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« September 23, 2007 - September 29, 2007 | Main | October 7, 2007 - October 13, 2007 »

October 5, 2007

There's bad service, and then there's neglect

In Mat Schaffer's review of KO Prime in today's Boston Herald, he writes:

"The waitstaff couldn't have been less attentive -- dangerously so. Halfway through our entrees, my dinner companion rose from the table in obvious distress, choking. I administered the Heimlich maneuver three times until she was able to breathe. Not one KO Prime employee came to our assistance during the emergency or inquired, afterward, if she was all right.

"'It's definitely something we try and recognize and train our staff to react to -- it should have been and we apologize that it wasn't,' said Frank Kawecki, area director of operations for KO Prime, in a telephone interview yesterday. 'We should have seen it and we're still trying to find out why we didn't and what we can do to better react to a situation like this in the future.'"

That's just downright alarming, in a restaurant of any caliber (though I should mention I've had pretty good service at KO Prime -- Globe review here).

I always hoped I could count on restaurant staff to save me and my dining companions from choking. Maybe not. Mat, will you teach me how to do the Heimlich?

P.S. Who was the twisted copy editor who headlined his review "KO Prime lacks punch"?

October 4, 2007

"Top Chef," spoiler free

I won't give anything away for those of you who haven't seen the "Top Chef" finale yet.

But for those of you who have, here's a link to an amusing interview with the winner, whoever he or she may be.

October 3, 2007

It's time for the "Top Chef" finale


Get off the computer, pop some popcorn, and prepare to see who will pack their knives and go. The "Top Chef" finale starts in five minutes.

October 3, 2007

Terrorists, or just lunch?

Earlier this week, part of London was evacuated because of what was initially thought to be a possible chemical attack or toxic leak. A cloud of cough-inducing smoke hung over Soho.

Firefighters went in, wearing special apparatus, to try to track down the source.

Reports the Times of London: "They emerged from the smoke carrying a huge cooking pot containing about 9lb of smouldering dried chillies.

"The firefighters had smashed down the door of the Thai Cottage restaurant in D'Arblay Street and seized the extra-hot bird's eye chillies which had been left dry-frying. They were being prepared as part of a six-month batch of nam prik pao, a super-hot Thai dip to accompany prawn crackers."

No one was injured.

In a hilarious touch, at the end of the Times of London story, the paper's website ran a recipe for nam prik pao.

Here it is. If the firefighters come calling, don't blame me.

Nam prik pao

4 tbsp oil; 3 tbsp chopped garlic; 3 tbsp chopped shallots; 3 tbsp chopped dried red chillies; 1 tbsp fermented shrimp paste; 1 tbsp fish sauce; 2 tsp palm sugar

Heat the oil, add the garlic and shallots and fry briefly. Remove from oil and set aside. Add chillies and fry until they start to change colour. Remove and set aside. In a pestle and mortar, pound the shrimp paste, add the chillies, garlic and shallots. Over a low heat return all the ingredients to the oil, and fold into a uniform paste. The resulting thick, slightly oily red/black sauce will keep almost indefinitely. If you wish you can add more fish sauce and/or sugar to get the flavour you want.


"That's hot."

October 3, 2007

Brand new mag out this month


In the first issue, editors Sasha Wizansky & Amy Standen explain that Meatpaper isn't pro- or anti-meat. "Meatpaper is about meat as a provocative cultural symbol and phenomenon." They see meat on shower curtains and t-shirts, they're reading books on it ("The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "Fast-Food Nation"), and they decided to use it to explore art and other cultures.

"Humans are animals, many of whom regularly eat other animals," they write. "For some this is a basic fact of life; for others, it is a moral quandary. Meat isn't a straightforward or neutral topic. In conversation it tends to ruffle feathers and provoke debate."

This editor's letter is accompanied by a striking early 20th century photograph of a butcher with a long white apron standing beside a woman in a dark dress and little heels. It turns out to be Jack and Sarah Wizansky, grandparents of editor Sasha, in front of R. Wizansky & Son Fancy Meats in Boston's West End.

Sounds pretty interesting.

Posted by Sheryl Julian at 06:42 PM
October 3, 2007

More Iron Chef Morimoto: outtakes from an interview


This week's Food section features an interview with Masaharu Morimoto, who has a new book, "Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking." Here's some more from the Iron Chef/restaurateur.

Q. "Iron Chef" made you a celebrity. How do you feel about that?
A. Iím really popular, but Iím not famous. Iím not a celebrity. Iím just a chef. Walking outside, people say "Hi chef, hi chef." Thatís OK. Iím just popular.

Q. Do you cook at home for yourself?
A. Nope.

Q. Thereís so much talk now about eating locally. What do you think of the locavore movement? How does it affect you?
A. Iím using a lot of local products. Vegetables, fish, meat, fruits. But if I try to do good sushi, I have to take fish from Japan. I study a lot with my sous chef about whatís new today -- tomato, onion, potato.

Q. Your book says that the quality of a sushi bar can be determined by the taste of its omelet. Iíve heard that before, and itís kind of baffling. Can you explain?
A. You eat tuna, yellowtail, whitefish: Thatís technique. Itís not that the sushi chef is good. The tuna is good. The octopus is good. But for egg, eel, and kanpyo [dried gourd], you have to make the taste. Thatís not technique. Thatís a test that a chef has good energy and passion.

Q. Have you seen the influence of Japanese food in America trickle back to Japan?
A. When the TV company asked me to be on "Iron Chef," at first my answer was no, Iím not ready yet. A lot of people said you gotta do it, you gotta do it. Young kids working in this country in Japanese restaurants would go back to Japan with maybe 10 years of experience in New York sushi, interview, and be told no thank you. They didnít trust foreign sushi. Then I did it -- I Ďm not saying I did it myself, maybe the timing was good, and a lot of people were doing [a similar thing at the] same time as me. Now thereís fusion, trendy sushi a lot in Tokyo. Also a lot of famous foreign chefs started to open restaurants in Tokyo.

Q. So if I go to Tokyo, where should I eat?
A. Morimoto! George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz ate there. And the new James Bond. [Chuckles.]

October 2, 2007

For leftover pasta


Pasta frittata
Serves 8

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 portobello mushroom cap, cut into cubes
6 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
4 teaspoons flour
2 teaspoons salt
8 ounces dried fettuccine, cooked in salted water until tender
3 slices bacon, fried until golden and crumbled
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup plain bread crumbs
Black pepper, to taste

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees.
2. In a large cast iron skillet over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Cook the onion, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until it is a light caramel color. Add the pepper and continue cooking for 5 minutes more.
3. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until they release their liquid. Turn up the heat and let the mixture cook until the mushroom liquid evaporates. Remove the mixture from the skillet. Wipe out the skillet.
4. In a bowl, stir together the eggs, cream, flour, and salt.
5. In the skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Let it cook until golden brown. Add the pasta and cook, tossing the strands, for 1 minute.
6. Pour in the egg mixture. Distribute vegetables and bacon over the mixture. Sprinkle with cheese, bread crumbs, and black pepper.
7. Bake the frittata for 35 to 40 minutes or until the center is firm and the top is browned. Adapted from Amish Naturals

Posted by Sheryl Julian at 02:37 PM
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