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Everything posted by cabrales

  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.
  16. cabrales

    Football 2006-2007

    Another record: In the Ravens game, Vinatieri tied George Blanda's record by scoring in his 19th consecutive playoff game.
  17. cabrales

    Football 2006-2007

    On E James, see J Addai (with some D Rhodes added in). A super rookie -- arguably better than Mahoney (spelling) RB at the Patriots, even though Addai was drafted lower.
  18. cabrales

    Football 2006-2007

    2) Existing kicker HoFer has 373 career field goals AV has a total of 288 regular season field goals, including this year. We also know that his recent 4th (out of 5) FG successful kicks was a record-setting 33d career postseason field goals. So his total career field goal tally is 322. He only needs 51 FG more. His lowest FG in the regular season in his whole time at the NFL is 20. His highest for the regular season is 31 (achieved twice). Even at the slowest rate, AV could take over Stenerud in 3 years. 3) Existing kicker HoFer has seven seasons of scoring 100 or more points The Colts website notes that AV has "opened career with 10 consecutive 100+ point seasons", not counting 2006. Therefore, AV now has 11 consecutive 100+ point seasons, and has bested Stenerud already. 4) Existing kicker HoFer has 17 FGs over 50 yards In the regular season, AV had these kicks over 50 yards. 52 yards (1997) 55 yards (1998; need to check whether the other 50-yard-or-greater FG was over 50 yards or not) 51 yards (1999) 53 yards (2000) 54 yards (2001) 57 yards (2002) __________ Total of at least 6 greater-than-50-yarders in regular season so far I'm going to have to do some research on any playoff results, apart from the 51-yarder against the Ravens. So, AV has at least 7 FGs of over 50 yards, even before I've finished work on reviewing the playoff situation. Even though AV will probably never match the 17 FGs Stenerud has in this range, at least kicking in a dome environment at home will give him the best possible chance. 5) Existing kicker HoFer has personal best of a 55-yarder AV's personal best is a 57-yarder. He also has a 55-yarder. Here, AV doesn't need to do anymore. So, all in all, things are looking pretty good for AV to get into the HoF. His move to the Colts might have helped him a bit in some respects, assuming that he was not to stay at New England as an initial matter.
  19. cabrales

    Football 2006-2007

    Recent events show why Vinatieri is not only a great choice for the Colts, but the Colts were a great choice for Vinatieri. The more focused upon reasons at the time of Vinatieri's move, from AV's perspective, to the Colts include: > Patriots' delay in negotiating a contract with which AV was satisfied, and framing any contract negotiations as a business decision instead of emphasizing AV's roles in the three Superbowls > Colts' compensation package and, equally importantly for a kicker of AV's age (even though AV has at least several great years to go), certain assurances regarding the stability of that compensation regardless of performance > Ability to align himself with a playoff contender and a prolific quarterback and offense > Ability to improve his stats (including for an increased chance at Hall of Fame enshrinement) while kicking indoors in a dome environment However, more subtle aspects of why the move to the Colts was a good move for AV are as follows: > Key player stability and coaching stability. Peyton is going to be a Colts for life, because of his comp package. Harrison and Peyton have played together for a long time and Harrison will probably retire as a Colt. Even after Harrison's retirement, there is Reggie Wayne as a very prolific WR. Equally importantly, Dungy has been coaching Petyon for a long time, and has the franchise QB's full confidence. Dungy is, as far as NFL coaches go, relatively secure in his position. Therefore, AV knows that the Colts are probably to be contending for a while and give AV chances to improve his numbers and his already fabled clutch kicker status. > History of Unpopular Kicker. Mike V was very unpopular as a kicker, not only because of his miss that cost the Colts playoff progression last year. Mike V's attitude was bad, and he was not particularly liked by Peyton. Therefore, AV knew that he was stepping into the shoes of a kicker who was not paritucularly liked both within the team and by the fans. This left AV, who alredy was a national star from his Superbowl efforts, with a prime opportunity to quickly embed himself into the hearts of his colleagues and his local/regional fans. > History of Colts Playoff Failures. Given the history of the Colts' playoff performances (or lack thereof) prior to this year, AV had a chance to be viewed as being an important factor if the Colts win the Superbowl one of these years (which I believe they will, hopefully this year). AV will get much of the credit, including for making Peyton feel more confident once he reached a certain point in key drives. > Boosting the Stats. It is very difficult for a "pure" kicker, like AV, to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. There is only one person who has done this so far. While qualitative factors (here, AV has a real leg up on the competition, given his two SB kicks and the snow kicks and a lot of game-winning kicks) are important, stats are also crucial. Here is where it gets quite interesting: Here are some facts from Jan Stenerud's HoF bio: -- "With 1,699 points, he ranked behind only the fabled George Blanda in all-time scoring at the time of his retirement." -- "His 373 career field goals" -- "Seven seasons of scoring 100 or more points" -- "Kicked 17 field goals over 50 yards" -- "Personal best was a 55-yarder against Denver in 1970" 1) Total Career Points (Stenerud at 1699): AV has over 1200 by now. That means that, if AV continues at the same rate, he could probably make up the difference in total points earned AV Regular Season points: Remember, AV got 113 points in the regular season this year, even though he was out with an injury for 3 games. The more prolific the offence, the more potential opportunities for the field goals. Even though Peyton tends to get a lot of touchdowns, the offensive power is still a very good thing for AV. At the same rate, if he had played 16 games, he could conceivably have added 139 points over 16 games. That is not far off what he scored playing 16 games during a few of his seasons at New England (e.g., 2004 -- 31 field goals * 3 + 48 extra points = 141 points in regular season only!) The more touchdowns his QB can score, the more "easy" extra points. Peyton was the #1 touchdown scorer in the regular season this year, and frequently leads in that category. Getting back to total career points, AV is the Patriots' leading scorer (bar nobody) at 1158 total points. This year, he got 113 during the Colts' regular season and added 11 points (3 FG and 2 extra points) in the playoff game against the Chiefs, and 15 points in the recent game against the Ravens ( ). That seems to indicate that AV's total career points scored is now 1297 (he has already gained 139 points this year, while being absent from 3 regular seasons games). That means that AV is now only 403 points shy of breaking Stenerud's total points scored number, which would make a very useful point when AV is being considered for the Hall of Fame. If healthy and relatively effective, AV could do that in about 3 seasons more with playoffs included. Analysis on the other HoF stats to come.
  20. Yohan has a lot of Japanese products, although it has more Chinese products. It's a huge supermarket.
  21. cabrales

    Football 2006-2007

    Go, Colts!!! Manning should be given a lot of respect for his analytical abilities in the game. It's wonderful that he now has Vinatieri with him -- what about those 48 and 50 yarders!!! A lot better than the "idiot kicker", whose incompetence has now been exposed by his having been fired by another team.
  22. There are several places in Richmond, including Yohan, which is more of a supermarket/Asian grocery vendor.
  23. cabrales


    The best iteration of March was when Mike was in the kitchen. Period.
  24. It's the non-glossy version of this lipstick: http://usa.hermes.com/webapp/wcs/stores/se...=10851&nbItem=0 It's not currently available on line at Hermes.
  25. Speaking of lipsticks, I have been buying Paul & Joe as well as my regular MAC (Carnal, Del Rio, Retro), that Hermes red, Stila (Stila has a strange taste to the lipstick, so I don't use it as much). P&J is nice for softer pinks with sheen. Available at Sephora on line.
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