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Los Ocampos in St Paul...?

Thanks! This'll be worth investigating...

Los Ocampos in St Paul...?

I heard tell in another post that Taqueria los Ocampos has a location in St Paul. Google searches seem to confirm this, but I haven't been able to get an address for the St Paul location. Anyone know where it is?


Vietnamese like White Lily? + Hoa Bien Review (MSP)

I'm curious to hear more about Vina II in Highland Park. Is it worth a stop? Anything you can recommend particularly? Thanks...

[MSP] Lee & Dee's in St. Paul, "real" BBQ?

So I guess I should confess to being the rascal "BBQ purist" who went toe to toe with you about Pastor Hamilton's. I'm still not satisfied that charcoal alone is enough (for otherwise, as I argued long ago, hamburgers on the grill would be BBQ'd)--you need wood chips at least...

I notice they've deleted our skirmish. That's too bad.

Glad to hear you like Big Daddy's--I think he's who I recommended long ago over the Pastor as serving up good BBQ in the cities. Glad to hear too that it's as good as I recall.


I've found both Ted Cook's and Scott Ja-Mama's to be awful. Each time I went the ribs were dry and without much meat and the beef--which I'm pretty sure ain't brisket--is sort of a washed-out tough chewy nasty gray under-smoked mess. So I'd avoid them both.

The City Pages ranked Roosters in St Paul as the best BBQ in the cities. I went recently to give it a shot. I had a pulled pork sandwich with their hot BBQ sauce. Not bad, but the pork didn't have much in the way of flavour. It needed salt and it needed more smokiness to convince me that it really had been smoked. (I guess I could say this is true of those two places I mentioned above too. This isn't to say that I suspect things aren't really getting smoked at these joints, only that none of them is successful in smoking the meat in a way that makes the meat taste like BBQ.)

On the upside, I have come across BBQ that I like here. It doesn't approach BBQ in K.C., but it's good. Big Daddy, who now runs a BBQ shack on the northeast corner of Dale and University in St Paul, makes a mean rack of ribs. I should say that I haven't been to see Big Daddy in awhile, so I don't know for sure whether those ribs are still up to snuff. But it would certainly be worth the investment to figure it out. Big Daddy's, by the way, is only open on Saturdays.

Good luck. You know, too, that Kansas City is only six hours or so away...

(MSP) El Burrito Mercado Advice?

Hi All,

I'm planning on making a trip to El Burrito Mercado for the first time (the Mercado Central is closer to me, and I usually wind up there). I'm wondering whether anyone could say what they take to be particularly tasty in the cafe part of the store. Thanks in advance for advice...

Decent food near Rosedale (MSP)?

I'm planning on taking in a movie tonight at the big AMC theater at Rosedale and I thought I'd check to see whether anyone has recommendations for good eats up there. We're pretty open when it comes to styles of food, so any recommendations are welcome. Thanks in advance!

MN State Fair Style Cheese Curds?

The Nook in St Paul puts out some mean cheese curds. I can't say for sure how closely they resemble state fair curds, but that's only because I've had state fair curds once...

Ristorante Luci?

Thanks, we will!

Ristorante Luci?

Has anyone been recently? Is it any good? Any tips on what to order and what to avoid?

Does authentic always = good and does un-authentic always = "un-good"?

Yes, yes. That's great that you think so. But why are your answers the right ones?

For instance, why isn't it sufficient for a proper appreciation of food that you recognise that it tastes really really good, and the hell with whether it was made by super-happy-fantastic-Sushi-chef? Surely the answer isn't that all your Japanese salaryman friends would scoff, since of course the question would then remain about why their answers are the right ones.

I'm asking here for justification. And though I can't speak for him or her, I expect Bababooey was, in the original post, asking in part for the same. It seems to me, at least, a respectable question.

Now, if this is the wrong forum for that--if, that is, this is a forum reserved exclusively for a parade of opinions where calls for reasons for thinking those opinions are the right ones are out of place--then you've got me there. But then the question arises, Why do you hold opinions for which you have no arguments? Sounds a might religious to me.

