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josephnl's Profile

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How Does I Get a Reservation at n/naka These Days??

Just made a reservation a few days ago. It was quite simple. I called exactly 3 months ahead...got right through...and got the reservation!

about 5 hours ago
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

"A problem occurred with this webpage so it was reloaded."

When the hell is this going to be fixed? I don't know or care if it's a Chow problem or.an Apple problem, but it obviously involves only a very few sites and only happens on the iPad! For me, and I view hundreds of websites per week on my iPad, it only happens with the Chow website. Others have reported that it happens with other websites. It obviously only happens with a very few specific sites and the iPad. Why the hell don't the techies at Chow or other involved sites get together with Apple and fix this? It's so ridiculous that I'm about to sign off Chow forever!!

Jul 24, 2015
josephnl in Site Talk
1

$15 Minimum Wage=No Tip

Of course $15/hr. Is barely a subsistence wage. Nevertheless, please explain to me why if both servers and for example, paint salesmen (who often spend considerable time matching colors for a customer) earn minimum wage, the server should be tipped, and the paint salesman not? Or, if the $15/hour paint salesman goes out for dinner, why he should tip the $15/hour server?

I realize that it's fantasyland, but in an ideal world all workers would receive at least a living wage + reasonable health, sick leave and retirement benefits, and tipping would go away. This is the case in other parts of the world, but why not in the U.S.?

$15 Minimum Wage=No Tip

Tipping has become the norm in the U.S. because servers have traditionally been underpaid, exempt from minimum wage laws, and have depended on tips to make a reasonable wage. Of course, if servers are paid better, tipping should be reassessed. Seems like a no-brainer!

$15 Minimum Wage=No Tip

Yes, and I would hope that all restaurant employees from sommeliers, to servers, to dishwashers receive at bare minimum, a living wage, and receive health insurance, and sick days (so they can stay home when ill and not cough on my food), and yes, for those who make a career in restaurant service, a reasonable retirement plan. I know this is dreaming, but if this could be accomplished, tipping could be a thing of the past. I'm not holding my breath!

Jul 22, 2015
josephnl in Not About Food

$15 Minimum Wage=No Tip

Completely agree. If restaurants are required to pay their servers more (as they should), inevitably menu prices will increase, and of course it makes sense that the level at which customers subsidize the server's wages (via tipping) should reasonably be reconsidered.

Jul 22, 2015
josephnl in Not About Food

Rustic Canyon - good, but way too expensive!

I'm well aware of the fact that many, if not most newer restaurants in L.A., and indeed in much of the U.S. are very noisy. I'm learning to accept this up to a certain point...but certain restaurants are IMHO "over the top". When conversation requires shouting, as it does in places such as Bestia and RC it remains beyond me why anyone tolerates it. (To more specifically answer your question, I do research it in advance, but it's sometimes difficult to appreciate how noisy a place is without experiencing it).

I grew up in a home where conversation at the dinner table was the highlight of the day, and we rarely spoke loudly. I still enjoy this, but unfortunately when dining out, it's becoming very rare to find an ambiance that allows this. To me, and I truly think to many others, a terrific meal is more than just the food.

Rustic Canyon - good, but way too expensive!

Thank you! That was really the point I was making. We enjoyed the food quite a bit, but when we go out for a nice dinner and spend >.$100pp, we want and really expect nicer surroundings and more comfort.

I do however disagree re the health care surcharge and would much prefer that all restaurants charge what they need to to take good care of their employees, provide health insurance and sick leave, and of course make a reasonable profit. We have no way of knowing how the surcharge is being used, and find it remarkable that only the restaurant industry has started this surcharge nonsense...not the hardware store, not the grocery, etc.

Rustic Canyon - good, but way too expensive!

For those of us who enjoy some alcohol with dinner, I think most would consider the equivalent of two drinks (a cocktail, a glass of wine, or a beer each being considered a drink) during a two hour or so dinner, a reasonably modest consumption of alcohol.

Yes, I do think that without alcohol one could pretty easily eat at RC for $80pp. Nevertheless, considering the uncomfortable ambiance, IMHO this would not represent good value.

Rustic Canyon - good, but way too expensive!

It's not about spending less (we fortunately can afford it), it's about receiving reasonable value. I guess when we spend >$100pp, we expect at least a modicum of nice surroundings and comfort.

