Mr Taster's Profile

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Let's bring back Jim Leff as a Senior Consultant for Chowhound

Chowhound had a defining vision statement since the beginning, and that splash screen was responsible, in no small part, for getting me interested and involved for as long as I have (I started posting around 2002 under a different handle)

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5325...

Mr Taster

Jan 22, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk

A restarutant trend that should die in 2015:

臭豆腐!

Mr Taster

Jan 22, 2015
Mr Taster in Not About Food

The Pastrami List 2014

Every time someone orders the treif casserole known as #19, a yarmulke in Brooklyn dies.

Mr Taster

Show us your Avatar...

That's adorable! I love it.

Sadly, it's impossible to tell that it's a pancake from the avatar, but I applaud your creative efforts nonetheless.

Mr Taster

Jan 20, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk
2

Signs that someone is a GOOD cook

I think you misunderstood greygarious. Unsalted butter is used by professional cooks because it's better to season your cooking yourself rather than have someone at the butter factory season it for you. Plus, there is some other element to salted butter... Trying to remember... That the salt throws off the standard ratio of fat to moisture that can throw off baking recipes? I think that's the reason.

Lastly, great high fat, fermented, salted butter is perfect for uncooked applications, like spreading on crusty bread.

But for cooking? It should be unsalted all the way.

Mr Taster

Grayelf seeking good eats for family and more on Feb trip from Vancouver, BC

Far be it for me to advise you, after I've benefited from so many of your posts, but I can't remember if you've made it out to SW for the Hainan chicken rice at Rama Thai. It's a really refreshing alternative to the white tattooed hipster chef driven aesthetic that much of Portland seems to run on. Its the sort of mom & pop place that would fit right in to one of Los Angeles' Thai Towns. Run by a Laotian family. Stick with the northern specialties, sour sausage, khao soi, etc.

Mr Taster

Jan 17, 2015
Mr Taster in Metro Portland

Chowhound Staff: Which of you have voluntarily chosen to no longer collapse previously read posts?

miss louella, I think you've hit on the real point. If the pagination were applied separately from the non-collapsed threads, and applied only to the slower mobile version of the site, I think we'd start to approach a system that makes more sense. Make pagination the default for new users if you must, but keep it separate from collapsed threads.

To illustrate:

Allow the mobile site to paginate, but also do not default to all threads being expanded. Then the pages will a) load more quickly, solving (or greatly reducing) the slowdown problem-- users could jump to the approximate page where they expect to find new posts, and b) mobile users will still be able to follow new posts without embarking on a long & frustrating treasure hunt. And c), leave the desktop site alone (that is, put it back the way it was), as even lengthy conversations do not suffer from slowdown due to tracking collapsed threads

Mr Taster

Jan 16, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk

Qin West Chinese Cuisine Westwood (A Photo Story and Review)

Remember, the quote was that American students would be overrunning Chinese universities "in a few years". I even quoted it in my initial reply.

Of course, anything can change given enough time. But 30 =/= "a few" in my book.

Mr Taster

Qin West Chinese Cuisine Westwood (A Photo Story and Review)

Happiness or unhappiness doesn't enter into it. Chinese kids (and that includes my wife, who went through this system) are generally miserable from the stress. But that wasn't at all the point I was making.

The point was dropping a pie-eyed liberal arts 20 year old into a culture where his student competition have been living that miserable student existence for their entire lives. Then add the layer of the language barrier, and you can see why bringiton's theory about American kids flocking to Chinese universities just doesn't hold true.

Mr Taster

Jan 15, 2015
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Qin West Chinese Cuisine Westwood (A Photo Story and Review)

>> In a few years...

I don't see those kinds of large numbers of American kids having the fortitude or discipline to get over the language barrier, let alone being able to deal with the outrageously rigorous demands expected of Chinese students.

