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mdibiaso's Profile

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French fries fried in horse fat. Where in Paris?

Neigh, definitely not.

Jul 01, 2011
mdibiaso in France

noma, Copenhagen - 6 years, 2 meals, 1 day

Thank you so much for sharing this. A wonderful idea on your part and a wonderful response from Noma (who would have expected anything else.) I can only confirm all you write. Noma has changed the way I look at food as well. The service is also unmatched. I have had the pleasure of 3 meals there the past year. I only had 1 other meal at a gastronomic restaurant during that time. It was at Mathias Dahlgren. I wish that it too had been at Noma. Dahlgren wasn't even close to the Noma experience. That Michelin has them at the same level is the biggest farce I have seen in the Red book.

Today, barely a day goes by when I do not dream of returning to Noma. Who cares what Michelin says. Who cares how accurate the rest of the worlds best 50 list is. Noma IS the best restaurant in the world.

May 20, 2010
mdibiaso in Europe

Stockholm Gardet Neighborhood

It's Sweden, there'll be a pizzeria/kebab house within a 5 minute walk. Just ask a neighbor. There's a hot dog house on one end of the big park as well with some chairs inside. Really cheap, really casual, really Swedish

Apr 01, 2010
mdibiaso in Europe

Southern Sweden and Jutland recommendations

NOMA in Copenhagen is a must. Trio in Malmö gets good reviews as well.

Mar 26, 2010
mdibiaso in Europe

Pizzeria Mozza

The arancine is topped with cheese but the tomato sauce is underneath and therefore cannot explain why the coating if falling off in places. The prep I am referring to is not what it is served with. I am suggesting that the bread crumb coating was applied a long time before it was fried instead of waiting until it was actually order. Early application to save time and get food out faster (which seems to be a motto at this place) drastically lowers the stardard of the dish.

About 65% of the bread is properly charred. The other 35% is burnt. Taking a bite from the burnt end would leave you with an ash aftertaste that would probably stay with you for the rest of the meal, especially considering how fast they expect you to eat. Seems to be caused by uneven heat on the grill from what I can see of the bottom slice which appears to be under grilled on about 50% of its area, but it is really tough to say since you cannot see the who piece. But of course the guest can always leave the part of the bread that is burnt, that's easier than asking the grill chef to drop another slice.

I do think the clam pizza looks mushy with the filling falling into the crater in the middle. Would speculate that the dough underneath may not be fully cooked judging on the thick of the rest of the pie. In fact, calling this a pizza pie is very accurate description.

I guess you concede on the squash blossoms since you did not have a reply.

Would gladly hear OP posters comments on my appraisal.

Jan 27, 2010
mdibiaso in Los Angeles Area

Pizzeria Mozza

Arancine looks soggy not crisp on the outside as it should be. You can see in the picture that pieces of the coating are falling off. Possible due to sogginess or maybe being prepped in advance. Squash blossom. Another example of poor frying and uneven coating. Just plain sloppy. Both of there should have been stopped at the pass. Bone marrow. Bread is burnt. Should not have left the pass. Agree it's hard to see the poor quality of the marrow before it had been eaten but waiter should have seen it on the plate after it was dissected and apologized and removed it from the bill. Pizzas look sloppy and mushy, in particular the clam.. More like a loaf of bread with topping. But agree that this is what they probably are supposed to look like, so it more a question of a badly concieved pizza.
Does that answer your question. Again, I think it was exemplary of the OP to go to the bother to post pictures of how similar dishes properly made look at other restaurants.

Jan 27, 2010
mdibiaso in Los Angeles Area

Pizzeria Mozza

Lizzie, you review is very fair. I cannot see how anyone looking at your pictures can argue with you. Even if someone else got a good meal at Mozza the same weekend you were there that is no explanation or excuse for the crap you were served. I think the answer may lie in the fact that the room was full so early. When you do that kind of business a lot of places with no respect for what they do will send out a dish even if it is crap and well below normal standards. Worse thing that can happen is that they lose one guest in the future and it won't make a dent on the bottom line, at least in the short term. Seens like the waiter had the same short term view. Better two tables with bad tips than one with a good tip.

Jan 27, 2010
mdibiaso in Los Angeles Area

Stockholm - cooking class, local cool restaurants

I think you will find trouble finding something in english, especially for just a half day in the middle of the week, but send an email to they have quite a few different classes but they are almost all in the evenings or weekend.

