Cheflambo's Profile

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How do you split the bill and tip evenly?

It depends on where you are eating, and what everyone had. If I've got the check, I add 18-20% for gratuity, divide by the number of people at the table, and tell everyone "you owe $___, which includes the tip". With my friends and other Chowhounds, this is seldom an issue. With my in-laws, it would never fly. (Of course, they announce "separate checks" to the hostess, busboy and server as soon as they sit down ... and things go downhill from there).

1 day ago
Cheflambo in Not About Food

Coming for work, dinner recommendations

Im having lunch at Jackson tomorrow. Will let you know.

Apr 16, 2015
Cheflambo in Houston

Complain or Shut Up?

I understand. I didn't mean that YOU had done that. I just meant that in many cases, people do just say that, regardless of the demeanor of the server, or the quality of the food, because they don't want to "make a fuss" or hurt someone's feelings. A GOOD server will notice that little food had been eaten, ask specifically if something was not right, and offer to bring something else or correct the dish.

Coming for work, dinner recommendations

Main Kitchen at the new downtown JW Marriott might be one to try. Exec Chef Erin Smith has some great, fresh ideas on old standards. Artista, at the Hobby Center, it almost within walking distance of the Lancaster. Part of the Cordua group, it also has an eclectic menu and of course their signature tres leches cake. Of national reknown is Oxheart, but its tasting menu is pricey, and reservations might be hard to get. For seafood, venture south of downtown to Reef (Bryan Caswell was recognized by Food & Wine in 2009 as an up-and-coming chef, who really knows his way around a fish). Best Vietnamese near downtown is Huynh (912 St. Emanuel) a family run place with a very urban vibe. Ive never had a bad meal there, and its my go-to place for pre-theater dinners, and its BYOB.

Apr 12, 2015
Cheflambo in Houston

Complain or Shut Up?

If this food was really as bad as you describe, regardless of who is paying, it should be brought to the attention of the server, or management, as soon as it hit the table. Smiling bravely and telling them "everything is OK" sends exactly that message. You're happy with the food. Instead, give them a chance to serve you something else, although it sounds like almost everything coming out that night was borderline inedible. Some chefs/owners/managers pay close attention to personal correspondence regarding their restaurants; others do not take the time to read, or have time to respond, to every personal inquiry made by a disgruntled customer.

Thanks to social media, people who dont have the courage to go face to face with their complaints have no problem posting their specific issues in a public forum. This is where the responsible parties WILL look, and although in this case their response was a boilerplate denial that anything was bad, at least the rest of the world now knows you had a bad meal at that restaurant. (BTW, they'll probably deny that they ever got your email).

Starting Dinner Early

This is clearly a textbook case of passive-aggressive behavior. The fact that your fiance enables it is definitely a red flag, as well as a lack of respect for you. Are they otherwise kind and thoughtful towards you? Does this happen only on week/work nights, or on the weekend as well? If your fiance is not able/willing to help them understand that you want to be on time, and cant or wont persuade them to wait for you, your marriage will be fraught with this type of behavior. Once, and just once ... just say no. "Sorry - can't make it that early". And stick to it. Your other choice is to consistently show up "late", but act like its no big deal.

Apr 04, 2015
Cheflambo in Not About Food

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

People, please. This is a busy shopping week. Good Friday is the #2 shopping day of the year behind Black Friday. Cut your fellow shoppers a little slack. If there is no one IN the <12 lane, its OK (take a deep breath) to let someone with 15 items check out there. They will add no more than 90 seconds to the process. Are you really in THAT big a hurry? Don't worry about the cigarette people either; they will be dead from their nasty habit in a few years, and you'll just sail through checkout then. Isn't self-checkout available in your favorite store? You can stand there all day and take all the time you need.

kenny and ziggy s deli

Ziggy Gruber is the real deal. He wants everyone to eat well, and carry on the deli tradition. Houston is lucky to have him.

Yes. the menu is daunting. But servers are well versed, and won't let you order something you probably dont really want. Be prepared to take a large portion home. His kosher stuff is really authentic, right down to the pickles. And the movie depicts him supervising everything. He really does.

