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Everything posted by Tess

  1. My mother used to put a ball of port salut cheese or other soft fatty cheese inside the burger. It's a staple of those 1950s Forum Cookbook type publications but it works pretty well.
  2. I like multitasking myself, but if you drink your coffee while doing other things, you should be careful. That includes driving, shopping and walking in crowds. Where I live, you get people who buy their humungous Starbucks, walk across the street to the specialty food shop and eat free samples while putting their drink down on glass top of the deli or on the sample table. (Those people also tend to block everyone else's movement because they are so busy wrangling a large hot drink, some food and some shopping bags, and probably a cell phone too. I recently heard someone requested not to put her drink down on a tray of food that was for sale. Health reasons were cited but she just explained patiently that she didn't have enough hands to carry everything. Because I guess someone put a gun to her head and made her walk around with all that stuff.)
  3. I thought the dish based on The Christmas Story came fairly organically out of the movie. I lived it when Richard (the contestant, not Richard Roeper) said, "It's a comedy, I think." He is so cute.
  4. Ouch! That's page 7 of Bayless's blog. (They break them down into some many little pages that's they're a little tedious to read.)
  5. What need for public human contact is there that cannot be covered by shaking hands and the occasional air-kiss? That's what they do at the restaurants where I'm a regular. Because you are looking the person in the eye, you can see how well it's being received and tone it down if indicated. Oh, and I guess you will see someone touch the back of a diner's chair. Actually touching people, especially from behind, seems very risky. Don't people who do this ever get an elbow in the face? I understand, have experienced and actually enjoy that in some workplaces there is a certain amount of body language such as hip-checking and holding a hand out. It keeps the level of needless babble down. Those habits do tend to spread outside of the kitchen. One of the students at my night-school gig is a chef and has that body language, and he clasps hands with me when he comes in. I'd be fine with everyone doing that. Touching anywhere else? Marginal at best.
  6. There's a link to a list of farmers markets on the left bar of this page.
  7. And many more threads, if you look regionally and into home cooking. There have been quite a few food blogs about healthy cooking or cooking that is healthy overall. I find it interesting that, when I joined Weight Watchers, the eGullet thread on that topic was the only WW discussion online I could find that didn't absolutely suck. It did a lot more than not suck; it pretty much sustained me. I think someone could go through the many pages of that thread and create a healthy-eating program. Plus, it's amusing. I am still trying to figure out why eG, in particular, would foster such a vigorous discussion, in some ways a re-invention, of a popular weight-loss formula (which in its commercial version is not terribly healthy in my opinion).
  8. I've got to run out and get that April issue of Vogue. Steingarten's been extremely interesting on the subject of weight and diet in the past. My feelings about this are split right down the middle. On the one hand, I think Americans are completely deluded on the subject of portion sizes. (Most of the people quoted in the article are from the U.S., no?) On the other, I think most diet advice that's given out is crummy. People who have experience with weight-loss diets have good reason to be cynical about them. Some of the people quoted in the article are probably of an age to recall when there was a weight-loss candy called "Ayds." What a nightmare. We talk about being more enlightened now, but a lot of that's talk. The statistics about diets "working" long-term seem pretty abysmal. What are you supposed to do? For me, it's lots of exercise and periodic reversions to Weight Watchers-- which work somewhat while reminding me how hard it is to count calories. I'm never going to look at a fat person on the street and say, "Eat less; more more" or some pat thing like that. For some people it is a really difficult issue.
  9. Yes. Often one's put next to no thought into what flight to take or how much money to spend-- not at all like choosing a restaurant, where you may decide (e.g.) to go out of your way, or spend more and thus expect more. With an airline often the only choice is whether to pay for a higher class of service. (Which can admittedly lead to regrets.) Also, restaurant dining is more likely to be an end in itself whereas an airlplane flight is a means to an end. You get where you're going more or less on time; the flight is a success on some level. I'm married to an airline employee (a different airline) and I've been sitting here thinking of all the ways the analogy is valid vs. invalid. One thing my husband has told me-- and I have no idea if this is true in the restaurant business-- if that people who are truly frequent fliers are usually pretty easygoing and not apt to raise a fuss if they don't get their upgrade or whatever.
  10. Did I miss an explanation of how that happened? I'm not sure it's unfair but it's odd. I think Bravo definitely has an "exit edit." It's more obvious on Project Runway, where the minute someone says, "Making [whatever is this episode's challenge] is my specialty" you know they're toast. That said, it seems to me that it's usually worse at the beginning because they want to be sure you recognize the people who are winning and getting the axe.
  11. OK, admittedly it's the Travel Channel, but it's Bourdain so I watch it for the food. I like the episodes better when they are more about food, and the Hawaii episode struck me as being just about perfect in that regard. My husband watched the episode and sighed, "I want to go back." I think the ep. really captured the Hawaiian eating experience. I loved it that Alan Wong was there but fine dining as such was not showcased-- more the typical Hawaiian flavors. It might have been cool to see more of the local farming/slow food movement there but you can't cover everything.
  12. At Alan Wong's Pineapple Room, my friend had some fish coated with furikake with little round rice crackers in it. It looked like the furikake with crackers that you buy, but with a higher ratio of crackers. It was not quite a breading, but I could see using more of this for an actual breading.
  13. I bought some of the Chicken Chile Verde and thought it was OK for the calories and fat. (I go by Weight Watchers points in assessing frozen meals. It does seem like a lot of the TJ products are trying too hard to be healthy and lack a certain seasoning punch, as well.) I'm a happier with TJ products that are assembled but not quite "meals." A recent standout for me was a frozen vegetable blend called "Greens" or some such. It had edamame and spinach and a couple other vegetables. I sprinkeld it with sesame oil, used it as a bed for some spicy seared tuna. Next time I'll add some cucumber or avocado or something, maybe some pieces of nori or shaved bonito. I try a lot of the vegetable mixtures and am usually not that disappointed. The Thai green beans were OK. I'll add some tofu or shrimp to something like that for a meal. Like mizducky, I use TJs plain frozen fish sometimes. I miss the dirt-cheap rock shrimp they used to sell-- a casualty of Katrina?
  14. Back in Chicago. The alligator dog sounds great. I love the way Hank's has the different sauces on the side. We ordered a few to dip fries and rings. I have wondered about food tours on Oahu. Getting an insider's experience of a local place like Leonard's would be so cool. I am usually in Hawaii with a group of friends who have zero interest in food and have to sneak off to sample the local cuisine with at best one or two people in tow. Not as many people to order/try different stuff. Maholo again for your great suggestions-- a hui hou!
  15. I was in Honolulu when you posted this and looked for "trevally" on menus, not realizing that it's called "ulua" in Hawaii. Not living there, I don't get the chance to shop and cook fish, but I know I've eaten ulua in the past at places like Roy's. A quick Google for "ulua" turned up a couple Hawaiian recipes, including some of Roy's which include a short discussion of the fish. When I want to dream about this kind of thing, I google Roy Yamaguchi, Alan Wong and Chef Mavro. The current menus always read like food porn to me and the fish recipes are always perfect for whatever type of fish. My current cooking fantasy is a piece of fish a friend had last week at Alan Wong's Pineapple room, which was sprinkled with furikake that had little round rice crackers in it. I saw that kind of furikake at the Japanese supermarket across the way, but I think they had added more rice crackers as it was almost a breading.
  16. Aloha! Leonard's was absolutely perfect. We got a number of cream-filled malassadas. The haupia were our favorite. All this time, I've been going to Oahu and had no idea that Fat Tuesday was malassada day just like it's paczki day in Chicago. They had a sign up. I felt right at home. Mahalo for the Hank's recommendation too. We didn't get there on Fat Tuesday alas, but we did make it on Friday and had some lobster hotdogs along with beef ones, fries and onion rings and a number of sauces. That place is fantastic. It was so cool that both these places reminded me of home, but not too much. Mahalo again and a hui hou!
  17. You did the paczki hunt so I don't have to! Of course, Leonard's-- that's perfect! We'll be able to celebrate the day and do something Hawaiian at the same time. Love the idea of a guava one. I showed my husband Hank's website and he said, "We're there!" It seems a little silly going all the way out there and doing something so Chicago, but there will be other meals. Maybe we should do hot dogs and paczki the same day. Mahalo and a hui hou!
  18. Aloha! I'll be on Oahu (Waikiki) on Fat Tuesday and would love to be able to get some Paczki. Anyone have an Eastern European bakery they like on Oahu? If not, I will happily make do with Beard Papa or something, just thought it would be kind of cool to surprise my Polish husband. Edited to add: I will have a car and I love to drive around the island, so any location is fine.
  19. If you double-dip, you are getting in everyone else's space. You're sharing your saliva with them and you may be blocking access to the dip as well. It's like people who stand over a buffet table eating, or the people who run their hands over a tray of appetizers and touch a couple before they settle on one. The world is their airline meal on a tray. I don't care if it's not a health risk; it's piggy. Take what you want to eat and let everyone else have their turn.
  20. I thought so too. I love visiting Greece, but not for the food. (The guidebooks tend to say things like, "No one goes to Greece for the food or leaves because of it.") I do enjoy the food when I'm there, for the reasons AB highlighted: the freshness and honest cooking. So I though he handled it pretty well. I quite liked the Odyssey schtick. The snarking about the dancing (i.e. paid tourist experience), not so much. It seems weird since they chose to do it.
  21. Tess

