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Everything posted by bergerka

  1. Rogelio - this is EXACTLY the kind of thing I'm looking for! Thank you!!
  2. Hi all, I am going to be working in Spain for almost seven weeks this spring (feel free to pm if you want details). Obviously, as per the title of this thread, I'm going to be traveling almost every day and will have very little time to spend in each city. What I am looking for is this: restaurant recommendations for lunch or late (very late, like after 11pm) dinner - interesting but NOT expensive regional food. I've only been to Spain once (Bilbao, for three days or so back in 1999) and am greatly looking forward to it. Here's the daunting part: the list of all the places I'll be hitting in a very short time. Help a girl eat? Villena Torrent Alcoy Alicante Alzira Cartagena Lorca Yecla Leganes Leon Logroño Vitoria Tarragona Pozuelo Talavera Lugo Villagarcia Burgos Santurxi Fuenlabrada Manzanares Xativa Ciudad Real Jaen Tomolloso Puertollano Cadiz Zaragoza Cuenca Valdepeñas Toledo Soria Albacete Orihuela Murcia Oliva Requena Thanks in advance! K
  3. 1. A truly and proudly lousy tipper (not precisely an eating habit, but a dealbreaker all the same. Asshole had even WORKED as a server). 2. (same guy) the mild salsa at my then-favorite Mex place in Phoenix was "too spicyyyyyy" for him (there was nothing containing heat in the salsa. I asked) and the green chile and bean quesadilla was "too weird." What a WHINER. 3. (same guy! I was a dumbass in my early 20's) favorite food? McDonald's, to the extent that he ate there twice a day REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT WE WERE MAKING A MEAL AT HOME. Can you spell divorce? I consider him lucky to be still alive - no jury would ever have convicted me. Thank goodness for slkinsey, who eats brains and stuff.
  4. Now - Bistro di Napoli isn't, for my money, ITALIAN Italian like the ones you mention, more of a combination of some traditional Italian dishes and more Italian-American ones, but it's very good. I think slkinsey and I will be in AZ in February - can't wait to take him there. He, of course, wants to eat at Pizzeria Bianco for every meal. Kathleen (but my sister-in-law, also a singer and living in AZ, is Karen!)
  5. Thank you for the tip. We have a lack of quality Italian fare out here. I hope you get a chance to come back and try some of our best. Molto E ← Agreed, in general, but I grew up in Litchfield Park in the 70's and 80's, and lemme just tell you...things have improved about 200% since then. My dad is partial to Pasta Brioni, in Scottsdale, any opinions?
  6. bergerka

    Pegu Club

    slkinsey and I were both there New Year's Eve, in fact (sitting right next to M.X. Hassett, who has fabulous hair). I really, really, really wish I could remember what all I had to drink. The combination of horrible jet lag and, well, New Year's Eve has wiped my mental hard drive, it seems. Anyone who was with me remember?
  7. there's the always-useful "tasty," as in Liam Neeson, Colin Firth and Ralph Fiennes.
  8. Just out of curiosity, has anyone invited the chef to come to eG and post her side of things? ...I don't think her behavior was appropriate. I'm just curious as to her justification. If it's more of that "I'm an artist, I don't do this for you" crap, we can all just roll our eyes. Like this. I react the same way to classical singers who speak of "the voice" and their "artistry" in hushed tones...oh, PUHLEASE... K
  9. Oh my god, where should I start??? I know how to cook now! Probably the most important thing I learned was this: if you poach eggs for five minutes, they turn into a cross between rubber and concrete and you can play tennis with them.
