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Everything posted by victornet

  1. I'd second the notion that none of the NYC places are on the level of Topolobambo. I enjoy Zarela and Rosa Mexicano (yes, the guacamole is the highlight there), but they are not on the same level. Since you will be downtown, Zarela's son has a place a couple of blocks from 71 Clinton, and while I don't think it's a stricly Mexican place, perhaps someone can post the name and an opinion.
  2. Fat Guy is on the case. Go to Di Palos, and converse with them. You'll learn so much that you would not get picking stuff off the shelf at D and D. Plus you can get the great Ricoota, mozzarella, parmesan, and anything they recommend. I'm a big fan of their plain cheese ravioli (large raviolis with a big sheese to pasta ratio).
  3. victornet

    Simply French

    I'd also like to note how valuable Patricia Wells' role in this book is, not merely for "Americanizing" it. I have a translation of a book he did for the French market (something like 'Cooking through the Seasons') and it is barely useable.
  4. victornet

    Simply French

    I've done a number of things from the book, but it may be best for the tidbits of wisdom one picks up at random points - his approach to using salt, for example. For example, I use his technique to cook salmon fillet ("whole grilled salmon fillet with red shallot sauce" in the book) but instead of making his sauce which contains 16 tablespoons of butter (I did try it ONCE) I make a simple chive oil. Perfect salmon (or arctic char if you reduce the cooking times) every time, with a minimum of effort. There are other recipes, like the Provencal Roast tomatoes, which are great but you'll find serviceable versions of them in Patricia Wells' other books. Certainly his techniques for leg of lamb and salt crusts are handy. But if you ever had the lamb he served at Jamin you know it is one of those experiences you will NEVER duplicate at home.
  5. Perhaps this is a bit off topic, but I knew I had not totally failed as a parent and food guide when my son returned fron camp last week. The big event of the Summer was a trip to the Ben and Jerry's factory - postponed a couple of times due to rain, but not cancelled due to the vocal intervention of the parents. Upon returning home my son gave me a present: a tie died Cherry Garcia shirt! He not only makes a mean vinagrette for a 12 year old, but he knows how to get a boomer where it counts.
  6. victornet

    Kaffir Lime Leaves

    I'm pretty sure I've seen them at Kalustyan's, but I'd call first.
  7. Will you be coming out on the western side of the white mountains? Our son goes to camp not too far from Hanover (Dartmouth) and we've had very good meals at Simon Pearce in Queechee and the Perfect Pear, perhars 10-15 miles North (I'm blanking on the name of the town at the moment).
  8. Sorry if I make a blatant commercial plug, but while your party is waiting on line for Tomoe Sushi (or Lupa for that matter) take a look at the gift store across the street, Random Accessories. It's run by my vivacious sister, Lynn Freidus :), tell her eGullet sent you. You'll be glad you did.
  9. victornet

