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Posts posted by tammylc

  1. Expedia is showing rooms at lots of different Ann Arbor hotels for our weekend right now, so I think we're probably okay. But as Ronnie says - you might want to reserve a room now, even if you're still on the fence about attending. You can always cancel later. I may reserve a couple of spec for last minute additions.

    The Best Western where a bunch of you stayed last time went no name for a while, and is now branded as a Clarion. But the hotel's been in decline for a while, so I don't think I'd recommend it. If Webers is full, then that knocks out the two closest hotels to the venue. But, this being Ann Arbor, the next big cluster of hotels is only 5 miles away.

    Good choices from the Expedia list that are in that cluster (State St, just off the highway) are:

    Courtyard by Marriott Ann Arbor

    Fairfield Inn by Marriot Ann Arbor

    Four Points Ann Arbor

    Red Roof Inn U of M South

    Holiday Inn and Suites Ann Arbor Univ of Michigan Area

    These hotels are all basically on the same block, so easy to coordinate carpooling, etc.

    There's also a Residence Inn there, and a Candlewood Suites a couple miles away if you're okay with an extended stay hotel (somewhat fewer amenities).

  2. Re flying, the cheapest MSN-DTW fare today is the nonstop on Delta, for $399. :wacko: Sales do happen, so you might want to sign up for a fare-tracking notification system like airfarewatchdog.com. The airport is close to Ann Arbor, so I'm sure that someone will be able to pick you up.

    When I wanted to take that flight it was going to cost me over $1000. $399 would have been excellent! Work wouldn't approve the flight, so I had to fly via Chicago, and my connecting flight home got delayed. I ended up having to fly home the following morning (experiencing another hour+ delay on that flight). All in all, it took me nearly 24 hours to get home. I billed work for most of it - would have been cheaper for them to pay the direct flight in the first place! (Yes, I'm still a bit bitter...)

  3. Yes! I am seriously considering this! A flight from Madison or even a train. How far is it by road? Or boat? I need to see it all on a map, I guess. If I do, I will be happy to make or show something from my part of the world or anything else that I can do like chocolate. I can be Kerry's resident.

    Madison is about a 6 hour drive from Ann Arbor, but you have to go through Chicago, so depending on how that's timed and traffic there, it can add a lot of time to the trip. There's a quick one-hour Delta flight between Detroit and Madison, but IME it's usually pretty expensive because it's the only direct option. Much cheaper to fly another airline via Chicago.

    There's a ferry, but you have to drive to Milwaukee, cross the lake, then drive from Muskegon to Ann Arbor, so I don't think it saves you any time at all.

  4. Looking at my calendar, I think my best dates would be August 6-8, with second best being August 13-15.

    I've created a quick Doodle poll to get a consensus on dates - please go indicate which of those Saturdays you are available for (of course the Gathering will be the whole weekend, but I could only specify a day, not a range). That way we're not adding a million messages to the thread with date voting.

    Definitely looking forward to hosting you all again.

    As Tino mentions upthread, one of the great advantages of this site is that we'll have kitchen access, for free, all weekend. Which means it'll be easy to do workshops on Friday - what hands-on workshops would people like to offer or request?

  5. I'm still happy to host in Ann Arbor/ Detroit.

    Lots of interesting foodie happenings going on in town. We've got a great new farm-to-table restaurant called Grange, it could be very fun to do a dinner there. (Strangely enough, it happens to be in the same space as Bella Ciao, where we had our Friday night dinner last time.)

    There's a Friday morning breakfast salon that's entirely volunteer run and helps raise money for local food charities and to give micro-loans to farmers to build hoop houses. I've done a guest chef stint there once, and think it would be awesome (and fun) if we could field an eGullet crew to cook and serve breakfast on Friday morning.

    So that's me putting my foot back into the ring, but I know a bunch of you wanted to go somewhere else, so.

  6. pretty awesome. looks like you did a great job and really knocked it out of the park. how hard were those el bulli olives?


    The olive spheres were harder than I'd hoped! My test batch worked out fine, but on the day of, not so much. I followed the recipe from Texturas, but did the freezing technique of dropping frozen hemispheres into warm alginate. However, I think because I didn't mix up my alginate far enough in advance, it was really cloudy and I had a hard time seeing and scooping out the olive spheres properly. So most of them broke - out of 14 that I tried to make, I actually only ended up with five.

  7. 2 days until the dinner. Menu is finalized and I've started prepping.

    Jersey Shore: Steamed Clams with Bacon Sand

    Morocco: Moroccan-Spiced Seared Scallops with Green Grape & Preserved Lemon Relish

    Senegal: Yassa Ginaar with Guinea Hen and Encapsulated Olives

    Tanzania: Tanzanian Peaberry Granita w/ creme fraiche and lemon zest

    Australia & Japan: Lamb Yakitori “On the Barbie,” Sesame Spinach, Pickled Daikon, Lotus Root Chips (I tried to get kangaroo instead, even ordered some online, but they were out of stock of everything except ground, so we're back to lamb)

    France: Selection of French Cheeses (TBD when I get to my cheesemonger on Saturday)

    Ann Arbor: Pear Ginger Cake with Whipped Cream and Rum-Caramel Glaze


    Scottish Shortbread with Murray River Sea Salt

    Intense Orange Truffles

    Passion Fruit Pate de Fruit

    Over the last two nights I made my mignardises aka "souvenirs."


    And tonight i'm making pickled daikon and radishes to go with the meat course. They're salting right now, and I'll add the vinegar, sugar and ginger later.


