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Everything posted by SWoodyWhite

  1. My sister sent this article my way, sparking memories of a Vacaville restaurant called The Nut Tree. Naturally, she didn't bother to connect the article in any way to a date, so I don't know how current the story is. The Reporter: The Nut Tree I found the following paragraph of particular interest: From it all came a new form of cooking and presenting food - California cuisine. Nut Tree partner Robert Power dubbed it "Western food." Although Power died and the restaurant closed, this brand of Western cuisine lives on. The Nut Tree was where California Cuisine was born? Take THAT, Jeremiah Tower!
  2. But Syd's earlier line, "Who let you in?", was priceless.
  3. Again quoting from the article: Plans for the Harvest Hall, to be located between Franklin and Harrison streets and the Embarcadero and Water Street, include a daily market of produce, meats, seafood, cheeses and baked goods; a professional cooking school; waterfront restaurants and smaller cafes to be run by local entrepreneurs; food-themed retail; and a chefs' hall of fame, which would induct chefs annually. This is part of why I was asking about parking. And remember, I'm a SoCal boy, so I'm used to an environment that is pro-car and anti-walking. My point of view has a bias that probably doesn't match conditions in the Bay area. The school won't affect parking that much. The restaurants and cafes, however, will logically draw people in from nearby offices for lunch, and if they're walking more than a block or two my own experience has shown that people will prefer to drive and repark. This could also prove to be an objection, from the customer's point of view, to using already established parking, particularly at night if the parking and walkways to and from the Hall aren't well lighted. Distance and perceived safety are major factors to be considered.
  4. I seriously doubt that Mr. Bayless would give his endorsement based on a single sandwich. In fact, I find that sort of question absurd. The man is a professional chef who has explored the cuisine of a country other than his own; this shows a sense of curiosity as to ingredients and preparation technique. In fact, since he has been marketing his own line of salsas and other foodstuffs for several years and is the author of several cookbooks and the host of an ongoing television series about cooking, he more than many others in his field would know how marketing is done. It would take more than waving a single sandwich under his nose to get him to endorse any product. Further, he is being shown in commercials for said sandwich, taking a first bite out of one. I don't know how knowledgeable you are about the filming of commercials, but they never settle for just one take of a shot. The process requires dozens of takes, to make sure that the finished product contains the exact positioning of the performer and the product within the picture, and that the vocal inflections are exactly correct. This means that, for Mr. Bayless to be taking a first bite out of the sandwich, they would have to have dozens of sandwiches on hand, one for each take. Are the sandwiches "custom-made" for the commercials? Of course they are. But so what? The photos taken of food that fill the weekly Food sections in newspapers we read are taken to make sure that the food looks as appetizing as possible, and the similar photos that fill our magazines are even more "posed." For that matter, your own Senior Class photo was no doubt one of several taken in a special session, for which you had specially primped and dressed. The only time any of us get our pictures taken with no interest in getting us to look our best is at the DMV.
  5. Frankly, if I were Bayless or anyone else connected with the Chef's Collective, I would not respond to any e-mails from anyone connected with eGullet because of the overall tone of this thread, which has been vindictive and snide. What bothers me is that they may choose to disregard any correspondance from eGullet in the future, based on what they have seen here. And that will be our loss, not theirs.
  6. Quoting: "The 185,000 square foot California Harvest Hall -- rivaling the size of Seattle's famed Pike Place Market -- is the centerpiece of a proposed $300 million expansion of Jack London Square that also includes a 250-room, four- star hotel; a seven-theater movie house; office space and 1,500 parking spaces." Why does that sound like too few parking spaces?
  7. Thank-you for joining us, Karen and Andrew. I've enjoyed your work over the years, and have often used Dining Out as a reference on criticism in general, since the observations made by those you interviewed for that book are as valid in other fields as they are in regards to the food industry. There are, however, a large number of us who are not part of the food industry, never have been, never will be, and due to our lack of professional-level skills everyone is probably grateful for our decision to stay out. I realize that your writings have been about professional chefs, and not about the home chef. All the same, I've been wondering about what changes you may have observed in home cooking since Becoming a Chef was first published? And how do these changes (if any) in turn affect the professional chef?
