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Everything posted by malachi

  1. It is hard to know where to start with this review… I guess I’ll explain that it was not simply a meal. It was a meal to celebrate Valerie’s birthday. And it had an element of surprise as our friends Mitch and Catherine had flown up to Vancouver from San Francisco unbeknown to Valerie. I had set the meal up in advance, had requested (and been given) the Chef’s table and had arranged for Mitch and Catherine to be seated early so that when we were walked to the table Valerie would suddenly see them. The staff at West were incredibly accommodating and helpful when it came to suggesting the best day and time, figuring out how to seat Mitch and Catherine first, etc. So Valerie and I arrived, to discover that the room had been redone since we were there last year. It’s a big improvement. The room seems more welcoming and open while also seeming more luxurious and “serious” in tone. Very nice changes in my opinion. Anyway, the surprise worked brilliantly I’m glad to say. Valerie was surprised, overjoyed… a perfect beginning to the meal. And speaking of the meal… we were offered the opportunity to have a tasting menu that Chef Hawksworth had created for us (with wine pairings) – or we could order from the menu. Obviously we chose the menu Chef had created! We began with a little treat (a “pre-amuse bouche” of sorts) consisting of a shared dish of eggplant caviar with Yukon gold potato chips. It was quite lovely. The chips were perfectly salted and not overly crispy, allowing us to actually taste the potato in the chip. The salt and earth flavours of the chips married very well with the sweet ripeness of the smooth eggplant caviar. I love the fact that this was served first as it carried us through the initial “conversation” phase of the meal smoothly. It was, in essence, a canapé served in the perfect scenario for such a dish. After this, the meal began in earnest with the amuse bouche – a lovely single Malpaque oyster served with a Japanese inspired dressing and finely julienned Japanese radishes. This was presented on the half-shell, balanced on a “dressed” mound of rock salt. It was paired with a Hawthorne Mountain Brut, Dosage Zero. The oyster was truly perfect. As one of the guests remarked, “this would convert those poor people who think they don’t like oysters.” The brine and mineral notes of the oyster were perfectly complimented and balanced by the sweet crunch of the radishes and the very mild acid bite of the dressing. Not only was this a lovely dish, it was a near perfect amuse bouche. It cleared and cleansed the palate, built expectation and led naturally into the next dish. The Hawthorne Mountain was a lovely sparkling Riesling – ideally suited for the dish. It was very crisp and clean, without excessive butteryness but with a fine and balanced structure. This wine was carried through into the next dish – Gazpacho with molded Dungeness Crab and Avocado. The presentation on this dish was wonderful – a wide, shallow bowl was set before you which contained the molded crab and avocado (crab on top of avocado). The chilled gazpacho was then poured from a pitcher into the bowl. As a result of this presentation, the flavours of the soup changed both over time, and bite to bite – allowing you to experience the full range of flavours, as well as the combined and integrated dish. This was a truly great dish. The gazpacho was very strained and thin, close in colour and texture to a tomato water, but with an incredibly full and complex flavour. It was almost what one could call an “essence” of gazpacho. The acids and spice bite of the broth provided a foundation for the incredibly sweet crab. I’ve had far too much watery Dungeness crab – and have nearly reached the point where I’ve stopped ordering it. This dish restored my faith. The crab was meaty, with wonderful texture and a far more concentrated and rich flavour than what I’ve had of late from this shellfish. The smooth unctuousness of the avocado was a perfect foil and balance for the other ingredients – combining the create a dish that seemed at once both refreshing and hedonistic. This dish was a triumph, and immediately after it I commented that if the high level of cooking could be maintained throughout, this was going to be not a very good meal – but rather a truly great one. Not surprisingly, the Hawthorn Mountain paired ideally with this dish as well. As a side note – one of our party is, sadly, allergic to