after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

two wrongs don’t make a right

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t says:  I came across this story the other day, and it worries me:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/20140822_Fate_of_fine_wine_in_Arthur_Goldman_s_case_is_uncertain.html

On one hand, it’s not exactly clear if the man whose wine was seized was turning a profit from selling the alcohol or how much volume he was moving; that’s a pretty damn big list of wines he was offering, which suggests to me that he’s a little more guilty than the article leads us to believe.  But that also doesn’t exonerate the crappy state of PA who went “undercover” to nab him – boy am I glad they caught him – he was probably defrauding the state of hundreds (!!!) of dollars … that was an excellent use of resources … I’d hate to have wasted that manpower on catching “traditional” bad guys like drug dealers.  It’s also funny that the police can’t sell the wine, either; meaning they’re not going to even be able to profit from their efforts … but of course, given how they’ve treated the wine (moving it in freezing temperatures, storing it at room temperatures) no one would buy it. 

One thing this story did do is make me wonder at what point was what he did considered illegal:
— finding wines across state lines, bringing them into this state, and selling them for a profit: definitely illegal
— finding wines across state lines, bringing them into this state, in small [legal] quantities for personal consumption: definitely legal
— finding wines across state lines, bringing them into this state, in small [legal] quantities to share at a BYO dinner: definitely legal
— finding wines across state lines, bringing them into this state, in small [legal] quantities to share at a BYO dinner that your friends who then “chip in for” … ?legal/illegal?
— finding wines across state lines, bringing them into this state, in small [legal] quantities that you give to your friends as a gift: sounds legal
— finding wines across state lines, bringing them into this state, in small [legal] quantities that you split the cost with your friends … ?legal/illegal?
— does it matter how many friends?
— does it matter how much wine?
— does it matter what the ABV is per wine?
— does it matter if the wine could have been found in a state store?

As a wine lover stuck in PA, this story makes me sad …
… unless of course the guy was actually just operating a wine store out of his basement … in which case, yes, seize it all and burn it … if I can’t have nice wine, no one can.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

24 August 2014 at 4:01pm

I hope California [and its wine] is ok!

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t says: I heard there was a quake!  Hope all of our Cali friends are ok!  After that, I hope that all the wine is ok:

https://mobile.twitter.com/matthiassonwine/status/503519628660715520/photo/1

Written by afterdinnersneeze

24 August 2014 at 10:58am

Posted in Happenings

4yo vs. The French Laundry

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

22 August 2014 at 6:00pm

Posted in Happenings

best wine post in a while

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t says:  I view a lot of wine-related websites.  After trolling around my daily wine offers, wine-centric online forums, and wine-specific blogs, I can say that there is no shortage of opinions on our favorite fermented grape drink (eww – that makes it sound like fermented grape Crush soda).  But this was a post I enjoyed, containing the right amount of opinion with a little bit of fact.  Yes, the author has an agenda to promote (i.e. he doesn’t like what’s happened to his beloved California wine), and, like most opinion pieces, his probably is missing out on some other facts that are contrary to his argument … but it’s still a good read that captures the controversy today in California cabernets.

http://gargantuanwine.com/2014/08/the-carcass-of-napa-valley/

Written by afterdinnersneeze

21 August 2014 at 12:07pm

Posted in Happenings

a response to the response to Diner en Blanc

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t says:  As the years go on since the start of Philly Diner en Blanc, there has been an increasing tide of anti-DeB sentiment.  For instance, in Main-Line Magazine (i.e. “Philadelphia Magazine”), the fashion/lifestyle/home-and-design editor (who LinkedIn claims her first job out of college is “Senior Lifestyle Editor” for Philly Mag – you may draw your own conclusions regarding qualifications) wrote this little opinion:

http://www.phillymag.com/shoppist/2014/08/13/this-is-hilarious-diner-en-sweatpants-mocks-fancy-pants-diner-en-blanc/

In short, Ms. Goulet complains about the inconvenience of gathering everything, the inconvenience of lugging everything, and the audacity of having to pay for something (and it sounds like she wasn’t thrilled with her pre-packaged dinner by virtue of making no mention of delicious food).  And then she whined that 30th street wasn’t as beautiful as the Eiffel tower.

Oh, and then she links to some anti-DeB dinners taking place as mentioned in another little article in their magazine.

http://www.phillymag.com/ticket/2014/08/12/diner-en-sweatpants-gives-middle-finger-diners/

It got me wondering: am I un-cool?  Are we un-cool?  If PhillyMag can take an anti-DeB position (and they’re usually a year behind the times), does that mean that now DeB is so not a cool thing to do?  I felt torn, as DeB was fun for our gang (g + t + a + v) both years we went.  There are some things we think could be better:

1)  We think there is a fair amount of rules violations (creme is not white) that lends to the “tacky” appearance – but come on – everyone is at least trying!

2)  Transportation is difficult in a city where the trains don’t exactly get to everywhere/anywhere.  So if you’re not mentally prepared, you might be miffed to have your sparkling white dress rub up against the “plebians” who are riding SEPTA (you know … to get home from work … because it is like 6pm on a Thursday!!).

3)  There’s also a fair amount of “trying too hard to be cool” (i.e. you’re not the first person to think of FedNuts fried chicken … or sushi … or delivery pizza).

But outside of these, the ability to look around and see a sea of white is fascinating.  Enjoying the moment as you’re eating a picnic with total strangers, possibly even sharing wine and having each other take pictures – what’s not to like?  And normally I hate being in crowds of strangers!  Maybe I’ll change my tune if it rains on us this year?  I guess what I’m trying to say is: “if you don’t like it, fine, don’t come!  But just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean the people who do are deluding ourselves into “pretending we’re Parisians” – we’re just enjoying the opportunity to create a spectacle.