    Tomato Salads

    I like to cut the tomatoes (in 1/2 if grape or cherry, in similar bite size pieces if not) and salt them in a bowl, letting them sit and lose some water which I drain before dressing. I mix them with lots of arugula, and dress just before serving with : 1 part sherry vinegar, 1 part red wine vineger, 2 parts very good olive oil, pepper, garlic, salt. I imagine some people would use a greater percentage of oil to vinegar, but 1 to 1 is good for my family.
  10. Not cheap, but highly recommended is La Campagna. Get the fried artichokes.
  11. Boy this enlarged my understanding of dining in the Portland area. Any similar recommendations for the Mount Desert Island area? Beyond a great lobster pound and the famed popovers in the park we tend to eat in on our visits there, and are going again in 2 weeks.
  12. The specialty here is definitely the oxtail soup, into which you scoop lots of salt and chives. It's my favorite place to eat before a Knicks game (though at this point just about any good meal beats a Knicks game). They also have a 2nd location, architecturally cooler and more modern, in Tenafly or thereabouts. Some Korean friends took me to that one first.
  13. Paul, I suspect it will be in the upcoming ny times article will mention it (since Lubow included it in his Departures article, which I found helpful before our recent trip) but I'd like to reassert, my lengthy notes on Commerc 24 notwithstanding, that Alkimia was my favorite meal in Barcelona, and gets my highest recommendation. This chef will be around for a long time, I believe.
  14. Gagnaire, no question, in my experience. Though I've been to Gagnaire a couple of times since a visit to Savoy (a very good meal that did not earn a place on the 'go back' list) and Savoy has since been upgraded by a star - perhaps he is attending more to the eponymous spot and less on the bistro empire.
  15. You are certainly in luck in Barcelona. I recommend buying the Time Out Barcelona eating and drinking guide - lots of good information. We ate quite cheaply at Tragrapido (in the eixample) connected to Tragaluz - wonderful main coulses for about 7 euro. And near the Modern Museum we had a fixed price lunch for 12 euros (wine included!) at Silenus - the level of culinary ambition was high, the meal enjoyable, but you could see they had to pick their ingredients carefully to meet the price pint. And there are all kinds of goodies in the markets. We didn't wait for a seat (much coveted) at Bar Pinotxo in the Boqueria and found lots of other good things to eat in the market.
  16. Here's my notes on Commerc 24 (I took better notes on this trip, inspired by some of the egullet posts on Barcelona). We had a 15 course meal, with lots of explanation by the staff of what each course was. Among them were a red gazpacho, a tomato foam that you scooped up with potato chips, marinated clams and mushrooms, a piece of smoked salmon covered with salmon eggs which you dragged through an emulsion of clear yogurt flecked with vanilla (my favorite course - as with so many of the most memorable items in Barcelona the quality of the ingredients was every bit as high as the imagination that constructed a dish that enhanced them), a stack of goat cheese, anchovy, and toast. Other dishes included 'Matisse carpaccio' a plate divided into 4 regions, each with a carpaccio, to be consumed in order:1.tuna, 2.cod, 3 beef with grain mustard sauce, 4. jicama (refreshing end to the sequence). They served late in the proceedings a tiny 'hamburger' with foie gras inside (with full knowledge of the DB burger- we even heard another new yawka at a nearby table proving her foodie bona fides to the waiter and discussing this). There was also a tuna tartar 'sushi' and a dish described as 'meat and potatoes' - a cup with a white cream top (potato cream) and a beef stew like bottom. I was never a big tapas fan, but the procession of small, strong tastes composed into a coherent whole was brilliantly demonstrated here. There were 3 desserts. A mango liquid that was like a melted sorbet in flavor (best of the 3), strawberries in juice that looked like jello, and a chocolate pudding of sorts. We sort of blew it with the wine, drinking a Remullari Riserva 98 that was pretty closed down (better later maybe) with only a few good moments. Obviously this meal would not have existed without El Bulli (which I realize was a big disappointment to Matthew. I'm still hoping to go next Summer), but I suspect it was playful in a less serious way. The music was young, good and possibly loud for some ( I'm just recalling the mood, not the decibel level). It was a wonderful meal, but would not do for those who don't want the explanations, the many tastes (as opposed to the slow savoring of a large main course). For those I'd recommend Alkimia - which was my favorite meal of this trip anyway. I'll be back in a minute, though.
  17. I don't have a big green egg, but a friend swears by his. I use a "mr. meat smoker" I got for a wedding gift 20years ago to smoke, and it's terrific. Probably fairly cheap if they still make them - flimsy metal and all- it still holds up great. I bbq on a weber kettle.
  18. I just have time for a quick post, but will add more soon. We're back from Barcelona and the meal at Figueras was quite terrific. Definitely on the French/formal end of the spectrum, but with some of the wierd but tasty contrasting elements I look for in Catalan food. Our favorite meals were at Alkimia and Commerc 24.
  19. The class was at De Gustibus at Macy's. Highly recommended. This was the 3rd class (over 3 years - these are one night demonstrations) I did with Dufresne. I find that you learn lots of tips, ingredient sources, and techniques. Though I do make Wylie's rye bread and edamame crust for bass on occaision, I rarely duplicate complete recipes from the classes .
  20. (somewhat off topic) For what it's worth: Since the topic of Spain had come up in the cooking class I asked Wylie Dufresne afterwards for any Barcelona recommendations. Very off the cuff he mentioned Espai Sucre, 7 Ports and Alkimia. By the way I feel Grimes' review today was very in synch with my one meal so far at WD-50. More comfortable than 71 Clinton, aiming even higher with the food, but still a work in progress. There were dishes, such as the Pork Belly, that are a spectucular taste, but a bit much as a full portion. I was probably the most positive of my party of 4, and felt many of the dishes would work even better as smaller plates in a tasting menu (sounds like Spain perhaps?). I have seen no mention of it, so I'd add that my scallop appetizer was terrific. Very concentrated flavor, but you wanted to eat the whole thing and more. The little bone marrow cakes that accompanied the lamb loin were quite tasty as well. I'll post back about Barcelona when I return in early July.
  21. Thanks, Bux I've been reading all the threads and have a lot more info. We'll definitely go to Jean-Luc Figueras based on his past performance, but I'm looking forward to some more classically catalonian stuff, and will report. From all reports (here and elsewhere) things have moved forward quite a bit in the last 10 years. Indeed, in a cooking class I took with Wylie Dufresne last night, both he and a bunch of the students were sugesting that Spain was THE happening place.
  22. I'm off to Barcelona in about 10 days, and some of the posts here have been really informative. On my last visit there, about 10 years ago, our favorite meal was at Eldorado Petit. Has anyone eaten at its chef's current venue, Jean-Luc Figueras? We're planning to visit Alkimia, and are sorting out our other meals.
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