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Everything posted by WillinTO

  1. Thanks Mike, I'm definitely interested in a pump based product, and it looks like the SideKic's heater may be on the weak side for some of the larger applications I will occasionally try. The real question for me I think is between the Polyscience $500 unit, their $800 unit and the Underground.
  2. Well, I am ready to take the plunge and invest in an immersion circulator. My research so far has identified the "expensive" options - PolyScience Chef and Classic Units plus a variety of other thousand dollar plus options- and a growing number of more affordable options. On the low end of the "affordable" scale are the in and out of distribution SideKic, priced at a very low $180 or so, and the up and coming $300 Nomiku, a kickstarter project, which won't be available until December. Slotted in between these and the very expensive options is the Underground Circulator. It seems to be a more robust unit than the SideKic and Nomiku, with technical specs like a 1,000 W heater, 20 C to 100 C temp range and the ability to handle up to 26 litres of water. Its look and development history seems more restaurant based, and I've read one or two online comments from restaurant users who like it. The other option I've found in the $500 range is the PolyScience "Creative" unit. It looks like a dialed down version of the "Chef" unit. It claims a 1100 W heater and a 20 litre capacity. But their site identifies that it is only for "casual use" so I wonder about durability. Does anyone have experience with these midrange units - the Underground or the Polyscience Creative Series?
  3. Thanks Daisy. An early dinner on Friday it is! I know Ssam reasonably well already, having eaten there a couple of times on past trips - and having made many of Chang's recipes. It is a must visit for me. Last trip, last year, we went to Ma Peche, which didn't blow me away - something about the space more than the food I think. I certainly know what to expect at Ssam, and i know it will be great. EMP - lite is an very appealing concept as well. I did look at the Chicken on the menu. It looks WAY more interesting than the Chicken Pastilla at the other Nomad. Alas, perhaps the only two things my partner does not really enjoy are truffles and foie. I know, that is just plain incomprehensible in an otherwise sophisticated palate, but that is the cross I bear, especially when the dish is prepared for 2. C'est la vie. There are no shortage of other appealing items on the menu. Have you done their tasting menu - or does the chicken keep getting in the way.
  4. Oh Sh%#t ! I just discovered that there are two Nomads in NYC. One being the one you have encouraged me to seek out, and the other a Mediteranean spot down on the lower east side. And regretably, that was the one I had secured a reservation at. I just called the proper one, and unless we want a very early Friday dinner - or someone cancels (ya, as if!) we're going to be sol. Thank goodness most of Mitch's recomendations for Cocktail bars were down in the same area, because I was mapping out cocktail bar proximity to that Nomad when I discovered my mistake. Well, at least I caught the mistake before the first appetizer arrived and I started to wonder about Daisy's judgement :-) So my work is not yet done. NoMad sounds like it may be good enough to be worth an early Friday dinner (6:00pm though! Just not sure if I can do that). That rules out a late-ish lunch at ssam on Friday, so perhaps now we try Ssam on Saturday night. Certainly a nice contrast to GJ earlier in the day. Daisy is somewhat encouraging on the ability to get in to Ssam even at night. If we showed up at 7:30, how long would we likely wait? What if we showed up at 8:30? I'll miss the Duck extravaganza, but that lovely wife who spring this all on me a week ago will likely prefer the full menu anyways.
  5. Thanks for the input everyone. Saturday and Sunday are locked down now, with lunch on Sat at GJ, dinner at NoMad and lunch on Sunday at Acme. Mitch's push on doing something down and dirty, as well as Daisy's question about where Ssan fits in are Friday issues. Touqeville does not seem to be getting strong endorsement, so it becomes expendable. One option is Ssam for a late Friday lunch (not sure when we will get into town just yet), and perhaps an evening meal at Sorella. Sorella is at 95 Allen, right? Looks like we can get a reserv there on Friday night fairly easily. (Mitch, your Barcelona recos last year were fantastic, so for now, I'm prepared to believe any place you like, we like). Alternatively we try to squeeze into Ssam on Friday night, and grab a pizza for lunch. Is it completely crazy trying to get into Ssam in the evening? For that matter, will we have to wait long at lunch on a Friday at Ssam?
  6. Chris - Doesn;t need to be high end. Just needs to be great, interesting food. daisy17 - Thanks for those ideas. Snagged a reservation for NoMad on Saturday evening, and ACME for lunch on Sunday (Maialino booked up).A friend had said Touqeville was quite good and I've got a reservation there on Friday night. Any thoughts on it? Your list is pretty much booked up on Friday night.
  7. OK, I know I am supposed to search the boards, but my wonderful wife just sprang a last minute 25th anniversary weekend trip to NYC on me. And we arrive next Friday. We're pretty serious eaters, and normally I take lots of time to plan our trips around food. I've spent the last couple of hours trying to get into the places I know and love in NYC (EMP, Per Se, Ko) as well as the ones highly recommended in recent threads, and the bottom line is they are all way booked up. I lucked into a Saturday lunch at Jean Georges (they must have had a cancellation) and we're planning on Momofuku Ssam one meal (so no reserv possible). But after that, I've got nothing after a couple of hours in front of this computer. So where can we still book in for amazing, thought provoking, innovative food (lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch) with 7 days to go? So where are the great spots you love to eat that simply haven't hit the hype machine to the extent they are booked up weeks (OK, or a week) in advance? Manhattan preferred.
