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Pan

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Pan

  1. Pan

    Banjara

    I've actually liked every dish I've had at Banjara over probably about 10 visits, at least 8. Among my favorites are the Goan shrimp dish with shredded coconut and the Banjara Baingun (sp.?). The first time I went to Banjara, I ordered that Goan shrimp dish and started asking the waiter "Could they make it..." and he said "Mild?" My response: "No. VERY spicy!" His eyes immediately brightened, and they made it very spicy to order. I was very happy. But from now on, I think Madras Cafe may be the only Indian restaurant in this neighborhood that's suitable for a date, unless I feel like going to Haveli again, and the last time I went there (which must be at least 3 years ago), the service was totally clueless with no-one knowing who should get which dish. Lovely decor, though. If I do take a date to Banjara again, I'll give her a fair warning about the service and let her take that into account in making a choice of where to eat. Which are your favorite Little India places? And please pardon me if you've already answered this question some time ago.
  2. Pan

    Apples: Favorites?

    They recently had Pink Ladies at my local health food store. They were great! Refreshingly sour, but I think not as sour as Granny Smiths.
  3. Pan

    Bubble Tea

    I think the tapioca balls are something to try at least once. I don't happen to like them, but I do like the flavored teas without them. I'm particularly fond of Taro Green Milk Tea at Saint's Alp in Manhattan, either the branch on 3rd Av. between 9th and 10th and the branch (now called Tea & Tea) on Mott St. in Chinatown. Yes, the quality varies between bubble tea shops, and not every flavor will be to everyone's taste, just as is the case with coffee lounges and such-like that offer a variety of coffees. Frankly, I hope that the flavored-tea shops, by any other name, are here to stay.
  4. Pan

    Banjara

    That is so Tuhin.... he is very charming and accomodating. What was the chicken makhani like? What is it about makhani that you like so much Pan? Butter Chicken is one of the most favorite dishes for most Indians. You have great taste. Thanks, Suvir. I've had the Dal Makhani at Banjara before and liked it. The Chicken Makhani was similar in terms of sauce, though totally different in texture and starchiness, of course. It was in a red sauce, but I don't really know how to describe the dish well, or why I like it other than that it is tasty. Oh well...
  5. Pan

    Banjara

    Interesting. Well, my co-worker is from Delhi, and to my knowledge, is an Indian citizen. He is not only a co-worker but also a student at Polytechnic.
  6. Pan

    Banjara

    One of my Indian co-workers at Polytechnic U. likes the food at Banjara very much and says that the sweetness is an authentic part of Gujarati style. OK, have at him.
  7. Pan

