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About Max

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  • Location
    Western US usually
  • Interests
    Food and wine, their history and literature. Wine education. Information sources. Internet / ARPAnet history, absinthe literature and mythologies, etc. etc.<br /><br />Active in SF Bay Area food and wine organizations since 1982. Reading and posting publicly about these subjects on Internet, same interval. (Created Internet wine mailing list 1985, discussion forum 1987.) For some lessons learned online, see these two Mouthfuls postings from the 2005 "Shilling" thread:<br /><br />http://tinyurl.com/3db8t9<br />http://tinyurl.com/2omdby
  1. I just spotted this topic in the course of (highly pleasurable!) catch-up reading on MF. (Making me speculate -- off-topic but saves posting a separate query -- whether I ought to place on MF one or two from the considerable collection of postings I have that might be of interest, and that, moreover, were deleted from one or another competing online forum, not always for obvious reason.) Anyway: Heathens! What has journalism come to? Seems to no longer include many people who've read older books. I say so because of the six ingredients listed, only one (capillaire) is un
  2. In contrast to Cognacs with their mega-corporations and distribution, Armagnacs I've seen in the US have been from smaller producers, limited in quantity and availability. (Even more so than the contrast of Bordeaux to Burgundies, if that makes sense to you.) I'm reflecting on (30 years of) retail shopping; online may be different. As an avowed non-expert I've found Armagnacs to have more style range, often complex, often drier than their much-better-known cousins. As well as harder to find in US, and often more expensive. In the 1970s-80s I did notice a few instances of US yuppies m
  3. In fact, the range, number, and quality span of independent "Asian" restaurants in that region is without parallel in my experiences all around the US. Partly this reflects the history of silicon valley. A running joke in the past there among immigrant Asian engineers was that while silicon valley was famous for "ICs" (integrated circuits) -- its namesake product -- actually, IC stood for "Indians and Chinese," reflecting many of its skilled technical workers. But the restaurants are truly pan-Asian: Vietnamese (esp. in SJ), Korean (esp. Santa Clara), Indian, Pakistani, Persian, Afghan, and
  4. Y'all realize, don't you, that Howard Bulka also left his high-end kitchen at Marché on the Peninsula* to make pizza, some months back? These are just two cases I happen to've heard about. For all I know, there may be others (and anyway, two is more than enough for a few of today's food media to proclaim a "trend!" :-) * Explanation for any tunnel-visioned San Franciscans: The Peninsula is a vast region south of SF. (Embracing the former southern portion of San Francisco County, which seceded in the second Vigilante regime, 1856, forming today's San Mateo County and leaving SF
  5. That is why I give you more of the story. What little general information is on the Web site (it's focused on practicalities like reservations) is consistent with what I've posted here (more below, re a misunderstanding), and with reason. I've watched (and dined at) this establishment since before it was "famous" (even since before many people now posting about it were born), have seen the reputation develop (and been variously misinterpreted from afar), known senior people there, accumulated books and articles (some of which I've posted about). That point (which is certainly true!
  6. A side comment: There should be an FAQ file about Panisse for the benefit of newcomers. (Commencing as the local restaurant critic put it years ago: there are two restaurants at 1517 Shattuck.) Chez Panisse Café (CPC) is the casual, expansion spin-off, several years younger than (though clearly influenced by!) the restaurant. which made the reputation. Day to day, the two are mostly independent (details below and in link). CPC is not "Alice Waters' famous kitchen," that's at the restaurant, which established its (and her) reputation; the Café followed afterwards. Maybe they should have s
  7. Max


    These what's-the-big-deal-about-Beauj discussions are now perennial (like the hangover-cure choruses a month or so later). Not so, earlier. The word Beaujolais has different meaning to the average wine drinker now that the minor offshoot Beauj. "Nouveau" got its marketing boost, its production outpaced real Beaujolais, and carbonic maceration or semi-carbonic maceration (fermentation methods associated with "Nouveau") invaded respectable meaty Beauj appelations. That's when those "flower labels" became commonplace. Now many people say "Beaujolais" when they mean Nouveau (as strange
  8. Peter, for someone lately dodging multiple deadly storms, you seem to dine very well (to judge from postings in this forum)! I see you noted the Dujac '01 Charmes as "youthful." That's helpful data. 01 red Burgs seemed structured for slow maturing (especially compared to the 00s, which showed so well young). I've wondered about serving 01s -- people are starting to do so, but it seems as if they may have some lifetime ahead. (01 seemed like one of the last really attractive red-Burg vintages, pricewise, at least from N. America -- before the big shift of dollar vs. Euro, hype about 02
  9. I won't question Peter's praise of those fora, but I will give you some Internet history here (and it's understandable if this is not universally known, because relatively few writers have addressed the subject and of those, some were superficial). Prodigy Interactive, Compuserve, and three or four other major counterparts were not actually Internet operations but rather independent private networking firms that, successfully for some years, undertook to offer computer and communication services, each within its own separate universe, to paid subscribers. Salus's early-Internet history b
  10. Stett Holbrook (the author) does know something of South Bay restaurants, as likely the region's best journalistic writer about them; but a rich trove of independent family-run immigrant restaurants is actually the gastronomic strength of the entire county. (Something many outside writers manage to miss.) Not Milpitas but neighboring Fremont (to the north) advertised years ago to attract restaurants (only four were non-chains then, in an agglomerated city about the size of Belgium). Milpitas's problem, instead, has always been its role as butt of Bay Area jokes, and as a collector of lo
  11. Contents: Event and its region. Technical program highlights. New wine consumers ending the era of dominant critics. John Haeger's new Pinot book. Winery notes. Scuttlebutt: payola and Dramamine. Anderson Valley (AV), the northernmost California grape-growing coastal river valley, is known for cool-climate varieties including Pinot Noir. Though the valley's southeastern tip touches Sonoma County, it and the grape-growing AVA subregions are essentially of Mendocino County. 2008 (11th annual) Pinot Noir Conference and Festival this past weekend included an intense technical program
  12. Yes, as in legumes aromatiques (seasoning vegetables such as onions, garlic, carrots, added to stocks etc. -- inescapable in French cookbooks) and even more memorably, the idiom grand(e) legume, big or great vegetable -- for a person. Like big cheese or big wheel in English. Anyway. Left Bank has some local history, and after multiple experiences with multiple sites, I posted various comments on those experiences such as this nutshell summary: ... should credit also the Left Bank chain, which offers something along [brasserie] lines, though has shown limitations. Several meals of d
  13. Max


    No connection with spirits manufacture or absinthe products. I did hear and get curious about, and even taste, absinthe before many of the people now posting about it were born. (Also I have a strong interest in flavors, if that wasn't clear.) Absinthe is an engaging topic, don't you agree?
  14. Max


    Yes that's a classic point and also a linguistic one -- source of word "Vermouth." I posted about that a few places such as This vermouth thread. More on the large group of "wormwood" herbs earlier in the thread you're currently reading, Here. The one usually meant in english is Artemisia absinthium, pertinent here. That common name "wormwood" has many ancient and biblical associations with things like snakes in the Garden of Eden, bitterness, and its medicinal utility as a vermifuge (wormer). By coincidence the slavic word for it, Chernobyl, is widely known -- as the name of the town whe
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