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Everything posted by hotle

  1. on the surface, i've gotta agree with those who think this is less-than-news. however, for some reason, i also find myself compelled to respond, so i guess it must be more interesting than i thought! the ws gets its revenues from (not an exhaustive list, i'm sure, but prob'ly three of the big categories): events (tastings, the 'experience' stuff they do), subscriptions, and advertising. those who seem to ascribe to the conspiracy theory seem to believe that the most influential of these (to the ws, or parker, or whomever) is advertising. what that theory misses is that without subscriptions, there would be no advertising! this means (at least, to me) that it's in the ws's best interest to have its subscribers believe in its integrity. right? i mean, when you buy ws or wa or whatever you want, you are paying for the OPINIONS of the writers in those publications (btw, that's the primary difference between the model of an online community and a publication - online or print - and why the comparision of the ws's subscription list to hits on this site is comparing apples and grapes. one asks the question: would you read this person's opinion? the other asks: would you PAY to read this person's opinion? BIG difference, as a number of my friends found out in the late '90's.). if the ws or any other publication is either fabricating its reviews (i believe i've heard folks here accuse them of this, no matter how nicely-worded the accusations are) or are being strongly influenced by ad dollars, then the drop in the public's perceptions of ws's integrity would result in less subscription dollars, which would result in less ad dollars and events revenues. iow, looking at it from the ws's pov, it is absolutely in their best interest NOT to be influenced by who buys ads and who doesn't. IF such an effect were widely known, it'd be disastrous to their business model. same for parker and anyone else who runs a business in this business. of course, it took the payola scandal to change this type of practice in radio. and, i can only believe those who've written that they've been strong-armed by ws's ad folks. however, though i don't know any of the reviewers personally, i get the feeling that challenging their integrity directly would get the same, in-your-face response as challenging the integrity of a writer here, which is why i just don't buy the conspiracy. m
  2. i guess my favorite today would be simply sauteed chanterelles with a bit of sliced shallot and half a garlic clove, deglazed with madeira and basalmic. i could (and have) eat this for dinner, not just as a side dish. except, of course, the mushrooms i used to eat as a kid growing up in s. iowa. we didn't have all that much money, and had to stretch things. i remember going out with my dad to my aunt's acreage a couple days after a rainfall in the spring. we'd pick two FULL brown grocery sacks full of morels (mushrooms, to us, so i guess it IS a midwest thing). my mom would dip them in egg and milk, coat them in cracker crumbs (saltines), and fry them. we'd have one bag the first night, the second the following. squeeze a little lemon over them, have a salad from the garden.......wow.
  3. www.dartagnan.com i've ordered duck (foie gras, duck breasts, duck fat, confit) and mushrooms (i've liked the porcini and chanterelles. i've tried the morels, but just can't seem to like them from mail order here or anywhere else......i just have this memory of mom frying them fresh from my aunt's back 40 when i was a kid!).
  4. found this wine at the local binny's a week or so ago. parker gave it an 89, and the review they had posted had all the 'right' words in it for me. in addition, the price was about $22/btl by the case, so i went ahead and took the plunge. second bottle opened last night, with similar 'results' to the first. very nice deep, dark berry nose. nice color with no apparent brick/red, medium body, not extra-long on the finish, but not short, either. black cherry and plum on the palate. tannins were not all that apparent. parker had posed a maturity of 2002-2014, but based on the lack of tannin at this point in both bottles, i'd say 2014's gonna be a stretch, and i'd drink this one over the near-term. i LOVE bordeaux, though, and at 20 bucks, i may buy another case. matt
  5. i'm originally from abt. 30 miles south of iowa city, but don't get back there much any more. that'll change next year, though, 'cause my daughter's going to school there (both her mom and i did, as well). anyone know if the lark is still in tiffin (6 mi. west of coralville?)? used to have some pretty good prime rib. i'll admit i do like zuber's in the amana's, but agree that the food can be pretty boring. i've had fried pork in just about every truck stop between davenport and iowa city (used to work for a seed corn company), and i've really never had a 'bad' one. if you really wanna sample 'local' cuisine, head about 28 miles south of iowa city on 218 to a little town called 'ainsworth'. go west on hwy 92, and in town on the right you'll see the shamrock. good fried catfish, and good steaks. if you go east on 92, there's a little restaurant on the left whose name i forget, but when i get home to see mom and dad they take me there for steaks. matt
  6. bought a bottle of lafite's second on a whim at binny's last week, and tried it last night. took about an hour after uncorking (and pouring a glass) to open reasonably well. nice cherry and black fruit nose, got a lot of cherry on the palate. medium body, decent but not extremely long finish, tannins present but not overstated at all. i found this to be a very nice, drinkable wine, even at this age. and, i thought it to be a 'poor' price-value wine.....i paid about $30 for it. matt
  7. two things cause me some worries on adkins: 1. the aforementioned lack of clinical research on LONG TERM (two recently-published papers seemed to back up at least short-term claims) results of high-protein diets is a bit scary. i'm reasonably health-conscious, having been 'large' as a kid and adult. i now lift weigts 5 days/week, and am trying to build a bit more bulk in certain areas, so high protein intake is critical for me. but, i'm not sure it is for everyone......the proteins i take in are used in muscle growth. not sure what happens if they're simply not used. and, proteins ain't used for food in cells, at least from the reading i've done. 2. it's a DIET. until i decided i was tired of being looked on as 'fat', until i understood what that did to my self-esteem, and until i decided to change my patterns of behavior, i stayed 'fat'. period. i tried diets, i tried workouts, and each one was treated as something to do 'til i looked good.....and then the weight came right back on. if you want to be somebody else, as sister hazel's said, change your mind, and your behavior patterns will modify. thanks for the great discussion.....this was an excellent thread to 'return' to. matt
  8. hotle


