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Everything posted by Lan4Dawg

  1. Denver & Boulder are pretty well covered but there is not a lot of mention of any of the other cities (Manitou Springs, Grand Junction, Grand Lake) that I can find--at least recent mentions--so any help is appreciated. Regional is preferred and usually dinner but not real picky as long as it is good and good value and e-gullet mention worthy. We will be driving (all over the state!) so no car issues but prefer some thing as close to the "main drag" as possible (my GPS consists of Fuss w/a map). As important is a suggestion for a good liquor store on our way fr/ the air port in Denver to Manitou Springs and in Boulder.
  2. Repast is closing as Joe Truex is heading to Watershed in Decatur. Apparently it was too much to keep it going but I do not know the whole story. Today's AJC had a story on Joel's closing and Rexall's up in Duluth has temporarily closed b/c of failure to pay taxes. Rexall's is going to re-open in the next couple of weeks but you will have to get your drug store counter food fix else where for the time being.
  3. Is the "House of Prayer" still open and serving (& still any good?) That would be a good choice for "soul food".
  4. If you enjoyed SmokeHouse Ham, Spoon Bread, and Scuppernong Wine then you will definitely like The Food, Folklore, and Art of LowCountry Cooking. As the title suggests this does the same for the area fr/ middle SoCar to north Fla as SmokeHouse did in the Appalachian region. It is a similar format w/ a lot of inter-views and discussions w/ not only chefs, cooks, and those in the food business but also writers, historians, &c who know the region and help explain about the food and why the food is. The book is also chock full of receipts that are typical of the area. The list of contributors reads like a "who's who" of low-country cuisine--the Lee Brothers, Louis Osteen, Marvin Woods, Robert Carter, Joe Randall, et al--but also includes people like Dan Carter, Ben Moise, Franklin Small who are not as well known but are a part of the food and culture of the region. Joe will be at the Margaret Mitchell House for a discussion, Q&A, book signing on 30th June. Fuss & I plan to be there so look for us.
  5. as for Georgia: Old Clinton in Clinton, GA and Fresh Air in Flovilla are considered the two "best" in the state (arguably). There is also a Lexington, GA which has a quirky barbecue joint that is supposedly very, very good but the name of which escapes me. There are a bunch of places in 'bama and Mississippi but I am not particularly familiar w/ them.
  6. You say polenta/I say grits. I always use stock in my grits simply b/c I think it adds to the flavor (along w/ hot sauce, salt, pepper, & some times cheese). Grits are usually a coarser grind than polenta but what ever you put in to them does not change the fact that they are grits. If you cook rice in stock it is still rice so why should grits be any different? I agree, Lan4Dawg. I almost never use plain water to cook anything when I can use (or at least add) stock or white wine or OJ or some other flavorful liquid instead. For grits it's vegetable stock. Why not? I've never had any complaints! And I never have gotten the distinction between grits and polenta. In fact, I've often served "polenta" to guests who would never in a million years touch grits. Yes, I'm devious that way. back when I was doing some catering I had some one ask me the difference between grits and polenta. I responded, "oh, about $1.50 per person". ":^)
  7. Have you tried Gwinnett International Farmer's Market over on Shackleford (between Pleasant Hill and Steve Reynolds near 85)? They also have stores in Cobb and in Lilburn. I am pretty certain I saw some there just a couple of days ago. I also remember seeing some at the Hallel Meat Market at Singleton and JCB (the same shopping center as Aldi--on the left coming fr/ 85). I would imagine SuperH and Buford Hwy Market have it as well but can not vouch as I have not looked in either of those places.
  8. You say polenta/I say grits. I always use stock in my grits simply b/c I think it adds to the flavor (along w/ hot sauce, salt, pepper, & some times cheese). Grits are usually a coarser grind than polenta but what ever you put in to them does not change the fact that they are grits. If you cook rice in stock it is still rice so why should grits be any different?
  9. thx a lot folks! Fuss & I were talking at dinner the other night and some thing about E-gullet arose in the conversation. I mentioned that we were having a discussion about cleaning out the freezer and was told, "ya know......our freezer could probably use some work" which--if you live w/ those of the female persuasion you already realize--means, "I expect you to have the freezer cleaned by the time I get home tomorrow and I can not believe you have let it go this long ya big dummy!". Any how it was a good day for it yesterday as it was chilly and the garage was only in the 40's so I pulled every thing out, chipped out any ice build up on the sides, cleaned what ever detritus had accumulated at the bottom--including the half bag of peas that busted about six months ago--and re-organized. I decided to use those plastic buckets (I know they will eventually crack in the freezer but they work for now) in which we get cat litter, laundry detergent, &c (having nine cats we have plenty of those buckets around) and rinsed them well and then divided so that two buckets are full of pork, two are full of beef and two w/ chicken products (arranged FIFO). One of the racks has stocks, another has assorted stuff--butter, cream cheese, bread for the ducks, &c, another is full of vegetables, and yet another has pre-made soups, casseroles, smoked pork, &c and there was room for ice jugs at the bottom. All in all it was highly successful and I found some things I did not even realize were there and, luckily, no casualties as nothing was "uh.....what is this?" or "criminies! how long has this been in here?" and, sorry Sparrowgrass, no squirrel. I did have lots of help fr/ two of the cats--Pumpkin and Sweetie Pie--who were very curious about every thing that came out and kept hoping some thing was for them.
