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Everything posted by Mithril

  1. I am helping to plan an event in May that includes a couple of hours of cocktails. This is a memorial weekend for a martial arts teacher who passed away, where people will spend the days exercising. There also isn't too much in the way of budget, but the culture of the group includes practicing hard, then "rehydrating". We'll mostly be on the grown-up end of things - not college kids. We will be walking to cabins, not driving cars. That all said, does anybody have any hints about planning out drinks and mixers for such a thing? Points of information: We don't know how many people will be coming yet, but assume between 50 and 100. RSVPs will be needed. We will be close to civilization, so can run out for more if we need to, but it would be nicer not to. We would want a mix of beer and cocktails. Maybe some wine, but it isn't usually a crowd pleaser with this group. Official cocktails time is about 2 hours. I can mix drinks if people are patient (I even took a little class taught by Chris Amirault a few years back). I would be willing to make pitchers of stuff ahead of time. My budget is probably about $250 to $300. I can't in good conscience use premade sour mix, oddly flavored vodka, or things of that sort. We would be able to use up beer leftovers, but the liquor and mixer leftovers would probably go to waste. This is a red solo cup sort of party, being at a campground. Any thoughts about what a good range of beer, liquor and mixers would be? Any ideas about prepping ahead of time? Thanks! Mithril
  2. Thanks for the advice, everyone. I took the list and headed to the local liquor megamart (Chris Amirault, are you familiar with Julio's in Westborough, MA?). While I was picking up a bottle of Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond and Buffalo Trace (which was not actually the white dog - oops), the owner of the store saw me and mentioned that a giant whiskey tasting was coming up this past weekend. And, there was a Scottish breakfast on Saturday, complete with blood pudding. And, there was a whiskey tasting at 7:00 that night where the local whiskey society was sampling pretty much one bourbon or scotch from every distillery that wasn't going to be included on whiskey weekend. And, there wasa potluck component to the weekly tasting, as well. Wow. I've now sampled a ton, and learned a good amount, too. At the Scotch breakfast seminar, the gentleman sitting next to me pulled up a map of Scotland with distilleries on a tablet, and we went over the different regions. Another gentleman told me all about how the casks work (I was confused, because there was a bottle of bourbon that had been finished in a Sam Adams cask - but they explained that it you can finish bourbon in other casks, as long as it first officially meets the bourbon criteria). I got a little notebook and am taking some tasting notes. Blood pudding is not for me. My new favorite is an Elmer Lee bourbon that was selected by and bottled for the whiskey group - they just picked a cask that they really liked. I wound up getting a bottle after the first tasting because it was in limited supply and I didn't want to have any regrets.
  3. Good morning, A friend of mine is hosting a "whiskey" tasting in March. It is very non-specific as to types of whiskey, but I do know we are sampling the whiskeys plain. So far, the bottles I know will be there are: Ardbeg (the very peaty one) Glen Livet Glen Fidditch Ardbeg Alligator But it isn't a Scotch theme, those are just the names that I remember - and I don't know the details other than the brands. Any thoughts of a not-too-expensive bottle that I could contribute that would be of interest? I have personally been trying out bourbon lately, but only Jim Beam...this might be a good chance to try out a nicer bourbon for myself. I also volunteered to make some pulled pork for the get together, so something that might go well with the food would be good, if possible. Thanks, Mithril (who mostly drinks beer, gin, and homemade limoncello)
  4. My parents will be picking me up at LAX at about noon on a Friday, and we will be spending some hours in LA before heading out to Palm Desert. They are on-a-budget retirees who won't let me buy a meal for them. Any thoughts on an interesting late lunch/early dinner place that is easy on the wallet? I would like to try something that is really well done or something that I can't get in New England if possible. My mom can't handle spicy, but will be ok if there are some mild foo options for her. We haven't pinned down exactly where in LA we will be going. My mom suggested a bus your of Venice Beach, and I would be interested in visiting a big Farmers Market if available.
  5. I will be working in Yonkers for a week or so, and have decided to save up my per diem to get a really great meal. There are a few considerations: I am a lady that will be traveling/eating solo I won't know until a couple of days before that I am going so can't make reservations too far in advance My work hours will likely be 7:00 to 4:00 but it is construction-ish work so I will have to clean up before I go, and be back to the hotel by 10:00ish (I do clean up very quickly when required) I have no problem taking trains or driving. NYC is fine, but so is anyplace else. I am open minded about food but not super adventurous; for example, I have eaten beef tongue and carpacchio, but wouldn't be keen on fish eyes or most organ meats. I can eat at a bar or at a table. I would be very interested in finding something that I can't get too easily in the Boston area, whether because of cuisine or level of quality. Any thoughts?
  6. Thanks, pep.! Or, considering your location, I should say, "viele Danke!"? I'm an engineer, so I really should be all about taking the mixer apart and seeing what I can do about it. I was just so disgruntled about the much-vaunted Kitchenaid durability not working out for me. I'll pop it open this weekend. But, I am still interested if anybody has any info about other mixers, so I know what my options are.
  7. Thanks for the reply, pep. Unfortunately, it seems that I lied to you...I have the Professional model. At least mine is a 6 quart, which I am not seeing as available on the Artisan line. Do you know about the inner workings of the Professional line? When my mixer originally started hitting the skids, I called a service person who indicated that the parts alone would be $150 with labor at a minimum of $75. I can't recall what the parts were, but I think the brushes needed to be replaced and it was cheaper/easier just to drop in a whole new assembly.