    non-traditional, but this one's what i use: 2 large onions, chopped 8 cloves of garlic, pureed 1 pound of bacon, chopped mix of dried chiles (ancho, pasilla, etc.) roasted and ground, as much as you want cumin seed, pan-roasted and ground to taste 2-3 jalepenos, roasted, peeled, and seeded 2-3 poblanos, roasted, peeled and seeded 4-5 lbs sirloin or chuck, trimmed and diced (i don't dice uniformly.....i like the different textures) 1 large can tomato sauce 1 large can tomato puree jack daniels (about a cup? don't know....i'm usually drinking it, too!) red wine (a half cup, and i don't drink this with the jack.......) beef stock to thin, if necessary salt to taste, but with the bacon, not much is needed i don't leave the bacon in......i just use the fat to brown the meat/aromatics. that way, my son and i get to eat the bacon. i usually chop the two roasted green peppers together and use them to adjust heat/taste during the 2-hour cooking process. and, i add my ground chiles in 3 stages, the last of which is usually about 30 minutes before serving. like i said, non-traditional, but pretty tasty! matt
  9. a few weeks ago, my local winemonger had a few bottles of rabbit ridge wines open. he'd been able to get some good deals from a distributor trying to lower stock. i happened to drop in between my son's baseball games and did some tasting, the result of which was me buying a case of this wine at $12/bottle, which was substantially lower than what he'd had it for retail a few weeks before ($25 or so, i believe). it's a blend of sangiovese, cab and merlot. the first two bottles i opened were lovely.....very nice cherry/black cherry nose and palate, long legs, full mouth-feel and long on the finish. since i do love sangiovese, i was congratulating myself heartily on my purchase (wouldn't have bought at $25, but for 12 bucks, i thought this to be an excellent value). even in my first tasting, i was looking at this to be an every-day drinker, but was also looking forward to drinking it every day! last night, i drank my third bottle. nice berry-fruit nose, soft tannins, a bit of chocolate on the palate. it tasted like (gasp) a $7 bottle of merlot, with somewhat more structure from the cab. it was as if the blending process had foregone the mixing of the sangiovese at all, which i'm sure wasn't the case. bottle variation sucks. so, i guess i'd caution at buying this at retail price. it was still an 'ok' bottle, but i wouldn't have paid $12 for it. now, i'm hoping i find enough of the 'other' bottles to justify my overall purchase. matt
  10. with lamb chops, fresh pasta, and garden zucchini last night. this wine is blended with 'small amounts' (quote from the label notes) of cab franc and merlot, and you can pick up both that wonderful franc and the chocolate of the merlot along with cherry on the nose. nice plum and berry fruit, predominantly black raspberry. medium body, dark ruby color. two key things on this one for me: this was a 'last glass' wine.....i opened it at 5:15, started dinner at 6:30, and drank the last glass at about 8 pm. the last glass was clearly the best, with all of the fruit, soft oak, and nice tannins evident. second, to me at least, this is mostly a back palate wine. the front palate was short, though good. i have 9 bottles of a case left, bought on sale at $20/btl. i'm holding the '97, also bought on sale for $20/btl case price. it's much more intense than the '99, with more structure and deeper tannins. matt
