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"Gypsy" strikes in Seattle


Daddy-A
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Exactly, this is what you get when image obsessed Gen-X grows up. The attempt to imbibe a traditional activity with underground street cred. Kinda sad really. No suprise that it comes out of Seattle.

Do you perhaps mean 'imbue' rather than 'imbibe'? Not sure how one would drink 'street cred'. I've been to the same place here in Seattle that LEdlund refers to, and you're exactly right, I certainly am a grown-up Gen-Xer who is obsessed with underground street cred. Ask anyone....

I imagine that 'underground' restaurants, or whatever you want to call them, exist anyplace where there are government regulations on how food is prepared and served for public consumption and taxes that have to be charged on it. It's called the black market kids....

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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And we wonder why the rest of the country makes fun of us.

I don't truly believe that a city like this really needs the external validation of the East coast gastro-snobs. I know most of us don't give a schnauzer's weiner for their opinion of what we're doing. If we did, we'd simply import the concrete, raze the mountains, pollute Spanish Banks and issue everyone their black on black on black.

Back to the schnauzer.

Sure, everyone laughs at wiener dogs. One would think that they were bred to be the clown dog, while retrievers, labs and shepherds did the heavy lifting.

Not true.

schnauzer

n : old German breed of sturdy black or grayish wire-haired terriers having a blunt muzzle ranging in size from fairly small to very large; used as ratters and guard dogs or police dogs

There is a nobility in these fine beasts, and though their equipment lies perilously close to stones, nettles, gravel and the like, they keep their heads nonetheless.

The lesson of Wiener dogs is thus.

Take what you do very seriously, yourself, not so much.

If the noble Wiener worried about the regales of laughter from the peanut gallery, he would have gone the path of the savage yapping lap dog. Surely, an inglorious fate.

Wieners make us laugh, give us joy, bring us happiness. They have their heads held high while their stature, at least in our eyes, hugs the ground.

Long live the Wiener.

:raz:

I'm no expert on the restaurant industry, but I know a thing or two about drug abuse ...

-Daddy-A (Kitchen Troll)

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haha! nice one gastro! westcoast baby!

my mistake on the Cook's Tour episode...thanks Keith. they were both good episodes.

although the craving was usually for Doritos and KFC, rather than tuna tartare served in a sea urchin shell, but whatever.

i don't know about the rest of you, but when i smoke a fatty, i would definitely crave tuna tartare served in a sea urchin shell...and some uni for that matter!! hey keith, let's smoke one sometime. you may find that your cravings have matured!

:wacko: <--closest i can get to a stoned emoticon

Edited by tasty (log)
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I don't truly believe that a city like this really needs the external validation of the East coast gastro-snobs.

Intersting where this thread has ended up ...

As a born-n-raised Vancouverite (okay, Burnaby, but I get points for proximatey) I love how this city jumps up and speaks out when we are compared with the EAST. And yet ...

Wieners make us laugh, give us joy, bring us happiness. They have their heads held high while their stature, at least in our eyes, hugs the ground.

Wiener dogs? Really? We are the wieners of Canada? Being a Jack-Russel Terrier owner, I respectfully submitt the Jack is an equally suitable, if not somewhat "cooler" comparison.

But your point is well taken.

By the way, I'm with Keith on the issue of the pre-dining doobie. The subtleties of cevice or ahi would be lost on me (grilled eggplant perhaps not :wacko: ). Besides, I can't imagine how I could enjoy anything while hacking up a lung. No ... I think I'll stick with a glass of well-paired (not peared) grape to accompany my chow.

DA

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I'll pass your request on to one of the "chefs without borders", just so I don't get in trouble divulging secrets. But I can tell you that there are a few in town, that I know of anyway.

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I'll pass your request on to one of the "chefs without borders", just so I don't get in trouble divulging secrets. But I can tell you that there are a few in town, that I know of anyway.

Oooh please pay the request on, I have heard thru other friends, but would love to experience it myself

DANIELLE

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

-Virginia Woolf

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 7 months later...

Completely off-topic, but the kind of thing I like to comment on: "Gypsy" I assume is like Gypsy cab--which, now, just means "unlicensed", however derogatory to the Romany people it may have been in the first place. (Of course I didn't read the linked article and to serve me right, it doubtless describes the roaming, romantic, Johnny Depp-like gypsies in their caravans...:raz:)

Wiener dogs, to my knowledge, are Dachshunds, emphatically not Schnauzers. A Schnauzer is like a small Airedale or other curly terrier, with grey hair, and a Dachshund is like an odd little Doberman whose legs didn't get their share of HGH. Sometimes curly, but mostly smooth, with cute long ears like a Bassett hound. One bit my ear once, and I required stitches. I prefer Wiener Schnitzel to Wiener dogs--or Wiener sausage--any day.

[/off-topic]

Interesting concept, though: a dining club that hires a chef and a location to create an "event" periodically. It sounds like fun, and possibly the basis of a decent mystery novel. Joyce Christmas, anyone? :wink:

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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There are quite a few underground dining experiences to be had in Victoria. One is a breakfast joint, outdoors, but closed for the winter.

S

Okay, I'm curious ... any details you can share? I'm in Victoria often enough I'd like to search out something like that

A.

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It is held only on Sundays, set menu, really cheap, in someone's backyard. Another place as well, for dinners.

Email me when the weather is warm and you're coming to town, I may be able to set you up.

Gotta go, have a feeling I'm being watched!

s

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Actually - there is alot of this kind of thing going on in HK. It is called "si-fang choi" or private kitchen cuisine. The NY Times did a little piece on it and when I lived in HK there was a swatow restuarant located in a warehouse and you called ahead and put down the number of people planned to come with. You got what the chef thought was good at the market and it was usually very good. You had to wind your way through boxes and shelves in a warehouse to get to your table.