tomatoes (along with a number of related ingredients) and Chef Hawksworth was incredibly accommodating about this. For the most part the menu was entirely geared to address this, but with the gazpacho he chose to instead serve her a different dish. Not only was this a great thing for us as it allowed us to experience the aforementioned gazpacho, but we were also allowed to taste an additional dish as well. In this case, he gave her a lovely tuna sashimi dressed with sesame oil and with (I believe) crispy fried scallions and garlic. The quality of the tuna was on par with the best sushi restaurants I’ve been to, and the preparation was flawless. For our next course, Chef Hawksworth again chose to serve one dish to three of us, and a separate one to our poor allergic member. Again, this couldn’t have worked out better for us. Three of us were served a hot foie gras dish, while the fourth was served a cold foie gras terrine. The terrine was a gorgeous dish of foie gras and chicken livers with a gelee that tasted like green apple, served with toasted brioche. This was perhaps the second best cold foie gras dish I’ve had in my entire life. The terrine was smooth and creamy, with a rich and dense flavour that had far more complexity than your average foie gras mousse terrine. The depth of flavours in the terrine was astonishing, and the gelee was a perfect light, crisp and fruity foil for the sinful mousse. The other three of us were each served two pieces of foie gras which had been breaded in Pain D’espice (spiced bread), fried and then served over hot local apricot slices. This dish was simply incredibly. It was astonishing, simply astonishing. It was a huge dish, tasting almost like (as one diner said) “hot gingerbread foie gras.” The texture of the foie gras was perfect, with the crunch from the breading providing foundation for the rich, smooth foie gras. And the spicing was perfect – complex and powerful, but always subservient to the flavour of the foie gras. The fruit flavours from the apricot balanced everything out, adding the sweet into the play between the earthy, the rich, the oils and the spices and the homey yeasts and grains… A symphony but not Mozart – no nice manners but rather kettle drums and cannons and the entire string section covered in sweat from their exertions. As I said before – astonishing. These dishes were served with a 1998 Chateau Doisy Daene. This Barsac was a delightful choice, a bit more rustic than many Sauternes, and with the sort of backbone needed to hold up to this kind of a dish. The fruits and honeys added their own notes to the symphony (perhaps a brief aria by a wonderful French Tenor if I’m to continue the metaphor). The fourth course was interesting as the employee who had been acting as sommelier (more later on this) came to use before the course and told us that the course would be served without wine as he was simply incapable of pairing anything with it. We, of course, took turns trying to guess what the dish could consist of, but he simply said that if this dish had been on an exam, he would have simply given up and walked out and that it was the most difficult pairing situation he’d ever faced. We were, of course, dying to find out what it was. The dish turned out to be a ravioli of artichoke and ricotta, served with shaved parmagiano, basil oil and a Barigole garnish. Upon hearing the description, we all thought “wow – that would be hard to pair.” After tasting it, however, it became clear that the description did not do justice to the actual challenge. The dish consisted of a single ravioli with a filling of ricotta and artichoke heart, dressed with a very acidic basil oil, shaved parmagiano and pieces of artichoke hearts. In addition, there were some whole coriander seeds in the dressing. This was a dish that, to me, clearly indicated that this was a Chef operating at the top of the game. It was risky – and it was a total success. The delicacy of touch required to make this dish work was astonishing and rather intimidating to be honest. There were so many strong flavours, and so many of them were in conflict with each other. This was not a dish of complimentary tastes, but rather one where antagonistic tastes were all suspended in an incredibly complex state of delicate balance. I’d guess that some people would not have liked this one – it was not comforting, it was not easy. It was a challenging dish – and we loved it. Right about here was where the staff started asking us, between each course, how we were