Rio Yeti's Profile

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Five Parisian questions

True, but then there are the dunkers and the non-dunkers. I am agnostic on this front, but haven't dunk in my coffee for a while...

Jan 19, 2015
Rio Yeti in France
1

Five Parisian questions

If there's one thing a true Parisian doesn't do while eating an éclair, is look at his watch !

Jan 19, 2015
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In response to avoiding "Pesky Americans!" (Yankees)

@enofile
Firstly I don't find your writing pretentious, I for one enjoy words longer than the typical text message, so I don't think you should apologize for that.
Secondly, I think I almost 100% agree with your view on how the internet changed things... Although only 32 years old, I definitely fall into the category of "nostalgic about an era I didn't live" (as I described earlier).
I think there is such a thing as a "healthy amount of nostalgia". Not only is the nostalgic feeling a sort of melancholy which like a good glass of absinthe can soothe your heart, but it's also necessary not to destroy the past with a purely modernist view of things.

However, and I think that's what most people here try to convey, there is also a personal attitude that one can take towards the "new", that will delight and fascinate as much as the first discoveries of an era long past. You don't have to deny your feelings of nostalgia, but you can at the same time embrace the amazing changes (and when we talk about food, mostly for the good) that are taking place.
Parnassien's suggestions below are spot on. You will not find Hemingway drinking with Dali at a café like in the slightly ridiculous film by Woody Allen, but you will still find a vibrant city with people who may be influenced by Tokyo or Brooklyn, but who remain unique to the place they're in. You do need to scratch a bit below the surface as it is true that there is a tendency to homogenization... but trust me, you don't have to scratch that much.

Jan 15, 2015
Rio Yeti in France
1

In response to avoiding "Pesky Americans!" (Yankees)

It's not about age, it's about mentality... I know some 65 years old persons who will gladly learn a new language, I know some 70+ years old who strive in modernity and technology, and I know some 35 years old who are nostalgic of an era they never knew, and who don't own a computer...

I know it's easy for a "jeune con" like me to say this, but age has nothing to do about it.

And as for the "pesky yankee" thing... it's important to note (as other people already have) that most requests on this board come from english-speaking people, and that at least half, probably more, of the so-called "regulars" are american expats leaving in Paris. We, the french born and raised on baguette and butter, couldn't care less about the language spoken at the next table.

Jan 13, 2015
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1

Mayday Mayday : Angela's Banh Mi is no more !

I'm surprised she let you have the paté, one of the first times when I went she clearly told me that the paté will not be better than any other banh mi shop, because it is a pain to do paté, so she buys it, and therefore if I wanted to taste what makes hers so special I should have the beef, pork or chicken, not the paté.
I was surprised she would even sell it if to a new customer she advises against it, but I guess that concurs with your feeling that she needs some business advice !

Anyway, to this day I still never tried the paté, but I tried all of the other ones and have still trouble deciding which one is really my favorite...

Jan 10, 2015
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La Jeune Rue, un “gâchis monumental” ?

Interview (in french) with chef Arnaud Daguin, who used to be involved in the 'Jeune Rue' project... but apparently everything is going south.
Sorry for the non-french speakers, but the short story is : "People are not being paid, and one of the biggest investors is pulling out = there is no more money"...

Dec 22, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Japanese Food in Paris?

I'm sorry to hear that the sushi rice is no better...

Will ask for otoro next time I go, hopefully they will have some.

Dec 22, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Japanese Food in Paris?

Foujita 2 is no more, but I finally had a chance to try the original location on rue St. Roch.
Apparently the sous-chef or help left them a few days ago, so there was only one chef banging the sushi out as fast as he could... Part because I felt sorry for him, and part because I was secretly hoping for an omakase-type experience, I told him to serve me whatever he wanted. He thanked me and gave me a sashimi bowl (as he did to my neighbors at the bar). I rarely order sashimi, because I like seeing the chef's skill with nigiri sushi, but really the place was packed and the poor guy was struggling so I went with it.

