lepetitechef's Profile

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Recommendations: Low to mid priced restaurants in the Laconia, NH area

thanks for the review! I'm glad Sawyers was open in time for you to enjoy it -- a local favorite!

Jan 08, 2012
lepetitechef in Northern New England

Recommendations: Low to mid priced restaurants in the Laconia, NH area

So it's Nov 2011... I'm curious to know where you finally selected to dine? :-)

Nov 07, 2011
lepetitechef in Northern New England

DIY or Buy? Urban Homesteaders Weigh the Costs

Traditional homesteaders get good at the essentials and BUY those items which they don't have the expertise to make themselves. Many become expert at a few specialty items and sell their overstock. Homesteading is about independence -- not getting the best deal on goods. (Btw, does the author know there are relatively inexpensive yogurt machines out there? Tofu makers too.)

Nov 07, 2011
lepetitechef in Features

Is It Finally Cool to Like the Frugal Gourmet?

My library had a large collection of his cookbooks which were immensely helpful to me as a new bride married to a non-vegetarian. I had absolutely no idea how to cook ANYTHING! So his essays and descriptions of ingredients were essential to me. And back then, in my area of the country, we were lucky to get *one* tv station if the weather was good. I happen to catch an episode of FG where "Elmo" was the special guest (yes, the puppet) and that was the last episode I ever watched -- Books good, tv show stupid.

Nov 07, 2011
lepetitechef in Features

Top 10 Signs of a Bad Cook

I'm very salt-sensitive so I tend to under salt my food. I always felt that it was easier for a diner to add salt to their dish than to take it out. But if I'm cooking for someone I know, then I make the necessary adjustments to their portion(s). To me, the sign of a bad cook is someone who is all about impressing themselves and doesn't consider their guests -- which includes the I AM THE GREAT UNDISCOVERED MASTERCHEF(!!) people.
I prefer the "Are you hungry? I can cook something..." and "I hope you like it" people.

Jun 17, 2011
lepetitechef in Features

My Server Is Stoned!

I'm with chefscott67 on this one -- stoned/drunk/high-on-whatever employees are not only a liability, but also a reflection of what is happening behind the scenes... and whether or not the management gives a damn. The servers who claim to perform well while stoned just don't remember putting their hand down their pants to scratch their crotch before they pick up their customer's roll from the floor. (Yum!) Don't eat, don't tip... just leave and never go back.

Jun 11, 2011
lepetitechef in Features

What's happened to the Common Man

I remember when the first one opened in Ashland -- they were all the rage for their "down home cooking." But over the years, as their domain expanded, they've become increasingly inconsistant and disappointing. Sometimes I feel bad for Alex, the owner, because I know how difficult it is to find good management and staff and to keep tabs on things especially when their network has grown to the size it is now. Even with SYSCO supplies, one can turn out an impressive meal, but it really depends on the commitment of the people you have working in the kitchen.
One thing I know for sure, if Alex is in the building, he will make certain you will have the most incredible meal... every time I'm in one of his places, and he's there, I notice the quality of the food amps up 10 notches.

Mar 14, 2011
lepetitechef in Northern New England

Sunshine Oriental Restaurant - Dim Sum in Concord NH

they are closed on Mondays now.

Mar 14, 2011
lepetitechef in Northern New England

Sunshine Oriental Restaurant - Dim Sum in Concord NH

Feb. 3 is Chinese New Year's Day -- Year of the Rabbit

Jan 26, 2011
lepetitechef in Northern New England

Sunshine Oriental Restaurant - Dim Sum in Concord NH

Hey! I'm still exploring Sunshine Restaurant but I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring at this point -- So far I've found their dishes to be tasty and authentic. And one more thing... no trace of msg! I mean, not even in the seasonings. Some of you may not know that many Chinese restaurants, although they themselves don't add msg to the dishes, it can be in the bottled sauces and dried spices used during preparation. (Btw, if you've eaten a fast-food hamburger, you've eaten more MSG than any Chinese restaurant could put out in 20 family-style dishes!) Nevertheless, Sunshine seems to have taken the care to select and use quality msg-free ingredients for the preparation of their dishes.
Now, I don't mean to browbeat, but remember that Chinese restaurants are like pizza parlors. Each one has it's own characteristic pizza. Unless it's a franchise, there will be slight variations on standard dishes due to the preferences of different chefs. If you have expectations of the same ol' same ol', I suggest you go to the grocery store and get a frozen bag of that well-known Chinese restaurant chain's stuff and prepare it according to the package instructions -- it will taste EXACTLY like what you had at the restaurant -- because that's what they use in their kitchens. (After eating in one of those places, I suspect it's actually the waitstaff who are preparing the meals themselves by throwing bags of frozen General Gau into the microwave and plating them for their respective tables.)
Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox -- when I finish my exploration of Sunshine, I will be back with a more thorough review!

Jan 24, 2011
lepetitechef in Northern New England

NH - Worthy food publications?

Thanks for your support and motivation! Perhaps once the new year is underway? Maybe we can be up and running in time to terrorize the seasonal crews?? I'll post something when I finally have time to focus on this and have found a good virtual meeting place!

