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Posts posted by fresco

  1. Where will it end?

    Each broadening of the menu dilutes the image and complicates production. As production becomes more complicated quality suffers especially the freshness of product. Everything is precooked and held - only way to handle such a varied menu at such high volume.

    I wonder when someone will open up a fast food restaurant chain that sells just hamburgers, fries, a token fish sandwich, shakes and soda. The wheel of retailing. As McDonald's matures and has to pull all sorts of complications out of the hat, the door is wide open for some young upstart to come in and kick their ass with McD's original concept.

    My strategy for McDonald's. Open up Mini-Macs that just sell the 1970 menu and that return the focus to quality, service and cleanliness.

    That sounds very smart. But remind us -- what exactly was on the 1970 menu? Burger, cheeseburger, Big Mac, quarter pounder, fries done in suet, milk shakes, soft drinks? Am I missing anything?

  2. I was under the impression that it was the restaurant's responsibility to provide pleasing food, service and atmosphere and my job to pay. :smile:

    All said, I'd rather have the restaurant focus on delivering these three things as best they can and not worry at all about giving me, or anyone else, anything.

  3. here in Toronto you can buy, pretty much year around, a staggering amount of very good produce for a very few dollars.

    i'd speculate, with scant evidence of course, that Canadian retailers are less likely to jack up their share of the retail price. would be interesting to compare the U.S. and Canadian farm price spreads. i'm guessing Canadian farmers, and even wholesalers, are seeing a larger chunk of the retail price. just a guess.

    The low prices apply to imported produce as well. It probably reflects the hypercompetitive marketplace in Toronto, which is unique in Canada, I think.

    A big German discount supermarket, Lidl, announced last year that it was coming to Toronto to compete in the mid-sized market range.

    Lidl has been a huge success wherever they expanded in Europe, but decided after a few months of study to stay out of Toronto.

    I will also note that Sam's Club does not seem to be doing well here, which is an indication of something, although their locations seem to suck.

  4. Actually, I keep thinking that produce is so ridiculously inexpensive that soon someone is going to realize that they've made a big pricing mistake--here in Toronto you can buy, pretty much year around, a staggering amount of very good produce for a very few dollars.

    In fact, I suspect that the days of dirt cheap produce are numbered--high energy prices will work through the system very soon.

    But even if prices doubled, it would probably still seem inexpensive.

    Full disclosure: I'm not feeding a large family.

    OTOH, I was a little surprised to see bacon advertised as being on special for about double what I remember the regular, everyday price was not too many months ago.

  5. Ahhhh... the joys of roasted red pepper with anchovies. I make my own roasted red peppers and then add anchovy filets in with the peppers along with capers and chopped garlic. Let it sit in some good olive oil for a few days and allow to meld. I can just spread this on bread and call it dinner.

    Now my curiosity is aroused. Is it worth trying the salt packed (and much pricier) anchovies for any of these methods? I know they cost more and are more work (deboning anfd also rinsing to remove salt) but if the taste is significantly different I'm inclined to try it.

    Best recent anchovy story: I belong to a small cooking club that meets every few months or so. One of the coupel has tewo charming young sons, aged 9 and 11, who join us for dinner. Last gathering was at my place and we did grilled veggies along with a build-your-own Salade Nicoise. The older boy came running in from the deck where he and his brother were eating and grabbed a couple anchovies from the bowl. Surprised, I asked him if he liked anchovies. "No... they just taste like leaves and salt to me. - they're disgusting." A moment later I hear him saying to his little brother "Come on... you've got to try these - these things are great!"

    Yes, it is worth the extra trouble and expense. IMHO, of course. But remember, it's a condiment, not an entire meal, so the extra trouble and expense is negligible.

  6. I used to raise rabbits for dinner, long time ago. 

    When the does got too old to be productive, they were butchered, boned and the meat put into the pressure cooker.  Served with some barbecue sauce on buns, we called the dish "Hoppy Joes".

    Priceless. Where, but on eGullet?

  7. The only thing I have approaching bottled salad dressing is Hellman's mayo.

    But I have encountered people, and recently, who were genuinely amazed at the thought that salad dressings do not have to come from a bottle and indeed, regarded this is as magic or alchemy.

    Such, I guess, is the power of advertising.

  8. I'll second BBC Good Food and when I could get it Waitrose Food Illustrated (also UK) is a gorgeous magazine. Everyone in Nashville has stopped carrying it. I also enjoy Donna Hay. It's published in Australia but hits the newsstand seasonally here about 4 months off its newsstand release there. She is the Martha of Australia in many ways but much more realisitic about what mere mortals can do at home without a full crew. Also, everything I have made out of her cookbooks or the mag has been spot on.

    Two new ones I just discovered are another BBC project called Olive and another Australian mag called Delicious.

    Just picked up a copy of Delicious and it looks great. It seems to have won just about every award in Australia, including Magazine of the Year.

    One thing that is a little disconcerting: the seasons are out of joint for anyone in North America. It's odd to pick up a current issue and be reading about "autumn menus."

  9. We called them "soda biscuits."

    My primary impression of saltines was formed as a child when I had some sharp cheddar crumbled between two of them and was perplexed by how strongly the flavour reminded me of corn.

    Are you sure you don't mean "soda crackers"?

    Soda biscuits are something you bake yourself, aren't they?

  10. My experience here in Toronto is exactly the opposite. Good local bakeries and pastry shops seem to be opening up all the time, and thriving.

    Just exactly why this is, I don't know. Toronto used to be a wasteland for bread and pastry not too long ago.

    Quite aside from this, there are a couple of extremely good "corporate" pastry places (Dufflet) and bakers (Ace) which between them, have raised the bar for bread, cakes, pies and a lot of other stuff.

    Dufflet especially supplies many local restaurants and their stuff is also available in better food markets.

    Their influence has forced some other supermarkets to greatly improve the quality and variety of the bread and pastry they offer.

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