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Everything posted by SWoodyWhite

  1. I've been roasting beets in the toaster oven for the past few months (same technique as Mamster gives, but it heats up the kitchen less, which in the droopy days of summer makes a difference). His ideas about dressing them are a lot like mine, although I'm more likely to toss them with lemon juice and zest. Out of curiosity, what herbs do people like with beets? And which herbs make a poor match?
  2. What coverage of pastry at Bellagio was overwhelmed by the more general coverage of the quantities of food served at the buffets. Quality, even at specifically featured restaurants such as Le Cirque or Picasso, was swamped by the numbers. How the lobster was served at those two restaurants (among twelve at the hotel) was passed over to instead show how the overall umbrella of food service at Bellagio covered when one of the restaurants ran out of lobster mid-rush. Wine, particularly the high-end bottles, became a rattling of dates in quick edits, the sheer volume more impressive than the items themselves. While the chefs were quick to praise their environment for being supportive to them, I got little impression as to what was being served and why I should want to go to Las Vegas. Personally, I had hoped that the second show would focus on a particular chef with particular ideas on how a restaurant can be run, rather than a second episode in a row showing food as a die-cut mass production. This episode, and the series in general, would have been better served if it had been broadcast later in the run.
  3. Looking over FoodTV.com, I found the following episodes scheduled for the next month: July 25th - Campanile August 1st - Commander's Palace August 8th - Greenbriar August 15th - Trio At the very least, the series is trying to highlight a variety of restaurants with a range of styles.
  4. I can understand having a Hooters in San Francisco. I can understand having a Hooters in Buffalo. I can understand having a Hooters in all sorts of places. But a Hooters in REHOBOTH BEACH, DELAWARE? It's true, they've got a new franchise in my soon-to-be home, noted as a beach resort catering heavily to the gay communities of DC, Baltimore, and Philly! All right, obviously not exclusively to those communities, but it does seem an odd place to plop down a franchise. I can see the advertising now: "HOOTERS, your ALTERNATIVE choice!" Who could have forseen this?
  5. Now this is more the kind of helpful idea I was thinking of, who to ask. I'd expand from lawyers to other people who take clients to lunch or dinner as part of their business, people in advertising or sales, anyone who can do a proper tax write-off. My partner, back when he was working for a company with government contracts, used to regularly take government people to dinner, on a business account, where he and the clients could sit down and talk business in a more relaxed atmosphere. Amazingly, a lot of good business was conducted over those dinners. And he had a good-sized, varied list of places to take the clients as a result. Unfortunately, he didn't work in Bakersfield, so I can only give the general suggestion and lack and good specifics. BTW, Hollywood, the link you found was much better than anything I was able to come up with. Good work!
  6. For the more high-end meats, my partner and I usually head over to Bristol Farms. Good fresh produce, on the other hand, can be found at any of the farmer's markets.
  7. All right, let's try something more serious as a reply. As far as on-line information goes, the Bakersfield Californian doesn't have much in the way of restaurant reviews. They do have a listing of restaurants, broken down by type. http://entertainment.bakersfield.com/dining/ Other than that, I'd suggest asking people who live in Bakersfield. The staff of the hotel where she's staying should have some good ideas, for starters. When they aren't busy and have time to answer questions, people who work in the shops she may visit could provide some good leads. The situation is not hopeless. It will simply take a little friendly effort.
  8. Come to think of it, almost all of the kitchen footage was from the expiditor's station, and not in among the chefs. But, thinking again, I'm not sure I'd want to have camera wranglers in the kitchen during a rush, where they would no doubt get in the way of the kitchen personell turning around while holding hot pans and getting sloshed with the contents. The equipment could get damaged that way, as could the chefs. Oh, and maybe the shooting crew, too. I wouldn't expect a chef or owner to have the slightest worthwhile idea about how to use a shoot to his/her advantage. That's not their job, and it's not what they've been trained to do. Leave the film production to the film crew, and pray something decent gets shot in the process. In fact, if a chef or owner did decide to take over a shoot, the end results would probably resemble America's Funniest Home Videos more than anything else, but without the laughs. (I admit, even Spielberg had to start somewhere, as his earliest home movies have proven, but I don't think a professional kitchen is the safest place to start.)
  9. Checking on the FoodTV site, they only have three episodes listed so far: Cheesecake Factory (which was on last night); Campanile, Los Angeles; and Bellagio, Las Vegas. Still, it would make sense for the producers of the show to head to Trio, and with the typical season for a show like this running 13 episodes, I'd say the odds are good that we'll be seeing our fellow e-Gullet posters soon (wave to the camera!). I was fairly impressed with the show, given what it was trying to be and do. It fits in the catagory of "food journalism," same as Tony's Cook's Tour (which means that Tony can call himself a journalist instead of a TV personality now). It lacked the personal perspective that his show has, and the editing was frenzied in the Cheesecake episode, but the show gave some idea of what the Cheesecake chain is like from the perspective of those who work there. For example, most television viewers would not of heard of an "expiditor" before, never realizing that a kitchen needs someone to coordinate the cooks. The process of product development was also featured, something about which the average viewer probably hasn't given much thought. All and all, I was impressed enough to want to see more episodes. I would have preferred a show that is less rushed and with more depth than the half-hour was able to give. Still, it treated me, the viewer, as a reasonably intelligent adult (as opposed to the repetitive schoolroom-simpleton attitude Unwrapped projects), respected it's subject matter, and shows promise.