Nov 06, 2009
mdibiaso in Europe

Stockholm pre-Christmas

The question is not whether or not Berns is good or if they have a Christmas buffet. The question is whether or not someone on their first and maybe only trip to Stockholm should spend what seems to be their celebration meal at a Pan Asian nightclub restaurant that could just as well be in Rome, LA, Rio or Sydney or eat a proper Swedish Julbord that can only be found in Sweden.

Even if they are here a whole week there is more than enough good, authentic Swedish food available that they can avoid eating "international" on this trip. The situation is different for someone like you who seems to be a repeat visitor.

3 or 4 meals of husmanskost (home cooking) at places like Operakällarens Bakficka or Eriks Bakficka. Just make sure to ask what dishes are husmanskost since non-Swedish dishes will also be on the menu. Ask your hotel for other options for husmanskost near where you are staying.

The big Julbord.

And if they want to spend a little extra, close to 200 USD a head, they can have some modern Swedish based on Swedish ingredients and traditions at Leijontornet. I would recommend this over more international Swedish modern ala F12 or Esperanto. Those restaurant are very good but they will cost just as much and also could just as well be in LA, NY or Sydney.

Oct 22, 2009
mdibiaso in Europe

Stockholm pre-Christmas

Sorry to disagree, but I see no reason to come all the way to Sweden to eat an asian buffet meal instead of a true Swedish Smörgåsbord. The buffet at Berns may be nice for Swedes that have eaten dozens of smörgåsbords in their life, but not for a visitor.

Sort of like eating pizza when you are in Kyoto.

Oct 21, 2009
mdibiaso in Europe

Stockholm pre-Christmas

There is some misunderstanding here. Smörgåsbord in Sweden has nothing to do with Smorgåsbord in the US. In the US its just another word for a buffet. Here is it a buffet but that buffet must consist of specific dishes which vary depending on the season. There is no way to eat a smörgåsbord for breakfast. But most hotels do serve a buffet for breakfast. Many lunch places have buffets, particular Chinese and Thai. But again this is nothing to do with Sweden or smörgåsbord unless you are just looking to eat a lot of mediocre food for a low price.

That was the bad news. The good news is you are coming at the right time of year to find a true smörgåsbord. But since it is Christmas time they will all be called Julbord.

Since this is probably a once in a lifetime deal for you I suggest you prepare to spend around 100 USD per person for a proper Julbord at a good restaurant (the 100 USD will cover a bit of drinking as well). The places below all offer very special atmosphere as well.

Places to consider are Clas på Hörnet (in an old house in the city) Lunch and dinner

Lunch and dinner, a bit more than 100 US at lunch around 130 at dinner

Grand Hotel Lunch and dinner

Långholmens Värdshus Lunch and dinner

You will have to book in advance. Make sure to ask a member of the staff for the proper way to eat a Julbord. You do not fill your plate to the brim with various things. Instead you go up several times taking different groups of foods one at a time. More trips with smaller portions is the way to go, but ask to make sure you go in the right order and to be sure you don't miss any specialties. If the person you ask doesn't seem helpful or knowledgable (there is a lot of extra staff during this season) ask someone else.

You are paying a lot so you have a right to an evening to remember.

Oct 20, 2009
mdibiaso in Europe

Is it "Soda" or "Pop" ?

Definitely "tonic" was the term for all kinds of soft drinks growing up in Boston in the 1960's. Soda and pop have come in later from all the students from other parts of the country.

Jul 22, 2009
mdibiaso in Not About Food

Four days in Copenhagen

If you dine out a lot at higher end places Noma could change the way you think about dining. The experience is unique. In other words it is the best restaurant in the city but one needs some points of reference to understand why. It is not your traditional upscale dining spot and the food is serves is very different. So there is a risk that some people might just not "get it". You need to be honest about what you like and dislike in the restaurants you normally dine at to determine if Noma is the right place for you. Do ideas like pigs fat instead of butter, huge raw oysters, raw beef, smoked marrow get you excited or nervous. The answers to questions like that will tell you if it is worth it for you to try to get a table at NOMA (which will not be an easy task)

For example, very little protein is served. In particular in the summer you will be eating 80% vegetables and wild herbs. It is definitely not precious, in fact the service and atmosphere is very laid back but extremely professional. It is almost like being in someones home. The staff, everyone single one of them, is very knowledgable and customer focused.