We're just not set up for it. Kids in China automatically start learning English in school, and as far as academics, there are few to no extracurricular options. It's primarily extremely difficult exams, that students spend most of their waking time studying for. Even for Chinese students, this regiment is punishing, and extremely difficult to navigate. When Chinese students come here and experience our comparatively breezy and undisciplined way of educating undergrads, it's a huge culture shock for them. Our kids would generally collapse under that kind of pressure. Again, I'm speaking generally. There was always be exceptions. But I just don't see the numbers as being comparable-- for the foreseeable future the waves of Chinese students coming here will be much greater than the number of overachieving smart American kids who choose to tackle that kind of challenge in China.

Mr Taster

Chowhound Staff: Which of you have voluntarily chosen to no longer collapse previously read posts?

Please remember,

>> I'd like to elevate the discourse on this topic, rather than continue on the current path, which has reminded me of an Oberyn Martell style head popping.

I suggest you post on that other thread (alongside my many posts) if you want to vent your frustration. Let's keep this tone of this specific thread more even-keeled.

Mr Taster

Jan 15, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk

Chowhound Staff: Which of you have voluntarily chosen to no longer collapse previously read posts?

I don't think I ever understood that the mobile site is the issue here.

After reading your reply, I spent some time last night using the mobile site vs. the desktop and really paying attention to load times. And you're right-- on my Google Nexus 5 (16gb), those long threads can take a while to load. The collapsed threads load from the top-down, so it's about 10-15 seconds before the threads way at the bottom are viewable.

On the desktop version, there is no delay that I could tell.

If the choice here is site functionality/usability vs. speed, and speed does not suffer on the desktop version of the site, then what is the point?

As for the mobile side of the site, yes there is a significant delay. More than I realized before. But what is the real difference if you're spending 15 seconds waiting for collapsed threads to load, versus scrolling and clicking (and more scrolling and clicking) through page after page of uncollapsed threads to try and find the new replies that have been added? Without an easy way to read updates, isn't your 15 (or more) seconds searching for new posts an even more frustrating use of your time?

Why not just work to make the speed of the mobile site on par with the speed of the desktop site, rather than removing a core functionality from both?

Or-- perhaps, it's not seen as a core function. Is that where this came from? Is this a generational thing? The 20-somethings that have spent their whole adult lives reading yelp or reddit style posts (ones that don't autocollapse) just don't understand why Chowhound is as unique as it is, or how it got to be what it is?

Your thoughts? I'd like to elevate the discourse on this topic, rather than continue on the current path, which has reminded me of an Oberyn Martell style head popping.

Mr Taster

Signs that someone is a GOOD cook

I didn't have a problem with your suggestion to taste. I had issue with your other statement about how closely following recipes is not the sign of a good cook.

Mr Taster

Jan 15, 2015
Mr Taster in General Topics

Signs that someone is a GOOD cook

>> And, following a recipe step by step is not a sign of a good cook IMHO.

I've heard that before. I have a colleague who fancies herself an excellent cook, and she often teases me for following recipes. But the proof is in the pudding, because I consistently knock her socks off with the things that come out of my kitchen, and she makes the same repertoire of stuff, sometimes better and sometimes worse.

For fun, we'll make the same dish (fruit cobbler, for example) and my flavors are consistently more intense, less diluted, flakier pastry-- (she calls herself a "fake baker" because she uses Pillsbury dough)-- my results are just all around better.

But, that's because I choose my recipes carefully. There's a whole lotta shit out there, and a lot of people who are well-meaning, but just don't know what the hell they're talking about. Welcome to the Internet, where even non-experts are experts.

Poorly written recipes can lead the novice cook to terrible discouragement, thinking that they're to blame for failures. Badly written recipes forget to tell you things like leaving the lid on, or taking it off. If you're not experienced, you might leave the lid on and end up with water-logged sauce, or take it off and end up with gravy instead of soup. The well-written recipe takes all the important details into account, but also leaves off the unnecessary excess.

When I first made coq au vin, it was in 2006 (this was the first recipe I had ever followed from Cooks Illustrated-- I was mostly an Epicurious guy before that). The results were so far above and beyond anything that I had ever created on my own, or with Epicurious, that I was blown away. I started to think that maybe it wasn't my lack of skill that was the root problem, but the source of my recipes that was.

I started following CI's recipes religiously, and actually learned how to cook for real because of them.

