Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Props from Gourmet mag


Recommended Posts

I didnt. You did with your assumption.

However, I would tend towards Dirk Wheelan's post. Having said that, I should also hasten to add that the laughs and giggles about the London dining scene(by Londoners and by the English themselves, it seems. Something to jot down here to ponder upon later) isnt entirely justified.

Have you seen where and how Britain is placed on the globe? Next, observe the position of France, Italy and Spain. NYC*, Paris, Rome and Barcelona are great, but it is also an accident of their geography. Let it not be forgotten that Britain is in the same lattitude as Canada. That should give you some perspective. If I may use harsh parallels, Britain is the crippled child that ran the marathon and finished it. And quite ahead, imo. Is it not uncharitable to complain about what is perfectly acceptable as mediaindustry-appropriate 'exaggeration'?

The person who takes the magazine's emphasis on 'best' literally is exactly on the same perception level as the person who disagrees with the magazine's insistence to give the London coverage story its ..well..angle to sell copies.

France, Spain and Italy have one other ingredient to culinary greatness that is lacking in Britain. I leave it to those who disagree with the basic premise behind the Gourmet issue to figure it out for themselves.

SamanthaF, I went to Le Cordon Bleu, London and have worked in several city restaruant kitchens. I stayed back for two months after the completing my diplome. I ate around. A lot. For six weeks, I lived with a family that own and run a restaurant in the city. I have spoken to farmers, butchers, suppliers and chefs. These people work very hard and have completely transformed the culinary scene from what it was a few decades ago. What the magazine gave London, if you remove all the gratuitous hyperbole is recognition. And credit. Long overdue and well deserved.

I find myself unable to answer your question to my full satisfaction. Maybe I can answer if you can expand upon 'boring or pedestrian'? What is boring about St.Johns and Fat Duck? Pedestrian about Le Gavroche and Momo? Of course, there is Sketch. Italian, Middle Eastern, Tapas, Indian, French, British, Thai, Sushi, Chinese > which one of these are boring? Help me give you an answer. Do elaborate?

*you simply CANNOT compare the quality of produce and ingredients in NYC and London. possibly rest of Europe. The quality of its dairy alone is highly commendable and superior to anything you may find in NYC.

Sure, you can assume.
I can only assume that all of you must have read that Gourmet issue in question to disagree so emphatically.

Can I assume then that you think that London is the dining capital of the world? :huh:

How do you come up with this opinion? I'm really interested in this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, I've just landed from San Francisco stopping in the newsagent in the airport to pick up the new issue of Gourmet. Having chatted with Moby I was ready to hate the issue, but actually, I quite enjoyed it.

Ignoring the "best in the world" claim (and I shall otherwise we'll be back into the Restaurant Magazine 100 best restaurants in the world discussion) let's have a look at what's actually in the magazine....

We begin with editorial from Ruth Reichl where she says

For days, I ate my way through London as if in a dream, thinking that at some point I'd encounter a bad meal and wake up
There's then an A-Z which has a section on cookery schools, gastropubs, eating outdoors, markets and traditional British food. There's even a bit about the West Country (I think they might have been struggling for a W) There's the usual from Nigel Slater about his favourite places, a piece championing smaller retailers of cookware, a piece about hotels and a large section about Moro with recipes. There's also a section about Brick Lane that tells you not to eat curry there.

If I were an American travelling to the UK and I didn't contribute to any online food forums, I'd be happy with the magazine as a pretty complete guide to some of the places I could eat at and be guarenteed a good meal. There isn't a restaurant review in there there that I thought was miles off the mark. You'd eat well if you followed their advice.

The whole thing can be compared with the "welcome to London" piece I caught at the end of a movie on United. It suggested that Papageno was the place to eat in London and that Sloane Street was off Oxford Street.

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

Link to comment
Share on other sites

London is also in a unique position for the excellence and selection of fine wine, despite the tax, which mostly affects the cheaper bottles. Because of the UK's geographical position in Europe, and that it has virtually no indigenous wine growing of its own, but was a trading nation a wide range of wine is available. Wine has always been drunk, without hang-ups like the prohibition era. Wine merchants and auction houses still trade today that were founded in the seventeenth century

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you think about it for a moment, any city-special of any magazine is not going to sell many copies unless it presents that city as an absolute must see.

London's a great food capital, but I don't think any of Gourmet's contributors genuinely believe it's the greatest. Like most writers, their job is to sell their publication, and without hyperbole they're not going to shift many copies.

