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Sparkitus

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  1. I would never call you a dirty name, but hell yes they do it for Parker (and the rest of them, too)! Did anyone see the NY Times Magazine articles three weeks back about an outfit called Enologix? This is a consulting company (with a rather surprising client base) that has come up with a matrix for winemaking that will result in 90+ scores for wines and they guarantee it. I'm not sure if they have any European clients but the Americans are lining up to get in on this. They recommend practices that are used quite commonly, but with the goal of producing "award-winning" wines. The controversy
  2. Sparkitus

    Terroir

    Well, if you really want to get all geeky and geologic about it, I found this really great book called "Great Wine Terroirs" translated from French, by Jacques Franet (spelling?) from UCal Press. Literally dissects the great vineyards and shows how their soils. subsoils and situations evolved over time through the movement of land mass and other forces. It almost makes me want to be a soil geek! Check it out.
  3. I'm not convinced of that "fact." I had such disinterested service at l'Atelier de Joel Robuchon last April (on my birthday, no less) that I was outraged. For the last half of my really expensive lunch ($176 for me alone), my so-called waiter was out in front of the restaurant smoking a cigarette and chatting up a girl. In general, the service elsewhere was about on par or worse than what I experience here in the states - and I saw a LOT of understaffing everywhere, surprising considering their "system."
  4. Amen. And while we're at it, in what other business can you demand something for free for a little inconvenience? Ten minutes in the bar and no free drink? Grow up. More than that, different answer. True story: I had a table of four having a wonderful time, loved the food (they shared two entrees, btw) and the wine and the restaurant. Check time comes and they're outraged that the wrong bottle of wine is on the check (they have not paid yet, mind you), so I correct the check and return it to them, apologizing for the mistake. They demanded I take 30% off the bill (where that number came f
  5. I think it's a bit ridiculous to "pour first, ask questions later." The point of asking at all is to provide service by making a guest know they have options. And, yes, bottled water comes with an added cost, but not to offer for fear of making someone uncomfortable can also have the added affect of being insulting (assuming someone can't/won't pay for water). Perhaps it's the tone of the server who offers bottled water, not the offer itself, that makes people uncomfortable...
  6. The explanation is that NBC insisted that most of those people be there 6 nights a week for filming. It's TV, remember? NBC brought in the bimbos and the duffuses and imposed them upon the restaurant, including the male bimbo bartender. They were not hired by the restaurant, but the restaurant had to pay them, and they diluted the tip pool in a ridiculous way. And for the record, the place was mad busy before the cameras came, the team was working pretty well and most of the service and food problems were ironed out. For 3 weeks, NBC threw a spanner in the works and it became a retarded zoo
  7. That would be Carrie. Who is actually very nice, but man once the cameras start to roll she turns into Shirley Temple and hams it up. Did whatever the producers wanted her to do. She's actually really funny and quite smart, but you probably won't see that on TV. Same for you, Uzay :) Cheers
  8. Just a little Primer for those who need the bullet points: in no particular order. Regarding liquor licenses, they opened with Catering licenses which had to be issued weekly for several months until their "real" one came through. the show was not "directed" per se, but it was "produced" and those involved were often asked to re-create moments that the cameras missed Chodorow has admitted that he let Rocco lose money to make a point, so that was not calculated for the cameras, it was a fuck you to Rocco set up to make him look like an idiot (as if the help were required) Drew was 20, n
  9. Actually, the quote I heard is: Season 1 was the Stupid Season; Season 2 is going to be the Ugly Season. Should be fun.
  10. Actually, I've seen this approach, exactly as you've described. It was a husband and wife team and it didn't work any better at all. They wrote with one voice and were, frankly, more catty and nasty than just about any other reviewer I've read since. By the way, this was the 80's in Hartford and their names were Jane and Michael Stern, writing for the Courant. They gave one restaurant such a hideous review that it closed 6 months later and the outcry was such that they soon after stopped reviewing for the Courant altogether.
  11. The difference is that liquors are, for the vast majority, *intended* to be mixed.
  12. Well, maybe not for the entire movie, but in the beginning of "Once Upon a Time in America" there is the most beautiful scene of a kid bringing a confection to a girl and he has to wait in the stairwell until she is ready to come out. Leone spends an entire 5-minute single-edit with this kid as he unwraps the dessert and slowly proceeds to devour the thing. Really beautiful cinematography.
  13. Monterey and Santa Barbara are not quite as built for tourism as Napa, but I think that's an attraction. You should know, however, that many of these wineries are rather small and a call ahead is a smart move, or even essential. Some have open tasting rooms (Fess Parker among them) you can just walk in to. SLO (San Luis Obispo) is a charming town to visit, and there are some great restaurants in the area. Check out The Wine Cask in Santa Barbara and order a bottle of Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir (the logo was inspired by the ceiling in the restaurant). Also, I don't know if it's on your itine
  14. If you want something more in-depth, look up the courses at the French Culinary Institute or International Wine Center (I believe that's what it's called). They have professional and semi-professional introductory courses that will be much more involved than a one-day session with Mr. Zraly. As with Mr. Zraly's classes, these are also rather expensive, but well worth it. I don't know if Andera Immer is still conducting courses at the FCI, but last I heard she was the director of wine curriculum there. Also, there is the former Kump's school (I.C.E. is what it's called now I think) which co
  15. You don't have enough bandwidth for all the poop! I'd hate to spoil Season 2 for you, but, yeah, Jeffrey and Rocco go at it in front of guests, waiters, and cameras several times. It makes for a nerve-wracking work environment to say the least. I don't think either of them is going to come off very well when this airs. Stay tuned... Lord, I think that was our staff trying to get snow off the awning. Did you catch Rocco dancing around in the falling snow, too?
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