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What is a "tasting menu?"


A tasting menu is a  multi-course meal with each course specified by the chef and
presented in a particular order. Typically the courses are numerous, the portions are
smaller, and the food choices are chosen thematically and typically highlight the best this particular chef has to offer. Often a chef will choose individual wines to complement
each course served in a tasting menu.



How do we contact tastingmenu.com?

You can contact us at info@tastingmenu.com.


Who is "behind" this website?

Hi. My name is Hillel. I have no credentials, formal training, education, or any other official form of credibility when it comes to the world of food, cooking, and eating. The only quality I bring to the discussion is a view that every mealtime is an opportunity  - and opportunities are not to be squandered. That as well as my voracious appetite for yummy food will hopefully serve us well.

When I started this website I didn't really have a philosophy around food other than what's stated above. That's grown a little bit since the beginning of 2003.

There are two human physiological needs that are more fun with others than alone. Eating is one of them. It's not just an opportunity to share and be social. The more people at the table, the more dishes you get to try (at least when you go out with people who like to share). The Editors listed below are not just companions for meals but real contributors of insights and appetites to the content of this site. And as the website has become more and more trafficked, more people have been interested in helping out by coming out to dinner. Thus the new Staff section.



Managing Editor


Debbie is my fantastic and lovely wife :) . When we first met she was happy to eat regularly from the food available at 7-11 - frozen pizza, diet coke, etc. She still is. She loves Red Robin, Chili's, TGI Friday's and the like. However, she also loves foie gras. She has expanded her diverse palate to include sushi and French food, and loves Mexican food. She is a good counterpoint in any food evaluation. If both of us like something, it's likely to appeal very broadly.

Wine Editor

Alex is super into food (not to mention art, and a bunch of other stuff). Alex knows a lot about wine (or at least a lot more than any of us) and happens to have quite a bit of it in his neat basement wine cellar. He also flies (himself) to Napa on a semi-regular basis. (02/25/03)


Aliya (my sister) lives in San Francisco. Typically every time we get together we're off to eat something delicious. She loves sushi, and is a decent cook.

Anh Anh is discriminating, open to trying new things, and makes the best Vietnamese spring rolls I have ever eaten.
Contributing Editor

We eat with Chris here in Seattle all the time. Sushi is of course a favorite, but in general we're up for all kinds of fun food exploration.

Contributing Editor

DebDu is another Debbie. But in order to distinguish between her and Debbie above we'll user her e-mail alias. :) DebDu regularly accompanies us on food expeditions both at home and out to eat (even as far as Tokyo).


Gil (my brother-in-law) lives in San Francisco. Typically every time we get together we're off to eat something delicious. Gil is really into cooking and is quite good at it.

Design Director

Jenny is not only into food, but makes things beautiful. Her father's a retired chef, and she loves food. Her first impact on the site has been the gorgeous design for our first cookbook. She isn't into Vietnamese food but we will fix that in time.



Maker of mini-pumpkin cheesecakes, and all manner of desserts (and other good stuff as well) Kat is super easy going, open to trying all manner of culinary experiences - both consumption and creation. Can't ask for more than that.



Kira lives in Boston. We love to eat together - especially Sushi. Asian food in general is super popular. In college we ate tons of really good cheap Indian food together. Kira and I recently had a contest to see who had the better Pizza and Subs in our hometown - Brookline, MA. Presto's vs. Pino's in Cleveland Circle. Presto's won for subs. Pino's won for Pizza. Debbie still thinks the pizza at Patsy's in Springfield, MA is the best. We'll see...

Contributing Editor

Lauren is as into food as a vegetarian can be. Despite that, we eat out together quite a bit. As Lauren says: it's not that she loves animals, it's that she hates plants. Among her favorites: balsamic vinegar and beets.

Contributing Editor

Leslie is a regular eating partner. Leslie has some specific vertical areas of interest including her past as a professional baker, all kinds of different mixed drinks, and the instigator of the fried Twinkie party.


Mary-Alice loves food, and also enjoys bringing a book to dinner. This makes Debbie very happy as she's not the only one anymore.


Michael is super fun to eat and travel with. Michael is like Debbie in many ways in that he represents a more traditional American perspective when it comes to food. This is not to say that his palate is not evolved. Michael likes all kinds of food and is focused on finding the best in each category he enjoys. For example, he has strong opinions on the exact best way to make a spicy tuna hand roll certainly, and he also has good taste in wine. Also, Michael feels the same way about eggs that I feel about raisins.

