Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by SWoodyWhite

  1. For that matter, what is a "Genuine Tartar Sauce"? Does this mean the tartar sauce is sincere, as opposed to being disingenuous? On the other hand, "Honey Lavender-Spiced Baby Lamb Chops" sounds delicious. (When we get moved, there's going to be a serious herb garden growing.)
  2. Dear Brooke: While looking over at Amazon their list of other books that you've written, I noticed that, while this is your second book about New England, you've also written about New Orleans. I'd like to know how you go about researching your books. For example, how do you identify the flavors that mark the cuisine of a region? Do you find yourself researching history, as well as food, to help describe what you discover? And what happens when you discover a cooking technique unusual to an area, when you realize you might have more explaining to do than usual to convey the technique to your readers? I'm glad you're able to take the time to join us!
  3. There's another side to this question that's been buzzing around in my mind for the last couple of days. It has to do with how we learn who we are. Most of use, I think it's safe to say, learn how to behave in public from our parents and other family. We learn when it's appropriate to scream at the top of our lungs, and when not to. We learn not to hit each other, and how to say "Please" and "Thank-you." And we learn a great deal of these things at the table. When we are old enough, we then get to go to restaurants, where our manners go on display, and if we're good enough we get to go again! We also learn other things at the table, such as what our cultural heritage is. We learn what foods are served at certain times, such as holidays, and what those foods mean. We learn about our families by the dishes passed down from one generation to the next. What, then, are we to make of a group that doesn't learn it's history and social mores from it's parents? I have yet to meet anyone who is gay or lesbian who grew up in a gay environment. There may be a few out there, but I haven't come across them socially yet. While I knew I was gay from an early age (even without yet knowing the words), my real education on what it means to be gay didn't start until I was an adult, and interacting with the world as an adult. Even now, close to fifty, I'm still learning; it's not an instantanious process by a long shot. What I've found is how often that education takes place, even now, at the table. Bars are too loud, late at night too steamy for real conversation. But at the table, be it at a restaurant or a shared dinner or a party (and there's always food at a party), people talk. They share their experiences, discuss politics and art and relationships. It was at the table that I really learned what and who I was, and how to stand up for myself. In my first post on this thread, I went into some of the history of gay restaurants, but it is very clear from the following posts that gay restaurants still exist, even though gay people aren't banned from other establishments. I would suggest, therefore, that gay restaurants are where gay people gather to dine and interact socially. As with any other restaurant, the social experience is a major part of the whole, at times more important than the food itself. It's easier to find these restaurants in areas where the gay population has reached a certain critical mass, such as P'town, the Castro, and West Hollywood, but they can exist elsewhere as well. And good news! It appears they're not just serving Continental-style 50's food these days. (Although someone, somewhere, is bound to decide to launch a new gay restaurant with exactly that kind of menu, just to be retro!)
  4. Out of curiosity, since I'm a left-coast lad with plans to move to the East in a few months, I checked the obvious to see if Wegmans had a website. The obvious was, of course, www.wegmans.com and it was right on target. Something else to add to my list of places to look forward to!
  5. Mmmm, gay flavour...... wonder what that would taste like? I dunno, a generous portion of Bob Fosse, with a dusting of Rock Hudson with a Village People coulis? With Paul Lynde souffle for dessert? Sorry, but Fosse was notoriously hetero. For the entree, I'd suggest a generous portion of Nathan Lane...but that might make the Paul Lynde souffle redundant, so I'd also suggest substituting Tommy Tune for dessert (so light, frothy, and archetectural in design).
  6. As it happens, Bruce and I know the fellow that owned Out On Main! And I have the t-shirt to prove it! Tim, whose family is in the restaurant business, decided to go for something more upscale than what the family had run before. He also chose to use gay memorabilia as the theme for the restaurant. While I've never been to Columbus (the closest I've been is Cincinatti), I remember pictures he showed us, and the place looked very nice: airy, bright, and colorful. I also remember looking over the menu, which was nicely upscale and trendy without being obnoxious or overpriced. It was in our first meeting with Tim that the subject of gay restaurants came up, shortly after he had opened Out On Main. He was fascinated by the notion that Bruce and I could enter any restaurant in Long Beach, easily recognized as a couple, and be welcomed warmly. The chill that he and his partner had encountered elsewhere was one of the reasons he decided to open Out On Main. Clearly, change occurs at a different rate in different parts of the country.
