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About zgast

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  1. zgast

    Dining at The Wharf

    We get to Artechouse fairly regularly and always dine at the Wharf after. Have been a few times separately, but we're that wretched breed knows as MoCo Marylanders, so it's a haul down to the Wharf.
  2. Rat a Tat Cat, Sleeping Queens, Slamwich card games were a big hit in our house at that age.
  3. zgast

    Formative Food Memories

    And thank you for bringing this to the top of my unread content list. I actually teared up reading some of these descriptions from those who are far better writers than myself. If I had to do a Top 3 list, I'd describe the following: 1) Stuffed cabbage - There was never any question when it was stuffed cabbage day as soon as you walked in the house. Probably not authentic by any stretch (mom was a WASP from suburban Chicago) but man were these fantastic. Sauerkraut and tomatoes with a simply meaty stuffed cabbage. Everyone loved these in our house and whenever we made them one of my best friends insisted on getting a phone call and joining us - even through high school. He still posts on Facebook about my mom's stuffed cabbage and it was the first thing his wife told me about when I met her. 2) Chopped liver - It never even occurred to me that this was something that kids avoided. My Aunt Barbara (that's Jewish for 'older distant relative') and her mom made this every year for Thanksgiving and it was like crack on plain old Saltine crackers. I can't imagine the nutritional content here, but Thanksgiving was an annual tradition with so many memories that persist to this day - starting with chopped liver. And yes, as an adult, foie gras mousse is objectively better. Not sure which I'd go for first though. 3) Italian feasts - I'd always loved food and decided to study Italian for two key reasons. One - everyone loves Italian food, right? Second - everyone in Spanish 1 in college clearly had taken Spanish for several years - except for the two frigging Puerto Ricans who I spoke to after the class. I'm sure they never studied Spanish in high school. Anyhow, studying Italian led to a year in Bologna, which is still one of the most amazing experiences I've had. Weaving through the streets to maximize the smell of the macelleria on one street and the panetteria on another. The capstone of that whole adventure though was the wonderful Herb Market - an enclosed warehouse of various fruit, vegetable, meat and other stands. I could - and did - spend hours just walking through here, making friends with the stand owners, and buying absurd amounts of food to feed myself and my flat-mates. Makes you realize that much of what makes the food in Italy (or insert another country of your choice) is that the fresh produce, meat, fish, or dairy was grown or raised to maximize flavor, not for almost any other attribute. I may need to book a trip back just thinking about it.
  4. zgast

    Vacation Ideas

    As an Italo-phile, I'd urge a bit of caution around being in Venice for Carnival - especially with children. Took the kids several years ago and the utter crowds and chaos are somewhat overwhelming - to the point that we paid a gondola 100 Euro just to take us away from Piazza San Marco and as close to the train station as we could get. It took nearly three hours for the walk from the station to the Piazza (it's normally about a quarter of that) and the kids were not having fun - at all - due to the sheer volume of people involved. It wasn't always like this. I went 20+ years ago and have fond memories of sitting in smaller piazzas eating bread, cheese, and salumi with a beverage or two and watching the spectacle. It's definitely not that anymore. Not Mardi Gras bad, but not what it used to be.
  5. zgast

    What Are Your Kids Eating Tonight?

    This is basically Tuesday night in my house.
  6. zgast

    Michelin 3-Star Restaurants

    Le Pre Catelan in Paris. Wonderful meal, although my memory of everything is quite faded despite it only being six years ago.
  7. You've clearly got a bunch of fans on the website and in the industry. Just don't expect me to throw you a pair of my underwear.
  8. Despite political views that really aren't aligned with Vance's, I didn't react as strongly as I think most of you did. I didn't grow up in Appalachia, but I did grow up in what most people would describe as an inner-city school (40% graduation rate, multiple murders). You see so many people make so many bad choices and while you can empathize, you don't have to not judge those choices as simply being bad ones. I think where people differ is on the empathy side of why those choices were made. Where he'd simply push people to work a bit harder and make better choices, even in the face of more difficult circumstances, I'd lean more to creating a safety net that builds equality of opportunity. I see where he's coming from, just don't necessarily agree with the value system that drives it.
  9. The news from Linden was similar. I'll be making a point to buy cases at both when these vintages are released. The downside of terroir is the actual weather that can deal you a crappy hand once in a while. Apologies for the weather - I know it sucked for us but is far more financially and personally difficult for those that produce our favorite beverage.
  10. So I finally made it to Corduroy for dinner after meaning to go for so many years. Perhaps mistakenly I thought there had been a jacket and tie requirement which goes against my very ethos (modern slob in case anyone is wondering) - anyway the dress code is gone now if it ever existed and I was excited to try the place after so many wonderful reviews here. Went with a couple close friends who were happy to share in the adventure. I had the appetizer special, a smoked salmon/cream cheese affair that was quite good with the accompanying bread. Followed that with the chicken two ways - confit and roasted - that was wonderful. Really enjoyed this dish immensely. Perhaps what helped that was the wonderful wine recommendation from Marc Slater, who stopped by to say hi and to suggest a really great red that all three of us enjoyed. I'd be glad to add this place to my standard repertoire, such as it is. Kudos for the wonderful cooking and hospitality.
  11. What's the point of a scholarship to attend one year of college? Duke is a non-profit institution set up for the purpose of educating students. Why should we care that it doesn't get a new crop of athletes who will pretend to be students for a year before they go off on their real career? BTW - I'm not opposed to college sports. I'd be just as happy with a system that paid players while they attended college as long as they did both.
  12. Totally agree with this. $125k isn't chump change - and it's potentially life changing for some of these eighteen year olds. Financial management classes would be huge - my understanding is that they're offered in the NBA today and many/most just ignore them. Truly a shame. And as an aside, I'm positive Jordan didn't finish college until well into his NBA days.
  13. I think it would be fairly easy to either sell the grapes directly into the bulk market or press them yourself (assuming you've got the gear) and see them into the bulk wine market. My understanding is that the bulk market is much, much bigger than most of us know.