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Pan

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Pan

  1. I'm posting this for a friend. She wants recommendations of restaurants or stores in New York (Brooklyn or Manhattan, preferably) that make good, soothing matzo ball soup or consomme. The criteria are that the broth must not be fatty, and she prefers that there not be much that's more solid than matzo balls or something similar. For example, I mentioned that Teresa's makes a good chicken soup with pieces of chicken in it, and she said she'd prefer no pieces of chicken. She doesn't care what the ethnicity or religion of the people cooking the soup are - Jewish, Chinese, Italian, whatever. I think that she would probably prefer the soup not to be very spicy, either. (She's looking for something that's partly curative.) Thanks in advance for your opinions, which I'll pass on to my friend.
  2. Sandra: I and a friend of mine were at Katz's last night around 2 A.M., had pastrami sandwiches, and enjoyed them. They were a bit fatty (I knew there would be some fat on the edges because of the piece the sandwich guy gave me to taste, but it tasted so good - better than usual - that I said it was great). We took off some of the fat and enjoyed them. My friend also got some matzo ball soup, which he likes there (I've tried it before and also liked it). I also got some pound cake, which was very rich and also enjoyable; it was a big piece, so I tipped the guy a dollar. I washed it all down with some Cel-Ray, which is a unique taste that's not for everybody but which I like to have from time to time, partly for sentimental reasons. Put me on record as having absolutely no problem with tipping the sandwich guys. I have found that they give good service, and I think they deserve the tip. I haven't found that they gave me bad service before they realized I was tipping them. Once, I even forgot to tip one and came back later to give him a tip. (I always tip a dollar per sandwich, for what it's worth.) As for Second Av. Deli, I've previously mentioned that the last time I went there, I asked whether they had lean pastrami, was told they did, ordered a lean pastrami sandwich to go, ate it, found it was very tasty, but _REALLY_ fatty - just excessive. I resented that and haven't been back since. At Katz's, they give you a sample; then, you make up your own mind. I like that. I don't like lying, which is what the 2nd Av. Deli guy did.
  3. I must preface this by saying that I am not much of a wine connoiseur, so keep that in mind. However, if you do have a chance to drop by Vittoria Sattui Vineyards in St. Helena, I'd be curious to know what you think. My brother and I visited their vineyard only because I liked the look of the main building on the brochure the car-rental place gave us. It looked like an old Tuscan or Umbrian brick house. Anyway, they gave us a free tasting. We found their red wines odd, but we liked their whites. I liked their Muscat wine so much that, though I hadn't planned on buying wine on that trip, I bought a bottle and shared it with my parents, who also really enjoyed it. My brother liked their Johannisberg Riesling so much that he bought two bottles. All for whatever it's worth. And yes, I think it would be nearly impossible to find those wines for sale anywhere other than the vineyard itself, certainly not on the East Coast. Unless things have changed in 3 years or so, you'd either have to buy it there or order a case to be mailed to you.
  4. So I gather Daniel serves only dinner nowadays. Do you know why that decision was made?
  5. Yeah, you're right, Ruby: That's the story. But considering the meaning of the story puts a way different connotation on the word "shlemiel" than "sucker," etc. A shlemiel is a clumsy or perhaps heavy-handed person who creates trouble for others. Anyway, that's how I've always understood the word.
  6. My folks always told me that the shlimazl (literally: slim luck)was the one who always tripped and the shlemiel was the one who tripped him.
  7. Well, if nothing else, this thread has provoked controversy and increased interest in this book. I look forward to reading some reviews by eGulleteers after they have read the book. I may well be interested in reading it, myself, but I think I'll read M. Boulud's book first.
  8. I'd call someone who did that as something other than a joke a "shlemiel." What's the big deal in telling the waiter that the fois gras goes here and the duck goes there? Can't you find more important things to be irked about? Just to digress for a second: On Sept. 17 or so, when I was taking a taxi from my place in the East Village to my folks' place on the Upper West Side, I got caught in terrible traffic on 3rd Av. My thoughts were: "This traffic is a disaster... ...Wait a second! This is not a disaster. It is a mere inconvenience and slight annoyance, and it may cost me an extra 5 bucks or so. So what? The important thing is that I am alive, I have a place to stay, and nothing terrible is happening." In the scheme of things, isn't it an extremely minor annoyance (if any) for the waiter to bring the right dishes but ask who gets which dish? Sheesh, some people are impossible! (Hey, nothing personal. You're probably a nice guy, except to waiters who forget who gets which dish.)
  9. Pan

