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Is This New York City's Greatest Wine List?

The thing about a strategy like this is that you can bide your time and when a "vintage of the century" comes along you can buy good wines at deep discount. The last vintage of Burgundy where I bought more than a dozen bottles was 2004, the year of the supposed green meanies, because so many sellers were making way for 2005.

Aug 17, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

Reno chowdown: Fabulous small plates at Centro

The Greater Reno Grub and Gripe Group took over half of the patio at Centro for what turned out to be a fabulous meal. We drank much good wine, which added to the merriment. The small plate philosophy at Centro works best with groups. We had 13 but three or four would be fine.
We started with bowls of nuts and olives. I always love the olives at Centro and its sister restaurant, LaVecchia. The group wanted anchovies. I hate anchovies but RevAndy explained these are white anchovies. The fishy taste was minimal and the fried breading added a nice contrast to the fish.
Then came the picked egg. I liked the egg but wasn’t too keen on the citrus marmalade. Next up: scallops. Look at my pictures of the scallops. You’ll notice a couple of huge ones and smaller ones. Rather than grab a big one, I had a strategy. I’ll take a smaller one and then after everyone has taken one, I’ll take another. It totally backfired on me. Scallops this good are not left long. I had to settle for my one measly scallop. It was perfectly cooked and quite tasty.
We also got fingerling potatoes with Basque chorizo and crispy Brussel sprouts. I didn’t taste any chorizo with the potatoes but the potatoes themselves were excellent. They had nice potato flavor. You can’t complain about that. The Brussel sprouts were meh. I wouldn’t get them again.
Two that I would get again were the pork belly and the shrimp po boy sandwich. Everyone seemed to love the pork belly. Tender and delicious. The shrimp po boy had tasty shrimp, tasty bread and some wonderful Cajun-style flavors. It was a winner and maybe my favorite dish of the night.
We also got Thai sticky ribs. I liked them and everyone else seemed to like them too. I like the Korean ribs at Centro better. They’re more savory. These ribs were a little too sweet. Obviously they’re sweet to balance the heat but the sweetness could have been dialed back for me.
The octopus was also nice. Not too rubbery.
The bar makes some of Reno's better cocktails. It's also right next to 1864 Tavern, which is one of Reno's better bars.
The tasty small plates at Centro is an excellent addition to Reno’s dining scene.

Aug 01, 2015
SteveTimko in Southwest

Reno Chowdown: Spectacular meal at Crawfish Asian Cuisine

I enjoyed the dinner with Yimster, Janet and others. For me the highlights again were the baked Chilean sea bass and the lamb chops. The only thing I didn't like was the steamed chicken. It was a lot like Cantonese chicken with an odd texture and cut I don't like. I do like Cantonese duck, for what that's worth.

Jul 24, 2015
SteveTimko in Southwest

Cooking from Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbooks

Thanks all for the replies. This looks like enough to get me started.
Does anyone use the glass lid? Apparently it's vented to allow steam to escape during steaming.

Jul 18, 2015
SteveTimko in Home Cooking

Cooking from Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbooks

When you say steam, do you use the saute setting or do a full pressure cook with the lobster or potatoes on the steamer grate and water beneath it at the bottom of the pan?

Jul 18, 2015
SteveTimko in Home Cooking

Cooking from Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbooks

I bought an Instant Pot marked down from $133 to $99 for Amazon's Prime Day. I have some questions.
What are one or two good basic recipes that come in the cookbook included with the Instant Pot?
I need a good, simple recipe for a main dish for a pescetarian. So what's a good vegetarian or fish/seafood dish? Nothing with salmon, please. I don't like salmon.
After I bought the Instant Pot, an Amazon ad for a clear Instant Pot lid showed up in my Facebook timeline. Is this something worth buying?
Lastly, they have bags you can use as liners in slow cookers to save with clean up mess. Will these work in the Instant Pot?

Jul 17, 2015
SteveTimko in Home Cooking

Californian wine struggling with supply

There are still some gems in Europe, like Muscadet and wines from Spain and Portugal. But prices in Burgundy, the Rhone and Alsace are high and leaders in some markets, like Tempier in Bandol, have gone through the roof. Bordeaux prices are also supposed to be high but I don't drink Bordeaux.
De Villaine's Rully St. Jacques was $21 a bottle in 2002 but it's $45 a bottle now. Kermit Lynch still sells out of it.