  10. The dining habits of myself and my partner, Bruce, have changed over the nearly two decades we've been together. When we first met, I didn't have any idea about how to cook. Heck, I didn't really have any idea of what food was supposed to taste like, my education had been that shabby. Bruce liked me all the same, and we were soon living together in Long Beach. The problem was that we both worked in the Fullerton area. Since I don't drive (unusual for a SoCal native, but you really don't want me behind the wheel of a car, I'm that bad at it), the best solution after work was for us to meet somewhere, stop off for something to eat along the way, and then head home. After several years of this, Bruce took an early retirement option and I transferred to a different office (in Glendale, of all places). Obviously, he wasn't going to be picking me up and we weren't going to be stopping off. Instead, I was taking one bus from Glendale to downtown LA, then riding the Blue Line light rail down to Long Beach. (We tested this once; it turns out it was just as fast using public transit as it would have been for me to drive during those peak hours.) Eating at home, once I got there, was at last a viable option. What we hadn't expected was to learn that, in those years of dining out, I had figured out what food was supposed to taste like, and by watching television cooking shows and reading cookbooks had some idea of how to put a dinner together. I had become the better cook. So we reversed our pattern, and began eating home more, dining out only when we had other things that needed to be done (club meetings, seeing a play or a film, that sort of thing) or when I really got sick of standing at the stove. Now I've taken early retirement as well, so there is more time to cook at a more relaxed pace. I'd say I cook our meals about three times to every time we eat out. Eating out gives me a chance to refresh my taste buds and spot flavor ideas I haven't tried yet. We also talk more over the table when we dine out; there's fewer distractions. Dining out has distinct advantages. This is going to change all over again when we move to Rehoboth Beach, DE. The dining opportunities will be quite different, geared towards the tourists who flock to either the seashore or the outlet malls. (The former crews head to the pricy boutique restaurants downtown, the latter to the chains along the highway.) On the other hand, since we're building our new home, I'll have a decent kitchen to work in at last. Plus, two of the main reasons we're moving are Bruce's grandsons, who will be living just an hour away from us; one of my major jobs will be to teach the lads what food tastes like. They're about where I was twenty years ago, but still single-digited in age, so maybe Bruce and I can give them a jump-start in that area. Dining at home should be a major part of our lives. Teaching the lads how to cook? That'll come later.
  11. In anticipation of our move from CA to DE, my partner has bought a couple of tamale steamers. He figures they'll be great for cooking lobsters, and for the life of me I can't think of a reason why he'd be wrong on this one. The steamers ran something like $7 each for a 31 quart pot.
  12. Well, yes and no. I've got a couple of good chef's aprons, and they're fine...but they don't give any protection to my arms, and if I'm working with stuff that splatters or splashes (shades of Sweeney Todd!) that can make a difference. A good chef's coat or tunic works as an over-coat, protecting the wearer from accidents. I just want one that is of a lighter weight than what I have.
  13. For the kitchen or for serving cocktails? Aprons, I mean. (Although I admit I'd look silly in one of those frilly things.) My partner bought me a chef's coat, but I frankly find it uncomfortably heavy. Don't get me wrong, I love the pockets and the protection, but I'd rather have something with about half the weight and double the mobility.
  14. Bob's Big Boy, home of the Big Boy Hamburger! Where would the rest of the 'burger industry be without Big Boy's influence? (And, for that matter, didn't the Big Boy comix set the stage for the Happy Meal boxes?) Add another one: International House of Pancakes. Maybe not cutting edge in the culinary world these days ( ), but the Talouca Lake site (which was one of if not the first) was my introduction to pancakes beyond the buttermilk style.
  15. Dear David: I remember that, while food has been the basis for your life's work, your degree is related to theater. A couple of questions: a) Have you managed to keep a relationship going with "your other love", and b) (because the subject comes up here from time to time) What dining spots would you recommend in the NYC Theater District for someone unfamiliar with the area? (Ah, food and theater, wonderful appetites to have!)
  16. Link to the Crab Claw's site: http://www.thecrabclaw.com/ But watch out, they've got a little crab that follows your curser around all over the place! While I'm at it, here's a couple of other links I've pulled up: Inn at Perry's Cabin: http://www.orient-express.com/web/omic/omi...gcfkmdffkdffk.0 Town Dock: http://www.town-dock.com/
  17. My partner and I had a very good meal at Nora a couple of years ago. However, since we were with a large group (ah, DC politics!) which had reserved the wine cellar room some time in advance, I can't say that our experience was typical. (We had our own team of waiters, and the menu offered the group was limited to just a couple of choices per course, a sensible move on the kitchen's behalf.) What's the current word on Nora?
