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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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    Timbuktu, Mali

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  1. Hi, everyone! Of course I'm a longtime member of eGullet and greatly value this site, but I do use other food discussion sites, too: for example, the Chowhound spinoffs Hungry Onion and Food Talk Central, which currently have a bit more discussion of New York restaurants than eGullet's New York Forum. I also used to use Chowhound before it became rather dead following the last reorganization, and used to value it for its former focus on cheap eats. In addition to eGullet, what other forums do you like, and why? Also, do you know of any good forums that specifically focus on hot sauces or other more or less narrowly-defined savory items?
  2. Hi, everyone! I'm probably overdue for an update, so here it is! From Saturday, June 30 - Monday, July 2, I attended the Fancy Food Show at the humongous Javits Center in far west Midtown Manhattan. It was an immense show, and I spent a few hours on the first day and 7 hours apiece at the show on the second and third days. There was huge international representation. For example, in the Italian section, which occupied two rows and then some, Cascina San Cassiano was one of the most outstanding vendors. I must have tried a dozen sauces and jams they make, and none of them was anything short of excellent. I also got to try a unique product, Peschiole al Tartufo Estivo, which are very small young green peaches without pits yet, lightly pickled in black truffle water, made by Savini Tartufi. And these are just two highlights from the Italian section. Among the interesting American products were habanero pralines, which we may carry, and jams that are only slightly sweet and include tea in them. And then back in the international sections, there was the tomato sauce with mastic oil from Santorini, the fantastic smoked chili powder produced by the Mapuche Indians in Chile, the hot piri-piri sauces from Portugal... Of course we can't carry every product. Some companies require a 5-pallet minimum order for wholesale, other companies produce very good products that already have wide distribution, and others charge so much money for wholesale that we'd need to sell very expensive subscriptions to include their products (perhaps an option if there turns out to be a lot of call for that later). But there were quite a few very interesting products that we may be able to carry soon. I had to leave town the morning after the end of the Fancy Food Show, and I am only now nearly done writing up my notes on vendors and products on spreadsheets and following up with questions about minimum wholesale orders, wholesale prices at different volumes, lead times and sometimes possible smaller sizes of sauces that normally come in large jars. One thing that's clear is that we will sooner or later - and probably sooner - be doing a lot of importation. We will almost definitely be importing from Japan, probably from Canada, and quite likely from some countries in Europe and South America. An excellent South African company is also in the mix, and of course we are very interested in the leads some of you have given us on bush tucker in Australia. If any of you have any insight into anything we should consider doing to make the process of importing easier and more effective, please let me know. Other things we've been dealing with are purely related to starting a business: Applying to start an LLC (not too hard to do but requires a $200 payment to the state if you do it in New York, and then comes with an onerous publication requirement, to essentially advertise for 6 straight weeks in a daily and weekly newspaper of the government's choice in the county where the LLC's office is, although that can be in not-too-expensive Albany County if you use an agency), getting an Employer Identification Number from the IRS (also a simple process) and filling out more necessary forms. Opening a business bank account is another task that should be performed soon. There's more to say, but I have to get some sleep, as my other life as a musician beckons, with a 1.5-hour gig at a nursing home tomorrow (technically, this afternoon), a dress rehearsal on Tuesday and a rock concert on Thursday (if you're interested in that, click here - I'm a guest artist and play on the title track of the new CD).
  3. I would never choose on my own accord to go to Upper West Side Carmine's, but it was actually OK except for the eggplant parmigiana, and even that wasn't awful, like it had been the last time I was there. The ravioli were fairly good and so were the cannoli, the chicken scaloppine was perfectly OK, the stuffed mushrooms were OK - it wasn't awful like I had feared.
  4. Unfortunately, they decided they wanted Italian food and wouldn't listen to my suggestions or the suggestions some other folks gave, so I have to go to goddamned Upper West Side Carmine's, a place I had sworn never to return to after the time several years ago when a friend had a birthday party there. Unfortunately, some people just don't have discriminating taste in food.
  5. I will definitely keep these in mind. Thanks, Cronker.
  6. Pan

