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Chefpaulo's Profile

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What Is America's Worst Restaurant Chain?

Ooooo....I just thought of another one.

There was a burger chain in western Pennsylvania in the 60's and 70's called either Wimpy's or Winky's. It served these little square White Castle/White Tower pseudo-burgers. My real awakening was going to the filthy restroom and passing a stack of the burger shipping boxes with the phrase "Contains 69% beef." Anyone else remember this chain?

Sep 11, 2014
Chefpaulo in Features

Is It Finally Cool to Like the Frugal Gourmet?

See my post above from October, 2011. He hurt and insulted a lot of people, some I hold dear to me personally.
It is never "cool" to eventually "like" someone who does egregious things to people or animals and is still paid millions of dollars with no appreciable cost for their behavior.

CP

Far-away Chains on your "To Do" List

I never thought I would count Howard Johnson's as a "far away" chain.

The once proud "Host of the Highways" of 1,100 family restaurants is now reduced to two, one in Lake Placid and one somewhere else.

The Tendersweet Fried Clam roll, fries, cole slaw and a vanilla malted milkshake would make my day - and may be worth the drive to the sole surviving HoJo's.

Rachael Ray.... any news on this????
CP

Aug 31, 2014
Chefpaulo in Chains
1

The Downside of Sharing Recipes...

Total strangers can also steal thunder on site - but can be foiled.

In the late 70s, I arrived at a party with cake in the portable dome, a gift under my arm and a bag with two bottles. Struggling to ring the bell, up comes a smooth, all-to-cool creepy hipster (the type that smiles all the time but never makes eye contact) with nothing in tow and offers assistance. He rings the bell, takes my cake dome and presents it to the hostess as his offering.

Later in the kitchen, he had sliced into the cake and was serving it to rave reviews. He smirks at me like "Whaddaya gonna do about it, a$$hole?"

"You made this?" I queried.
"Yeah."
"Have we ever met before?"
"Nah."
"Well, then you must be psychic as well as an exquisite baker!"
(Dumbfounded look, but WITH eye contact.)

Sliding the cake off the bottom tray of the dome, I said, "You MUST be psychic. You KNEW you would meet me tonight at the front door! You even wrote my name and phone number on the bottom of the tray. Tell us all about it. We are most impressed!!!"

Showing my name to the guests, hipster folds under the condescending stares and somehow disappears in the next five minutes.

The world is full of people with personality disorders and life is too short for frenemies. Dump 'em with no apologies. They're not worth it.
CP

The Downside of Sharing Recipes...

Dad would have an answer, I'm sure. He always did.

For the science end of baking, check out Shirley Corriher's "Bake Wise." She is also a food technologist, I think at Vanderbilt.
CP

Why oh why did you not use my host(ess) gift at your dinner party?

Mulitifoiled,

See my post above. Concur completely. Why all this hyper-sensitive drivel over not offending people you don't want in your life anyway? I've had some real clunkers brought in because, "She never gets asked out," or "He can get really vocal but is otherwise super nice." RED FLAGS!!!
Choose your friends carefully and your guests even more so.
CP

Why oh why did you not use my host(ess) gift at your dinner party?

I have an annual event to which I invite my few remaining family and 35 or so of my closest friends. That's it. They are all glad to see each other and are relaxed and accommodating in their sharing of culinary creations and beverage discoveries. Newbies are screened carefully. It's MY friggin' house.

If someone is going to get pissy about my not putting out a seasonally inappropriate $2.99 regift from the Dollar Store, I really don't think we'll be seeing each other again. No regrets.
CP

preparing for a real dietary challenge

Bodaciously excellent news,juju.

Now we can assemble our pack of local Hounds and greet the new Mainland Inn in full force.
CP

Aug 25, 2014
Chefpaulo in Special Diets

Are You Still Licking the Spoon and Egg Beaters

With a younger brother in the house, there was one beater for each but always prefaced with the qualifying inquiry, "Have you been really good boys?" Two more angelic facial expressions with nods of affirmation could not have been delivered faster.

Today? Hell,yes! Rinsing off the beaters, spatula or ice cream paddle is the 8th cardinal sin.

Faves: whipped cream, mashed potatoes, any cream filling, pound cake batter, buttercream frosting, almond chocolate torte batter ...and the list goes on.
CP

Aug 24, 2014
Chefpaulo in General Topics

Mashed potatoes, heated milk question

Agree. I've ruined mashed potatoes in both the Cuisinart processor and the stand mixer. The old fashioned hand ricer is my tool of choice (you could also use a Chinoise)before whisking in my shallot infusion.There is a major textural difference.
CP

Aug 24, 2014
Chefpaulo in Home Cooking

Service Dogs Get Couple Kicked Out of Restaurant

"The ADA specifically says that no special identification of any kind is needed. Id papers, photos, vests, harnesses, etc. None of any of this is required in any way."