  7. I doubt that you would be refused service simply for being straight, macrosan. Most gay bars and restaurants are more tolerant than that (although I do know of a few leather bars with a strict dress code). You might be refused service for bahaving badly, but that doesn't fit the profile of anyone I've encountered here at eGullet. There was a time, in the 50's and 60's, when gay restaurants were something of a necessity. If two gay men, or two lesbians, wanted to have a nice dinner, they might not get served, or at best be seated at a table in the center of the room instead of a booth. So, we had places of our own. I can remember the Carriage Trade, the Toy Tiger, the Garden District, the Academy, the Frog Pond, David's, the Little Shrimp, the Venture Inn, all in the Los Angeles area, my home town. Of these, only the Venture Inn seems to be in business any more. The food, by and large, ran to second level Continental. Oh, it was good enough, but never quite stellar. Then again, anyone who wanted to dine at a top, five-star establishment knew better than to take his (or her) date, knew to make the occasion social, not romantic. More often, it was the atmosphere (and the drinks) that made the gay restaurant a decent place. Piano bars and gay restaurants were a good combination. As my life-partner, Bruce, has just pointed out to me, these were also places where gay men and lesbians could take their families; if Mother was around and the boys wanted to show her a good evening, the decorum was always of the sort that no one would feel embarrassed. But then the Seventies hit, and with them the real beginnings of gay liberation. I know, "Stonewall" was in '69, but the idea took a few years to catch hold, even in California. The group that embraced this new emancipated outlook was, of course, the younger generation (including myself). This was a group that could not quite yet afford the pricy restaurants, was more inclined to eat at home or grab a quick bite, and spend more time and money at the newer gay bars with DJs playing the latest hits. The gay restaurants more and more became the turf of the older crowd. I remember at the Garden District, the owners having been conned into sponsoring a gay softball team one year (another phenomenon), when the team for which I was scorekeeper joined the Garden District's players at the restaurant's bar. The regulars were rather nonplussed by this rowdy and youthful crowd, fresh from the ballfield. The glare I received from Richard Deacon, the late actor and cookbook author, was particularly memorable! The two generations just didn't mix. And the world changed. Somehow, the non-gay restaurants began to realize that gay dollars folded the same way as straight ones. We were more welcome than we had been before. By the time Bruce and I met, not quite twenty years ago, there were few if any problems with dining in any establishment in Long Beach. In fact, we've always been quite welcome. But with this came another change: the gay restaurants of old began to close, because the need for them was disappearing, as were their patrons. Add the toll from AIDS, and there was little chance for the old-style gay restaurant to survive. Are there any more gay restaurants? Sure, but their customers are different. Hamburger Mary's is a nationwide chain, targeted primarily at the young gay community, but not exclusively. As I noted, the Venture Inn is still in operation. Where the Toy Tiger was now can be found a piano bar called the Other Side, but I don't think they're still running a restaurant. There's a place called Ozz in Buena Park which combines a supper club, cabaret, and discotheque, which is nice if not outstanding. But a place called Cha Cha Cha in Long Beach, which tried to target gay diners on Tuesdays, has folded entirely. The community's needs are different now. That isn't to say there aren't some who still prefer a gay environment, such as a bar or restaurant. It's certainly a better bet for meeting new people with similar interests than at a straight bar or restaurant, for example. Bruce and I are planning on moving cross-country sometime soon to Rehoboth Beach, DE, known as a heavily gay resort town. We're moving to Delaware to be closer to his family. We're moving to Rehoboth for the community. But I can't think of a single restaurant in Rehoboth that would not welcome a straight family or couple, the same as they would welcome a gay couple or family.
  8. Thank-you for the links! Along with your personal recommendations, they're enough to give me (and others) a good start on the treasure hunt!
  9. My life-partner remembered and located the following from the LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-sa...1,3910245.story What is amazing and shameful is that, with (at the time the piece was written) only nine cases of SARS in Los Angeles County, and zero fatalities, these rumors have had such a negative impact on an entire community. Of course, how statistics are reported can have an impact, as well. I'm certain that when docsconz wrote: that he assumed we would understand he intended those numbers as the mortality percentage of those infected, not the mortality percentage of all those living in those areas. Unfortunately, there are people who either can't or don't understand what the numbers really refer to, and thus jump to poor conclusions.
  10. I've just provided a link to the editorial over at Sondheim.com, since not enough of them would run across it otherwise. Being an AOL user, I've found the easier method for me is to mark the page as a "favorite place," and then to use the URL as listed in their "edit" function as the source to copy from, printing the URL at the site I'm linking from. Of course, I'm sending the link to friends and family via e-mail as well, and I've asked my partner to do the same. (When he read the editorial, he commented on how restaurants in Monterey Park, Alhambra, and other parts of the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles County have already been forced to close.)