So Gourmet's claims are understandable given the context. What is harder to understand is that people believe them. Either you've eaten out a fair bit in Paris, Madrid, New York, etc. in which case you know it's not true, or you haven't and you're taking what you read at face value.

I think this is right, but I think that you've got to have done more than to have eaten out a fair bit in a city in order prpoerly to rate its dining scene in relation to another's.

I've eaten out a fair bit in Paris and in New York and had good and bad experiences in both. However I'd be much more confident on any single occasion of having a better dining experience in London, simply because I've lived and eaten out in the city for 12 years and am much more confident of picking up on the cultural subtleties that provide clues in advance as to whether a restaurant is likely to be any good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this is right, but I think that you've got to have done more than to have eaten out a fair bit in a city in order prpoerly to rate its dining scene in relation to another's.

I've eaten out a fair bit in Paris and in New York and had good and bad experiences in both.  However I'd be much more confident on any single occasion of having a better dining experience in London, simply because I've lived and eaten out in the city for 12 years and am much more confident of picking up on the cultural subtleties that provide clues in advance as to whether a restaurant is likely to be any good.

Interesting point about cultural subtleties. What are the clues you spot that help you decide about places you haven't tried before? I'm sure I have lots so I'm going to have a nap and then try and formalise what mine are as well.

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry Suzi - didn't mean to lead you astray. My opinion on the list is that it would have been terribly up to date - oh, about 2 years ago (possibly with the odd exception). Having Slater review restaurants is absurd. The man doesn't like any food preparation more complicated than the perfect pig which, while ambling merrily in a field, happened to skid in a puddle of Ligurian oil, and go flying onto a barbecue (presumably after synchronistically having it's spine severed by a sprig of rosemary, thus obfuscating any possible pain it might otherwise have to endure.)

Kill 'em. Slather 'em with sauce, and cook 'em till they stop squealing, that's what I say.

Edited by MobyP (log)

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe the point is that London has restaurants that are consistently good, that have built a reputation over a period and thus can offer reliable dining?

While I like to eat in new places when I'm going abroad to eat I generally pick one new place and then the old guard. Not wishing to sound like a Gourmet apologist, but maybe they are trying to guide people to places that they can almost guarentee a good meal?

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Britain has something in common with most of America: there is no foundation of a gastronomic culture learned at home and shared with one's peers, and so those with a bit of money to spare are open to suggestion, which usually comes in the form of the loudest hype to which they're exposed.

In London and a handful of other British connurbations, there are enough discriminating diners to support a certain number of good restaurants, especially those that serve a knowledgable ethnic community; but there are so many gimmicky establishments that flutter for a while like showy butterflies that if you're particular, you must excercise caution.

My own affection is for those Paris bistros that are so integrated into the community they serve that you can feel the taught threads going out the doors and windows, being twitched at the other end by the loyal patrons who keep the establishment firmly on course.

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Britain has something in common with most of America: there is no foundation of a gastronomic culture learned at home and shared with one's peers, and so those with a bit of money to spare are open to suggestion, which usually comes in the form of the loudest hype to which they're exposed.

In London and a handful of other British connurbations, there are enough discriminating diners to support a certain number of good restaurants, especially those that serve a knowledgable ethnic community; but there are so many gimmicky establishments that flutter for a while like showy butterflies that if you're particular, you must excercise caution.

My own affection is for those Paris bistros that are so integrated into the community they serve that you can feel the taught threads going out the doors and windows, being twitched at the other end by the loyal patrons who keep the establishment firmly on course.

Very very true; empty vessels and so on.

I've lived in both Paris and several cities in Spain and if there's one thing that's very noticeable apart from the food is that the hype is virtually non-existent. Living in London gives one the impression that it's happening place gastronomically only because it's constantly banged into our ears. Interestingly, get out of the English speaking world and you'll hear almost nothing of UK dining.

There is plenty of good food to had in the London and the UK, but anyone who seriously believes that it is 'best' (or even among the best) is the victim of a fabrication of the English Speaking media, and really should try to get out more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having Slater review restaurants is absurd. The man doesn't like any food preparation more complicated than the perfect pig which, while ambling merrily in a field, happened to skid in a puddle of Ligurian oil, and go flying onto a barbecue (presumably after synchronistically having it's spine severed by a sprig of rosemary, thus obfuscating any possible pain it might otherwise have to endure.)

hysterical, moby p!

i'll never forget what slater wrote about what parisians eat for breakfast (or was it the french in general, i forget it is so long ago): but it was in the observer.

i'm paraphrasing by the way:

people think that the french/parisians eat croissants and baguettes with cafe au lait for breakfast, but the truth is that they eat what you and i eat: packaged cereal!

