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To Cook or Not To Cook?

Need help picking a school. I cooked for 4 years through college under French, and America chefs in (three) different 4 diamond restaurants. I was told to go make money with my degree. Well I did. I am thirty and retired this summer. I am already bored and have looked into heading up to SF for cooking school. I would appreciate anyone’s thoughts on the schools up that way. Thanks...

Sep 29, 2007
nicolaco in Features

Fiddleheads in Royal Oak, MI

We went 1.5 years ago and had a great time, bu tit was a dinner for introductions. So did not take the time to really enjoy. Thanks for the reminder think we will hear back this weekend.

And the Top Chef Is ...

I worked under some chefs that, at times, I thought here *%$*!... but I learned life long lessons from them, worked in a high ranked kitchen/ restaurant (that still has a strong name ten years later etc.) and I see now that The Chefs cooks could get a little side tracked, ego, or loveless... etc.etc.
At the end of the day it is a business to make money, we all love food, but not many have an endless bank account to run an unprofitable business and it is a tough one.
So if you do not like his manners; do not eat at his restaurant, do not work with him etc.
But at the end of the day there must be something he did right to win.
I do not care if the Chef is nice, arrogant, selfish, compulsive etc; I want the food to taste like platinum melting on my tongue.

Feb 01, 2007
nicolaco in Features

Best 5 Chefs in LA

I will arrange my meetings around one of those nights! Food like that, makes enduring the airports so so much better....

Jan 20, 2007
nicolaco in Los Angeles Area

Detroit- I'll have the burger, but hold the pickle and the second-hand cigarette smoke.

This may seem a bit odd, but I feel strong enough in this opinion to recommend trying the Knights of Columbus at 23663 Park St
Dearborn, MI 48124 (313) 278-5600, this one
is open to the public, it is quite inexpensive and truly an exceptional burger. The deal is the bar has smoking but it is once in a blue moon that I have seen or smelt it. They give you a caddie with containers of pickles, yellow peppers, jalapeños, sliced onions, ketchup, mustard, ranch.
I usually get cheddar and the have tomato and lettuce. Order of fries and a can of Verners (I think the soda from the gun is bad, so I always get soda from the can which they offer too). I am not sure if this helps. But I think it is worth a shot.
I would call cause Friday is fish fry, and not sure about the other days. I you come in the afternoon there will be some fellas playing playing Euchre.

There is Miller's Bar to, but that maybe smoky?

Ideas for Jazzing Up Plain Fat Free Yogurt

Oh I just thought too, in the kitchen we would take a Tazo tea reduction for a crème burlee. I would that would go?

Jan 18, 2007
nicolaco in Home Cooking

Ideas for Jazzing Up Plain Fat Free Yogurt

Trade Joe's brand (for all of these items) Greek Style 2% with honey and a granola, I love fresh strawberries but I really enjoy the texture of unsweetened freeze dried strawberries.
I love the idea of Balsamic!
Candied ginger with the frozen pineapple is good too.
Either way use the Greek yogurt in place of sour cream...
Hummm. I am hungry now...

Jan 18, 2007
nicolaco in Home Cooking

Cameron's in Birmingham, MI

I have had very good service and also accommodating extra items or requests for guest. I have had no problem with the food, but yes a steak house affair. I am bummed to hear about your table. What a terrible time to squeeze too many people in a space. I guess it worked out though.
I have also had excellent service at the Capitol Grille, but at the end of the day it is in a mall. A nice mall, but it is not The Biltmore in Phoenix, AZ. My husband cannot stand going to any of the restaurants at Sommerset Mall, which I too understand. It is unfortunate because there are a few decent spots in there for what there is to offer in this area. I tend to stop in for the capriccio and a glass of wine to help liven up the shopping...

Worst kitchen screwup.

Spent more hours, time, love, and meat cooking down my first ever demi glaze. A beautiful wonderful chicken demi glaze that was about a 1/3 cup in a pan on the back burner, awaiting to be used. When everything had the last 20 min finish to be done. I went to freshen up for the guests. My boyfriend at the time wanted to surprise me and clean up; thought that pan was to be washed.
When I found out; I cried. It still breaks my heart, and when I have made Demi Glaze since I make it very clear if any one is in the kitchen "No touch!"

Jan 16, 2007
nicolaco in Home Cooking


Thanks I am using this too!

Jan 16, 2007
nicolaco in Florida

Best purchase you made last year - who knew

Two-in-One Citrus Juicer from William and Sonoma. (for lemons and limes)
Pasta drying rack that has been very useful.
Le Creuset Grill Pan, 10" I received this as a gift and after one use feel in love. Of course it doubles as a weapon.
Another gift that I use much more than I thought I could was the royalvkb garlic crusher.

