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Everything posted by kaszeta

  1. Add me as another fan of Thomas Keller's ad hoc recipe, skin and all. Delicious.
  2. Those that know me know that I love food photography, but if I'm in a restaurant, while I do use my big honkin' SLR, I'm pretty firm on several things: (1) No flash, ever, since it annoys other diners, and generally doesn't result in good food photography anyway, and (2) Don't get between other people and their food. I might take a bit of time with my plate, but it's just rude to expect someone else to delay their eating due to my camera fetish. The primary reason I do the food photography, however, is that I like to show people the food that they are likely to get if they go to a place. Not the gussied up pictures (or craptacular pictures, for some places) on the places website or menu. And FWIW, I'm okay with a restaurant ban on cameras if the owner really thinks it interferes with the enjoyment (David Chang has had some great screeds about this).
  3. For me, it's relatively simple: get the heaviest cream I can find. Scald it, and add twice the volume of bittersweet chocolate to the scalded cream. If adding liqueur, I usually add it right before the chocolate. I then run it through a fine mesh before using it to get any random debris from the scalding out of it. No problems.
  4. Yes. Although you get kinda weary from it after a while.
  5. If you find yourself in NH or VT during March ("Mud Season"), consider checking out the open houses that both states' maple producers put on. You can visit the various sugarhouses, sample syrup, and watch the boil. (Disclaimer: I'm an NH maple producer....)
  6. The Gage is a good recommendation, as are the Bayless ones. I'd also recommend the Publican. While a bit loud, it's one of the better charcuterie places I've been around there.
  7. Picked up a bottle of Björk birch liqueur while in Iceland. Really funky stuff. Still trying to figure out what to do with it other than sip it, although it does pretty well with tonic.
  8. I think my last bottle of Pagoda was $8
  9. The reason for the salt is regulatory, there's an exemption for cooking wine that allows it to be sold in grocery stores if it has salt in it. The good stuff is in the liquor stores. Since you're in Boston, they carry several decent brands of drinking-quality unsalted shaoxing at Truong Thanh (I have to buy my Shaoxing in MA, since the NH Liquor people don't seem to approve any shaoxing for retail sale). Pagoda is the one I prefer for cooking. As an aside, it can be hard to find some of the stuff at Truong Thanh, but when confused I've just shown them a picture of what I was looking for.
  10. Decent list. I've been to about half of those places and generally agree with your assessments. I should go work my way through the other half. (Right now I'm addicted to dwelltime's iced coffee, and make it a point to stop there when in Cambridge)
  11. Had a long weekend in Austin, and managed to knock off quite a few new-to-me-beers, mostly from Austin 1. Jester King Beer Geek Rodeo (which was excellent) 2. High Esteem (IPA), Elba (Wheat), and Rebellious Dockhand (Raspberry) from Black Star Beer Co-Op 3. Austin Amber Ale 4. Lone Pine Hefe
  12. Others beat me to English, but my experiences have led me to wonder if there was a time he ever was good.
  13. I actually know the answer to this one: 1. I use Seventh Generation dishwasher detergent, since I really despise the odor of most detergents, and I'm on a septic system. I usually buy the large box at Target, $8 for 75 oz. 2. I fill the dispenser in my Bosch dishwasher to the first line (and my experience with this washer is that adding more detergent makes it clean worse, not better), which is around 3/4 oz of detergent per load. 3. That almost exactly 100 loads per box, so around 8 cents per load. That matches up with my bulk observation, which is that I seem to buy detergent about 3x a year. Honestly, I think I actually spend more money on the rinse agent.
  14. My modest contribution to the issue will be Ranch Market. If it's at all relevant to Mexican food, I can buy large quantities of quality produce, spices, and meat from Ranch Market at very affordable prices. Otherwise, fledflew is right, there's not a lot of, say, charcuterie going on, at least not that I've found. (I don't live in Phoenix anymore, but spend a lot of time there with family still).
  15. I do both professional and hobby food photography. For the first, I'm doing it for a restaurant, and I'll usually do whatever it takes to get the shot. For the latter? I still like to get pictures of my food, but if I'm not doing it professionally, my foremost rule is that I'm there to eat, not photograph, and to make sure that my photography doesn't get in the way of my enjoyment. My second rule is "try not to annoy the restaurant, or the other patrons". I don't think I've ever used a flash, since they are, quite frankly, annoying. A good camera, support (I have a mini-tripod that's great for this), and some patience are all that's needed.
  16. jsmeeker isn't being too hasty... last year I went with him and some others to quite the assortment of central TX bbq joints (Kreuz, City Market, City Meat Market, Snows, Franklin's...). We had unanimous acclaim in our group for Franklin. And yes, we showed up two hours early (due to a miscommunication about opening time), and while that guaranteed us the front of the line, by 1 hour out there was a small crowd, and by 30 minutes out a large one. Next time I go, I might still show up at T-2, since we also got to talk to Franklin as he was finishing up the smoking... That was worth it.
  17. At least here, the "improved burgers" at Wendy's were a noticeable improvement over their previous incarnation, since I actually got a burger that was hot and crispy for a change, and the new serving style also seemed to stop the staff from squishing the hell out of the assembled burger (a lot of places do that, I don't know why). But it was also *incredibly* greasy. I probably won't bother again.
  18. I loved half-popped kernels. I get a lot of flack from my SO and family about how I eat them from the bottom of the bowl.
  19. For my own cooking, I actually keep three things: 1. A google calendar of what I cooked, with short notes 2. When possible, a Google Books link to the actual recipe 3. When that doesn't work, I usually scan the recipe or print the web page to PDF, so I can search for it later. These are nice, since I can access all of them while cooking from my iPad sitting on a cookbook holder (one of the ones that hangs from under the counter) For eating out, I do a combination of photography and blogging (my blog is here). Other people's comments here are worth noting, blogging well is a lot of work. You've got to take photos, often in places with terrible lighting, and do it without irritating other diners and the staff. You've got to actually remember or record the details of what it is you are eating. You've got to edit and upload photos. You've got to then write something up, insert the photos, and post it. And then maintain the whole thing. I always make sure that I remember that I'm doing it as a hobby and not a job, and occasionally that means that if I'm finding it's too much "work", I saw "screw it" and just enjoy my meal.
  20. Part of me is disappointed that we didn't get to see the celebrity chef power tool get smacked down a few times.
  21. I've got several dishes that involve cooking something in the skillet, then roasting the whole skillet in the oven (usually at a very hot temperature), and then finishing the dish back on the stovetop. All too many times I've done this, neglected to put the handle cover on the skillet, and then absentmindedly grabbed the (friggin' hot) skillet handle and ending up with a massive 2nd degree handle-shaped burn on my palm. I can say that "Never Again Will I Forget To Put The Handle Cover On The Hot Skillet", but I will forget. I know it.
  22. I will second Jon Tseng's recommendation of considering doing dessert separately. I did the 3-course dessert menu at William Curley last Christmas season, and it was excellent, although you do need to note the time (unless it's a special event, Curley stops taking orders at the Dessert Bar at 5pm)
  23. I don't think suffer from asparagus pee (although I rarely eat asparagus), but I do eat a lot of beets, and I've discovered it takes only two beet-laden meals in a row to deeply color my urine.
  24. Heh, I didn't know that Uncle John's had that kind of distribution. I used to live near there. I'm lucky enough to have Farnum Hill cider here, which has a really stellar dry cider. Alas, a look at their locator shows that distribution only makes it down as far as NJ. It's hard finding dry cider if you don't have a local producer.
  25. Having a Bosch with porcelainized grates, I'll agree with this. I've hot a lot of porcelain bits flake off.
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