  10. A bad cold curtailed most of my planned restaurant expeditions on this trip to Phoenix, but we (mom, dad, brother, brother's gf - yes, she of the cookie clusterfuck - and me) did make it to Mom & Dad's new favorite: Bistro di Napoli, at 5830 West Thunderbird, just past 57th Avenue. Vincent Desiderio, from Long Island, and his family own and operate the place, and Vincent is always in the kitchen. Service is warm and friendly - and they were very accommodating to the weird sense of humor my brother and I share. They grow their own herbs and make the pasta on site - always a good sign. We ordered a variety of appetizers - their fried calamari is absolutely delicious, among the best I've had, crisp and just salty enough, with a spicy, zesty tomato sauce for dipping. Be forewarned if you order the antipasto platter - a serving "for one" was plenty for four, and had a good selection of cured meats - including some really awesome prosciutto - cheeses, and olives. Bruschetta was simple and yum, toasted rounds of bread, rubbed with garlic and topped with chopped tomatoes, basil and a little oil and balsamic vinegar. I ordered the gnocchi with "blush" sauce (a mixture of spicy marinara and cream sauce). Now, before I continue: gnocchi are the acid test for me. Slkinsey makes the best I have ever had (and I'm not the only one who thinks so - they are wildly popular among our friends), meltingly rich, light and fluffy, unsurpassed even by those of Mario Batali. I dream about his gnocchi. Therefore, it was probably unfair of me to order these in the first place. While not quite up to the ethereal "Sam Standard," Vincent's gnocchi are excellent, rich and very light. The sauce hit just the right balance between creamy and spicy and was filling without being too rich. Mom had the lasagne, which was the Americanized red-sauce version, but an excellent example, and again, spicy and more deeply flavored than one ordinarily finds (Dad had filled up on the antipasto platter and nibbled off all our plates instead of ordering a pasta). Jesse had a white pizza, with fresh basil strips layered over the top. This is cool - Vincent had an oven built for the pizza. He started out using wood, but switched to gas, which he says gives him better consistency. He keeps the oven at 550 degrees (I got to see it - it's really cool). The pizza had a thin, bubbly crust (not Patsy's thin, but what is?) with rather good char on the bottom, and the cheese was browned perfectly on top. Ashleigh, the gf, had the fettuccine alfredo, which she raved about, but which I um....forgot to taste. There's a good wine selection, and the house pours are all Italian - a good sangiovese and a chianti for the reds, a pinot grigio and - I think - a verdicchio for the whites. Mom and I split a full carafe of the sangiovese, which was probably a bit much for just two of us, but neither of us was driving. I'll definitely be back on my next trip. We were too full for the desserts, but they looked amazing.
  11. Unbelievably, I got entirely great gifts this year, including a couple of food books (one called "What the World Eats," it's TOTALLY cool) that I'm enjoying. I baked little bitty cranberry breads and honey cakes for everyone and managed to give the one made with margarine to the correct brother-in-law (SEVERE milk allergy, never seen anything like it, one drop lands him in the bathroom for 24-48 HOURS, in great pain) and the one made with Splenda to my diabetic dad (nota bene: a mixture of white and brown Splenda is PERFECT in cranberry bread, but use less than you would sugar). However, and I hope this is the appropriate place for this (it's not so much about a bad gift received, but a screw-up in GIVING), I hereby present (with her permission), from my brother's girlfriend, the story that has become known as "the great 2005 cookie clusterfuck." This is quoted verbatim from her email. Thus far, no one has died from eating the cookies. (the "Jesse" in the story is my brother). Be forewarned: much adult language follows. "Alright, so i had no money for Christmas presents. Last year i made cookies for everyone, and it turned out quite well, so i thought i'd do the same this year. Making cookies is fun! Only this year EVERYTHING was to be homemade. So i make chocolate chip cookies first at the begining of December and I'll freeze them until it's time and they're all done. Not being a chocolate eater myself, Jesse eats them and tells me if they're any good. Some are a little under done, but that's not too bad, so i let it slide. Too late to put them back in the oven anyway. Then i get sick for two weeks and can't/won't make cookies. So it's the week of Christmas and in addition