  11. I certainly will be interested! My partner and I will be moving to the Rehoboth/Lewes area soon, and will be looking forward to your opinions.
  12. I have to disagree with the idea that the restaurant should not have charged anything for the meal. If the customers were to leave at the time of the offending appetizer, with no other items having been consumed, then nothing should have been charged. However, since entrees for each were also served and eaten, charging for the entrees was in this case appropriate. No one forced the customers to continue with the dinner; they did that of their own free will. (Notable here is that half of the salad, plus half of the other appetizer, had been eaten before the error was noticed by either customer. I presume, in this case, that the comped dessert was not refused but eaten as well.) I personally, in such a case, would never expect the entire meal to be free. I just don't care to appear greedy. I recently refused a generously offered complementary dessert or cappuccino when an error in my entree's preparation was discovered, since I found the offer in itself quite generous. (Then again, my impersonation of Julie Andrews in Victor Victoria is notoriously shaky, so I don't think I could ever pull off anything resembling that restaurant scene even if I had to. Such is life.)
  13. I fondly remember, from my family's travels when I was young, a restaurant in Marysville, CA., that served wonderful Basque food. The soup, which must have been collecting it's flavors in the soup pot for days, was almost a meal in itself! The restaurant was an introduction to a different part of the world, and helped open my eyes (and other senses) to the pleasures of exploring other cultures. Which restaurants across the United States would you recommend, to give people an idea of what food in the Pyranees can taste like? I can't be the only soul with grandchildren in need of this introduction, and I could use a good taste comparison myself, to make sure what I'm cooking is heading in the right direction. And thank-you for joining us, Ms. Chang!
  14. One more word about restaurants and bars in Delaware should be added: the Governor has signed into law a bill that bans smoking in most indoor public places. Big Fish Grill has had a no-smoking policy on it's own for a while, and cites an increase in patronage, ditto at Nicola Pizza. And many restaurants have outdoor dining areas, which (if unroofed) should be exempt. But it should be interesting for a while, since the ban is not as well known as the one in NYC, and many travellers may be caught unawares.
  15. I would have a wonderful time in one of Janet's classes. My biggest problem with my cooking isn't in being afraid of trying something new, but rather in never remembering exactly what I did the last time I tried a dish and having to invent all over again. This has led to my fair share of disasters, which I fortunately remember in detail better, but it has also led to my being willing to stick my neck out, because the successes have outweighed the disasters by another fair percentage. Cooking for two has also forced me to read recipes for ideas more than for their instructions. Too often there is something in the recipe that doesn't halve or quarter well, be it an ingredient or how long something should take to cook. This forces improvisation: do I add more of something rather than leave it out, because it doesn't come in half sizes? How will that change the results? Should I add more liquid, because it's all going to evaporate and the dish will burn to a crisp? Should I add stock, or just water? The changes add up. Thanks, Janet. You've given this novice cook encouragement.
  16. We were able to collect a few comments on Lewes/Rehoboth not too long ago, on the following thread: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST...T&f=34&t=18029& (Hungry in Delmarva). I've also had luck with the following site, which covers good eats and all sorts of other Delaware interests: http://www.delawareshore.com (Delaware Shore). Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
  17. I personally have a liking for Glad's line of disposable storageware. (I also like Ziploc's line, having no stock investments to make me choose one over the other.) For one thing, they work as very good containers for storing whatever, be it dry goods or whatever needs to go into the refrigerator. And the disposability is handy, too, for when things get fuzzy in said refrigerator. They're easy to clean, highly reusable. I also like to use them for mise en place when I'm cooking, again because they're easy to clean and highly reusable. (We also use one as a food dish for our oldest dog, who needs soft food instead of kibble because of his ancient teeth. He's now taken to pointing at the dish to tell us that it's suppertime by his stomach clock. Who says old dogs can't teach us new tricks?) I've a hunch, when it comes time to move from the West Coast to the East, that I'm going to want to lay in a large supply of the containers, for all of those knicknacks that need to be moved but have been laying in wait in drawers throughout the house. The bags will come in handy, as well. The bags have been a godsend when we've travelled by air: just pop all that loose change and key ring in a baggie, whip it out of the pocket as a whole while jogging through airline security, and it's an easy pick-up on the other side of the security arch. (I discovered this trick while on jury duty, criminal courts. Everyone looked at me like I was strange...the first time.)