    The Room

    That neatly sums up my attitude about decor. Well said.
  10. Pan

    L'Astrance

    I just thought I'd tell you. Thanks to you all, I made sure to call before 3:30 New York time. I was the first to get through and reserved for dinner at 8 on June 26. Thank you very much for your help, and I'll be sure to report on my experience when I get back to New York.
  11. Pan

    The Room

    Wow! You folks are so picky! If a restaurant is expensive, I want decor. If it isn't expensive, any nice decor I can get is a bonus. I prefer not to sit near the door if it's cold; I prefer to have enough space to back up my chair enough to get up and get to the bathroom easily when necessary; I don't like to sit where I can smell smoke; and I prefer not to sit right next to the waiter stand, where that's an issue (but I enjoy sitting where I can see the kitchen; that's fun). Otherwise, I don't much care where I sit, as long as I can get the attention of the waiter. What I care most about is having good food (and, when I'm paying, for a fair and affordable price). A place with great food and great decor (and, of course, great service) is simply a great restaurant, but if the decor is just OK but unobjectionable, the service is acceptable, and the food is fabulous, I'm OK with that. On the other hand, if the decor is great, the food is mediocre, and the prices are high, I'm not interested in eating there at all. Back in the 1970s, Maxwell's Plum was known for having unique, interesting (many would say loud) decor, but the food was well-known to be mediocre. So when my older brother and I were in that neighborhood, we would get permission from the friendly staff to look at the ceilings, but we did not stay to eat there.
  12. Please continue! The Madras Woodlands in New York (was east, IIRC) was a very pale shadow of the branch in Delhi (or, I assume, the original branch in Madras). Harbin Inn was an old standby Cantonese that served Chop Suey and Chow Mein. A childhood girlfriend's mother took me there with some frequency. I remember it being old, somewhat dirty, and cheap.
  13. I'll keep everyone informed, Jayask. I'm glad everyone had a good time at the food fair, and I'm feeling a good deal stronger today, fortified by echinacea and goldenseal. Those herbal remedies really are helpful. What would I do without them?
  14. Pan

    Grameen

    I didn't mean to suggest that you meant to suggest it was a comprehensive list. Say, just what is a melancholic thistle?
  15. Pan

    Grameen

    That's a fairly short list, Yvonne. Well, maybe not short, but I noticed some important omissions - Madras Cafe isn't on the list, for example. Do you have any idea how the restaurants that are on that list got on it?
  16. Sounds like a very uncomfortable situation, Jaybee. Overall, it sounds like it was more uncomfortable for the woman than for you, though. Would you agree with that?
  17. Yeah, probably. The Malaysian friend I was thinking of lives in Astoria, but I don't know how many Malaysian places in Queens she's been to. After all, she can always cook the food herself. Anyway, when I get over this damned cold, I'll call her.
  18. This is terrific writing! I do think you mean "belied" rather than "betrayed," however. I used to watch the Galloping Gourmet when I was in 1st grade in 1970-71! I didn't remember that it was still on TV as recently as 15 years ago or so, but that's probably because I was seldom watching TV at lunchtime during that period of my life.
  19. That's a great idea, Steve, but I will be in France until June 27, so July would work better for me. I will call a Malaysian friend and ask her for recommendations, too.
  20. Pan

    Paris Dining

    Thanks, Bux. You made very good points, and I have taken them to heart.
  21. I had a great meal and a good meal at Singapore Cafe shortly after it opened. Singaporeans have complained that it is just another Malaysian restaurant, and not Singaporean in any way, shape, or form, but I don't care about that. My problem with the place is that the amount of fat they use is just totally excessive. I've had many good meals at Sentosa but I was dissatisfied by how hard the noodles were in their Asam Laksa last time I went. I still think it's probably one of your better bets for good and authentic Malaysian cuisine in Manhattan. (Why is authentic important? Because my experience is that restaurants that water it down or otherwise adulterate it for non-Asians' tastes suck.)
  22. Pan

    Paris Dining

    Thanks for the info, Bux. I'm starting to wonder whether it will really be worth it to go to Astrance for 90 bucks a person. I guess I'm naive, but that sounds like a splurge for a Michelin 1-star. Do any of you know whether the surprise menu there costs the same amount every day (perhaps it's MORE on weekends?)
  23. Pan

    Paris Dining

    I could certainly do the research myself, but in case anyone knows the names of the chefs at Grand Vefour and Arpege, who are they? And is the title Chef de la Cuisine?
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