Jul 09, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine
1

Constellation to buy Meiomi for $315m

I don't think I've heard of Meiomi, let along tried their wines.

Jul 03, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

Biodynamics makes you ‘more human’

I suspect the DRC vineyards have been in prime condition for a long time. I don't think de Villaine would have it any other way, whether he owns it or not.

Jun 22, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

Ways to liven up chili?

Thanks for all your responses.
What prompted this was that I made some chili and was going to add purple onions and cheese at the end. I forgot the onions so I added dried diced onions without about four minutes of cooking time left. You could tell they were dried, diced onions when you ate them, but you know what? It worked. I was surprised. Something about that flavor complemented the spiciness of the chili. Now I'm thinking next time I make it I might sautee the onions and put them in the chili near the start instead of putting raw, purple onions on at the end.
I'm hoping someone else will try the dried, diced onions with their chili.

Jun 22, 2015
SteveTimko in Home Cooking

Ways to liven up chili?

Chili recipes seem to focus on hot sauce or spices to liven it up. What else can be added to chili to make it more interesting?

Jun 21, 2015
SteveTimko in Home Cooking

Biodynamics makes you ‘more human’

So one of the classic condemnations of biodynamics is that they get their manure from stockyards. One of the first thing they do to cattle sent to stockyards is inject them with a drug to kill the worms in their system. This is then carried out in the manure. It also kills worms in the ground. So instead of being helpful, these biocynamic horns filled with manure become turds 'o death to many types of worms in the ground.
It always helps when growers pay more attention to their vineyards.
People point to DRC and use them as an example of prominnet vineyards who have adopted biodynamics. Well DRC was making excellent wine before biodynamics. Is anyone saying it's better now?
Rudolf Steiner, the creator of biodynamics, wasn't a farmer. He was trying to extend Goethe's philosophy into agriculture.

Jun 21, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

Reno chowdown: Great Russian/Slavic food at The Aroma Club

To describe my enthusiasm for The Aroma Club, I’ll start with the summer borscht. Normally, I hate cold soup. I haven’t had a gazpacho I like, for instance. At The Aroma Club, the summer borscht has a purple broth and wonderful fresh beet flavor. With too many borschts the fresh beet flavor gets cooked right out. One member of the group liked it so much she’s ordering it to feed 75 at her son’s wedding reception this summer.
And they have other interesting takes on Russian/Slavic dishes and from places like Georgia and Uzbekistan. I got to try these during the semi-annual Russian Food Festival and again during a Greater Reno Grub and Gripe Group dinner. Everyone agreed the food was exquisite and different.
I liked almost all the dishes but I think for my two favorites I will go with the mushroom appetizer and with satsivi chicken, or chicken in a thick walnut paste. Sadly I didn’t get any details on the mushrooms used in the appetizer or the method of preparation, but I’m a sucker for mushrooms and these delivered the mushroom flavor. I’d say look at my photo.
The satsivi chicken is served cold. It is coated with a heavy, delicious paste of ground walnuts. Again very nice flavors.
Two dishes that rotate in and out of The Aroma Club menu also showed up at our GRGAGG dinner. The stuffed cabbage was delicious. It had a nice tomato sauce on the outside and tender cabbage. The stuffing was a bit softer than the stuffed cabbage my mom used to make but was quite delicious. We also had pelmeni, a dumpling supposedly introduced to the Russians by the Mongols. It’s a cousin to Chinese dumplings. It seems like they’re cooked in a soup but served without the soup. The dough was tasty and the meat filling, I think pork, was also tasty.
We all got a half of a chiburekki or chiburek, a fried meat turnover. This does not rotate on the regular menu but shows up at the Russian Food Festival and special dinners. It was nicely done with nicely seasoned meat and perfectly cooked crust.
The Russian potato salad is a good take on regular potato salad. The eggplant appetizer tasted great when served on their rye bread. I also loved the house-made farmer’s cheese. We got it as an appetizer and again at the end in a blintz served with a semi-sweet blueberry compote.
At the GRGAGG meal everyone was happily stuff. The way The Aroma Club normally works is that the owner will make a batch of food, saying stuffed cabbage, and sell that until it runs out. Then she will make a batch of something else. In winter she seems to rotate among borscht, lentil soup and sometimes sorrel soup.
The owner opened The Aroma Club as a perfume store and coffee shop about nine years ago. She still sells specialty perfumes but the focus of her store behind Round Table Pizza in Reno Town Mall is food. One of our group members proclaimed an Aroma Club latte the best he’s had in Reno.
The food is different and tasty and deserves the attention of foodies in Reno.
The Aroma Club
Reno Town Mall
4001 S Virginia St
Reno, NV 89502
775-432-7963

