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Loud Music in Restaurants

If you want to set the volume of the music, get takeout. This goes hand in hand with people asking to have the thermostat turned up or down. Some restaurants want it to be quiet, others want it to be loud. This is the ambiance they are selling and you have the right to buy it or not.

The truth is that as a long-time server I can tell you we all do the same thing with these requests. "Absolutely, right away." And then don't change a damn thing. I'll even go back and be like "Is that better?"

Apr 05, 2012
sourcandy in Features

Hiding Your Face on Facebook

Remember when Chow.com was about food?

Mar 01, 2012
sourcandy in Features

Should You Really Be Eating That?

You know when you are a cigarette smoker, people have no qualms about coming up to you and telling you how you are killing yourself one cigarette at a time. The health risks of smoking and obesity are not that dissimilar. And yet being obese is a lifestyle choice? I'm chubby myself, but certainly not in the range where people I know see the need to warn me about it.

Look, somebody said below that fat people know they are fat, and I'm sure they do. But they may or may not know the health risks. You really think it's not okay to have a conversation with somebody you love about risks to their health? If I gained a bunch more weight I would hope that one of my friends would smack the chimichanga out of my hand and drag me kicking and screaming to the gym. If not them, then who?

Mar 01, 2012
sourcandy in Features

When Should Bartenders Cut You Off?

Another restaurant staff post.

Helena, we are supposed to cut people off BEFORE they get trashed. The bartender in the thread was exactly right. Waiting until somebody is already drunk is a liability. And the laws are clear, you serve them the drinks, they hurt themselves, you go to jail.

As far as what it means to cut somebody off, in some bars that might mean kicking them out. Often someone who is cut off will leave out of indignation/a desire to try another bar. But at a neighborhood bar with regulars, it most likely means putting a coke in front of them and not serving them any more booze, leaving them to listen to other people's conversations and insult them. The letter writer is clearly an insecure loser who could not stand up for himself in front of his own girlfriend.

I do think it's interesting that this is like the 4th post in a row about whether restaurant employees are doing the write thing. This is supposed to be an etiquette column, not a complain-about-the-restaurant-industry column. I can't wait for next week when somebody writes to complain about how the hostess didn't stand up straight enough or some crap, and Helena demonstrates even less understanding about how restaurants work.

Feb 08, 2012
sourcandy in Features

All I want is a good cup of coffee at home. [moved from General Topics]

I love my french press. I have a portable coffee set up I bring with me everywhere I go. I bought one of those Hario hand grinders for $50ish, grab one of my several french presses depending on if the coffee is just for me or if I'm going to share, and a small ziplock with enough whole beans to brew 3 pots of whatever size FP I brought. If I'm someplace with a microwave or a stove then I can use that for water, otherwise, I have one of those little immersion wandy thingies.

Process: For the water, heat it to boiling (if doing this in the microwave put a plastic spoon or coffee stirrer in so it doesn't superheat). Once it boils take it off the heat and grind beans. Typically I'd like to pour the water over the beans, but if I use the microwave or immersion heater, I'll do it right in the FP (no metal components obviously) and pour the grinds into the water. By the time I'm done grinding (20-30 seconds) the water temperature has come down to the right zone. Brew for 4-5 minutes, and during this time preheat your mug! Press and enjoy. I do this routine at home, work, school. It's rare to get a decent cup of coffee at any job (or even a lot of coffee shops). If you are not as picky as me it's perfectly acceptable to bring pre-ground beans, and I've been known to do this from time to time.

A note about beans: Part of why I rarely buy coffee out (aside from the ludicrous prices), is that most coffee houses use medium to dark roasted coffee. Starbucks recently started offering a blonde roast that I am embarrassed to say I love, but it is cost-prohibitive. Light roasts offer more flavor of the bean as well as more caffiene than dark roasts. A lot of people who I make coffee for ask if I have cream or milk, but after tasting it the way I make it, they quickly realize that it isn't needed. If you don't want to buy good beans or roast your own (totally worth the trouble), I recommend 8 o'clock brand. This is what I buy if I don't want to schlep a grinder or if I anticipate a lot of people asking me for coffee (everybody asks me for coffee).

Feb 03, 2012
sourcandy in Cookware

Faux Pas: The Chef Was Texting

Why are all the posts about restaurant worker etiquette lately? People aren't writing in asking what they should do, but rather if somebody in a restaurant has been inadvertently rude in the course of their jobs.