Now I've made enough of their recipes that I can improvise in ways that I never could have before (pan sauces, braises, etc.) Even so, I often find that CI recipes are so well researched and tested, that they simply know better than I do, and I'm quite happy and comfortable to reap the benefits of their extensive labor.

If someone else wants to do the experimenting for me, and fail multiple times so that I don't have to, I have no problem with that. In fact, I appreciate and respect that effort, because I reap all the benefits.

Mr Taster

Chowhound Staff: Which of you have voluntarily chosen to no longer collapse previously read posts?

I'd like to know which (and how many) of you have chosen to take advantage of the new "feature", along with your reasons for why you have chosen this, and what benefits you have observed.

Win me over.

Mr Taster

Jan 14, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

Welcome to Crazyland.

Mr Taster

Jan 14, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk

Signs that someone is a GOOD cook

Read my review. The glove I use is highly water resistant (though not waterproof). Small amounts of water just roll off the surface.

Mr Taster

Jan 14, 2015
Mr Taster in General Topics

Signs that someone is a GOOD cook

I use the cooks illustrated-recommended Kool-Tek glove. Water rolls off of it, it's cloth so it allows for a high degree of manual dexterity, and is made from Nomex and Kevlar with a thick layer of padding for extreme heat protection. Plus, the glove extends almost to my elbow, so no risk of arm burns. It's absolutely great.

The only problem is that they're incredibly expensive (one glove costs about $40-50). But, they're by far the best oven mitts I've ever used. When I cook at friend's houses, I feel totally and completely unprotected by whatever flimsy thing they happen to have.

http://www.diaryofacrazedcook.com/wp-...

Mr Taster

Jan 14, 2015
Mr Taster in General Topics

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

The reason you've never had a problem with slow loading is that there never was a widespread problem. Evidence of that is that if it were, we'd have complained about it. A lot.

If you search the site talk board for "slow", you'll find sporadic incidents that have to do with using ad blockers, etc. but slowness simply never was a widespread problem that the community addressed. This was something that Chowhound decided to do on their own.

My gut feeling is that they're being disingenuous about their motivations for implementing the drastic change (of defaulting to expanded threads), because it makes absolutely no sense from a user experience standpoint.

Mr Taster

Jan 13, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk

Is Chowhound dead?

I don't get it either. Skid Row in downtown LA is in the process of gentrifying, and it's a similarly absurd situation. Rents went from burned-out slum to million dollar condos in an instant. There was never any middle class growth, and somehow people still move into these places.

Mr Taster

Jan 13, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk

How Would YOU Revive Chowhound?

Jan 13, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk
1

Is Chowhound dead?

>> So you're saying NY is an asylum and we're all crazy? I'd agree with that. LOL

At least you acknowledge it, which is one better than my sister :)

By the way, reread what I wrote-- I would never clump in the way you describe. I know all too well what my sister goes through to make ends meet. Despite my pleading for her to move to slightly lower rents in Flushing (for purely selfish Chinese food reasons), she needs to stay in the "up and coming" (i.e. crime ridden) neighborhood that she currently resides.

Her husband and daughter are living what you would call a middle class life (by NY standards) in a renovated 2-br apartment (typical BK hipster, exposed brick, hardwood floors, exposed ducts, etc.) and they earn an income that would be considered high in most areas of the country. But, she also lives 2 doors down from a bonafide crack house, because that same 2-br apartment would be unaffordable most other places in the city. Yet she refuses to go elsewhere, because "NYC is the greatest place on earth." My personal definition of "greatest place" does not involve living next to a crack house (which she does), but that's just me.

By the way, that crack-house adjacent property costs $2600/month. And as a bonus, people are sometimes murdered on her block. Given those circumstances, I'd probably want to have my food delivered a lot more often, too.

Mr Taster
(who, incidentally, loves to visit my sister in New York, for short periods of time.)

Jan 13, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk

How Would YOU Revive Chowhound?

Roland, from your post history it looks like you haven't been around that long.