The salmon was the best raw salmon I had. Rich, soft, like a blanket for the tongue and the senses.
The tuna's texture was more delicate, but the taste was a bit more mute. Still incomparably better than 99% of tuna sushi in Paris.
The sea bream had a nice bite but without being "chunky", and had almost a floral taste.
The mackerel was served on a slice of lemon, with finely cut spring onions, and it really brightened up that fish and gave it a good kick in it's usual fishiness.

The miso soup was ok.

The hot rice served on the side was pretty bad, overcooked and bland. Obviously it's not the same rice he uses for sushi, but it was still disappointing.

The edamame were... the best edamame I ever had. I know, it sounds weird to praise edamame... Almost like recommending a bar to someone for its great peanuts ! But really, those edamame had a brighter bean flavor than the ones I usually know. So much so that I ended up not even dipping them in the soy sauce, but just eating them as is.

The green tea was also ok.

All of this for 17€ which is barely more than every average chinese-run sushi joint in Paris... In other words, I will be back !

Thanks Ptipois.

Dec 21, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Intimidation of Restaurant Reviewers

@Parnassien
Thank you for the kind remark, but to be fair when I come out from a terrible meal (which admittedly is becoming very rare thanks to Chowhound and my radar's evolving acuteness) I do get the urge to be mean... not mean as to criticize without reflection and bashing at it unconsciously, but let's face it : "mean can be pretty entertaining", and when you feel like you've been fooled, you want to have the last word. Of course it's important to stay focused and have a good perspective on things, this is why I rarely write about a restaurant immediately after I get home, I let the experience sink in first.

@Steve R
You are absolutely right, I didn't express myself properly. Everyone should (and does) criticize and judge everything. This is just human nature. If my watch sucks, I will say so even without knowing a thing about watch manufacturing. But I will not create a "watch blog" criticizing watches, if I don't have a clue. Not just because I don't have a clue, but because not having a clue is the result of me not caring enough, so I wouldn't feel that my view is meaningful.

To bring this back to the cinema comparison, I often debate people that label such or such film as being "intellectual" or "aimed at movie-buffs". I'm not saying such films don't exist, but I really truly believe that art is (should be) created to be shared with everyone, and the fact that some directors refuse to dumb down their art is not a sign of them being arrogant and elitist, but of them being optimistic and enthusiast about the abilities of an audience to get it.

But there's a big difference between everyone's opinion being valid, and potentially be the source of an interesting debate/argument. And the action of writing about one's opinion (whether professionally or not) publicly. The responsibilities are not the same, and this is why I feel that someone who decides to write about food and restaurants, should know more, or at least be in the process of learning more, than the average Joe. Not because knowing more will necessarily give him a better palate (although it probably will), but because knowing more simply means that he cares more.

@PhilD
You're right, but it's all about perspective. If the writer claims this is the best Thai Curry in town but has no clue, it's one thing, if he admits to not knowing much about Thai Curry and brings the reader in the journey of his discoveries, it's another.

Dec 20, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Intimidation of Restaurant Reviewers

When I'm not a food-centric bearded man who likes to use words conscientiously and, hopefully, in an entertaining manner to write about my food experiences, I am a film director / graphic artist (and that's also the job which allows me to feed my cat).

I am saying this because I find there is a similarity in the way video cameras and image editing software have become so cheap that now anyone can do a short film (or even a feature film), with little money, little time, and unfortunately little talent... with the fact that the internet has allowed for anyone with a computer to "have a voice" and write about restaurants.

In both cases the human ego entitles everyone to feel their point of view is valid and should be shared... and as a great philosopher once said : "With great power comes great responsibility".

In the case of movies, we are now flooded with amateurish and bad ideas, with poor lighting and no sense of storytelling or composition at all. But everybody feels they have an artistic gene.
But it also allows for some people with real visions to do films they couldn't have done before, I just yesterday went to the screening of a fully auto-produced feature film that was original, well directed, well acted, and inspiring. I was expecting the usual punk/experimental/video I have seen in many festivals, but this one turned out to be quite the gem.

