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swag's Profile

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In-N-Out Burger sucks (moved from L.A. board)

I agree with Andy. In-N-Out is just another paper-hat fast food operation churning out greasy meat on a bun. Next...

May 10, 2014
swag in Chains

Where to Buy Blue Bottle Coffee Beans in LA

You can have them FedEx'ed anywhere in North America. I'm not sure this is an issue.

Dec 15, 2013
swag in Features

Hey Josh Ozersky: Shut Up About Blue Bottle Coffee

No, you shut up.

Glad to see the intelligence here is jacked up.

Sep 26, 2012
swag in Features

Instant Coffee in Liquid Form?

Because the "add water" part of instant coffee was just too difficult a recipe to follow.

May 26, 2012
swag in Features

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


And add to that: simple equipment is fine. Something where you can roughly control the temperature of the brew. For $100, you can forget electronics doing that right for you. I'd stick with a French press, Chemex, or Melitta drip for much cheaper and a bit more labor. They make better coffee.

Nov 17, 2011
swag in Cookware

roasting coffee beans that have already been roasted

bushwickgirl, you completely cut and pasted a reply from somewhere else without reading shmulibaby's question.

Roasting coffee, like brewing coffee, is cooking. Sure, you can heat chicken to a certain temperature profile for a given amount of time. But would you really want to do that twice?

The roasting process is as much about the ramp up and ramp down temperature cycles as it is about maximum heat.

Nov 04, 2011
swag in Home Cooking

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Pops

And tastes like the delicious tears of all the coffee farmers squeezed out by mass-production Vietnamese robusta coffee!

Jul 25, 2011
swag in Recipes

Not happy with Trader Joe's coffee.

You don't like dark roast, and you prefer less acid. Well no wonder why you're hard to please right there -- you're downright incompatible!

Jan 11, 2011
swag in Greater Boston Area

CHOPPED: unnecessary evil

It's TV. For all the use of "reality TV", the irony is that TV is nothing like reality. Competitve chef shows are more about on-camera culinary gymnastics than any practical real-world situation.

Oct 28, 2010
swag in Food Media & News

Is Japanese food overrated?

Japanese food runs the gamut. Here in the U.S., we typically think of only sushi, for example, which you might have in Japan maybe one night a week.

The topic of Japanese food is too broad to really label it en masse, IMO.

Oct 28, 2010
swag in General Topics

Need SFO to Healdsburg route/restaurant and winery ideas/feedback

If you're into pinot and staying around Healdsburg, I'd get on W Dry Creek Rd and get up to Papapietro Perry. Excellent pinots, a more casual and fun atmosphere, and they even share space and barrels with the Anthill pinot guys.

Oct 28, 2010
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

Chez Panisse plus this year's other Michelins

We all know Alice Waters embodies Chez Panisse. And for all the talk decades ago of Ms. Waters bringing France to America, right now France is importing Alice by the microgreen-garden-full in the form of the "Le Fooding" guide and its various supporters. Le Fooding and its supporters, coincidentally, being the major Michelin iconoclasts in France these days.

Conspiracy theory? No. But there's a major reaction going on inside Michelin these days, and Waters clearly embodies the perceived threat. So I wouldn't be surprised if Michelin is now reacting to this approach to cuisine across the board.

Chez Panisse
1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

Oct 28, 2010
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

The Complete Coffee Experience

No, I'm not kidding. Either CHOW is overextending themselves or they screwed the pooch in naming themselves. If you're going to be food and drink, name yourself that.

Aug 26, 2010
swag in Features

The Complete Coffee Experience

Why is this on CHOW? Are you eating the roasted beans raw?

Aug 25, 2010
swag in Features

Hoisin Explosion Chicken

As a matter of practice, I try to avoid using the word "explosion" for anything that will ultimately come in contact with my bowels.

Aug 24, 2010
swag in Recipes

Why is Iced Coffee twice the price of fresh hot coffee?

When you're talking about the price of something at a retail food or beverage establishment -- whether a coffeeshop or restaurant -- you do understand that the #1 cost in anything they do isn't ingredients, it's labor.

Do you?

It's just not clear that you understand that at all from the post you wrote here. Until you comprehend that much, this conversation is kind of pointless.

Aug 01, 2010
swag in General Topics

Portuguese week at Horatius (SF)

Thanks, Melanie. Next time I have a spare 18 hours and $1,200 for a plane ticket to Oporto, I'll consider that.

Oct 22, 2009
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

Espresso Machines: Are my requirements irreconcilable?

I think they're irreconcilable, and for good reason. Coffee and espresso have different brewing requirements. To do it right, you need to specialize somewhat. There's a reason why mobile homes aren't ubiquitous over separate cars and homes, after all.

But there's a third dimension you're clearly missing here, and that's the grinder. If you're going to drop a few hundred dollars on an espresso machine, unfortunately few (outside of the aforementioned sites from other users) will point out that the grinder can be just as important as the espresso machine. To ignore that is to buy a $10,000 home stereo system and to play it through $20 speakers.

So whatever you do, don't make the mistake of not getting a grinder that's good enough to get the most out of your investment in your machine(s).