doing and if we wanted more courses. This was a lovely thing – and something that I wish more restaurants would do. I’ve had more than a few great meals ruined by simply being served too much food. Anyway, we, of course, said “can we have more please.” The fifth course was Crispy Roasted Ling Cod with local Golden Chantrelles, a garlic puree and Mushroom foam. Again, the “sommelier” came to talk to us beforehand and said that he was debating on what wine to serve with this and had decided to pour two wines and let us tell him which one we felt paired better. The first was a local BC Pinot, the 2001 Nk’Mip Pinot Noir. The second was a 2002 Yalumba Viognier from Australia. Now, I’m a huge fan of Ling Cod so I was really looking forward to this dish. I was not disappointed. The cod was crispy, but still deliciously moist and firm. The pairing of the subtle sea flavours with the subtle earth flavours of the chanterelles and (very gentle) mushroom foam was really lovely. The garlic puree was nearly non-existent and came across simply as a slight bite in the front-palate. Another stellar dish, and probably my personal favorite at this point in the evening. Sadly, the wines were the one disappointment of the evening. While the Yalumba was a very nice wine (crisp, a bit grassy, but very balanced and firm and refreshing on the palate) it was not an ideal pairing with the dish. It tended to be a bit jarring and the combination emphasized the acids in the wine that was not complimentary. The Pinot, on the other hand, was simply not a great wine. It was weak and thin in the middle, and came across as too soft and nearly insipid. It was obvious to all of us that a Pinot would be the correct pairing, but sadly not this particular Pinot. To be fair, my guess is that we would have found this less noticeable in a meal with more flaws – but where you’re this near to seeming perfection… a single small flaw become large by comparison. Regardless, we were now on to the sixth course… and what a course it was to be! We were poured an inky, near black 1999 Dona Paula Malbec from Argentina and the waiters served us simply beautiful looking Roasted Suckling Pork Chops with Nutmeg Gnocchi, confit Cipollini Onions and a Pork Jus. The chops were incredible. About the size of a small lamb chop, they were served bone in and with the skin still on. Amazingly enough, the shops combined the meat, the bone and the crackling… all in one piece. I’d never had this serving before – and it was eye opening. The meat was delicate and moist, with a simple subtle flavour that was lightly perfumed by the spices on the exterior of the roast. The crackling was crisp and flavourful without being tough or overly fatty. The gnocchi had been quickly pan-seared and were that perfect balance of pillowy and fluffy with dense and chewy that you long for in gnocchi – and so rarely receive. There were Five-Spice notes in the seasoning that married perfectly with the nutmeg in the gnocchi. This was then counterbalanced by the sweet bite of the confit onions. And it was all brought together in the sauce – a marvelously concentrated but smooth combination of pork, spice and some more obscured flavours in the backbone (which turned out to be, among other things, reduced chicken stock). This was yet another truly great dish – which was then pushed beyond expectation by the wine pairing. The wine had lovely dominant flavours of Plum, Prune and Clove which pit into the overall taste of the dish like a perfect puzzle piece. The wine was wonderful in and of itself. The dish was great in and of itself. But the combination of the two achieved that goal of all sommeliers – a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts. For all of us – this was the course of the night. For all of us – it was also one of the top single courses we’d had. We were then asked if we wanted cheese before desert or if we wanted to go straight to desert. Again, of course, we said “cheese me please.” The cheese course consisted of three cheeses – a lovely Canadian Camembert, a Canadian 5-Year Cheddar and a French soft cheese that, to be honest, I simply cannot remember. These were paired with an East India Lustau Solera Sherry. While the forgotten cheese was quite lovely, the stars were the two Canadian cheeses. The cheddar was rich and buttery, with a slight crumble and that mix of sweetness and funk that one finds in the best cheddars. The Camembert was dense and buttery, with a smooth and everlasting mouthfeel and flavour profile. And