  11. agree with tommy. underneath all the glitz and glam and giddiness, i believe there was a VERY strong sense of seriousness with the chefs involved. i bought the 'iron chef' book, and though i understand that there was likely some editorial content care taken (read: self-serving speaking and quoting), you couldn't help but be impressed with how much the iron chefs CARED about the food they made, and the potential face they'd lose if they lost a battle. and, the tasting panel members seemed to be knowledgeable about food, and willing to speak their minds as well.....even the kids. even the battles with flay, though more over the top, food was the key, not the campy presentation. the american version seemed to me to be all about the glitz and glam and giddiness, and i didn't find the commentators amusing. but, personal taste and all!
  12. bond girl, the wine you're referring to is (probably) the 'basic' rosemont shiraz black label. i've enjoyed this wine for quite a while, but in the more recent vintages, i've not been as happy with it. one thing i WAS happy with was about 2 years ago, when i 'discovered' 6 bottles of '94 or '95 that i'd forgotten about in my 'cellar'. i opened one, thinking i was about to find out it was well past its prime, but instead, had a very lovely, very drinkable wine. don't know how much longer it'd have gone, but the 4 years or so didn't hurt it. the wine i THINK tj's talking about is the 'one step up' mudgee ('hills of gold', i think?). whereas the regular black-label is about 8 bucks, this runs between 15 and 20. when i bought the '99, i enjoyed it, but the tannins were really strong, so i put it away. matt .......who also doesn't know a damn about wine, other than i like it! edit: to my shame, i also realize now we're talking about the cab, not the shiraz. sorry......
  13. interesting on the bottle var. guess i got 'lucky', 'cause i didn't get a bad bottle out of the case - and i DO remember bad bottles, since i don't have unliimited funds to spend on wine. tj, i don't think this wine will ever be classified as anything other than 'rustic', but for a pasta/pizza wine, i'm not looking for claret. however, given these comments, now i'm re-thinking my comment about taking the remaining bottles off the shelf.......luck only goes so far! so much for my first foray into wtn's. matt
  14. tj, how was the '98 holding up? also, have you had the '99? i've got some of the '99 and '00 (6 btls of each) in my 'cellar', and have stayed away from them......at last taste, they were over-the-top tannic. i'm also not sure about vintage variances, but i'm just trying to get a sense for how the rosemont mudgee 'style' translates into drinkability. thanks for any thoughts, matt ps: thanks for the tn's!
  15. folks, my first post of tasting notes, so i'm hoping i get this 'right', and you don't all laugh at me (at least, not too much)! last bottle of a case bought nearly 2 years ago, with (egad!) take-out pizza. i'll admit to knowing NOTHING about italian wines, but have been attempting to acquaint myself off-and-on. bought this one based on the words in a review i saw near the wine (advocate), not the rating, which i believe was low-90s. i'm not a big 'numbers' fan, but i do look for specific words from reviewers that would guide me to a wine. on opening, almost a rhone-like nose, very floral with notes of tar and (i think) some raisins. full, dark, almost black - definitely a blue-tooth wine. had an almost syrupy texture, and definitely needed time open. after 1/2 hour, it started to open, and got better in the glass for about the next hour after. deep, rich, black cherry in both the nose and the palate, combined with leather. tannins still there, but not to distraction. very long finish, and hit all portions of the taste buds. $110 by the case, i believe, and i just saw the 2000 or 2001 get a 'best buy' in the speculator a few weeks ago. pretty available, too. i actually think my wine merchant has a few bottle of the '99 left, and i think i'll relieve him of them! matt
  16. hotle

