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Everything posted by Renn

  1. I've been taught to salt all the way through the cooking process, from beginning to end to acheive a "depth of salt" rather than say waiting until the end to salt dishes. Of course this sounds like a recipe for overly salty food, but really, it helps to achieve a more precise final salinity, along with brightening components individually. For you photographers/post-processing folks out there, it's like adjusting the saturation on individual color channels rather than the overall saturation.
  2. Renn

    3 weeks in Japan

    Just wanted to add that I'll be watching this topic closely and will check out everyone's suggestions...I'll be making a similar trip, just a little sooner (March). Please let me know if I should start my own topic, or if this is the place for me to ask about some of Japan's extremes (Hokkaido, Okinawa) as we plan on visiting both.
  3. I don't suppose that latin names for each of these could be found somewhere? I have a tough enough time with North American herbs and vegetables having multiple names....perhaps latin might help?
  4. Given what you've posted, here's my take in several categories. If you see any particular categories that you want to focus on, I can try to get more specific: "Old School Bay Area": Chez Panisse - Despite recently losing its Michelin star, if you've never been, I'd still very much recommend a visit. You definitely get a sense of time and place dining here, and can feel an unbroken philosophy in the food. Tadich Grill - Classic San Francisco Seafood spot... Barbara's Fish Trap - Half Moon Bay. A fun side trip out to Half Moon Bay is always a good idea and this simple seafood shack is always a nice casual spot for fried goodies, cioppino or whatever's on special. Swan Oyster Depot - old school raw bar. Great for breakfast...if you're into oysters and chilled crab cocktails. Mitchell's Ice Cream - has been making tasty exotic ice cream flavors for forever... "Fine Dining" Gary Danko, populist favorite, with the menu and service to match. I'd liken it to The Manor in West Orange...just in a completely different format. If you like pomp, they've got it in spades. Michael Mina - recently reopened in a new space...so I haven't had a chance to see what's going on over there. However, you can get some of his "classics" (lobster pot pie)at the bourbon steak location in the Westin. If you're a fan of his food...then it would be worth checking out, but if you're totally new to SF bay area dining, I might make other suggestions. Spruce - Contemporary, elegant dining room, but with classic preparations and flavor combinations. Great charcuterie and soups. Also, if you just want to do things more casually, grab a burger at the bar. Dining Room at Ritz Carlton - Ron Seigal's food has always been delicious to me, and the dining room is an interesting mix of old school with touches of new. To me it's one of the last venues of old school fine dining, but with food that doesn't make you feel like it needs the dust blown off of it. Mostly underrated as SFers have a weird bias against hotel restaurants, but that just means that a reservation is easy to get. Meadowood Napa - Probably the most picturesque and elegant place to dine in the Bay Area at the moment. Kostow's food tends to be highly refined and constructed, but with whispers of ethnic aromatics. They seem to be more on-point than TFL of late, but they're such different restaurants, I'd say that the comparison only exists because they're the only two in the *** clubhouse. Cyrus - Douglas Keane's Japanese inspired fine dining is delicious and the way Nick runs the front of the house makes you feel like a VIP every time. Sure, the up-sell on caviar, truffles, and champagne may come off a little strong, but the food's still worth it. For a more relaxed experience, sit in the bar area and dine a la carte. Definitely have a house cocktail. The French Laundry - Like Chez Panisse, people may be finding chinks in the armor of late, but few other places give as distinctive a sense of place like TFL. Plates and service are all highly choreographed, refined, and exacting. A love letter to old-school French fine dining, American purveyors and food memories, and the metier of being a cook. Manresa Los Gatos - Personally, I'd say that this is the restaurant that is most exciting cuisine-wise. David Kinch has been cooking with a very distinctive voice for quite some time, and his menus reflect both a desire to tell a particular story as well as show a true love for his ingredients. You can taste the fun and excitement in each plate. Uses savory notes to great effect. People tend to talk about Alice Waters and Thomas Keller when talking about Northern California cuisine...I'd say that David Kinch may be most responsible for shaping the cuisine going forward. Coi - The most often used descriptors of Coi are "cerebral" and "intellectual," which are apt considering Daniel Patterson's milieu. A reverence for vegetables that is different from Chef Kinch's approach. Patterson focuses on the utilization of aroma to complete highly constructed dishes. "New School Fine Dining" I'll leave the descriptions brief here since they all tend to be very specialized and different, so a recommendation really depends on what kind cuisine interests you. Frances - San Francisco - Melissa Perillo's view of American cuisine. Commis - Oakland - James Syhabout's very personal cuisine. Breaks from many fine dining conventions. Plum - Oakland. Changing since Chef Charlie Parker just got started. Ubuntu - Napa - Started under Jeremy Fox and continuing under Aaron London, fine dining vegetable cuisine, but at casual prices and setting. Wakuriya - San Mateo - Husband and wife team cooking kaiseki cuisine right in front of you. Sons & Daughters - San Francisco. My favorite of the most recently opened SF restaurants. Very intimate setting...Service needs work, but you can feel that they're trying to cook with their own voice. Benu - San Francisco - Corey Lee ad hoc - okay, so maybe not fine dining in form...just in kitchen operations. David Cruz's cuisine is the best of rustic understatement. Casual, family-friendly, always on point. Whenever I eat there, I feel like I'm over at a good friends house...and I am. "Cheap/Ethnic Eats" Old Mandarin Islamic - Great place for off cuts and food that's about as far away from standard saucy restaurant Cantonese food as it gets. China First - my favorite, super-cheap, standard saucy Cantonese Restaurant Kingdom of Dumpling - XLB and boiled dumplings in a classic hole in the wall Halu - Family run, Beatles-themed (Dad's in a band), japanese restaurant. Feels like home cooked japanese foods...maybe not as obsessive as more focused yakitori-ya, but great place for grilled skewers, rice bowls, and ramen. Always check the specials board Ler Ros Thai - Thai food with a good number of wild game dishes. Very different from most thai joints. El Farolito - South San Francisco. Far better than its Mission district sister restaurants. Great tortas and tacos. Solid agua frescas. Super Popular local restaurants: Nopa, Pizzeria Delfina, Little Star, Commonwealth, Dottie's, Wayfare Tavern, Perbacco, Flour + Water, Bi-Rite Ice Cream, Tartine Bakery, Burma Superstar, San Tung, Alexander's (Cupertino), Ike's Sandwiches, Foreign Cinema, Slanted Door, Absinthe, Town Hall Ice Cream and Bakeries (Since you're a baker, I had to include this!): Tartine Bakery - I mentioned it above...there's always a line, but their Levain is awesome along with the pastries Sandbox Bakery - Japanese bakery making great breakfast goods...good curry-pan, rice burgers, etc Humphry Slocombe - unique if often challenging flavors... Scream Sorbet - Oakland/various farmers markets. Unique take on sorbets, nut-based ones are wholly original and worth seeking out. Don't know anyone else making sorbet like they do. The Penny Ice Creamery - Santa Cruz. My favorite ice cream shop. They pasteurize their own milk, often grow their own fruits, and have awesome a la minute ice cream desserts. Schubert's Bakery - old school European bakery but with chinese leanings. light and classic cakes. Downtown Bakery - Healdsburg, great breakfast breads. Available at the Sat Ferry Plaza market if you don't want to drive all the way to Healdsburg
  5. Well, that's exactly the thing...the whole book is about a certain time and place. No one but noma will have the nordic ingredients, resources, talent, much less the 7 years of hard work that it took Rene and his team to make the restaurant and its dishes possible. But replication really is beside the point. Yes, even if you can't replicate a dish in its entirety, you can still char grill cumbers on one side only to avoid overcooking them....If you can't find bulrush, you can still look in your neighborhood for wood sorrel. Or you might just see how he cuts pickled cippolini onions and shallots and cut them the same way for your own dish. Everyone can start to think more about taking their local products and being more creative about them. Look for tidbits to incorporate and make them your own. The brilliance of the book is in the smallest details and in the story that those details tell. And in the end, inspiration is all about a person's willingness to try something unfamiliar....
  6. I'd rather have the book that Nathan wants to send out, in the condition that he'd want for himself...And all that aside, most of us on here have been waiting for the book for at least a few years now...what's a few more months?
  7. A brilliant decision to place modernist techniques within the context of the familiar....And on that note, mind sharing more of the burger recipe? Sure, I can guess a good amount of it, but since precision seems to be central to the book, I'd love to give it a go verbatim.
  8. Renn

