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Posts posted by skyflyer3

  1. I'm trying to duplicate lasagna the way we had it in Italy - the flavors were light and simple, and the noodles were so smooth and soft cutting into them was like cutting into custard. I'm not exaggerating about the custard part - and that's truly the most important thing I want to duplicate. I want to know - is it the thinness of the noodles? Should I be making my own, hankerchief-thin? Or should I concentrate on what's in the noodles - would they be more cream- or yolk-based? Or is it the cooking method? Is the custardy mouth-feel possible when using no-bake or store-bought noodles? Any advice appreciated, thanks.

  2. The sibs and I are taking my dad (the steak-lover) to Morton's for Father's Day, and it's the last on the list of the big 5 steakhouses locally - Daniel's, El Gaucho, Ruth's Chris, The Met - that we've tried. From what I've read of the reviews the service is awesome and the food is great. So why isn't it mentioned as much as the other four places when the topics turn to steak? Is it more expensive in general? Too foo-foo? Too new? I'm almost scared to take him there because of the lack of information on the restaurant in general.

    Please fill me in on your experiences there as well if you haven't posted about them before. I'd love to know what people really like from there, what isn't worth ordering, how the desserts rank and if it's okay that I'm probably going to share a steak with my sister since I don't eat that much meat. Thanks.

  3. I made the Rich White Cake recipe about two weeks ago as well, and remember that mostly the texture was indescribably good, but the flavor was not that great. Maybe my cake flour was bad. I used Softasilk, with a little bit of White Lily because I ran out - what does everyone else use? Can I use all White Lily?

  4. I worked at Fran's for about a year and have to say that the quality of the stuff we'd put out was exemplary. Fran herself would come out often during production, and if she tried something she didn't like, entire racks would be tossed until they were to her satisfaction. Standards were always the highest. Every single person on the floor was a perfectionist. And I think the product still shows that today.

    Even then, I still have my favorites. The stuffed figs have incredible ganache centers, but the figlets are even better. The chocolate dipped apricots are a wonderful balance of bright and succulent. The cinnamon truffle is lovely and subtle. I was there when they developed the salt caramels and the spiced nuts, and I love them both. Some of the best stuff I ever tasted were the experiments. Never liked the ice creams, though - too rich for me.

    I've tried Essential's stuff as well - it's good, and creative, and the pates des fruits are the best I've had. Dilletante's, though, is like sawdust to me. They used to make this fabulous apricot caramel, but since it's gone I think the quality has gone downhill. Still like their caramel sauce, though.

  5. Stopped by there yesterday for the first time, and I really like it. It's a little odd, partially because I'm so used to the garden store being there, and partially because I didn't expect it to be a cheese "bar". But I love the fact they are very generous with samples, and we picked up the Italian curds, some of the Just Jack, the butter and some crackers. Everything we brought home has been great - we intended the curds for a salad, but by themselves they are slowly disappearing, the butter and crackers are very munchable, and I'm already dreaming of Just Jack and Breton ham sandwiches with butter.

    I'm curious about the other products - has anyone tried the ice cream or the other cheeses?

    *edited typos*

  6. The Whole Foods brand in a jar is great. It's made with sweet valencian or something peanuts, and you do have to stir it, but it's good.

    I've wondered about that Honey-Roasted self-grind kind, it looks great. I'll have to try it.

    Just want to ask again - anyone tried Sorrell's Pickard Peanut Butter? I hear there are subtle hints of cinnamon and honey. My persistence may sound silly, but I love peanut butter.

  7. Just tried the Belgian Frites place on 10th as well, and my are those frites tasty. They are not like the kind you get at B Frites in Times Square, which have this pure potato flavor, are about a half inch square, medium golden in color, lightly crispy all around and firm throughout. Nope, the ones at this place are chubbier and shorter, well-browned and rosy, with sweet, creamy centers - creamy like mashed potatoes. The sweetness and the creamy texture add a wonderful complexity that elevate these frites far beyond my current local fave featured at the Tangletown.

    As you can see, I liked these very much. I really liked the fact they are only a few blocks down from Espresso Vivace. Nothing better than smoking hot frites and hot chocolate on a cool pre-summer evening.

    By the way, I got the poblano ranch dressing which was good but average. Which leads me to ask, how did any of you manage to drive home with a really hot cone of these and sauce? It was hard enough walking to my car without burning myself, let alone trying to drive without letting either spill.

