Jump to content

Ellen Shapiro

eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Ellen Shapiro

  1. Here's a fun explanation of olive sizes from http://www.midamericasales.com/parthenon_main_page.htm :

    Sizes of olives are rated by the quantity of units per kg, with a tolerance of 10, 20 or 30 units.  For instance, when we say 181/200, it means that one kilo of olives contains approximately 190 olives

    1. Super Mammouth  91/100   

    2. Mammouth  101/100   

    3. Super Colossal  111/120 

    4. Colossal  121/140 

    5. Giants  141/160 

    6. Extra Jumbo  161/180 

    7. Jumbo  181/200

    8.  Extra Large 201/230

    9.  Large  231/260 

    10.  Superior  261/290

    11.  Brilliant  291/320

    12.  Fine  321/350

    13.  Bullets  351/380

  2. There are really two phases of stain treatment one of which is kind of like emergency first aid (what you do immediately upon staining the garment to get the patient stabilized) and the other of which is the removal (what you do to treat the garment in surgery aka the washing machine or dry cleaner). The problem is if you mess up in the first-aid stage you can ruin your chances of success later on.

  3. Double O, do you really like the Hackensack/Little Ferry one better than Ridgefield? The Little Ferry one is big but half of it is taken up by non-food things. Worse there is no rice cake machine in Little Ferry.

    Have you been recently? They've completely rennovated the store. There is a rice cake machine (always been there) and they give samples of dumplings and other goodies. The restaurants in the Ridgefeild store are closed right now. I also like the selection of Kim Chi (prepack and loose) better in Little Ferry. Btw there is a store on 32nd st in NYC (not at all like NJ, but a good selection of take away items) between 5th and 6th on the north side of the block.

    Are you sure there's a rice cake machine there? I was in approximately three weeks ago (I have cousins in Teaneck so I'm in the area often) and didn't see a rice cake machine. I even asked about it. I can't promise anybody understood my inquiry but nobody was able to point me to a machine.

    I don't like the renovation they did there. What did it used to be a VF or something? Half the store is still a dime-store not a supermarket. I think this gives the illusion of the supermarket part being bigger than it is. I don't know how to measure it but I think the Ridgfield store is bigger as a supermarket. And I think it is nicer.

  4. Double O, do you really like the Hackensack/Little Ferry one better than Ridgefield? The Little Ferry one is big but half of it is taken up by non-food things. Worse there is no rice cake machine in Little Ferry! And there are no restaurants in the complex the way they have in Ridgefield.

    Thereuare, it was two guys and they weren't very picturesque. I have a photo somewhere here. I'll post it later if I can dig it out.


    Edit: Here you go. Failed attempt to do something artistic.


  5. Just returning from some time in Vancouver, where the Asian markets have for a long time blown away what we have back here in the Northeast. But in the last few years I think we have caught up. I've got to say, at this point, Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest have nothing on Northern New Jersey when it comes to Asian markets.

    Hanahreum is my favorite market of all. It's gigantic (like the size of any suburban mega grocery store), clean, well organized, and while the focus is Korean it offers all the Chinese and Japanese ingredients I would ever need (for truly specialized products you might have to go elsewhere, but all the basics and then some are covered here) plus most Southeast Asian and Western ingredients a cook would want.

    Best of all it's cheap. Really, really cheap. Not just cheaper than Manhattan but cheaper than most New Jersey markets. Those red globe grapes that cost around $2.50 a pound in Manhattan and $1.49 a pound at New Jersey supermarkets cost $0.69 a pound at Hanahreum. Fish prices are incredible especially whole fish but also shrimp and live crabs.

    The produce section covers all the bases from standard Western produce to some Hispanic produce to an amazing selection of Asian greens. Most of the signage is bilingual though when you get deep into the Asian section there are some signs that are not. Everything is neatly laid out and well organized.


    Dry goods are diverse and piled high.


    The tofu selection goes on seemingly forever.


    The same is true of most Asian staples, like soy sauce. Even when it comes to some products that I don't recognize, there are a lot of choices.


    Live crabs are $2 a pound.


    The fish section is free of foul odors and well kept.


    I don't know what to do with these dried fish but they look cool.


    This is my favorite thing at Hanahreum, though. It's a machine that makes rice cakes. I have no idea how it works. I never even thought about how they made rice cakes until I saw this machine. It seems to squirt rice goo onto a circular metal plate and then after a few seconds it slams this big hammer thing down on the rice and out flies a rice cake.


    Then this guy reaches his hand too close to the hammer thing, grabs the rice cakes, and puts them in bags.



    321 Broad Ave.

    Ridgefield, NJ 07657



    There are 12 other company operated stores in New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New York, as well as 3 franchises.

