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Diaghilev Report [long]

JudiAU | Feb 15, 200508:07 PM 14

Diaghilev is a faded dowager of a restaurant, with an 80’s-meets-the-Art Deco Disco décor softened by good lighting. There was a captain who greeted, hugged,and thanked many people who came and went but not us.

The primary music was provided by a tone deaf harpist and a pianest. Both the harp and the piano were out of tune, the harp badly enough that it caused my husband to wince repeatedly. There were many heated conversations between the musicians as the pianist exhorted the harpist to tune her instrument. After a break, he returned to the dining room triumphantly with a pitch pipe in hand and blew notes loudly in her general direction until she tried to tune her harp. Stylistically, the harp was played as if it had been naughty and had to be disciplined in a particularly Soviet way.

When the musicians were on break, rather loud music was piped into the restaurant. My husband found the soundtrack to Blade Runner an odd choice. Also, when the musicians started playing again it took them almost ten minutes to turn the piped music off. Luckily, the restaurant was quiet so we could enjoy both songs at the same time.

Service was baffling, both very formal and restrained but oddly bad and dysfunctional. We observed at least three different modes of dress among the staff who walked around, very swiftly, doing very little. There were long breaks between courses and each time we finally had to ask for our plates to be removed, even though we had obviously been done for ages and the food had congealed on our plates. We had to ask for the wine list and the check twice.

After we were seated, a waiter placed vodka glasses on the table. Five minutes later, the captain made a big show of lining up decanters of vodka and asking which we would like from the selection, a special Russian tradition. My husband choose tea flavored, which he loved, and I choose green peppercorn which was spicy and fun. An excellent start! Every couple received the same treatment and choose vodka.

An amuse of sevruga caviar, house-cured salmon, and crème fraiche on a small toast arrived. Utterly delicious. Excellent ingredients.

We receive our menus (finally).

The menu is not the same as the one outside and is missing one course and the two dishes that interested my husband. The amuse was not an amuse but our appetizer. We are missing two courses.

After ages our order is taken.

After ages our lobster bisque arrives. It contains so much cream and butter that the lobster flavor is almost absent. There are pellet-sized pieces of lobster, including many pieces which are clearly from the legs. The lobster is nicely cooked. There was perhaps one rounded tablespoon of lobster in at least two cups of bisque per person. Impossible to eat it all and we finally beg them to take it away.

After ages our foie gras terrine arrives. I describe the terrine here: [BROKEN LINK REMOVED]
In essence, I think they used very low quality foie gras parts and trim to make it and attempted to cover it up by making it look "arty. The texture was ruined and the terrine was overcooked. Foie gras does not need vinaigrette and it is preferable if it doesn’t taste “squiggly” in the mouth.

After ages we ask them to remove our plate. At this point we discuss the music at length.

After ages our entrees arrive. I have the duck special, which includes half of a duck breast and a dug leg. Quite good with a herbaceous sauce with sweet spices. Terrific braised cabbage. Novelle asparagus flan in liu of vegetable. Unfortunately, they have cooked the breast medium. They did not ask me how I like duck cooked and inadvertently assumed that it would be properly cooked. My husband had a sea bass that was pleasant.

We are offered coffee which we decline.

Ages later our dessert arrives. I don’t eat at the chain restaurants maligned on these boards but this is always how I imagine an Applebees dessert to taste-- sachrine sweet tastless goo. Uninteresting cold mouse formed into a heart. It tastes vaguely of chocolate. We wonder if they used Ovaltine to flavor the dish. It surrounded by a moat of kool-aid flavored fruit sauce with lots of out-of-season tasteless berries. A few were previously frozen. Utterly depressing.

Again we have to ask to have our plates taken away.

My husband tells our waiter that we are finished.

We wait.

My husband flags down the waiter to again ask for our check.

A basket of stale, inexpertly baked tuile cookies arrive on a plate elaborately decorated with the missing chocolate. Hurray! We are at Diaghilev.

I ask my husband, “Tuile?” He says, “Yes, that is exactly how I feel.” He’s witty, that husband of mine.