  8. mig, I am not certain about the US, but Jamon Iberico cannot be imported into Canada - at least not by suitcase wheeling tourists. We declared our small pack of sliced Iberico Belota that we had bought vacuum packed at the Boqueria in Barcelona. After consulting his computer, the Customs guy informed us that cured, but uncooked pork from Spain was not allowed into Ontario. I almost cried as he carefully deposited it in the garbage can behind his inspection station. Indeed, I probably would have cried, if I not wheeling away a half pound solid piece slipped into a running shoe in that same suitcase. :-).
  9. Hi mig, We're just back from a trip to Spain, and spent a few days in BCN. Others here have far more broad experience, but my suggestions would be as follows. First, definitely, definitely go to Gelonch. He is an exceptionally talented young chef and gave us one of the best meals of our trip, and relative to other stops at Can Roca, Mugaritz and Etxebarri, it was astonishingly great value. Front of house was really strong too - and spoke excellent English if that is an issue for you. Definitely go to Quimet y Quimet. If I tell you it is a canned fish tapas bar, you probably won't go ;-), so check out Weinoo's and others comments in the separate thread on it. It is a cab ride from the Born, but absolutely worth it. I promise you, you will enjoy it. I would strongly recommend skipping the much hyped Cal Pep, which is in the Born and likely close to your hotel. It gets a lot of hype as a great tapas experience, but fell completely flat for us. The food was good, but nothing special, unlike the prices, which have clearly been set to reflect the reputation this place has earned on chowhound and other tourist web sites. I suspect much of the attraction must be the personality of Pep himself, but at least the day we were there, he was working the restaurant at the back, and the guys behind the bar were not remotely engaging. Add to this about a 45 minute wait for a seat at the bar and it was a disappointing waste of time. Likewise, I was disappointed by Comerc 24. It may have been palate fatigue, as we did it on the last night of a 9 day food extravaganza, but I was not blown away by many dishes. Many were good, but at this price point, you need most to be great. Given the palate fatigue I know we were both experiencing, take my comments on the food with a grain of salt. But what you can take to the banks is that the front of house was just a mess. I booked a 9:00 reservation 6 weeks in advance, and was told to reconfirm it that afternoon. My email to try to reconfirm 2 days before was met with the same request. So I was sure to have the hotel concierge reconfirm, and when we got back from our day of touristing,sure enough I had a note saying they had reconfirmed for us, at noon, and that we had a 9:45 reservation. However, during the afternoon, well after the time on the hotels note that we had reconfirmed, I got a phone message left for me saying that I had not reconfirmed. I phoned back immediately and was told our reservation was cancelled because we had not reconfirmed. Then I was told they had my reservation for 10 pm. In the end, we went at 9, and got in just fine - but what a run around! The service during our meal, other than a superb sommelier, was equally disjointed. I would give it a miss, but defer to others here in case our experience was not representative. On to more positive comments. One thing you should definitely consider is taking the train out to Girona for a meal at El Celler Can Roca. Currently number 2 on San Pelligrino's list of top 50 restaurants in the world, it is indeed a fabulous experience. I do not know if they do a lunch sitting, but if they do, and if you can still get a reservation, it would be well worth it. We also really enjoyed a meal at Fonda Gaig in BCN - a supposedly traditional Catalan restaurant. I would describe it as traditional fine dining in Catalonia - but certainly not Catalan home cooking. Very good indeed, and clearly a very popular spot for businesses lunches, but not home cooking enough to be traditional, and not special enough to warrant the price point if others here have better suggestions. Also, when at La Boqueria, a stop at El Quim de la Boqueria is well worth it. Like Cal Pep, their prices seem to reflect their popularity with gastro tourists, but is was fun and tasty. My advice would be to stick to the lower priced dishes on the menu rather than the full menu items. Even a bit of research will turn up Tickets, the Adria brothers tapas restaurant, as THE hot spot in town. However, you will find it fully booked up, three months in advance. It is only 4 blocks from Quimet y Quimet, so we strolled by after our meal at Quimet and looked longingly in the window. Next time...... P.S. your NYC experience notwithstanding, before writing off jamon iberico entirely, make sure to at least try jamon iberico de belota (the highest grade), if that is not what you had before. While individual tastes are what makes food so fascinating, it is hard for me to conceive of someone not loving it. It may not change your mind, but when in Spain....
  10. Was this the salmon montadito you had? It was one of the very best, of many great things we had during our visit. Although on the night we went, it was a cured salmon, not smoked, if memory serves. Just fabulous!
  11. We started our recent trip to Spain with a "dinner" at Quimet y Quimet, which had been reco'd by a number of friends who had been to BCN. What a fun and fabulous place! A definite "must visit" for anyone who is serious about food and visiting Barcelona. The fact that virtually all of the ingredients come from a can is the "hook", but the flavours are the reason to go. The huge advantage of the canned food approach is that virtually every ingredient you eat is for sale. We left with at least 25 euros worth of ingredients to play at recreating some of the masterpieces at home. And if you need a bottle of wine.....
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