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post #76 of 93
Quote:
 Some points on this list are fine, and should be implimented in restaurants, but you sound like a frumpy, pompus-ass. Please do me (and everyone else) a favor and stay in France; don't patronize our barbaric country.
Actually, "jerrysfriend" is from Georgia, where he recently devoted a great deal of time to acquaint other forum members with a spectacular sale on Grenson shoes. He has a right to his opinions without being labeled as a "foreigner".
post #77 of 93
judging from his post, he might take the epithet 'foreigner' as a compliment. anyway, as useful as his posts on shoe sales have been, i'm getting bored with his periodical trollage. is there an 'ignore' filter on this forum? i don't want to have to guess when he's going off his medication. /andrew - hopes mr. 'jerrysfriend'* doesn't actually use that sad little 'diners' bill of rights' when he goes out *does 'jerry' really only have one friend?
post #78 of 93
Quote:
I will not order "blush" wine, will not eat from my companion's plate, or ask to take the leftovers home (ill-mannered, shocking and the most boorish thing which Americans commonly do in restaurants). While we are on the subject of menus, fine restaurants, in sophisticated countries, do not offer green salad. the word "entree" is a French word,  meaning to "come in" or "enter." It is also used on the menu in France, and in every other country, except this one, to mean, obviously, the "entering" dish, or the appetizer. In the U.S., white wines are usually served too cold, and red ones too warm. Fine red wines are served at room temperature, but the room in question is the wine cellar, which is not more than 60 degrees. Young, lighter reds, like Beaujolais, are always served slightly chilled. In civilized countries, coffee after dinner means espresso, never weak American-style coffee. Cappuccino or coffee with milk is only properly served early in the day. Espresso, being too strong to accompany food, is always served after the guest has completed his dessert, neither before, nor with the dessert.
I use the term "blush wine" to mean white Zinfandel. There is nothing wrong with a nice Tavel at lunch or with a light meal, especialy in Provence. Green salad- It is not properly ordered in fine restaurants, just like one does not order a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich in such a place. It is an insult to the chef. Years ago, Le Figaro sent a restaurant reviewer to all of the Paris Michelin three star restaurants and had him order a salad of tomatoes as an entree (appetizer) just to see the reaction and to see if it was served properly de-seeded, etc. After he wrote his review, the owner of the Tour d'Argent said that he remembered that order. He said that they deliberately put no care into the preparation of the dish as they thought his order to be a deliberate provcation. Furthermore, only a barbarian eats it first, even in a lesser than starred restaurant (salad Nicoise is an exception). The vinegar in the dressing just ruins the taste of the wine. Even cappuchino is wrong in the evening; it has to be espresso. seehttp://travel2.nytimes.com/mem/travel/article-page.html?res=9C07E1DE143CF937A15751C0A9629C8B63 Entree-I have never heard of a word changing its meaning to mean the opposite. It is just an American mistake that is made in no other country. See [url=http://www.hotelvernet.com/public/restaurant/fr_carte.htm] Temperature at which to serve wine-I simply agree with Robert Parker as to both white and red. Enough said. As to the personal insult from San Francisco, I thought that you were so grateful to me for the info about the J&M handmades, that you were going to buy me a drink. Notice that I did not suggest dinner. I think that there are rigid rules about dining and food, just as there are rules about not wearing shorts in public. Even though Emeril might do it, one should not put soft shell crab, sausage, whipped cream and a bing cherry on top of a steak. It is not enough to say that it is just the way it is done here so it is ok. Chinese restaurants in New Orleans serve bread pudding. That is not right. There are Tex-Mex restaurants in Paris; they get it all wrong. Many people know that a young French aristrocrat, Alexis de Toqueville, came to the US in 1830, spent a year here and then wrote the most brilliant and insightful book ever written about this Country, "Democracy in America." We quote him more than Benjamin Franklin, as in "tyranny of the majority" and "lowest common denominator, etc." Most people do not know that he also wrote a series of letters to his mother, complaining of babaric customs at the table here. He would still be shocked today at the Steak and Ale, when "Bruce" came up, said "Hi folks," introduced himself and asked if "you guys" were ready to order.
post #79 of 93
Okay, point by point, then the kicker.
Quote:
I think that there are rigid rules about dining and food, just as there are rules about not wearing shorts in public. Even though Emeril might do it, one should not put soft shell crab, sausage, whipped cream and a bing cherry on top of a steak.