    Tomorrow night I'll make my cake layers and pit and juice olives. (Has anyone made the El Bulli style olive spherifications? Do they benefit from being in the olive oil, or is that just to keep them if you have to make ahead?)

    Then most everything else will happen on Saturday. I'll go to the market in the morning to get my proteins, cheese, bread. I've got a friend coming over in the afternoon to help prep, and then back to help serve. Should be really fun.

  8. Some cheaper than Chambord raspberry liqueur (Chateau Monet). I use it to make a variant of the "Center of the Galaxy" cocktail that's in Imbibe this month (from Smuggler's Cove in SF):

    2 oz Demerara

    1/2 oz lime

    1/2 rich simple syrup

    1/2 honey syrup

    1/4 raspberry liqueur

    pinch cinnamon

    I didn't have honey syrup, and my simple wasn't "rich." But I had cinnamon syrup, so I subbed that for the honey syrup and skipped the pinch. It was interesting - very strong. I'm sure it would be better with the right ingredients, but it was fun experiment.

    The description on that cocktail sounds like someone's been drinking too many tiki drinks "... drew inspiration from this drink from a news report suggesting that the chemical compound at the center of the galaxy smells like rum and gives raspberries their flavor."

  9. There's another store with a good selection I can call, but are there any other brands I should be looking for? Or something to substitute?

    I would argue that, in a pinch, you could substitute Barbancourt. Others might disagree.

    Given the choices on that list, I'm inclined to agree. It won't be quite right, but it'll be decent, and still considerably better than any Mai Tai most of your guests have ever had.

    There are a bunch of Barbancourt on the list - which one or ones would be preferable?

    And what do you think about the Curacao question?

    (And thanks again, everyone, really appreciate all the help...)

  10. Speaking of Curacao, my quest for Tiki cocktail ingredients is being thwarted by the pathetic alcohol distribution in Michigan. The "good" liquor store in town, with the best selection, only had DeKuyper - which people don't seem to like much. Should I get that anyway, or use Cointreau (which at least I'll have a plenitude of other cocktail uses for?)

    And, more critically, Martinique rum seems pretty much impossible to find here. The store I was at used to carry some Rum Clement and St James, but neither are being distributed in MI anymore, and they didn't think they had anything else from Martinique. There's another store with a good selection I can call, but are there any other brands I should be looking for? Or something to substitute?

    Here's the rum list from the "good" store (although they might be out of some of this, I got the last bottle of Lemon Hart 151 today, for instance).

    No wonder cocktail culture in Michigan sucks so much...

  11. Five rums, max, I think: white/light PR, dark PR, demerara, aged Jamaican, Martinique rhum. You can't really sub for the demerara or the Martinique rhum, imo, but you could use the Appleton Estate for your dark PR rum (decadent substitution, I'll add) and get away with those four remaining.

    What light PR rum are you considering? I'd urge you to seek out Flor de Cana, Brugal, or Don Q white rums -- and PR style -- and avoid Bacardi like the plague.

    Missed this post yesterday... thanks, Chris.

    I'm going to go with bmdaniel's recommendation below and just sub the white Cruzan rum I have for light PR, but I'll look for one of your recommendations when it comes time to replace this bottle...

  12. If you like passion fruit and have a good syrup (like from the Goya puree), the Spievak Zombie is a great passionfruit drink.

    I think you should be fine if you use Cruzan white as your light PR, the Appleton wherever gold PR or Jamaican are called for, and pick up the Martinique and Demerara.

    Sound like a great party!

    Thank you so much! That exactly the sort of answer I was looking for.

    Tonight's project is making Orgeat and Passion fruit syrup. And maybe Falernum too, if I'm really ambitious...

  13. Re. Falernum: With the party Saturday, I can't web order cheaply. Found a recipe for making my own that seemed pretty straightforward, but I might just save that for another time.

    Having read through this thread, I'm thinking of these three drinks (recipe taken from upthread). These seemed relatively straightforward for a Tiki novice to attempt:

    Spievak Zombie (I know it's totally different than the other Zombies, but I love passion fruit and have passion fruit puree in my freezer I can easily make syrup from)

    1 oz lemon

    1 oz pineapple

    1 oz passion fruit syrup

    1 oz demerara rum

    1 oz white Puerto Rican rum

    1 oz gold Puerto Rican rum

    tsp brown sugar

    Surf Room

    1 oz light PR rum

    1 oz dark Jamaican rum

    1 oz demerara rum

    1/4 oz curacao

    1/4 oz simple

    1/4 oz orgeat

    1/4 oz lemon

    1/2 oz lime

    1 oz pineapple

    1 oz orange

    Trader Vic's Mai Tai

    1 ounce fresh lime juice

    1/2 ounce orange Curacao (MB orange Curacao)

    1/4 ounce sugar syrup (slightly less rich demarara syrup)

    1/4 ounce orgeat syrup (homemade)

    1 ounce aged Jamaican rum (Appleton Estate)

    1 ounce amber Martinique rum (St. James Ambre)

    Although reading those, it looks like it's calling for somewhere between 5 and 7 different rums - what kinds of substitutions can I make to work with the two I have and two more?

    Then I just need to make orgeat, juice a lot of fruit and crush a lot of ice...

  14. Thanks for the tips. It appears I can get the Lemon Hart here in MI, but not the St. James - do you have another recommendation on a Martinique?

    I'm almost out of grenadine and have to make up another batch, and just read the thread of Orgeat and think I can pull that off too. But I have a strong suspicion I won't be able to find any Falernum...

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