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  1. I worked in Berkeley for a while. San Francisco gets a bad rap nationally by right-wingers who think it's farther left than it is. I mean it's liberal, but there is (or was) more balance and inclusion there than you'd think. A place for everyone so to speak. It's just that the national media tends to latch onto SF-stereotype stories and amplify them. Berkeley? Nope. Our way or the highway. It is as far out there as it would been seen. I mean it's a nice place. Always liked the food. But forgiving of those not in step with its core beliefs it is not. To me true liberalism is Live and Let Live. Austin is (or again maybe was, been a long time) a good example of that. Be who you are, just let others be what they are too. Berkeley like many places on the other end of the spectrum is very far from that idea. But really, there always has to be somebody/someplace on that end of the stick - however far the stick goes - and what place is more apropos than Berkeley?
  2. Oh hell no. That's a form of kneading. Would make a tough ass burger. Usually when prepping on a commercial but let's call it bistro level (small, hands on), you scale out the meat - an 8 oz burger is the norm. Work them into form to hold, shaping and sometimes pitching from one hand into another so it compresses a bit...makes them hold together. By the time you've finished the last one, the first one has rested a bit so it's not so tight, tense. Take that and shape it. Popular way is to use the lid from one of those really big spice jars. Just perfect for a burger. Then they are stored chilled ready to go, usually layered in a pan with parchment or PVC between them. You don't want the meat exposed to the air very much. Makes them turn gray, lose the nice red color. When about to fire one, it's common to gently stretch the meat outward a bit on one or both sides by dimpling it all the way around evenly. That way when it constricts from the heat it returns to the desired shape. The opposite version of this is the dreaded Baseball burger, all balled up and round. That's how I learned it from a guy in SF who learned it from Judy at Zuni Cafe. A place well known for their burgers. https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/zuni-burgers "We believe chef Judy Rodgers's juicy, meaty burger, served at Zuni Café in San Francisco, is the best burger in America." When I was running a place in SF around that time that did have a burger on the menu, we got in meat ground each morning fresh, 6 days a week. (sorry Sunday) Really does make a massive difference.
  3. I for one am shocked this guy of all people choose to support the Confederate General who was the KKK Grand Wizard/Dragon/Demogorgon/Druid/whatever geeky name they used. I mean really, nothing in his history would have suggested an action like that. Nor would have indicated he'd perform a potentially insensitive action then hide behind traditional and procedurals as an excuse for such action. //// In reality I doubt he really wanted to sign off on this. Pretty sure if he had his choice it would have never come near his desk. But they did the calculus that he coudl use the "I had to" excuse as cover and end up counting on keeping more people happy who would/did vote for him (people who get angry when Confederate statues removed), while the folks who'd be most pissed would not have voted for him anyway. Just politics at its best.
  4. Thank you for food chem reference. Doesn't do anything to "lock in juices" - I hope we all know that by know - but does of course help out big time on flavor development. Thought you'd appreciate than back when in Seattle we had to have a burger on the menu as we where in a hotel (room service, even though an independent restaurant). Started with Kobe (style) beef but it was very inconsistent in quality, so did a blind taste test on about 6-7 different available products and ended up using Oregon Country Natural Beef. Made a great burger.
  5. That article while having valid points isn't very well constructed. Also fails to differentiate between types of grills and grill heats, including propane, charcoal or wood-fired. The later perhaps adding something to the equation that a propane one would not. Also fails to discuss pragmatic merits for the home chef such as outdoor entertaining in a backyard or in a park, a hibachi on the beach. Not to mention I (used to) like grilling at home simply because it made for less clean up inside, especially a greasy burger splattering my kitchen. That being said, I can mostly say I can cook you a better pan-roast steak in a good saute pan - cast iron or not. Searing then roasting it, adding whole butter crushed garlic and bruised thyme, spoon basting it along the way. My usual burger complaints involve people putting crap inside. For me I want meat I trust to eat still med rare. And how they are shaped and handled, including the pizza dough style softening step before cooking to keep them from balling up as well as to make them more tender, those are parts not addressed nearly enough.
  6. That's the ol'Steve Wynn charm in action! Damn. Just missed ya. Was briefly at the Vdara on way back from Nashville/Atlanta trip with the kiddos. Or wait, that was 2 weekend ago. Last weekend was in B Hills with private jet FA pal. Crew was going back empty to Van Nuys and hopped a leg for fun. And yes, those one floor upgrades are nothing. And the disparity on room rates between say a busy sporting weekend like when I was there for UFC 234 (?), plus Knights, plus other stuff I can't remember, and some offseason midweek thing is massive. That Vdara suite I got was dirt cheap. Likely since it was about 105 outside. Regardless.... glad you had fun. And continue to.
  7. No real info other than he was legitimately talented, studied/worked with the best of the best chefs in England and France, was famous for having a temper and big personality which in turn made for easy TV persona. I don't watch any of that but did eat at his place Amaryllis in Glasgow about 15+ years ago and it was great (he wasn't there, run by chef de cuisine). No interest in those kinds of shows. Most food shows for that matter, since all so staged to point where I cant handle it. Stopped watching most all food things a long while back but did always enjoy Bourdain. Very real, sincere. Got to cook for him before. Most honest look at industry vs what BS TV producers generate for viewers as "reality" shows cooking or not.
  8. Wasn't really that bad. At least what they got vs what they shot for. (Which was really quite rude and yes stupid in that state laws were pretty clear in absolute on division)
  9. Holy crap that would suck! Why do all these vids make me think of my ex and her divorce attorney?
  10. I suppose it's just a reminder that despite many people's horrified reaction to that vid (Oman not among them), we eat stuff too that used to move.
  11. And perhaps make sure it isnt a short bus to start with
  12. Fair enough. Surf 'n' Turf Filet Mignon & Jumbo Shrimp with Truffled Porcini Risotto Cake, Haricot Verts Bundle and Marsala-Veal Demiglace When you need to cook for 75+++ and any donkey has to plate it up and look pretty. Nailing it med-rare AND hot on the off-site reheat and out to table is the real challenge.
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