  6. One of the many book proposals I've had rejected by every publisher in the world was the Back of the Box Cookbook. Unfortunately, it seems that somebody did a book 22 years ago with the catchy title The Side and Back Panel Cookbook: Recipes from the Boxes, Packages, Cans, and Bottles of Your Favorite Foods, it didn't sell particularly well, and therefore publishers have concluded that there is no market for such a book. Whatever. I happen to think that, given the sheer number of Americans who cook from on-package recipes, there would be an audience for a collection of the best ones. I bet the Japanese would want to translate it too.

  7. Re Thai customs: Don't they (sometimes) use sticky rice made into balls to scoop up food?

    In the north they use sticky rice to scoop up food. There are certain dishes that are always served with sticky rice and the rice is used as a vehicle to get the food to your mouth. I LOVE this sticky rice--very hard to find at the majority of Thai restaurants. As for the utensils issue--as confirmed by many--it's a spoon and fork combo. The majority of my experience was in the north and the Thai family that I lived with never offered chopsticks as an eating utensil at home. We did, however, use chopsticks to eat noodles out of soup in a noodle restaurant and it was, if I remember correctly (it’s been a while now), Chinese influenced.

  8. Zeb A--thanks. Sounds like my mother will love Lobsters in the Rough. The MO is not about fancy (it just happened that she's been dying to go to Arrows since we first drove by it back in the 80s)--it's about good food. And Lobster in Maine--well, what more is there to say?

    As for breakfast--I like the whole range from down and dirty to a bit more upscale. I'm not one for frou frou breakfasts though my mother is sometimes impressed by that sort of thing. Sounds like we should go to Rick's at the crack of dawn (to humor me) and then to Bayou Kitchen--assuming we can get in.

    Looks like a plan is starting to take shape. Thanks for the suggestions.

  9. One of my favorites is Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro, Maine (www.moodysdiner.com) -- and I'll have you know that I discovered it all on my own in the 80s--long before Gourmet and Saveur.

    I'm guessing there are two Moody's diners. The one open fall, spring and winter that feeds the locals and the one that is cram packed full of tourists like me come summer time. I've gone there a few times with great expectations and departed unsatisfied. Always for breakfast, so can't speak to the other meal periods.

    I'm also thinking that the Moody's you discovered back in the 80's is not the same Moody's I've been in during my recent summer adventures along the Maine coast.

    For dinner, the fried clams used to be excellent but, like so many other places in Maine, they've gone downhill. I haven't had an excellent fried clam in years. I don't know if it's because the batter/breading has changed or if they don't keep the oil hot enough.

    I was trying to be politic about it but what the hell—essentially what I’m saying about Moody’s is that I like the idea of it but the food wasn’t that great. I loved the ambiance, I loved that I just happened upon it so I felt as if I had “discovered it” and I loved that it was full of locals and had clearly seen a lot of devoted patronage over the years. I was there in the off season so it had a very local feel to it, and as I said, it hadn’t yet been written up anywhere so it hadn’t become overrun. The long and short of it was that I loved the place despite its shortcomings on my plate.

  10. I never realised how weird that was until I read this thread. I wonder how many people design and craft their own customised eating utensils?  :wacko:

    There must be others....

    FG's grandfather created the Styrofoam cup but he couldn’t figure out the lid (he thought the lid had to be made out of Styrofoam too) so someone else beat him to the patent (I think that’s how the story goes). He was, in any case, an inventor—who never managed to quite pull it all together.

    The Spork is certainly one of my favorite utensils--not because I particularly enjoy eating with it (it's a little difficult to scoop up any liquid with the Spork on account of the pointy teeth at the end) but because I really like the name. It just rolls off the tongue.

    And I’d like to note that it never ceases to amaze me how creative and interesting our E-gullet community is—I’m already surprised (and amused) by the responses posted here.

  11. Not that I drink all that much, but when I do hit the sauce my cocktail of choice is the vodka gimlet. I have therefore over time developed an interest in the constituent products of this beverage/libation: vodka and lime juice.

    Any opinions out there from more experienced cocktailers than I, regarding the choice of vodka or the variety of lime juice?

    As a tangent, has anybody noticed that Rose's lime juice comes in two configurations, one of which is marked for liquor store sale only? It seems to have alcohol in it. Does it perform differently?

  12. Although the popular choice for world's-most-perfect-food may be the egg, the humble potato gets my vote. Especially the baked potato: the poached egg of the potato world.

    Baking a potato is simple but involves considerable nuance and a number of variables. How do you bake yours?

    I have taken to a high-temperature approach: 450 degrees F. I put the potatos in wet, with skin punctured in a few places, and let 'em rip until they test just underdone with a fork. I then shut off the oven and set the door slightly ajar and leave the potatoes to finish for about 10 minutes.

  13. I'm always a sucker for a diner, especially the shiny old diner car establishments, but often I find that the food isn’t nearly as good as I’ve romanticized. This doesn’t stop me from returning to my favorites and I wonder if any of you feel the same about diners--and cut them more slack than you would another type of restaurant--as I do. One of my favorites is Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro, Maine (www.moodysdiner.com) -- and I'll have you know that I discovered it all on my own in the 80s--long before Gourmet and Saveur.