I think the shorts look like shit too. Doesn't mean that there should be a rule against it.
Quote:
It is not enough to say that it is just the way it is done here so it is ok. Chinese restaurants in New Orleans serve bread pudding. That is not right.
Why not? I'm ethnically Chinese, my parents are from Hong Kong, arguably the Chinese culinary capital of the world, and have eaten in some of the best Chinese restaurants in the world - in North America, in Hong Kong, and in China. There is nothing wrong with tweaking things a little and adding a little local flavor. Besides, puddings and jellies are a staple of what North American's call "Dim Sum" and Chinese "deserts".
Quote:
There are Tex-Mex restaurants in Paris; they get it all wrong.
There is nothing wrong with re-interpretation.
Quote:
Many people know that a young French aristrocrat, Alexis de Toqueville, came to the US in 1830, spent a year here and then wrote the most brilliant and insightful book ever written about this Country, "Democracy in America." We quote him more than Ben Franklin, as in "tyranny of the majority" and "lowest common denominator." Most people do not know that he also wrote a series of letters to his mother, complaining of babaric customs at the table. He would still be shocked today at the Steak and Ale, when "Bruce" came up, said "Hi folks," introduced himself and asked if "you guys" were ready to order.
So he wrote a good book. He could have been, and seems to have been, nevertheless, a pretentious ass. Punchline: *Bitchslap*.
post #80 of 93
first - while i am appreciative of the J&M handmades that i bought on *Ken Pollack*'s recommendation (apologies to him if i misspelt) (and if jerrysfriend is indeed Ken, let's drop the charade) - you are mistaken that i offered you a drink. someone else may have. even if i had offered to buy you a drink before, that doesn't preclude me from helping create a more civilized forum by objecting to posts that don't fit the milieu. second - while you may wince at the 'insult', please be aware that you are in the margins with regard to the manner in which you present your grievances. it's called 'trolling' when one posts something one knows (or hopes) will provoke objection and/or flames. dunno why people troll. for attention, i guess. you can expect this kind of reaction whenever you post something like you did. third - i may actually agree with many of the restaurant 'rules' presented, it's the delivery i (and others) have issues with. if you truly feel the way you have described, that it is indeed 'barbaric' to order green salad, then surely there are more diplomatic ways to air your grievances, or to effect change. i mean really - a highlighted grading sheet? how presumptuous. you'd better hope you don't send that back *before* your dessert, or else you may end up eating your words - literally. chefs are artists, after all. we all know you're from georgia, so you are not foreign to american culture (such as it is, in that state). i would go so far as to say you're probably not foreign to middle-class american culture. so to take such great umbrage at our bourgeois barbarism is disengenuous at best. /andrew - likes to say 'umbrage'
post #81 of 93
I would venture to say that if the majority (or even a small but vocal minority) of people who went to Steak and Ale were offended by the "hi folks" comment, they would complain or take their business elsewhere, in which case, the servers would likely stop doing so with alacrity. Obviously the majority of patrons there do not mind. As for the cappucino issue, I believe that is an Italian cultural issue, as while dining at the finest restaurants in Austria (I lived there for 6 months) people are all too happy to order melanges (espresso with milk) after dinner.
post #82 of 93
Quote:
first - while i am appreciative of the J&M handmades that i bought on *Ken Pollack*'s recommendation (apologies to him if i misspelt) (and if jerrysfriend is indeed Ken, let's drop the charade) - you are mistaken that i offered you a drink. someone else may have. even if i had offered to buy you a drink before, that doesn't preclude me from helping create a more civilized forum by objecting to posts that don't fit the milieu. second - while you may wince at the 'insult', please be aware that you are in the margins with regard to the manner in which you present your grievances. it's called 'trolling' when one posts something one knows (or hopes) will provoke objection and/or flames. dunno why people troll. for attention, i guess. you can expect this kind of reaction whenever you post something like you did. third - i may actually agree with many of the restaurant 'rules' presented, it's the delivery i (and others) have issues with. if you truly feel the way you have described, that it is indeed 'barbaric' to order green salad, then surely there are more diplomatic ways to air your grievances, or to effect change. i mean really - a highlighted grading sheet? how presumptuous. you'd better hope you don't send that back *before* your dessert, or else you may end up eating your words - literally. chefs are artists, after all. we all know you're from georgia, so you are not foreign to american culture (such as it is, in that state). i would go so far as to say you're probably not foreign to middle-class american culture. so to take such great umbrage at our bourgeois barbarism is disengenuous at best. /andrew - likes to say 'umbrage'
All fair comments.