    Elmhurst eateries

    I'm familiar with the dish you're describing. I think I had it at Chao Thai at some point, or if not, somewhere else.
  7. Melissa, some products from that company are available on Amazon, but not all of them.
  8. Thanks, Cronker. Those products look very interesting. Do you have favorites from among them?
  9. I did some quick checking on Clemente Jacques. Clemente Jacques seems to be a pretty widely available brand, though the Chipotles Dulces are not for sale on either Walmart or Amazon, so the variety of products that are easy to obtain throughout the U.S. seems to be limited.
  10. Cronker, do you have any favorite makers for these items? I'd be quite interested.
  11. Thanks, and it's great to have someone in this thread who lives part of the time in Mexico! I'll look into it. kayb, we're eager to get this business started, too. We're still in the research and planning stage and will keep everyone abreast of our progress.
  12. Hi, everyone! I went to the 6th Annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo in Greenpoint, Brooklyn today with my girlfriend. It was a way different experience from the Fancy Food Show I had attended in San Francisco in January. The Fancy Food Show is an industry event to which the general public are pretty much excluded and people are looking to do a lot of wholesale business. The Hot Sauce Expo, which will continue in my absence tomorrow (technically later today, Sunday), is a public event that requires only $12 and change for tickets (and I believe $10 if paid in cash at the venue). It's also specifically devoted to hot sauce (some alcoholic drinks, milk and bottled water are also available, as are barbecue, hot dogs and a couple of other food items, but they are sidelines), and loud though not ear-splitting heavy metal music plays from the "Stage of Doom" for most of the day. More importantly, for my purposes, there was one absolutely phenomenal vendor, at least one other terrific one and several very good ones, among the larger number of ordinary ones and a few downright bad ones (if you're going on the last day, please trust me and do not try the crab salsa!). The mix of vendors was quite interesting, with a good representation from New York and nearby states from Massachusetts to New Jersey, others from the South (one great one is from Florida and was in the far side of the room) and West and some international ones from Australia (who had a good gingery sauce) and England. My girlfriend also enjoyed the expo as a retail customer who tried most of the same sauces I tried and a few others and bought 3 sauces. I'm still writing up my notes about the vendors, but definitely plan to use some products from some of the best ones who exhibited today. At the end of the show, both of us had some beer from Lagunitas, one of the exhibitors, and a blessedly non-spicy Polish meal at a food store with tables called Polka Dot (my girlfriend also bought several items to go for her 2nd-generation Polish-American mother) and then walked down to Williamsburg to have some good hot chocolate and chamomile tea at Martha's Country Bakery. I plan to lay off the spice tomorrow, too, but it was certainly a good afternoon and a very worthwhile trip to the expo.
  13. Pan

    Elmhurst eateries

    I don't really like raw shrimp, but I know it's traditional.
  14. Hi, everybody. I have friends who are getting married on a Friday in June. They want a Manhattan location with a separate room or area where they could have the ceremony and might hire a keyboard player. They might have around 30 people and might want the room for about 3 hrs. Bonus for a liquor license, though as long as they can have some bubbly poured, they’re cool with bringing it themselves. I should say they’re not definitely set on Cantonese, but they want a cuisine that’s not primarily spicy, so I think Cantonese (or Shanghainese, if there were any really good Shanghainese banquet places in Manhattan, but I don’t know of any) would work well. Italian would undoubtedly please them, too, but I know it’s more expensive. The groom doesn’t love seafood, but he’s not too particular, otherwise, and I believe the bride does like seafood. So I think anyplace that’s primarily non-spicy, serves good food (even if he’s not particular, some of his guests will be) and serves a good variety of items will do nicely, providing their other criteria are met. Unfortunately, they’re not very familiar with private room costs, and I don’t have a clear idea of what their budget is, but money might be somewhat of an object.
  15. Pan

    Bali Kitchen

    Looks like a good value. I've passed by the place and picked up their takeout menu. It looks like they actually have several specifically Balinese dishes on their menu, which is unusual in New York. Too bad they have no babi guling, though. :-)