Now to bring this back to food writing, the issue is slightly different. Unlike cinema where there is an important craft to be learned, which people tend to want to skip now, in food writing the only craft is writing... not food eating. I am not saying, obviously, that everyone should and could be a food writer, but that since eating is an intrinsic part of our survival: everyone eats ! And it's very very complicated to tell someone who has been eating all his life (like you, like me, like all of us) that he is wrong about the fact that he likes or dislikes something.
As a side note it's also interesting to note that, to my knowledge, no food critic actually comes from a career in cooking, almost all of them where journalists who bounced from one job to another until someone asked them to write about food. Which exacerbates the feeling that everyone is just as entitled to write about their view.

So the problem with internet and blogs is the flood of ego driven voices who are allowed to legitimately share their views publicly with no way to focus our camera between the voices that are not only truly passionate, but who actually take it as a responsibility to develop their palate, develop their writing skills and learn about the craft as much as they can, and the voices of spoiled little brats who throw their purée on the floor when mommy didn't cook it the way they want it...

So how do I know I'm not one of those brats ?
I don't. And to be honest I don't always feel so at ease with the fact that I own one blog in thousands of iterations... why should people read me ? No reason, no reason at all. But I try to keep in mind that little phrase by Uncle Ben (the "philosopher", not the rice maker), and remember that when I talk about a restaurant, I talk about the work of a lot of people, and that just like criticizing a film is pointless if you do not know what went in the making of the film, criticizing a restaurant must always be done with the humility of someone that may have eaten all his life, but is not working all his sweat out in a kitchen making dishes for a crowd of spoiled brats.

I'm sorry for the long post... I don't even know if I'm making particular sense, I apologize for that.

Foods unique to France to buy in Paris?

Yes most recipes add salt, and I like to control the amount (sometimes even weighing the salt...), with butter that's already salted, you don't have control.

As for the fleur de sel, it's precisely because I can control the amount I'm adding to the butter (based on my preference), that I prefer doing this over buying salted butter. (and also for the crunch)

Dec 17, 2014
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1

Foods unique to France to buy in Paris?

DCM beat me to it... For me too, beurre doux and my own fleur de sel. That way I can control the amount, and I can still use the butter to cook with.

Dec 17, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Meilleur Ouvrier de France

Yes, I totally agree with all that you said.

I didn't bring this up just for the sake of argument, I just thought readers of this thread should know what to expect if they buy Larnicol's macarons. But I must repeat that I do like them and respect them a great deal.

Dec 15, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Meilleur Ouvrier de France

Well... I past by St Paul today... Larnicol was open, so I snatched some macarons.

And I stand by what I said. I tasted the almond flavor and the salted caramel, and, while I'm not saying they taste "the same", for 2 flavors that are usually so different, they tasted surprisingly similar. In fact the almond was sweeter and more intense than the caramel which seems strange.

However I also tasted the praliné macaron, and thought that this one tasted very different, in fact the difference actually emphasized the similarity between the two others.
I know Larnicol doesn't use any animal based fats, but the praline macaron did have a sort of ganache, which may explain the difference.

By the way, thanks for recommending the almond flavor, I don't think I would have tasted it otherwise, and it is very good and light, and reminiscent of the "other" kind of macarons from St Emilion (which are not filled, and almond is the only kind).

I must also note that I have never tasted his fruit macarons, so I'm basing my impressions on the almond/coffee/chocolate/vanilla/type macarons (which is the kind I usually buy).

Dec 14, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Meilleur Ouvrier de France

Of course there is a difference, I exaggerated to emphasize the fact that in all his flavors, the macarons being more subtle, less sugary, and the almond flavor shining through, they pack less punch than the other usual macarons that are popular.

I agree with you that the punch of the "others" can be cloying and way too sweet, but sometimes that's what you want, some decadence. Larnicol's are not.

This is why I think, but maybe I'm wrong, that choosing a single flavor, and eating them with tea maybe, will make the experience more enjoyable as the focus will be on the subtlety of his macarons. But if you're in a mood for a caramel au beurre salé that will smack you in the face, which I often am when I'm eating sweets, then Larnicol is not the right choice.