the sherry… well… I love good sherry. It’s a shame, in my opinion, that more restaurants don’t provide this option. So I’m biased, but all of us agreed with my rapturous comments on this fortified wine. And finally… we arrive at desert. We were served two desert courses, which I will lump together in my description. The first was a Cherry Fritter with Sambuca Ice Cream and the second was a dense slice of Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Ice Cream and late-harvest local raspberries. The Cherry fritter was a lovely folly – it had been formed into the shape of a cherry, with an actual stem inserted, and then fried. It brought a smile to all our faces. The sambuca ice cream was not only surprisingly good on its own – but was a shockingly good counterpoint to the cherry fritter. The cake was lovely. Simply and serving as a showcase for the last of this year’s local raspberries. I’ve commented a few times about the quality of the service. To be fair, this is not doing it justice. The best way I can think to compliment the service we received is to say that it was appropriate and up to the standards of the food. And that, my friends, is some heady praise indeed. Our waiter was professional, polished and charming. The meal lasted for nearly three and a half hours, but it never felt like we were waiting. In fact, the pacing of the meal was perfect – deliberate and unhurried but never slow or inattentive. Our waiter was knowledgeable about not only the restaurant and our menu, but the ingredients and even the cooking style and philosophy. We were also waited on by someone who we all took to be the sommelier for nearly half the meal. Only upon questioning him did we discover that, in fact, he was a senior manager for the parent company of West and its sister restaurants. He had, in fact, been a sommelier prior to that (in addition to be a general manager at one time). This, of course, was a treat that was probably not normal – but which we appreciated greatly. Neil was incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and charming – but perhaps more importantly, he shared our obsession with food and taste and did a wonderful job of communicating Chef Hawksworth’s passion to us verbally. Overall the service was on par with the service at any of the best restaurants in New York or the Bay Area. I’ve also mentioned that we were seated at the Chef’s table and I think this demands some discussion. This table would probably be undesirable to some, and unappreciated by most, but if you’re a food freak it is the only table in the house. The table is situated right next to where all orders are picked up by front of the house staff, and looks directly into the semi-open line. You can not only see everything that is going on in the kitchen at all times, you can even hear every comment or bit of conversation. And speaking of this – it is also clear that anyone in the kitchen can hear what you’re saying as well. Chef Hawksworth was obviously listening in to our conversations as, at one point, one of the diners held up a small seed from the dish and said to us, “I wonder what this is” and Chef answered “coriander seed.” Chef Hawksworth was a wonderful host who took time out of his cooking to talk with us, and clearly enjoyed discussing the details of the creating and execution of his dishes. Overall… what can I say? This was one of the best evenings of my life in addition to being one of the best meals I’ve had. Is it cheap? Of course not – but to be honest there is a level of experience and quality where I truly believe price ceased to matter beyond “can you pay for it or not.” The food was truly stellar – creative, exciting, balanced, perfectly executed… the sort of meal that would have sunk me into a deep depression back when I was cooking as it would have demonstrated the folly of my believing that I could be a true Chef. The service was polished, appropriate, professional, accommodating and adaptive. The room is lovely – and the Chef’s table an experience I’ll never forget. To say this is the best restaurant in Vancouver is truly damning with faint praise. I’ll simply say that West is among the best restaurants I’ve had the pleasure of eating at in North America. Thank you Chef Hawksworth, thank you Neil, and thank you to all the BOH and FOH staff that made this dream a reality.
  2. I've had their coffee before. It's quite good. But to be honest, so far I'm finding that Vancouver is a two horse town when it comes to coffee (JJ Bean and Artigiano).
