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Everything posted by babyluck

  1. I'm going to venture to repeat the same question posed by martinwa above though it didn't get much attention... worth a try... I'm going to Port Antonio for 10 days post-Xmas, any food recs? Thanks.
  2. Honey on the outside??? Please to splain. On the topic, I've never had a patty melt, nor known anyone to have one in my presence or otherwise and I have been haunting diners all my life. Maybe it is more common in the west? (I know it is available here in NY/NJ--a brief survey of local diners on menupages came up with about 50% having it on the menu and 50% not--I just don't know if anyone orders it.) I need to have one now, though.
  3. babyluck

    Danish Beers

    No doubt they're up there, but I can't believe any top four in this stat that doesn't include either Belgium or Czech Republic. I believe it's Czech, Germany, Belgium. After that I'm not sure. ← I was intrigued, so I did some digging. I found several different sources for the years 2002-2004 in worldwide beer consumption per capita by liter. The Czech Republic ranks first on the '03 list and not at all on the other two, which must mean that for some reason they were not included in the study. According to their PR, they are still, and always, #1. The lists are hard to compare, but here are the summarized rankings: Czech Republic Ireland/Germany/Austria (varies from year to year) Belgium/Denmark/UK Australia/US The Danish data has an important notation--it does not include border sales, which must be huge, as anyone who has taken the ferry over the North Sea (a.k.a. "Party Boat") can tell you. Sources: Brewers of Europe nationmaster.com realbeer.com
  4. babyluck


    Went to Hearth on Sunday with friends from out of town. I had the Snapper Crudo & the lamb--no one shared (probably because there wasn't enough food to go around) so I didn't taste any other entrees. They had the "Sunday night meatballs" (2 big hamburger-sized veal patties), the monkfish "osso buco" and a branzino special. We also ordered the mushrooms, gnocchi, and sweet potato puree as sides, one plate of donuts for Mr. babyluck and me, and the goat milk panna cotta for our friends. Everyone enjoyed the meal. The service was enthusiastic--REALLY enthusiastic. Our server reminded me of Rachael Ray. "HI! Our special tonight is BRANZINO with blahblahblah, it's a FIRM-TEXTURED WHITE-FLESHED FISH with a FINE FLAKE!!!"--looking like she was about to jump on the table and do backflips. She used the same delivery with the wine descriptions. It was surreal. I liked her, though. The bartender was awesome. Really friendly, attentive and sophisticated bar service. He admitted he was brand new and I was worried for him when the next customer came in and started asking him trick questions about the wine, but he handled it really well and she was happy with his suggestion. A few comments about the food. First of all, it was novel to leave a restaurant not feeling full. I know that it is an American folly to gorge ourselves when eating out vs. eating well and moderately. It was great not feeling sluggish and gross afterwards and the next day. But I think they could increase the portions just a bit. The only generous portions were with dessert, which made no sense to me. My favorite parts of the meal were the fantastic Hen (Hens?) of the Woods and the tiny orange smear (of buttercup squash?) that came with my lamb. Everything else was just OK--the crudo was really good but I don't think I appreciated as much as most here do. Overall, the atmosphere won out big time over the food and the value. It wasn't too loud or cramped, although it was nicely packed. It is a guaranteed nice time (kind of why I chose it) because the servers are so polite, but not obsequious (I think that's been noted before), the pace is good, and the decor is soothing. Not in a bandagey mental hospital way, though.
  5. babyluck


    Hi, iain. We are going next Sunday with friends from out of town. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks, Soba, for the recent report. I am reassured (since it was my choice--they wanted to go to Beppe, which is closed on Sunday).
  6. YES! I am willing to do that with my collection. Believe me it has crossed my mind more than once, but as a community project it seems somehow less crazy, and more likely that I would finish. P.S. What I thought when I looked at Google Print: "Wait...someone actually scanned in every page...?!?" That could have been me at some very unlucky temp job.
  7. babyluck