Jun 20, 2015
SteveTimko in Southwest

Hugel: ‘Alsace wines belong in Asia’

I had heard the Chinese think red is lucky, hence they give red wine as gifts. I had never heard that white is associated with death.
It makes sense, though to sell Riesling, pinot blanc, gewurztraminer and the like in Asia. Alsace varieties pair so much better with Asian food than reds, especially Bordeaux.

Jun 18, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

Centro Reno

I like Centro as well. Alberto hired David Stern to be the chef there. He cooked the meal we all enjoyed at SoDo and he's been at a few other places.
Pictured are some of the dishes I've enjoyed at Centro: Short rib, deviled eggs and the Tan Albino during Negroni Week, my favorite Negroni of the week.
They have a patio as well that looks like it might be a good location for a GRGAGG chowdown.

Jun 18, 2015
SteveTimko in Southwest

Wine Pairings

1: Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Riserva 2006 (sangiovese) $17
2: Tough one. I agree with JBL on the riesling. Dr. Heidemann's Graacher Himmelreich Kabinet 2012, $20
3: Sparkling wine or rose: Bougrier Sparkling Vouvray $20 or Chateau de Nage Nimes Rose VV, 2013, $15
4: Graham's Six Grape Port$18.
As JBL noted, inventory varies by store. This is what's in the Reno store.

Jun 10, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

Grand jury wants Napa County to conduct more winery audits

I was talking with one Central Coast winery owner one time and he said the turnover was so high in his tasting room that almost no one had the mandatory training required to serve alcohol. Part of the problem is that the work is largely seasonal and the local regulatory agency (sheriff's office?) only schedules classes two or three times a year. It's set up more for bars and liquor stores than wine tasting at a winery.
He said he will be hit with fines some today but he sees no other solution.

Jun 02, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

where can I get wines used during the mass (catholic)?

Pope Francis, or someone on his behalf, chose Guy Bossard Muscadet as his official sacramental wine. I can't find the original link in French, but here's a reference to it.
http://www.reddit.com/r/wine/comments...
It's a world class wine and modestly priced, so it makes sense that Pope Francis would use it.
Be warned. Not only is it not sweet, it is extra dry. I've never had it, but I love wines from that region.

Jun 02, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

How much non-vegan wine is there, really?

I love riesling from Bollig-Lehnert. They advertise themselves as vegan.
It seems like it would be much easier to do vegan white than vegan red. How many 2004 reds in Europe could get by without fining?

May 11, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

Wine pairing -- beef cheeks goulash

Sounds like you had a great meal. I'll have to try it myself some time.

Apr 22, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

WHO MAKES KIRKLAND / COSTCO WINES?

The original winemaker didn't sell it under his own label as far as I know. He sold it to other winemakers. I don't know what the second winemaker is doing.
The original winemaker sold the wine for about 12 years. The homeowner has wine from earlier vintages and age is not improving them They're still horrible.
I'll see if I can get the name of the original winemaker. I think the current winemaker is a little skittish about dragging another winemaker's name through the mud.

Apr 14, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

WHO MAKES KIRKLAND / COSTCO WINES?

Well, that's a point. What they taste isn't representative.
Consider this story: A guy plants a vineyard at his Sonoma County home. He cuts a deal with a winemaker that the winemaker makes wines from the grapes and the homeowner gets to keep half of the wine.
The guy gets his half allocation every year. It's terrible wine but he's thrilled to get wine made off his property. This goes on for a dozen years or more. The winemaker is selling the other half of the wine.
Finally, the winemaker moves out of the area. The guy gets another winemaker. First vintage, the amount of wine produced dropped dramatically. But the quality of the wine soars. Suddenly this guy's home is producing some pretty good grapes. He couldn't give it away before but now people are willing to pay him for the wine.
The new winemaker pieces together what happened. The first winemaker was harvesting all the grapes, including those that most vineyards would leave on the vine or drop on the ground. He divided them into two groups. The wine he sold had all good grapes. The pile he used to make wine for the homeowner had good grapes and the grapes that should not have been picked.
If Costco catches a bad bottle, the winemaker can blame it on something other than bad grapes.