Dec 13, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Meilleur Ouvrier de France

Larnicol macarons are very "natural" tasting, which means they are light and almondy, which is good... except they all end up tasting more or less the same, and therefore become frustrating if you buy a few to have different tastes (as so many people, me included, do with macarons).

Next time just take one kind, and enjoy it for its mellow and subtle taste, or go to other great macaron makers (the ones everybody knows about) which are less subtle, more rich, and in my opinion end up being more "satisfying", even though on a technical and intellectual level I respect Larnicol's more.

Dec 13, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Yam'Tcha bao-mania sounds too good to be true

Oh my...

Dec 07, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Le Cristal de Sel (15th) is closing for good Dec. 14

I think I agree with you... I ate very good canned sardines or tuna (from Portugal and Spain), and although I do see the difference with "regular" canned seafood (usually the texture is a bit more meaty, and the taste more subtle), I still find it to be... canned food... good for a picnic, not for a "high class tapas experience" (or whatever...).

Fresh sardines grilled on charcoal, now that's different !

Dec 06, 2014
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1

Foods unique to France to buy in Paris?

"My 'personal' use this time was 14 kg."

You are my hero.

Dec 05, 2014
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Two 3/5 heart (Rubin) Peruvian-influenced places (L'1K & Uma) fall short.

I agree, let's move on.

Nov 29, 2014
Rio Yeti in France
1

Two 3/5 heart (Rubin) Peruvian-influenced places (L'1K & Uma) fall short.

This double interview with Manfred Weber-Lamberdière(also in French, sorry for anglo-readers) : http://www.lexpress.fr/styles/saveurs...

it's an old interview, but interesting... I find it pretty clear who is the voice of reason, and who tries by all means possible to bring down chefs like Ferran Adria...

Again I'm not saying molecular cuisine should be exempt from criticism, in fact I was fairly critical of my experience at 41 degrees (restaurant by Albert Adria), I am not suggesting that we should be blinded by the fact that food trends (like every trend) is often the work of lobbying and PR... I am just wishing for some moderation, and scientifically precise statements, with the use of reason, not emotion.

Nov 29, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Two 3/5 heart (Rubin) Peruvian-influenced places (L'1K & Uma) fall short.

I wrote an article responding to his on my blog one year ago... You can read it here : http://www.chezfood.com/2013/12/05/la... (in french

)

I go into details about what quotes he took from H. McGee, and what quotes he (deliberately) omitted.

Maybe you're right and I'm not familiar enough with his research (if you claim that GMag is not representative enough)... But am I really imagining that he seems to have an axe to grind ?

And by the way, I read a while ago an article on the internet by Mr. Zipprick where my reaction was the same as yours "Such a statement needs to be backed by proof."... Ok, maybe I should try and find the article, to back my claim... but really I don't want to waste anymore time with this.

Nov 29, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Two 3/5 heart (Rubin) Peruvian-influenced places (L'1K & Uma) fall short.

You are right Gargle, and at the same time there is a lot of hypocrisy surrounding that subject.

Molecular gastronomy is applying science and modern techniques to understand how food works, and try to prepare it better or differently.
Molecular or Modernist cooking, is the application of those ideas.

At first chefs got crazy with the new techniques, and tried to outwit each-other and to be extra-whimsical.
Yes, this is fading, but at the same time the core of molecular cuisine is becoming "normal" (so to speak).
Today it sounds almost oldschool to prepare a foam/espuma/mousse with hot/cold ingredients, you can buy a siphon in any cooking store... And little by little, sous-vide precision cooking is also entering the homes. A lot of chefs will use hydrocolloids, whether agar agar, carrageenan, or plain old beef gelatine. Of course they will not put 4 fluorescent bubbles on your plate anymore... they will use the techniques in a more subtle way, and that's great.