There was place that I went to last time I was in HK that was opened by a wealthy guy - who was very well travelled and a very talented amateur cook. Alot of El Bulli (sic) influenced stuff.

These eating experiences can be alot of fun and the food is outstanding. There is of course the element of mystery - but the bottom line is the food. In HK - rents can be exorbriant (much like Vancouver) so these place are opened up to avoid expensive infrastructure and a way for the chef to know how many people he is going to serve before he commits to buying the raw materials.

With licensing and enforcement being what it is Vancouver - I am sure that if these places exist - they are pretty deep underground. Rumors, whispers,... I have heard some things - but nothing concrete. What a cool mystery.

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so these place are opened up to avoid expensive infrastructure and a way for the chef to know how many people he is going to serve before he commits to buying the raw materials.

All this sounds entertaining, but I can't imagine a chef being able to pull this off (as a business anyway) especially when so many diners have special requests they want filled such as "no cheese on my pizza" or "I'll eat scallops, but not crab as they are higher on the food chain" (huh?) etc. Do the diners of these "food raves" have choices or is every time a mystery dinner and no choice? I'm all for mystery dinners as I'll eat just about anything and really enjoy when I can walk into a restaurant and be offered the chef's choices.

As for showing up for a dinner in a stranger's backyard, pro chef or not, it would have to be exceptional fare without the joint. The element of mystery can only last until the food is tasted.

"One chocolate truffle is more satisfying than a dozen artificially flavored dessert cakes." Darra Goldstein, Gastronomica Journal, Spring 2005 Edition

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I agree that the logistics sound tough - but there is brutal democracy at work here. If the food is bad - then no-one will ever show up. But if you want to participate in something interesting - then you have to give yourself over to the chef and follow him/her where they want to go.

We do it (or should do it) when we give ourselves up to a tasting menu at Lumiere or having a real kanseki meal.

But really - the food at these places (in HK at least) are usually not very fancy at all. The cantonese really favor well done home style cooking. I would love to eat at the home where someone is making real italian home cooking or indian food. It is like the perogy night at the ukranian church near main - the kitsch factor is fun - but those darn perogies are really good. Goodbye cheemo!

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As a born-n-raised Vancouverite (okay, Burnaby, but I get points for proximatey) I love how this city jumps up and speaks out when we are compared with the EAST. And yet ...

This is just my observation; the press got their panties all in a bunch any time someone else in the kitchen (Country) picked on Vancouver in the open press. I am not from BC; I was born and raised in Edmonton, lived in Jasper, Toronto, Whistler and Vancouver. It always makes me laugh how sensitive the press was, but what made me laugh the most was the first people to pick up the phone and rub the faces of people in the east when it was 14 degrees in Vancouver in Jan and it was colder then a Witches &)&)& in Toronto. It was people who where not born and raised in Vancouver, it took me ten years before I meet someone who was actually from BC, So in return the friends in the press in Toronto would lambaste Vancouver about it's no fun city persona and everyone would get all bunched up over this. Shit man Edmonton and places like Newfoundland have been buts of jokes for ever but there is a very sensitive side to Vancouver.

It is the giving up of some aspects of life to have so much beauty and also being so much in Mother Nature’s back yard. Vancouver now I think has a way more solid of an identity then it did like three years ago, I think we are over the hump, but we are no way out of the forest. We need our own stage where our artist can play and stop exporting all this great writing, acting, filming, dancing, and all the other great mediums that Vancouver has to offer, we closed down all the live music venues and lived on can crap for a while, you can not dance in a restaurant, all you had was piano Jazz and if you had a sax, guitar and drums wailing at like eleven cause no one else has eleven cause it is always one more then ten. The no fun cops would be at your door shutting you down. Those boring neighborhood pubs being overrun in Kits by places that served booze till we hours of the night, 24 hour food places like bennies and the vineyard and the few others in the West side. The fringe, Elwood’s, funky Armadillos, 2.00 pints , theses places filled the void, no fun city, theses place were filled with artist, actors and restaurant people drinking till we hours of the morning.

So humans have been doing things under the ground for ever, restaurants on their way out sometimes do some amazing parties, the last weeks before they close down, let loose, many chefs in Vancouver have done dinners that blew many minds and paved their way to their next project, Money in Vancouver always found a new restaurant for that great chef to continue their Craft. Their was always some money needing cleaning, so Capital was not always a problem and restaurants are the easiest way to clean all the money you want. If not back to Toronto or Calgary they went. Many resorts in the world became home for a while of all the cooks and chefs that made their way through this great city of Vancouver, looking for a stage; because without the Chef there is no food.

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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  • 1 year later...

Does anyone have any more info about the underground dining scene in Vancouver? Feel free to PM me if you want.

Back on topic, I've been to a Gypsy dinner and the food was hit-or-miss. I've heard the same from many people who have attended Gypsy dinners in the past. Not only that, the dinners cost the same (or a bit more) than what one would expect to spend at any fine-dining restaurant in Seattle (usually $90US before wine). To get on the list of "invited diners", you generally must submit an essay so the organizers can weed out anyone they think doesn't really know much about good food.

Gypsy isn't the only underground dining you can find in Seattle, but it is the best known. I heard there are at least four other real underground dining experiences going on in this city, and many more scattered all over the country.

ETA: By "this city", I meant Seattle, not Vancouver. Sorry about that.

Edited by Ling (log)
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Does anyone have any more info about the underground dining scene in Vancouver? Feel free to PM me if you want.

Wouldn't something like that chocolate party you posted pictures about a while ago qualify as the same thing? :wink:

Cheers!

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