  8. I think I was quoting Jeffrey Jones as the Emperor. Unless I'm wrong. Egads, you're right. Even dreamier. Wrong on both counts. The person being quoted is Peter Shaffer, author of the original play and screenplay. Jeffrey Jones spoke the lines, but would not claim them as his own. The exact quote, from the screenplay, reads: Emperor Joseph II: Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Which few did you have in mind, Majesty? (Personally, I've always preferred Shaffer's play Lettuce and Lovage, which is not only funnier but has many more food references. Sadly, it has not been filmed.)
  9. Can we split the placement of Emeril on this list as well, between Emeril (before Crest toothpaste ads) and Emeril (after Crest toothpaste ads)? http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/2003.../printstory.jsp I've seen one of the ads already. Subtle it ain't.
  10. This is like saying "What if Philip Morris gives some of its profits to the EPA?" I have some sympathy here. I worked for the Kennedy Center (a nonprofit arts organization) for years. Philip Morris was a huge sponsor of ours. If it wasn't for them, many many worthwhile performances like ballet and symphony would not be presented. Sure they're a tobacco company and they suck, but if you need the bucks it's sometimes worthwhile not looking too closely at who signs the checks. I don't know of a single arts org in this town or many others who would have turned them down. The name on those checks probably isn't "Philip Morris" these days, since the parent company changed it's name to "Altria" in 2002. They also own Kraft Foods, with all it's diverse holdings, and are real estate investors as well. Not that this will mean much to the people who love to demonize PM, and they are legion. Case in point: more than a decade ago, my partner was working as a consultant for a candidate for political office. Said candidate accepted a one time only contribution from PM to finance a single mailing prior to the election. Said candidate accepted the contribution because of the previously mentioned real estate and food connections, not because of the tobacco connection, having previously helped pass anti-smoking legislation in his home city. Needless to say, in every election since that one time only contribution, that contribution has been used by his opponents to smear his campaigns, decrying his taking "Tobacco Money". The food and real estate connections are completely ignored. (I can't blame them, really, since it's the only mud his opponents can make stick. Although the only election he's lost, interestingly, was to the opponent who didn't use this smear tactic, but ran based on her own qualifications, and was only running against him because redistricting had merged the cores of their previous districts together into one.)
  11. I'm sorry to have offended by repeating those invitations. They were primarily intended to be humourous references to the fact that regardless of what my own (as yet uninformed and primarily hyperbolic) opinion might be, ultimately it is up to Rick Bayless to know what this endorsement meant or did not mean to him. For the sake of the outrageous title I gave to this piece in the Weekend Update (for which I compose extreme and often "fairly unbalanced" titles), I've made a few comments in a similiar vein here. For the record: Chef Bayless Might Or Might Not Be A Shameless Lying Pimp. Only he knows for sure. But I do know I would be were I in his clogs having Done This Deed. Good night Mr and Mrs America and all the ships at sea. Bon chance. Now, let's see here. By my dictionary, shameless means "insensible to disgrace." Lying means "to make untrue statements with the intent to deceive." A pimp is someone, usually a man, who solicits clients for prostitutes. The proper use of the first word, in this case, hinges on whether or not there is any true disgrace involved, and is therefor subjective. However, there can be no subjectivity in the accusation of lying, and there is no evidence as to Mr. Bayless being dishonest here. As for his being a pimp, we can assume that Burger King asked Mr. Bayless to sample the product before endorsing it. Either the use of the word "pimp" is incorrect ("shill" strikes me as more accurate), or Mr. Bayless has a great deal of explaining to do to Mrs. Bayless. As it stands, the front page of this site currently contains a highly negative declarative statement about Mr. Bayless. I don't see how he owes anyone an explanation for his frankly innocuous actions.