Apr 13, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

Wine pairing -- beef cheeks goulash

You want to avoid tannins if it is spicy.

Apr 13, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

Wine pairing -- beef cheeks goulash

I'm Slavic and goulash describes a broad range of styles. With the spices, particularly paprika, I'm guessing this is amped up. I'd go with rose or an off-dry white.

Apr 12, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

WHO MAKES KIRKLAND / COSTCO WINES?

They have a hit and miss reputation. I think a lot of it depends on the winery with whom they contract. Some wineries will make sure everything that goes out the door is the best quality. I think some wineries will try to sneak in inferior grapes.

Apr 12, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

Can handmade pasta be sauce-proof?

I had rigatoni with a short rib at a new Italian restaurant in Reno, Villa Donato. Chef Donato is a native of Italy. The dish was fantastic. The short rib was remarkably tender. I forgot to ask, but I bet he cooked it sous vide. Pertinent to this post, the sauce was deeply infused into the rigatoni, almost at a molecular level. The ridges on the rigatoni helped, I'm sure.
I asked the chef how he prepared his pasta.He said he cooks it al dente before, sets it aside and puts olive oil on it. When the sauce is ready, he will put the pasta into the water again to heat it up, then he drains the water and finishes the pasta in the sauce in a saute pan. He said that is the common way to do it in Italy.
I will vouch for his results.

Apr 12, 2015
SteveTimko in Home Cooking

Wine Numerical Ratings vs Price

Points can also apply outside a category. I remember in an interview that Parker specifically said that Chateau Pesquie in the Southern Rhone, which he rated at 92, was a better buy on a restaurant wine menu than a wine he described as a classic California cabernet sauvignon he rated at 88. The Pesquie was $40 on the menu and the cab was $150. He didn't name the cab but it sounded like it was Silver Oak.
He cited that as an example of how points can indicate overall quality.

Apr 06, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine

Arsenic levels in wine?

This guy raises some interesting points in rebuttal. He calls it a hoax.

http://www.naturalnews.com/049095_Cal...

Same thing with mercury. We have schools shut down when a kid brings some mercury to play with, but I've had a mining chemist explain that's a bunch of BS, that there's only certain ways mercury can harm you and that isn't one of them.

Mar 25, 2015
SteveTimko in Wine
2

Can handmade pasta be sauce-proof?

The pasta was excellent. I'm just used to good pasta absorbing some of the sauce.

Mar 18, 2015
SteveTimko in Home Cooking

Reno chowdown: Superb meal at Gaman Ramen

The Greater Reno Grub and Gripe Group held a chowdown at Gaman Raman and everyone gave it thumbs up.
Between the eight of us we covered all three types of ramen offered: Tonkatsu (pork cutlet), shio (salt broth with a poultry base) and miso. I had the tonkatsu and shio in previous trips, so this trip I got miso, which is a vegetable broth, and added pork cutlet. It was a delicious. The broth was only slightly salty and quite delicate savory and sweet flavors.
The egg and mushroom are a great addition too. My favorite is the tonkatsu. It seems to have the most depth. And the pork cutlet tastes delicious. They used duck when I got my shio ramen. It was fairly salty, but the duck breast was tough and didn’t taste much like duck. I still enjoyed that bowl thanks to all the add ons.
I screwed up and didn’t take a photo of the spice box you can add for $2. This is a great deal. There’s a variety of spicy, savory and sweet flavors you can make by combining the sauces. I like the garlic the best.
They were out of lotus chips this time. They are deep fried slices of lotus root. Those are tasty. The mixed appetizer was good. I also got the arctic char salad. It had arugula, char and grapefruit with a mild dressing – I forgot to ask what kind. It was good but not special. I think I would liked it with another dressing.
By the way, they also sell Fever Tree ginger beer, which is my new favorite soda.
They don’t take reservations so our group of eight bum rushed them when they opened. By the time we finished there were people standing and waiting to eat.
Service was excellent.
With a tip it came to $20 each.
Gaman Ramen is a nice addition to the Reno dining scene. I hope foodies give it the attention it deserves.
They are open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 5 p.m.

Mar 16, 2015
SteveTimko in Southwest