    Menu Planning Help

    I find that when different colored/flavored/textures salts are used on top of foods, they are quite different in taste as well as appearance. You've already got the radish idea, but another vegetable thing I like is sliced Maui onions with pink Hawaiian salt. Hwaiian salt is also good on Hawaiian raw fish dishes. Checking websites for local Hawaiian food may give you some other ideas for using that salt.
  22. Tess

    Menu Planning Help

    I like all kinds of chocolate and caramels that come with salt. My current favorite is the Vosges rich or dark milk chocolate salty flavors, such as the Barcelona Bar. For a dinner party, what about custard (creme caramel or pots de creme) topped with salt? I just did some googling on those keywords and saw a number of recipes. Or caramel ice cream sprinkled with salt?
  23. Tess

    Menu Planning Help

    What about creating a platter with light-colored things such as goat cheese, butter on crackers, and cucumber slices topped with different colored/flavored salt? I like a black Hawaiian salt on goat cheese; the charcoal flavor works well.
  24. If I need ingredients for a certain recipe, or for some seasonal things, I'll bite the bullet as long as the quality is there. I only start to question the price seriously when the cost of the meal is passing what it would be in a nice (not fine dining) restaurant. I do try to cook more based on what's available/reasonable in the stores rather than flipping through a cookbook and picking a recipe, though. For produce, I feel as if I used to be able to rely on Whole Foods even if I had to pay a premium. Now I feel the price has gone down but so has the quality. I go to the Super H Mart or Mitsuwa instead. Prices at those places vary. I also spend large amounts of money on things like sushi-grade fish and fresh wasabi but again, it's a bargain compared to eating the same things out.
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