alarash's Profile

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Complain or Shut Up?

Tough situation while being hosted. I agree with you, it's definitely not right to complain when your meal is being paid for by your host. Even when I am paying, I have found that very frequently, the people in my party are made uncomfortable when a complaint is made, no matter how justified. *Sometimes*, it even makes the complainer look like a bit of a douche.

I find myself unhappy more and more often these days as my ability to distinguish good food from food that is just OK is improving with time.

In my experience, the best result occurs when the following criteria are met:

1. I don't take the food mishap personally, and am not too offended/angry about it. Keeping calm and even friendly with the server is key to salvaging the positive energy of the dining experience and rest of the day.

2. I already have a very reasonable solution to suggest to the server at the end of my complaint, rather than waiting for the waiter to guess the best solution for me.

The last time I complained, I was at an excellent deli/cafe in Sacramento with my brother who was visiting from seattle. It was his last meal before I was to take him to the airport to return home. We each ordered a personal pizza which they make in their wood fired stone oven. Both my pizza and his were burned on the bottom. We ate the pies anyway, because we were famished, and we didn't have time to wait for a replacement meal. When the server asked how the food was, we both reluctantly spoke up and said the pizzas were both burned. The assistant manager then came and apologized, explained that the guy in charge of pizzas that day was brand new and still getting the hang of things. As I identified myself as a return customer, she offered to give me two pizzas at any future visit for free to make it right, and charged us for the meal we ate. I thought this was reasonable, and covered the entire check. We came back a month later and collected our two pizzas and they were back to normal quality. Overall, it was nice that they gave a sensible explanation, apologized, and made it right, keeping us as customers.

Copper pots better? why?

It's a fun video to watch, but I don't like the look of this cookware. It looks home-made, not professionally hand made. The French artisans of 1880-1940 have him beat hands down when it comes to fit and finish. I'd consider paying for a French craftsman to make a silver pan, but I honestly don't want a Soy pan in my collection. It has that "bazaar" look of other middle eastern cookware: hand beaten, too thin, and too much irregularity in each piece making it look a little amateur. Nothing against middle eastern craftsmen (my DNA is 100% middle eastern), but the French styling, at least to me, makes all the difference.

Mar 13, 2015
alarash in Cookware

Found a vintage copper pot. Now what?

The dimensions seem to be that of a stock pot (diameter = height) and by the looks of it compared to that stool on which it sits, I would guess it's 10-12" in diameter and height.

The thickness seems substantial, 3 mm I would guess, or maybe even a little more.

The weight, around 20-25 lbs?

What a great find for $65. A delightful steal.

I would clean up the interior. I don't think it needs re-tinning just yet, but it should be cleaned very well.Then it ought to be cooked in!

Mar 04, 2015
alarash in Cookware

Waterless Cookware Myths or Not

thanks for clarifying that.

Feb 03, 2015
alarash in Cookware

Best Copper Pan Brands in the World ?

Post some pictures. Please let me know if you decide to sell some. I've never seen or heard of it, but would be interested to add some to my collection.

Jan 19, 2015
alarash in Cookware

Copper Cookware - Identification

Hi OP,

I agree, it depends on your definition of junk.

This is low-end copper cookware, and won't give you the full "shazam!" the experience of cooking in copper cookware. Another reason not to make the drive is that you can find this grade of copper commonly at thrift stores or inexpensively on auction sites, either of which will save you time and a lot of gas.

alarash

Jan 01, 2015
alarash in Cookware

Christmas Dinner Highlights and Lowlifes

Eased the maltese's feelings???

Am I the only one who thinks the maltese should not feel offended?

While we cannot know the life story of the maltese up until Christmas 2014, how much does it matter?

Explaining the back story behind the disrespectful behavior is perhaps intellectually satisfying. <<And in common households in the USA in 2014, what has been described is definitely disrespectful and inconsiderate>> But aren't we responsible for our own actions anymore?

Or can bad behavior simply be forgiven and justified by a sob story which explains how we've arrived at our current "state of being?"

Dec 29, 2014
alarash in Not About Food
1

One day I will have a Chambers stove. Do you have one? If so, tell me about it. The good the bad and the ugly...

Hey OP,

Is this of any use to you?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1953-Model-61...

I'd help polish up the copper with you if you're in northern California.

Dec 28, 2014
alarash in Cookware

Julia Child's copper pots on Antiques Roadshow

The middle saucepan on the lower shelf seems to have a mark on it just to the left of where the handle attaches to the pot. My best guess is that it is a Matfer mark.

Dec 26, 2014
alarash in Cookware

if you could live anywhere at any income level, what would you choose?

The Sea Cliff neighborhood of San Francisco.

Dec 08, 2014
alarash in Not About Food

Vintage Copper Sauce Pan Question

Never seen the mark, obviously French.

Interesting that the dovetailing is on the sides, making it more visible. Most seen to have the dovetaling on the bottom in order to hide it. I think it's pretty! With those dimensions and that weight, I would guess it's 2.5mm foil.