post #83 of 93
Thread Starter 
"Just as there are rules about not wearing shorts in public" Well, that's taking it a little too far. I would agree that shorts are definitely not permissible in a fine restaurant (or jeans or sneakers for that matter), they are more than acceptable when shopping at the mall, going to the beach, or just walking the dog. As well, I rather receive a cheerful "hi folks" from a waiter than a grumpy and gloomy disposition and the vernacular that comes with it. Jon.
post #84 of 93
Quote:
So he wrote a good book.  He could have been, and seems to have been, nevertheless, a pretentious ass.  
Although I am fairly old, I never met the guy, and cannot comment on his personality. He was the son of a wealthy patrician government official. He wrangled a grant from the French government to go to the USA to study a new type of imprisonment being tried here which was at first thought to be more humane (solitary confinement), when he really just wanted to "go on a lark" and find something interesting to do for a year. But his book is great, especially with respect some of the things he said 170 years ago about American politicians (mediocure men, he thought; he said that they were mostly failed lawyers), the press (they "prey without restaint into the most intimate details of politicians' lives"), race (thought it would be a huge probem for 100's of years), etc. A great book to read is "In Search of Tocqueville's Democracy in America -American Journey" - by Richard Reeves, who re-traced Tocqueville's journey through America 160 years later,  meeting with and talking to the same type of people (mayor of NYC; the closest relative of a man who was signer of the declaration of independence and founder of Johns' Hopkins), etc., for their views as to the same topics.
post #85 of 93
jerrysfriend-- Gulp.  You aren't the incomparable Ken Pollock, are you?  Say it isn't so. Mike
post #86 of 93
Moderator watching thread which has approached outer edges of civility. Those responsible beware...
post #87 of 93
Quote:
I use the term "blush wine" to mean white Zinfandel. There is nothing wrong with a nice Tavel at lunch or with a light meal, especialy in Provence.
I assumed as much. However, as you were being so pedantic with regard to dining customs, I thought the point to be worthy of note. I agree with you that there are certain absolutes in dining, as in everything else. I am no relativist. However, I'm sure that a century ago the peak of culinary excellence, both in cuisine and custom, was rather different than today. If these absolutes you susbcribe to are the height, are they the height of that age, and of the century before? I would doubt that they are, because of the changes that have taken place. Therefore the culinary arts have improved over this timeframe. Considering that, would it not be hubristic to maintain that any culture or group has now determined the absolute height of aristology; that they are the paragon forevermore? I believe that saying that would be acknowledging blindness to the improvements of the past. This also applies to cuisine itself, for truly, all 'traditional' cuisines are a 'fusion' cuisine of one sort or another. Traditional Italian food had no tomatoes in it at all; therefore it is barbarous of Italian restaurants to serve food containing tomatoes. Our regional cuisines are so important. It would be a travesty to lose them. Yet it would be an equal loss to destroy art in cuisine; to turn all chef into imitators would burlesque aristology. I also agree that many American dining establishments are entirely too casual in service and in style. I might even go so far as to say that it is a sadness; that there is a loss in giving up some formality. Truly there is a place for it, but not everywhere. It must be admitted that if one is eating at Steak and Ale, one has to expect that the waiters are going to clear from the 'wrong' side, and that the average patron would be uncomfortable with formality of the style recently extended to myself and my party by the staff of a fine establishment in Washington. If the majority of patrons are uncomfortable, the goal of dining has been destroyed. Lest you think that my age influences my opinion of formality, quite the contrary, I am formal enough in daily behavior that the comment "You're not from around here, are you?" is quite common for me. In the end, sir, my hope is that you find a place where you can enjoy your food. That is the goal of everyone commited to aristology, and there should be a place for everyone to have that pleasure. It's a large enough world. Regards, Huntsman
post #88 of 93
Steve, I have been writing (as you can probably find out), for nearly an hour, so I missed your post along the way. I have tried to be civil, nuke me if I'm over the line, of course. Regards, Huntsman
post #89 of 93
Huntsman, No worries- quite civil.
post #90 of 93
Well, I made reservations for this weekend for Prime (Bellagio), so I will post my feedback when I return tuesday.
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