If you don't like something you see at a restaurant, don't go back. The end.

And unless the person writing in has never sent a text while at work, they're hardly in a position to criticize.

Feb 02, 2012
sourcandy in Features

Vodka Tries to Get Hip

Vodka has it's place to be sure. But top shelf vodka is a waste of everybody's money. It's important to mention in any discussion of vodka the complete awfulness of a lot of top shelf product: Goose, Ketel and especially belvedere. In addition people order these high priced quaffs in dirty martinis where you can't taste the difference anyway.

Buy a bottle of Sobieski for $12 and I promise you'll never look back.

Jan 22, 2012
sourcandy in Features

Sexed-Up Jewish Food at Kutsher’s

@mold: I disagree whole-heartedly. There was no mention of the restaurant serving treyf at all. Kasha varnishkes cooked with lard instead of shmalz? That would be a shanda for the goyim. The restaurant just isn't kosher certified, something the majority of Conservative and Reform Jews couldn't care less about. And I'm pretty sure that goyim seeking a delicious meal care even less.

Dec 17, 2011
sourcandy in Features

Crappy Chocolate Is Better When Aerated

I have to really disagree with you on the Hershey bar thing. It's not as rich as some of the premium chocolate on the market, but it's delicious. Are we such elitist foodies that we don't like Hershey bars? Must we pay $3 for a Godiva chocolate truffle that is the size of a quarter?

Nov 06, 2011
sourcandy in Features

Is It Finally Cool to Like the Frugal Gourmet?

If its bad to like the Frugal Gourmet then it's also bad to like Michael Jackson. Both had multiple people accusing them of molestation (and MJ even came across as creepier and weirder). I have 4 FG books and I love them.

Oct 26, 2011
sourcandy in Features

5 Good Reasons to Complain at Restaurants

I am a server, and I like when people complain. Not needlessly, but come on. How can I make it right without knowing what the problem is? Most people are appreciative of a server who fixes a problem, and you need to complain to make that happen.

Sep 27, 2011
sourcandy in Features

Thai Red Bull - Krating Daeng

Super 88, really? Well, I guess I've got a trip to take.

May 04, 2011
sourcandy in Greater Boston Area

Thai Red Bull - Krating Daeng

Anybody know of a source in Boston or better yet Cambridge or Somerville?

May 01, 2011
sourcandy in Greater Boston Area

Can I Use a Coupon on a Date?

@Bindak, spot on. I don't see anything wrong with saying offering to go someplace you have a groupon to, but make it sound like a fun thing.

But also, there's a world of difference between people who order carefully to not exceed the specific amount of the groupon, and people who look at it as a slight discount. I wouldn't feel any shame using a $30 groupon to help pay a $100 check.

Apr 27, 2011
sourcandy in Features

Up to $250 per head/private room for 16...suggestions?

Think Tank in Cambridge accommodated us for a similarly sized function. The food was great, awesome drinks, and I think you'd be pretty hard pressed to even come close to your price limit.

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Think Tank
1 Kendall Square, lower level, Cambridge, MA 02139

Dec 02, 2010
sourcandy in Greater Boston Area

Gluten-Free But Not Annoying

I am a server, and I can say that most of us have no problem with you asking questions about ingredients. Don't even apologize for it. Just say, "I'm gluten intolerant, can I eat ______?" If the server doesn't know ingredients, they shouldn't have a problem checking.

The other big thing is make sure you explain how severe an intolerance is. This applies more to allergies than celiac. Is it only a problem if you eat something, or would fryer oil contamination be an issue?

As for dining in somebody's home, you should let them know WELL in advance. It's completely inappropriate to show up the day of a dinner party and go "Oh, I can't eat any of this!" On the other hand, when invited it would be appropriate to say "I'd love to come, but I want to let you know I can't eat gluten. Is that going to be a problem?" Then your host can actually plan to accomodate, by planning a gluten-free dinner (not hard with advance notice) or at least making a gluten free alternative for you, or perhaps if the purpose of the party doesn't jibe with your diet (like if the whole thing revolved around baked goods) you might want to plan on eating before you get there.

Dec 02, 2010
sourcandy in Features

Best Hard Cider? [moved from Spirits board]

Harpoon makes a surprisingly solid cider, surprising since I find the majority of harpoon products to be undrinkable.

Woodchuck does seem to add flavors and this works better in some of their bottles than others. The granny smith is too tart and chemically, but the Fall seasonal cider is absolutely amazing. One of the easiest drinking ciders I've ever had.