to not having cookies ready, i also haven't had the energy for Christmas shopping. I'm still feeling like shit, but i force myself to get everything done. I make a double batch of sugar cookies that i got from my mom's recipe box and stick it in the fridge like you're supposed to. While that's chilling, i get to work on the gingerbread men. I'm following a recipe from a cookbook i have specifically for gingerbread men. As i'm mixing it with my crappy hand-held mixer, it is slinging gingerbread glop all over the kitchen. On me, on the phone, on the wall, on the door, on the fridge, on the floor. We all know what color gingerbread is, so needless to say it looks like shit has been slung all over my kitchen and myself. The gingerbread isn't quite a dough consistancy, though. It's more like sludge, or mud. So Jesse calls his mom for help. She's not there, but his sister Carol comes to my rescue. I read her my recipe and she reads me her's from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Well, ol' Betty's been around a lot longer than i have, so i try to modify my recipe to fit the one she has. So i add to my recipe, but it doesn't seem to help. It's still sludge. Or shit. Whatever. So his sister says "keep adding flour until it's thicker". So i do. The dough morphs into this weird looking glop of thick sludge. Thicker, yes, but not enough to roll and cut out. So i keep adding flour. My crappy hand-held mixer is now trying to keep up with me and is working really hard. Its motor pops and it dies in my hands. But not before tripping the breaker in the kitchen. Pissed, i get the power going again, throw the mixer in the trash, throw the dough in the fridge, and say fuck it, i'll deal with it later. I cool off and come back to it about an hour later. I'll start with the sugar cookies. I throw the dough on the floured counter, take my rolling pin and whack the dough. It's as hard as a rock. It literally crumbles. Well that's obviously not going to make cookies. So a shit load of dough, time, and money goes into the garbage. Well let's check on the the gingerbread, shall we? Yep... that's crap too. More dough, time, and money in the garbage. I call Jesse and ask him to bring some premade dough home. He comes home with sugar cookie mix (says it make 3 dozen, but really makes 6 cookies) and some premade, precut gingerbread dough. Makes my job easier - sweet. So now we're dealing with minor trauma (the mix needs eggs and we're out, so Jesse goes and gets more). Time to decorate. I get a "basic cookie frosting" recipe off of the C&H (the well known sugar people) website. It calls for shortening - not butter - shortening in the frosting. Ok. Well the mixer is broken so i'm whipping it by hand for like ten minutes. We're frosting the cookies. Jesse tastes the frosting. I taste the frosting. We gag. It leaves a nasty residue in our mouths. Great. The frosting joins my other baking attempts in the garbage, may they rest in peace. Jesse calls his mom for a frosting recipe that he knows will work. I try to stop him. My logical reasoning is that i have another frosting recipe we can use. Jesse has learned. I have not. He says, "honey, the other three recipes didn't work, what makes you think this next one will?" The man's got a point. So he gets a recipe he knows will work. I have decided that making cookies is not as fun as it first sounded and i'm crying on the couch. Jesse, is now trying to cheer me up and make the new frosting - i'm not helping. Fuck cookies. Next year i better have a fucking job so i can BUY stuff for people - no more of this "from the heart, baked with love" shit. It's just not American. Hope you all had a Merry friggin' Christmas." :laugh:
  12. I'm at the folks' house in Arizona for Christmas this year. We had 20 or so for dinner - four kids from two to sixteen years old, the rest adults. Lots of people in the kitchen - it was fun! Menu was as follows: Roast turkey (made by mom) sausage stuffing (this is mom's traditional recipe. It has bread, celery, onion, all kinds of spices, sausage, and about three sticks of butter). wild rice with nuts and dried cranberries (made by sister Barbara) mashed potatoes (made by brother in law Brian, he is the mashed potato king) sweet potato souffle (me) baked sweet potatoes (whoever was closest to the microwave) cranberry sauce with port wine and figs (me) cranberry relish (made by Barbara, it had celery, nuts and some kind of jello) that cranberry stuff from the can (have to have that, can't get away from it) brussels sprouts sauteed with apples, onions and bacon (me) corn peas (those last two were mostly for the kinds) pumpkin pie pecan pie raspberry pie it was yum I'm still full.