Hamlet was wrong, you know. Thinking a thing is so doesn't make it so. Witness, as evidence against it, my current thought that I'm a millionaire. It ain't so.

Maybe another possibility is that I can remain here asking these kinds of questions (though against, of course, your recommendation) and you can preach elsewhere. I hear the choir is often sympathetic.

Does authentic always = good and does un-authentic always = "un-good"?

I guess I've lost the bead on the point you mean to be making.

So far as I can tell, unless you mean to be addressing my worries, your aim in all this is to establish that some people don't know a lot about stuff (like sushi, or maybe Sushi is better) and other people do. And if the people who don't know about stuff (like Sushi) want to, one thing they can do is ask those who know about it (like you).

Hey, that's great. But it isn't at all controversial...

You suggest in addition that what you'll tell them (the unknowing hordes), along the way toward graciously filling them with your knowledge, is that authentic Sushi is sushi prepared in the way that you and the people who agree with you think sushi ought to be made. So that's what you call 'authentic'.

Hey, that's great too. That's controversial only if you regard it, in addition to being what you call 'authentic', as what really is authentic.

Does authentic always = good and does un-authentic always = "un-good"?

Once again you've begged the question. What's at issue is whether the kind of knowledge you're talking about is important to the proper appreciation of food. We know that you think it is. The question is, *why* do you think someone needs that sort of knowledge? Simply saying they do doesn't show that they do.

Incidentally, though you allege that I hold a view which is the opposite of yours, I assure you that I don't. To be frank, I'm not sure what to think about this. I'm just interested in the questions--"What's authentic?", "How should one properly appreciate food?", "Is an estimation of food a purely relative affair?" and so on. They seem important to me and worth thinking through carefully, given my affection for food.

Does authentic always = good and does un-authentic always = "un-good"?

I think guidance is likely good, and there may be on occasion even a need for it. But even if it's good and even if it's needed, it so far remains unclear whether that settles the question I raised. People can, after all, provide guidance in lots of ways. In particular, they can guide you by regaling you with tales of customs and traditions and methods of preparation or they can guide you by saying what they like or what you'd like simply by appealing to the tastes involved.

Among the rhetorical questions you pepper your post with are these:

"...are you better off just going to a renown (sic.) place by yourself and ordering away, hit or miss, or are you better off asking someone for their guidance - perhaps the sushi chef? Could you tell, on your own, whether this place you're in has a true, apprenticed and well trained Japanese chef, or are these just Chinatown chefs that were cooking egg rolls and learned how to cut raw fish yesterday?"

The question at issue is whether what I gather you mean to imply by these questions matters, or whether it should matter. And the answer to that question, it seems, requires an argument.

(Your metaphor of a path, by the way, on which some are ahead and some are behind suggests a way of thinking that's likely to be what puts people off about those who adopt the view that you do.)

Does authentic always = good and does un-authentic always = "un-good"?

This last post makes me want to resurrect the spirit of a remark made earlier in the thread by Humbucker. I guess it has more to do with the appreciation of food than with the controversy about authenticity, so I wonder whether it deserves its own thread. I'll leave that for moderators to decide.

It occurs to me that we may distinguish between (i) the appreciation of a dish because it was made according to the old ways (where 'old ways' here means whatever 'authentic' might) and (ii) the appreciation of a dish because it tastes good. Certainly we can imagine someone choking something awful down but still valuing the opportunity on the grounds that it's traditional or traditionally prepared. And we all know we can imagine someone gorging themselves on something really tasty and not caring at all about the fact that it's the bastard child of some distant, more upstanding, traditional ancestor.

I don't mean to suggest that these are exclusive.