The check arrives. We are charged for the vodka that we “ordered.” My husband is infuriated over this. $14

Bill for two with a bottle of $98 wine, $615.

My husband explains that normally, the cost per couple for the pre fix (with the additional courses) is $190. Instead, this was the special Valentine rate of $185 per person.

We leave, stunned.


RIP Chino Wayne

If you need a scooter in the great beyond, I hope it still sparkles.

CW’s First Theory Of Supermarket Fried Chicken:

Chino Wayne | Aug 23, 200512:23 AM 35

This was stimulated by a discussion of supermarket rotisserie chicken on the L.A. board:

Chino Wayne’s First Theory Of Supermarket Chicken goes like this:

“Prepared chicken, particularly fried chicken as rendered by the supermarket has the potential to exceed in flavor and overall quality the best franchised fried chicken by an order of magnitude similar to the differences in points on the Richter Scale.”

This theory is based upon field work performed in the mid-1980’s at the Von’s in Palms, (Los Angeles), California and more recently at the Ralphs Service Deli in Chino Hills, California. Upon repeated scientific testing, including making the author and various members of the author’s family research subjects, this theory was formulated and proven.

The scientific principals behind why supermarket fried chicken is markedly better than franchise fried chicken are two-fold: 1) Superior raw materials, 2) small batch production. Invariably franchise fried chicken purveyors utilize portion controlled, precisely weighed and measured chicken components that are engineered to fit 12 pieces in a box smaller than a shoe box. Whereas supermarkets use the same chicken as those plump pieces found under shrink wrap, nestled in foam containers in the meat department, chicken pieces that have been selected for their plumpy, well fed eye appeal. As the franchise fried chicken purveyors’ goal is maximum output during peak noon time and evening dining hours, they will produce large batches of “product” using multiple broasters, running continuously (and only Harlan Sanders and Dave Thomas know what the batter is made out of, and they are both dead). In the boutique fried chicken operation of a supermarket, generally a few small batches of chicken are turned out of a single broaster during a given business day, by Service Deli staff who have evolved as fine practioners of the art of working slow and methodical.

The above differences, however, do not guarantee a hungry fried chicken fancier a better experience at the supermarket unless the following strategy for fried chicken acquisition is employed:

  1. Scout out the Service Deli at different times of day, note at what times there is typically a lot of chicken under the heat lamp in the hot food case, and what times the chicken supply diminishes. On these scouting trips make small, but tactical purhases of various sliced meats or cheeses that might appeal to you, and use these opportunities to chat with and become friendly with the Service Deli staff.

  2. Arrive at the Service Deli counter at a time when experience has shown there will be little fried chicken left in the hot case. Insure that you arrive at the Service Deli before you have done any of your other food shopping.

  3. If another supermarket patron arrives at the Service Deli at about the same time as you, and they are interested in acquiring fried chicken, allow them to be helped first. By all means encourage them to have their order filled before yours, even if it results in their acquiring most if not all of the remaining fried chicken that has been sitting under the heat lamp for the last 120 minutes.

  4. When your turn comes, order at least 16 pieces, if not more, of fried chicken. It usually helps to order some extras of say legs and breasts, to round out the order to about 24 pieces. (Invariably this quantity of fried chicken will cost considerably less at the supermarket than at the franchise fried chicken joint.) Most likely the Service Deli staff member will inform you that there will be a 15 or 20 minute wait, because they are going to have to fry a new batch of chicken. If you hear those words, you have struck the Motherlode! Immediately respond with, “Of course I’ll do some shopping and stop by here for the chicken when it is ready, take your time”.

This stratgey will result in the Service Deli staff member custom cooking your fried chicken, and even if you don’t get back to the Service Deli counter immediately after the chicken has come out of the broaster, they will have your juicy, plump, flavoful fried chicken packaged, reserved and ready for you, and the next schmoe who comes along looking for fried chicken will get what ever leavings you did not want, likely dried out under the heat lamps.