  3. I've had truly great ristretto from three locations in Seattle, one in the Bay Area and at least a couple dozen times at the place I work at -- all in the last year. Probably the best I had was at Espresso Vivace in Seattle (though, truth be told, they are rather inconsistent there so I would argue that Hines St Public Market is the better choice with Zoka being a near tie for second). I don't know about "standard" but the definition that I've come to understand (which may well be local to Northern California and the Pacific Northwest) is espresso of reduced volume derived from restricted flow (in the area of 0.75 ounces of espresso from a draw of 24-27 seconds). Where I work we do this by stepping the grind down two notches from what the normal setting is at that moment (on average we adjust grind between 5 and 10 times a day). The espresso usually begins to draw fully in 6 to 8 seconds (we try to only place the cup below the spout after the espresso from the preinfusion has poured into the drip tray). At some point between 22 and 27 seconds the first white will appear and the draw is terminated. Shrug - it's all personal taste, but an espresso drawn in this manner is (to me) richer, denser and more complex in flavour - while also possessing more sweetness than a normal espresso. I've tasted, heard (and read) about the Italien espressos and standards and how they differ - and have had "ristretto" shots in other locations that are simply reduced draws (15 to 20 seconds). So I understand there is no "standard." At a certain level, it's besides the point. By asking for a "ristretto" shot I'm asking someone to make their version of a ristretto. Their definition and process will illustrate a lot about the business and practice. In tasting it, I try to evaluate it in light of their definition - but more importantly in light of the local coffee culture and as compared to other local versions of the drink. I then compare to their renditions of the cappuccino and straight espresso. This process gives me a good overall picture of the espresso available. Given the range of personal tastes, styles, expectations and definitions throughout "espresso" - this is probably the only way to review espresso. No? I guess I could preceed such reviews with a statement about my own tastes, definitions an expectations - thus allowing the reader to interpret how they might feel about the espresso by comparing their tastes with mine - and then viewing the review through that lens. But then I'd probably come across as even more of a freak than I already do.... (grin)
  4. (blush) Yeah - I'm a little bit obsessed, what can I say. I find that ordering a ristretto shot ("restricted" - a shortened volume shot drawn over the same time using a fine grind) tends to be a good way to do an initial test of a bar's espresso quality. My usual sequence is double ristretto, double cappuccino, double espresso. This usually gives me a good idea of the quality and flavour of someone's espresso drinks.
  5. Food Kirin (Vancouver). Upscale and somewhat traditional mandarin restaurant that serves very good dim sum -- and is quite affordable as well (not "cheap" but a good deal). Standout dishes included excellent steamed pork buns that were less “artificially” sweet tasting than many, and which had a very nice texture balance. The scallop and prawn steamed dumplings were sweet and complex, but well balanced. Prawn and garlic spring rolls were crisp but not oily, with an excellent subtle bite from the garlic. Pork and prawn potstickers came with a fabulous vinegar dipping sauce and were very tasty – if perhaps a little lacking in the needed crispness from frying. Steamed pork and prawn dumplings with fish roe were very nice as well – though lacking in complexity. The jasmine tea was wonderful and service was professional. A medium sized lunch for two worked out to around $30CAN. Wiggin Pier (Squamish). Unpretentious and very British little fish and chips place. Serves excellent fish and chips, with the choice of small or large portions and either Cod, Halibut of fish of the day. Fish was crispy and airy, not over-battered and not greasy. Chips were acceptable (could have been less mealy and more cooked by my taste). Several traditional British ales were available in nitrogen cans, along with a couple mass-market draught beers. Cheap, homey and tasty. Coffee JJ Bean on Commercial (Vancouver). Prototypical “hip” coffee bar look and feel in the “hipster” neighborhood in Vancouver. Serves their own roasts and blends and doesn’t focus on anything other than coffee and related drinks and products. La Marzocco four group automatic with timers per grouphead and a Swift grinder (which the manager said he hates – “easy to pull consistent good shots, impossible to pull great ones”). First double ristretto was served in the correct cup, though not pre-heated. Portafilter cleaning was minimal. Shot was about the right volume, but