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Posts posted by Winot

  1. Wilfrid,

    I once did a bit of Philosophy of Science and isn't there a chap called Feyerabend (sp?) who argues quite convincingly that science relies just as much on faith as voodoo? It does at least challenge one's belief in science as disinterested logical progression, and I found it fascinating (as, incidentally, a science grad and a Christian).


  2. Egypt, a country whose dominant Islamic tradition clearly prohibits beer, has a market for beer much larger than its Christian population (about 10 to 15%) could support.

    Also Turkey (culturally Islamic though politically secular). I've just come back from Istanbul and man do they put it away. Interestingly alcohol seemed to be even easier to get hold of than when I was there 9 years' ago, and this seemed to be associated with a rise in a Westernised middle class.

  3. You wouldn't believe it but the Host/Hostess has decided, that since children will be at the party, it will be non-alcoholic. You'd think that they would have figured that out before hand. :hmmm:

    Whaaa? Now a faux pas really has been committed. Why can't the adults still drink?

  4. Malcom Gluck of "Superplonk" Guardian magazine column fame has had his own "Superplonk" label wine on the supermarket shelves for a while now.  

    I think there is a clear conflict of interest here, with critics trading off the trust gained from the wine buying public from their reputation as an independent consumer advocate.



    See the Guardian link for more on this. Note that he apparently donates the Superplonk income to charity.


  5. Are we talking about Charlie Trotter the man or Charlie Trotter the brand? I know nothing about him or his restaurants but it seems from what you're all saying that he has extended his brand such that the words "Charlie Trotter" have acquired a secondary meaning in commerce which goes beyond describing services provided by the individual. This kind of celebrity branding is very common now -- do you really think that Michael Jordan makes your trainers or Paul Newman your salad dressing? (Apologies for suggesting anyone on egullet might buy this). Ultimately though Trotter the individual will be stuffed if he can't exercise sufficient quality control over the provision of services under his Trotter brand -- it will have a knock-on effect on his personal reputation.

  6. Yes this practice is infuriating. I'm ashamed to admit that I was once dragged to Wong Kei's (by friends with less money than sense) and tried to rescue the situation by ordering randomly from the Chinese part of the menu at the back. The waitress refused to accept my order (of course, I may have been ordering the equivalent of chips and ice cream).


  7. I'll be in SF from 27-29 October. It's my first trip to the West Coast and I'd appreciate some restaurant recs from those in the know.

    Having scanned the board I thought I'd try Cafe Panisse and Zuni. I also want to try some decent Mexican food, as the Mexican scene in London is dire -- crappy all-you-can-eat Tex-Mex where the best places are those that don't poison you.

    Any pointers? We're staying fairly centrally (Hotel Rex near Union Square) and aren't going to have a car, so only places that are walkable or on public transport please.


  8. The Peasant?  Last time I went there I was dreadfully disappointed. Can't remember what I had -I must have screened it out, post-trauma- but I had to send it back. Congealed and lukewarm on top - a 5mm charcoal crust on the bottom.  This was 10 mths ago - I haven't been back.  What on earth were they up to? 

    The Bleeding Heart gets my vote.

    I went to the Peasant a few months back and was also disappointed. Nothing horribly wrong, just very average and fifty quid a head. Could have had a rare old time at St. John's for that.

    The Bleeding Heart was also a bit mixed when I last went (again a couple of months ago). My salad campagne was superb and my steak fine but my partner's dish was pronounced to be the worst she'd had for a long time. This was in the upstairs bistro though -- maybe the restaurant is more consistent.

  9. I feel reasonably well qualified to talk about bad pub food as it formed the basis for most of my childhood eating out experiences. My dad was a bank manager and so we weren't poor by any means, but the sensibility was decidely lower middle class. My parents took (and still take to some extent) the view that eating at restaurants was an unnecessary luxury. After all mum could cook a family meal for the cost of a single restaurant meal. And I have to say that the few experiences I had of 1970s restaurants (mainly Italian) put me off too. Pubs were better value. More to the point, they weren't as intimidating as restaurants. I suspect that this attitude survives today -- witness the success of Wagamama and the like that provide food without frills. In fact I know it does, having sat thorugh an office meal out yesterday at a fairly relaxed but "posh" restaurant (i.e. napkins, glassware, waiters) and watched a number of the staff look decidedly uncomfortable with the whole thing (and no, it wasn't just the company).

    So I think that any analysis of this topic has to include a class perspective (but then I say that about every topic).


