate - and a big, silly-looking, not very well-made Cosmopolitan. It might be OK for a glass of wine, period. The view is really wonderful. Hamersley's Bistro is great, something I wouldn't miss. I don't usually do Sunday brunch, but at Aujourd'hui, it was delicious and lots of fun. I like Durgin Park for the same reasons that Jackal mentioned.
  23. Thanks Violet. Our hosts' call is the Gramercy Bistro (and next noon the Cafe Latino which we liked last year). Any advice? ← Sorry, John! There's been an intervening change of jobs, homes, and internet service - I lost track! I haven't tried Gramercy Bistro. I loved Fin very much. I don't think it takes reservations, so you need to go very early or be prepared for a long wait. They are very forthright about what fish is best. I found it a lot more friendly than Bizen.
  24. [bump!] Fresh corn has been amazing, but it's almost gone now. Jasper Hill has what I believe is a new cheese - Winnowmere. A wonderful soft, Camembert-related large round wrapped with birch bark! I had it first at Hen of the Woods in Waterbury about a month ago, and it's in stores. A fabulous and truly unique cheese!
  25. I'm here now. Excellent dinner last night at John Andrews in South Egremont - crispy sweetbreads app, special grilled cantaloupe salad, roast chicken, ice cream for dessert. I've only been here a couple of times, but it is very fine indeed! I'm surprised that no one has mentioned a few of my favorites: Martin's in GB for breakfast Homer's in Lenox for FABULOUS homemade, old-fashioned donuts! I may get yelled at for this (wait, I'm HERE - maybe not :-) -but I went to the Mexican restaurant in GB a couple of times last year - Xicohtencatl I think - and liked it just fine. I had chicken mole and a damn nice margarita. Funny guy at the next table complained loudly (drunkenly) to the waitress - "this mole isn't spicy enough! I can't taste the chocolate in this mole!" *rolleyez* I shared this little exchange with the hostess, who was VERY upset - "it's not supposed to be spicy! it's not supposed to taste like chocolate!" I assured her that I was aware of both facts. I haven't been to Wheatleigh since Chef Whittlesey left. I've always liked Bistro Zinc and have always had a good meal and good service there. 2007 I wanted to like Bizen and tried four times - just OK sushi and truly awful "service." 2008 I went to Lenox 218 once with my mom and liked it a lot. 2006 I found the Red Lion pretty poor. 2005? I LOVE The Mill on the Floss in New Ashford - truly classic French, warm and professional service! 2007 The former restaurant in The Orchards hotel in Williamstown was VERY weird - the stiffest service I've ever seen in any restaurant. 2005 I think that picnics are an excellent option in the Berkshires - lots of good sources. I like Nejaimes' in Lenox. Hope this helps! I'm planning to try Fin tonight.
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