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Everything posted by OPJK

  1. The following two links are to New Yourk Times articles from 1972. The first is a summary (4 star) review of Lutece and gives a glimpse at some of its typical offerings. The second is a closer look at both Lutece and its workings, as well as the fine dining scene in NY and its gloomy prospects at that time. Again, you can see some of the offerings and can be dazzled by what seem like shockingly low prices (which view may be tempered by the examples of salaries: dishwasher $91/wk, waiter base $67/week and as much as $300/wk with tips). Lutec Times Review Times Arictle: Haute Cuisine scene in 1972
  2. Thank you for adding so much to eGullet and good luck in your future ventures.
  3. Wow! I haven't thought of Rialto in a few years. I used to frequent it in the late 90's as it had reliably good food in a comfortable setting in a cool neighborhood. I don't remember the food as being radical, more as well-executed mediterranean-ish comfort food (lots of fish, calamari, big portions). The vibe was cool, certainly not a big group place back then, and it had outdoor-under-a-tent seating. I don't know what it has been like in the past few years, but if it is remotely as it was, you should have absolutely no fear of a little Italy nightmare. It was more a cool NOLITA crusader vibe. But if it has become a destination for large groups, well, you might want to consider other spots. Another spot in that neighboorhood worth checking out is Le Jardin (classic French, with a, uh, jardin).
  4. OPJK


    Stopped by at Esca the other night with three friends. While the meal was enjoyable (once we were able to convince a busboy to bring us menus after we had asked three waiters for them), the most notable feature was the outrageously rude/unprofessional wine steward! He would not answer direct questions when asked and he had issues over people touching the wine glasses (he clearly had control issues). It got to the point of asking him directly if he would answer any of our questions - he grunted in reply. Finally, he reluctantly answered one question and left us. We all were incredulous and could only laugh at his performance. For what it's worth, the group consisted of four manhattanites who are quite knowledgeable about food and wine, who dine out very frequently, are completely presentable (i.e., not a group that would be flagged as potential trouble), and included someone who knows Mario Batali fairly well (but doesn't generally make it know in his restaurants). Everyone has eaten at Batali/Bastianich establishments frequently. (And, for what it's worth, the wine was well-matched to the food and fairly expensive.) This experience just brought up the shockingly common experience that the Batali/Bastianich restaurant often offer some of the absolute worst client service in the city.
  5. OPJK


    I assume breaded and deep fried would would in a pinch - it usually does! (Although, you might want to cut it into bite-size pieces first.)
  6. When I was in college, the choral society used to make its "secret" version of Rocket Fuel (for those who don't know, more of a catch-all name than based on any one or two alcohols or themes) with vodka, beer, and, if I remember correctly, pineapple and orange juice. It was both remarkably tasty and potent. Those consuming it used to assume it contained grain alcohol, due to its results (which were probably as much psychological as physiological).
  7. Two weeks ago I asked two German nationals who have been living in NYC for many years if there were any good German restaurants in Manhattan. They each regularly host guests from Germany, one on behalf of the German government. They both answered "no." They both appreciate the Wurst cart at 54th and Fifth (as well as the related Hallo Berlin) for what they are worth, but beyond that could not recommend anywhere.
  8. Town (on 56th St in New York) has a great bar and mixologists. They serve a Hendrick's Martini with a cucumber slice garnish along with a plate of cucumber slices that have been lightly sprinkled with salt. I really only drink the gin to get the cucumbers.
  9. OPJK

    Scallop Divers

    Great postings!
  10. The Grand Central Oyster Bar - eat at the counter, order oysters, some crisp white wine, and a pan roast or chowder. Check out the rush of locals, tourists, commuters. Quintessential New York. Gramercy Tavern - Eat at the bar, have a Ginger Tonic, and share a few plates of yummy food. Barney Greengrass - Get a basket of bialies, some excellent coffee, and and omelette made with sturgeon, salmon, and onions. Tal Bagel, the New York Times, Central Park - Grab a bagel with sable, the Times, and coffee (purchased somewhere other than Tal), head to the Sheeps Meadow, and watch everything there is to see. Enjoy!
  11. My AC have all developed hot spots, my Sitram have not. I had all but stoppped using the AC, except for one non-stick pot, but, alas, this, too, has developed a major, central hot spot. On a minor point, the handles on the Sitram disspate heat better than the AC, as well.
  12. OPJK