(hmmmmm. guess what. i don't. )

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ruth Reichl's favorite bite in London: a grilled cheese sandwich made with Montgomery cheddar from Neal's Yard Dairy.

Thanks to Ms. Suzi Edwards, I have a truckle (it's a real word! It means "piece of cheese as big as a giant fez!") of this cheddar in my cupboard this minute. I was waiting to have a big party but might have to crack into it sooner. I'm sure I can get bread worthy of creating my own version...word from an online acquaintance who visited London says it's not onions but sweated leeks.

Any idea about that?

Moby, you fonny, with that pig thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think they use Poilane bread at the sandwich stall near Neal's Yard Dairy cheese shop. No.Cal? Sourdough. Definitely.

Ruth Reichl's favorite bite in London: a grilled cheese sandwich made with Montgomery cheddar from Neal's Yard Dairy.

Thanks to Ms. Suzi Edwards, I have a truckle (it's a real word! It means "piece of cheese as big as a giant fez!") of this cheddar in my cupboard this minute. I was waiting to have a big party but might have to crack into it sooner. I'm sure I can get bread worthy of creating my own version...word from an online acquaintance who visited London says it's not onions but sweated leeks.

Any idea about that?

Moby, you fonny, with that pig thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, I've just landed from San Francisco stopping in the newsagent in the airport to pick up the new issue of Gourmet. Having chatted with Moby I was ready to hate the issue, but actually, I quite enjoyed it.

Ignoring the "best in the world" claim (and I shall otherwise we'll be back into the Restaurant Magazine 100 best restaurants in the world discussion) let's have a look at what's actually in the magazine....

We begin with editorial from Ruth Reichl where she says

For days, I ate my way through London as if in a dream, thinking that at some point I'd encounter a bad meal and wake up
There's then an A-Z which has a section on cookery schools, gastropubs, eating outdoors, markets and traditional British food. There's even a bit about the West Country (I think they might have been struggling for a W) There's the usual from Nigel Slater about his favourite places, a piece championing smaller retailers of cookware, a piece about hotels and a large section about Moro with recipes. There's also a section about Brick Lane that tells you not to eat curry there.

If I were an American travelling to the UK and I didn't contribute to any online food forums, I'd be happy with the magazine as a pretty complete guide to some of the places I could eat at and be guarenteed a good meal. There isn't a restaurant review in there there that I thought was miles off the mark. You'd eat well if you followed their advice.

The whole thing can be compared with the "welcome to London" piece I caught at the end of a movie on United. It suggested that Papageno was the place to eat in London and that Sloane Street was off Oxford Street.

Sloane off Oxford? Is that literal or circumphral?

It's nice to hear yourpositive and strong vibes via London and your homeland, Tarka.

Cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The toasted cheese at borough uses Poilane, chopped spring onions (I think this is green or salad onions in the US), and that cheddar.

Very easy to do. Two slices of bread, butter lightly the outside. Great large amount of cheddar on unbuttered side, springle some finely chopped spring onions, place other piece of bread to make sandwich. Heat a cast iron pan, and place sandwich on hot surface (no oil needed). I place another small cast iron pan on sandwich to help cooking and give that nice 'squooshed' effect. After a minute, flip sandwich - which has become lovely, brown, crispy and buttery on one side - until other side is same. Wrap in a paper towel, and eat while hot.

As I'm always in Borough too early for the sandwich man, we've made this the Sat morning ritual upon my return.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The toasted cheese at borough uses Poilane, chopped spring onions (I think this is green or salad onions in the US), and that cheddar.

Very easy to do. Two slices of bread, butter lightly the outside. Great large amount of cheddar on unbuttered side, springle some finely chopped spring onions, place other piece of bread to make sandwich. Heat a cast iron pan, and place sandwich on hot surface (no oil needed). I place another small cast iron pan on sandwich to help cooking and give that nice 'squooshed' effect. After a minute, flip sandwich - which has become lovely, brown, crispy and buttery on one side - until other side is same. Wrap in a paper towel, and eat while hot.

As I'm always in Borough too early for the sandwich man, we've made this the Sat morning ritual upon my return.

Hmm, someone at another food forum said "leeks," but it sounds divine either way. Forgive the Threadus Interruptus, but do you grate the cheese or do thick slices? (I'd do slices, myself, but have no idea if my ways are transatlantic.) Grazie, Moby.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome. I find that grating allows it to melt faster and more evenly (allowing me to get said item to wife and prevent onset of medical condition (Cheesumsandwichitis Withdrawlatium - a viscious bugger of a disease)).

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...