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favorite restaurant cheese boards??


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Simon, a serious question: Do you find 24-hour grocery stores to be vulgar? I'm not talking about the groceries inside of them. I mean does the 24-hour thing bother you?

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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I don't feel the need for a garnish with cheese, but I wouldn't accept the premise that no cheeses are ever enhanced by a complementary flavor. It would be a short step from there to the dictum that no flavors are properly complemented by the addition of cheese. There go salads with blue cheese dressing, cauliflower/broccoli with cheese sauce, potatoes with raclette, cheese omeletes, cheese souflees, tartiflete, aligot . . .

John Whiting, London

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Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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Simon, a serious question: Do you find 24-hour grocery stores to be vulgar? I'm not talking about the groceries inside of them. I mean does the 24-hour thing bother you?

I am a 24hr person, Mr Guy

So like all G-Men ( strictly Gals, guns, and guts ) I like to be able to buy a tootsie roll at any hour of day or night.

There is so much else vulgar about the US for me to worry about. I mean, I have met xxxxx ( mail me I an I will tell you whose name I have edited out :wink:

S

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To return, however briefly, to Nesita's original question:

Ilo, with the caveat that I haven't been there in about a year. But I was very pleased then with the selections, the conditions, and, yes, the garnishes.

District has a smallish selection; it was all right, but I would not rate it anywhere near up there with the others.

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I will put in a vote for the composed cheese course at Town. There are a number of courses to choose from, each with a single cheese plus appropriate matching garnishes, bread and the such. I had a wonderful Humboldt Fog dish last month. It's a different way of doing it from many of the others, but worked quite well.

If you don't like the garnishes, however, it ain't gonna be for you.

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dimitri, how does each cheese selection at town work? what if you want 4 cheeses? are they coursed separately from each other? i don't quite understand....

i've heard intriguing things about the wine list at ilo--namely a (98, i think) chateau montelena being poured by the mini-carafe or something ($25)....

hopefully i've got an upcoming dinner date this week....hence my inquiries.

does veritas do a decent cheese course? oh wait i'll check the thread on it.

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In the great French tradition, the cheese course is served just before dessert and it is best not mucked up by much of anything. Some like some nutbread. I prefer nothing and as little bread as possible. There are some good cheese and wine combinations, but on the whole I think most gastronomes are coming around to the idea that many cheeses are not so wonderful with red wine. Nevertheless, with the exception of a sweet wine with a blue cheese most of us go on finishing off the bottle of red with the cheese course. It seems weird to drink a Sancerre after a good red wine even if it goes better with the goat cheeses. Besides, most of us will select a varied assortment of cheeses from the tray. Either the French have a tradition of a cheese course because they make wonderfu cheeses best suited for eating this way, or they learned to make the cheeses to satisfy their appetite for this course. Whatever, it works in France. This does not prohibit cooks from untilizing cheese as a product in other courses.

The cheese course is not an American custom except in restaurants and perhaps homes where the French style is imitated. It's not an American custom and where we've managed to incorporate it, tradtionally or creatively into all but the most French meals, it still seems forced to me. That's why I find Picholine's insistance on lecturing me about the cheese a big turn off. After all they don't present the lamb plate telling me that the potatoes were grown underground on Long Island by two farmers who originally studied to be dentists. Curiosity will not stop me from ordering cheese in America, but I doubt I'll ever enjoy it outside a French restaurant. It's just an orientation and it's the flip side of the reason Fat Guy can tolerate it. He came upon the practice without the baggage of years of enjoying the French custom. Americans are trying to both imitate the French and surpass them without understanding the hows and whys of the French custom. Almost everytime I'm served a cheese with a garnish, I'm disappointed at best. I'm wondering if they'll be serving my wine mixed with fruit juice or coconut milk the next time. For what it's worth, I'm not a big fan or sangria and don't expect it to be made with the best wines any more than I expect anyone to gussie up my epoisses. Though the trend is growing in France and I will admit has some historical precedent.

Fat Guy also hits the nail on the head when he says "can't imagine liking an aged Idiazabal better without quince paste than with" The cheese course is not a European custom and not a Spanish custom. It's a French custom. On the whole the Spanish make few cheeses suited to the French cheese course. There are other ways and times to eat cheese, even in France. Brie and fruit as an appetizer is not one of the legitimate ways. I will admit that France has been greatly influenced by American ways even in dining in recent years and I don't predict that what we do with cheese will not affect the way the French begin to use it.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I agree with Bux, that I prefer my cheese nude, and I'll happily eat most varieties with a knife and fork - some are easier to convey to the mouth on bread.

I keep coming across very pleasant garnishes on New York cheese plates, but they get in the way of the cheese. It doesn't matter how delicious your onion relish is, no sensible feeder is going to smear it over their Roquefort.

What I relished about Picholine's cheese service, and made it worth the wait, is that Max has the knowledge and interest to rise to a challenge. In the past, I have asked him to put together plates conforming to quite specific requirements: once I asked him to pair French and American cheeses for purposes of comparison. He never disappointed, but I wonder if there is anyone else in town you would even bother playing this game with?

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I think we need to dismiss the notion that the French categorically reject garnishes during the cheese course. I've seen several counter-examples as well as plated cheese courses that are quite involved. At Arpege for example I had a lovely pear and fourme d'Ambert tart as my cheese course with a tasting menu.

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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Certainly there are many dishes that incorporate cheese including pizza, cheeseburger and cheesecake. A cheese tart, which I assume was cooked is another. If its not too sweet, it can certainly be served as the cheese course. But I think that the question under discussion was not the cheese course, in general, but the cheese trolley which is the usual cheese course in most restaurants in France. This course is typically not served with garnishes and the debate is whether garnishes add or detract.

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Do you find 24-hour grocery stores to be vulgar?
I find the 24-hour *anything* vulgar in the extreme. How very American! :raz:

[

not all of us work 9to 5 jobs or have the luck of having weekends off to do our shopping. some of us have to work in the very restaurants you are discussing here and can only do our shopping late at night. if it wasn't for the "vulgar, American, oh i love it so much 24 hour grocery store" in my neighborhood i don't know where i would go for my post fruitty pebbles

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I think we need to dismiss the notion that the French categorically reject garnishes during the cheese course. I've seen several counter-examples as well as plated cheese courses that are quite involved. At Arpege for example I had a lovely pear and fourme d'Ambert tart as my cheese course with a tasting menu.

I don't think it's been proposed that the French categorically reject garnishes during the cheese course. It's just not the traditional way to present cheese and Arpege is not an example of a restaurant serving traditional food. It's a restaurant that's pushing the envelope or French cuisine. From the little I've seen of French home dining, the cheese stands alone. One of the things that's worth noting is that the envelop of French cuisine has often been pushed by American ideas in the past two or three decades. Salads, both as they are incorporated into a meal and in their composition, have almost been revolutionized on an American model. Cheese is a likely target as well.

One of the most delicious first courses I've ever had in France has been a puff pastry turnover filled with ripe melting munster cheese (not muenster) served in Alsace. Munster can be one of France's stronger cheeses, as well as being quite rich, but I've never had one over here that had the bite of that one. At any rate, I supsect it was a fairly traditional dish.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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La Trouvaille will do you Bleu d'Auvergne & Honey - odd but good.

Hard cheese can often live with some type of chutney - and this is close to the notion of a savoury.

Soft cheese is best naked (& blue-veined) - in my view.

John reminds me that

'The apple without the squeeze is like the kiss without the cheese'.

Have I got that right?

Wilma squawks no more

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