Photography Editor

Peyman is a regular food buddy. He has a small wine collection, is into Persian food, and takes beautiful pictures (lots of them about food).


I've known Roee for almost 25 years. Hmm. I feel old. His stories are always entertaining and fantastic. So much so that we often wonder if they're true. That said, he has an eye (and a taste) for quality. He spent several years working as a waiter in New York City, living in London, and traveling the world. He also made fun of me for not pronouncing "confit" properly.


Steve lives in Boston. We love to eat together - especially Sushi. Asian food in general is super popular. In college we ate tons of really good cheap Indian food together. Steve regularly sends me mail with excellent critiques of write-ups as well as typo notifications.


Tjeerd and I are friends from work. We don't get to go out that often, but when we do the scenario is pretty standard. Tjeerd worries about the meal we're going to have thinking it's either not going to be good or is too weird. He always tries it, and he always ends up loving it (at least the best stuff). He's also Dutch. Not sure what bias that adds to his palate. Maybe a love for gouda.


Victor is Australian. Victor loves Asian food - especially from Singapore. Not sure there's much more to say here.


Walter is one of the smartest people I know. He's "scary smart". And it should be no surprise that he's incredibly smart about food as well. He loves good food, and we haven't eaten enough of it together. But we're working on rectifying that.











Tastingmenu is focused on superlative restaurant experiences from two perspectives: behind the plate and behind the stove. Tastingmenu is written by Hillel (professional eater) and Dana (up-and-coming professional chef) in Seattle, Washington.

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  Garlic has long been credited with providing and prolonging physical strength and was fed to Egyptian slaves building the giant pyramids. Throughout the centuries, its medicinal claims have included cures for toothaches, consumption, open wounds and evil demons. A member of the lily family, garlic is a cousin to leeks, chives, onions and shallots. The edible bulb or "head" grows beneath the ground. This bulb is made up of sections called cloves, each encased in its own parchmentlike membrane. Today's major garlic suppliers include the United States (mainly California, Texas and Louisiana), France, Spain, Italy and Mexico. There are three major types of garlic available in the United States: the white-skinned, strongly flavored American garlic; the Mexican and Italian garlic, both of which have mauve-colored skins and a somewhat milder flavor; and the Paul Bunyanesque, white-skinned elephant garlic (which is not a true garlic, but a relative of the leek), the most mildly flavored of the three. Depending on the variety, cloves of American, Mexican and Italian garlic can range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Elephant garlic (grown mainly in California) has bulbs the size of a small grapefruit, with huge cloves averaging 1 ounce each. It can be purchased through mail order and in some gourmet markets. Green garlic, available occasionally in specialty produce markets, is young garlic before it begins to form cloves. It resembles a baby leek, with a long green top and white bulb, sometimes tinged with pink. The flavor of a baby plant is much softer than that of mature garlic. Fresh garlic is available year-round. Purchase firm, plump bulbs with dry skins. Avoid heads with soft or shriveled cloves, and those stored in the refrigerated section of the produce department. Store fresh garlic in an open container (away from other foods) in a cool, dark place. Properly stored, unbroken bulbs can be kept up to 8 weeks, though they will begin to dry out toward the end of that time. Once broken from the bulb, individual cloves will keep from 3 to 10 days. Garlic is usually peeled before use in recipes. Among the exceptions are roasted garlic bulbs and the famous dish, "chicken with 40 cloves of garlic," in which unpeeled garlic cloves are baked with chicken in a broth until they become sweet and butter-soft. Crushing, chopping, pressing or pureeing garlic releases more of its essential oils and provides a sharper, more assertive flavor than slicing or leaving it whole. Garlic is readily available in forms other than fresh. Dehydrated garlic flakes (sometimes referred to as instant garlic) are slices or bits of garlic that must be reconstituted before using (unless added to a liquid-based dish, such as soup or stew). When dehydrated garlic flakes are ground, the result is garlic powder. Garlic salt is garlic powder blended with salt and a moisture-absorbing agent. Garlic extract and garlic juice are derived from pressed garlic cloves. Though all of these products are convenient, they're a poor flavor substitute for the less expensive, readily available and easy-to-store fresh garlic. One unfortunate side effect of garlic is that, because its essential oils permeate the lung tissue, it remains with the body long after it's been consumed, affecting breath and even skin odor. Chewing chlorophyll tablets or fresh parsley is helpful but, unfortunately, modern-day science has yet to find the perfect antidote for residual garlic odor.  

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