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Everything posted by tanabutler

  1. Speaking of foraging mushrooms... Foraging dinner in a redwood grove... On the menu were chantarelles, porcini, butter bolete (sp?), and candy cap mushrooms. Also wild boar, served five ways. (I like four of them.) Harold McGee attended, and he was just great.
  2. There is a place called The House that I think is one of Randall's oft-visited places. We went there for a business lunch once, and the food was fantastic. He had pork-fried noodles, and I had quail because it was the last one left on the specials menu and I love quail. The salad was great, and they have a good assortment of sakes. I wish I could find my little Moleskine from earlier this year, so I could post a more detailed description, but I do remember that one of the descriptors in a very delicious sake: apricot blossoms. (I think.) I don't know the name of the neighborhood, but the client is near Montgomery and Broadway, so it's around there. Walking distance, anyway. But Randall can tell you more: it's his spot.
  3. I'm surprised they didn't charge for the smell.I am so glad I can easily live without truffles or foie gras. I know, more for the rest of you, but JeeeeeHOvah. I'm waiting for someone to brag that their Humvee gets mileage similar to this cost. $230/gas per ounce (or gallon, let's be generous). "Decline and fall of the Roman Empire for $800, Alex?" On the other hand, I'm friends with some mushroom foragers who are having a great year, though not at the $3700/pound level.
  4. Very beautiful, and the photo of the greens is just perfect.
  5. tanabutler

    Turkey Brining

    Option D =the only option for me: buy a non-kosher turkey and don't brine at all! Turkey should have a distinct contrast between the savory/salty/herby skin and the sweeter meat inside. I tried one of those "best-tasting chicken in New York" kosher chickens from Trader Joe's and it was awful. What is the love affair with too much salt? Gak. (Hey, Brent, yes, it's a keeper!)
  6. tanabutler