Jan 14, 2007
nicolaco in Cookware

What's the most recent "new" food item you tried?

I have never used it in my kitchen (I am sure I have ate it while out?) but Champagne mustard has become popular since my mother in law used it for a rack of lamb over Thanksgiving weekend.
(She took 1/3 Champagne mustard, 1/3 Dijon, 1/3 grain mustard mixed and after the racks were 1/2 cooked basted them. Cooked a bit more finished of in the broiler with coating the racks with chopped parsley and panko bread crumbs) it was a great flavor combination.
I have mixed it with other mustards. Used a bit in marinates, or sauces. It has a milder taste that has worked very well.

Jan 14, 2007
nicolaco in General Topics

What's the most recent "new" food item you tried?

Humboldt Fog cheese is a divine taste. I had it for the first time last Feb in Sonoma at "The Girl and The Fig" (a warm orange essence olives came with the cheese plate and I order extra for the next days snack). Since I have been seeing the cheese in many spots, which is great.

Jan 14, 2007
nicolaco in General Topics

Midwest chowhounder in Tucson for 4 days, Recs?

I have to say Poca Cosa has not left my top 10 mid level spots since 1995. I always get the chefs choice. it usually includes a type of tamale pie, and two other entrees of of the ever changing menu. with a hearty dark green salad, tick slice of red pepper and tomato. Everything is so fresh, and never seems like corners are being cut. The owner/chef Suzana Davila will be seen around and she is just an amazing person for what she gives the world.

Jan 14, 2007
nicolaco in Southwest

Chino Bandito wows our group!

My mother took me to work (I think it was Sperry, now Honey Well) when I was 12yrs and at lunch I got to eat with her co-workers here. It made such an impression on me that when I was out of college I searched it out, and when in town I try my hardest to stop in. I hope they never close!

Jan 14, 2007
nicolaco in Southwest

Phoenix - New to Neighborhood (Central and Camelback)

Here are a handful spots I have always enjoyed, I hope this is not to long, I got carried away reminiscing... And now hungry...

Oregano's Pizza Bistro -
1008 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ (been a bit over a year)
(602) 241-0707 They have a few spots, nice low key, not too pricey.

George & Dragon Restaurant
4240 N Central Ave
(602) 241-0018
I LOVE this place.
Great atmosphere and food (Shepard's pie is gooda) true British pub. One night a week they (or used to?) have a quiz night. A bunch of intellectuals drinking stouts.

Matador Mexican Food Restaurant -I like this spot, have a few friends that are pretty obsessed with it.
125 E. Adams Street
(602) 254-7563

Carlos O'Brien's Mexican This is a bit far, but a long time favorite. Pollo Fundido is a good reason to push your cholesterol.
1133 E Northern Ave
(602) 274-5881

Blue Fin - good for lunch, a mom and pop teriyaki joint. Real crab puffs. I just went there before the Art museum, simple & never disappoints and the service is from the heart.
1401 N Central Ave
(602) 254-3171

Camus Restaurant -
401 W Clarendon Ave
A hipster joint. Djs spinning and such. Up and Coming chef that is experiential with classics and really puts is brain and heart in the food.

Cheuvront Wine & Cheese Bar - Had a nice stop in here after the museum. We had a bit of time to kill and it was delightful/ Good noshing
1326 N Central Ave
(602) 307-0022

Honey Bears BBQ - I think this spot is so good. I have the craving once in a while and this fills it. Good for lunch, or take home maybe?
2824 N Central Ave
(602) 279-7911

Far but last month these were excellent:
Atlas Bistro
BYOB! wine shop next door that entertained us for a while (and took lots of our money ;) Duck with a cherry, pinot, and hibiscus reduction was everything I wanted it be. It is the food that touches your mouth like liquid platinum. I ate until I was almost ready to die and had wished I could get more food in me.

AZ88 is in Old town Scottsdale, maybe if you want to go to SMOCA or something.
I think this place is great. Ever changing art above the bar, and wonderful drink menu, the water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, St. PETERSBURG Potatoes, Great burgers. Every time I am in town I go no matter if it means eating one extra meal that day. Very accommodating.

Mosaic Very good, chef owned and she puts her all into it. I think her husband runs the front of house. as possible to
Scottsdale (480) 563-9600

Jan 14, 2007
nicolaco in Southwest

Suprises in Fenton, MI

I needed a spot that was in/near Fenton for a group of us to meet for dinner. As I search I came across a restaurant called... The French Laundry. Yes I was pretty shocked. On there website it looked very euro chic and they order their breads from Zingerman's, menu seemed like it could be delightful.
It was, great wine list, food, service. Everyone had a great night, it was definitely a packed house inside and from some other customers it is all ways packed. Only downfalls was parking (which we found was taken up by their addition) and we took home a few sweets from the bakery that were stale (cinnamon roll and a deviled cake, although the frosting was tasty). But the pineapple, apple, raspberry pie with a toasted coconut and almond crust was a treat..