Some might say, for instance, (and probably rightly so) that an acquaintance with the customs and traditions and methods surrounding the preparation of some dish influences the way it tastes or our view of the way it tastes. As evidence of this, we may, so it seems, come to appreciate food which on a time was repugnant to us only after spending some time getting familiar with its original context. And others might say, for another instance, that the way a dish tastes or our view of the way it tastes influences our estimation of the customs and traditions and methods surrounding its preparation. As evidence of this, we may surely decide that a dish's original context was unfortunate as a consequence of the fact that it really does taste just awful.

The question that lurks at the heart of this discussion about authenticity, so far as I can tell, is the question about whether (i) or (ii) or some mixture of the two is the *right* way to appreciate food. This seems to be the same sort of question behind the controversy between those, on the one hand, who think that to appreciate a work of art you need to know the circumstances of its origin, the state of mind of the artist, the statement it makes in its place in the grand tradition in which it's located and so on and those, on the other hand, who think that to appreciate a work of art you (should) only need to look at its colors and shapes, contours of line, depiction of characters and events within it, and so on.

I know that on the heels of this post are likely to follow a great many appeals to the old line that when it comes to aesthetics, particularly the aesthetics of food, it's all a matter of taste. I'd like to hear an argument for that, especially in view of the fact that many of us are likely to have regarded ourselves and others as getting it wrong--whether after reflection or after getting used to it--about whether some dish was good or not.

So, should we worry about that question? Is there a right way to appreciate food? If not, why not? If so, what is it and why is it the right way?

What kind of CH are you?

OK, you win. We're bad chowhounders for thinking there are differences and being interested in them. Where's the good food?

Jan 28, 2007
eleaticstranger in Site Talk

Does authentic always = good and does un-authentic always = "un-good"?

There's still a question, of course, about what makes a thing 'authentic'. How do the changes occur? And why doesn't using bacon count as one of the acceptable changes as opposed to an inauthentic change. Suppose I go to Italy and make it. And suppose it catches on. Why would the fact that I'm there rather than here, and the fact that it catches on there make it authentic?

Part of my argument here is exactly that 'authentic' resists an analysis. In light of that it seems a reasonable question why we should make a big deal about it.

Amatriciana with bacon, by the way, is wildly tasty.

What kind of CH are you?

Type 6: People who 'see beyond labels' and chastise those who think they recognize different kinds of motivations for interests in food and eating.

Certain boards, I take it, are meant to help people find good food. It's not clear that "Site Talk" is.

Jan 26, 2007
eleaticstranger in Site Talk

Does authentic always = good and does un-authentic always = "un-good"?

"I don't think authentic means "no variation of preparation". For instance, in Italy the Amatriciana sauce or Carbonara can be made with either pancetta or pork cheek, but not bacon. So either pancetta or pork cheek will be authentic, but bacon will not be."

It's tempting to think this--that to count as authentic a dish must be prepared in one or another of the ways it's standardly prepared and that variations on this count as inauthentic.

But this is just as troublesome as the views I lately discussed. Consider Amatriciana. If we take your account of authenticity as the right one, should we say the first Amatriciana ever made was authentic?

It's hard to see how we could, since there was no way that Amatriciana was standardly made in advance of its being made for the first time. But if the first Amatriciana isn't authentic, it's hard to see how the second and third and so on can be since each of those will either be a replica or something which is inauthentic or else something new which we've already granted couldn't be authentic.

Suppose instead that we regard the first Amatriciana as authentic (not, of course, because it satisfies your characterization, but by stipulation). Surely that first version was made either with pancetta or guanciale. Let's say it was made with pancetta. Now let's imagine that along comes some wily cook who knows of that first version and decides to make it, but who also decides on a whim to use guanciale instead of pancetta. Now, it appears that if to be authentic is as you say, this second cook who used guanciale has created an inauthentic dish. Why? Because Amatriciana at the time that the second cook cooked what he did was standardly prepared with pancetta and not guanciale. And if this second cook's dish was inauthentic, it's hard to see how Amatriciana cooked with either pancetta or guanciale could have come to be counted as authentic.