Avoid Kiin (one star Thai). Try Ida Davidsen for a very Danish experience as well.

Oslo Business Dinner

You're talking Oslo. Even pizza and beer will set you back more than 100 USD a person.

Oslo Business Dinner

Depending on the number of people Bagatelle could be your place. Have dined their with 12 people in the past in a private room. Since you will need to select a menu in advance with that many diners ask if they can prepare their beetroot/foie gras bonbons. A classic dish of the house if they still serve foie gras.

Anywhere good to eat in Stockholm?

Bakfickan definitely does not have the same kitchen. I have worked in the house and there are 3 separate kitchens and staff for the 3 separate restaurants. There is a 4 kitchen for private events as well. But the food is traditional and good at the bakfickan. East does not serve Swedish food at all, its Asian influenced. Grodan is combo French and some traditional Swedish and long past its heyday. Riche is similar. in fact except for Bakfickan the places you mentions are best known today for young people going out to drink and meet people rather than for the food they serve.

Mar 10, 2009
mdibiaso in Europe

Anywhere good to eat in Stockholm?

If you find pancakes at a restaurant in Sweden chances are its a Thursday lunch and they aer served with pea soup. And if you find them Thursday or otherwise chances are 99.9% they are industrially made offsite and reheated at the restaurant. Pancakes are made at home not in restaurants. So if you want the real thing while in Sweden you need to go home to someone's house.

Mar 01, 2009
mdibiaso in Europe

Fine Dining In Stockholm

Operakällaren is definitely a celebration location because of the beautiful atmosphere. Very expensive, as are top end places in Stockholm. Food is more French traditional than F12 or Esperanto. F12 is much more stylish and noisy with closer sitting. So it depends on what type of food and atmosphere you are looking for and which is more important, food or atmosphere. At any of these places you can end up with a meal you really enjoy or a meal that disappoints. So do your homework and be honest with yourself about what you really want and enjoy.

Sep 08, 2008
mdibiaso in Europe

Cheap eats in Stockholm

You problem is going to be a few drinks. Most places will charge around 100 sek per drink. So två people having 3 drinks each means about 600 sek for your bar bill. That leaves you 100 for food. Even with 2 drinks each you will see half of your 700 sek budget disappear. To save some money and eat more Swedish find places that have "back pockets" Bakficka. They usually served good food at more reasonable prices. The Bakficka at Operakällaren is a great example. Stick to beer and you might, just might, get out under 700 sek for a single course meal for two

Sweden markets and restaurants

Stockholm has two Saluhalls. Östermalm and Hötorget. Östermalm is better but the prices are extremely high and the produce can be rather everyday, but there can also be some good stuff if you know how to look and smell. If you friend has access to a car I think you can find better stuff in the country side by going direct farms that sell to the public. Have your friend search the internet to see whats open and when.

Eating in Stockholm, Sweden

60 sek for a meal is pretty much impossible unless you stick to McDonald's style places, especially in the evening. You may find some lunch places serving various daily specials (Dagens rätt) for 60 crowns but 70 is more likely and they probably won't be that good. Ask you collegues for suggestions when you arrive, their may be some places catering to student budgets. Be sure to fill up on breakfast and maybe visit a bakery for bread and grocery store for cheese. Sorry I can''t help more but 60 crowns is probably less than a kid working a McDonald's has for an hourly wage so it just don't buy much in Sweden.

Need a restaurant recommendation in Stockholm

In the city the place that works most with Swedish ingredients (both normal and lost) and modernized classics is Leijontornet in the Old Town, Gamla Stan.

Last time I was there the room was very striking as well.

Tip calculator at the bottom of the bill...?

Haven't seen that. But I have always wondered if some in the wait staff helps you figure out the tip, for example by lending you a calculator, are you supposed to tip them separately for the tip service?

Sep 17, 2007
mdibiaso in Not About Food

Stockholm Eats?