  12. Jinmyo, by my count you have made three requests in this thread for RB to defend himself. What if he doesn't? Can we next expect some gloating, a la Bill O'Reilly, that because he hasn't responded therefor any and all allegations must be true? One public request should have been enough, perhaps with a personal off-site invitation as a follow-up.
  13. Burbank is still Burbank, and the Smoke House is still the Smoke House. I was surprised by a visit my partner and I paid the place a little over a year ago; they're still serving the same Continental stuff they were serving when I was a lad, and doing a good job of it. And yes, they're still serving that classic garlic-cheese bread, in it's day-glo orange glory. Some things should never change. (The Tam O'Shanter is still pretty much the same as it was, as well, but technically that's in Glendale.) Everything else in Burbank these days is chain food. Other than the Original Bob's Big Boy, which has to be done at the real original place on Riverside Drive if it's to be done at all (preferably with a Ceralbus at hand if you graduated from Burbank High, or whatever the yearbook was called if from Burroughs), there is little else that Burbank has to offer in the way of good eating.
  14. I can't count the number of times my partner and I have been ordered by his daughter to bring a box of See's with us when we've flown east to see her. And she wouldn't share. Of course, when we move to the east coast she'll just have to live without. (Unfortunately, so will we.) Give me every one of the nut clusters covered in their dark chocolate! I'll be very nice and leave everyone else alone, as long as I get to claim my nut clusters! They're mine, Mine, MINE! Bwah-hah-hah-hah-hah!
  15. A well balanced episode, giving a good impression of the kitchen. I would have included a couple more comments from the diners themselves if I'd been the show's editor, but that's a nit. The evolution of the frog's legs with pine needle vapor dish was interesting. That Chef Achatz worked so easily and comfortably with his team of chefs impressed me; his methods were in strong contrast with those of Mark Peel at Campanile, who seemed to be the sole creator of dishes which he then passed on to his own team. Strangely, the "let's create a new dish" sequence in the Cheesecake Factory episode had more in common with Achatz' work methods than did Peel's, as they focused on creating the best dish possible rather than what could be done with a particular ingredient on the spur the moment. The end result at the Cheesecake Factory was different from that at Trio, of course, but the spirit of collaboration was an interesting parallel. My only criticism is that forests rarely smell of pine needles, and it was the smell of the forest that Chef Achatz was trying to evoke. Most trees in a forest are too tall, with their branches too high from the ground, for that part of the tree's aroma to make much of an impact. This knowledge comes from frequent summer camping trips with my parents; my sister and I could stand on opposite sides of a younger tree, our arms wrapped around, and we'd barely be able to touch fingers. A forest smells not so much of the needles as it does of the loam underfoot, maybe some moss, and particularly of the bark of the trees, which is reminiscent of vanilla, pepper, and cinnamon. (Trust me, that was my nose stuck in the bark as my sister and I touched fingers, so I know from first-hand and nose experience.) Of course, this combination of smells could launch a new investigation... As for the article in the LA Times, it was quite obvious that the reviewer was working from a tape and had not seen the shows as presented on FoodTV, or he would have known that the episodes were broadcast out of order. I'll have to catch last week's episode on Greenbriar on a re-run. My partner and I were busy celebrating his birthday the night of it's original run. Or perhaps FoodTV will take the series and release it on DVD; as a whole the series would make for interesting viewing in a classroom.
  16. I'm not much of a fish person, Russ, so I can't say for sure. However, I recall some of the farmers markets in the area having trucks with very fresh fish on ice. Tomorrow (Friday) is the usual day for the market along the Promenade in Long Beach. If anything, asking the guy running the truck could at least give you a few good opinions. (And it will give you a good excuse to get down to Long Beach, to pursue any other leads you've had in the area. Good hunting!)