I do a lot of ADA evaluations and I cannot fathom that the law would allow any person with any unlicensed, unvaccinated, untrained, inadequately-restrained dog into a public eating establishment complying with local health ordinances just because a person claiming a disability insists they enter.

I really want to see this citation.

Aug 22, 2014
Chefpaulo in Food Media & News

Service Dogs Get Couple Kicked Out of Restaurant

...and the bartender asks, "Hey! Why the long face?"

Aug 22, 2014
Chefpaulo in Food Media & News
1

Mainline Today reports Mainland Opening

How did Mainline Today get the news before we did?

There goes the neighborhood.
CP

Aug 22, 2014
Chefpaulo in Philadelphia

Service Dogs Get Couple Kicked Out of Restaurant

You beat my exact sentiments by five hours, bobbert. I was thinking a numbered and bar coded picture ID of both dog and owner riveted to the harness should suffice. And, as a suburban Philly resident, I have yet to encounter this as a problem. In fact, I can't recall the last time I saw a service dog in a restaurant. SoCal pet owners must be modeling each others' behavior to avoid having pooch stay in a hot car.
CP

Aug 21, 2014
Chefpaulo in Food Media & News

Mashed potatoes, heated milk question

Other than serving temperature, I've found the only difference is infusion of additional essences.

I love the Georges Perrier recipe that has a few Tbs. of chopped shallots briefly sauteed in hazelnut oil before adding the cream and heating just to a simmer. With a pinch of s&p, the cream/shallot liquid is then whisked in with the boiled and riced potatoes by hand to a fluffy consistency and served immediately. Minced fresh herbs and gravy at your discretion but not necessary.

CP

Does anyone own a vacuum sealer?

I'll go for fully frozen at -20 degrees F. All should be rock hard before you suck the air out. Otherwise, I've had my vacuum tray fill with juices from soups or beautiful pastries flattened to hockey pucks. FoodSaver works great if you allow foods to deep freeze overnight and seal the next morning.
CP

Aug 20, 2014
Chefpaulo in Cookware

What "typical American Foods" would you serve to foreigners?

Totally agree. If there is one representative American dinner, it would be a beautifully-bronzed Thanksgiving turkey with stuffing/filling/dressing (depending on your background), gravy, cranberry relish, sweet potatoes and regional vegetable embellishments. Pecan, apple or pumpkin pie and a couple of good domestic wines? That will be something for them to write home about.
CP

Tipping delivery or take out. Do you? How much?

Thank you, tamara. I may be cynical but how many tip jars are put there by owners who pocket the proceeds for themselves rather than share it with the undocumented employees they are concealing?

I retain my stance as the word "tip" is an 18th century acronym for "to insure promptness." You put your coin in the tip jar upon arrival for the barkeep to notice and you were served before those who did not.

Like you, I overtip regularly to young folks who are in school and give very generously for those servers who go out of their way. But to pay extra for picking up my own order....why don't they tip me for driving to their place over all others and we'll call it a draw?
CP

Aug 15, 2014
Chefpaulo in Not About Food

Philly chef comes clean about his addictions

It is akin to Neitzsche's question about which comes first: culture or language. I'll go for the some of each posit.

Culinary chefs have more need for activity and a risk taking temperament than do pastry chefs whose work is much more structured and formulaic with set time parameters. Pastry chefs also work in quieter settings with fewer staff and have less crises to manage.

The hours are a salient issue as there is nothing to do at 2:00 a.m. except go hang out with other chefs to bemoan bosses, customers, underlings and purveyors with several shots to calm the nerves. Pastry chefs have much more control over their product and far less pressure on a minute-by-minute basis. They can go home to bed while culinary colleagues are still in the frenzy of the evening.

I've seen a lot of mental instability with the culinary crowd as well. Not that anything is causative, but does the alcohol result in the externalized behavior or do the behavior impulses from the job pressure drive one to excessive self-medication?

Again, I'm not making generalizations, just sharing observations from interviewing hundreds from each orientation and hearing the follow up tales.
CP

Aug 12, 2014
Chefpaulo in Philadelphia

Philly chef comes clean about his addictions

Drug and alcohol abuse are frequent problems among culinary chefs who must work into the wee hours of the morning and have their recreation at after-hours clubs with other chefs where the only thing to do is drink.

Pastry chefs come in and do their thing early in the day and have a much more normal schedule. They do not have the pressure of cranking out dozens of dinner orders or dealing with disgruntled customer's demands. Pastry chefs get to go home and have dinner with the family.