You are going to the Christmas Smörgåsbord chaos which may complicate things. You need to decide for yourself if you want to try one, but 99 out of 100 are quite soulless, however you will get to try a lot of herring and salmon. Here are some suggestions for non Smörgåsbord meals.
Lisa Elmquist in the Östermalm saluhall for lunch. Herring, salmon, shrimp...
Mistral - book quickly. In the Old Town. Modern Skandinavia. Expensive. Dinner
Bakfickan at the Opera - Tons of different home cooking like meatballs. Lunch and dinner.
Clas på hörnet - same type of food as Bakfickan but different atmosphere
Restauranget - at Oxtorget. Modern international tapas. Strongly represents what has been a strong trend in mid to upper class Swedish dining for the past 10 years. Hip atmosphere.

Cheap eats in Stockholm

1030 sek is about 140 USD tax and service included. With the tasting menu I would guess that you got 6-7 glasses of wine from bottles that probably all retail at 30 USD a bottle and above in the USA. I think most restaurants in the US would charge 20 USD a glass for a bottle that costs them 20 USD retail. 20 times 6 and you have 120. Add tax and tip and you are over the 140 US you paid at Mistral. And if you were in Paris you would probably pay significantly more for 6-7 glasses of wine of the caliber you drank in a 1 star restaurant. I think alcohol seems expensive in Sweden for several reasons.

1. No really cheap alternatives like 2 buck chuck or whatever its called.
2. High taxes on spirits like vodka, gin.
3. Prices in restaurants include tax and service.

Cheap eats in Stockholm

The overpriced wine point is a matter of what you drink. If you drink wine from France or Italy that would cost more than 100 USD retail in the US you will find that it is probably cheaper in Sweden both retail compared to retail and restaurant compared to restaurant. In fact when it comes to really expensive retail wine, 250 USD and up, Sweden may be the cheapest place in the world to purchase. Reason is the goverment monopoly has the same liquor tax on cheap and expensive wine and does not try to make extra profit from rare wares as a retailer in other countries would. Look at the prices for prestige champagne and you will see what I mean.

Double-dipping at Tapas Bar

If you have a problem with something that has been in someone elses mouth being in your food you should probably avoid 99% of the restaurants in the world. Chefs instinctively taste food and sauce as they cook with spoons that at best get put in a can with about 12 ounces of water to "rinse it off". The contents of that can are not pretty after 30 minutes of service.

Oct 18, 2006
mdibiaso in Not About Food

AP article on waiters and tips.

Let's give the 33% labor cost estimate the benefit of a doubt even though I am not sure it is correct. How much of that 33% cost is wages for staff that lives on tips. Maybe 5 of the 33%.(1 head chef probably as a salary equal to 10 waitstaff) Say that 5% has to be increased by a multiple of 5. So now that 5% becomes 25% of the original. Or the old cost of 100 is not 120. Not the 200 to 300 some math geniuses here are claiming.

Sep 22, 2006
mdibiaso in Not About Food

AP article on waiters and tips.

Your math makes sense, you should be able to increase prices by 20% and use all that increase to pay wages equal to what waitstaff makes today with tips. The problem comes in the fact that the today in the US most waitstaff are reporting an income to the IRS that is lower than what they actually earn. If they get their tips replaced 100% with salary they will end up paying more taxes (and most likely restaurants will have to pay more social security). So prices would need to go up about 25-30% to make the portion of this market that is black and untaxed, legal and taxed. But anyone who says that prices need to double or triple and that every place would close either loves the idea of cheating Uncle Sam and/or has never been to the dozens of countries around the world were service staff in lots of industries get real wages and no or little tips without the whole market collapsing.

Sep 22, 2006
mdibiaso in Not About Food

Something so sad and silly

It may seem silly, but it most likely stems from the sue everyone culture that runs like wildfire throughout the USA. Let's say some kid gets really sick from food brought from home. And the parents are not friends with each other. My guess is the majority of parents would at minimum consider a law suit. And the lawyer would quickly tell them to go after the city and school system because they have more financial resources at risk. And in the end it would be your tax dollars paying for the lawyers fees and any eventual settlement. The people running city governments unfortunately have a responsibility to plan for such situation, whether they are silly or not, because they are real threats.

Does it suck? Yes. But is it the right decision by city official? Yes, unfortunately it is.

The simple way around it is to invite the class to your house or a local playground for a quick celebration.

Sep 12, 2006
mdibiaso in Not About Food