Mr Taster's Profile

Title Last Reply

Belcampo Cheeseburger

First time. Yes, I thought it was a better burger than Golden State, though I respect GS' business practice more.

Maybe I am just a self-loathing hipster at heart? Or maybe I'm so normcore you can't even tell.

Mr Taster

about 4 hours ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Belcampo Cheeseburger

Well, I finally did it... I dusted off my metaphorical tiny hat, metaphorical Converse All-Stars and metaphorical ironic facial hair, and picked up one of these Belcampo cheeseburgers, medium rare.

Crazy pricey for what it is, but that's the trend being established now, isn't it? And here I am, helping to encourage it. Hypocrite.

You're waiting for me to hate all over it. I won't. This was a really great burger. There, I said it.

Beautifully sturdy yet tender bun with a nice toothy chew that didn't fall apart halfway through like other expensive hipster burgers (Short Order) or even poorly constructed populist burgers (like Five Guys). Buttered and toasted, and that was an awfully great compliment to the burger, which is as people described. Loosely packed but cohesive. It's almost as if the cheese had so fully integrated into the patty that it became part of the burger itself. Totally cohesive. Supremely beefy, rich, amped by the onions, offset by crispness of the veg. Burger was a small handful, aioli not offered nor was it needed. A really great burger.

Now let's all collectively encourage them to get back on the classic trolley/Golden State bandwagon and include 15 cents worth of fried potatoes, please. (I'd take 8 cents worth of dressed mesculin as an alternative).

What do you say?

Mr Taster

about 4 hours ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area
3

The Pastrami List 2014

I remind them "thick and juicy". On a couple of occasions I've gotten dry pastrami, and it makes me sad. I don't hesitate to send it back if the pastrami is in the least bit dry. (And I don't often send anything back.)

Mr Taster

about 8 hours ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

WHO HAS THE BEST PIZZA IN L.A. AND WHY?

LOL

Mr Taster
(who uses his silly internet acronyms sparingly, but felt this one was entirely justified.)

about 8 hours ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area
1

The Pastrami List 2014

Yeah-- every so often I'll get thinner slices like that and it makes me wonder if they really do always hand slice. I still tell them to hand slice and the servers will (sometimes) tell me that they always do. I'm not exactly sure what to believe.

Mr Taster

about 10 hours ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

>>Interesting idea re: freezing

I'm full of it. Ideas, I mean.

Mr Taster

1 day ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area
1

Sour cherries

I made a sweet biscuit topped cobbler with the TJ's jarred sour morellos and it was magnificent. Considering how easy they are to get when compared to overall quality, it's a fine substitute for fresh. Reduced the juice with red wine, cinnamon, sugar and thickened with a bit of corn starch, fortified with a pinch of almond extract and salt. Wonderful stuff.

Mr Taster

1 day ago
Mr Taster in San Francisco Bay Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

I like making custard too, but as you know it's not the making as much as the chilling which takes up the most time. Getting that mixture down to 30 degrees can take a frustratingly long time, particularly if you feel like having a large quantity in order to experiment with multiple batches. It would be great to have a quantity of the stuff living in the coldest part of my fridge, ready to freeze up at a moment's notice.

By the way, here's a trick. Freeze a small quantity of your base solid, and then melt it in to the refrigerated base. That's a pretty easy and rapid way of dropping the temp of your base to freezable levels.

Mr Taster

1 day ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

Is Straus base available in smaller quantities/retail or is it strictly for commercial purposes? Making a quality base is such a time consuming process that it would be awfully handy to have access to something as good as what I can make at home.

Mr Taster

1 day ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Bit o Scotland fish and chips

Seconded. Good stuff. Want some now.

Mr Taster

P.S. Willie may well be big, but if he is he doesn't boast of it on his signage.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/willies-grill...

1 day ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

>> $12 burger should generally come with fries.

Yes, it should. And it has, for a long time now-- was it Sang Yoon that first broke that unwritten contract with customers?

In any case, Umami and all the expensive FancyBurgers™ that followed seemed to follow this a la carte trend. That is, except for the Golden State guys. I asked Jason why he's holding out, and he simply told me, "because burgers are supposed to come with fries."

I respect him for this. He's a businessman with the opportunity to gouge his customers, because they'll probably pay it, yet he doesn't. He should be rewarded and acknowledged for that.

Similarly, those that continue to gouge should be called out on their shenanigans. But I've got to say, it often feels like I'm the only one calling bullshit on this kind of FUB™ moneygrab.

Pickles too, man. Screw Wexler and his precious $2 pickles! They cost almost nothing to make, which is why delis give them away.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/805067

You'll find me at Langer's with my bottomless free tray of full sours, as God and all of delidom has decreed, from time immemorial.