From my experience in awarding over 50 culinary and pastry arts scholarships between 1996 and 2000 (and reading hundreds of applications), the two are very different personalities. Culinary scholarship applications were almost always hand written with cross-outs, underlining, scribbled arrows to previous statements and writing in the margins. Pastry applicants often submitted very orderly and neatly type written addenda to the application questions.

There is no rule of thumb here but I found the differences between the two very interesting. Culinary chefs (IMHO)have the more volatile temperaments and a more challenging life style for sure. Managing that stress is a much bigger issue for them.

Congratulations to you, Michael.
CP

Aug 12, 2014
Chefpaulo in Philadelphia
1

Lobster Bisque

I'll look, once I get my new scanner and can go through dad's (20K) slides. I remember this huge lobster laid out on the table surrounded by sculpted tropical fruit and greens.The tail looked to be two feet long.

As a pale second, I did have a lobster on Long Beach Island, New Jersey in 1978 that was just under 20 pounds. I do have pix of that. The purveyor said that weight and age are correlated so he figured the old man was hatched around 1911 and survived shells and depth charges of two world wars.

I still have his thumb claw as a revered souvenir.
CP

Aug 11, 2014
Chefpaulo in Home Cooking

Lobster Bisque

My family made many trips to the Caribbean in my youth and I could not tell the difference just from the tail meat. All was the same to me except for the absence of claws.

BTW, my dad was a USAID adviser to Viet Nam in 1973. After his three-month visit, his hosts gave him a farewell banquet featuring a 25-pound spiny lobster as the main course. Dad said it was the best he had ever had. I have pix somewhere in his slide files.I have never seen such a thing.
CP

Aug 10, 2014
Chefpaulo in Home Cooking

Wasted food due to guest taking too much -- any solutions?

I couldn't have said it better. She is undoing years of habit in estimating portion size and resultant effects on her satiety. It apparently got out of control and medical intervention was needed.
She'll learn eventually. For now, she needs encouragement and compliments on her progress.
CP

Does anyone own a vacuum sealer?

I'm on my second FoodSaver - the first one broke down and, upon explaining the situation to their customer service person AND it being three months out of warranty - I received a new one for a nominal charge.

My only caution is that the seals do not hold well for boiling. I've messed up a few soups and sauces by lifting the bag too quickly and having it break. Simmer and then drain off the water before opening over the saucepan. Otherwise, a much-used investment for almost 20 years.
CP

Aug 05, 2014
Chefpaulo in Cookware

Tomato agronomists, please respond

Thanks for trying. As for nightshade formations, I've often encountered them inside bell peppers but the tomato thing was totally new.
CP

Aug 05, 2014
Chefpaulo in Gardening

Mainland Inn

Any updates, Hounds?
CP

Aug 04, 2014
Chefpaulo in Philadelphia

byob chinese restaurant

Wow! Flashback time.

Does anyone remember a wine called Wan Fu? It was a Chardonnay designed to go with Chinese fare. I haven't seen it in 25 years. Is it still out there?
CP

Aug 04, 2014
Chefpaulo in Philadelphia

Tomato agronomists, please respond

Thanks gang. I have a major report to get out tomorrow and can't mess around now but I did get some close-up pix of the tomato and its internal growing partners. It is, however, a day old and not as sprightly as yesterday. Will post them if you want. Very new to me. I also put it in a freezer bag for anyone who wants to analyze the genomes.
CP

Aug 03, 2014
Chefpaulo in Gardening

Tomato agronomists, please respond

As a foodie in my sixth decade, having had a food technologist father and gourmet cook mother, and loving and eating luscious summer tomatoes all my life, I have never seen this before.

I cut into one yesterday only to find little white and green things thinking I had a wormy one. Putting on my glasses, I could see that all the seeds had seemingly sprouted into cotyledons. Getting tweezers, I pulled out some that were over 2 inches long - all curled around inside this otherwise unremarkable tomato - bearing twin leaves. Unprecedented for me. Furthermore, there were no surface indications of rot, incision or damage of any kind.

Did I get some kind of freak or is this some cross-breeding, hyper-germination whatever phenomenon worthy of a journal article? What genetic/chemical/temperature condition would have caused this? I await your sagacious input.
CP

Aug 03, 2014
Chefpaulo in Gardening

Food related television commercial failures

Come to think about it, Billy was *sniff* always a little *sniff* hyper.

As for worthless counter cloggers before the Rollie Eggie thingee, how about the Popiel In-The-Egg-Scrambler of about 45 years ago? Battery-powered rotating needle that punctured the egg and blended it so you didn't have to expend five seconds of wrist action. Less work for mother.
CP

Aug 03, 2014
Chefpaulo in Food Media & News