The Making of a Restaurant

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Dream-chasing begets dream-chasing. Witness David, fan of the '50s soda fountain and eventual helmsman of their resurgence in popularity. Inspired by our blog, he's started his own about his dream of opening up a soda fountain/Internet cafe called Vanilla 87 1/2.

Best of luck, David. We'll be cheering for you.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Andrew directs us to a story about underground restaurants, which sounds like a fantastic way to break into the restaurant game. One illicit restaurateur notes the benefits of "editing" who eats your food, perfect for an etiquette snob like me.
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Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Back in December, after I heaped praise upon PBS's America's Test Kitchen, Paul suggested I subscribe to the show's sister magazine, Cook's Illustrated. I immediately put it on my Amazon wishlist, and whadyaknow, come holiday season, someone got me a subscription. (I actually got two, one from a Secret Santa, and one from a not-so-secret one.)

This is quite possibly the greatest magazine ever. Each issue is printed on thick, high-quality paper stock, giving it respectable heft for a magazine, an aesthetic clue that the object you're holding contains information of great value. And that it does. The recipes, of which there are about a dozen, are borne of an intense trial-and-error process and are accompanied by a charming story detailing the experience of getting the dish just right. (It's the stories' headlines that are hilariously revealing -- e.g. "How do you make the perfect roast lemon chicken? We tested 50 birds and 40 pounds of lemons to find out." Oh, to have that job...)

As if that weren't enough, each issue has several pages of short, simple kitchen tricks and tips (like how to use yogurt cup lids to prevent pepper shaker messes) and Consumer Reports-style comparison reviews about common kitchen items like spatulas, pot scrubbers and vinegar. And every story and tip is accompanied by beautiful hand-drawn, sepia-toned pencil drawings. All this and no advertising, to boot. Can you tell I'm a fan?

Of the two issues I've gotten so far, Sarah and I have prepared probably six of the recipes, a few of them several times over. At least half of those have caused knee-buckling gastronomical ecstasy, the kind that one can only achieve by coupling great flavor and the thrill of having made it yourself. The others have been merely excellent. I expect having this subscription will increase my tendency to cook, and, in turn, my ability to cook with skill. This is a good thing.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Fun Google trick of the day: GooCooking. Type in a couple ingredients and it'll use Google to search several of the top recipe sites for keyword matches. It's good for those nights when you have a few stray cans of whatnot spread about the fridge and need a dish to match.

I seem to recall a bunch of asparagus, a few dollops of sour cream, and a leftover lemon making camp in my fridge for the last few days. Now I know what to do with them.




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