Mr Taster

P.S. 100!

2 days ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

>> Funny how so many of the chefs that have revolutionized the food landscape in la and elsewhere have tattoos beards piercings etc.

>> yep, you're gonna see a lot of folks who fit a certain aesthetic that might be called "hipster."

At the risk of entirely veering away from a chow-centric discussion, I really, really want to know why this is. Why is the aesthetic identified so closely with the action? There's no reason that it needs to be. Or is there?

Is this a Samson story where the thick, luscious hipster beard somehow imbues one with the preternatural power to cook good food?

I have theories that tie in nicely with my perspective on the matter, but I've said enough at this point and I'd rather have others post their thoughts.

Mr Taster

P.S. Where else on the internet are you going to have a discussion like this?

2 days ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

Not to my knowledge. They do upcharge for certain sides, but their regular fries are always included. For $12, they should be, and Jason (one of the owners) knows that.

Mr Taster

Jul 21, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

Ah, well I never did make the assertion that McConnell's was hipster. That got muddled in by proxy, but was never a point I made.

I don't deny anyone the right to be whatever they choose to be. I don't have that power, nor would I want it. People are who they are, just as I am who I am. I am expressing myself on these forums, just as hipsters express themselves by out-cooling each other through use of tiny hats and Converse All Stars and waiting in line an hour for egg sandwiches that will inevitably get caught in their luscious, thick beards.

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

Golden State is totally hipster, but I respect them for not gouging as much as they otherwise could by charging an extra $3-4 for an extra 10 cents worth of potatoes (thank you Golden State guys, for not jumping on the ala carte greedwagon.)

Scathing criticism notwithstanding, most of you don't know me in person, but those who do know I'm a sweetheart. Right, Tony? :)

Mr Taster

Jul 21, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

There you go!

Mr Taster

Jul 21, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Newport Seafood San Gabriel Location Closing?

Fascinating.

Wouldn't it be interesting if Newport Seafood changed plans and opened up on Camden between Mr. Chow and Crustacean?

Mr Taster

Jul 21, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Newport Seafood San Gabriel Location Closing?

exilekiss?

Mr Taster

Jul 21, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

Jul 21, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

>> How can you possibly understand the motivations of a "group" of people you don't really know at all?

I do have some hipster friends (including my Brooklynite sister), but they would deny that they're hipsters because they don't want to think of themselves as being part of any particular group. But to look at them, you could peg them in a second. I think that's the great contradiction of the hipster mindset-- unique, but somehow the same. (I'm kind of fascinated by this whole "normcore" movement which is essentially the hipsters saying "we're tired of being identified as hipsters" and so they instead to decide to dress "normally". As a group. It's kind of hilarious.)

In any case, I think hipsters simply do what most people do, which is to do what their friends do, which is fine. But acknowledge that you're not unique. Acknowledge that you're not special. You're just a human making your way in the big city, like all of us are. Then you can eat your delicious $13 Belcampo cheeseburger without irony, without hypocrisy.

Mr Taster

Jul 21, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

> Please have you had good soft serve before?

Yes.

> Big Gay has superior texture to most soft serves on the market.

Agreed.

> your generalizations that "hipster priced" food is a scam/gimmick.

To be fair, that's a gross oversimplification of my position.

I'm not against pasture raised, ethically treated cows. And I'm not against paying a nominally higher price for food that is created in a more ethical way, even if the overall deliciousness is equal to that of a comparable, conventionally created product.

What I have a problem with is using exclusionary marketing techniques on a product that is not exclusionary. Ice cream is not adult diapers, for example. Marketing adult diapers specifically to seniors who need them is not pandering in the same way that marketing ice cream to 25 year old tiny hat wearing, single speed riding stereotypes is. Again, see my Cole's vs. Philippes discussion for a prime example of a company that sells a similar product, but yet one appeals to a broad swath of Angelenos, and the other appeals primarily to the tiny-hat crowd.

Mr Taster

Jul 21, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Paprika Potato Chips?

My original experience with paprika chips was many, many years ago (think early '90s).

It's certainly possible that the junk food flavor formulas have been tweaked over the years, and/or my memory of that original experience has shifted or is no longer accurate.

In any case, my main takeaway from that experience (and the point I'm trying to emphasize here) is the power of marketing suggestion.

Europe doesn't have a history/culture of American style BBQ, but they do have a helluva lot of paprika powder. What's a multinational junk food conglomerate with a surplus of red flavored powder to do? It already looks a helluva lot like paprika. Maybe it even has some as an ingredient. Europeans are familiar with paprika. So, it's a no-brainer to sell the stuff in Europe as "paprika flavor".

