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How are the fine dining offerings in Hong Kong?

For example at: Bo Innovation, Pierre, Amber? And the quality of the cooking during lunch versus dinner? My comparison point is fancy restaurants in NYC—however, I don't actually live in NYC anymore, which makes me miss and crave fine dining. But if the value is not there, I would rather skip it entirely and focus on eats that are lighter on the wallet. Mainly just trying to think of something special to take my mom and auntie out with—have about 5 days left before heading home!

-calf

Sep 23, 2014
calf in China & Southeast Asia

Videos about Japanese cuisine, NON-sushi?

(bump - Hoping for some opinions and advice : )

Jul 23, 2014
calf in Food Media & News

Videos about Japanese cuisine, NON-sushi?

I want to see more about the food of Japan—are there some English or Japanese documentaries or series that are considered must-see? I'm especially interested in Kaiseki, desserts, vegetarian/vegan, but anything goes so long as there is insight into the technique, ingredients, and/or cultural and socioeconomic context of Japanese cuisine.

I think in North America the only such media we get exposed to is stuff like Iron Chef, or that Jiro film—surely such a rich food culture has much more that's already been documented, people like me just don't know of it!

Jul 21, 2014
calf in Food Media & News

Thomas Keller at Stanford School of Business

I haven't watched it yet but would you say he mainly explaining his "cooking clean" / "finesse" philosophy, or is there more?

Jul 21, 2014
calf in Food Media & News

Proper way to get tree branches for grilling, smoking

Some recipes that emphasize using local ingredients sometimes call for fresh branches/leaves from pine, fir, and cedar trees. Is there an easy and safe way of getting, say, a ziploc bag full of these for, say, grilling and smoking salmon? Or to make a spruce-flavored ice cream?

Mainly I'm wary of trees in urban areas because of potential pesticides, roadside pollutants, and possibly that it's inconsiderate/not permitted. If I forage a small handful of material from a tree in Stanley park, or otherwise lower-populated but accessible area, is that reasonable? Or not?

Jul 08, 2014
calf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

2014 spot prawn season

I think it's because Chinese (e.g. Cantonese) cuisine prefers species such as tiger prawns. The texture is different, and thus the cooking style; I had cooked spot prawn for the first time, I thought it was mushy and tasteless.

But spot prawns are a major delicacy in Japan, where they are eaten raw; in Japanese they are artfully called botan-ebi, or "peony prawn". Thus not surprising that this list has lots of Japanese and Japanese-influenced restaurants. Actually, the Japanese species is Pandalus nipponensis, whereas in BC we have Pandalus platyceros.

May 10, 2014
calf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

What is "fruited hazelnut praline"?

Thanks, that makes sense.

Apr 08, 2014
calf in Home Cooking

What is "fruited hazelnut praline"?

In Pierre Hermé's Pastries book (2012) is a millefeuille recipe where a Hazelnut Praline filling calls for using 70 g of "fruited hazelnut praline (Valrhona)", along with the other ingredients (milk chocolate, butter, Piedmont hazelnut paste, gavottes, toasted hazelnut).

1. What is it? Does it literally contain fruit, or is it a pastry term?

2. I'd rather substitute with something homemade, e.g. I could make the hazelnut paste and buy the gavottes somewhere, but can one also make this "fruited hazelnut praline" instead of buying it from Valrhona?

I found this page but I don't know if it's especially different from a regular homemade recipe for hazelnut praline: http://www.valrhonaprofessionals.com/...

Apr 08, 2014
calf in Home Cooking

Buying good quality duck meat?

Not a frequent buyer of meat, but I'm suddenly craving a nice juicy, Moulard duck breast of this sort: dartagnan.com/Moulard-Duck-Magret,-Half-Breast/FDUMA006-1,default,pd.html

Is there a local market that sells duck or duck breast of a similar quality/price range? I live in Richmond so I'm much less familiar with the higher-end butcher shops in the Vancouver area.

Also, interestingly the supplier above (top search I found using Google) doesn't ship to Canada, but they source from Quebec. I'm willing to consider the possibility of mail order of flash frozen duck breasts, but being more expensive it would not be a regular thing I'd do.

Mar 28, 2014
calf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

So really what's the problem?

What the heck is TU?

Economic fact: The turnover of restaurants in many urban cities—NYC for as one example—is also 50%. It's because of economic conditions and market structures. Hipsters are not so influential as to be the specific cause across multiple cities. That should be obvious.

As for Vancouver, it is a world class city but for various reasons it is not one that supports specialty restaurants very well. That is why Lumiere closed, for example. Similarly, what some of us call "hipster" restaurants have a larger client demographic in say, NYC and L.A., maybe Toronto, but not necessarily in Vancouver. The food can be actually really innovative and impressive—the ones that do succeed are routinely reviewed in those cities' local newspapers. I don't feel it's a loss that Vancouver doesn't have many of those kinds of restaurants—point is that it's often informative to understand what's going on in the bigger picture.

Jan 01, 2014
calf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Really dumb sous vide question

Thanks! I did it twice and worked perfectly both times.

Dec 25, 2013
calf in Home Cooking
1

Really dumb sous vide question

It's 100 g egg whites, plus sugar, to be foamed into meringue afterwards. From modernist cuisine. If it fails I can always do it the regular way...

Dec 24, 2013
calf in Home Cooking

Really dumb sous vide question

Generally when a recipe says "using a 70 ℃ bath cook sous vide for 30 min", does this imply start the timer when the food is put in, or when the contents reach an internal temperature of 70 ℃?

I'm inclined to guess the straightforward 30 min, because the food is supposed to be sealed which prevents measuring the temperature. Please correct if mistaken!