  8. Just came back from Portland, and now all I can think of is Ken's Artisan Bakery. I don't know how I thought I was living before I had his Country Blonde Bread. The croissants were the best I'd had outside of Paris. And there were macaroons, the real kind, with ethereal orange buttercream fillings, and toothsome fruit tarts, and the kind of baguettes that are so good you cry when the crust shatters *sigh*. Please someone tell me there's a bakery that good up here and I just don't know it - please?

    Other Ken's lovers out there - think we can push for a local branch?

  9. Wanted to add another vote for Dasnkos. When I was a pastry chef/chocolatier, they worked great on slick concrete, slippery frozen floors, flour, butter and chocolate caked surfaces. I have flat-feet and stood all day, and they were great. I now have about 5 pairs on regular rotation.

  10. We did the Silpat vs. parchment experiment last time we baked cookies, and the Silpat ones came out overdone. My husband thinks that we need to experiment with timing a little more, but I have a feeling they won't have the same crispy texture outside/chewiness within that I consistently get from parchment. So we stick with parchment. And I do use airbake pans, but only because I got them as a present from my mother and we're too poor to buy anything else. I'm curious about spread varience if I use the thicker ones you get from restaurant supply shops.

    Along the same vein, King Arthur Flour has come out with teflon cake pan liners, and I have to say I'm intrigued. Has anyone tried something like this with successful results?

  11. Jackfruit is tops for me. It's hard to describe how it tastes - almost like peaches and mangoes and pineapple and sweet corn mixed together, but with a firmer texture. Imagine all that but better. Ababai, if I can find it again, was like that too. Even canned, jackfruit is quite good.

    I'd never understood what was so good about mangoes until I ate them in the Philippines. There, we ate the green ones as crisp, sour slices with salted shrimp fry, and the sweet, small yellow ones plain over the sink. Here in Seattle I only eat the Indian ones that are shipped here in the summer - or eat the "Philippine" brand dried mangoes. All other brands of dried mangoes look stiff and pale, while the Philippine-brand are sweet, juicy, chewy and fragrant.

    I love the idea of pineapple, but can't eat them since they make my tongue itch something fierce. My parents love chico, which to me tastes like a coffee fruit might taste, but with a mealy texture. I have to ask, what is a custard apple?

    *edited to amend my terrible spelling.

  12. I've been going to Trader Joe's for year's, but have been seriously feeling the love for the place lately. All of a sudden, it seemed there were some awesome new products - or maybe it's because the one I usually go to is always severely understocked. Here's what I picked up recently that I love:

    Grapefruit pastilles - lovely refreshing taste

    Sugar-free Ricola mints

    Snake River Ranch Burgers - hands down the best frozen beef patty ever

    Some Buffalo Burgers that were quite good

    Veggie Burgers by Dr. someone, the only ones I can tolerate

    Emeril's Vodka Sauce

    Total Yogurt

    Smoked Salmon Tenderloins

    King Arthur Flour

    King Arthus Scone and Popover mixes (awesome, awesome!)

    Plugra and Lurpak butters

    Eggs and Organic Heavy Cream

    Fancy brown sugars

    Clarified Butter


    Mochi Ice Cream


    Frozen French green beans

    By far, the grapefruit pastilles, the Snake River Ranch burgers and the King Arthur scone mixes are reasons to live at TJs. The fact the prices are doable work for me, too.

  13. Reading this thread has been unbelievably irresistable. Suddenly grilled cheese seems to be something I can eat at every meal, every day. Any word yet on the success factor of the wraps, or are the toaster bags still the best way to go? Phone operators are waiting by for my order.

  14. Thanks all for the suggestions. I looked up a few recipes, though, and it seems the difference between the Bavarian cream in the Cake Bible and many pastry creams is the use of cornstarch and gelatin as thickeners. I've also seen recipes that make Bavarian cream from pastry cream - just adding whipped cream and vanilla to pastry cream seems to do it. I'm mostly looking for a custard that's basically like liquid creme brulee in taste. I'll experiment a bit and report results later.

    p.s. Will definitely do a thin chocolate ganache glaze. Thanks also for the rec to acetate the sides.

  15. I was poking around the brie section at Whole Foods in Seattle, and found they started carrying bulk "Spreadable French Butter". Just a couple of scoops of butter in those clear plastic tubs, $15.99/lb. I asked them what brand it was, and they pulled out this wooden basket with unreadable print on it. Within the basket, wrapped in brown paper, was this huge hunk of creamery goodness. It smelled incredible. They offered me a taste of it, and it was very salty but very creamy and I had to have it. It's really good plain on any kind of bread imaginable, and if I feel truly decadent I drizzle on a little Huguel Acacia Honey *swoon*.

