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Everything posted by laurenmilan

  1. How have you managed to not beat him to death with a champagne bottle? I thought I had it bad because I knew so many people that are "health nazis", vegetarians or kosher that like to "pick apart" my dining pleasure. You got me beat my a mile.
  2. FWIW, I did take my fiancee out to Bahama Breeze one night pre-movies, and it does have really good selection and quality in its entrees, sort of an "equatorial cuisine" feel to it, everything from Mexican to Jamaican to Southeast Asian to Polynesian. The only problem is, judging from the relatively sparse crowds in the restaurant (compared to the other chains nearby) the diners were often befuddled or intimidated by the menu. A lot of the items are unfamiliar to the mainstream palate. I guess if that's the worst thing I can say about a chain restaurant, then it must be one very cool chain restaurant.
  3. LOL I've been to 3 of these already (really loved Le Saigon and Classic Diner!) - I haven't been to Quo's yet... so I'm guessing I'm off to a rousing start then
  4. I'm definitely looking for any non-chain restaurants - they seem to get lost in the neon gleam of the Cheesecake Factories and Ruth Chris' of the area
  5. laurenmilan


    A few companies, including Torani, sell the 750 ml bottles of gingerbread syrup for $7. Starbucks has a house brand of its own, and sells it in little bottles. If you Google for it, you can find recipes for the gingerbread syrup too.... ditto for peppermint syrup. You know, that is one of my OTHER 'Bucks beefs, and although it isn't entirely intentional, it is relevant: the fact that even basic coffee-making has become something considered out of the realm of the average "joe". People have become so assured that it is impossible to make their own drip coffee, let alone mochas, cappuccinos and cafe au laits, of any quality. It's disturbing that when I make coffee after dinner for company, I'm being told that the coffee's amazing, how do I do it, in this wide-eyed wonder (FYI. it's just Trader Joe's). Folks shouldn't be amazed that home coffee can taste good. And it seems like unless you live in New Orleans, good cafe au lait has to start at home. Mmmmm, Cafe du Monde....
  6. laurenmilan


    LOL that's one of my pet peeves too... coffee is meant to be enjoyed slowly. Gimme ceramic! Again, reason #4,186 to frequent the indie coffeehouse... you have to request paper instead of the other way around.
  7. I'm moving in with my fiancee in September in Paoli, PA, and I'm curious as to your recommendations. Lunch places, takeout, fine dining, whatever you recommend, I'm up for... Seems like there's a real glut of chain restaurants, much like my current town of Piscataway, NJ (took me a year to find the good places on my own here!) so I'm hoping to speed up the process...
  8. Anyone here do Pick-Your-Own berries? I get such genuine pleasure out of it... strawberry season just started, sour cherries in a few weeks...
  9. Same problem with rodizio... if you even HAVE the stomach for dessert, it's a cloying, heavy and prefab affair, like cheesecake or cappuccino cakes. Hmm, too big a slice of something mediocre and way too heavy? Pass. My local steakhouse had a terrific lemon-meringue souffle. Now that's a little more like it...
  10. yeah, that's my problem... my abilities, knowledge, and taste are a few steps above the majority of TVFN's forum users, but are still quite a few sublevels BELOW the majority of EGullet users... hey I'm working on it... And since I'm not a manic-depressive, so I have no interest in Epicurious.com's forums.
  11. Oh man, tell me about it... my first experience with "kopi sua doc", my expression was kinda like this... I was hooked ever since, and I soon got a hold of the little steel kopi filter and have been making it myself.
  12. One more vote for sour cherries... they're only in season for a few weeks (and generally are all gone at the pick-your-own farms inside of a week!)
  13. Full Moon Cafe, Lambertville, NJ, for breakfast or lunch. I'm a sucker for a great eggs benedict, and theirs is the best I've ever had. http://www.ardore.com/listing.asp?r=fullmo...erdon&m=a&l=all
  14. Thanks, now I can't get the image of "Restaurant Barbie" outta my head (bimbo randomly deciding to open a restaurant between her singing career with the Rockers, and attending flight school - and of course, it's the hottest dish in town naturally!) You know, this is one thing that TVFN programming has over "the restaurant"... the new TVFN series "Recipe for Success", while still kinda feeling like "Behind the Scenes at 'Food Finds' ", did run a good message regarding people interested in the business, to paraphrase: "If you're a person who loves food, don't go into this business. If you're a person who's good at business, don't go into this business. If you're a maniac who loves to multitask, you should go into this business." Simplistic, but I think it shows the common thread among the successful business owners (particularly the food biz) that I've known. TVFN could just flash a lot of cheery "Judy Garland" garbage about starting your own business, but they don't. In my industry, web design, there were BUSLOADS of people starting their own web design consultancies, and a lot of them either never get off the ground or fizzle after a year. There were so many people who were good with business, but had no sense of how the design biz works or how to please clientele, and so many more people who loved design, but didn't know how to run an agency and turn a profit.
  15. "Why does my creme brulee go from solid to pudding consistency when I brown the top? It was fine before!" Because I'd put it under the broiler for 5 minutes in a futile attempt to brown the top. Everything got nice and hot, but not quite hot enough to caramelize the sugar (which was about 2X the thickness it shoulda been.) Well, at least I got the answer I needed before plodding into that again... and yes, I got over my cheapness and got a propane torch.
  16. laurenmilan

