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Everything posted by Fish

  1. Fish

    LA: Sushi Zo

    I'd seen people stomp out of the restaurant before, but we'd always been treated fine. Sure, the waitresses could have explained the situation better, but that still doesn't excuse the treatment. Must be great to have a restaurant which is so popular that you can afford to alienate customers and not give a damn. - S
  2. We love Sushi Zo. Or should I say, we used to love it. While we live in Seattle, we're in LA a few times a year and for the couple of years or so, Sushi Zo has been our big treat to ourselves. We've sometimes eaten there twice in one day. The fish is incredible. But after our last visit last week, I'm not setting foot in the place ever again. Here's what happened: I called to make a reservation for dinner. They asked if we were going to have Omakase, and I said no: there are quite a few things we don't eat, so it's easier to order ala carte, and we've ordered ala carte at dinner before any issues. The person on the phone (whose English wasn't good) told us we'd have to wait. "Wait for what?" I wondered. "15, 20 minutes." That didn't sound too bad. We arrived right on time for our reservation. The waitress once again asked us about Omakase, and once again we politely declined. Again, the "you'll have to wait" business, with no explanation. The place wasn't full, and I saw a table with a "reserved" sign on it. While the waitress fussed, another waitress came over, greeted us and then seated us. So much for having to wait. We sat down, were warned about a 5 piece per person minimum, ordered drinks and miso (and tried to order edamame: the waitress responded with a sharp "no edamame!") and waited. A few minutes later, the miso arrived, and we ordered fish. And then we learned what they meant by "you have to wait", because 45 minutes later, no food had arrived. When we asked what was going on, we were told we'd have to wait for all the omakase tables to be served, and then we'd get food - maybe another 30 minutes? Whaaa? No food for us until they're all done? At that point, we got the check and walked out. Now, I had have no problem with their requiring you to order the omakase menu - that's their prerogative. But to not require it, and then treat anyone who doesn't order it as a second-class customer? That's just not OK. I know we're foodies here and we're willing to put up with a lot to get the best - I drove 100km out of my way for caramels, so I'm fine with that - but (and I know this will sound like heresy to some of you) it's still just raw fish on rice. Is the whole "sushi Nazi" part of the fetish for Los Angelenos? I don't get it. Treating people badly is never, ever OK, and I really hope someone explains that to the chef one of these days. - S
  3. We had an amazing lunch at a fabulous restaurant called Palatium (via Frattina, 94)in Rome a few weeks ago. My wife had an amazing thick, hearty, lentil soup called "Minestra Brigante" which, like everything else at Palatium, is apparently a specialty of Lazio. I've looked all over, but can't find a recipe for this dish. Anyone have a recipe? Thanks much! - S
  4. Yep, Don & Joe's are my first pick at the moment - they have 3 1/4 pounders. I'm sure they'll do nicely. Next time I make this recipe I'm going to try to order one of the blue-foot chickens from D'Artagnan - apparently they're pretty close to Poulet de Bresse in taste.
  5. I just got back from a trip to France, and most of the chickens in the supermarkets there are in the 1 to 1.25 kg range, which is exactly right. Large chickens must be an American thing. Those French chickens were incredibly tasty, and very reasonably priced, too: EUR3 for a regular one, and EUR6 for a fancy, pasture-raised etc etc bird. About the only thing in France that was cheap. Oh, and the amazing puff pastry in the supermarkets was also a great deal.
  6. I'm trying to track down a couple of sub-3lb chickens for Thanksgiving dinner. I've tried A&J Meats, University Poultry and Wholefoods, and all they have are 4lb+ monsters (which appears to be the American norm). Anyone have any suggestions for where to find smaller birds? Thanks!