Holiday Recipe Desecration

JudiAU | Dec 18, 200809:22 AM 11

So a dear childhood friend loves a family cookie recipe very much. We make them ever Christmas and she always calls me in advance to er, remind me, how good they are. I always drop some off.

She has asked me for the recipe many times and I have given her the recipe many times. T

his year she decided to make them herself and took them to a party. “Oh this JudiAU’s special family recipe.” Well I went to party and tasted the cookies. Disgusting.

I finally managed to corner to ask her er, what she had done with the recipe I gave her. “Oh, I made it.” “Hum I said, they don’t really taste the same.” “Sure they do.”

The recipe has five ingredients: flour, butter, egg yolks, sour cream, and a package of yeast. She substituted crisco, non-fat sour cream, and added 2 T. artificial rum flavoring.

If she can’t tell the difference between my delicious cookie and that horror I am not baking for her any more. ARGH.

My special recipe indeed.

Hungarian Kifli


4 c. flour
1 pound butter
4 egg yolks
8 oz. sour cream
1 package regular yeast, bloomed in a little hot water

Cream butter and add yolks. Alternate flour with sour cream. Mix in yeast. Need ten times and chill overnight.

Dough is supposed to be rolled out in powered sugar. This can be difficult as the sugar collects moisture. You may need to add some flour to the mixture to make it manageable. Keep the proportion of flour as low as possible because you start to loose the lovely crisp shell contributed by the sugar.

Working with 1/4 of the dough at a time roll out 3/16 of an inch thick. Cut in 2x2 inch squares. Fill with prune, apricot, poppy fillings as Solo or raspberry jam. Don’t let the dough get too soft. You may need to chill them for a few minutes before baking if the pan takes awhile to prepare. We bake on a silpat. Bake at 375 for about 10-12 minutes until light golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar.

Note that the directions and baking time is aproximate. We don’t have a copy of the original recipe any more. I’ve seen very similiar recipes online, usually with a nut filling, but they generally don’t have the yeast. It provides a gentle lift.


And the only decent recipe on Kitchen:


  • 1 pound

ground beef

  • 1 teaspoon

olive oil

  • 1

medium onion, chopped small

  • 2

celery stalks, chopped small

  • 1

carrot, peeled and chopped small

  • 1

(8 to 10 ounce) package mushrooms (button or baby bella), sliced thinly

  • 2 cloves

garlic, minced

  • 1

(8-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1/4 cup


  • 1 to 2 tablespoons

cider vinegar

  • 1/2 tablespoon

Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 tablespoon

sugar (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 1/8

black pepper

  • 8

hamburger buns

GET INGREDIENTSPowered by Chicory


  1. In a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat, brown the beef. Break it up into small bits as you cook. Once browned, transfer the beef and any juices to a clean bowl and set aside.

  2. In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm a teaspoon of olive oil. Add the onions, celery, and carrots, and cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots look softened, about five minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are soft and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about thirty seconds.

  3. Return the ground beef to the pan. Stir in the tomato sauce, ketchup, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar (if using), salt, and black pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

  4. Taste the sauce, adding more vinegar, salt, or sugar if desired. If the sauce is too thin for your taste, simmer uncovered for another 5 to 10 minutes until the desired thickness is reached. (If you have time, you can continue simmering for up to an hour or more! The meat will just continue becoming more tender. Add extra liquid to the pan if the sauce starts to dry out.)

  5. Serve on hamburger buns. Don’t forget a napkin.

  6. The sloppy joe sauce will keep refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to 3 months.


Adapted from Favorite Recipes from First United Methodist Church of Still Water, Minnesota.

This recipe was originally published July 2008.


Any chance you can find Sam’s “I Live in a Magical House” post?

1 Like

Am I the only one who lives in a magic house? A lighthearted look at ourselves & food safety

Sam Fujisaka | Nov 15, 200804:05 AM 331

I sometimes feel like I live in a magic house completely uncontaminated by food pathogens and in which food can be left out without spoilage or infection. Guests may come dirty, but walk through the front door and are magically sterilized. Although I keep a very clean kitchen and store things properly, I just don’t worry about food poisoning in my magic house.