    Danish Beers

    Mr. babyluck was an exchange student in Maribo, Denmark, and came home with a love for many things Danish, most of all Tuborg. He can't stand Carlsberg and it drives him nuts that it is everywhere and Tuborg isn't. Even at the Scandinavian festival we attended a few years ago. We found it at a deli in Asolo, Italy, and he was in heaven. I thought it was OK but I don't like pilseners as a rule.
  8. Or even simpler, toss the peeled cloves in with the potatoes to cook. I usually use a bit of milk in the cooking water.
  9. I was feeling very guilty for not making good on my promise to post pictures of my kitchen post-pegboard, etc. so here they are, finally. I did not have the strength to straighten up first so you will just have to accept me for what I am--an imperfect housekeeper. The infamous table. Mr. Babyluck tried to clear it off and close it up periodically at first, but I think he's given up. I really don't see any point to putting it up since that takes away my only workspace. Yes, we rarely eat at the table since it is so awkward, but if we had the proper chairs that might change. Two of the few aesthetic improvements I've made: 1) putting up the fantastic vintage curtains I bought at a thrift shop when I was 16 (see, Mom, all that crap does come in handy eventually), and 2) replacing the old swinging door found in the basement. It does stay open most of the time but it is handy when the smoke alarm goes off in the other room. The pegboard! It has made me so happy... The stove (last night my friend asked me "how do you know when it's preheated?" "well, you just know--10, 15 minutes or so" "you mean it doesn't beep or anything?" The fridge The pantry My tupperware solution (no SmartSpin). One of the shelves in the pantry is divided, and we were keeping shot glasses and teacups there, until it came to me last week: I keep my oft-used spices on the lowest shelf of the table, on one of those expandable shelf thingies (love those). Some of the overflow is on a lazy Susan in the pantry: Here are the colors I'm thinking of painting, along with the objects that inspired them. What do you think?
  10. One last thing. I must know what the story is on "bruschetta" in Northern Italy. I was so excited all week by the British telling us about this great bruschetta bar right in Asolo and finally one day we were motivated enough to get off the speck & cheese train and try it out. The menu was not what I expected (read just like the pizza menu at Angelo's). I ordered something simple with tomatoes & cheese and Mr. Babyluck ordered the "SATANIK" with hot peppers, anchovies, etc. What came out of the kitchen can only be described as "home pizza"--a big slice of mass-produced wheat bread topped with pizza sauce and Polly-O, melted in the oven. I wanted my slightly charred grilled country bread rubbed with garlic and oozing with spicy local olive oil!!! The only explanation I could come up with is that the place seemed to cater to German tourists--it was essentially a beer-and-bruschetta bar, and Asolo does get a lot of Germans... maybe that's what they expect from bruschetta? At one of the towns we stopped at in the Dolomites, we saw this signboard, which will give you an idea of what I'm talking about: And a really nasty close-up: What is this stuff??? Is it really Italian, or what?
  11. PART VII Etcetera The Osteria al Bacaro, a really wonderful rustic restaurant in Asolo. Entrees were 5-8 euro! Unfortunately we didn't take pictures of the food. This is where we ate on the first night and I was introduced to the amazing asparagus. I must admit their rendition had a leg up on Angelo's. The only reason we didn't eat there as much was because there was no outside seating=no smoking. One day our waiter at the outdoor cafe (where I got the speck & cheese) showed Mr. Babyluck his fine selection of rare rums, and said something to the effect of "You know, there's more to me than Bellinis and vino rosso!" To prove it, he made a mojito. It was the best one I've ever had. Just goes to show you, people are usually more than you first think! On another day, I was having an argument with a British friend about the value of American wines and told him that Oregon Pinot Noirs tend to be particularly excellent. He ridiculed me for spouting patriotic nonsense. Not twenty minutes later, the same waiter spontaneously told me how much he likes certain American wines, especially Oregon Pinots! I made him repeat it for my friend... who said I must have paid him... sometimes you just can't win. Anyway, here he is, our hero, though we never knew his name: That's all for now. Salute!
  12. Did you give in to temptation ? The Bottega del Pecorino looks extremely inviting, I sure would have given in! I should have subtitled it "Torture" instead because I wasn't there! I wasn't around so Mr. Babyluck went to Bassano without me... not his fault, I knew there would only be one empty seat in our friend's car so I secretly orchestrated it so that he could go without feeling guilty. I wasn't too disappointed until I saw these pictures after we got back to the US! The deli in Asolo was good but yes, oh my, the Bottega del Porcino... I'm just dying to know what's in all those beautiful bottles--next time!