  13. Neither can those who want to eat breakfast. ← Untrue. Breakfast is delicious any time of day, including 9 pm. I grew up eating dinner sometime between 8pm and midnight, and I still like to eat late - in fact, I have a hard time being hungry for dinner before 7:30pm, really. You and ewindels can hang out, though. K
  14. bergerka

    Pegu Club

    Was there last night as well with a few friends - I had the Velvet Harvest too, YUM - I love pear - and then a Blinker, which is pretty AND tasty. We sat at a table, for once, because there was no room at the bar for all of us (we were five total). I wish I could remember our server's name - she was from Australia. She was fantastic and very interesting to talk to.
  15. I'll take "abomination" for $500, Alex.
  16. ("converted ginner" - bwahahahahahahahaha! :laugh: ) I think we're going to see a lot more call for that juniper-infused vodka, myself (not actually kidding and can't wait to see the looks on the bartenders' faces at, say, Henry's, when customers ask for it). Do you think we'll see cocktail size in "everyday" bars shrink a bit, or is that a lost cause? K
  17. Ok, I'm from the southwest, not the south, but what could possibly be bad about grits? I mean, grits are good! K
  18. I was there about 4 weeks ago and they said they weren't closing till December 23. Oooh. Mmmm. That makes me think there might be nothing nicer than a snowy shack burger. K
  19. Ahhh. Get yourself and the gin out from under the bed and make Nigella Lawson's Gin & Tonic Jelly (in the Domestic Goddess book). The gin is added after any heating of ingredients so the alcohol is fully potent. Refreshing! Have the ferrets ever managed to get into the gin? ← Ok, see, that sounds really good, but there is NO mayonnaise and NO FISH involved! Ferrets love gin...it makes them tip over. (YES, that's a joke. Ferrets love raw chicken and ice water. Gin, not so much) K
  20. IF DISLIKING FISHY JELLO IS WRONG, I DON'T WANNA BE RIGHT. Thank you, and good night. And by the way, the words "congealed" and "salad" should NEVER go together. I don't give a rat's ass whose recipe it is. Ick, ick, ick.
  21. My dear, Jello is everywhere. There is no escape. ← oh, Brooks, no no - jell-o the dessert is delicious, don't get me wrong. Watching it wiggle and seeing it jiggle has been one of the great joys of my life since birth, practically. Especially with whipped cream and maybe some sprinkles. SAVORY Jell-o with tomatoes, horseradish and mayo, with or without seafood (but especially with), is sick, wrong, nasty, disgusting and nauseous. Ew. K
  22. Thanks a lot, Grandma Pierce's savory jello mold salad thingy, dressed with seafood, has sent me cowering under the bed with the ferrets and a bottle of gin again. I left Kansas to get AWAY from crap like that! K
  23. Well, last night we had a salad of green leaf lettuce, hard-boiled quail eggs (they were supposed to go with one of the courses at Thanksgiving, but I think um...slkinsey forgot about them...), sliced leftover turkey breast (sous vide-cooked turkey breast is delicious in salads), julienned cucumber and honey-mustard dressing. That's a good way to eat leftovers!
  24. Lucy, this is the first chance I've had to relax all weekend, pretty much - I'm so glad I chose to spend it catching up on your blog. How beautiful. Thank you. K
  25. I'm currently lying on our big comfy living room chair, unable to move. We had our post-turkey day "get rid of the leftovers" brunch today. Two kinds of turkey hash, one with spinach and one with mushrooms, crepes filled with Turkey a la Reine, sausage links, bacon, and all the leftover desserts. Plus the palmiers and chocolate truffles that we um...forgot to eat on Thanksgiving. Plus cappuccino, orange juice and grapefruit juice. I might die, but it was worth it. There's even a little sliver of cranberry cheesecake left over for my breakfast tomorrow. K
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