What about you? How do you rate yourself, from food slob in a magic house to a follower of all the food handling “rules” in a dark, contaminated universe?

Please keep this lighthearted and fun. Just provide your approach. No citing of USDA or other rules and recommendations, please.

1 Like

This is a copy and paste of what I just pasted there; I’m going to have to go back and harvest a few things before it’s gone.

Good times! I’m going to have to find my favorite threads from the good old days. The meatball thread, the tuna salad thread, the macaroni and cheeses thread, the Thanksgiving blow by blow, coming back every year for the beginning of the SF crab season, and Melanie’spost about steaming Dungeness crab. My annual preserved lemon, spiced nuts, and whole preserved fig experiments. The “Just got braces and everything hurts” thread! I’m glad there’s HO. I’ve posted links there in the past, but I’m guessing they won’t work.

Oh, and the trip reports!


And don’t forget the Mooch and Hooch thread from JanetfromRichmond, @shrinkrap. Janet is a friend of mine, so that thread was a fun one, since I knew the restaurants she was talking about. (Thankfully I never mer Mooch and Hooch!) Janet had another one that was a total WTF? thread, but I can’t remember the topic.


OMG @LindaWhit forgot the Mooch and Hooch thread and it was a classic.


I do! Although much less frequently during these 2 years of the pandemic. Only two or three times during 2021, if I recall correctly. :disappointed_relieved: Definitely NOT enough! I’ve actually been craving their warmth and hospitality, and am hoping to get in there in the next week or so. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

I haven’t figure out how, but I was reminded of the “View from the Kitchen Window” thread. How can I find that one?

Found it! @Harters !


The kitchen window thread was utter magic.


JanetfromRichmond’s Mooch & Hooch thread:

How to tactfully avoid inviting others.

Janet from Richmond | Jan 19, 200909:44 AM 217

We are friends with two other couples. Nearly every Friday night, we go to dinner with one of the couples and often with both. There is another couple who shows up at our watering hole and expects to be included. In the past we have, but it is always an added stress to the evening.

Last Friday I just pretended they were not at our watering hole and avoided them and therefore the subject and the woman asked why I am mad at her/them. I’m not angry, I just don’t want to go to dinner with them.

In the past they have gone so far to ask the bartenders where we are having dinner if they arrive after we’ve left the bar and headed to dinner elsewhere. We also have a newer watering hole and they followed us there. I am not good at tactful confrontations and would prefer not to be a full out bitch this coming Friday. Any advice is welcomed.

The thread is long (SEVENTEEN CH pages long!) and jfood is credited with coming up with the Mooch and Hooch names. Although he never did copyright the name! LOL

YayaDave summarizes it with his song lyrics:

jan 21, 200909:45 am

Mooch and Hooch went up a hill
To see what they could find.
Bumpt into Janet of Richmond
And her Chowhound friends behind.

No dice, you mice,
It’s been fun, but we’re done.
Look elsewhere to Mooch and Hooch,
Go elsewhere Mr. Mooch and Mrs. Hooch

But OBTW Mooch and Hooch,
You’ll be gone but not un-read.
Now you’re a Chowhound Classic
Subject of a remembered thread.


I used to love jfood’s posts. So funny.

I took me ages to realise that he was writing as though he was the family’s dog.


I can’t seem to copy a whole thread discussion easily. For now, here’s my post on a custard vs bechamel macaroni and cheese thread

Custard. But I do a hybrid.My Aunt Helen meets Cooks Illustrated meets Alton Brown meets Patti LaBelle meets John Thorne. And uncooked elbows, stirred intermittently. Lately I am leaning toward shorter baking times for a looser finish.


Great story! Are you still in touch with Janet? Is she doing well?

1 Like

We are FB friends, and yes, she’s doing very well!


That was a great thread! I love how the whole community came to her defense with some clever ways to get her out of the sticky situation. Was Janet ever able to ditch Mooch and Hooch? If yes, what method did she use? Sorry, I didn’t have a chance to read all 17 pages to see if the issue was ever resolved :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like