But it's also very interesting to see how chefs are described in France... When you read a positive article about Noma it always emphasizes on the natural, the foraging, etc... when it is negative, it always focuses on his past working with Ferran Adria, and his use of hydrocolloids.
Same goes for french chefs... why nobody is ever mentioning that chef Alexandre Gauthier at La Grenouillère is doing molecular gastronomy is beyond me... yes he uses terroir, yes it doesn't "look" fluorescent on the plate but rough and "natural"... but he also uses MANY techniques which just wouldn't be here without molecular gastronomy. Same goes for Akrame, which used to be called a molecular chef, but now that he is the "chouchou" (favorite) of all french critics, they just can't call him molecular anymore...
In other words "molecular" has become a bad word for the critics and for the public, but the chefs (who never liked the word per se, but liked what it stands for), just continue on with better knowledge and better understanding of what they're cooking...

Nov 29, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Two 3/5 heart (Rubin) Peruvian-influenced places (L'1K & Uma) fall short.

Mr. Zipprick was the first to jump on the beating of The Fat Duck when people got sick, and he (like most of the other journalists who rapidly blamed the "molecular techniques") never mentioned the fact that a few weeks later they found out people got sick because of "oysters"... Of course it is not acceptable that people got sick at all, but by selecting the news the way he wants it, he participates in distorting the truth.

He wrote a whole article on the first conference called "International workshop on molecular and physical gastronomy", and the whole article aims at proving that Hervé This was not that important on that day, and that Ferran Adria wasn't there... It is absolutely fascinating to compare the quotes Mr. Zipprick chose to report with the full report by Harold McGee : as it is clear that he purposely manipulated the words of Harold McGee to serve his purpose. When you read the original report you can clearly understand that Mr. This was indeed an important part of the workshop, and that Adria, while not there at the conference, was already working towards bringing more scientific knowledge into food. (and unlike what is implied, Mr. McGee has great respect for Adria and This)

This article by Mr. Zipprick is pure sham.

And then, as a side note, I almost take it as a personal little game, when I receive the new GMag (the french gastronomy magazine), to see how Mr. Zipprick will manage to take a stab at molecular gastronomy this time. It's fascinating that he can write articles about pretty diverse subjects, and still, almost systematically, add a little sentence or two with some irony about something molecular...

I think PhilD summed it up right : "As with all extreme views I think much of the thinking is muddled".
I have nothing against criticism, against being cautious and having a skeptic eye... but when it becomes a personal obsession (whether it is to promote his own book or not, is unclear) it's just ridiculous.

I don't know the guy, and am sorry to criticize someone you work with, as I am very respectful of your work, and can understand that you will defend him. But I am familiar with his work, and just as he scrutinizes every "vaguely" molecular chef, I think when the same scrutiny is applied to his writing, it becomes clear that a lot of it is lacking substance...

Nov 29, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Paris: Japanese/French fusion: where would you go?

Yes that's what I'm wondering.

Nov 28, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Good coffee in Paris?

"no offense"

My offense is long past me ! (by at least... ahem... a couple of years... ahem...)

Nov 28, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Paris: Japanese/French fusion: where would you go?

Do you have the book ? I'm curious about it but haven't checked it out yet.

Nov 28, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Good coffee in Paris?

Just so you know, they have a sort of huge thermos machine, but they throw out the coffee every hour or so and remake it... so it's not as if the coffee had been sitting there all day.

Nov 28, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Good coffee in Paris?

Hehe thanks ! Yes do check it out !

Nov 28, 2014
Rio Yeti in France

Two 3/5 heart (Rubin) Peruvian-influenced places (L'1K & Uma) fall short.

"investigator"... Apart from writing over and over the same words, which for the most part are plain out lies (or at the very least an obtuse way of looking at things), and following what seems to be his own personal vendetta (why ? I have no idea), I wouldn't call him an investigator.
He didn't "discover" that Spain and Scandinavia had some PR work done to help with their modern cooking scene. He just likes to be loud about it to insinuate that if you fall for it you've been scammed...

Nov 28, 2014
Rio Yeti in France