Nice find!

Dec 07, 2014
alarash in Cookware

I'd like to, but I've never tried homemade . . .

sushi.

funny OP, I've made all of the other things on your list.

Dec 01, 2014
alarash in General Topics
1

Re-tinning copper pans

Nathan,

Thank you for showing your excellent results. Like several other hounds, I dabble in tinning from time to time as well, and my skils have steadily improved.

I am excited to try fiberglass insulation to replace the cotton t-shirt material I've been using as a wiping rag to wipe the tin. While the t-shirt material works relatively well, as it is largely lint free, I still have problems with it burning and turning black such that I have to use a new rag for each pan.

The reason for the t-shirt material burning is most likely due to the temperature being too high, and the gas burner being set too high. I use an outdoor gas burner that came with a turkey frying kit, and the burner is too powerful. I have found that one of the KEYS to success if actually using a very very low flame, such that the temperature of the pan only rises slowly up to the melting temp of tin. This makes it a bit annoying to wait for the tin ingot to "flow," but once it flows, the pan hovers around this appropriate temperature without getting too hot during the actual tinning process.

I agree that in my experience, pans that are tinned the fastest (most efficiently) turn out the best. This is probably because the temperature of the pan gets too high if you work too slow, and once the temp is too high, it becomes really tricky to do a good job, as the rag starts to burn a bit and leave residue in the pan. Hopefully the fiberglass will help with this, but I also wonder if heated fiberglass leaves any unhealthy components behind??

Therefore, I can tine medium sauce pans and windsors pretty well. I tried to tin a couple of 4 millimeter 12-14" sauce pans this summer, and they look awful. I struggled badly to keep them from getting too hot, and tinning the entire height of the sidewall was very difficult.

Finally, I too have noticed that the copper will only soak up a certain, almost predetermined, amount of tin, and no more will adhere beyond this, as the rest just pools. So I'm not sure I believe it's possible to apply a particularly thick hand wiped layer. At least, I don't know how to do it.

If I were better at tinning, I'd make a youtube video, but I don't feel like I'm good enough to be any sort of authority.

Thanks so much for posting your excellent results!

Nov 25, 2014
alarash in Cookware

Is it disappointing for you not to eat turkey or ham on Thanksgiving?

I expect a turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pie (pumpkin, pecan, or apple) at a minimum.

I'm not a big yam fan, but I do expect to see them. For the last 5 years or so, I've been making mac'n cheese, too.

I would still have a blast at Thanksgiving without these things (even without turkey or even meat) if all of the following conditions are met:

1. warm and cozy house
2. exceptionally great group of loved ones present (friends and family)
3. plenty and various warm comfort foods and dessert

Nov 03, 2014
alarash in General Topics
1

Am I being too cheap? Splitting restaurant bill on family vacation

My wife and I are avid non-drinkers, and we get a bit annoyed when our friends who know we don't drink ask us to divide a dinner check evenly, resulting in a subsidy of their alcohol. Our feelings were hurt by this particular couple, since they knew us quite well, and knew we never drink. We sucked it up and paid, not mentioning anything, but she and I decided not to eat out with them again, and things have worked out fine since that episode. If the group has half an ounce of courtesy, they'll notice you're not a drinker, and they'll kick you back a few bucks at the end of each meal to acknowledge that you aren't to subsidize their booze. Especially if you willingly offer to pay an even split despite staying sober as a sign of goodwill, which is the gracious thing to do. Think of it as a thank you for all the work others have done to organize this trip in which they've included you. Or, think of it as a way to show kindness to your GF's loved ones. This will be paid back to you several fold by her, as she will value how kind you were to her family, despite it being a somewhat less than ideal circumstance for you.

In a large group, especially when everyone is chipping in for the labor (organization of the trip, going shopping for food, cooking food, etc), it's best to be detached and to let go of the exactness of the financial fairness. Instead, it's easier to tolerate the small financial iniquities when one reminds oneself that others are helping with the trip organization, shopping, cooking, etc.

Another possible strategy when at restaurants is to order more than you usually would at meals and get your money's worth, instead of ordering the basic hamburger, add cheese and bacon; go for the sweet potato fries instead of the regular ones. Order fresh squeezed juice at meals, etc.

<<Now, while I am frugal, I don't see myself as "cheap".>>

Anyone I've known to say something along the lines of the above has most definitely been pathologically cheap.

<<when travelling and eating out, I tend to order whatever the least expensive thing on the menu that can satisfy and sustain me. Even when someone else is paying.>>

I'm a bit puzzled to encounter someone with the above ordering habits on this forum, but so be it. But, yes, I am truly befuddled.

Also, is anyone else surprised by the "even when someone else is paying" comment? I think this is also a clue that the self image of frugality is more likely cheapness. To me this comment suggests that you would expect the average guest to order more when someone else is paying. IMHO, only cheap people do that. I think most other people would tend to order a bit more conservatively when someone else is paying, out of consideration to the host. But who knows, perhaps there is controversy regarding this matter.