As someone who has been a part of Chowhound since the early 2000s, and who has contributed more posts than I care to imagine, I really enjoy seeing old posts that I'd previously read, and I particularly enjoy rereading posts that I'd contributed to years prior. It's a bit like opening a time capsule, or reading an old diary entry. It reminds me of who I was, and how far I've come. It also reminds me of the "good old days" of Chowhound, when it was a mom & pop shop.

The things I've learned from Chowhound have profoundly affected my life, and I'm not alone here. I've known people who have gotten married, who have become professional food writers, etc. They grew up on Chowhound, and so did I.

Mr Taster

Is Chowhound dead?

That's absolutely true that middle class and wealthy New Yorkers have a skewed sense of what affordable means to the rest of us. My sister lives in Brooklyn, and she has no problems paying 2 to 4x more than what I'd pay for equivalent food, and I live in Los Angeles. Then again, I frequent the mom and pop non-American dives serving traditional foods, and she's ordering from restaurants that cater more to American tastes. She also has a habit of starting her tips at 25%, which is also a New York thing, just as is the expectation that it is your God-given right to have your food brought to your door. My sister no longer sees this as irregular, because she's been living in the bubble for too long. Its totally normal to them, like interviewing their toddler for preschool.

Yes, life in New York is not just expensive, but kind of insane.

Mr Taster

Jan 12, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk

site forgetting "read" posts

MplsM ary and gaffk are right. The issue that this topic was created (which is an error that happened during a site upgrade) is unrelated to what you're experiencing.

What you're experiencing is a so-called "new feature" that is intended to make the site load faster. How is that accomplished? BY NEVER COLLAPSING READ THREADS!

Yes, it is as absurdly, unbelievably crazy-making as it sounds.

Thankfully, there's an easy way back to the old functionality. But new members, well, they're defaulting to the "new and improved" way of doing things.

Mr Taster

Jan 12, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk
1

Is Chowhound dead?

The caps were my attempt at grabbing the attention of a broad audience by distinguishing my post among the throngs of posts.

The Chinese characters were an attempt to filter the right people out of that broad audience.

At least, that was my rationale for posting the way that I did.

Mr Taster

Jan 12, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk

Is Chowhound dead?

Spam? I'm totally confused. How could a request to find a Chinese vegetable be interpreted as spam?!

Granted, this is not a question that most people would be able to help with. But that's kind of my point. Chowhound is not Yelp; this is a question that requires a certain amount of expertise, and putting Chinese characters in the title is a way of attracting precisely the people who are going to be able to help me with that request. Or, so I thought.

This is precisely the kind of request that, for over eleven years, I've relied on Chowhound to help me with and is, in fact, a key part of the old manifesto:

"If...[you]...have a yen for egg creams, gazpacho, or Quisp Cereal, let the resident hounds guide you to the best stuff."

At this point, I suppose I'm one of the resident hounds, since most of the people I've learned from have moved on. Maybe that's part of it. Still, I feel sad at what has apparently been lost.

Mr Taster

Jan 12, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk
1

Is Chowhound dead?

In Aug 2013, I started this conversation about Chinese green garlic. It received quite a lot of responses:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/912089

1.5 years later, I'm asking about it again... as of the date and time of this posting, there is one bump and one joke.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1001260

The question about where to find a hard-to-find specialty food is precisely the type of thing Chowhound was created to answer. It's very discouraging that the people who can help me have either:

1) given up on Chowhound or
2) don't feel it's worth taking the time to answer

Mr Taster

Jan 12, 2015
Mr Taster in Site Talk

Comparing Ethiopian restaurants

Raw meat is common in LA Ethiopian restaurants as kitfo (steak tartare), but it's minced (and who knows if it's grass-fed).

The grass-fed cubes of beef (tere sega) are nowhere in LA, that I'm aware of.

Mr Taster

Jan 09, 2015
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Comparing Ethiopian restaurants

I agree. The awaze tibs were quite delicious there-- the sauce was particularly well spiced, and that horseradish vegetable (lentil?) was deliciously different from anything I've had elsewhere. My only criticism is that the tibs were slightly overcooked.

Mr Taster

Jan 09, 2015
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area