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eG Foodblog: Chris Amirault (2010) - Holidays in Rhode Island


Chris Amirault
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Those oysters are lovely! We've had a few of those varieties at Oyster House, like the Moonstones, from time to time. I bet they're even better at the source. Great photos Chris!

Katie M. Loeb
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I know now why Dave Voila's handle is vice: off we went for meal #3, this time at Champlin's, a south coast institution:

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Very typical New England clam shack interior, complete with bins of plastic utensils and t-shirts for sale:

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The upper level is a restaurant, and the lower is a fish store, so we went downstairs while waiting for our, um, lunch... yeah, our lunch:

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Whelks for sale -- neither Dave nor I had seen those around very often:

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Our quest was for the whole belly fried clam, though, in service to the eG Foodblog, we also ordered a RI clam chowder (clear broth) and two stuffies (stuffed clams):

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Your correspondents regret to inform you that Champlin's underwhelmed. The stuffies had too much filler -- I hit one piece of clam before giving up -- and the chowder lacked both flavor and bivalve. But the biggest disappointment was the "whole belly clams," which may as well have been clam strips. This diminution of belly size has been a plague on the fried clam for years now, and evidence of dieting clams can be found from Essex to Watch Hill. What gives?!?

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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A few snaps from a quick dinner. I ate little as I was headed out and still full from the shellfish-a-thon. But I couldn't resist this pear cake -- recipe unknown right now:

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Turkey pot pie for dinner, made with Thanksgiving leftovers and Andrea's great pot pie crust:

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I was asked to make a cocktail before I hit the road, so I whipped up a couple of pisco sours for Andrea and her mom:

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Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Just back from a nice night with friends (including Dave) at Cook & Brown Public House. I usually am behind this bar, but tonight I was on the other side:

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C&B has had a string of excellent reviews from both local and national critics (Tom Sietsma at the Washington Post; John Mariani of Esquire, who called C&B one of the 20 best new restaurants in the US). The man behind it all is Nemo Bolin, chef and owner with his wife Jenny:

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Nemo's cool, calm leadership, founded on extremely high expectations honed at Rubicon in SF and No. 9 Park in Boston, sets the tone in the kitchen:

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I've done a lot there in 2010: tore down the old bar, held workshops, took my wife out for a birthday dinner, worked soft and hard opening, shook and stirred a few hundred drinks, and spent more hours there than any other restaurant in the city. And I'm damned proud of that work, glad to be part of a team that strives for excellence and hits the mark consistently.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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....Your correspondents regret to inform you that Champlin's underwhelmed. The stuffies had too much filler -- I hit one piece of clam before giving up -- and the chowder lacked both flavor and bivalve. But the biggest disappointment was the "whole belly clams," which may as well have been clam strips. This diminution of belly size has been a plague on the fried clam for years now, and evidence of dieting clams can be found from Essex to Watch Hill. What gives?!?

Bummer that the food sucked, because the prices for the fresh seafood had this Left Coaster absolutely green with envy. I haven't seen lobster prices that low in, well, forever ! And I bet they're way better than what I can get out here.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

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Chris, I haven't had much time to participate, but I've been reading along and I'm in awe of all that great food (and the cocktails!)

It´s been really lovely following you, and also wonderful to see so many old familiar faces (or shoud I say avatars) around here.

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Missed this post:

RE: Dessert snafu. While I'm not surprised that you would try something for the first time for the eG Foodblog, I am surprised that you would try something for the first time meant to be served to a lot of guests!

I do that all the time! I feel like it's part of the fun, serving something new for everyone. Life on the edge, Mitch, life on the edge....

I also do this all the time. I think what I love most about cooking is the sense of adventure and the chance to try out new things. And even if things go wrong, guests hardly ever notice because there´s always some sort of emergency back-up plan!

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Thanks, Chufi and CDRF -- but it's not done yet! I'll be taking you right through the Night Before New Years Eve party. To that end, I have some shopping to do this morning. Breakfast is a slice of that heavenly pear cake and a mug of Ichiban Hojicha tea from Norbu, a dark roast grown in Shizuoka, Japan.

The market I'll be going to is pretty interesting, so I'll take a few snaps. Then, today is a big prep day -- and the new dishwasher's coming! The new dishwasher's coming!!!

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Thanks, Chufi and CDRF -- but it's not done yet! I'll be taking you right through the Night Before New Years Eve party. To that end, I have some shopping to do this morning. Breakfast is a slice of that heavenly pear cake and a mug of Ichiban Hojicha tea from Norbu, a dark roast grown in Shizuoka, Japan.

The market I'll be going to is pretty interesting, so I'll take a few snaps. Then, today is a big prep day -- and the new dishwasher's coming! The new dishwasher's coming!!!

Life on the edge, Chris. Life on the edge... :wink:

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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Bummer that the food sucked, because the prices for the fresh seafood had this Left Coaster absolutely green with envy. I haven't seen lobster prices that low in, well, forever ! And I bet they're way better than what I can get out here.

