I'm a native New Yorker, half-English and half-Texan. I'm an attorney, an avid open-water swimmer, and I've been to all fifty states. Plus, I was on Jeopardy. Once.
If you don't want to resort to a mini-bar bottle, there's a company that sells good maple syrup in single-serving sized containers: http://www.untapped.cc/ . They started out with an indiegogo campaign aimed at endurance athletes, but the syrup works just as well on pancakes as it does halfway through a marathon.
No love for the babka at Petite Shell?
Paparazzi? Pie-parazzi, surely?
I'm guessing that by the time the whole roasted pig trend makes it to NYC, they'll be arriving via Uber, not taxis.
@Daniel Gritzer: Them's fightin' words!
No Team Fruitcake? I demand a re-count.
Looks like the cherpumple pie has met its match.
That's odd: "Cassoulet Choose Your Own Adventure" is the name of my new cover band.
If I were Sherlock Holmes, I would concluded from the way you store the stuff in the kitchen that the users are all short. Nothing at the top of some of those cabinets? Actually, if I were Sherlock Holmes, I would probably be investigating the Case of the Fire-Breathing Chicken, but that is a story for another day.
@Rabonour: I did not taste the cakes post-baking but pre-basting, as the recipe calls for adding the first round of brandy right after taking the cake out of the oven. I did taste the batter of each cake (it's my kitchen, and I'll lick the bowl if I want). The difference between the two batters was noticeable and more pronounced.
@GrahamBJ: I was quoting Ed directly when he declared the tasting to be a Hobson's choice. Maybe he was weighing the options of tasting the cakes or not tasting anything at all?
Trust me, Carrie, it will totally be worth it to write about fruitcake. I just wish you were on the east coast so that you could join in the taste test. I suppose we could mail you samples - fruitcake is durable that way. And delicious. At least mine is. I swear.
Anyone who wants to see cacao grown up close and personal might want to look into visiting the Cotton Tree Lodge's plantation (Google "Cotton Tree Lodge" and "Chocolate Week"). They work with several US chocolate makers (Taza, Tcho, Mast Brothers) to bring folks to Belize and see how those scary looking pods of beans turn into delicious chocolate. I went in 2012 and cant' recommend it enough.
I'll be making them again for the cookie swap. One minor quibble: I believe the photo credit should go to the stellar Robyn Lee, not me. Only she could make my baked goods look that tasty.
Robyn used the phrase "too much Norwegian chocolate". I don't understand this concept. Too much chocolate?
A few points from someone who used to be one of the hearing officers for DOH.
The $200 may seem large (and compared with the operator's revenue that day, it was large). However, the Health Code states that all penalties must be at least $200 and no more than $2,000. The hearing officer has discretion within those two limits, and the DOH recommends higher penalties for more serious violations. These were clearly at the bottom of the scale.
"Did you have a chance to defend yourself?" Not really. They just said, "the health inspector said you did X, Y, and Z wrong. Do you deny it, admit it, or want to give an explanation?" Those are your choices.... How did you not really have the chance to defend yourself? Sounds like you had the chance to do exactly that. Unfortunately, you didn't have much of a defense.
"...And the decision is final. You can't appeal. You have 30 days to pay the fine." Not true. You have 30 days to appeal, as long as you pay the fine first. I'm pretty sure that every hearing officer includes that at the end of the hearing. It's printed on the decision, and in the past they used to hand you an appeal form with the decision.
There are a lot of problems with the system, and it's pretty clear that the Bloomberg administration has been using the fines as a source of revenue, which rubs me the wrong way. All the same, it's pretty simple to keep the handle of the scoop out of the ice. Give that a try next time.
I can claim to be the one person on the planet who is a) a former Serious Eats intern and b) a former judge at the Health Tribunal, so I think I can speak with a certain amount of expertise here. Lauren has reflected the frustration that a lot of restaurateurs feel, and while I feel sorry for some, I think the system works better than before we had letter grading. Of course, there are plenty of ways it could be improved, and there is nothing more annoying that inconsistency from a government agency (my pet peeve: why does every TSA checkpoint have different rules? Arrgh!). That said, most of the rules are clear enough, and DOH has done a great deal to make them easier to follow.
Where I start losing sympathy is with restaurant owners who say that it's "too difficult" to follow the rules and still serve as many customers. The fact is that either they can serve fewer customers safely or more customers at greater risk. One earns them more money, or, to follow that through, it's not "too difficult" to follow the rules, it's "too expensive". Food service can be a low-margin business, but that's no excuse for cutting corners. High end restaurants tend to get fewer points on inspections because they pay for the extra staff to keep the kitchens spotless. They pass those costs on to their customers, just as they do for top-notch ingredients. Before, customers could tell if they were getting served inferior ingredients. The letter-grading system has made it possible to assess how safely those ingredients are being prepared.
One factual point to answer a question raised by @JPBklyn. Generally speaking, deli's aren't inspected by the NYC DOH. Rather, they are inspected by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which also inspects supermarkets. The distinction is made based on the percentage of revenue derived from foods prepared on site versus pre-packaged foods. In other words, if most of what your deli is selling is soda, chips and paper towels, they can get their permit from Ag and Markets. If most of what they are selling is sandwiches made on site, they get their permit from DOH. Hope that helps.
If it's wrong not to be ashamed of "brisket porn", I don't want to be right. (Wait, is that what I mean?). Definitely merits a pilgrimage.
@shermanhelms: the link to the Pies Against Cancer website isn't working, so try this: http://piesagainstcancer.blogspot.com/
The latest post has close-ups and captions of each individual pie, so you can get a better idea of which is which. Enjoy the pie-tography!
Any suggestions as to which variety of apples works best, or should I just stick to the usual suspects for apples that work well in pies?
I had the pleasure of meeting Allan Benton at Zingerman's Camp Bacon this summer. Don't let the hillbilly folksiness fool you: he's one of the smartest people in the food world. May he keep smoking those hams and bacon for years to come.
We can all stop making animated gifs now, because nothing will ever be better than this.
Funny, but when I returned to SEWHQ from Iceland, no one went for the harðfiskur either. History repeats itself, Erin (or at least I'm quite sure that it wasn't me they were suspicious of, just the dried fish). Hope the trip was great, and I'm looking forward to meeting the new furniture.
Are there any foods siracha doesn't improve? Sometimes I'll stir-fry some leftover lamb and squirt on some delicious, delicious siracha.
Anyone want to try these with butter in place of the Crisco?
You can see many of the sites discussed above in convenient television format on a recent episode of Travel Channel's "Off Limits". Spooky indeed.