achieved by simply reducing duration (19 seconds) rather than by changing grind, etc. Crema was okay, but heavily streaked with frothy white. Espresso had a noticeable harsh note and little to no sweetness. Mouthfeel was dry and almost sandy. Heavy notes of caramel and charcoal. Tasted like a well-executed version of a Starbucks shot. Second double ristretto (different barista) was served in the wrong cup (a cappuccino cup) which was also not pre-heated. Portafilter cleaning a bit more thorough. Volume was higher than should have been the case for a ristretto (closer to a doppio) – perhaps due to the larger cup size. Duration was around 22 seconds. Crema was much better than first shot, with only a touch of frothy white. There was still a harsh, bitter flavor note, but the mouthfeel was much better – creamy and thick. Strong caramel, chocolate and burnt toast notes. Barista and manager very nice, helpful and concerned that my espresso be what I wanted. Barista commented that, in her opinion, the boiler temp might be off. Café Artigiano off Robson (Vancouver). Stylish, downtown espresso place specializing in Latte art. Mostly a tourist joint. La Marzocco four group machine, Swift grinder and a Mazzer Super Jolly grinder as well. Serving Intelligensia Black Cat espresso blend, which the manager loves and feels is the best espresso blend commercially available. As with JJ Bean, this blend is a dark roast that is what one would find in most good (trendy) Seattle bars. First double ristretto was served in the correct cup, though again not preheated. Shot was a doppio, not a ristretto. Manager came over, asked how it was, looked at it and apologized. Shot was actually a nice double espresso, but not a ristretto. I said so. He took it away, and personally pulled a ristretto. In this case, he used the Mazzer not the Swift. I don’t know if he dialed down the grind, but the shot time was around 22 seconds. Gorgeous crema and a wonderful, thick and rich mouthfeel, but again with a noticeable bitter note in the initial taste. Strong notes of chocolate dominate, with some burnt toast and charcoal and an undercurrent of caramel. There is a little sweetness from the caramel that results in a slightly more balanced taste that the better of the two JJ Bean on Commercial shots. (I went to a couple other espresso places on Commerical - all of which served mediocre to awful coffee to me.)
  6. I ate at Kirin just the other day. Very nice. Probably my favorite in town.
  7. malachi

    Dinner! 2003

    Oh! Happy pancakes!!! Mmmmm.....
  8. malachi

    Eating Firenze

    Fabulous! Thanks so much for the report. Having eaten at almost all of the establishments covered, I have to say I agree with you almost entirely. I'm glad you enjoyed Osteria di Rendola -- it is one of my favorite places in the region. Wonderful people.
  9. French-canadian/Irish New England White Trash on food stamps. Yes. Yes - in part because the person who cooked didn't have to clean, in part because my mother really wanted to learn to cook. Laugh. Yeah, right. Everyone (see above). Special occasions only. No. Children ate at the dinner table if they could behave like adults - if not they were sent to their room, told to be quiet and were not fed. I honestly don't know. Longer ago than I can remember. Never. At a micro level (as in the example above), no. At a macro level, yes. Deer in the fall, vegetables in the summer, canned and preserved stuff and root vegetables in the winter, fiddlehead ferns in the spring, you get the idea. The person who cooks does not clean.
  10. malachi

    Dinner! 2003

    Chilled Tomato-Melon Soup with Basil and Candied Lemon Rind Crispy Sea Bass with Fried Wonton Wrappers, Spicy Citrus Cabbage and a Crimson-White Corn and Scallion Relish Molten Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Creme Anglaise and Crystalized Ginger 2000 Henri Bourgeois La Cote des Monts Damnes Sancerre Hardy's Whiskers Blake Port
  11. malachi

    Zuke blossoms

    I think it's a matter of personal taste, but for me it depends upon the size of the stems. If they're delicate and small, I tend to leave them on. If large, I remove. If I'm leaving them on, I usually do a quick scrape with the edge of a knife blade to remove any roughness.
  12. Congratulations! You couldn't have chosen a better place for it (IMHO).
  13. malachi

    Morimoto Ales

    The Hazelnut is nice for the style (not a style I prefer). And oddly enough, it does pair well with Sushi.
  14. I have such fond memories of my childhood - eating fried chicken at Hattie's. Is it still around? Is it still any good? (Hattie's Chicken Shack is/was its full name I believe)
  15. How long has Rocco been working in a kitchen? Trust me, his hands do not feel heat the same way yours do. And, of course, you have no idea if one side of the plate is hot and the other is not (a salamander works well to create this excellent "learning experience").