Apr 01, 2015
Cheflambo in Houston

Anyone else hate the new Saveur makeover, or is it just me?

As long as they continue to use photos by the amazing Penny De Los Santos, they can do whatever they like. I have not seen the March issue - were there significant changes? That said, I have the Jan/Feb issue in front of me here, and it is mighty thin. FWIW, needlessly expensive kitchen gear appears in ALL of these magazines (including G&G). I would like to see more recipes (F&W is still good for that). I, too, miss Gourmet - that magazine started it all for me.

Mar 29, 2015
Cheflambo in Food Media & News

I'm the turtle at the table .

I am the turtle around here ... Spouse is the hare. I allow him to read while he eats (when its just the two of us at home) and he still eats twice as much in half the time that I do. In restaurants, he just wants to eat and go; he's often signing off on the check while I am still (trying to) enjoy my meal. Linger over coffee or a brandy? - "we can do that at home". Sigh. All too often I just get a to go box and enjoy the rest of my meal the next day. I'm used to it. His family is like this too. His brother and SIL descend on their food like starving dogs when we go to restaurants. NO ONE waits for "all to be served" before diving in.

LATECOMERS FOR DINNER

People who are purposely late to these things (family meals, social events, etc.) enjoy the attention and feeling of control. When you let them know you are annoyed, you are enabling this behaviour. Serve dinner on time to those who show up -- chronic latecomers get cold food and no further fuss made about them. When (if) they call en route, just tell them "ok ... we'll see you when we see you!"

I dated someone like this long ago -- late for everything, making ME often late for events (I missed a friend's wedding but got to the reception as it started -- I was an HOUR late to MY birthday dinner my parents were throwing for me). I tried the "see you when you get here" approach and eventually he started paying more attention to the time, but he was never on time for anything. As the owner of a successful engineering management company, I am amazed that his clients put up with it.

Best Ways to Halve and to Store Fresh Bagels?

Why is everyone slicing these BEFORE you freeze them? (I use a bread knife, too, but dont cut until Im ready to eat)

Funniest Restaurant Names

Houston also has a wine bar/restaurant called Plonk.

Restaurant Web-Site Fails...

Im not complaining. And apparently they closed on time. The hours on the door said they closed at 10. Its the website that is at fault here (since fingers need to be pointed) not the restaurant itself. No, the corporate office can offer anything they want to assuage a cranky customer; it doesn't necessarily mean that the word will filter down to the specific franchise or branch. No, clean as you go, while patrons are still in the dining room, is not really an option. You'd be complaining about that too. You seem to be expecting an apology and a free pizza because you showed up after they closed. Even for New Jersey, that's a lot of chutzpah.

Mar 22, 2015
Cheflambo in Not About Food

Restaurant Web-Site Fails...

Thanks, autumm, for putting this into perspective. If your clients are putting their phone number and hours on the front page, there is no excuse for people to not CALL the restaurant and confirm their hours and reservations. As I've said, a website is only as good as the entity that maintains it. Social media is the place to go for last minute cancellations, closures, specials, etc.

Mar 22, 2015
Cheflambo in Not About Food

Restaurant Web-Site Fails...

Don't hold your breath waiting for the local manager to respond. Corporate made a promise they had no way to fulfill. And don't hold that against them. If there are no customers at 10:09, even though their corporate website says they close at 11, it is reasonable to expect them to close up, clean up and go home. They aren't going to wait around for you to come sashaying in at 10:10 and get you fed and out by 11.

Mar 22, 2015
Cheflambo in Not About Food

Restaurant Web-Site Fails...

Any website is only as good as the people who support it. If you're going out of your way (making a long drive) to a place you havent been to in a while or have never visited before, and dont want to be disappointed, take the "last century" precaution of actually CALLING the place to be sure it is open, and serving what you want that day.

I am always amused by consumers who think that maintaining a website is all a restaurant owner has to think about. Yes, they all know they need to have one, but not every new place has the budget for a slick, stylized website with music and dancing BS. Many smaller, independent start ups use a template format to save time and money they would rather spent on the quality of their food.