    Coffee Milk

    "Coffee-flavored milk"? (Insert your favorite Starbucks joke here)
  17. laurenmilan

    Ethnic Pop

    My Swedish fiancee got me addicted to that stuff too... I also love the Snaab syrups, in an Italian soda. My personal favorite import, though, is Indian mango sodas (even comes bottled in a classic Coco-Cola longneck.)
  18. Stay the HELL outta ColdStone Creamery... I tried to go into 2 locations, one in NJ, one in PA, and both had the same problem... they have obnoxious perky-as-hell hosts that greet you on your arrival, foise a menu into your hand and push the specials on you. Suddenly Cheesecake Factory has a genteel, old-world air by comparison... I've heard their quality is poor, but frankly I may never find out for myself. Being jumped on by employees is a supreme turnoff, and indicates a need to "overcompensate" for poor quality with pure hype.
  19. You guys are giving me traumatic flashbacks!
  20. Thanks for dislodging that gem from my longterm memory! Looks like Food TV has slowly traded in its loser cooking-format shows for loser reality shows. You know, back then it REALLY felt like they had enough quality programming to serve 6, but they had to stretch it to serve 10. If TVFN's lineup were a meatloaf, then DoorKnock Dinners or In Food Today would be a heaping cup of corn flakes.
  21. Here, here! I've been watching TVFN loyally since its premiere, the days when 2-3 shows shared the same set, and Emeril would have to tape in the pre-dawn hours. There were a lot of truly awful shows "back in the day"... take my hand... *cue harp music* * Food News and View - A Food-based news program. As bad as it sounded. Had two prissymary "experts" regularly face off on a food issue as a sort of culinary "face the nation". * Cooking Monday-Friday - Gives Sara's Secrets an erudite feel by comparison. A humorless soccer mom showing you how to get through the hell that is domestic cookery. * Debbie Fields Dessert show - Good lord, can't remember the real title. But you know what they say about skinny chefs? She had an overreliance on cream cheese, chocolate chips and gooey things... * Chef Du Jour - Actually a fairly cool show at times, depending on the "du jour". Some great TVFN personalities, like Ming Tsai (made me swoon when he came on, I'll admit it!) and Mario Batali. But the vast majority of the guests were so uncomfortable on camera I felt a little sorry for them. * repeats, repeats, repeats - For every Julia Child episode there were 3-4 episodes of series that should not be repeated. I don't care how hard-up you are for programming (most new cable channels use repeats as their mainstay, so I can at least understand that part.) * something awful with Robin Leach talking about the lifestyle of the rich and gluttonous. There was stuff I loved, like How to Boil Water (I was learning to cook, and the old version was so much fun that I think I would still watch it religiously), and Essence of Emeril (sorry, the guy's fun when his only audience is a sleepy camera crew!)
  22. Or get the hell scared out of them and move back to scratch cooking!
  23. Basically, it seems like everyone's doing the "who's the next Martha" stories, and plugging in any cooking/entertaining/decorating guru they can find. Let's face it, of the dozens of faces coming up, Sandra Lee's gotta be one of the weakest. Her stuff is so tacky that she has no hope of capturing Martha's demographic. Or anyone outside a trailer park. If anyone has any chance of taking part of Martha's audience (sorry, but we'll probably never see another omnimedia sensation like Martha, and that's probably a "good thing") is Ina Garten, host of Barefoot Contessa and a contributer to Martha's magazines. She has excellent taste, albeit with a less from-scratch philosophy (although frankly my favorite recipes of hers are scratch ones, I'll never buy brownies or brownie mix again, ditto for pound cake, cheese cake or guacamole, since trying hers.)
  24. Well I know where I'm taking my Swedish sweetie
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