    White Castle

    in our nomenclature....'gut bombs'. i've found them to be excellent for hangovers (seem to speed the cleansing process, not to mention one of the only places open that late!), and when i've eaten too much popcorn or other 'binding' material. and, i do like grease and onion, which are the two predominant flavors in those three bites! not sure i'd classify this as a 'must have', though, or even 'acceptable', from a take-out burger perspective. our local wc is close to a steak&shake.....no competition, in my book.
  17. my son and i watched saturday night. i was pretty disappointed, i guess. in addition to echoing many of the comments here, i also wondered how the napoleon with the sparklers on top tasted......yummy yummy ashes in my tummy! i'm a big fan of the japanese iron chef. yeah, the costumes were hokey. yes, the 'host' was goofy. but, under it all, there seemed to me to be a VERY serious treatment of food, even with all the staging. and, there was a knowledgeable commentator (hattori) who actually seemed to know something about ingredients (i've read dias blue's columns on wine before and enjoyed them, but anyone who was just exposed to him on this show hasta think he's a moron). the pacing was good, the guests.....even the kids they had on.....seemed to love food and be able to express themselves. and, during the battle, there seemed to be a consistent repartee between fukui and hattori that these two commentators just didn't have. i may catch another episode (if there is one), but if it doesn't improve, i won't watch it again.
  18. craig, GREAT article! one of the things that's additionally frustrating to me is that the 'second tier' comes replete with 'good' wholesaler account reps and 'bad' account reps. let me take an example: i happen to enjoy flora springs' sangiovese, and not the blended italian up-scale they sell. it's less than 20 bucks, i've had several vintages, and have loved them.....especially the '95 and '98. problem is, at my local wine store, the fs distributor rep is of the 'bad' variety. and, it's the same rep for most of my area's stores......none of them like the guy, so none really stock the sangiovese. they have wines from the 'good' reps that they'd rather stock! so, in addition to the increased costs we have to pay for the second tier, we also have to bear the politics of the wine biz as well, making drinkable wines unavailable in addition to being expensive when they are available. bottom line: i'm trying to get enough of my friends (we meet every friday evening or saturday afternoon to taste at this store) to 'force' them to buy the wine. grass roots at its finest! thanks for the excellent article again, matt
  19. hotle

    Dinner! 2003

    grilled pork chops, marinated in herbs/garlic/evoo homemade pasta with homemade pesto zucchini from the garden, diced with just s/p, evoo, lemon juice 1999 chateau haut-chaigneau (nice, soft, yummy)
  20. the 97's still drinkin' pretty well, too. just found a couple 'extra' bottle that had been sitting in a mixed case in the back of my favorite wine store. thought i'd bought it all out a year ago, so a pleasant surprise.
  21. some interesting ones here - got some good recommendations! food-related: just re-read through gray/rogers two river cafe cookbooks. andrea immer's 'great tastes made simple' now, the shallow stuff (i travel a lot, so i read a lot): lake house - james patterson (the follow-on to one of my top-5 books of all-time, 'when the wind blows') bare bones - kathy reichs still life with crows - child/preston, and its predecessor, 'cabinet of curiosities' naked prey (sandford's latest - read ALL of those)! shrink rap - robert parker the last detective - robert crais for another of my favorites that uses food and drink as a means of enhancing the setting, try alice borchardt's (she's anne rice's sister) 'silver wolf' - a story of a shape-shifter in hadrian rome. didn't like the two follow-ons as much, but i've read this one about 20 times. yeah, i read trash, mostly! matt edited: jeez, i can't spell!
  22. hotle

