Dumb Asses, Please Order Sirloin—Not Rib Eye

Anthony Bourdain
Photo: Melanie Dunea

The entrecôte, or rib eye, and its big bone-in brother, the côte de boeuf, have perhaps the perfect balance of fat, lean, and marblingthe best mix of flavor and texture.

Dismayingly, all too many restaurant customers complain that it’s “too fatty,” as they are just too dumb to appreciate the best steak on the steer. They should probably stick to the leaner but very flavorful sirloin, which is what their dumb asses were probably thinking of when they put in their order.

Anthony Bourdain

Les Halles Cookbook
Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking
“Beef”
page 121-122

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I’m Not a Perfectionist

I like attention to detail more than the pursuit of perfection. 

Pierre Hermé

My Best: Pierre Hermé
“What is your motto?”
page 5

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Be a Pedant, Be Very, Very Precise

Make it shine (Photo: viv)

Chefs may be as experimental and inventive as you like (though much apparent originality turns out to be mere theft), but they know that a dish, in order to be the dish they are proud to serve, must be creative in a very, very precise way, with the smallest latitude for error. ‘Oh, that’ll do’ is not a phrase often heard in top restaurant kitchens.

The Pedant in the Kitchen
– Essay #2 . Warning: Pedant at Work – 
Julian Barnes

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The Beauty of Burnt

My seventh crème brûlée attempt, on13 June 2018, with the kind of brûlée, burnt top I had been chasing: sexy, lace-like, sheet-thin, and elegant . (Photo: viv)

NOT all food memories are transporting or transcendent like the kind that the villainous food critic Ego encountered at his first taste of the Thomas Keller-inspired ratatouille by Remy the rat. Some are just so vague and distant you search hard for that first encounter only to find nothing, just the hopelessness of a time passed and a record all but lost at sea. 

Crème brûlée is one such memory. 

For a long time now, this simple, elegant custard dessert has held a special place in my heart. It’s one of several I would name if you were to ask me what my favorite desserts are. 

Did I first have it in Paris, at Le Marais, in the fall of 1994 during my very first trip to France, or was it at this chic French restaurant at the Hyatt called Hugo’s? No, maybe it wasn’t Le Marais, but Le Quartier Latin, I don’t remember. Then, the memory would get a little messy — could it be that it wasn’t  even crème brûlée I had at that bistro, but Tarte Tatin? All I remembered clearly of that soirée was the fromage du chevre, the weird bug-like back note and plastic taste of goat’s cheese from that deadly morsel I had picked from the plate of my dining companion, Richard, a long-ago friend with whom I’ve lost touch. 

Such annoying quandaries of a foggy brain could well have been avoided if I had kept a journal. It’s a habit I still don’t keep, alas, which is not to say that my memory is poor or sluggish . . .

Continue reading the rest of this essay here

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Tell Stories As Honestly As We Can

David Mamet (Photo: Marcus Hänschen)

We’re given a great gift and a great responsibility,
which is to tell stories as honestly as we can,
and experience things and processes that are beautiful.

~ David Mamet (1947 – )
American playwright, essayist, and screenwriter

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