  17. I've dug up a couple of recipes for Cincinnati Chili. The first, from Jeff Smith's The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American, calls for lean pork (coarsely ground), hamburger, yellow onions, garlic, pureed tomatoes, and (the important parts) cumin, commercial hot chili powder, bay leaves, cinnamon, allspice, Tabasco, cocoa powder, Worcestershire, and white vinegar. The second recipe, from Rick Rodgers' 365 Ways to Cook Hamburger and Other Ground Meats, lists ground round, onions, celery, garlic, tomatoes with added puree, beef broth, and (back to the important parts) chili powder, cinnamon, ground cumin, basil, oregano, ground allspice, red wine vinegar, and unsweetened chocolate. Now, any chili "purist" would not be dumping tomatoes in their chili, as is done in both of these recipes. But, personally, I've long believed that chili is actually two dishes. The original dish, "Western Chili" for the lack of a better name, the sort that is seen in competitions and used to be served to trailhands, uses diced meat instead of ground, no tomatoes, no beans. The chuckwagon cooks were mostly intent on getting the men fed with the ingredients they had at hand. Canned tomatoes didn't even exist, and were too heavy to lug around as it was. Chili powder, or more likely the dried chilies not ground yet, would have been stored in bags. Beans needed a lot of time to soak in a separate pot and then cook, and were served on the side. The second dish is what I would call "Depression Era Chili," and was born from the need housewives of that era lived with to feed their families on a very limited budget. Ground meat, especially hamburger, was more available and affordable than cuts of meat that could then be diced up. Chili powder became available in tins. Tomatoes, now available canned, seemed a logical way of extending the dish, as did the addition of beans, which would have been soaking in a bowl on the counter overnight. Chili Mac is, of course, a variant on Depression Era Chili, with pasta used as another meat extender. Notice the differences. The trail cook had to travel, and travel light. He was using locally available ingredients and whatever he had brought with him. The housewife, on the other hand, had a kitchen, and the ingredients came from the store. The trail cook was ruled by the economy of the mobile chuckwagon, the housewife by the economics of her times. The trail cook had to feed a hearty meal to the trailhands, the housewife had to feed her growing family. The two dishes, while sharing ingredients, serviced two very different backgrounds, the second inspired by and adapting from the first without copying it. It's a shame we don't recognize the second dish for what it is, a different creation by a different culture. I'm not sure when the Greek immigrants to the Cincinnati area decided to make chili a dish of their own, but the use of ground meat and extenders suggests a shared heritage with Depression Era Chili. I am certain that it was these immigrant's heritage that led to what seemed to them the addition of cinnamon. As for the unsweetened chocolate, I'm amazed it isn't included in more recipes of all types of chili, as it is a common ingredient in mole, one of the antecedants of Western Chili. As for the difference between Cincinnati Chili and Chili Mac, in Chili Mac the pasta is blended into the chili. As anyone who has visited Cincinnati knows, Cincinnati Chili is served on top of the pasta, and the pasta is specifically spaghetti. This makes all the difference in the world.
  18. There's a Trader Vic's in Emeryville, CA. Pixar Animation Studios is located in Emeryville, Ca. Somehow, everything makes sense now. (Sorry, off-topic but I couldn't help make the connection.)
  19. This has a lot to do with why my partner Bruce and I are moving (some time in the next two months, for sure) to Delaware: we want to be closer to his grandlads, ages three and six. We want them to have the chance to try new foods, to hear new music, to explore museums and zoos and everything else. The big problem is Bruce's daughter, the mother of said grandlads. SHE is the one who has been feeding them EasyMac almost every dinner since they were weaned. SHE is the one who doesn't want to explore with her palate. SHE is the one who finds museums and zoos and such a bother, because it means she has to walk from place to place. SHE is the one who turns off the stereo when the older child turns it up, because he likes it loud and she likes it silent. I don't remember my parents having any trouble getting my sister and myself to eat new and different things. But I also remember my mother, a transplanted upstate New Yorker, learning how to make enchiladas and chili because we lived in SoCal and it made sense to her that we enjoy the foods of our region. This leads me to believe that if parents don't believe in exploration, the children will never learn. The two months until we move are going to be long ones, as far as I'm concerned. Those grandlads need us NOW!