The best restaurant websites are the ones that give you the phone number, location and hours right on the front page. Don't make people search for it; a hungry consumer has only so much patience (apparently)

[HOU] Any good old school Chinese/Cantonese restaurants??

Oh please dont make dining decisions based on what you read in Yelp ....

Mar 20, 2015
Cheflambo in Houston
1

Radio Milano at City Centre - Two Thumbs UP

No Maker's Mark or Beefeater? (sorry, just couldn't get past that ...) aside from their lacking standard bar items, I'm glad you enjoyed your meal. Apparently this IS the best time to get into a restaurant that isn't in the South Loop area. And substitutes without a whimper? I am SO there!

Mar 15, 2015
Cheflambo in Houston

How to eat frugally?

HS, you've really given me something to think about here. Ive read the entire thread, and you need to ignore the nay-sayers and finger pointers. A lot of people here have no idea what it is like to live with the financial and health restrictions controlling your life. They don't understand that you can't just slap down a credit card and buy anything you want. You can't walk or drive to more affordable shopping. You are absolutely doing all that you can with what you have. And you have no nearby family that can help. My hat is off to you -- we are the same age and I will go to sleep tonight a LOT more grateful for what I have that should never be taken for granted.

To address your original question -- check with the big supermarket that does (or should) offer a senior discount on certain days (the base line at my Kroger is 55). Clearly you've researched and found most of the low cost options for staples and fresh produce. You already know what do to with all those herbs and spices, and that can make even a head of cauliflower, roasted, quite a treat. I'm not a Mormon (more of a recovering catholic) but my late husband was a member of LDS before we met, and I know from the things he told me that community, fellowship and helping others are primary aspects of the religion. There definitely should be people in your church whose help you can reach out to. I hope they realize what a valuable resource of culinary knowledge they have in YOU!

Manners Manifesto

Camana, you've made a very good point. If children don't experience the behavior, they don't learn. You are fortunate your friends were the type that understood an important part of etiquette - making the guest comfortable. Holding your knife as if you're about to stab someone with it, or wrapping your fist around your fork like a toddler, are really NOT the way to handle your cutlery. I've honestly never quite understood the fork in the left hand for cutting/fork in the right hand for eating (or vice versa if you're a southpaw) but if I am eating with people that I think might judge me for it, I watch to see what they are doing.

Re: judgement. Yes. Good table manners ARE something people DO notice. In situations where you need to be on your best behaviour (meeting your fiance's parents or family, a lunch-centric job interview, etc.) you'll be glad you observed even the most arcane of procedures. Some seem truly silly (only butter one little bite of bread at a time comes to mind) but showing the world that you at least have heard about these things will go a long way towards making sure you are invited back again. You don't like that crowd? Well, then, go ahead and lick your knife and blow your nose in the napkin. You'll send another kind of message.

Mar 15, 2015
Cheflambo in Not About Food
1

Manners Manifesto

i think on a more global level, one should be taught to respect conventional manners within their own culture, but to remember that (as pointed out upthread) these things are very often different in other cultures. For example, In certain parts of the middle east, it is considered a huge faux pas to eat with your left hand (it is considered unclean). In some cultures, making noise with your soup is a compliment to your host. Sometimes you have to turn down offers several times to avoid seeming greedy or making the host feel inadequate.

Most important (to me) is that children learn from a young age how to behave at the table. Simple things (eating with your mouth closed, please and thank you, elbows off the table, asking to be excused) and the more complex aspects (handling cutlery, napkin procedures, etc.) are not too hard for kids to understand.

Mar 15, 2015
Cheflambo in Not About Food

Is it worth it?

Working the line in any restaurant is far more daunting than just making it through culinary school. Its a "hot" job these days and there is lots of competition. No one is going to cut you any slack. You will never have a weekend off. At the outset you'll get the worst shifts and the hardest work. I understand depression, ADHD and autism (several friends and family members have dealt with it) and all this comes with that in mind. My nephew has (we hope) conquered his ADHD and the restaurant he works in LOVES him, but he didnt get in the kitchen right away. He worked up from busser, server and sweeping floors in the kitchen. But if you can prove you are a wizard at the stove, or creative with flavor layers, and can show up consistently every day with all the energy and enthusiasm needed, you might just find a place at the back of the house.