  10. Definitely go w/ coffee--especially at a brunch. If an older crowd many are going to drink coffee period and if there is a bar at all then some are going to want coffee before they leave. And, as said, some will want coffee w/ cake. When at the restaurant I would do a coffee bar w/ samovars of regular and decaffeinated, whipped cream, cinnamon sticks, rock candy sticks (as Celeste mentioned you can get them in artificial sweeteners now) as well as some flavored syrups--or instead of flavored syrups you can flavor whipped cream (just label to avoid any confusion). We made an ice block w/ holes sized for the cream bowls to keep it chilled. Coffee bars are a big hit and can actually add to your profit margin.
  11. when you are finished w/ yours would you mind coming and taking care of my freezer? I was told the other day--after Fuss & I arranged and re-arranged the chest freezer about a dozen times before we could get it to close--that I was not allowed to purchase any thing else to go in to the freezer. Unfortunately that was before Kroger had its "meat madness" sale and the market up the street had pork butts and ribs at ridiculously low prices as well as trying to get rid of the turkeys they had over-bought for Christmas. I went through and pulled out all of the saved bones, &c and made several gallons of stock and that freed up some space (except for the fact that the stock had to go back in to the freezer albeit in a more organized and useful fashion) and removed some ice containers to make room for the new stuff. As long as I do not find SparrowGrass' old squirrel.........
  12. I would think it would be relatively simple. I have seen a lot of plans to build smokers fr/ old refrigerators in various places on the web and in books so this should be pretty much along the same lines. (We used to have a smoker at a restaurant that was professionally built but was essentially a converted hot box so you might check your suppliers and just copy one that is already built). You could use a hot plate (as Alton did in one of his shows) or an electric charcoal starter for a heat source (too bad the heating element is not in that one any more or you would be a step ahead already). I would not think you would even need a fan and since it is standard issue finding shelves, wire racks, &c should not be a problem at all. Good luck and keep us informed.
  13. not a fan of chains but..... when traveling there are times you have little choice. I try to plan ahead as much as possible but there are long, lonely stretches of inter-state where there is absolutely nothing but chain places. That being said Fuss loves Waffle House and Steak & Shake and I will tolerate Longhorn's & Chik-fil-A (note 3 of the 4 are--or were--Atlanta based so we are helping the home folks!) so if we have to stop at a chain those are the options and the only options (we used to hit Subway but they have gone seriously down-hill). Once we arrive at destination then it is all about the locals and I would not step foot in a chain any where near home.
  14. having waited on tables for a while I have heard just about every thing. I think my favorite was an order for a "giraffe of white zinnia bells" (I kid you not and I asked twice while biting the in side of my cheek so hard it bled just to keep fr/ laughing right in his face). The Rev will walk in to a breakfast place and order "crazy mixed up cackle-berries w/ spicy pig innards, cat head biscuits, rat-trap cheese, and cow squeezins" which translates to "scrambled eggs w/ hot sausage, large biscuits, sharp cheddar & butter". Then tease the waitress about not knowing what he means (he does it w/ a smile on his face and tips well so he gets away w/ it. "Cow juice" or "moo juice" is milk. "Swabajigger" is relish (I have no idea). Powdered milk is "kitty milk" b/c we used to give it to the cats. My nephew was about four when he was staying w/ my parents. They had dried a bunch of apples and had given some to my nephew as a snack. A couple of hours later he told his gr'mother he had enough dry apples and wanted a "wet" apple. So now we ask if you want a "dry" or "wet" apple. Then just the other day my mother called as she was going to the store wanting to know where she could find "adagio" cheese. It took a while before it dawned on me she was looking for "Asiago" cheese. You can imagine her trying to ask me to purchase Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Kahlua, et al (this is the same woman who once told us when she confused two types of cars, "well, they are exactly the same only different".)
  15. Thx again OliverB I stopped by Whole Foods this after noon and got a can. It is "chestnut puree" but that should be close enough and it was on sale! so even better. I hope this trifle she is making is good.
  16. beautimous! I thank you and my mother thanks you. There is a Whole Foods not too far and I was about to call them when I saw your response.
  17. thx JAZ will give a call to them when lunch is over.
  18. My mother called in a panic b/c she found a receipt for a trifle (I think she said) that calls for chestnut paste. They live in the middle of no-where (really) and do not have access to much. I have looked some around here (Gwinnett County, GA) and have not seen it. Before I take off on a wild-goose chase I would appreciate any help finding it around Atlanta. I have called a few places I would think might carry some thing like that but to no avail. Almond paste and even pickled walnuts are in stock but no chestnut paste. thx in advance. edited to add: (note: found it on-line but want it locally if possible to get to her by Christmas)
  19. Lan4Dawg

    Marinating Chicken

    also note that not all Kosher salts are the same. Diamond Crystal measures differently fr/ Morton's which measures differently fr/ some generics (if you are measuring by volume) so bear that in mind when making a brine--or well, any thing.