Jun 03, 2009
swag in Cookware

Iron Coffee SF: Battle Gibraltar (Blue Bottle)

Gibraltars? Standardizing on Gibraltars for coffee standards is like standardizing on pinot grigio to choose your favorite Napa or Sonoma Valley winemaker. The beverage is arguably just a niche, local novelty named after the cheap restaurant-supply glass (glass! not even ceramic!) they are served in. (And yes, that is what they're named after.)

Nov 22, 2008
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

Now that the season is here, where are you eating crab?

Christmas in the Bay Area is about eating crab, IMO. I'll be eating mine at home, thank you very much. :)

Nov 22, 2008
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

Gimme! Coffee in San Francisco?

There isn't. And with good reason: why would anyone want to? Bringing coffee from New York for sale out here is a bit like selling tea to the Chinese.

La Colombe of Philly has a minor presence in the area with a distribution mini-warehouse in Dogpatch. But that's it as far as East Coast imports really go.

Nov 15, 2008
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

Beet Salad in San Francisco...

Huh? Beet salad is a cliché in the Bay Area. It's this year's equivalent of all the restaurants that suddenly served burrata cheese appetizers last year.

To be honest, I'm not of much help here because I've come across too many beet salads in restaurants in the past year, stopped ordering them, and can't recall/keep track of them all to offer any specific pointers.

Sep 04, 2008
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

Taste Pavilions

If that was your definition of "commercially crass" -- given the lack of merchandising and items for purchase -- you must have just come out of a cave after hiding for the past 3 decades.

I think the event was pretty botched, but it is a first-time out. Slow Food in Italy labels everything, and here everything just about relied on conversation. Good in theory, but the reality left people with no take-home information for follow-up.

And complaining about a $65 entrance fee for a non-profit? The all-you-can-eat Sizzler is down the block, thank you very much. You don't get it if you came there expecting that.

Sep 04, 2008
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

Slow Food Nation not-to-miss?

The problem is that people don't know the shortcuts they're making with buying cheap at Safeway. We're so disconnected with our food production that price often becomes the only differentiator for some folks, because they're unaware of the artificial and questionably ethical tradeoffs being made in the name of cheap food. Just as we don't know the same about cheap fuel, but the reality is finally coming home to roost.

And anyone who complains about the $65 entrance fee for a non-profit because they're expecting some all-you-can-eat Sizzler really has no clue.

Sep 04, 2008
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

"Rare" ethnic eats in SF?

Why limit yourself to restaurants? If you have access to a car in the Bay Area and want to check out something ethnic and "rare" (well, particularly for a Chicago native like myself), the Portuguese festas are a real kick.

Sure, the food isn't snob-worthy, and the younger generations of Azorean immigrants roll their eyes at what all the old farts do for fun. But for an outsider, it can be a real cultural adventure. It's the real deal - not something packaged for your visa card. The food, traditionally "sopas", is free (a little like they serve at Christian churches, Sikh temples, and the like as charitable community giving). There are parades and processions with caped and tiara'ed girls, and if you go out as far as the central valley you might even catch an event of what's sometimes called "bloodless bullfighting" that originated on the island of Terçeira.

For a calendar of these regional events:

May 22, 2008
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

Slanted Door vs. Ana Mandara?

Slanted Door is one of the last places I'd visit if I was going for "romantic".

May 22, 2008
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

Ritual Roasters

None that I know of. They're sticking with direct retail pretty much. Which explains a little of the split between Jeremy and Eileen and why Jeremy's out behind Fourbarrelcoffee now.

Apr 15, 2008
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

Peninsula Coffee Bars

Hate to be another person to tell you this, but the Peninsula is a coffee-lover's wasteland. There's little to get excited about between San Francisco and the futon shops along Stevens Creek Blvd. Caffè del Doge in Palo Alto can be hit or miss, but at least they offer a variety of bean options for your espresso -- which is far better than the rest of the peninsula. But you're really in a quandry.

But someone HAS to make notable coffee in the Peninsula soon enough. It's too much of a quality black hole to last that long.

Apr 10, 2008
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

Zackary's Pizza: how is the Stuffed Deep Dish?

I'm a 4th generation Chicagoan. And I think Zachary's is the best this area has to offer. Most places call it "pizza", but it's pathetic. I mean, how hard can it be to really make a decent basic pizza?

But unlike some of the others here, I never had stuffed pizza (!= deep dish) until after I moved away from Chicago. Always had thin crust pizzas when I lived there, despite the stereotypes. Zachary's makes pizza into a dessert. I'd jump on that action, no question.

Apr 10, 2008
swag in San Francisco Bay Area

Favorites on current Incanto menu?

One of the things I like about Incanto is the breadth of their palate. The choice of featuring a Roero Arneis, for example, highlights one of the under-appreciated whites in a region that lives in the shadow of its red Le Langhe sisters (Barbaresco, Barolo, and various nebbiolo grape permutations).

Incanto has frequently been reliable for trying new things you don't always see on every other menu in town.

Apr 08, 2008
swag in San Francisco Bay Area