Dec 21, 2010
lepetitechef in Food Media & News

NH - Worthy food publications?

shhhhh! :-X [jk]

Dec 21, 2010
lepetitechef in Food Media & News

DimSum - Boston Area

I enjoy China Pearl at KamMan Plaza (in Quincy) for dimsum as well and no, those are not Chinese tourists. If you went into the mall next door, you'd find one of the largest asian supermarkets in the area. An authentic deli, bakery, and fresh seafood market. Many of the fish are held live in tanks and you can buy it whole or dressed on site. (I once saw a live barumundi swimming in one of their tanks!) Most of the Boston asian community has moved into this area and ones from the outer towns like to shop here because it's easy to get in and out. BTW, China Pearl has a regular menu when they're not serving dim sum, however, most Americans wouldn't recognize anything on it! Do not let the Dunkin Donuts out front fool you, this place caters to the asian community.
Oh, one more thing, if you get peking duck at the deli in the mall, get the "premium" one... it has more meat on it.

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China Pearl Restaurant
9 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

Dec 19, 2010
lepetitechef in Greater Boston Area

NH - Worthy food publications?

Thanks for your responses and suggestions. I will no doubt be mulling this over for awhile. I would like to do something that would not only be helpful for the diner but also for the restaurant owner/manager. So they would know where they needed to improve or what kind of impression they were creating. (Sometimes when you've been in the business too long, you lose sight of your goals.) Another problem I've always had with reviewers is that not everyone shares the same taste in dishes or enjoys the same atmosphere. I have a sensitive pallette, so I don't discredit a chef for adding too much salt for my taste -- I know it'd probably be perfect for everyone else. But it makes me absoultely nuts to see a place repeatedly receiving rave reviews when the food and service are so obviously poor (see my 1st post) and I know for a fact that the dish they're charging $22 for actually costs them less than $3 to produce and my food always looks like it'd been dropped on the floor before plating... then I see they have a humongus bar and I wonder if any of the patrons ever notice their meal trying make a dash for the edge of the plate before they plunge their fork into it???
Sorry about that if you're eating right now. That's another problem I have -- I've been in the business here and a few folks "know" me. If I haven't given myself away already, I'm certain a few reviews like that eventually would.

Dec 14, 2010
lepetitechef in Food Media & News

NH - Worthy food publications?

It's understood that when newspapers (and other media) receive invites to "review" restaurants via a marketing company -- The meal is free in return for the review. In other cases the newspaper will reimburse the reviewer for the meal in return for a review. And finally, there's the celebrity reviewer who not only gets paid by the newspaper but also gets everything they want and more from the restaurant... for free! (Nice job, huh?)

Dec 10, 2010
lepetitechef in Food Media & News

Recommendations: Low to mid priced restaurants in the Laconia, NH area

Blackstone's is pretty good for a hotel restaurant. You'll find the standards there. Can be pricey. Last time I was there, I ate at a breakfast/lunch diner across the street. Although Weirs Beach is down the street from the hotel, April is bit early for their season. You may want to continue further north into Meredith where you can stroll the "designed-for-tourists" streets or visit the spa. There are a few "mom & pop" places hidden on the back street. There's also a Chinese restaurant near the hotel. I've only been there once and wasn't impressed with the food. But I haven't found any good Asian restaurants in the area except The Lemongrass in Moultoboro... but that's considered fusion cuisine and is probably out of your intended price range.

Dec 10, 2010
lepetitechef in Northern New England

NH - Worthy food publications?

hi there! I've been having the same trouble finding unbiased reviews of local restaurants. In fact, I've gotten so fed up with the lame "the food here is great!" comments on websites that I've been seriously thinking about creating a website or webpage devoted to in depth reviews of restaurants in my area (or the state?) done by "phantom" diners. But I'm not sure how to go about it. Any ideas?
I'd also like to find a group of people to dine with whose opinions can't be bought with cheap beer and wine.

Dec 10, 2010
lepetitechef in Food Media & News

Can I Take My Baby to a Restaurant?

It really depends on the type of restaurant you're going to. Anyone who brings a child into a $150 a plate dinner service needs to have their head examined. But in family-friendly establishments, I've witnessed a couple of thoughtful parents who have brought with them an inexpensive plastic tablecloth which they placed under the highchair at the table. It catches everything and cleanup's a cinch.

Nov 16, 2010
lepetitechef in Features

Rio de Janeiro - The Deck on Copacabana for feijoada and other good food.

AaaaaaAAGH! I HATE YOU!!! (Just kidding)
I love Brazilian food! And I miss having authentic ingredients.
I'll definitely look the place up the next time I'm in Rio. Thanks for the tip!

Oct 17, 2010
lepetitechef in Latin America & Caribbean

Who Should Be Allowed to Review Restaurants?

You know, you could always announce yourself to the establishment: "Stick 'em up! Give me your best wines and most expensive entrees or I'll trash you in the media!"
And jaded customers will rave over the mediocre food between bottles of chianti, the EC will go on a book tour, the staff will run amok in the back... and the place will be out of business in six months. (Oh, wait... I think this show's on reruns now.)

Sep 30, 2010
lepetitechef in Features

Who Should Be Allowed to Review Restaurants?

If you desire to attain a celebrity-type status with the perks and the pitfalls of fame... Once you're recognized, restaurants and chefs will bend over backwards to score points with you and you won't get the meals or the service "average" guests receive, so your reviews and comments won't be worth toilet tissue. But if your desire is to provide a sincere critic for the benefit of the community, may I suggest a "phantom gourmet" situation? Rumor has it... cough, cough... that "he" is actually several people in the "office" and one copy editor. And remember, "the opinions contained herein do not necessarily reflect the views of this..." website.

Sep 30, 2010
lepetitechef in Features