  14. What implements do they eat with in different areas and cultural traditions? We all know the obvious: fork/knife/spoon in most Western nations, chopsticks in much of the East (though not everywhere or for all dishes), hands in many other places. Let's make a list. Does anybody eat with anything else? Tongs? Straws? Shells?

  15. I like to buy it from stores that do enough halva business that they sell it in bulk (and it’s fresh). I usually get mine from Economy Candy on the Lower East Side. They have a big block of the marble as well as chocolate covered layered halva in loaves, pistachio halva and also rings of Turkish Delight.

    When I was a kid I went to some event where along with the other desserts someone had an entire block of halva (it must have been at least 10 pounds) sitting there for people to cut off pieces at whim. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

  16. FG and I were up in Burlington a few weekends ago (FG hadn’t been there in a couple of years so I dragged him north) and we went to Penny Cluse—twice. FG ordered an assortment of items for his first breakfast – an order of the “bucket o’ spuds,” the smothered biscuits and a side of well-done bacon. The gravy on the biscuits was quite green and the overall dish got a thumbs down but the biscuits themselves were good and the “bucket o’ spuds” – with the egg on top, was a hit. The bacon, well, there was none left over. I had an omelet and while the home fries were good, I think FG got the crispy batch and I got the new ones. Our friend got blueberry pancakes which were full of blueberries and her small fruit plate was a pleasant surprise—mango and papaya along with other more common fruits.

    The second trip to Penny Cluse was with another friend and this time FG got a regular breakfast item—the breakfast burrito which comes with eggs, three kinds of cheese, salsa and black beans (on the side). Our friend got eggs with sausage (home made I think) and I got an egg breakfast too. I went with corn muffins this time instead of biscuits. I like the biscuits better. They butter and grill the corn muffins so unless you like them that way, you’d be better off with the fresh biscuits—or you could just request them straight up.

    We also went to Cannon’s which was a great surprise. I had scoped it out on my visit back in January and missed it when I returned in March. This time we went there and while we didn’t do the best job ordering, some of the dishes (the portobello stack, linguine with sausage, crostini with artichokes, the mud cake) were very good. We also scoped out the other tables and learned a lot about what we’d order next time. The chicken parm looked very promising as did the tiramisu.

  17. I would say, take your mother where she wants to go. She may have lots of reasons other than food.

    That is indeed very sage advice. I do plan to take my mother wherever she wants to go. And while I think she was a bit put off by the menu (prices) at Arrows we may still end up there. Fore Street certainly sounds promising though I'm not sure, based upon everyone's comments, that I (personally, were I going alone) would make a trip up to Portland just to eat there. Then again, I've driven to Maine for far less inspired reasons and I've never regretted a single trip. So, assuming I were to shift gears to Fore Street, does anyone have any additional suggestions for eating--any good breakfast spots in and around Portland? I'm guessing we'll go for one overnight, maybe two.

  18. I printed out the menu and gave it to my mother. It was selected for Gourmet's top whatever (it's listed on the Arrow's Web site) award and other accolades but it just seems so pretentious to me. Something about it rubbed me the wrong way all those years ago (I still remember this 15 years later) and looking at those prices (and I won't even be paying) and knowing the location and the market it just seems out of bounds to me. A few of you have said you've had a good meal there but no one seems to be saying it ranks with the best you've ever had and while I expect my mother and I will be doing some sort of field trip--destination XXX restaurant--and while I really love Maine, it just seems like, well, it seems like highway robbery to me. Seeing as we'll be driving from New Haven or New York (depending upon the direction we're planning to drive) does anyone have any other suggestions of where we might have a very good or great meal--including, perhaps, somewhere else in Maine (Portland?), or somewhere in Vermont or maybe Philly?

  19. It's a great deal when you get to throw a party at a friend's house. I've done both--hosted a party for a friend (they brought in the food, I provided the space, the china, the drinks, etc.) at my place and hosted parties at other friend's homes. You have to be very good friends--or family--to be able to even consider asking that sort of thing of another person because it really is an imposition for the home host--even if the inviter is dealing with all of the food.

    In my family we have always done a joint effort for Passover. My parents don't have a big home and our very close friends have a better set up for hosting dinners so my mother makes the chicken soup, one of the main entrees (Sephardic meat pie) and a dessert, the host makes a selection of other dishes and the two fathers make gefilte fish together. My immediate family and spouses or girlfriends are invited, the host family has their kids and spouses and then the host also invites other relatives, etc. So it's not an actual split of attendees but the host is still left with the clean-up etc. During the meal we all pitch in with serving and clearing but at the end of the night, the host is still left with a mess on her hands. We've known these people for 30 years though and they're like family--only better--because we got to choose them as friends and we've all chosen to spend the holiday together.

  • Create New...