Jul 21, 2015
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Rustic Canyon - good, but way too expensive!

I don't recall how much it would have been without the alcohol, but 3 small drinks, one glass of wine, and one beer is pretty modest for two persons. Yes, it did include tax, health care charge and 20% tip.

Jul 21, 2015
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Rustic Canyon - good, but way too expensive!

Finally made it to Rustic Canyon this past weekend, and although the food and service were quite good we felt that it was way too expensive for what you get. The menu prices are not too bad, but the total cost of dining at RC is upped by the bread charge, by the minute cocktails (you need to have 2 If you want a decent sized drink), and by the obscene 3% health service surcharge (another story in itself!). Ordering carefully...bread, 2 starters, 2 modest entrees (trout and chicken), 2 scoops of ice cream shared, 3 cocktails, 1 glass of modest wine and glass of beer set us back over $225. We likely would have found this acceptable had the dining experience been more comfortable. RC is totally lacking in any decor, the furniture looks cheap and is crammed tightly together, there are of course no tablecloths...not even nice placemats, even the cloth napkins are cheap and shed badly, and the noise!!! With the decibel level and the close seating, conversation is not easy. It's really a shame, because the food is good. If the ambiance were better we might find the cost acceptable, but...

Jul 21, 2015
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Your favorite non-food-related items that get tons of use in the kitchen

Have never heard of De Solvit before but googled it, and sure enough their website shows pretty widespread distribution in the U.S. Including from Amazon online. There appear to be at least 3 different formulas...Contractor's Solvent, Remover, and Citrus Solution all of which are marketed to remove adhesive residues. Which do you use?

Jul 20, 2015
josephnl in Not About Food

Best freezer/microwave safe food storage containers

We are a family of two, and invariably when I make soup or stews, I want to freeze leftovers in pint or quart containers for another time. I often later defrost the leftovers in the microwave. I typically use inexpensive plastic "SnapWare" containers that I buy at BB&B, but find that they often discolor from tomatoes or other foods, and they crack very easily and don't last very long. I've seen similar containers with Pyrex bottoms, but have always been concerned about glass cracking when liquid contents freeze. Is this a needless concern with Pyrex? What storage containers that are readily available in pint and quart sizes do you like?

Jul 20, 2015
josephnl in Cookware

bad manners to accept preferred treatment

Agree with you completely, but good business sense dictates that you treat all customers well, and when you reward loyal repeat customers at the expense of newer customers (such as with priority seating), that it be done carefully and with tact. (When you have a mob waiting in front, it's not smart to whisk just arriving old friends through the waiting crowd and seat them immediately!)

Jul 20, 2015
josephnl in Not About Food

Why is In-n-out so damn good?

Of course your home baked buns will be better, but King's Hawaiian Buns which I toast on the grill are IMHO very good, and are those from the bakery department of some nearby supers (Whole Foods, Gelson's, Bristol Farms). I almost always have the market grind chuck or round to order for me. I honestly can't believe that anyone trying to be objective and reasonable would pick an InO burger over any decent home grilled burger. I know that many fall for the InO hype, but I truly don't get it!

Jul 19, 2015
josephnl in Chains

Why is In-n-out so damn good?

Agree with you completely. In-n-Out is just that...a good alternative to McD's when fast food is the most convenient option, not for anything special, but to fill an empty stomach.

Jul 17, 2015
josephnl in Chains

Your favorite non-food-related items that get tons of use in the kitchen

Goo-Gone works very well, but stinks!

Jul 17, 2015
josephnl in Not About Food

Why is In-n-out so damn good?

OK...I sort of get it that if you're on the road, or out and about and want a burger, that In 'n Out may be one of the better fast food options. But does anyone really think it's even remotely in the same league as 6 oz. of decent ground round or chuck from a local super, thrown on the grill at home, with a store bought bun, and a leaf of lettuce, a slice of tomato and the usual garnishes that are always in the frig? OK, InO may be ok in a pinch, but isn't saying "so damn good" a bit over the top??

Jul 17, 2015
josephnl in Chains

Trader Joes... Please, just ring up my groceries.