    Favorite condiment

    guacamole louisiana hot sauce homemade mayo maille mustard
  23. my most recent one is adding a 'finishing salt' to a cut of meat just off the grill, prior to resting. i use a fleur-de-sel typically, but kosher's better than nothing.
  24. not an agronomist or ag major, but..... my dad was a 'hog buyer'....a middleman between farmers and a large, well-known meat packer (think of the cute ditty with little kids and b-o-l-o-g-n-a and you'll have it). each christmas, many of the farmers would give him stuff as a gift, and a couple would usually give him a half a beef loin, off the bone, grass-fed, that they'd killed and butchered recently. as a 'practitioner' (eater), i found the major differences between the grass-fed and the lot-fed (grain) beef we'd get in either stores or restaurants to be: 1. texture. since the grass-fed cattle are 'free-range', they use their muscles more than those in a feed lot (which is where the 'fattening' process takes place). feed lot cattle just basically spend the day standing around looking at each other, thinking whatever cattle think, and of course eating grain; their muscles aren't as dense and structured as those who spend their day wandering about a pasture, climbing up and down to the creek to get a drink, and chasing after each other in those charming little games cattle play (no jokes about cow-tipping, please! that's a game for people, not cattle..... ). it's kinda like muscle density and mass between those of us who exercise and those who do not.....those who do typically have greater muscle density - whether or not they have more muscle mass - than those who don't. when we'd eat grass-fed beef, the texture would be 'denser'. we typically cut 1"-thick steaks. when we got much thicker than that, the texture was just too 'chewy' - there was almost no marbling at all in this beef. 2. mouth feel and taste. marbling=fat. fat=more round, unctuous mouth-feel and 'different' taste. this may be the 'bass' notes that have been talked about. 'course, more fat=more calories from fat (and, in this case, saturated fat), with all the accompanying health stuff. and, the more 'melt in your mouth' the beef is. i'd also agree that the taste was/is more gamey in the grass-fed than in lot-fed beef. i don't consider one 'better' than the other, just different. i'd also say that when one defines winners and losers, one also should put parameters around the 'game' itself. that would include taste preferences and health issues, too. i get the strong feeling that for most of us, an aged, grain-fed, 2", grilled medium-rare porterhouse would 'win' over similarly-cut, similarly-cooked grass-fed meat, but for some, it may be t'other way round. matt edited for spelling.....oops.
  25. hotle

    What's wrong with Merlot?

    slk, 1. what if i don't like barbera? 2. what if it's not on the wine list? 3. what happens if the local jewel/osco doesn't carry it 'cause the liquor buyer there can't spell it, or (more likely) thinks it's a import sports car? 4. most importantly, what if i don't know what the heck barbera d'Asti is? not everyone wants to spend their the majority of their time researching wines. they want basic wine to drink with dinner, or to serve to their (likewise uninformed) guests. you may find that deplorable, and rage against the machine that makes this type of wine available. i shrug, and say 'so, what?'. that's capitalism for ya. btw, i'm not arguing the merits of bulk merlots. i think they (mostly) suck, and i don't drink 'em. i do have some pegase and some krug reserve downstairs, though. what i guess i was trying to work around was what russ brought up.......not all wines can be petrus. however, some people DO like them. that's their taste, and if they enjoy it, i say drink it. matt
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