It's hard to see, on the account of authenticity above, how authentic Amatriciana could have come to be made at all, much less come to be authentically made either with pancetta or guanciale but not with bacon.

What remains is an account of why it is my using bacon when pancetta or guanciale is standard is substantively different from our imagined second cook's using guanciale when pancetta alone was standard.

The difference, as you seem to suggest, is sufficient to account for a difference between authentic and inauthentic Amatriciana. But it's not at all clear to me that there is much of a difference.

What kind of CH are you?

Just interested in others' impressions, that's all.

Jan 25, 2007
eleaticstranger in Site Talk

What kind of CH are you?

How prevalent do you think subpopulation 2 is? Has anyone noticed that population growing since, say, the early 2000's?

Jan 25, 2007
eleaticstranger in Site Talk

Does authentic always = good and does un-authentic always = "un-good"?

The trouble I stumbled across when I was after the authentic (in my case, authentic Italian) was how to sort out criteria for which particular version counts as authentic.

My first inclination was that what's authentic is what they do in Italy. But they do lots of things, and lots of the same things differently, in Italy. At that level, given the variety one finds, there's no way to identify authentic Italian cooking.

So I turned my attention to particulars--Bolognese, for instance, or Amatriciana. But my original trouble reemerged. People in Italy do those very differently. There was no particular recipe to point to which could count as the authentic one, even in the case of these particular dishes, so long as my focus was on the whole of Italy.

So I focused instead on regions of origin for particular dishes. There, if anywhere, so I thought, I could find the genuine article. Bolognese as it's made in Bologna is authentic, so I reckoned. But once again it happens that people in Bologna make Bolognese differently! So the question arises, to whose house in Bologna do you go to sample authentic Bolognese? I saw right away, though, that it's a stupid question, since deciding on one house in Bologna over another as serving up the Real McCoy is perfectly arbitrary, as is suggesting (as some might) that the recipe posted in City Hall describes the Real McCoy.

There's the old saw about peeling away layers of an onion in hopes of finding its essence, but coming up at the end--given the nature of onions--with nothing at all. I can't help but think that hunting out the authentic, at least where the hunt take a particularly extreme form, winds up being a snipe hunt in something like the same way.

If you have bacon and no pancetta, why not use it in an Amatriciana sauce? If someone accuses you of being inauthentic, tell them to get you the recipe for authentic Amatriciana and that you’ll gladly make that instead. The trick is, of course, that there is no such recipe. They’ll spend their time looking in vain and there’ll be more pasta for you!

Free lunch at Grandma's (MSP)...

Thanks for the tips!

Take Out in MSP

Forgive me any trespasses in the following recommendation.

If you want to pick up fried chicken, drop by Popeye's on Lake, get some spicy chicken, a biscuit, and a side of red beans and rice. Make sure and have some Louisiana hot sauce at home to put on the chicken and in the beans and rice. They'll give you packets of it at Popeye's if you don't.

Free lunch at Grandma's (MSP)...

So I get a free lunch at Grandma's on the West Bank tomorrow. Is there anything there worth ordering? I suspect not, but I thought I'd ask just in case...

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Favourite pizza topping combos?

My mom's a fan of pepperoni, green pepper, and black olive. That's pretty good. I go for straight pepperoni (boring, I know), though in Hawaii I got turned on to pepperoni and pineapple. It's great, though not the sort of thing I have too often...

Jan 24, 2007
eleaticstranger in Home Cooking

Minnesota-centric food blogs?

Thanks much Joanie!

Love Jack in the Box

I'm no longer near them. Are their ultimate cheeseburgers as good as they were long ago (say, 2000 or so)?

Jan 23, 2007
eleaticstranger in Chains

Minnesota-centric food blogs?

Anyone know of any? Thanks.

Favorite Wine Shops in MSP?

Another plug for Hennepin-Lake, and not just because it's my local store. They have tastings every weekend and there're usually staff prowling the wine aisles who know what they're talking about. The beer selection isn't bad either...