Nov 25, 2010
sourcandy in Beer

Asian supermarkets in the Boston area?

C-mart in Chinatown has a great selection. Also not a ton of heat and eat, but they do have frozen bao. Yum.

Oct 18, 2010
sourcandy in Greater Boston Area

Think Tank

Looks like they're back open now! Anybody been yet?

Sep 28, 2010
sourcandy in Greater Boston Area

Gin: Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Beefeater?

Why are we only choosing from 3 boring gins? If you can find yourself a bottle of CapRock do yourself a favor and make lots of martinis out of it. Delightful.

New Amsterdam is nice in G&Ts. It has some great citrus notes and not too much juniper.

Jul 07, 2010
sourcandy in Spirits

Done Eating, Not Dining

What about the server taking the plate in an effort to make clearing a large number of plates easier?

When I'm working an 8-top, and they have 8 entree plates, side dish plates, maybe they wanted to keep their bread plates, how the hell am I supposed to take that in one shot? I'm balancing it up on one arm and asking for a spill, not to mention that it's just hard to carry. So as they finish, if I can take a few plates as they're finished, it will help me carry easier and help my guests not wind up with lobster juice in their laps.

Jun 18, 2010
sourcandy in Features

Lobster, out of the shell

I serve at Legal's, and we are often asked to de-shellify the lobsters for our guests. And we do, tableside.

Nov 04, 2009
sourcandy in Greater Boston Area

Fernet Branca

In Argentina they drink Fernet and Coke all the time. But when I tried to order it neat or "puro" they looked at me like I had 3 heads.

Oct 30, 2009
sourcandy in Spirits

Boston Burger Co.

We went last night... I don't know if they've cleaned up their act in the last few months, but it was nothing like the negative reviews on this thread. I had the King (peanut butter, bananas, bacon and this cinamon sugar stuff), which was perfectly cooked medium rare. It wasn't the juiciest ever, but there was some drippage. The girlfriend got the Veggie burger which the waitress had admitted was not made in house, but it was really good anyway, not just a garden burger or boca.

Fries are expensive but that's because they aren't portioned as a side dish. We got the nacho fries with cheddar, lettuce, olives, etc and a side of sour cream. It was big enough to be a meal in and of itself, and we couldn't even finish all of them.

There WAS beer being sold. I didn't see a beer list, but I think it was probably verbal. People were definitely drinking beer.

The coleslaw was tangy and delightful. The homemade potato chips were nice but unnecessary since we had fries.

Overall it was a lovely dining experience. The only thing I didn't like was that I had the chips AND the fries. I think they should offer a side-dish portion of fries as a substitution for chips.

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Boston Burger Company
37 Davis Square, Somerville, MA

Oct 06, 2009
sourcandy in Greater Boston Area

Where to go from here?

I think describing Aperol as a bitters is pretty farfetched. It's very sweet. Not bitter.

Campari is wonderful if you like the bitter taste (try adding a little to some sweet sparkling wine). But it's still pretty mild. If you wanna be a big boy, grab a bottle of fernet branca.

Sep 22, 2009
sourcandy in Spirits

lillet rouge and the manhattan

Sipping on the modified Negroni right now... It could be a regular guest in my house. I used equal parts Rogue Pink Spruce Gin which I find unsuitable for most martini applications but perfect for G&Ts, Campari and Lillet Blanc. I've mixed it on the rocks in a Ball jar (this is our default glassware) and it is lovely. There are a ton of flavors here and a lot of herbalness, but it's just sweet enough without being cloying. I love Negroni's but when made with Sweet Vermouth it can be too sweet. I highly recommend this drink. But what to call it?

Sep 17, 2009
sourcandy in Spirits

Bars in Inman and Central?

How has nobody mentioned River Gods yet? It's a tiny little place with amazing food and a limited but solid beer selection. There's nice decor, and the music is always atypical of the boston scene.

Sep 17, 2009
sourcandy in Greater Boston Area

White Russian variations, please

Hazelnut! Of course! What about replacing all or part of the Kahlua with some Frangelico?

Sep 17, 2009
sourcandy in Spirits

lillet rouge and the manhattan

Yes. I'm going to give it a shot tonight.

Sep 17, 2009
sourcandy in Spirits

White Russian variations, please

Egg white is a great idea!

Why not try making your own coffee liqueur instead of using name brand Kahlua?

Sep 16, 2009
sourcandy in Spirits