  13. PART VI Agriturismo! Our farewell dinner with the group at an agriturismo on the outskirts of Asolo. I was exhausted and sluggish from the week and the dinner started at 12:30. I could barely keep my head up but I could not stop eating! It started with bread, cured meats, and cheese (no pictures, sorry) then we had gnocchi and bucatelli with ragu: Next we had salad, I think--it all runs together--then fava beans and some kind of anchovy mixture that I'm sure has a name, wonderful fries cooked in olive oil, delicious sautéed spinach, and meat, meat, meat! Here is the meat cooking on the grill: Tiramisu and apple pie/cake for dessert.
  14. PART V Other Stuff at Angelo's Tagliatelle all'asparagi! With (of course) the in-season white asparagus, the most important spring specialty of the area. I don't even like asparagus that much (and thought I hated white asparagus especially after an unfortunate incident in Sweden) but I quickly became addicted to it... Mr. Babyluck asked Nick to surprise him; he was feeling pretty glum that night but this cheered him up: And he brought us these, which also helped... The bread at Angelo's was really good, the best we had: He remembered a friend of ours from 2 years ago and brought her out his special jar of oil... and that was after she sent back the pasta to get cooked to mush! (It's OK--she's French) Squid in olive oil... legendary. The dish that could not be ordered except by accident. Luckily when we got to the table one night our friend had already had some--one of his "bring me whatever you want and keep it coming" nights. I pointed at him and said I wanted the same. Nick says "OK, such-and-such, this, that, 2 liters of red wine, 5 grappas..." Some fantastic anchovies: And a special pasta dish we didn't get a picture of. It was tagliatelle with white asparagus, gorgonzola, and big chunks of raw garlic. Damn. You need some grappa after something like that.
  15. Thank you! I should say that Mr. Babyluck took most of these pictures. I was shooting black-and-white film--not the best thing for food photography. I wish I could have shared some of my speck with you!
  16. PART IV "Pizza at 'Angelo's' a.k.a. 'Cafe Centrale'" This is Angelo. This is Nick. This is the guy who makes the pizza: This is the pizza that he makes: P.S. I ordered that one off-menu on the last night we were there. It was like the Simpsons where Bart suddenly starts speaking French (he's an exchange student and his host father is putting antifreeze in the wine--remember?). I opened my mouth that night and a stream of fluent Italian came pouring out as I ordered all the dishes I wanted to try, or have one last time, before going home. Everyone at the table (French, Dutch, and American) just stared at me with their mouths open.
  17. PART III "The Shops/Temptation" The bakery where we bought the bread (I call this shot "Longing"): Inside: The rest of these shots are from Bassano del Grappa, where grappa was first made. Mr. Babyluck went with some of our friends without me so I can't really elaborate on them except to ask you to commiserate with me on my loss: There is more but I can't bear it any longer!
  18. PART II "Do-lo-MITE!" Our 11-hour day trip to the Dolomites (rock formations in the Alps near the Austrian border) provided the culinary and panoramic highlights of the week. Also, my first cup of decent coffee (our innkeeper served the same reheated coffee every day and should have been apprehended by the Italian Beverage Authority...): And someone tried the cioccolata calda: But lunch brought the most amazing part--fresh pasta filled with radicchio paste with a lovely buttery sauce and fresh porcini! I know you want a closer look:
  19. Mr. Babyluck & I spent a wonderful 8 days in Asolo, Italy (40 miles NW of Venice, just at the beginning of the mountains) about 3 weeks ago. We ate very well, mostly at casual and traditional restaurants, and drank our fill of house red and prosecco. Most meals came to 15-20 euros per person. It was a really pleasant surprise to eat so cheaply and so well in such an affluent area. This was our first trip outside of the big cities in Italy but definitely not our last. PART I "Speck & Cheese, Please" The first meal I had in Italy, speck and a local brie-like cheese (and a glass of Cabernet Franc). The café became our unofficial office for the week, and many times I wished I was not too full of prosecco to go scout another place for lunch. The speck & cheese was delicious but I got really, really tired of it after a while. We had a picnic lunch to celebrate our 5th anniversary with bread from the bakery (pictures of that coming soon), and speck & cheese from the deli. Speck: (we loved how the man at the deli packed it so beautifully!) Cheese (Asiago): (Later we tried the formaggio di Asolo, a hard parmagiano-like cheese, delicious!) Speck & Cheese: Crik Crok (Italian for "Strange Pringles")
  20. babyluck