  18. Dear David: I find the news of your new book, It's All American Food, some of the best I've read in quite some time. A few questions about the project a) What made you decide to write this book at this time? b) What special discoveries that you hadn't expected did you come across while doing your research? and c) Since no project like this can be pulled off without some help in the research department, did you make any new friends along the way that you'd like us to know about?
  19. Oh, I do hope you're the sort who heals quickly, MySiuMai! I've had my own encounters with hot liquids (boiling water + bare feet = severe ouch time), so I really do feel for you. One of my favorite suprises at Trader Joe's is how they've managed to keep the quality so high, even as they've spread from a local chain to the national chain that they are today. Sadly, when my partner and I move East, the closest store will be in Annapolis, not exactly right "in the neighborhood". Your tales of stocking the freezer are good ideas; I may be taking along an ice chest on our trips, just to stock up on the good stuff and keep it all chilled on our return to home.
  20. Yes, they're now putting up a West Coast broadcast, to synch with the East Coast. I didn't see or hear any announcements on air about the switch. However, at their website they made the announcement about the time shift several weeks ago. I suggest going to the foodtv.com and printing a copy of the weekly schedule. Personally, if I'm on vampire hours and awake through the night, this makes for a change for the better. Late night viewing can be a wretched experience, and this will be an improvement, regardless of what some people think of the network these days. (How soon they forget Debbie Fields literally clawing through that cookie dough! Or Alan and Nina noshing on restaurant food that had been Fed-Exed to them. Novel idea, reviewing the doggie bags! Or an entire series about baking your own doggie biscuits, YUM!) I'm just suprised no one else bothered to check the website to find out what was going on. No, I'm kidding, I'm not suprised at all.
  21. Any survey of Los Angeles area restaurants that gives Musso & Frank three paragraphs of it's own, and three paragraphs that capture M&F very well, stands as a good survey. But Los Angeles as an area is too damn large! It sprawls over several counties, includes several major cities, and any list of "nearly three hundred dining spots" is too short to do the area justice. I commend Virbila and company for their efforts, but next time they'd better plan on publishing a book. A volume with about as many pages as the new Harry Potter should do it.
  22. Well, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who had to filter through the "leftist screed" (my phrase) aspects of that tome. Aside from the politics, FFN gave a pretty good portrait of Karcher.
  23. That has to be one of the most annoying websites I've visited in quite some time. After I clicked on the "menu" section, I had to wait about a minute while a video loaded. The video included a shot of a man wearing chef's whites and a toque, performing a fire-breathing routine. It also included a couple of pictures of food, a shot of a pair of rough-housing kids, and another of a covered wagon. No actual menu came up, or at least nothing came up in print form. As far as I can tell, this venue is all about a western-style horse show and a limited-choice dinner, sort of like Medieval Times but without the chain mail. (Yes, I've been to one of those places. Once was enough.) I suppose that for some families it is great entertainment. But I would rather spend my money on a genuine dinner theater experience than something as pre-programmed as this. A decent dinner theater can provide a good meal and introduce people to live theater, while at the same time giving aspiring actors a place to hone both of their skills (on stage and as waiters), all of which I regard as a good thing. Part of the print information the site does provide suggests that Dolly Parton wants people to experience what she knew growing up, with the friendly competitions and lots of chow. This contradicts what she's always told of her history, that her family was dirt poor and had to scrape hard to get by. This enterprise smacks of sheer exploitation. My respect for the lady has just found a rotted piece of flooring to crash through.
  24. Maybe if they tried "McDonald's - Official Fast Food of the Atkins Diet." Or not.
  25. For anyone wanting a check-list, I believe the full 27-volume set includes (not in order) 1) Provincial France 2) Classic French Cooking 3) Japan 4) Chinese Cooking 5) Pacific & Southeast Asian 6) British Isles 7) Italy 8) Russian 9) Germany 10) Scandinavia 11) Spain & Portugal 12) Vienna's Empire 13) Carribbean Islands 14) Middle Eastern 15) India 16) African 17) Latin American Cooking 18) Wines & Spirits 19) A Quintet of Cuisines 20) American Cooking 21) American Cooking: Creole & Arcadian 22) American Cooking: New England 23) American Cooking: Southern Style 24) American Cooking: The Northwest 25) American Cooking: The Great West 26) American Cooking: Eastern Heartland 27) American Cooking: The Melting Pot The Introduction to the Melting Pot volume announces that it is the final volume in the series. Wasn't this one of the first times regional American cooking was really discussed in a mainstream series? And, dang, I'm missing two of the Recipe volumes.
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