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Andrew Fenton

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Everything posted by Andrew Fenton

  1. Look for a short menu. I always have better luck at a place with a few specialties than at one that tries for everything under the sun.
  2. Yeah, I don't really know what the decor is like, either. My point is just that you always hear about how busy people are, what with the overwork, the taking the kids to soccer, yada yada yada... It's probably hard for lots of folks to just sit and talk at home, without turning on the TV or doing some chores; and it's also probably tough to schedule time to sit and talk at a restaurant, bar or patio. An enforced situation where you have nothing to do but talk, even in sub-optimal conditions, isn't such a bad thing. Though I still suspect you could just go shopping with beeper. How would they stop you?
  3. Well, I intentionally didn't make any comparisons as to the kind of food, because I don't think that's relevant to the discussion. Some people like one kind of place, others like another: what's at issue is the wait. And again, if you like going to the mall, what's the problem with walking around? And if you're sitting on a bench talking to your dining companion, is that so bad? Shouldn't we be happy for a chance to just sit and talk for three hours?
  4. I'm making the assumption that, dire warnings to the contrary, people do spend their three hours wandering the mall. So they get there early, take a number, then go shopping. If you like going to the mall, then it's not such a bad use of time. And you can do it in a relatively spur-of-the-moment kind of way. If at lunch you decide you want CF for dinner, you can have it. Whereas when I make a reservation a month out, not only do I have to wait a month, I also have to know that I'll be able to eat that night, at that time. For overscheduled people, that can be even tougher.
  5. What's the difference between waiting three hours for a table, and making restaurant reservations a month or more in advance? Because I wouldn't do the former, but I do do the latter. I'm not sure that my behavior is any less zombie-like than the CF's patrons'.
  6. Yow! A glimpse inside the dark Satanic cheesecake mills... Welcome, fyre! Why don't they just take a driver's license as a deposit?
  7. Morbier. We once served an especially powerful Morbier that our neighbors down the hall could smell. They asked us what we were eating and when we told them, they asked, "Morbier? Isn't that French for 'death'"?
  8. Actually, this isn't too far off: consider the ridiculous popularity of Thomas Kinkade. He's the most successful painter in the world today, and works exactly like this. You see a painting (actually, a reproduction, but let's not quibble) of his in a gallery, and then you have an in-house artist "touch it up" to your specifications. If you're lucky (and have the ca$h), Kinkade himself will adjust your painting to match your sofa! So if a real artist, who has his paintings in real galleries in malls across the country, is willing to adjust his art to his customers' specifications, well shucks, why shouldn't a cook do the same?
  9. Put that one in the microwave and you'll get labeled a terrorist...
  10. Ah ha. Shoulda figured that one out for myself, I guess...
  11. What's Slow? I Googled "slow magazine" but couldn't find anything that looked too relevant.
  12. Yeah, I can see how the soup dumplings wouldn't travel well. Don't know about the sour taste: I didn't notice it tonight, anyway. I don't see salt-baked prawns on the takeout menu. They do have salt & pepper prawns, but that's something else, I believe.
  13. Well, I made it to NJS tonight. I was ALL excited because I was going there with six people. And more people means more new Shanghainese dishes to try, right? Well, maybe. Unfortunately, my dinner companions, who are wonderful people, witty conversationalists and a pleasure to be around, were a little less adventurous than I'd like. This was one of those occasions where sitting on my left shoulder was the little food-obsessed devil Andrew, who whispered, "Insist on ordering for the table!" And on my right shoulder was the little polite, it's-okay-to-take-me-out-in-public angel Andrew, who insisted, "Easy there, Sparky! Don't be bossy!" And the good Andrew won: I shut my big mouth... but made sure I ordered last. Our table ordered, in order: sweet and sour chicken kung pao chicken moo shoo chicken crispy noodles with (you guessed it) chicken prawns with chili sauce (not chicken! whoo hoo) Batting cleanup, I followed Sara's lead and ordered the braised pork (probably should have ordered a veggie, but I really wanted to try that pork), an order of soup dumplings, and the turnip cakes. The soup dumplings were terrific. Fun to eat, too. The turnip cakes are like nothing I've had before: a ball of shredded, spiced turnip surrounded by a flaky pastry crust. Of the chicken dishes, the kung pao was surprisingly good. The sauce has some wine in it; something I'd never encountered. The prawns were huge-- like small lobsters. I don't think we got the right order: this sauce didn't have chilis in it, but was very smooth and delicate. Sara's description-- "rich revelation"-- is a good one for the pork. Braised long enough so that it falls into chunks with just a little cutting, but with still enough texture to be interesting. And those really deep flavors that only come from long slow cooking. Good stuff. And there's a lot on the menu I still want to try. Anybody who's planning to head over there, let me know: I'd like to give those turnip cakes another go-round...
  14. What I meant-- and I realize I wasn't too clear-- is that they'd been rolled into a log and sliced off: the result were cylinder-shaped gnocchi, not the ridged or cowrie-shell shape you get when they've been individually formed. And they weren't all the same size either, which bothered me more, because they didn't cook quite evenly.
  15. I like a little squeeze of lemon juice on a radish sandwich. More radish miscellany: the word isn't from Greek, it's from the Latin word for "root." And radishes were used (in a pretty obscene way) to punish adulterers in ancient Athens.
  16. Y'know, I was disappointed by the gnocchi at Cucina Forte. They were cut, not rolled-- which can be okay-- but they were cut into all different sizes. Which seemed weird and a little disturbing to me: why not go for consistency there? I've heard people refer to it as "der," but as far as I know, that's just wrong. Del there means "of the": der is the German definite article. I'm pretty sure it ain't Italian.
  17. Amen to that! Don't get me started on chicken pizza. That's just wrong.
  18. Easyfunschool.com! Absolutely priceless, and my new favorite website name...
  19. What do they use squeeze-lard for?
  20. Praise the Lard! (and pass the flaky pie crust) I've also found that a mix of lard and butter gives a nice texture, but the taste can be strong, especially for any sort of sweet pastry. I should try getting hold of some of that leaf lard...
  21. Did you get an explanation of what the connection between sea bass and sponge rejuvenation is? The miracle manure of sea bass poop or what?
  22. This is why I hated the first movie, and why I'm skipping the sequel. I like kung-fu movies, I like sci-fi, and I like action movies. But what I don't like is them wasting my time all that cheesy ridiculous pop-gnosticism. One pill, two pill, red pill, blue pill, snore snore snore... If I wanted to watch a movie with a buncha pretentious talking, I'll rent "My Dinner with Andre," thank you very much.
  23. You see? There's a Simpsons quote for EVERYTHING.
  24. Oh, don't apologize! It's not like barbecue is a relig-- Oh wait...
  25. That confounded NC mustard sauce is an illusive one to replicate; Don't y'all mean SC mustard sauce? As far as I know, that's where that version is based...
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