  20. what about wraps? choose the fillings and roll, slice if you want finger sized (or are you looking for some thing specifically warm?) Would a fruit & nut/honey stuffed mini brie wheel wrapped in dough and baked be too much trouble (I cheat and use frozen phyllo or crescent roll dough)? Stuffed mushrooms would probably be too labor intensive. You could do mini-quiches. Purchase the pre-made mini pie shells and have a quiche base pre-made then folks could add what ever they want (spinach, crab, bacon, ham, onion, &c) then bake. Use soft peppermint sticks as straws/stirrers for your hot chocolate, tea, or cider for a festive touch.
  21. every restaurant I have ever worked refers to gossip as "grease". And of course cartoon characters names were used for the food: "Bambi" was venison, "Thumper" was rabbit, "Donald" was duck. "In the weeds" I believe is pretty universal for seriously behind (I had one waiter who when very busy used to say, "I ain't in the weeds yet but the grass is tall and growin'") and "lost in the woods" means completely beyond help. "Hockey puck" is standard for a well-done burger (or filet mignon in an up-scale place).
  22. Kroger (at least the ones near me in Gwinnett county) has Morton's Kosher Salt (blue box) on sale @$1.00/box which is less than half the regular price of $2.29 and even less than their store brand, $1.59. I do not know how long the sale will be going on (I imagine through tomorrow). I bought out the stock at the store on Steve Reynolds so you might try another store.
  23. I sincerely hope you have that labeled else wise I see a catastrophe in the making. "Gee honey, what are we having for dinner?" "I am not certain but it was in the bottom of the freezer and I think it is left over chicken." not to say there is any thing wrong w/ squirrel per se but after being "mangled" by the dogs and sitting in the freezer for a while I can think of more pleasant dinner choices.
  24. Listen to the customer. If I want a Bombay martini and specifically say "Bombay, not Sapphire" it means I know the difference. If I ask for a gin/vermouth ratio of 6/1 it means I want a martini and not chilled gin. If I ask for a lemon twist and not an olive it means I do not like brine in my gin. Do not bring straight Sapphire on the rocks w/ an olive and wonder why I refuse the drink (do not be surprised....it has happened more than once) and then wonder why I do not tip like a rock star. AND straining the drink through your hands in to a cocktail glass is not going to endear you to me at all (again.....it has happened) especially as there is not much you can do to remove olive brine at this point. Know your inventory! Granted much of what you have is in sight of the customer but some stuff is not or might be hidden. And if you do not have some thing then you do not have it. Suggest a plausible substitute and apologize for not carrying the brand the customer wants.
  25. I use regional cook books to prepare menus for tail gating and have several "favorites". You mentioned Edna Lewis and one of those I particularly enjoy is her collaboration w/ Scott Peacock, The Gift of Southern Cooking. There are a lot of folks who do not like Nathalie DuPree but I have always enjoyed her cook books. I heard some one call her "Paula Deen before any one knew who Paula Deen was". Some one mentioned Bill Neal and you can not go wrong w/ any of his books. Camille Glenn has an excellent cook book called The Heritage of Southern Cooking. It has recently been re-released and up-dated so should not be too hard to find. She was food editor of the Louisville, Ky paper (the particular one escapes me) so things are fr/ a some what KY slant but still an excellent source and a favorite. Another classic fr/ a food editor that has been re-released is Mrs. S.R. Dull's Southern Cooking . This book is a gem and I inherited a first edition fr/ my great aunt which I cherish. Any thing by Damon Lee Fowler is very good. He is fr/ Savannah so his focus is on that city in particular but he does a lot of other books that look much farther and wider. The Lee Brothers book is similar but their focus is on Charleston but still contains many, many Southern classics. A Gracious Plenty was edited by John T. Edge of the Souther Foodways Alliance fame and is a compilation of different receipts fr/ church, regional, & Junior League cook books fr/ through out the South. Speaking of which I am a sucker for Junior League cook books and many of them are quite excellent. True Grits and Atlanta Cooknotes were compiled by the Atlanta chapter. Cane River Cuisine is courtesy of the Service League of Natchidoches (I am certain I butchered that spelling) and I use that quite often. The Jackson, MS JL offers Southern Sideboards and the JL of Pine Bluff, Ark has Southern Accents and both of those are good. Southern Living's offerings can be hit or miss but they do a decent job on their compilations or "best of" books. And some one mentioned Being Dead is No Excuse which you need to read just to get a good laugh if nothing else. Believe it or not there are some really good church cook books out there. Trinity Episcopal in Greenville, SC has a very good book as does Christ Church Savannah and the Episcopal Church in Indianola, MS (but their lay out is confusing so I tend not to reach for that until after others). I hope that helps and is not too over-whelming.
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