    Banjara

    I went to Banjara tonight, for the first time in several months. It was a date. As far as I'm concerned, the food was the same as ever, i.e. very good, and one helpful thing that was done was to fulfill my date's request to have Chicken Mahkani to be made. The menu offers Dal Makhani but not Chicken Makhani, and the result of the substitution was good. However, there was an unacceptable lapse in service etiquette tonight. The two of us talked a lot and ate slowly, so three different members of the waitstaff came by in sequence to ask us if they could take our plates away or - in the words of the first two - we were still "working on" the food. I glared wordlessly at the second one. The third one simply placed the dessert menu on our table and asked if she could take our plates. Meanwhile, they still had two-tops available the entire time, in case any other couples had come. When I got the bill, the tax was $2.55 and I was not incredibly punitive but did tip slightly less than double the tax - $5 (my date would have tipped $6 if I had let her put down the tip). But that's the last time I have a date at Banjara and I honestly don't plan on going back at all. That rude treatment is not worth dealing with in what I had previously thought was a classy restaurant.
  8. In my view, it's not that you can't use any musical terms to refer to cooking (I'll leave other arts aside for now), but that "counterpoint" is too specific a term to be useful outside of a musical or rhetorical context (in which "point-counterpoint" has a somewhat different meaning than in music). "Crisp," "sour," and "bitter" are all common adjectives, and "hunger" is a common verb - none are highly specific and narrowly-defined technical terms the way "counterpoint" is. So why don't we look at comparable musical terms that can be usefully used in describing cooking or serving? Consider "rhythm," "duration," and "tempo" as fairly unproblematic to describe service or how long a taste lasts in one's mouth (etc.). We can also speak of "loud" flavors, "fast" food, and "slow" food, but note that there really isn't much similarity between fast music and fast food. And "harmony," when applied to food by most people, would be unlikely to encompass a highly dissonant grouping, as it would in music (I'm guessing that "dissonant harmony" is an oxymoron only to non-musicians plus a small set of extreme anti-Modernist ideologues). Sure, there are exceptions, like "theme and variations," which could work well to describe a meal like the multi-course chicken meal my brother was treated to once in Tokyo, with each dish demonstrating yet another way to prepare chicken. Nevertheless, do you see how, in general, the more technical the words get, the less likely they are to transfer effectively from one art to another, when the two arts are highly dissimilar to each other? Conversely, how about considering the use of highly technical cooking terms in describing music? Shall we speak of flambeed music? Can we meaningfully refer to a fried or fileted musical work? How about a broiled sonata, a boiled cantata, a seared Adagio and frozen Allegro? Absurd, right? Indeed, all of those sound like titles of works by Erik Satie. Do you think that his Pair of Pieces in the Form of a Pear actually resemble the fruit in any way? Well, they don't. The point was to write a beautiful piece and give it a deliberately absurd title. Again, there are some exceptions. For example, calling a piece a "stew" could conjure up some more or less vague sound image of a disorderly melange, but that's pretty far from the technical meaning of "stew" in cooking, isn't it?
  9. The other big question is whether the clientele he attracts will support authentic-tasting Chinese food in the long run or prefer things that are watered-down fusion, and I have my doubts, given past track record. Ed: If the pigs, duck, and chickens hung up in the window are fresh-killed, I see your point. That's really a standard thing in many Chinese restaurants the world over. I remember the pork hanging in our favorite restaurant in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, back in the 70s. I guess New York Noodletown is also a "fresh-killed" place, by your description.
  10. Eatingwitheddie: Please name some of the Chinatown places you're describing. The live fish and seafood are pretty standard, but the top-quality fresh-killed poultry is interesting to me. I have to say that I'm not very excited about your or Ruth's review. I don't want to pay that much extra for what sounds like watered-down Chinese food as an answer to watered-down Thai at Vong. Nor for a 2-star place, when JoJo used to be a wonderful 3-star, and didn't present cuisine that routinely sells for $25-and-under, deliciously, even if there's dispute here, now, about the quality of some of the ingredients.
  11. Understood completely, and it certainly seems logical to me, as well. One normally pays for services one requests.
  12. It doesn't seem completely non-monetary to me. Steve KLC mentioned that there is normally a premium to be paid for those special dishes. And if all the restaurant is doing is holding ingredients in reserve for more expensive dishes than are featured on the menu, I don't see how any customer could object to that on any grounds. There's also something many of you are overlooking: For people who are perfectly happy with the printed menu (or, in a case like Congee Village, the printed menu or menus they're given ordinarily), there may not be a reason to ask for something else - again, keeping in mind the price point. I do thank Fat Guy for mentioning the banquet menu at Congee Village, though. Unlike his article about how to cultivate a high-end restaurant, that's information I can use. Though the price point is still higher, it sounds like (c. $17 a dish he said, IIRC), and the dishes do sound most suitable for a large group. Now, if there were only a way for a regular to have a table reserved there on those busy nights... But seriously, my status as a somewhat-recognized regular there has probably caused me to be better treated as an often single diner there than many others, partly because they know I bring friends when I can and always tip decently. One comment about specials being leftovers: That was the case tonight at Teresa's (in the East Village, for all you non-New Yorkers) in one instance, the Chicken Stew. I knew it was left over from the lunch special, but I asked for it anyway, because I like it. In fact, they had run out by the time I tried to order it at 9:30 P.M. or so. Kudos to them for being open last night in the aftermath of the snowstorm, by the way.
  13. Yes, I'm a New Yorker, but all those emoticons come in handy to indicate when we're making jokes.
  14. Actually, I agree that the restaurant was behaving shitty. I just think that your strategem of telling them you'd write up a review is problematic. I don't resort to that; I simply write the review and post it here (or, once upon a time, in Chowhound).
  15. I think that's manipulative. Why do you think it's OK to effectively blackmail them like that? If you're considering yourself a reviewer, doesn't an honest reviewer act like just another customer and see how s/he's treated? Again, it seems like a somewhat urgent desire to get special treatment denied to "ordinary" diners seems to be at play. Or is there something I misunderstood? Here, I really sympathize with you, given my father's dietary restrictions. But perhaps you might consider a different strategy, if you haven't already. Have you mentioned your wheat sensitivity to the reservationist and asked what the most effective strategy for dealing with it would be? When I went to Grand Vefour last summer, the Maitre d' looked over a list of approved ingredients I had printed out in advance and discussed possible dishes from the menu that could be cooked to my father's specifications. I had previously been in contact with the reservationist by email, and she had recommended that I bring such a list when I came. It seems to me that the ubiquity of wheat products is such that informing each restaurant in advance that you will need a menu without any wheat products whatsoever is the way to go.
  16. Things are pretty bad, and we might well be in the middle (or, God forbid, beginning) of a deep depression, particularly in New York, but that doesn't give news media the right to twist things. But I expect that type of behavior from news media, in any case. When I was at High School of Performing Arts, I was interviewed by CBC radio. I don't remember what they asked me, but I do recall that there were a lot of stupid questions, to which I responded with "That's not true at all!" and then went on to give pertinent information that was different and sometimes probably the opposite of what I had been asked about. After the interview was over, I heard the reporter speaking revised questions into her mic, in order to edit the interview to make it seem as if she had asked me exactly the types of questions I answered and was really smart. I was shocked, but when I recounted this story to people in the know, they laughed and said "You didn't know that that was standard operating procedure for interviews for all radio and TV stations and networks?" And I'm sure CBC is by no means the worst. I listened to "As It Happens"every evening one summer in Western New York, and it's the best news program I've ever heard. Nor is the NY Times the worst. The other day, I saw the headline "Powell Confronts Euro-Weazels" in the Daily News. Talk about the worst kind of editorializing in the news section!
  17. Different key signatures are very rarely necessary, even if there is a pitch interval between the different voices. After all, typical Western scales and modes have 7 different tones so, for example, in C Major/Ionian, answering C-G-E-A with F-C-A-D (canonic imitation at the interval of a Perfect 4th) does not take one into a different key, let alone necessitate a new key signature. Also, canons can be at the unison; in fact, all rounds are, by definition (though octave variations can be easily tolerated in informal situations, such as singing a round of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" with friends). I agree that imitative polyphony is more common than the use of two or more dissimilar but equally emphasized melodies at the same time. As for the topic of this thread, what I think is lacking in the analogy between counterpoint and anything in cooking is that counterpoint is overlapping or simultaneous. If anything, there could be said to be counterpoint within a dish or between a main and side dish, but not between dishes eaten in sequence (e.g., one could refer to "counterpoint" between the meat or fish main dish and the potato or green vegetable side dish). Sequential contrast could be analogized to a rhapsody, a rondo, or various other musical forms, but not to counterpoint. But I fail to see what's gained by referring to counterpoint in regard to food at all, rather than simply to "contrast," as "counterpoint" is a specifically musical term with two specific technical meanings. Music and food are both pleasures of human existence, but they are quite distinct from each other and each must be understood and enjoyed in its own terms.
  18. Boris: Have a look at this thread: Michel Vignaud in Chablis Michel Vignaud also has a bistrot, Le Bistrot des Grands Crus, where, doubtless, your lunch will be cheaper than a dinner at the restaurant. If I were you, I'd take the risk that his operation might not be running on all cylindars, because if it is, you will have a wonderful meal. It's at 8-10 rue Jules-Rathier in Chablis, Tel.: 03 86 42 19 41 Enjoy your trip! Chablis and Beaune are wonderful locations! This sounds like primarily a vinicultural and gastronomic trip, but don't miss the Polyptych of the Apocalypse by Rogier van der Weyden in the fabulous Hotel de Dieu in Beaune. See a very small picture here: Museum of the Hospices Civils de Beaune
  19. Your spelling is close. That would be kulfi. Looks like I'm fourth to compliment your post.
  20. Pan

