Mr Taster's Profile

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A restarutant trend that should die in 2015:

Anything that my father likes cannot possibly be trendy, in any universe.

Mr Taster

about 10 hours ago
Mr Taster in Not About Food
1

The Pastrami List 2014

Silly.

Kat probably saw how many hits Weekly got from the original story and told the guy to write something dumb like this.

I think I'm done with this conversation.

Mr Taster

about 15 hours ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

My first time at Chipotle.... or, what the hell was that bland beige lump I just ate?

"Because it's convenient" stopped being my reason for eating *anything* about thirteen years ago, right around the time I became a card-carrying Chowhound.

From Jim Leff's original Chowhound manifesto:

"Everyone has one in their life: the brother-in-law with a collection of 800 takeout menus, the coworker who's always late from lunch because she HAD to trek to one end of town for the best soup and to the other for the best sandwich. Chowhounds know where the good stuff is, and they never settle for less than optimal deliciousness..."

Mr Taster

about 18 hours ago
Mr Taster in Chains

My first time at Chipotle.... or, what the hell was that bland beige lump I just ate?

>> No Chipotle. Not Mexican. Not grilled.

That's brilliant. Can I use that? Thanks for this!

Mr Taster

about 18 hours ago
Mr Taster in Chains

site forgetting "read" posts

Pat, what's the status on the fix for this problem?

Mr Taster

1 day ago
Mr Taster in Site Talk

OFFICIAL POST: Place your qing suan 青蒜/suan miao 蒜苗 sightings here!!

Hallelujah!!

I'm heading to SGV tonight for dinner... I wonder if I'll be able to find it at the supermarkets?

Thanks very much for the update.

Mr Taster

A restarutant trend that should die in 2015:

I would have laughed at her too, if I had witnessed that debacle. Can you imagine if a Chinese person went into a pizzeria and made a fuss because his pie had cheese on it?

Ridiculous.

Mr Taster

1 day ago
Mr Taster in Not About Food

Along the 118: Moorpark > La Canada - Anything Chow-Worthy?

Brent's, of course. That's an obvious one.

Mr Taster

Jan 28, 2015
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Along the 118: Moorpark > La Canada - Anything Chow-Worthy?

I haven't been in ages, but I've always liked La Cabanita- a very old timey Chowhound recommendation. It's located right at the beginning of your journey.

Also, in the neighborhood I seem to recall there being a candidate for The Great NYC Eggroll Debate. Can't remember the name... New Moon?

EDIT: Looks like that's the one, although no NYC restaurant is going to serve an eggroll sliced into threes:

http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/new-mo...

Mr Taster

Jan 28, 2015
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

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

One additional thought. The non-collapsing threads seem to be in line with other site designs that have rolled out over the years, in that engineering seems to be pulling site design ideas from other sites and implementing them in Chowhound.

A lot of Chowhounds, in particular the ones who are better informed and have been around a long time, don't necessarily use other types of boards.

Speaking from personal experience as one of the senior hounds, Chowhound is the only board I read/use on a regular basis. I remember when you rolled out the "tool drawer" on the mobile site (the three horizonal lines), making me click into a drawer before clicking into my profile (whereas before my profile was on the main screen), it seemed ridiculous to me. Why add the extra taps/time? And why are 3 lines a "toolbox"? Turns out, that's what Facebook does, and I don't use Facebook, so that convention was lost on me. All I saw was the practical upshot of something that used to take me one tap, now takes two, or three. That means my user experience became longer, slower.

When I research other (non-Chowhound) forums on other topics, the board reader software (that most everyone else seems to use) feels clunky and unintuitive. I never liked the pagination on those boards, either. However, generally threads on other BBS's add replies to the very end (not threading them throughout the conversation, like Chowhound). So in those boards, it's easy to click once and jump to the last page, and read all the new updates. If you've been away for a while, you can jump back 2 pages to read the even earlier replies.

That setup doesn't work (at all) with Chowhound, since the nature of the software encourages stream-of-thought tangents woven throughout, as opposed to a bunch of new posts clumped to the end, which is why the pagination-as-timesaver theory makes no practical sense.

It feels as if Chowhound is taking site design cues from other boards and implementing them into Chowhound, without taking into account the unique nature of the site. Chowhound is special specifically because its structure encourages a natural conversation flow. It appears the current changes are meant to shoehorn Chowhound into a more conventional box, and that's a great loss for old time Chowhounds like me, and a shame for the new ones who will never know what they're missing. In food terms, it's like Jim Leff handed you an imported Kobe steak, with all that gorgeous marbling and marshmallow-tender texture, and you're grinding it into Kobe sliders (because that's what's popular), and ruining the exquisite texture that was the whole point of the thing to begin with.

In my opinion, that is a very big mistake.

Mr Taster

jonathan gold offically gives up his anonymity and publishes his pic

JG became famous for giving white people the confidence to walk through the doors of a mom-n-pop immigrant restaurant and know what and how to order.

If he were still exclusively reviewing these kinds of places (i.e. restaurants in immigrant communities where he is neither known nor famous), the publication of his photo would be inconsequential because the immigrant restauranteur is likely not going to know to give JG special treatment in the first place. (They're only going to know/care after he publishes and all the white people start showing up en masse.)

Now that he's largely shifted to reviewing the more high profile FUB™*-type restaurants (i.e. restaurants white people go to), there seems to be no good way to turn his loss of anonymity (as involuntary as it was) into a positive thing for the LA dining public. There will be inevitable bias from the restaurant, in a way that simply wouldn't happen at some anonymous pupuseria in Vernon.

He's made the argument before that anonymous reviewing is a particular quirk of our culture, and European reviewers are well known. Still, I think it's hard to argue the great benefit of being able to communicate your experience as an anonymous diner. Ruth Reichl talks at length about her experience dressing up as an frumpy old lady dining alone, and how shockingly poor her experiences tended to be dining out as that character. In her famous review of Le Cirque, she said it was two different restaurants, depending on who you were. I don't see how JG can ignore the reality of that very human experience, and I think the ethical thing for him to do is to go back to his roots and continue to do all of Los Angeles dining public the great service of finding the hidden (to white people) gems all over our great city.

* http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/967965

Mr Taster

Jan 27, 2015
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Zam Zam market closing in Culver City

Thank you for doing the reconnaissance work. Let's hope Eater LA credits youyour efforts when they inevitably jump on the New Zam Zam bandwagon.

Mr Taster

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
1

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