  7. I got to go to one of the trial runs last week. It's a nice space, and the menu looks good (though it was a work in progress when I was there). Breakfast includes the killer french toast, my favourite in all the world. Seems like a great spot for those who live in that neck of the woods. - S
  8. Yup, it's open. Details here: Seattle Times story on Via Tribunali We're trying it tonight. Full report to follow. - S
  9. I'd take them to Vios for a sandwich at lunch (soooo good), El Greco for weekend brunch or any of the Thai places on Broadway (I usually go to Siam, but have been to the others too and they're good). Under $10/person at any of these, and all make really good, tasty food. My big food epiphany as a child came from being around my family, especially my brother (an excellent cook). If you're into cooking, maybe take them to a good market, buy some stuff and prepare it with them ? - S
  10. I need to get some 2oz cannele silicon baking molds in a (by Wednesday). I've tried City Kitchens, Mrs Cooks at U Village and Williams Sonoma. I've also looked on the Sur la Table website. I've found quite a few websites which offer them for sale, but the cost of shipping is prohibitive. Where do pro bakers in this town shop ? Thanks - S P.S. Here's the exact thing I want: Cannele molds
  11. I've eaten at Vios many (MANY!) times since it opened in May: I've probably only missed a meal of some sort there maybe on maybe 10 or 15 days in 5 months. We stop in almost every morning for one of Julie's delicious scones (orange cranberry - yum!) or a bowl of oatmeal with fruit. The espresso used to be a bit hit-or-miss, but now that Thomas has hired the wonderful Jennifer, it's consisently delicious. If I can't face the food at work, I pick up something to go for lunch (orzo salad or a veggie sandwich, usually), and if I'm in Seattle around lunch time, it's likely I'll be scoffing down a chicken souvlaki there. Since they opened for dinner last month, we've been quite a few times and have eaten our way through most of the "small-plate" a la carte menu. Notables include the lamb meatballs and the rice with spinach, though I think that last item may be off the menu at the moment. We've had the family style menu once, too and really enjoyed that, though it was a bit more food than my SO and I could eat ! Needless to say, we love the place and we love the food. We've known Thomas for many years, having been regulars at El Greco both while he owned it and since then (it's still going strong, and still has the best French Toast in Seattle). He is a large part of the reason why we're there so regularly: he and all his staff always make us feel welcome and comfortable. The food is great, too: it's all simple, light, and not too expensive. We've had dinner there for under $10/person and left feeling very comfortable. If you haven't been yet ... what are you waiting for ? - S
  12. No-one has mentioned Peter Luger much in this thread. Has anyone compared their steaks to the Lobels ? Are the Luger steaks worth the extra $$$ over Lobels ? - S
  13. I really like the hot dogs at Costco. I'm sure they're not even close to the best that are out there, but the fact that I know for sure I'm not getting pork (they serve Hebrew National kosher hotdogs) is important to me. - S
  14. That's pretty much what I have on the back of the famous receipt (which I'd totally forgotten about, despite the very minimal amount I drank). He did say that they use russet potatoes and "any" flour. - S
  15. I asked them about oven temp when we went in a couple of months ago, and they mentioned that they were running it at about 550. 550 !!! I expect a pizza oven to be around 850 or so - the pizzas should cook in 1.5-2 minutes. When I asked why they weren't running the oven hotter, the cook said that if they made it hotter, they couldn't turn the pizzas in the oven fast enough, so they burned. I thought that was pretty lame - bump up the heat, cook fewer pizzas at a time, but cook them faster. Same throughput, better quality. The only restaurant whose pizzas I really REALLY enjoy is Cafe Lago - really tasty stuff. But they're quite pricey ($14+). Lucky me, though, I get to play with a friend's woodburning oven where I can have whatever I want on my pizza and if I nag enough, the oven is made hot enough for my liking - S
  16. Mmm, Ken's ! Soooo good. I also loved the bread at Pearl Bakery - their baguettes are fabulous. I wish they'd open in Seattle. Until then, I'll have to survive with the brilliant bread at Dahlia Bakery - S
  17. Wow, that's a bit extreme. I think Fran's are just "OK" (though I really like the caramels with fleur de sel) compared with any of the high-end Euro brands (Neuhaus, Richart, Maison du Chocolat, Pierre Marcolini etc etc etc) but I thought the Essential chocolates were quite good. Even my very particular Belgian friends think the Essential chocs are good. Head over to Neuhaus and try some of their chocs, or if you're feeling extravagant, order a box from Maison du Chocolat - you owe it to yourself to get some perspective. - S