  8. My husband has offered to replace my Kitchenaid Artisan stand mixer for our anniversary this year. I'm disinclined to get another Kitchenaid because it started it's slow descent when it was only about four years old. Research showed that it's not my mother's Kitchenaid anymore, and that parts are plastic, yadda, yadda, yadda. What is the current state of affairs in the stand mixer marketplace? I'm a marshmallow-making home cook, so the mixer needs some gumption - and I need to run it for more than ten minutes at a time, as Kitchenaid directs me not to. It's hard to get a sense of teh products from reviews, because one can't really tell how hard the user makes the machine work. Is there anything for the home user that has all-metal parts? Bonus points if I could use some of my Kitchenaid attachments in it.
  9. I am not too sure whether I like them or not, so I had to make another batch so I can keep sampling until I figure it out The show this week was pretty good. I was happy to see Heather leave, because I really like Zac but I thought she was bringing him down attitude-wise. It seems like a pastry chef should know how to make a thin tart crust in her sleep, so it was a good choice. Morgan's team really did make a better looking bakery and I'm glad Eric hung on one more week.
  10. Why, cocktail onions, of course. Mmm, gibson!
  11. I have a half batch of Eric's winning nutella/peanut butter/chocolate/rice krispie treat dessert from the bake sale challenge setting up right now. It's supposed to sit overnight, unfortunately. The nutella layer was delicious when I was licking the spoon. The recipes available on the Top Chef website are interesting; they don't seem to have been edited for the average home cook. The measurements are mostly in grams, and the recipe calls for spreading the Rice Krispie treats out in a full sheet pan. I just wonder how many people out in the world realize that the largest a home chef generally gets is a half sheet. On the Food Network recipe reviews, people always complain about it if the recipes are by weight instead of volume. Oh, and the sugar for the Rice Krispie treats (not melted marshmallow) is cooked to soft ball stage without any temperature listed.
  12. I looked at Seth's bio on the Top Chef website. He's worked at some impressive places. But I have to wonder--wouldn't an executive chef fire anybody who acted like that in his kitchen? It's not so much the attitude, but the running around, getting in the way, and knocking over food. It's dangerous, it's inefficient, and it's wasteful. Cleaning up the floor while Zac was trying to plate was just beyond the pale. Kudos to Zac, by the way, for not kicking Seth on his way through. I might not have been able to restrain myself.
  13. Martini update: I took the temperature of the drink in the tin, and found that it took 2-3 times as long to get down to 27°F than I had given it before. So, with extra stirring, that improved. Also, I haven't had time to get new celery bitters, but went ahead and tried the Fee's aromatic bitters that were in the liquor cabinet. This is now a very good martini, although not as new and interesting as it is with the good celery bitters. On a side note, a group of us went to Firefly's (BBQ) on Saturday night, where I ordered a gibson. It took two trips from the waitress to get my drink. First, the question was, "Vodka, right?", at which point I banged my head on the table (and a friend who has taken a bartending course said, "WTF?"). Second, they were out of cocktail onions, would olives be OK? Olives, being little obliong balls of poisonous yuck, are not OK; however, since Chris's workshop, at least I knew to ask for a dash of bitters instead. weinoo, I did not crack the ice. How does one do that? A ziploc and a mallet? I was concerned that I would wind up with flakes of ice if I did that.
  14. Chris, I have the Noilly Prat vermouth but did get the Fee's bitters. I didn't write down the name of the bitters that you had so I guessed. The liquor store that I went to (Julio's in Westborough, MA) is the biggest one around, but they had only a fairly complete line of Fee's and of The Bitter Truth. The Fee's does definitely have a more dramatic celery note to it than the bitters we used. One dash didn't give me the flavor I was looking for, and two dashes was way too strong. Maybe tonight, I will make the drink again with the same methods, but use aromatic bitters. I'll take the temperature of it after I'm done stirring. Also, now that the vermouth is refrigerated instead of room temperture (I broke into it as soon as I got home from the packy), the product should be a bit colder.
  15. Chris, if you are still reading this, I have a question. Monday night. I bought the ingredients to make the martini I liked so much: Junipero gin, new vermouth, celery bitters, and a lemon. I measured out the ingredients and stirred gently. The drink was not even half as good as what we made in the workshop, and I am 90% sure that it's an ice issue. At home, we have the same ice cue trays as everybody else. The ice that I use therefore has a larger mass:surface area ratio and won't melt as quickly when in contact with the other ingredients. So, is my best bet just to stir longer, or should I find some ice cube trays with better shapes, or should I just buy an occasional bag of ice to keep in the freezer?
  16. I went to the workshop last night and had a great time! First, the drinks were tasty. Second, the snacks the restaurant provided were wonderful. Third, Chris is a knowledgeable and helpful instructor. Aside from having the chance to make one of the best martinis ever, I was really blown away by the difference in making a true classic 'sour' cocktail versus using the phosphorescent sour mix that most bars use. It's like the difference between Crystal Light and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Chris said that he and the restaurant will be hosting a whole series of workshops. I recommend that anybody who enjoys a cocktail should attend one of these. It really makes you think differently about what you drink. Now I'm off to source celery bitters so I can recreate my new favorite martini.
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