But I am curious about the anti-DeB dinners – are they cooler or more fun?  Should I want to do them instead?

a says:  I heard about those at work today.  This is what hipsters do because they have been left out or are, true to form, too lazy to make something like DeB work.  I really don’t get the blowback to this event – it shows a​ lack of understanding between something that is exclusive vs. exclusionary.  DeB’s limit is based on location logistics and the fact the previous participants get first dibs, both of which seem fair and necessary.  The only exclusionary aspect of DeB is that it has a fee but I don’t know the world where something like this could be free.​  Unlike the Union League, where people are excluded based on gender, whether they know a member, and in the end, class, DeB is just semi-tough to join.  And guess what, that’s OK! Not everyone can do or be a part of everything. Sometimes you get lucky and the computer server lets you join (DeB, The Philly 10K, concerts, etc.) and sometimes you don’t.  Tough nuggets.  I’m pretty sure Harvard has a few more applicants than spaces and you don’t see every reject starting “an alternative, sweatpants version of Harvard.”  (t’s disclaimer: no one who contributed to this post has ever been admitted to Harvard).   ​It all comes back to FOMO – people want to (have the option) of doing everything in their purview.​ Go cry into your PBR while riding your fixie and stroking your handlebar mustache.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

20 August 2014 at 11:54am

Posted in Happenings

pondering frozen steaks

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t says:  I love me a good steak at home, and have clung for a long time to the conventional wisdom that should I have had to freeze a steak, then I should thaw it before cooking.  Cooks Illustrated suggests otherwise:

Now, I think that the idea makes sense.  However, it’s really unclear what the starting point is of the “thawed” steak.  For instance, just because they thawed the steak overnight does not mean that it was tempered appropriately (i.e. taken all the way to room temp) before cooking, which is what I do for all steaks, be it fresh or frozen.  Maybe CI would argue that the “gray band” would have been even larger?  But I think another point of discrepancy is that most people preparing properly tempered steaks don’t drop it in a puddle of standing oil, rather super-hot skillet with just a thin coating of oil at best.  So now I guess that I wish that CI would have tested a few more conditions before changing my steak-making practice altogether … but at least now I know what to do if I forgot to pull a steak out of the fridge the night before.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

19 August 2014 at 10:26pm

Posted in Happenings

Hi to Hai Street

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t says:  When it first debuted, Hai street was reported as peddling “Japanese Burritos”.  It kind of turned me off.  Does that mean that ssam are “Korean burritos”?  Does that mean that Samosas are Indian empanadas?  Or maybe these are all just wannabe ravioli?  In any case, the idea of Japanese burrito, in my mind, involves a flour tortilla – kinda how like when Korean tacos were a craze (?anyone remember that?), it was korean shortrib and rice in a tortilla.  But lo and behold, there is no tortilla anywhere at Hai street  Rather, it seems that the product in question is basically ginormous maki.  But, to keep the “Japanese Burrito” theme alive, I’m going to compare Hai Street to Chipotle … because … you know … why not propagate a fallacious simile?

August 2014, Thursday Lunch, Party of 2.

photo 2(196)

The setup is very chipotle-esque. You see a menu behind that gives a rough idea of your “burrito” contents and then you can select the fresh ingredients in front of you.

asdf

Unlike Chipotle, however, they have a structured box that protects the maki from crush injury, which is great – I never did like the foil solution.  Also unlike Chipotle, they make you buy ridiculous water, which I’ve already discussed here.  And the price is definitely up there, reaching ~$10 when all was said and done for my “screaming tuna” roll (it was a special that I saw outside).  That’s a few bucks more expensive than Chipotle (and I did splurge on the guac), so let’s see what I found … 

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I tried to get as up-close-and-personal as possible.  So now some people might be upset with Hai Street because the star filling that you selected isn’t very plentiful – it’s not like the enormous portion of meat you’d get in a Chipotle Burrito, rather, in equal proportion to the various ingredients that’s added.  To be honest, I kind of like this way better!  And the reason is because it comes off more like a maki this way.  No one should complain of a maki having too little of the protein – makis are supposed to have a balance of ingredients in their innards.  And here, with the plethora of other interestingly flavored items (e.g. garlic chips) and interestingly textured items (e.g. mango), it really was like eating a lovely salad and a splash of seaweed and rice.  OH – and the rice wasn’t bad!  That was what I as expecting would have been the biggest problem: bad rice.  But I guess if someone is going to be a sous for Morimoto, they better know how to make consistently decent sushi rice (I mean, it wasn’t blow-me-away rice, but it was good!). 

In all, I’m a big fan of the single maki I had there, and was substantially full by the end.  I didn’t feel gross-full (if that’s what you’re in to), and might even consider the ingredients “healthy”.  I decided that if I ever had to be gluten-free (Why can’t we call it “Celiac Disease”?  Why is it “gluten sensitivity” or “gluten intolerant”?  People with a nut allergy have a “nut allergy” – they’re not “nut intolerant”), I would not hesitate to make Hai street play a larger roll (“roll” … get it?) in my dining repertoire.  Someone might say, “well, you could make this at home”.  There is truth to that … but if I had to individually prepare carrot, radish, mango, aspargu, lettuce, tuna, kimchi, rice, garlic chips, I’d … have no other job …

Is Hai street the end-all-be-all of Japanese cuisine?  No.  Is it going to replace Chipotle?  No (but man, we’d be a helluvalot healthier if it did).   Will I go there again – you bet!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

17 August 2014 at 6:03pm

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