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Random Food Questions Thread - Page 445

post #6661 of 7218
yeah, it's definitely a winter dish. there's a funny backstory: years ago we were doing a piece on famous recipes that didn't work and a half-dozen people referred to this leg of lamb from patricia well's bistro cooking ... because it just COULDN'T work being cooked at such a high temperature. must have been a temperature. no way. so we tested it. and it ended up being one of our 10 best recipes of the year. cooking will never cease to surprise.
post #6662 of 7218
I have to say a punter like me is happy to tap into so many folks with indepth knowledge on such a regular basis. Obligatory /no homo,
post #6663 of 7218
one thing about cooking -- we're all punters. there's always something more to learn and always someone who knows more than you about something.
post #6664 of 7218
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodguy View Post

sorry, this is an ignorant post. there is no conspicuous consumer like a rich mexican. they make piob look like a peasant. besides, mexico was a possession of the French until the middle of the 19th century (hey cinco de mayo!) and there is still a strong french influence on Mexican fine dining, particularly in the DF.
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

Thats why I like what Bayless does with Topolabampo (though I don't think I have been there since before Obama ran for president and named it his favorite restaurant, blowing up the reservation queue).

Its fancy mexican food the way I imagine a fancy restaurant in mexico city might prepare food. You've got a lot of the same flavors, ingredients, and combinations, but he's not trying to sell you a $30 burrito. There are no tacos or quesadillas on the menu (although he will sell you all the "Gourmet" Mexican you want at Frontera next door). Menu tends to be seafood heavy with a focus on fresh, seasonal items and the various sauces that are Bayless's specialty.

OK, perhaps I should amend to say that "Mexican food as most people (including myself) think of it is fundamentally simple comfort food". Certainly, one can make gourmet food using similar flavors--Rick Bayless and Bobby Flay are good examples of this (though I do think it is very hard). But that's not what we're talking about. Carnitas, tacos, etc, these are simple things that do not IMO benefit from being taken gourmet. I'm sure there are high-end Mexican dishes--the wealthy had to eat something--but that's not what most people think of when they think of Mexican.

Again, it's like fried chicken. Sure, you *could* gussy it up, and there's no reason not to try to make it the best it can be by ensuring moist meat, crisp but tender crust, etc. But it is fundamentally a simple comfort food, and trying to take it high end usually just ends up a confused mess. Certainly you can use the technique of frying in haute cuisine, and chicken as well... But the two together have connotations that are pretty hard to overcome in a gourmet manner.

Also, whether or not there are conspicuous consumers in Mexico now doesn't really have any bearing on whether or not the food is simple, comfort food.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post

Oh, real question about the carnitas...blotting the fat. I was taught you almost do a confit to make carnitas by loading in some lard to let them simmer in.

Correct. The fat is integral. It will braise, and then basically fry as the water cooks off and it comes to temp. The crispy bits are the best part.

You can actually do a good approximation with a lot less lard (because who keeps pounds of lard around) by braising it in liquid and just a bit of fat, then draining the liquid and crisping on a sheet pan under the broiler. The Serious Eats version I talked about does this, and it's (IMO) a good bit easier than dealing with all that fat.
post #6665 of 7218
Quote:
Originally Posted by aravenel View Post


OK, perhaps I should amend to say that "Mexican food as most people (including myself) think of it is fundamentally simple comfort food". Certainly, one can make gourmet food using similar flavors--Rick Bayless and Bobby Flay are good examples of this (though I do think it is very hard). But that's not what we're talking about. Carnitas, tacos, etc, these are simple things that do not IMO benefit from being taken gourmet. I'm sure there are high-end Mexican dishes--the wealthy had to eat something--but that's not what most people think of when they think of Mexican.
again, not to be pedantic, but i think what you're really trying to say is "mexican street food, like most street food, doesn't benefit from being taken gourmet. and with that i'd agree. for the most part. though there's a lot of traditional street food that could be mistaken for high-end. my favorite taco stand, for example, makes tacos (MTO tortillas) with tripe that's been braised and then crisped. then a real sharp red salsa, some white onion, cilantro ... out of this world.
post #6666 of 7218
We were all craving Mexican food last week in southwest France so we made tortillas from duck fat and flour, roasted a chicken in the fireplace and made salsa and guacamole. It hit the spot...
post #6667 of 7218
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodguy View Post

again, not to be pedantic, but i think what you're really trying to say is "mexican street food, like most street food, doesn't benefit from being taken gourmet. and with that i'd agree. for the most part. though there's a lot of traditional street food that could be mistaken for high-end. my favorite taco stand, for example, makes tacos (MTO tortillas) with tripe that's been braised and then crisped. then a real sharp red salsa, some white onion, cilantro ... out of this world.

OK, fair, if we want to call that street food. I'm by no means an expert on Mexican food (despite this rant smile.gif), so if you say it's street food (which does make sense), I believe you.

I will say that every time I have had "fancy" Mexican food (with the possibly exception of Bobby Flay, and that was just OK--admittedly I have not eaten at a Rick Bayless restaurant), it has been pretty bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by itsstillmatt View Post

We were all craving Mexican food last week in southwest France so we made tortillas from duck fat and flour, roasted a chicken in the fireplace and made salsa and guacamole. It hit the spot...

Would eat that.
post #6668 of 7218
Quote:
Originally Posted by aravenel View Post

OK, fair, if we want to call that street food. I'm by no means an expert on Mexican food (despite this rant smile.gif), so if you say it's street food (which does make sense), I believe you.
I will say that every time I have had "fancy" Mexican food (with the possibly exception of Bobby Flay, and that was just OK--admittedly I have not eaten at a Rick Bayless restaurant), it has been pretty bad.
not a fan of flay. love rick's places. funny thing: when authentic mexican came out, one magazine reviewed it along with a great book by Patricia Quintana, who is kind of hte julia child of mexican cooking -- from an old, wealthy family, and the recipes were very authentic, but haute. the review preferred rick's book because it was more "authentic". i preferred it, too, but mainly because it was a better book.
Quote:
Would eat that.
yup.
post #6669 of 7218
post #6670 of 7218
^ Not a punter.
post #6671 of 7218
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodguy View Post

not a fan of flay. love rick's places. funny thing: when authentic mexican came out, one magazine reviewed it along with a great book by Patricia Quintana, who is kind of hte julia child of mexican cooking -- from an old, wealthy family, and the recipes were very authentic, but haute. the review preferred rick's book because it was more "authentic". i preferred it, too, but mainly because it was a better book.

Yeah, Bobby Flay's restaurants are... OK. One can certainly do worse, but I wouldn't seek them out at all. We went to Mesa Grill with some out of town folks who wanted to go to a "famous chef's restaurant". It's fine for that (though there are plenty I would have chosen above that...).

I have several Bayless books, but nothing by Quintana. Will add some to my Amazon list...
post #6672 of 7218
Quote:
Originally Posted by edinatlanta View Post

Bayless' torta place at O'Hare is really good. I get to fly through there in a couple days.

2nd. Also, the margaritas are excellent and stopping for a couple of them is good way to burn through a flight delay.
post #6673 of 7218
Quote:
Originally Posted by itsstillmatt View Post

We were all craving Mexican food last week in southwest France so we made tortillas from duck fat and flour, roasted a chicken in the fireplace and made salsa and guacamole. It hit the spot...

you poor thing, stranded in the backwaters, not a tacqueria for miles.
post #6674 of 7218
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post

you poor thing, stranded in the backwaters, not a tacqueria for miles.

You should have seen the selection of Mexican beer.
post #6675 of 7218
did you stoop to kronenbourg?
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