    Clos du Val

    I just checked his reviews and Parker has reviewed Clos du Val as recently as Oct 2003. In general, he makes it clear that he hates the sterile filtration of these wines, finding the result soulless and one-dimensional. His highest scored entry was an 85 for the 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon (reviewed in 1995).
  13. This is a link to an American wasabi grower (used to be the only American wasabi grower - don't know if this is still true). www.freshwasabi.com They now are providers to a number of "top" restaurants and are exporting to Japan as well. They used to sell the unprocessed root, but apparently this is no longer the case. I've bought the root as well as the paste in the past. It's great. I've even hooked up a few sushi chefs in the NYC area with some of each and they liked it and now order from this company. (BTW, I am in no way connected to this company. I read an article about it in the Wall Street Journal a few years back and decided to check it out. Cool story, too. If I remember correctly, the owner basically was paid for a bad invesmtent with watery land in Oregon. He researched how wasabi is farmed for a number of years - it turns out the Japanese growers were extremely reluctant to let their farming secrets out. Then started growing. The process is apparently pretty involved.)
  14. On Saturday, I made red snapper over cepes with a port reduction from the Le Bernardin cookbook. The fish is seasoned with 5 spice, salt and white pepper.
  15. There is a new Indian restaurant near my office and I had my first chaat ever about three weeks ago - a spicy samosa chaat. I've had about 5 more since then! All the pictures posted above make me want to try them all. With the samosa chaat, I love how the layers of spices, ingredients, and textures are so wide ranging and complimentary. The spicy and cooling, the soft and chunchy. I may need to have one today! I realize there are many variations of chaats. Any recommendations and descriptions?
  16. Congratulations! It's a classic restaurant that I visit whenever I'm back in my home town. I hope you find great success there.
  17. My first thought was KatieKakes (as others have suggested). It reminds me of TastyKakes. You can capture the Danish with something like Kringles.
  18. OPJK

    Ciao tutti

    Thanks and cent'anni!
  19. The Choux Factory just opened on First and about 47th. Apparently, it sells cream puffs and Kona coffee.
  20. After spending a ridiculous amount on fleur de sel in New York, I was in a fish shack in Vancouver, B.C. They were selling bags of sea salt for virtually nothing (something like C$0.25). I bought a few bags and my Vancouver sea salt is now in the rotation with the other "specialty" salts in my spice collection.
  21. OPJK

    Cookie Cutters

    Bridge Kitchenware in New York used to custom make any shape you want for something like $7. You might want to contact them to either make some for you or to buy the supplies to make them yourself. They'd probably give you advice on how to do it as well.
  22. On the acquired taste topic: Humans are capable of acquiring a taste for virtually any flavor, texture, etc (even poisons, e.g., tequila ). We can even overcome acquired taste aversions (frequently developed in conjunction with developing the initial taste for tequila). Steingarten wrote an amusing essay about this when he started his food essayist career. He cited studies that showed that if you eat a food that you have an aversion to (either an acquired or just because you don't like it) something like a dozen times, you can overcome the taste aversion. He then listed the foods he disliked and set out to overcome his aversions. Why would one do this (besides Steingarten's professional reason)? So that you can semi-objectively decide if you like a food as opposed to being nauseated by it. This might be useful if you have a desire to expand your experiences, to find out why others like a particular food, or for reasons social, environmental, practical (e.g., if you live in New Zealand, you might want to get over your mutton aversion).
  23. An old standby used to be Voulez Vous on First Avenue and 76th.
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