I did not have the gall to ask about their famous name choice, and could not find any sort of 3rd cousin connection. But I am please to find a quant place in this region.

My Uncle stated he spends too much time in the mornings noshing on the bakery goods with coffee....

If you want to look =more into the joint.

Which Penzey spices should I stock up on?

I randomly found a store in Beverly Hills, Mi a few days ago. it was a nice surprise.
I had not thought of checking out the cinnamons till reading this, thanks for the ideas!
I picked up the Old World (maybe to strong on the celery salt for some) but I found it worked well with mustard for a marinate.
Pasta sprinkle, French Four spice (I really like this one) and the Parisien Bonnes Herbs (wonderful with roasted fingerling potatoes and asiago cheese).

I will also be picking up the taco spice next stop too.

Jan 14, 2007
nicolaco in General Topics

maui dining So so lovely as the food touches your tounge!

Gerard's 808-661-8939
174 Lahainaluna Road
Lahaina, HI 96761 We had a tabl on the patioa bit tight, but is was food so tasty. Also nice to take a breat of the resort, spa feel. It is french rustic. If you drive and parking is hard, you can run in and they will give you a pass to park in thier lot!

I plan to stop here in March
David Paul's Lahaina Grill 808-667-5117
127 Lahainaluna Rd.
Lahaina, HI 96761

Mama's fish House was alot of fun. Good food, I thought it was going to bit a bit cooky, but left pretty happy. After we ate we walked around to look at the grounds it was alot of sites to take in. Definetly a fun atmospher.

On the road to Big beach (Makena Alanui) after the Maui Prince there usually is a lunch truck, and it always has some super yummy fish tacos, and my husband has grabed a dog. and we will walk aorund for a good (and cheapiest we have ever ate in maui).

Hope these help.
I will write up more after my next rip, I cannot remember all from last time, and would love to hear about more for this time!

Jan 13, 2007
nicolaco in Hawaii

Capische in Maui

I had a delightful dinner here. The let it slide but my Husband wore a "Maui Tuxedo" nice shorts, and a collar/ think golf) and they prefer pants but said keep it in mind for next time.
Also we had a party next to us that was LOUD.. and they politely offered to move us, and gracefully took care of the arrangement.
I know my in laws have been here 1/2 dozen or so time and always loved it.
I think there are only 9 tables, so make reservations.

Sorrento’s is also good pretty packed in tables, but I felt Capische was a bit of a finer dining feel. I will be at Sarento’s on the beach table in their wine cellar for a dinner and I hope that to be lovely. this is a website to the four restaurants in the Sarento family.Nick’s is also wonderful, but is in a large resort so it is not as quaint.

Jan 13, 2007
nicolaco in Hawaii

Looking for places in the Detroit area

Thank you for you time and everything is on my list to try. I too hope The L-Bow room opens back up!
Oh I am definitely looking for good food in what ever price or form. I love the stories that can go along with it, and to be surprised is always a treat. Any other suggestions you could have I would greatly appreciate.

quick comments - one week in northern Michigan - fish, etc.

I agree about Stella's, the service was what I expect in a place like that. Located in The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is the former state hospital facility in. So it adds a fun twist. all dish I have ate are wonderful, great capriccio, and bloody Mary from scratch. clean fresh feel in side.

Looking for places in the Detroit area

We have been venturing out for the last two years for Delicious so good food, and excellent service.
We have found:
Small Plates next to the Opera House our favorite waiter being Carlos.
Bastone on a corner in Royal Oak with two other sister restaurants all sharing the building. Havana one of the few places I have found not afraid to be spicy and low key and Vinnotecca with a great wine list and cheese and snack boards that has been a life savory for us as a constant stand by.
Cameron’s in Birmingham. It is a steak house nothing too exciting, but the food is ALWAYS great and it is the best service I have found in the area.
Il Posto has an Italian place that we found the food to also be so amazing to the taste. We had a dinner with 12 people, and everything came out excellent and timely considering the amount of people.
Holiday Market and Papa Joe’s have been a life savor to pick up dinner for home, just good meats and produce. With knowledgeable staff that will go out of their way to help.
I hope this helps anyone interested.
I would love to hear some other spots, please pile them on.
Especially Chef Owned restraunts

Michigan rocks!

R Hirt Jr Co is the place in Eastern market, I am going to go check it out this week.

2468 Market St
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 567-1173