Really bad food from a restaurant.... What would you do?

Oh, how it chaps my hide to go out with family and spend time and money of food done badly!

Recently I went to an Iranian restaurant for the first time with my family while driving through a city 1.5 hours away. We are very familiar with this cuisine, and we were quite disappointed due to the carelessness and lack of enthusiasm in the food preparation and the service. I paid, tipped more than they deserved, and still have not written a review. But, man, was I mad!

If you are the type of person capable of getting your money back, bravo to you! I am shy about confrontations and difficult conversations, and would let the money go, but would let them have it on my review.

Nevertheless, I do agree with Kaleo that most chowhounds are hard to impress and easy to disappoint. I find myself increasingly disappointed with restaurants. Despite the time I invest in reading reviews in order to bias my restaurant experiences to only "very good" establishments, my own yelp reviews span a relatively 'normal' distribution, which suggests if I were to sample restaurants at random, the reviews might be heavily skewed toward the bottom end.

Oct 05, 2014
alarash in Not About Food

Re-tinning copper pans

Thanks for the updates, psfred2. Keep them coming. I haven't tinned much this summer, but I have a propane burner outside from my turkey frying kit, and a couple of times a year, I try and re-tin a couple of my most used pans.

Oct 05, 2014
alarash in Cookware

Anyone Remember Lofurno's?

Hi Karen,

I've never been to Lofurno's, as I was just a kid in the Seattle area, not old enough to drive. This thread has me hooked on what it must have been like, and I'm interested that so many people from back then are still enthusiastic about the place. Good luck to Austin with his new school in October! I hope he opens up his own Lofurno's for my generation some day.

alarash

Sep 28, 2014
alarash in Greater Seattle

Anyone Remember Lofurno's?

And we're even willing to help with the logistics!

Sep 25, 2014
alarash in Greater Seattle

Large tins of olive oil

Go Aggies!!!

Sep 24, 2014
alarash in General Topics

Re-tinning copper pans

yes, prithee, tell

Sep 22, 2014
alarash in Cookware

Help me build a great cookware set!

Awwww SNAP!!!!

Sep 17, 2014
alarash in Cookware

Where can I find actually good coffee in PDX?

Oh man, it is a pretentious culture, isn't it?

But, when it comes to producing espresso drinks that *taste* the way roasted coffee beans *smell*, the Vivace people (and other roasters in a similar vein) have got it down to an art/science.

The Vivace sidewalk stand on Broadway you visited might be the best of their 3 (excellent) locations, in my experience.

Sep 17, 2014
alarash in Metro Portland

9 of the Most Underrated Dishes at Japanese Restaurants

Ankimo! Yum!!!

Sep 15, 2014
alarash in Features

are you a kitchen collector??

Sweet Santa Maria, Madre de Dios, I am a sinner. I am a non-using collector of copper cookware, and many other vintage kitchen items. While I do use copper cookware, I do own more than I could possibly justify... and while I say I aim to resell lesser duplicates when I buy a new piece, the buying part just seems to happen a lot more often and easily than the selling part.

Sep 14, 2014
alarash in Cookware

What to do with beef heart?

grilled skewered whole chicken hearts are remarkably tasty, as well. I imagine they might taste somewhat similar in that iron-y sort of way.

Sep 14, 2014
alarash in Home Cooking

What to do with beef heart?

My wife and I had an ornery chihuahua before having children, and we spoiled it like we do our kids. I used to buy beef organs at the local Asian market and put them in the food processor. The beef liver and kidneys never tempted me to eat them myself when I cooked the dog its food, but the beef heart smelled and looked so good that I always wondered what a 50/50 beaf heart/sirloin burger would taste like. If you decide to try it, please post your results. The ground beef heart sandwiches of Kaleokahu's childhood sound delicious, too.

Sep 14, 2014
alarash in Home Cooking

French Copper Pots = lined with TIN or STEEL?

AChristiane,
May I inquire where you get your copper lined in silver? I am aware of one place in the US where my good friend had a beautiful 4mm Gaillard copper rondeau lined in silver, and he was quite happy with their work and the cost. However, since then, that company has increased their charge for similar work. Please do tell which copper restorer you use, the degree of your satisfaction with their work, and if you don't mind, the general cost for the silver lining, perhaps in comparison to what they charge for tin lining.
Thanks in advance,
alarash

Sep 14, 2014
alarash in Cookware

duck press

bargain

Aug 31, 2014
alarash in Cookware

Le Creuset Japanese Grill

I've not had the chance to try it. My wife promptly filed it away in some box or closet, recognizing that it was probably a useless item in our house. If you buy one, let me know if it was useful. I kind of doubt the heat source beneath the grill would be enough to heat it adequately.

Aug 31, 2014
alarash in Cookware