Dec 24, 2013
calf in Home Cooking

New Bouley question! 2:45 lunch?

Do you feel the dinner tasting menu, which is same number of courses but 3x the price, is justified? Some of the dishes are even the same--at least in their names. I'm sure there are many factors, but I have to wonder what, if anything, makes up for the price difference?

Dec 08, 2013
calf in Manhattan

Gooseneck barnacles now available in Vancouver

What kind of grill setup is that handsome biologist using?

Dec 04, 2013
calf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Unpleasant experience at CAGEN Sushi in East Village (former Kaijitsu space)

Good point, because if you ask some sushi chefs, sushi *is*, in essence, the rice. So when you ask for "just" a bowl of rice…

Nov 28, 2013
calf in Manhattan

Unpleasant experience at CAGEN Sushi in East Village (former Kaijitsu space)

Yeah… I bet if you had requested an expensive side dish they would have happily obliged. It's all about money, and they handled the situation wrong.

I think you were being a little bold to "question" the waitress, that's called being pushy, and that's not something that computes well in Japanese culture. But still that doesn't excuse the restaurant for being so rigid.

Nov 25, 2013
calf in Manhattan

How did they make this meringue? (lemon tart from Bouchon Bakery)

Hmm, maybe. Similar to this one: http://goo.gl/c6gBb8

But on closer comparison a St. Honore tip has a smoother shape in that there's no ridge along the top, nor the indentation along the side.

Nov 25, 2013
calf in Home Cooking

Where to get a precise 0.1 g or 0.01 g digital scale (for measuring out dessert ingredients)?

I went on amazon.ca as well and purchased the 200 g x 0.01 g AWS scale. I'm glad shipping was basically free. I used it tonight and it's a gem!

For a while I had rigged up my own beam balance using sewing thread and paper clips. It was fun but those days are over!

Nov 24, 2013
calf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Where to get a precise 0.1 g or 0.01 g digital scale (for measuring out dessert ingredients)?

Plain old gelatin, and agar. I use it to make relatively thin jellies, or also for the newfangled way to clarify juices and stocks—for both I've found the amount required to be too small (< 2 g) to be able to do consistently. I've been following the book Modernist Cuisine (http://goo.gl/F0CDVv) and in their tools chapter they recommend a 0.01 g precision as well.

Nov 24, 2013
calf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Where to get a precise 0.1 g or 0.01 g digital scale (for measuring out dessert ingredients)?

I'd never think to check out teacher supply stores, thanks!

Nov 24, 2013
calf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

How did they make this meringue? (lemon tart from Bouchon Bakery)

Aha, that sounds right. Thanks.

Nov 24, 2013
calf in Home Cooking

How did they make this meringue? (lemon tart from Bouchon Bakery)

In this photo, http://goo.gl/cbLxGe, the meringue is shaped into crests vaguely like the Sydney Opera House. It looks quite pretty. Is there a special technique or pastry nozzle for this? I'm stumped, maybe they made it with spoons…

Nov 24, 2013
calf in Home Cooking

Where to get a precise 0.1 g or 0.01 g digital scale (for measuring out dessert ingredients)?

I was thinking maybe London Drugs or Staples, but if there are suggestions for a store that might have a decently priced product that would be good to know. Thanks.

Looking at the London Drugs webpage they have several but around $40-$50. Meanwhile Amazon.com has better-looking precise kitchen scales for half that price (excluding any delivery fee and delay).

Nov 14, 2013
calf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Per Se's surprisingly disappointing desserts

Yeah that episode wasn't representative in that it was a fancy restaurant providing their own kind an extreme VIP treatment—epic length meal that included customized dishes. Bourdain has openly acknowledged this factor and wrote down his feelings on it in his books. But to many viewers it becomes a powerful if subtle form of marketing.

Nov 05, 2013
calf in Manhattan

Per Se's surprisingly disappointing desserts

I'm wondering if The French Laundry does desserts differently?

Nov 03, 2013
calf in Manhattan

Per Se's surprisingly disappointing desserts

But on further thought… to their credit it's a clever pairing—you have fresh cream plus firm-ball stage sugar on one hand, and on the other hand, butter plus hard-crack stage sugar. And texturally the ice cream is a microcrystal while the confection is a solidified foam (the brittle is aerated in order to be crispy and yet melty). What that creates is a dessert with similar, supporting flavor components but contrasting texture. So even just this one plate is a good example of their cooking's outlook--restraint, finesse, details, blah blah blah… A lesser restaurant might try to "fix" or "balance" it with something acidic like fruit puree, but they knew not to do that. Ok I didn't mean to go overboard with gastronomical analysis… I hope it tasted good…

Nov 03, 2013
calf in Manhattan

Per Se's surprisingly disappointing desserts

Well I think it would have to be butterfinger made from scratch i.e. something similar to the recipes from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. Peanut brittle coated with chocolate.

Nov 03, 2013
calf in Manhattan

Per Se Salon Anniversary Help

I've picked the Foie Gras course at the Salon before, and was *not* subjected to the Fresh Brioche Treatment. Looking back at my notes, it might have been a busy evening (even on a Monday), so maybe the staff's efforts were concentrated elsewhere. Still had a memorable meal as well, though.

Aug 07, 2013
calf in Manhattan

Suggestions for food and cooking shows on youtube, etc!

I am suddenly craving some food for the eyes—I know there are some good culinary documentaries on youtube, such as this one about sushi:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKy_aV...

And meanwhile the PBS website has a whole section of old Julia Child cooking shows:
http://video.pbs.org/program/julia-ch...
There are also complete episodes of Jacques Pepin as well as Alton Brown's Good Eats series on youtube.

What else might be good? Suggestions appreciated.

Jul 18, 2013
calf in Food Media & News
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