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Everything posted by ducphat30

  1. He clearly brought the "Iron Chef" skills to the table. His demo took no longer than 45 minutes-granted he had some help-but what he knocked out in that time period was really amazing.
  2. Breakfast at the Sofitel (especially during the week) is fantastic, really good French press coffee, fresh baked pastries and the newspaper can easily turn breakfast into an hour, if not more.
  3. Try the French Culinary Institute in NYC. They offer quite a few 3-5 day intensive classes-they have a few on their website and their faculty is incredible (IMO). TAKE A LOOK HERE
  4. A lot of restaurants are open this weekend (sun/mon) to accomodate an incredible group of diners posing as radiologists and their related fields.
  5. Sorry to break it to you, but they're filming in Chicago and have been for a couple of weeks already- a few people have already been sent home-I'm guessing Top Chef spotted in Chicago
  6. ducphat30

    The Terrine Topic

    Mark, Try an orange chutney with a hint of ginger-just going on flavor combinations with what you have in the terrine. Because of the sweetness of the peppers and fruit a little bit of bitterness and spice in the chutney would be a nice counter balance. I'm assuming it's dried macerated fruits; apricots, raisins, in that neighborhood.
  7. Use ice for your liquid-and push the seal button when you start to vacuum the air otherwise you may compromise the integrity of the bag (create leaks elsewhere).
  8. You may have a tough time that week...... Institute of Food Technologists Food Smart show is at McCormick Place July 27th-August 1st.
  9. Just returned from 7 days in Rome. Two best places that my wife and I "found" were: Perdincibacco Via delle fornaci, 89 Roma This resto was near our hotel (Starhotel Michelangelo-near St. Peter's Basilica) and we actually enjoyed dining their 3 times, the service was very attentive and convivial. One of the nights they seemed to be a little bit understaffed for the amount of business they were doing. Highlights included; some of the best gnocchi we've eaten on both sides of the pond with roasted porcini mushrooms or with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. On another night it was a parpadelle with squash blossoms and saffron or spaghetti con vongole-really, really good. The last night we had dentice which I would put in the small striped bass category for comparison with a lemon and olive broth/sauce, really good-cooked whole and then filleted tableside. The wine list was good (IMO) but what was even better were the bottles on the chalkboard that changed daily. Had the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful barolo one night and a brunello di montalcino on another. Bucca di Ripetta Via di Ripetta and via del Vantaggio Small "osteria" that is in that category because it is clearly family run, but they have definitely done some traveling because their cooking although very Italian used some worldly influences in order to make what they were cooking better: Highlights included; probably the best "fried vegetables" we had-they used a tempura batter that kept it very light and the vegetables were really good. The red pepper honestly still stands out because of the depth of the pepper flavor, as well as the eggplant, because it was custard-like inside, it had been cooked perfectly. This was drizzled with either aged balsamic vinegar or a balsamic reduction that added the right amount of acidity. Next was a salad of porcinis, rocket and shaved parmaggiano regianno, lemon and olive oil-I actually asked them to grill the porcinis for the salad (which was another special), and that was really tasty. My wife raved about the bean soup-which was very good. The highlight was the milk fed suckling pig. It was a bone in pork loin with the fat cap and crispy skin; crispy crunchy fat protecting and bathing the loin into succulence. It was cooked through, but sweet Jesus was it amazing. This came with roasted potatoes and a light pork jus. Really good: Due Ladroni Near the Largo Fontanella Borghese Asparagus with fried egg-really good-even better with bread to soak up all the goodness. Rigatoni alla matricciani (sp?) was good; they used guanciale, my wife found it a little bit "porky", I was the atkins anti-christ on this one soaking up everything with a piece of bread. Grilled squid-it was crispy on the outside, but not overcooked-like right at the edge of falling into the abyss of rubberbands that overcooked calamari can be. This was with extra virgin olive oil, arugula, tomatoes and lemon. Straightforward a good way for our first night in Rome. Honorable mentions to: NINO Via Borgognona 11 Very good veal shank/knuckle-in tomato sauce with parmesan potato puree was the highlight. Perfectly braised piece of shank-well seasoned and braised to the point that it was not mushy, their was a little bit of resistance that I feel allows some of the gelatin/collagen to