  16. tan319 knows of what he speaks. Two quick points to illustrate... 1 - I'll never forget discovering (after 14 years of working in restaurants) that people in office jobs had mandated breaks! All the time! And that, in most cases, they had about 4 to 6 hours of work they needed to get done each day -- and had 8 hours to do it in! And if they didn't get it done... no big deal, they'd just do it the next day. And they got sick days! And health insurance! And paid vacations!!! 2 - I was working in management at a start-up in Silicon Valley. We were doing the Sand Hill Dance (i.e. trying to get another round of investment to keep the business afloat). The head of Product Management had just fired herself and was suing the company for wrongful termination (seriously) and all of this was causing the CEO to develop ulcers and nearly collapse with a nervous breakdown. I went out to dinner with him to try and calm him down and he asked me how I could be so relaxed about all this. I had to be honest and tell him that the job situation at the time for me was less stressful than a pretty average day as a Chef. As has been said -- you can always keep the day job and entertain at home. Of course, if you really want to be a chef - go for it. But I'd suggest starting by working BOH in a low level position, then deciding if it's the right career for you. Maybe you could do this while on sabatical from your current job? If you survive the initial period, then go to school, etc.
  17. Have you been to Lummiere?
  18. 3 Cups high-gluten flour 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 tablespoon honey 2 tablespoons olive oil 3/4 cup cool water 1 package yeast (Red Star preferred) 1/4 cup warm water Dissolve yeast in the warm water and proof (10 minutes). Sift flour and salt into large bowl. Stir honey into cool water in a small bowl. Pour honey-water mixture and olive oil into flour and work dough. Add proofed yeast-water. Work dough until combined (add flour if too sticky). Remove dough from bowl and place on floured surface. Kneed until smooth. Put dough in a well-oiled metal bowl and allow to rest (covered) for about 1/2 hour. Divide dough into two parts. Roll each into a firm ball. Put the balls on a oiled sheet pan and cover with a damp towel. Refrigerate. About an hour before cooking, remove dough from refrigerator and let come to room temp (still covered). Stretch (on a lightly floured surface) the dough into the traditional pizza round (avoid using a rolling pin if possible). Crimp/roll the edges. Lightly oil the surface of the dough, spoon a small amount of sauce (tomato or bianca) on the top and spread, add a topping if you want (be sparing) and a small amount of mozz and bake at 500 degrees.
  19. Actually, I watched the moment slowed down (PVR is pretty cool) and I have to say they looked pretty much exactly right. And given the "they look like frogs" comment, I have a suspicion that those customers had never seen real shrimp (with heads on and not in shrimp cocktails) in their lives. Still... the cook was wrong, the customer was right - and a dishwasher had an excellent snack. Isn't that the rule?
  20. Oh. And as for the "poor me, I had to work until 2 and be back at work at 10" thing... cry me a river. Try doing that five to six days in a row each week - it's called working BOH - though of course you'd also have to do away with your AC and half your pay to make it an accurate comparison. Oh, and add a lot of people yelling at you.
  21. spaghettini al olio If you work in an Italien restaurant, you should at the very least be able to make a good guess at that one. You want more examples of the lack of professionalism? Arguing with a customer? "I don't know what happened with the order."? Complaining about your tips on the second night (first paying night) of business? And, of course, the hot plate. That's pretty telling as there are few FOH staff with any real experience who would grab a plate bare-handed like that. It's something you only do once.
  22. Oh my god. I couldn't decide if I wanted them to fire most of the staff or just kill them. Where did they find these people? Some hair salon on the lower east side? Working as clerks at Tower Records? And nice 'trip and fall' there buddy. I think I have to stop watching this show - I got out of the business for good reason and really don't want to relive the vapid self-centered waiters, the junkie fry cooks or the demanding no-taste customers. Makes my blood pressure go up.
  23. I wonder if a dehydrator would work...
  24. Employees shouldn't, in my opinion, be put in a position where they have to choose between their health (and arguably their lives) and their job. For many people, giving up their job is simply not an option -- and which point it is no longer a choice.
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