    Dinner! 2004

    With the windy weather, I really felt like wintery comfort foods while we watched the late game on ESPN (yay, Packers). I slow-cooked chicken legs with shallots and baby potatoes and rosemary (heaven). Roasted beets, sautéed with the beet greens in aged balsamic. Stuffed mushrooms with sun-dried tomatoes, herbed bread crumbs, and pine nuts. Bob's girls stopped in with the baby, and that little Muppet ate an entire stuffed mushroom (a huge one) despite the cayenne and spices in it. MY mushroom! No photos: babysitting and cooking were enough of an occupation.
  7. Border Grill in the Mandalay Bay has enough ambient noise that your child shouldn't be a problem. It's comfortable and nice, and the food's great. Highly recommended.
  8. I decided to get it for my daughter, who's sixteen and smitten with both food and science. She can explain it to me.
  9. Brent, As Harold McGee explained, brining essentially replaces the actual flavor of your very flavorful bird with salty water. There is absolutely no need for it, and I am solidly in the anti-brining camp. I think it's the emperor's clothes. I've never cooked a dry turkey in my life, following a recipe I'd like to link to, but Epicurious.com's recipe site is down for maintenance. Just because there is a thread with a lot of participation about brining doesn't mean that it's a good idea. Don't brine your heritage turkey. I won't ever brine again. It ruins the pan juices, which are rendered useless for gravy. Be good to your bird!
  10. I had the utter joy of sitting next to Harold McGee at dinner last night: it was the season finale for the Outstanding in the Field farm dinners. After touring through a redwood forest with David Chambers, a professional forager, fifty or so people sat a long table at the bottom of a hill, surrounded by redwoods. On the menu was wild boar (five ways), Dungeness crab/chantarelle lasagne, Pacific mussels with a saffron aïoli, a salad of wild greens garnished with madrone berries, and walnut cake with candy cap mushroom ice cream. Randall Grahm, of Bonny Doon Vineyards, supplied about a dozen kinds of wine; the tasting room in Bonny Doon was just down the road from the dinner. He was entertaining, as usual, and the wines were some of the best I've had in a while, in particular the 2003 Cigare Blanc and the 2003 Il Circo Erboluce, which he described as "Old World wines." (More on that later.) I will merely say that Mr. McGee was the most delightful dining companion anyone could wish for—I am sure that everyone in our vicinity would agree. The food was fantastic, and the moonrise over the grove, exquisitely beautiful. It was a perfect afternoon/evening. I'm still all blissed out today. I have a few pictures of the food and tour that I'll post when I get it together.
  11. Pick up excellent sandwiches, salads, wines, cheeses, including cowgirl creamery cheeeses and a small selection of baked goods at Tomales Bay Foods in Pt. Reyes Station. They have wines also. Also, around the corner on the main drag is a regular supermarket that you could supplement supplies with. ← If you're going for picnic supplies in San Francisco, your one-stop shop would be the Ferry Building Marketplace. Seriously. There is absolutely everything you could wish for there, and the variety is staggering. Cowgirl Creamery, the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, meats, fish, oysters, Lu Lu Petite (great pre-made sandwiches), Mistral (rosticcerie meats, etc.), Acme Bread Company, and chocolates and confections galore. And we all know that anyone who doesn't go there owes me a box of Kleenex.
  12. Well, well, well, folks, that is straight from my Most-Trusted Foodie Friend. Randall has lived in San Francisco since 1979, with an eight-year stint with a vineyard in the Alexander Valley (where he would stay on some weekends). I know he dines out a couple of times a week, but even more amazing is that he does all the shopping and cooking in his house. Such a mensch! He's got fabulous taste, and he is about as well-connected as a mortal in the city can be. I'm glad he finally posted. Yay.
  13. That Chunkonabe thing sounds fun, Carolyn.
  14. I would add this detail: calzones are generally bigger and empanadas are more tightly filled. Rental cars. Think rental cars. Empanadas are a 2-door compact or 4-door compact. (But they drip on your chin.) A calzone is a four-door car with plenty of head room and not a lot of features. You'll have to ask Bux directly about his experience with pasties (in foreign countries!), which surely diverges widely with mine (um, in other common uses). <insert emoticon here indicating, well, take your pick> Hope that helps.
  15. Whenever I have a hot dog, I want it to be pink. The other colors just weird me out. <No emoticon. Steven Wright.>
  16. I've given places a second chance, based on the collective good hearsay from my friends. There's a place in town that has people raving, though when I've asked specifics, there is usually at least one dish that didn't deliver. I recently went back for a third time to a place here in Soquel, where my first meal was spectacular. The second was a nightmare so bad I wrote a long letter to the owner about it, starting with the worst service I've ever endured. Oh, what a list of egregious offenses that waitress managed to compile in an hour. A couple of weeks ago, I was meeting there with food pro friends, and we had a mixed bag for lunch. This included my second experience with a piece of steak filled with gristle. I absolutely will not return there, no matter what. Otherwise, I think Melkor's post states it about as good as can be.
  17. Chowfun, my most-trusted foodie friend in the Marina goes to Andale a lot, and I went once with a girlfriend. She had a huge shrimp burrito, served hot with a very savory tomatoey sauce on it. I went with my standard burrito—I loved grilled chicken, and theirs is roasted on a spit. It's in a nice neighborhood, too. It's not "authentic" Mexican per se, but who cares when you've got insanely flavorful and fresh ingredients in a place with nice (though casual) ambience? Another place that you might have luck with would be the "early bird" dinner at Le Petit Robert--or is that too pricey? The food is so good: simple, flavorful bistro food prepared with top-quality ingredients (organic when possible). Since you'll be on an East Coast body clock, the early dinner might work well in your favor, since it's apt to be uncrowded. It's a very friendly place, and if I lived there, it would be my neighborhood restaurant in a heartbeat. It's on Polk and Greene. Also, when I ate there, sitting at the table next to us was Alton Brown. He eats there regularly when he comes to town, if that's an endorsement. (I considered it a good one.) Lastly, if you're coming to San Francisco, you should consider plunking down the $25 for the Entertainment book. The coupons in there for things like tours, the aquarium, the Exploratorium, the zoo, Zeum, California Academy of Sciences, Turbo Ride, and a zillion restaurant two-for-ones (including Andale). You will save so much money. Dining, shopping, travel (half price on lots of hotels), and so on. Hope that helps. I'll ask the foodie friend about places to eat near Zeum and the Exploratorium.
  18. Sam, I've never seen knives like that. As a calligrapher who has often been paid to make people's names look good, I am in awe of how gorgeous your name looks on that metal. I'm very impressed.
  19. You never did say how old the kids are, Chowfun. Do y'all like Mexican food?
  20. I wanna see you and Don Rocks buttered up with your individual choices and wrestle in the ring for King of the Butters. No, seriously, I would love to taste-test the two myself. How do I get on that free-butter mailing list?
  21. Respectfully disagree with Melkor, whose palate is far more refined (read: narrow—he has lofty standards that maybe Thomas Keller and some kickbutt taco trucks can please ) than mine. I have eaten several times at Habana (www.habana1948.com) at Van Ness/Pacific, though not in a few months. It's pleasantly noisy in there, and the food is good! Not the French Laundry, but good. I would take my teen there in a heartbeat, and she's got a good palate, too. (So good that I rewarded her for her 16th birthday with a trip to Manresa.) It's also got a theme that's fine with me: Cuba in the Forties. The owner is a big supporter of Cuban artists (living), and I am thus happy to support him in his business. The salmon is a keeper. A note: I found out about this place from my very-most-trusted foodie friend in SF (who has no time for eG)...he knows the owner and is on his list for heads-up mailings. Most-trusted advised me, when I was up there alone, "Check out this place, I think it's reopened." In fact, it was opening night, and I got to meet the chef after I praised the meal to my waiter(s). When will you be in town? How old are your tasteful hellions?
  22. Ack, he's the Dale Chihuly of sculpture! It looks like he Mod-Podged a Jackson Pollack onto an entire brass section. That can't be good for one's digestion. I wonder if people request to be seated away from it. I'm surprised no one's mentioned it yet in this thread. But back to the photos, which are so wonderful, Ellen. What did they make from the round cookie cutters through the tubes of pasta? That looks like a great low-tech application that could yield wonderful results. Any idea how they get the pasta to stick together? (I know my grandmother could have done it: you should have had her rice.)
  23. So, Ellen, when DeLouvrier would tell staff, "Make it again," did you get the rejects?
  24. Impressive, indeed. Sam, have you considered having a Gruner Veltliner for one of your courses? Perhaps the cauliflower soup: GVs go great with spicy food. I, too, am looking forward to photos.
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