The going rate of a Maine lobster on the west coast is downright comical (good thing, you either laugh or you cry, right?).

 

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The going rate of a Maine lobster on the west coast is downright comical (good thing, you either laugh or you cry, right?).

Tell me about it. We celebrated a phenomenal year for our business at Christmas with a couple of 4-6 lb lobs overnighted in from MA. It was about $160 bucks with shipping. Unfortunately (especially for the shipper) the package hung up in some weather related delays out east and ended up getting here on day 3. Not a pretty sight (or smell) but the company immediately re-shipped the order and the second box got here in less than 24 hours.

The lobs were feisty and fresh and delicious.

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Edited by xxchef (log)

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Forgot to mention party drink final selection: Regent's Punch, egg nogg, and Cuba Libres. Shopping trip I'm taking now will include one crucial ingredient for the last item: Mexican Cokes.

Before you make a special trip, you might want to read this article on Coke and taste.

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Forgot to mention party drink final selection: Regent's Punch, egg nogg, and Cuba Libres. Shopping trip I'm taking now will include one crucial ingredient for the last item: Mexican Cokes.

Before you make a special trip, you might want to read this article on Coke and taste.

A Coke spokesman thinks you should buy regular Coke? I'm shocked. Shocked!

I've done several blind tastings of glass bottled Mexican Coke vs. Coke cans off the supermarket shelf and never failed to ID the Mexican stuff. Sure, there are a lot of variables involved, but the experiment in the linked article only really deals with one...and on that there is a legitimate (if perhaps not entirely likely) scientific explanation for their finding.

Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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Tasting blind but not very rigorously, early this year I wasn't really able to identify regular, Mexican and Kosher-for-Passover Coke. The three samples tasted slightly different, with inconsistent carbonation and sweetness levels, but there was no clearly superior one. By contrast, Fox's U-Bet syrup tastes a lot better around Passover time when they switch from HFCS to sugar, so much so that blind tasting to confirm it would be superfluous.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Before you make a special trip, you might want to read this article on Coke and taste.

Too late. Went to South Providence, just a few blocks from the old house, to pick up a few supplies. First stop Compare Foods:

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Lots of reasons to go there, but the main one is that they are the only reliable source in RI of a crucial punch ingredient, sour oranges:

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Next stop, Tropical Liquors, the only reliable source of the now-maligned Mexican Coke:

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Here's the haul from Compare:

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And here's the booze/Coke haul, from Tropical and the best liquor store in South Providence, Quisqueya:

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Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I thought I'd show a bit more of the cooking-related parts of the house.

When we first viewed this place, I walked into the study and thought, "Cookbooks." There's a wall-to-window bookcase that neatly fits just about everything. In addition, I've roughly categorized them into the different units. Here's the cocktail section:

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Restaurant books & chefs on top, Americas below:

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Reference and food lit:

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Italian above, South Asian, Indian, & Middle Eastern below:

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French above, Chinese, Japanese, SE Asian below:

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Depleted baking section:

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Reference and collections of recipes:

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Reference, as well as Saveur and Edible Rhody collection:

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Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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This year my husband and I "blind tested" Cokes from Japan, China, and Korea together. The finding: more clove flavour and sugar in Chinese Coke, less bubble. Japanese Coke and Korean Cokes seemed more carbonated, with Korean Coke seeming sweeter than Japanese. I've always assumed they tweaked the flavours somewhat to appeal to the national palate.

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Your correspondents regret to inform you that Champlin's underwhelmed. The stuffies had too much filler -- I hit one piece of clam before giving up -- and the chowder lacked both flavor and bivalve. But the biggest disappointment was the "whole belly clams," which may as well have been clam strips. This diminution of belly size has been a plague on the fried clam for years now, and evidence of dieting clams can be found from Essex to Watch Hill. What gives?!?

Chris,

Your fried clam, stuffie, and chowder experience pretty much mirrors mine in South County. Which is truly a shame, considering the great local product we have available. I'm especially embarrassed by the clams; premium prices are routinely charged for a small portion of anemic clams. Anyone can make much better versions of all three of these dishes at home; I don't bother wasting my money at the clam shacks for these anymore. And don't get me started on the clam cakes!

Thanks for the details of your latest shopping trip. We really don't have much diversity in the markets around me, so it looks like some trips a bit north are in order.

Continuing to enjoy this thread while dealing with the in-laws in PA.

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If I didn't know better, I'd say the house was built for you, to your specifications. Does your wife share your food and drink interests? No fighting over who got the shelves?

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When we first moved into this place, I walked into the study and thought, "Cookbooks." There's a wall-to-window bookcase that neatly fits just about everything.

I would so love to be able to see this room in its entirety - it sounds so lovely. Do you have a photo of the whole room or of the context of the shelves?

If I didn't know better, I'd say the house was built for you, to your specifications. Does your wife share your food and drink interests? No fighting over who got the shelves?

Exactly! Wow, what a perfect match. And again, do you have a pic of the bar in the context of the room?

Please, please, please... show us more of this adorable house!

PS Hope you got your dishwasher installed OK!

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