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About cabrales

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  1. cabrales


    Has anybody tried the Mediations in Purple dessert? New Yorker had an annotated pictorial dissection of the dish's ingredients that interested me.... incl hibiscus.
  2. I'm surprised Pavie commands the prices it does, not that I've sampled a lot of Pavie so far.
  3. I don't recall, sorry. But it was still on the UES.
  4. I like Sherry Lehman. I was there this past weekend, and the head of Chateau Pavie was there with his wines SL is going to move soon. I recently bought the Louise (vintage escapes me) gift box with two beautiful flutes, a village Guy Rulot white Burgundy, and a Ramonet Chassagne.
  5. Yep, some of the "discounts" are a way for restaurants to price discriminate (within the sense of this term used for basic economic theory, not in any other sense) with respect to diners.
  6. Right, no kidding Is it any surprise that the reservation process favors: 1) The diligent -- Those who take note of when different restaurants start taking reservations, try to call again for late cancellations, those who keep on dialing, those who plan ahead in their home city or when they travel. Is that any suprise, or is that like everything else in life that is a scarce good or service? 2) The informed -- Those who care about good restaurants and allocate time to learning about restaurant industry developments? Does a diner who doesn't get an El Bulli reservation because they try for one too late deserve to a have a chance at the reservation? 3) Those who are willing to pay -- Through tipping of maitre d's, having credit cards that offer concierge-type services or reserved tables, staying at nice hotels that have more connected concierges, having the flexibility to change travel plans to facilitate restaurant going?
  7. Working the phones (or other channels) or paying a restaurant service are different ways for a diner to express how much she wants to go to a given restaurant. One might argue as to whether it is equitable, in the above example, for revenue to be received by the restaurant service, but it is hard to argue that there are no situations where the restaurant service can enhance the aggregate utility of diners, taken as a whole, by helping to allocate tables to those who would really derive utility from having the meal.
  8. One could construct an argument that this service might enhance the efficiency of allocation of scarce tables. Because it allows a diner who derives greater utility from having a given table (and therefore who is willing to pay the extra $35 (or other applicable amount)) to get the table, including on short notice after events develop that call for the table. Consider the case of two diners who hypothetically would spend the same amount at a given restaurant "PS" of $400/person for a table of one. > Both diners derive negative 15 hypothetical units of utility from having to pay $35 for using this service. > Diner C derives 10 hypothetical units of utility from having the meal, perhaps because she doesn't consider the restaurant a very good restaurant by world standards, but, given the options, she might still go if the table reservation were "free". > Diner A thinks the restaurant is great, and derives 50 hypothetical units of utility from the meal experience. > If there were a table available and nobody had to pay for it, Diner C could compete with Diner A for the table, even though, in order to maximize the aggregate utility of the two diners, the table should go to Diner A. If Diner C were to persist and get the reservation to the exclusion of Diner A without using the reservation service, the total utility derived by the two diners would be 10 (10 for Diner C, and 0 for Diner A). > Under the reservation service, Diner C is unwilling to pay the $35, because her utility from the whole meal is only 10 units and paying for the service would confer negative 15 units, leaving her with negative 5 units net. So Diner C doesn't use the service and does not go to restaurant "P.S.". However, Diner A is still eager to use this service, and derives a net utility from using the service and going to the restaurant of 35 (50 minus 15). The total utility derived by the two diners would be 35 (35 for Diner A, and 0 for Diner C), even before taking into account the utility derived by the reservation service from the revenue.
  9. Rao's is an exception. So are restaurants at actual private clubs.
  10. I think scalping tickets is distinguishable in some cases from restaurant reservations. I'm not an expert on getting sports event tickets, but, as I understand it, for some football stadiums, there is limited ability to get tickets even if one were to plan in advance. That is because season ticket holders might keep their seats from year to year, so that the "supply" of "new", available tickets at any given point in time is limited (or non-existent?) not just for a given person, but for all people. Now, that is not the case with restaurant reservations. With some planning and persistence, one can get any reservation in the world one wants if one had the time and the foresight. There is always a point at which the restaurant's reservations books open. It might be hard to get the reservation, but there are reservations out there to be had. I also see nothing wrong with a restaurant wanting to attract customers who are likely to spend more at their facility and therefore increase the restaurant's profits. There are ways that restaurants already do this -- e.g., advertising through certain media with certain target audiences; pairing with certain wine auctioneers to stage special dinners (e.g., Cru); not offering an a la carte menu that might offer clients the flexibility of lower spending (French Laundry); pairing with credit card companies (e.g., American Express Platinum reserved tables).
  11. I don't see a problem with the use or provision of this reservations service: 1) If somebody has the time to go and get all of these reservations, why shouldn't they be rewarded for that? 2) How are reservations different from any other good or service which is legitimately bought and sold? There is a demand and supply. There are also buyers that are more (using this for actually scarce reservations) or less informed, and buyers that place different values on the price of using the site and on their own time. 3) There is also equality of access by all diners to pay this site for a given reservation. Now, one might argue that $35 doesn't mean the same thing (i.e., is more or less painful to pay) for some diners than others. But that's the same for a person who wants a watch or a bottle of shampoo or a new electronic gadget. 4) The site's prices seem reasonable to me, esp if one is informed about which restaurants are hard to get and which not. If an uninformed user were to use the reservation site, like everything in life, they would do so at their own peril, because it's caveat emptor all the way.
  12. I don't think Le Cinq is better than RHR, although it's been a while since I last visited RHR.
  13. Sorry, but what time should a party of four arrive at Ali's in time for the restaurant's opening on a Saturday night, in order to be sure to get a table? If only one person out of that party has to stand in line, where can the other three grab a drink or coffee close by?
  14. cabrales

    Football 2006-2007

    Oh, yeah!!!! Interestingly, Harrison wasn't effective, nor was R Wayne particularly good. Not new for this playoff season, but an amazing comeback victory by the Colts. And Vinatieri has kicked a single season playoff NFL record of 11 FGs already -- he will get more probably in the Superbowl. Although Gost did well too for the Patriots.
  15. Le Bec has excellent cuisine. See my post on this chef's cuisine. He would have been promoted earlier if he hadn't gotten Chef de l'Annee whilst an unstarred-Michelin chef a few years again in the Gault-Millau. L'Astrance is just an amazing restaurant. Beurehiesel -- A Westermann issued a press release a while back, saying that he was handing this restaurant over to his son and was "returning" his three stars (a la Senderens). So demotion is not surprising. I think Taillevent and Le Cinq are deserving of a demotion, although, by that standard, a lot of other three stars would be as well (e.g., Auberge de l'Ill, but that restaurant is a lot more politically connected and I suspect they wouldn't do that whilst Paul H was still around to witness it). Actually, Le Cinq has some pretty good game dishes in the wintertime, but that's no reason to otherwise leave an otherwise undeserving restaurant at a three-star level.
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