remain within the meat and adds juiciness. This place reminded big time of the Berghoff in Chicago in terms of demeanor of the staff and the way it was laid out, not that it was a bad thing, but you could tell that we were in a "tourist restaurant". Ristorante Scarpone Via di San Pancrazio 15 The housemade pasta was very good, but too much olive oil finishing it. The highlight was wood grilled entrecote (ribeye) with roasted potatoes. Everywhere we could find them we ate the wild strawberries, sometimes with gelati, once with a vanilla foam (bucca di ripetta). These really are amazing because they are so tiny and they pop when you bite into them but then it's like a very light strawberry jam on the finish. Until we return again to this incredible city. P.S. Couldn't believe how good the espresso and cappucino were everywhere, even the airport! Edited for ease of reading (hopefully)
  10. Fred Ramos is the chef there and he's a talented guy, so I would give it a second chance. I haven't been since he's taken over, but a few friends have told me the food is solid. It's a good choice in terms of a business dinner with all of the small private rooms/nooks they have in the back of the restaurant and everyone will find something they like on the menu. Although, I'd rather go to NAHA as well.
  11. Congratulations to Chef Virant Big shout out to one of the good guys, congratulations on Food and Wine top 10 Chefs. Couldn't go to a more deserving team.
  12. http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/lif...ack=1&cset=true Here's the link to an article in today's Tribune involving a tour of the Vienna Beef Factory-that'd be some good eating.
  13. Actually-I'm pretty confident that it's Michael Nahabedian that runs the front of the house and he and Carrie are cousins.
  14. Here's a stab in the dark...... What about the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton? He's already established a relationship with the Four Seasons Hotel Group and it seems like it would be a good fit in terms of helping to reposition the Ritz with world class modern dining. Just a guess. Both hotels 4SH and RC are managed by the Four Seasons.
  15. IMO, one of the best restaurants in the midwest to incorporate the majority of his menu from local offerings while still peppering it with consumer preferred items is Vie Restaurant in Western Springs, IL. In Chicago, Lula's, Blackbird and Avec also do this very well. But it takes a lot of "homework" from both sides. The chefs to do the research and work the markets, as well as asking/pushing the farmers for more variety the next year-even making the investment of buying a whole crop of whatever it may be to reassure the farmer. And then on the farmers part to research and grow it and then bring it to market. Winter farming is tough, but the people at Snug Haven grow incredible spinach through the winter in hoop houses-it would be an initial financial investment to build and maintain enough to be profitable, but their spinach is $8/pound and the flavor/quality and sustainability are worth it-especially this past year with the ecoli outbreak out of California. The alternatives are there, they just need to be developed.
  16. Do you have any contact information for this farm?
  17. Try Home Grown Wisconsin, they are not taking anymore families for the rest of this year, but they are for next year. Their produce is excellent and you may be able to get stuff for the holidays.
  18. Del Toro should be added to the list. Late night, solid eats, what more can you ask for??!!
  19. Here's a link to La Quercia in Iowa, this is the maker of the "prosciutto Americano", which a lot of people swear is comparable to Italian produced prosciutto.
  20. We could use something like THIS. Preferably within a couple of miles of the Loop.
  21. Careful, with beautifully marbled steaks like that, they may be "outlawed" soon, at least in chicago!?!?!!
  22. HACCP is an acronym for hazard analysis and critical control point, its a plan for safely serving food that goes above and beyond health and sanitation. In a nut shell, you analyze all aspects of the food you serve, from the way it is recieved at the door (how it comes in temperature, etc) to the production and ultimately it's service. That's a very generic definition.
  23. Although pricey, whole foods has the scharffen berger cocoa nibs-very tasty. I believe they come in one pound bags and I don't remember the price.
  24. Chef Virant has been invited to cook at the James Beard House this month a week and a half after chef Poli http://www.jamesbeard.org/events/2006/02/019.shtml Menu looks good, they are lucky to have such a resource in NYC.
  25. As of January 16th, a lot of the restaurants were required to go smoke free. I don't know the specifics of the law completely and how it affects hotels or if there is a bar/lounge attached they have a longer grace period (30 months) before having to go completely smoke free.
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