    I like to keep it green: Avocados, fork-mashed (the frozen halves from TJs are a godsend--I'm picking some up this weekend) Lime juice Salsa verde Green Tabasco Salt
  21. babyluck

    Clear Glass Bottles

    Regardless, I've never had a bad bottle of Sammy's, have you? (Sorry, just noticed john pretty much just said that he has--for me, every Taddy Porter is just as perfect as the next.)
  22. An interesting take on the small kitchen, from The Efficient Kitchen of 1914: In meeting the new conditions no single change has proved so helpful as the passing of the old-fashioned “roomy” kitchen of fond memory, and the adoption of the very modern and utilitarian small kitchen. Where space is restricted a most careful study is, of course, necessary in order to make the most of the space at one’s command. But when such a study has been made, when the kitchen is a compact and truly efficient work-room, the saving in time, strength and labor due to the simple elimination of useless space, is almost incalculable. In the small kitchen there is less wall and floor space to be gone over in the daily care and cleaning. The concentration of all the working processes near together and in convenient relation to one another, saves hours of time by preventing useless steps and awkward, unnecessary motions… We assume, therefore, that the housekeeper will have a small kitchen if she can; or will limit her remodeled kitchen to the smallest possible dimensions. We will proceed to consider how this limited space may be used to the best advantage. ...and a disturbing analogy attempting to explain the poor design of early kitchens: Concerning efficiency: The general attitude of mind on this subject can only be compared to that of the Southern farmer in whom an agricultural enthusiast tried to awaken an interest in the scientific feeding of his stock. “You ought to give your pigs a warm mash instead of cold at this time of year,” observed the expert. “Why?” asked the farmer. “Well,” began the apostle of progress, “for one thing, a cold mash takes twice as much time to digest as food that is properly warmed.” “Does it?” The proprietor of the pigs leisurely eyed his would-be benefactor, transferred his quid of tobacco from the right cheek to the left cheek, calmly spat, and finally remarked, “Say, Stranger, what do you reckon a hog’s time is worth?”
  23. At the in-laws' for the Super Bowl last night and I spot it on the kitchen counter--"You have the SmartSpin!!!" They haven't really used it yet but the containers do seem to be good quality and the lids, while a little tricky to get on, do form a nice seal and they are much easier to get off because of the 4 finger-grab channels down the sides of the container--no broken fingernails. They did advise getting the extra set of containers in case some get lost or ruined. I'm pretty well sold.
  24. If there's one thing Mr. babyluck hates more than Tupperware, it's wicker baskets. Really, it borders on a phobia. The only basket he allows in the house is the one my mother made as a housewarming gift (filled with grains, spices, dish towels, and the Metropolitan Bakery cookbook). And my mother is not a basket-making type person so he knows that if he touches it, retribution will be swift and merciless. However, he did get quite excited looking at the ceiling storage bins at Home Depot, so that is a great avenue to explore. I'm trying to picture your pulley system. Please elaborate. Seriously, has anyone tried SmartSpin? It just seems too perfect.
  25. I feel very, very guilty for not taking pictures yet. I guess we are too busy living to document the process. The biggest development is--yes--the pegboard. I can't tell you how much I love it. The pegboard is a little ratty because the selection was sparse the day we went to buy it, but I plan to paint over it as soon as I choose a color scheme. I'm thinking of a nice vintage-y pale yellow and aqua. We also retrieved the original swinging door from the basement and put it up between the dining room & kitchen. I love the look and the ability to shut out the mess in the kitchen while having a nice dinner. Whoever the door was measured for must have been short, too, because the diamond-shaped safety window is exactly the right height for me! I take it as another good sign that the house and I were meant for each other. The pantry is an absolute disaster area. When I get the time, making sense of it will be my next weekend project. I'm still trying to find places for pot lids, cookbooks, mixing bowls, and the ever-infuriating Tupperware! I'm about ready to order that set from TV. Happy to report, though, that I am almost up to speed and giving the take-out menus a break (though there are lots of interesting choices nearby: Jamaican, Costa Rican, Portuguese, soul food...). The GE Profile fridge is awesome. I don't know why I was ever against a side-by-side--I love having many shelves and pockets in the freezer. My favorite part is that the pull-out drawers in the fridge have a little give in the frame, so if the drawer is a little too full the top edge just gently moves up and then drops down again when the drawer closes. Stay tuned for pictures!
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