    After doing a little research on the web, I think the butter might be Echire. Whole Foods also started carrying Italian butter in wax paper, the name I've forgotten. All this talk of butter is making me regret not snatching it up when I was there a few days ago, even if it was $9 a log. I'm this close to calling colleagues in Minneapolis to send me some of that Hope Creamery butter - or making my own from Strauss Cream. And I don't even eat that much butter.

  16. A friend of mine has asked me to make a cake with custard for a small party this weekend. I've decided to go with a Boston Cream Pie, which I've never made before (or any cake with custard filling) nor eaten, except for a leche flan cake which I don't think will help me here.

    At any rate, I'm going to do more layers than just two for a larger group, although I'm having trouble figuring out how many and what type of cream to use. It seems that traditionally, a Bavarian type of cream is employed, as most pictures of the cake depict the custard layer almost as thick as the cake layers themselves. I was thinking initially I would do four layers alternating with a creme anglaise and then cover the whole thing with a very thin chocolate glaze - but doing three layers with a thicker, Bavarian type creme with same glaze seems a good idea as well if the custard is really amazing. I know I should decide if I want the cake or the custard to take center stage, and that will be the deciding factor - or is it? Those who can help me differentiate between the creams and their roles in this cake, please help me out - thanks.

  17. Ever since Dilletante's stopped carrying their apricot caramels, their chocolate has tasted quite waxy to me. Same with Moonstruck - five years ago they were great, and now they aren't worth sampling. Fran's, however, is excellent - their standards are very high, and the gray salt caramels are to die for. Two years ago, they had an earl grey tea truffle that was a knockout. But my current fav has to be Essential's - even their pates des fruits are excellent.

  18. A great bubble tea place in Seattle is Ambrosia, where the proprietor supposedly studied with a tea master in China before opening her shop here. I actually prefer the milkshakes to the teas - my favorite flavors are honeydew and canteloupe. I've been to Pochi in the U-district, and found it was a little too creamy and rich. Those shakes do pack a wallop of calories, especially since you get so much. I love the gizmos that heal seal the tops to the cups - they're very practical, and the Hello Kitty type images on them are very cute.

  19. New egullet member here. My partner and I tried Noodle Boat this evening, and overall, our impression was "ehhhhh." We got there at 8 o'clock, and it was about 75% full. We were seated right away, ordered phad thai with pork, medium spicy, BBQ Chicken, a side of rice and a Coke and thai iced tea. Lots of great looking food walked by our table, so we were eager to see what ours was like.

    Ten minutes goes by, and then we get cups of water. Twenty minutes, then our plates were set. Another twenty minutes, and nothing. Finally, after 48 minutes our phad thai and the chicken came to the table. But then we had to wait another five minutes for them to finally bring eating utensils, and then another ten to tell us the thai iced tea was sold out for the evening, but they'd shortly bring our Coke.

    Needless to say we scarfed the food in about 15 minutes, we were so starved. The chicken smelled incredible, and was spiced perfectly, but was a tad dry. The pork in the phad thai was also dry. The noodles were good, but very saucy - I think more so than I've had at Thai households. The sauce for the phad thai was tangy with lime and fish sauce, nicely balanced with chilies but not very spicy. Noodles were perfectly textured. I didn't ask if there was dessert.

    It seems that like most new places that are quickly overwhelmed with early praise, they are probably under-equipped (and maybe didn't expect) to handle the huge response. While we were eating, we overheard a woman complain to the manager about not receiving her food after an hour. She had been seated 15 minutes late, ordered at 7 p.m., and then got her food at 8 p.m. I'm not sure if her meal was comped, but she was not happy when she left. And then there were people who had called in orders that would come to pick them up and wait for a very long time. At 9 p.m, maybe 50% of the restaurant was still full - with many people at tables customers who were still waiting for a takeout order.

    Overall, I don't think I'll go back - or at least, until the popularity dies down a little and they eventually find their groove. The people who served us were very, very nice, the food was decent and fairly priced, but everything took too long, and they were overall kind of ignorant of us as customers - water cups were never refilled, it took them forever to clear our dishes and bring us the check, and the other things mentioned before that add up to a poor experience. And we were sitting right across from the waitstaff, so it's not like we were easy to ignore. At any rate, I'm glad to see that other people have had better experiences - just wish I'd had one of them.

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