If you think about it, "BBQ flavor" really doesn't taste anything like real BBQ. It has elements of smoke and spice, but calling it "BBQ" is really more of a "helpful suggestion" than an accurate description. Would anyone really mistake BBQ "flavor" with the real deal? Of course not.

Now apply the same course of analysis to paprika and I think you'll see what I mean. There may even be some *actual smoked paprika* in the BBQ flavor powder. It occurred to me then that calling the red powder chips "paprika" is actually more representative of the truth than calling them "BBQ".

Mr Taster

Jul 21, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Paprika Potato Chips?

After some digging, I discovered that I tackled this very topic with other Chowhounds in 2008.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/517609

Mr Taster

Jul 20, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Paprika Potato Chips?

Many years ago during my wide-eyed innocent traveling days, I recall trying paprika chips somewhere in Europe (The Netherlands or Germany, I think) and was shocked to find that paprika tasted and looked just like what is marketed as BBQ flavor in America. It may well have been the catalyst for my lifetime disdain and mistrust of superficial imagery and advertising.

Mr Taster

Jul 19, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

How specifically is Big Gay a superior product? I'm asking earnestly.

I tried two of their cones and found them entirely unremarkable- small, sloppy and overpriced, far more style than substance. Yes, having a cone named after Bea Arthur is funny. Paying $5+ for what is essentially a small soft serve (sprinkled with a few cents worth of graham cracker crumbs) is not. Yes, it's way better than Foster's. No, it's not better than Mister Softee (if Mister Softee ever thought to offer graham cracker crumbs, for example), and it sure as hell isn't worth 2-3x the price.

Plus, the idea that an unremarkable product is made more appealing through use of hipster-bait humor- well, I find it mildly insulting.

Mr Taster

Jul 19, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

Thank you for sharing that comment with the board. I wish more of us were as concerned about preserving the legacy and atmosphere of the market by helping the little guy to adapt to the changes and thrive alongside.

Mr Taster

Jul 18, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Lian Wu? (Wax apple/nose apple/etc.) available in LA?

My gut reaction when I saw TheOffalo's pic of Temple City lian wu was that they looked unripe, but I don't know that for certain. I can tell you that I've only ever seen red ones (in both Taiwan and Thailand). And lots of them-- they're as common as apples here.

Also, it's not germane to this conversation, but I remember the ones in Thailand (Bangkok) having a more elongated shape.

Mr Taster

Jul 18, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

Hi Judi,

In posting this, I didn't mean to peg the cost of a scoop. I was really speaking broadly, sharing unspecific experiences walking away with a $2 cup of ice cream at untrendy places (like Jose's or Thrifty, etc.) vs. a $5 (or $6+) for an equivalent portion size at Carmela, Milk, etc. (I'm not about to get into the overrun/organic/artisinal/etc. debate here). I'm really talking about establishing my own personal "Mr Taster Unit of Enjoyment™" (MTUoE™)-- a small, satisfying, adult human sized serving. Whether it's one scoop or five is irrelevant. For me it's usually about two scoops (the equivalent of a Scoops "single").

In fact, one of the reasons I love the original Scoops so much is that it has all of the trappings of a place that could be charging $5-6, but they still keep it well under $3 for a MTUoE™. I really respect Tai Kim for charging a fair price for a creative, quality product. On my sister's last trip (she lives in the hipster haven of Brooklyn), she went in fully expecting to pay Big Gay Ice Cream Truck/FUB™ prices, and was stunned by what she got for the cost. Mr Softee prices for a quasi Big Gay experience. It just doesn't compute... because she's so acclimated to the ridiculousness of FUB™ pricing. It's nice to get your head out of hipster economics and breathe the unstylish air once in a while.

Now I would never argue that the quality of Scoops matches the supreme quality of Bulgarini's pistachio (if you can even equate gelato with ice cream-- you can't, really). But I could more directly compare it with the super untrendy but wonderful Superior Dairy in Hanford, whose value:quality obliterates anything I've experienced anywhere else. It's not creative in the way Tai Kim's creations are, but the ice cream is rich and dense, with that slightly chewy taffy pull that makes the best ice cream such a decadent experience.

Mr Taster

Jul 18, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

The Pastrami List 2014

I'm a founding member.

Mr Taster

Jul 18, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area
2

The Pastrami List 2014

Jul 18, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

Hey P, from a purely economic standpoint that makes sense. But what I'd prefer to see is Jose (and other small businesses like his) to be able to continue serving his ice cream to *everybody* in LA, not just one narrow demographic.

Certain businesses, like Philippe's for example, have done a better job of serving a broad swath of Angelinos (much in the same way that Cole's has not).

Ultimately I'm a champion for masticatorial inclusiveness (did I just make up a word?), and Jose moving to MLK & Western is simply reinforcing culinary segregation and the status quo.

Mr Taster

Jul 18, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area