  20. Oops, this is the website of a place in NY. Here's the Citysearch profile of the place in question. It's very good. Tidbit - the owner makes all the pottery dishes used in the restaurant. ~Tad OOPS! Good catch, Tad, and my bad. I was using DigitalCity to collect the links, and should have taken a bit more time to check what I was collecting.
  21. Thank-you, Chef Achatz! Your faith in the filmmakers is encouraging, indeed. Your comment "that they had objectives to expose in each segment" dovetails with the episode order given at FoodTV.com. I'm not referring to the order in which they're being shown (which I listed earlier), but in which the filmmakers intended them to be shown, which turns out to be quite different. The intended order apparently was: Campanile Cheesecake Factory Commander's Palace Bellagio Greenbriar Trio. I can't help but wonder if the FoodTV suits actually watched the episodes, or discussed the reasoning of the order with the filmmakers. If they had, they would have understood why the Campanile episode is logically the first, followed by the more industrial Cheesecake Factory and so on, culminating with the Trio episode. At least they are keeping your episode (presumably and traditionally "the best") for last. On a more personal note, I'm glad my partner and I won't be moving from the left coast to the right until after the series concludes; missing that final episode would be vexing, to say the least!
  22. In the works: negotiations are underway for Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) to film Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Let's face it, there may be food scenes in musicals, but there aren't many musicals where the preparation of food figures as importantly in the plot as it does in this one.
  23. Just to prove that I've got way too much spare time, I went through the listed above restaurants to see if I could find some websites for them. To start off, Wolfgang Puck's Spago, Chinois on Main, and Granita can be found at his site at http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/ Gladstones: http://www.gladstones.com/ (Both of the above sites are also quite generous with recipes.) Josie: http://www.josierestaurant.com/ Mori Sushi: http://www.morisushi.com/ Lucques: http://www.lucques.com/ Campanile: http://www.campanilerestaurant.com/# Valentino: http://www.welovewine.com/ Philippe's: http://www.philippes.com/ Geoffrey's: http://www.gmalibu.com/ Melisse: http://www.melisse.com/ Neptune's Net: http://www.neptunesnet.itgo.com/ Angelini Osteria: http://www.angeliniosteria.com/ Palm's Thai (have to love a place that includes a "Wild Things" page on their site): http://www.palmsthai.com/frame.html Patina Group (Patina, Cafe Pinot): http://www.patinagroup.com/ Inn of the Seventh Ray: http://www.innoftheseventhray.com/ And, two places with laughable websites: Mr. Chow: http://www.mrchow.com/ and Eurochow: http://www.eurochow.com/ Neither site includes even a sample menu, and Mr. Chow is in Barbie pink! My appologies to any restaurants mentioned in this thread if I was unable to locate their website.
  24. The Campanile episode was much more on track for what this series can do. Extensive interviews with Mark Peel about how he feels about his restaurant, plus footage of Peel in action. The section about Peel devising the night's menu was particularly effective, if short, giving a good idea of why the chef of this particular kitchen is the boss, followed by his briefing the front staff on the night's menu. This is the sort of thing many diners don't consider to be part of their dining experience. Good interview work with some of his kitchen staff as well. The interview and work footage with the maitre'd was also good, giving a clear idea of what kind of impact large parties can have on a restaurant, and how the front and back of the house have to work together while their duties are clearly separate. Keeping the focus on one particular Friday night's service also helped the organization of the episode. What this series can be capable of was better represented by this episode than those previously shown. Now, having shown how a top-rank restaurant operates, the series can concentrate on other more specialized areas. The upcoming episode on Trio should be even more interesting now, since Peel and company did the groundwork and the Trio episode can now concentrate on the invention that takes place in the kitchen. I would also be interested in an episode following a server and a line cook during the course of one night, showing the parellels between the front and back of the house from the perspective of those who aren't at the top of the hierarchy.
  25. It's all location. Some In-n-Out locations are very nicely decked out, with sound baffles, decorative plants and such. Others are purist, going back to the white and red tile.
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