    Dim Sum GoGo

    I agree with you, Bux. Some squid dishes, but so far as I can tell, all tripe dishes. I had a terrific dish of squid with kung bao sauce from the Chelsea branch of Grand Sichuan about a week or a week and a half ago.
  21. Pan

    Dim Sum GoGo

    I usually don't like the tripe dishes and soups I've had in your basic inexpensive Chinese places (e.g. Chou Zhou in Flushing, New York Noodle Town, the big Chinatown eating-hall dim sum places like Harmony Palace and so forth) because the tripe is overly chewy to my way of thinking. I much prefer the Polish-style tripe soup at Teresa's and mondongo at Dominican places such as El Malecon. In both cases, you get tripe that, while still having a degree of chewiness, is tender and not similar to a mass of hard cartilege.
  22. Pan

    66

    I'm going to meet a young woman at Golden Unicorn for dim sum Monday as a first date. We travel in different circles, Bond Girl. But you knew that. So if everything is about twice as expensive as in a normal Chinese restaurant, are we talking about $40 for dinner, not including drinks (I assume that tea is provided without extra charge)? Oh, by the way, that could be worth it for a relatively special occasion, and my parents might be interested.
  23. Pan

    Dim Sum GoGo

    Simon: I like the Temple Bar. When I go to a place like that (which I consider a high-class bar), I like to ask the bartender what cocktails s/he likes to make or even just ask him/her to make whatever cocktail s/he really enjoys making. But I like the beautiful interior and nice ambience. [edit: by admin to remove reference to a deleted post]
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