Mar 01, 2015
Cheflambo in Not About Food
1

5 Times to Say "No Thank You" and 3 Things to Do When You Hear It — How to Be a Grownup

I go through this at Thanksgiving every year. My spouse (who is clueless about offering anyone anything - he will pour himself a glass of wine and cork it up right in front of me, ignoring MY empty glass) has a cousin who is our host for T-day and at the other end of the spectrum ("Are you hungry? Can I get you anything? Turkey? No, ok how about a drink? Would you like a sandwich? Can I fix you some coffee? Do you want a bagel or something else"?) I simply can't believe these two are related ... his wife is the same way. If we are going out somewhere they will BOTH ask me, more than once "Do you want a jacket?" "No, no, Im fine." "Are you sure?" "Yes, really, its OK". "It might be cold at the restaurant/theater/outdoor venue" ... The last time this happened I was so exasperated, I turned to my spouse and said "OK, its YOUR turn ... do YOU think I need a jacket?" "I dunno ... why?" was his response.

In Farsi (Persian) there is an expression called "T'aarof" -- a term of hospitality that requires the host to offer, at least 3 times, and the guest to decline at least 3 times, before actually accepting what is being offered. If you say "yes" after the first offer, the host is offended, because on some level he or she was not providing whatever you needed or wanted.

Feb 24, 2015
Cheflambo in Not About Food
1

Should you tip the owner?

Always tip your server, no matter who it is. IMHO it is tacky to expect buy-backs. I can't even imagine questioning whether someone "deserves" a living wage or not. SMH

Feb 13, 2015
Cheflambo in Not About Food

Looking for a magazine for my 80+ dad, not too adventurous

Get him on Penzey's mailing list. They send out a catalog every month with recipes in it. I think Saveur and BA might be good, but for real mainstream fare, there is a magazine put out by the Food Network folks that features recipes that might be more mainstream for him. You can find it on the newsstand and in most supermarkets.

Feb 07, 2015
Cheflambo in Food Media & News

Is it okay to...

I've seen far worse behavior in restaurants. Go for it.

Feb 07, 2015
Cheflambo in Not About Food
1

How long does bacon keep?

Bacon freezes very well. I pulled a package out of mine last week and cooked some for breakfast, and chopped & cooked the rest for coq au vin. Everything tasted fine. When I looked at the package just before tossing it in the trash, I noticed that I had put it IN the freezer 2+ years ago. Not necessarily recommending this "aging" process, but no harm done here.

Pat peeves as a guest at a dinner party?

I like the idea of assigned seating. One of the great opportunities of a dinner party is to meet new people. Following stricter protocol, the seating should be boy-girl-boy-girl and couples should NOT be seated together, unless one needs to cut the other's food for them.

As a host with only one bathroom, I check it often*, and leave additional tissues/towels/TP in plain sight. (Im always peeved with guests who dont want to "mess up" the guest towels ...) *last winter I went to an open house where there was a half bath on the 1st floor for guests' use. Someone clogged the commode, then walked away and did not tell our hostess until I went to use it and could not. Let's just say this was one place where a scented candle would have been welcome.

I have Thanksgiving with the inlaws & their cousins every year. Our host always comments (and not always kindly) on what is on my plate -- "oh, no potatoes? no gravy? Are you dieting again?"

Jan 17, 2015
Cheflambo in Not About Food
1

Accommodating a Party Guest-What is Reasonable?

PartyHound - please get back to us on this event. Im sure Im not the only one who wants to know how it turned out. Im sorry your otherwise delightful friend has food issues -- I am wondering how anyone else in these other social situations you mentioned handled this problem. Clearly this fellow doesn't have a wife who comes along to reign him in. The fact that he does not seem to recognize the issue indicates that he really does need to get some professional help before this, literally, kills him. I don't think "intervention" is too strong a word to use here. Eventually he won't be invited anywhere, and he's surely going to wonder why.

Jan 03, 2015
Cheflambo in Not About Food