San Marzano tomatoes need not be imported from Italy; they are a varietal closely related to, but distinct from, plum tomatoes. You can buy San Marzano tomato plants online from Amazon, the seeds from another source, or indeed buy fresh SM tomatoes at TJ's when they have them in stock. They are delicious!

Jul 14, 2015
josephnl in Chains

Your favorite non-food-related items that get tons of use in the kitchen

Get an OXO jar opener! It will make Mr. P. happy.

Jul 14, 2015
josephnl in Not About Food

How would I like my salmon? PERFECT

Is it not possible that the chef's opinion as to what level of doneness is "perfect" may differ significantly from yours? Do you similarly prefer that you not be asked how your steak should be cooked?

bad manners to accept preferred treatment

I agree with 99% of the posts here, and I totally agree that it's a chef/owners prerogative and generally indeed smart business, to take extra-special care of regulat guests...and the recipients of special treatment should not feel guilty about receiving this. However, chefs/owners really do need to make sure that all guests are treated well.

Not long ago, we visited a very highly regarded restaurant in northern CA that has multiple Michelin stars. Needless to say it was a very expensive dinner which had been planned long in advance. Unfortunately, we were seated right next to a group of 6 who were either very close friends or relatives of the celebrity chef. The chef and several from the kitchen were hovering over this table throughout our dinner, constantly bringing out more champagne and special dishes to this table, and laughing and speaking loudly to their friends almost without stop. Our service was poor, we felt uncomfortable, and we're really disturbed by the constant hub-bub around us. This was clearly not a good situation. On the bright side, we wrote a letter to the chef explaining our displeasure. He wrote back with a sincere apology, clearly recognized what he had let happen, and invited us back for dinner as his guest. When we returned, we were treated like royalty...with all the champagne and perks he had served his friends on a previous visit...but, although he visited our table, it was striking how much care was taken not to disturb other guests. A truly class act!

Your favorite non-food-related items that get tons of use in the kitchen

Small TV and good FM radio! I like "company" when cooking.

Jul 12, 2015
josephnl in Not About Food

bad manners to accept preferred treatment

This is the chef/owners call. If he wants to do it, and can tactfully avoid creating bad will with other guests and/or is willing to accept the risk of so doing, it IMHO is inappropriate to make him/her feel uncomfortable by saying anything but "thank you".

bad manners to accept preferred treatment

Agree completely. To say something to the chef would likely make him feel uncomfortable, and this IMHO is inappropriate. It's his call as to how he wishes to treat regular good customers...preferential seating, sending over something extra to eat or drink, etc. As a guest, you should never ask for, or even really expect special treatment, but when offered accept it graciously and say "thank you"!

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - July 2015

OTOH, TJ's jars of fire roasted peppers are great. They are a staple in my kitchen and find their way into so many things...omelettes, grilled sandwiches, pasta dishes, etc.

Vermouth in a gin martini

Hendrick's is far from my favorite gin (I love Ford's, Broker's, St. George, and the almost always available Bombay Sapphire), but occasionally I enjoy Hendrick's, very well chilled, in a martini glass with a cucumber garnish. I think the cucumber tones down the floral notes, and heightens the cucumber which is in the gin.

Jul 12, 2015
josephnl in Spirits

Trader Joes... Please, just ring up my groceries.

Yup emglow...the Jarlberg cheese I buy at TJ's for half of what it costs at my local super has TJ's written all over it's taste, as does the Greek feta in brine, the biscotti, the Greek Kalamata olives, the Belgian chocolates, the triple washed bagged arugula, the fresh (not canned) San Marzano tomatoes, etc. IMHO I've made some pretty good meals using TJ's ingredients, and I certainly don't hide this from my guests when they ask for the recipe!

Jul 12, 2015
josephnl in Chains

Vermouth in a gin martini

Honestly, couldn't agree with you more. You're absolutely right, a martini is a classic cocktail made with gin (always) and dry vermouth (always). To make a "martini" with a spirit other than gin, or to omit the vermouth, is IMHO to be making another cocktail entirely. And yes, a green olive is traditional...not a lemon twist. (But...I don't know what to call it...certainly not a traditional martini, but truth be told, I also love Hendrick's gin, shaken with ice and served in a martini glass, with a cucumber garnish.)

Jul 11, 2015
josephnl in Spirits