    Japanese knife techniques

    I'm not in any position to asses the content, but Japanese Kitchen Knives: Essential Techniques and Recipes, by Nozaki might be worth looking into. Also, Sugai-san and the rest of the folks at Korin are pretty serious evangelists of Japanese knife handling. And I'd think that the first step in learning japanese knife technique would be how not to ruin that asymmetric edge.
  9. I've never had it be any part other than the trotters from older pigs (vs sucklings), though I don't see shanks being a dealbreaker. As long as there's lots of connective tissue and crispy skin, you're golden. If you suspect that you'll get unpleasant flavors from the feet, a plain water blanch before simmering should take care of things.
  10. Renn

    Brown Sauce Texture

    Prof. This has done quite a bit of work in modeling meat stocks...I recall seeing the presentation in person, but can't seem to find the model available online. I do recall that it took into account the types of sugars yielded by simmering carrots with respect to time, cooking temperature, volume of liquid and a number of other variables. Perhaps a quick e-mail to him would help inform the approach proposed here?
  11. Slightly off topic, but egullet member Nathan Kurz (Scream Sorbet) makes amazing nut sorbets (pistachio included). If you have tasted his as well, I'd be interested to see how it compares to the oil "cream" version.
  12. Agreed Doc, I'm counting on it being a game changer...and hope that it does not just become "neat tricks to wow and impress your guests."
  13. Since we can finally get a peek at what NathanM and his team have been working on thanks to Docsconz and the NYT: NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/17/science/17prof.html Docsconz blog http://docsconz.typepad.com/docsconz_the_blog/2009/11/starchefs-2009-day-one-chris-young-nathan-myhrvold-culinary-engineers.html The least we could do is have a thread here about it So enough with the hints about it being published "next year" every year in the Sous Vide thread. Let's just talk about how this is going to be "kind of a big deal" A few of my questions: Will it be a single volume or perhaps serialized? Will it change the way we and the US government look at food safety? What percentage of the book will make it to the pro kitchen/home kitchen, and what percentage will just be too pie in the sky for either? Will it change the way we cook? Any chance we can see an early TOC for the book? How about a review copy I'm sure it will take me some time to digest it all...and I'm perfectly willing to weigh in upon its eventual publication. Barring that, NathanM, mind sharing a few more sneak peeks? Thanks!
  14. Renn


    Yep, not going to happen....I've been on the search for some time as well, and anyone who has one will not be giving it up anytime soon! Take heart in the fact that they're working on the next cookbook at the moment...I'm hoping that it's released soon.
  15. Renn

    Dry-aged beef

    I don't know anyone else doing anything close to 8 months. Is this something that was a favor from the chef to the diner, or do they keep a regular stock of 8 month aged beef? The closest thing I can think of is David Burke's Primehouse in Chicago...but I think they cap out at 80 days or so.
  16. Renn

    Gelatin Conversion

    I see sheet gelatin at retail very infrequently, even here in SF. However, The Pasta Shop in Berkeley does carry Bronze Sheets most of the time. There may be others that carry sheets, particularly specialty bakery supply shops, but your best bet for silver or other "more potent" sheets would be online.
  17. Has anyone here tried Pizzaiolo's (oakland, CA) house-made tonic? It may perhaps be too aromatic for some, but it certainly opened my eyes as to how important the tonic is in a G&T.
  18. did someone say cherry-covered chocolate? One of my favorite dishes from Chef Stupak
  19. Renn

    Snail Caviar

    Curtis Duffy at Avenues in Chicago has served them...(not that I've had a chance to try them out), who knows who else has.
  20. I've had the exact same issue...and yes, I can confirm that KA's pretty much washed their hands of it. I've dropped of the mixer at a local, authorized repair shop, and expect to be relieved of some cash in the next week or so. It's been around a 3 week process thus far. While it may be too late for me, I would've loved to have had the info to make the repairs myself....I'm no engineer, but I don't think that the mixer would've proved too much of a challenge in retrospect.
  21. I saw one copy at Omnivore Books in San Francisco (415.282.4712) about a month or two ago. Celia's the owner. Give her a call, and perhaps they'll still have it. Good luck!
  22. Lobsters like being under wet newspaper with ice/an ice pack on top. Don't know how many days they'll stay alive in this condition, but it's definitely better than keeping directly in ice or fresh water. http://tinyurl.com/7cp85f
  23. Great account...and I see it's going to make for fun reading over the next few weeks! Keep it up!
  24. They look like King Trumpets with underdeveloped caps?
  25. ...Or you could try a pot of water on the stove.
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