  10. Now, don't laugh but my nearest farmer's market is in Peckham on a Sunday morning  near the new library - a fairly small affair but they have an excellent bread stall. They also have occasional French farmer's markets although I haven't been to one of those yet.....just shows you how even the dodgiest part of London is becoming gentrified.  :hmmm:

    I came across the French farmers' market in Peckham about a year ago -- surreal sight of cartoon Frenchmen (complete with stripy shirts, onions and Hello Hello accents) selling excellent cheese and sausages to the good denizens of south London. The best thing was that they refused to speak anything but French, forcing customers to use their best Franglais and/or tentatively hold out a £20 note hoping that would cover the transaction.

  11. Well, well, well. They say the net is a small place. There can be only one Simon Majumdar!

    That sounds exactly like the food in the school dining room at Oakwood, minus of course the mussels, prawns, soft shell crab.

    Who could ever forget the stench of  gristle stewing gently in packet gravy, lovingly served up by an old battleaxe in a pink bri nylon smock. Happy days eh!

    Go on then, give me a clue. Which one of the people I came down South to get away from are you?

    Now there's a line you don't often get to hear on Friends Reunited.

  12. Gavin - Living in the UK, have you tried the Wine Society?


    I am indeed a member of the wine society, although don't use them that much - but I will take your advice and contact them...

    I've just bought a 1990 Ch. la Tour Blanche (Sauternes) from the Wine Society for £35. I think I may have got the last bottle, cos I can't see it on the web site now, but they are still showing 1989 Château Guiraud for £35 and Château Doisy-Daëne, 1996 (Barsac) for £21.50. And a Château d’Yquem, 1990 for £175 come to that...

  13. Excellent suggestions so far; for a slightly smaller budget try some of the Languedoc sub-appellations. In the last few years we've stayed in the Les Baux de Provence, Minervois and Coteux de Languedoc regions (the last being northeast of Montpelllier which has some excellent restaurants.


  14. Jon,

    Just to add to what's been said -- I have been to both Baltic and RSJ and would concur that RSJ would be better -- Baltic is cool but a bit twenty-something flashy for a client lunch.

    I've always enjoyed RSJ (only been pre-theatre) -- it's quiet but it's not that plush and beware the service can be a bit ... idiosyncratic ... it would be fine if the high-powered clients were foodies but if they're the type to go for Conran-style then you might be better off at the People's Palace or Oxo Tower [ducks to anticipate Majumdar-grenade].

    Let us know how you get on.


  15. Has anyone been to Tas, on The Cut near Waterloo? It's supposed to do really good Turkish, but I've failed in three attempts to get a table without a reservation. (Which is a good sign, I suppose.)

    Yes Tas is excellent -- really high quality fresh ingredients and to my mind the best budget place in London. We usually go before a trip to the National Theatre or somesuch and are always told that we can't book -- until that is you tell them you want a table for 6pm to be out by 7pm. I think they've got a branch on Borough High St. also.


  16. Can I put in a vote for Petit Robert? It's a French bistro in Park Street (the Borough market end) directly opposite Neal's Yard cheese shop. The closest I have found in London to a Parisian bistro; unfortunately at London prices. Good wine list and specialises in aged armagnac.

    In fact we ate there the other night before an evening visit to "Matisse Picasso".

    Give it a go!

  17. I also commend the Languedoc region to you.  Holidayed in Minervois last year (try Domaine Piccinini La Liviniere) and Coteau Languedoc this year (try Domaine d'Aupilac and Mas Daumas Gassac).

    Any tips on where I can find these particular Languedoc wines in the LA area?

    Sorry -- I'm London based so haven't got a clue. However, Parker has a section on Languedoc-Roussillon wines and I recall that he lists US importers.

    Hope that helps.


  18. Mas de Gourgonnier is from Les Baux de Provence.  It has some Syrah, but it's mostly Grenache.  It often appears on Best Values lists.  If you're looking for a $10 red, it's worth a try.

    Les Baux is a great region. As well as Mas de Gourgonnier, try:

    Mas de la Dame (good olive oil also)

    Domaine Hauvette (white and red)

    Domaine de Trevallon (VdP but delibrately so; expensive but rated highly).

    I also commend the Languedoc region to you. Holidayed in Minervois last year (try Domaine Piccinini La Liviniere) and Coteau Languedoc this year (try Domaine d'Aupilac and Mas Daumas Gassac).

    Great value wines from France's "New World".

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