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Posts posted by Wilfrid

  1. New York magazine let my man Platt loose on Latin food again. You may recall, this is the guy who taught us that comidas criollas meant "homestyle" cooking. This time, he has an innovative take on chicharrones de pollo:

    "the classic Dominican dish chicharrón de pollo (pulled chicken legs spiced with cumin, among other items, and splashed with lemon aïoli)"

    Well, he says it the chef's version. Actually, the restaurant sounds worth checking out:

    the review

  2. I expect a scientist would tell us that this is related to blood sugar levels rather than fullness or emptiness of stomach. Some have noticed that drinking a bellyful of beer will cause an enormous appetite. This is because the body's blood sugar system gets really confused, or so I'm told. I suspect the same thing is happening for some people when eating a large meal provokes next-morning hunger pangs.

    Brief further investigation tells me that bombarding the pancreas with sugar (including alcohol) provokes it to produce excessive insulin, thus metabolizing blood sugar extra fast, and actually pushing blood sugar way down. I can see how this works with alcohol, so it makes sense with big meals too. Your body overreacts, metabolizes the hell out of your dinner, and leaves you hungry for breakfast. My lack of medical training doesn't prevent me from seeing a link to diabetes somewhere here.

    Myself, I skip breakfast and have also been known to skip lunch if busy. As long as I eat a ridiculously large meal some time after nine pm, I'm fine. Healthy, huh?

  3. A couple of years ago I tried it. There was nothing special about the food, the decor was fairly bland, and service was erratic. Knife and fork to eat the spaghetti with, kind of thing. I only went once, and maybe was unlucky, but that's life - a restaurant needs to give a customer a reason to go back.

  4. I rarely use public libraries myself, but have a romantic idea that there might be some youngsters out there who find them a refuge, as I once did myself.

    rest assured, they're still filled with anti-social dorks. :biggrin:

    Who told you? :raz:

    I would be using public libraries much more if I wasn't a member of a private library. A library of some kind is essential for me.

  5. Steve, they have smart library cards now and record your borrowings on a computer. None of that messy stamping any more. :wink: I rarely use public libraries myself, but have a romantic idea that there might be some youngsters out there who find them a refuge, as I once did myself.

    I agree with you about the internet, though.

  6. A sentiment with which I strongly agree, Robert (and I suspect one could extend it to elements of one's lifestyle outside of dining too). The gutter or the stars, please.

    I did once advance a hypothesis which I thought might partially explain the broad failings of the middle section, at least as far as New York is concerned. I wonder if it has wider applicability?

    First, the kitchen and service at high end restaurants ought to be well-trained, well-motivated and comparatively well-paid - in particular, one can expect an understanding of the cuisine being served. No mystery there. At the other end of the scale, aside from the fast food chains and other bottom feeders, one finds many inexpensive restaurants primarily concerned to serve home-cooking to a local community which grew up eating that home-cooking. The cooks grew up with it too, the servers eat it, and everyone knows what to order and what it should taste like. Fortunately, they tolerate they odd tourist who noses in; and in some cases such eateries maintain their standards despite tourists crowding the locals out.

    What of the middle section? This is a generalization, but it doesn't take much alertness to observe that there are many, many examples of kitchens producing food which the workers there didn't grow up with, don't eat and wouldn't want to eat - essentially preparing it more or less to a formula. The servers are serving the food because they are making a few bucks waiting tables until something better comes along; they don't care if it's pizza, curry or chops; maybe they like it, maybe they don't, but they have little real connection with it.

    So, love born of professionalism and career motivation at one end, love born of roots at the other. In between, at best, a vague competence. Anyone buy into that?

  7. Searing meat, I agree. But I've always got plenty of use from standard domestic broilers for jobs where you just need to melt and/or crisp the surface of your food, gratins being the obvious example. Generally I find lack of heat is not a problem - you need to watch closely so the dish doesn't get cremated.

  8. I've at least heard Lespinasse's name mentioned in the same breath as that of Daniel and Jean Geroges. When was the last time Lutece was mentioned that way?

    Fair point. I was just pondering that it's probably bad news for upscale restaurants (and Lutece is at least that still) when they don't get much attention for compulsive-obsessives like us.

  9. It's a widespread phenomenon, not just restricted to magazine sites. The days of free access to almost anything on the net surely had to be limited, for the reasons Tommy "analyzes". I notice a number of sites, such as the New York Times, require a log in but don't charge a fee. Zagat, of course, recently started charging - which is why I now recommend using City Search for online restaurant information, in the spirit of the fuck Tim Zagat consensus we have around here. :laugh:

  10. Le Zie, no. Tableau - just wasn't very good cooking; here are my comments from the one dinner I ate there:

    "I liked the food at Le Tableau less than that, although I can't remember if I reported on it here (search didn't turn anything obvious). The details escape me, but I recall the first course was a fairly ambitious attempt on snails - a cassolette of snails and spinach, maybe? - which seems a bit beyond the kitchen. The dessert hadn't quite thawed out properly. I am stuck on the main. But the corkage tip is useful. Perhaps I was unlucky."

    On the same thread, Charles Smith liked it much better (clicking).

  11. I wonder how representative eGullet is, but it occurs to me that users post reports of dinners at Daniel, Jean-Georges and even ADNY with some frequency here. How many reports of dinner at Lespinasse? Just going on my fallible memory, I can recall two in over a year. Doesn't seem to have been a destination restaurant among our esteemed circle (one fears the same is true of Lutece).

  12. I bought some Chartreuse and tried the "Drink Without a Name" from Harrington's book. The recipe doesn't specify green or yellow chartreuse, but the picture looks a bit green-ish, so that's what I used. Just a splash. This is a grown up drink, and would appeal to those who find a lot of cocktails too sweet. The Cointreau scarcely sweetens it at all, just mellows out the vodka a little. Serious vodka martini drinkers might find this a welcome variant.

  13. jesus, that's been obvious since they even suggested the law.  i'm wondering if the city, in all of their wisdom, has a plan for this.  my guess is "no."  the smokers and their poison are no longer the problem of the patrons and the barstaff.  they are now the problem of the people trying to sleep.

    And to make an even more obvious point, the problem will be much exacerbated by the belated improvement in the weather.

  14. Latest news from the front line is that this is a tedious business for bar staff, who, even if they don't get stabbed, get resentment from customers. Deciding to tell someone to put it out can also, some bar staff feel, threaten their gratuity. The other problem being experienced at bars which open late in residential areas is neighbors complaining about the smokers who stand out in the street conducting conversations in the early hours of the morning.

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