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Li Ming's Global Market in Durham

Yes, that's my point. Wonder bread is pretty awful.

Jun 13, 2011
ellibobelli in Southeast

Li Ming's Global Market in Durham

Don't know much about the history of baked goods in China but the quality of stuff I've had in local Asian grocery stores is on par with Wonder Bread.

Jun 12, 2011
ellibobelli in Southeast

Revelation: restaurant fanciness displeases me

My calling "Champagne and caviar" a cliche is an example of my post being too aggressive. Just because I had a negative, personal reaction to it, doesn't mean I should criticize it, nor implicitly criticize people who like it. My apologies.

Oct 12, 2007
ellibobelli in General Topics

Revelation: restaurant fanciness displeases me

What jfood say about the napkin makes sense - I never thought about that as an issue for other diners. I definitely didn't mean to insult people who expect good service when I said I guess the restaurant wants to make people feel important and pampered. Perhaps my post was a little too aggressive. . . I agree with everything jfood says, I just think we define "good service" a little differently. And that's o.k.!

I would never insist that a restaurant change there standards for me, but like bulavinaka, I have a preference for casual attire. I do have pretty good calves (actually, they're incredible), though I'm a guy. The "elli" part is short for elliott.

Btw, I can understand being confused by the timing of my epiphany. I don't know why it took me so long to figure out what I like.

Oct 12, 2007
ellibobelli in General Topics

Revelation: restaurant fanciness displeases me

Yea, that's it - I spelled it phonetically. I should have looked it up. Pardon the confusion. Thanks Diana.

Oct 12, 2007
ellibobelli in General Topics

Registry Help!

I like my All Clad and gathered mostly rave reviews in advance posting stuff for my recent wedding shower. One reason to go with stainless that is rarely mentioned is that the future of stove tops is induction heating. Yes, a bold prediction! The best induction stove tops blow away the highest end professional gas ranges in speed, and power settings (low and high). It just a matter of time before induction stoves drop in price and people catch on and start buying them. Good pots last a lifetime, so keep away from materials that (e.g. aluminum) don't work with induction elements.

Of course, induction heating may be replaced by something else in our lifetime . . . `

Oct 11, 2007
ellibobelli in Cookware

Revelation: restaurant fanciness displeases me

This revelation was brought on by a dining experience at Cyrus in Healdsburg, CA a few months ago. Cyrus, by many published ranking I've come across, is reported to be one of the best restaurants (most say it's #2 to the French Laundry) in the Napa/Sonoma wine country area.

But first, a little history:
I suppose I'm like many of you - I will spend too much on food. Actually, my guess is that my salary is probably way more out of line with my restaurant choices than most of yours. Once a trip is agreed upon, I spend many, many, many hours researching restaurants, and once chosen, I have many more good hours daydreaming about how pleasurable the meal will be. Then we dine, and the experience often lives up to or even surpasses my expectations! Oh food! How I love thee!

Back to my revelation which I will now expand on. A good dining experience for me takes place when I'm in a good mood, hanging with my homies and eating tasty/interesting food in a relaxing environment. I've found that to eat the really, really interesting and really, really good food means sometimes I gotta go to an expensive restaurant. Like I said earlier, expense is no problem. The problem - I'm finally realizing - is that many expensive restaurants do things that are not relaxing to me! This point was driven home at Cyrus.

Opinion: Cyrus is disgustingly shi-shi. Shi-shi is not relaxing.
Soon as we sit, a clumsy attempt to up-sell the caviar and champagne option is made by a chap in a monkey suit. "Champagne and caviar" is such a shi-shi cliche, oui? The staff all wore a variation of strange tuxedo-like monkey suits that I believe indicated their rank and function. They looked so uncomfortable! Why the formality?

We tried to connect to the staff as human beings, but failed on all accounts. They smiled and engaged and were pleasant, but not in a natural way. They seemed to have been programmed to respond in a way that reflected the belief that elegance and lavishness are high virtues. Go to the restroom and a specialist rushes to grab your napkin and neatly fold it on your chair. As these useless acts of elegance pile up my comfort level goes down. I suppose the idea is to make people feel important and pampered, but my guess is that more and more people are like me and find this a distraction from the overall experience. What say you? By the way, the food was pretty good - a bit trendy, overly-precious, and not great, but still pretty darn good. I say this as an aside because food is only part of my equation. The meal was $500 for two and not much fun. My equation now includes fun.

You can see some Cyrus pix mixed in with a set of mine on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/gp/81123101@N00...

This experience made me re-evaluate other experiences at "great" restaurants. Lutece in the 1980's. The menu is in French with no prices, and the waiter corrects my father when he tries to order two dishes with puff pastry: "No-no monsieur, you do not want two pastries." I told all my buddies how awesome it was! I see it differently now - the food was really, really good, but the experience was the opposite of "awesome". It was not fun, but somehow I was conditioned to value it. How was I conditioned this way? I can't fully explain it.

Nevertheless, a good meal should be fun. Seems so simple. . . now I know. . . future plans will take this into consideration.

Agree? Disagree?

Oct 11, 2007
ellibobelli in General Topics

Opening Wine Painlessly

I like pulling the cork out with a "straight-pull" corkscrew (I never knew the name until looking it up a few minutes ago). Looks like this:
http://www.corkscrew.com/pull.html

Definitely not the most efficient tool to use and probably kinda risky, but I love the physical aspect of popping a bottle open. The increased use of screw tops is threatening this pleasure, but to echo Buckethead - from what I hear, they are better. I guess that's good news and bad news.

Some trivia from my days in engineering school: natural cork has a <i>Poisson's ratio</i> of nearly zero. This means that when it is pulled lengthwise, its width decreases negligibly. (Most things thin when pulled, right?) I think I remember a textbook saying that cork has the lowest Poisson's ratio of any substance found in nature. Feel free to use this trivia to impress your friends and enemies - I have many times - but you might want to fact-check my memory first.

Oct 11, 2007
ellibobelli in Features