  18. Please tell me this is a joke! Raisins, and most other fruit except, perhaps, citrus, do not belong in savory food! And in desserts? Why would I want to bite down on a little hard shriveled-up puck in my cookie? As I noted in another thread, I've found raisin paste or puree is included in the ingredients of a number of steak sauces, including A-1. I've a hunch this may be because they lend a natural counterbalance and sweetness to the spices and peppers used. In turn, this leads to an interesting question: could raisins, when pureed or whatever, make a good ingredient in chili, again as a counterbalance to the peppers? I can fully understand not wanting to use them whole, but if unsweetened chocolate can add to the balance of flavors, could raisins have a parallel effect?
  19. Actually, that's not as far fetched as it sounds. The ingredient list for A1 Steak Sauce, if anyone hasn't checked, lists: tomato puree, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, raisin paste, spices and herbs, crushed orange puree, dried garlic and onion, caramel color, potassium sorbate, and xanthan gum. I've noticed raisin paste or puree used in other steak sauces, as well; I just don't have any other samples in my pantry just now.
  20. It's little things like raisins that can destroy relationships. I loath and abhor the nasty things. My partner thinks they are wonderful. I have known him to ruin a pleasurable dinner out by ordering a bread or rice pudding and eating it in front of me! Raisins are evil. People who include raisins in their cooking without warning the rest of us are terrorists. If the jails weren't overcrowded already, I would insist on mandatory incarceration for those who perpetrate such crimes, at the rate of one year per disgusting fruit used in the recipe. There is only one recourse if we are to end this insanity for once and for all. WE MUST NUKE FRESNO! That should do it. Unfortunately, the raisin lovers would find something else to use in the place of raisins. Someone out there is probably already devising a recipe for chocolate chip cookies with cauliflower bits. Yuck.
  21. If I may add to Steven's question, do you find yourself asked for information and advice about non-alchoholic beverages (presumably by people who choose not to drink alchohol for whatever reason), and if so, how do you respond?
  22. Hey, I'm another guy, and I thought the article was hilarious and truthful at the same time, no easy feat. The best writing can take us out of ourselves and into understanding people who are different. More men should have reading this made mandatory! (Discussion in the locker room is optional, however.)
  23. The notion that Loiseau committed suicide because his rating in a guide slipped a couple of points may satisfy a romantic view of the circumstances, but is most likely total nonsense. Most suicides result from depression, which is a medical condition. When depression is not diagnosed as a medical condition, and treated as such, the depression can run out of control with tragic results. While something like the guide rating can act as a momentary trigger for the depression, the trigger can easily be anything else as well; it is the depression that must ultimately be blamed. I wish a peaceful rest for Chef Loiseau's soul.
  24. As a life-long resident of the Los Angeles area, I have to ask a simple question: Why, when Southern California has it's own thriving food community, is it necessary for the Los Angeles Times to hire someone with a New York City perspective, rarely if ever to touch on matters that matter to the local readership? I can understand having an occasional article from the Big Apple, maybe twice or even three times a year, but the implication is that we're going to have Schrambling schoved opon us more frequently than that. As Marlon Brando once said, "The horror." Or, if you prefer Jonathan Harris, "The pain, the pain."
  25. The first cookbook I ever owned was Craig Claiborne's Kitchen Primer, given to me as a birthday present (mumblemumble) years ago. I still have it, but haven't cracked it open in years. Of course, I rarely cracked it open back when I received it, either, for the simple reason that I didn't know what food was supposed to taste like. Such was my inheritance from the family kitchen. Finding out what food was supposed to taste like took a few years training, going to restaurants instead of take-out the way I had when I was single. When I finally changed jobs (and the fellow I'd been dining with retired), we both thought my dining- and life-partner would start cooking, but then we discovered I had a better idea of how to put a dinner together. I've been "stuck" in the kitchen ever since, more happily than not. Looking through Claiborne's book again, I can see why it made a good gift for a novice chef; it looks to be full of interesting ideas and basic guidelines. Since we're both retired now and planning on moving to live closer to his grandchildren, maybe I'll refer to it more, so I can teach those kids something I didn't learn when I was young: how to cook, and how to eat. Well, it's a thought. Addendum: Along with eating at restaurants as a learning tool, those early years with my partner were spent watching cooking programs, first on PBS and later on Food TV and other cable shows. Rosengarten was an early influence, Jeff Smith (does anyone dare mention his name any more?) even earlier. They were great for seeing how things were done, even if they weren't interactive and I've had to learn how to smell and taste on my own. I also found, during the transitition period, that cookbooks could make for interesting reading; good ones are filled with social history as well as recipes. Given my own family's lack of interest in the subject, maybe I'm lucky I got to be such a late bloomer!
  • Create New...