  18. I agree about the sea bass - it was amazing. Olive oil is my new favourite condiment. - S
  19. Finally ! Thomas tells me that his new place, Vios, will open on Thursday. It's on the north-west corner of 19th & Aloha on Cap Hill, where the convenience store used to be. He's going to be doing Greek deli food and possibly selling some produce and supplies. It should be a good spot. - S Doh ! Spoke to soon. I went in yesterday looking for lunch, and they're not *quite* ready. Tuesday next week (6/1) is apparently the day. - S
  20. Finally ! Thomas tells me that his new place, Vios, will open on Thursday. It's on the north-west corner of 19th & Aloha on Cap Hill, where the convenience store used to be. He's going to be doing Greek deli food and possibly selling some produce and supplies. It should be a good spot. - S
  21. You need to try the white salmon carpaccio appetizer at Nishino - it's an amazing dish, and the fish is unlike any salmon I've had before. Yum ! And yes, I buy CRS - it definitely tastes better. However, I'll probably wait a few days until the first crazy rush is over. - S (edited to remove redundant information)
  22. Yup, we went there on Saturday. The bread and sandwiches were good, but I thought the pastries were just "OK" (particularly the croissants, which seemed more bready than flaky). The exception to this were the choquettes (sp?) - small, delicious balls of choux pastry sprinkled with a bit of sugar. We bought a bag of 12 just before getting in the car to drive back to SEA. I asked my SO if she thought they'd last to Olympia - she wasn't hopeful. In the end, they were gone somewhere around Vancouver, WA. Very very tasty - I'll definitely be trying to make those at home. - S
  23. So if I explicitly asked if something was vegetarian and was told that it was then I wasn't deceived ? The first time, I'd be willing to accept that Pietro didn't think it was necessary to tell his staff about this. The second time, that excuse doesn't fly. I'm not judging the restaurant on their bread. I'm judging them on their honesty, which is a large component of service, which is certainly a valid measure to use in assessing a restaurant. If the wait staff don't know something for sure if a customer asks then they should ask someone who does know, especially when that someone is less than 20 feet away. If they had done that and had told me that the bread contained pork fat, I would probably i) have tipped the waiter very well and ii) be a very loyal customer. Another way to think about all of this: Assume you're a dog lover. How would you feel if I told you that the bread was made with dog fat ? Wouldn't you want to warn everybody you know who might be upset by this that the bread was made with dog fat ? Would you consider that extreme ? - S
  24. I don't "blithely" anything. Every time you've brought it up, you've stated it as a "vegetarian" issue, including this most recent occasion. Many traditional breads contain lard, including tortillas, not that it excuses the restaurant's failure to tell you that. It's generally easier to explain vegetarianism than the Jewish dietary laws. As for traditional breads containing lard, I only knew about tortillas (and I always ask whenever I eat them). I'm a fairly keen bread baker. After eating at La Spiga a few times, I decided I wanted to try baking piadina so I looked for recipes on Google. After the first six I found all contained pork fat, I got suspicious and called the restaurant and asked explicitly if the bread contains pork fat, at which point they said that it did. It seems pointless for me to try to convince you to understand the outrage I feel, so I won't. - S
  25. Yes I am pretty annoyed about it and I do mention it every chance I get, because I'd hate for the same thing to happen to someone else. You blithely assume I don't eat pork because I'm vegetarian: actually, it's because I'm Jewish and to me, eating pork is something I would never, ever do - it's hugely offensive to me. I'm usually very careful about asking about pork in dishes, but who expects to find pork fat in bread ? (Well, now I do). As I've mentioned in past posts, I've asked several chefs about this, and all were quite horrified that a restaurant would neglect to mention that something innocuous contained pork fat. Is ignorance any better than maliciousness ? Surely part of the chef's job is to make sure the front-of-house staff are knowledgeable about the food ? Would you expect that after a customer complained about something that the staff would then be informed, to avoid similar mishaps ? I joined some friends there for a glass of wine a few months ago, and, just for kicks, asked the waiter if the crescione was vegetarian, and was told that it was. Maliciousness, ignorance or complete insensitivity - take your pick. In the meantime, I'll continue to tell people about this every chance I get. - S
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