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ghostrider

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Everything posted by ghostrider

  1. I'd like to go back to the very first post & the subject of carrots. Not young ones, but the mature ones that show up in early to mid-fall - late September / early October, at least in these parts. There's a certain stand at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC that has marvelous carrots at that time of year. They're big, they seem almost to glow from the inside, and they're as fragrant as they are flavorful when you cut or bite into them. Those carrots are one of the things that make up for the dying of the light in autumn. I eat one every day, and when their growing season too starts to dwindle, I get several bunches & pack the crisper with them to extend their eating season another month.
  2. Are these things safe to use in cooking? (Assuming that it's proper to ask this question in this thread rather than starting a new one.) I recently got one of those fish flipper spatulas, the angled black one with the silver-colored handle at the bottom of the photo above. When I use it to flip filets that I'm sauteeing, it gives off the stench of burning plastic, which winds up infused into the fish. When I bought the spatula, it had a label that said "can be used at temperatures up to 400 F" (or possibly 450, I don't remember the exact number). I thought that meant that it would work for the purpose for which it was designed, but apparently it doesn't. Either the label is wrong, or the surface of my frying pan gets to a higher temperature and the spatula reacts. Does anyone else have experience with this flipper? Is it really useful only for removing poached fish from the poaching liquid in spite of what its label says?
  3. Maybe I don't belong here. I don't live to eat. I enjoy it immensely, but it probably comes in at #3 on my list of passions. Whatever. I very much like "epicure" in its original sense. Maybe I'll go with that. Maybe I'll try "epicurie" so that I'll be up to date.
  4. Every time this topic comes up, I urge people to go get the crab cakes at Vikki's Fells Point Deli in the Broadway Market in Fells Point. To my knowledge, no one else ever has. I will still sing their praises. I tried 3 different places when we were in Baltimore 2 years ago; Vikki's was far & away the best. (We didn't get to Faidley's so I don't have that benchmark.) They do a very basic crab cake with white-bread filler & a good dose of mustard & cayenne; no frou-frou stuff here. Now, it's possible that you might try them & say "too much mustard, too much filler & too greasy" about these also - they throw the handmade crab cakes into the deep fryer - they certainly have those elements & you may react to them differently. Me, I liked the spiceiness - peppery but not so much as to overwhelm the flavor of the crab chunks - & I found them wonderfully crispy w/o being TOO greasy, considering that they were deep fried. (An aside - Vikki's had the best cole slaw I've ever eaten. Minced green pepper, not too much mayo, the perfect foil for the crab cakes.) All I can say is, next time I'm in Baltimore, I'm heading to Vikki's every chance I get. Faidley's is on its own.
  5. Hmm. After an absence of more than a month, they were suddenly back at my local Whole Foods yesterday. Same as always, $4.99. Whatever, I'm just happy to see them again. I'll be shelling & cooking tonight!
  6. New to me, anyway, on a stretch of Paterson Ave. that I don't drive down much. I noticed this place for the first time in December & got around to trying them for takeout just in the past couple of weeks. They're a welcome addition to the area. Thus far I've tried the Pad Khing, which thrilled me no end - 17 years after I moved out of NYC, there is FINALLY a restaurant in my area that not only has fresh ginger root but uses enough of it! That has been one of the glaring deficiencies of this end of Bergen County since we got here. Had the Pad Gra-Pow last night. Very tasty sauce, delicious sliced pork. A little disappointing that they use frozen string beans, but the dish was full of flavor and, requested "medium," delivered exactly the dose of heat I wanted. The dining rooms are nicely decorated & well lit; they feel bright & colorful without being glaring. It looks like it'd be a fun, upbeat place to dine. Their menu seems more in the traditional Thai vein than Rutherford's Spring Grill - the two places don't have a lot of overlap. They may not offer quite the same value or extensive menu as Wondee's - I haven't been up there in a couple of years - but for me their location is a big plus; and, as noted, there's lots of ginger root to be had. Ploi Thai, 245 Paterson Ave. (on the corner of Boiling Springs Ave. 2 blks west of where Park Ave. dead-ends at Paterson), 201-939-6799
  7. We've tried 2 Turkish restaurants & they've both been dull. Are all Turkish entrees dull? Only the appetizers seem to have any character.
  8. I finally figured out the optimal route for swinging by Riverside Farmers Market on the way home from my job & stopped by for the first time this afternoon. Produce: I checked out the oranges, apples, lettuce, beans. Seemed comparable in price & quality to what's on offer at my local (Carlstadt) Stop & Shop. Rt. 17 Farmers Market still has a distinct edge on price, generally 20% - 30% cheaper. You have to look at what you're buying a bit more closely at Rt. 17, of course, since they buy in bulk. Seafood: they seem to have Maine shrimp! I say "seem" because they had a tray of nice-looking shrimp labeled "Sweet Shrimp" for $4.99 / lb. They looked like the Mainers but that's all the info I got; there was never a person in the area the whole time I was there & I'd forgotten Curlz' admonition about the bell above & didn't see it at all. I wandered out into the deli area, hoping to find someone to ask, but the guys there were engaged in a shouting match with a wholesaler - OK, to be fair, the wholesaler was doing the shouting & the store guys seemed to be keeping their cool - so I just left since my questions would have been academic today. Their seafood seemed to be priced similarly to Whole Foods' wares. The stuff looks nicer at WF but that's probably down to lighting & display; everything at Riverside looked good. WF's labels are much more informative. I can see that this place would be a welcome addition to the area. I'll stop in when I have some time blocked out to cook Maine shrimp. I'll continue to do most of my shopping at Rt. 17 & WF.
  9. In promotional spots for Diary Of A Foodie on PBS, they offer this definition: "A foodie is someone who lives in the food world." But don't we all? Because if we don't, ipso facto, we aren't living, we're on the way to becoming food or are already there. Just another example of how meaningless the term has become. I haven't got a better one. However, I got along fine for 30 years before "foodie" was coined by saying "I love to shop for food & I love to cook." I'm willing to revert. I can handle the extra words.
  10. ghostrider

    Seafood Noob

    This is basically my approach for any sort of light white fish filets (flounder, sole, turbot, etc.). The differences: I use peanut oil for the neutral flavor & high smoke point. No salt (low-sodium diet, fish inherently salty enough for my taste). I use FRESH bread crumbs purchased at a local Italian deli - you'll notice the difference between them & the packaged supermarket variety immediately once you try them. I often sprinkle herbs (thyme &/or marjoram &/or sage etc., fresh or dried depending on what I have) over the fish as it cooks. I just bought a dedicated fish spatula after all these years. What a difference!
  11. Excellent linked article. Interesting that India keeps the mellower variety for domestic use & exports the more pungent kind.
  12. Maybe that explains it. Still, a fascinating phenomenon. If they tried that in Jersey people would probably just speed by thinking "What the h--- are Maine shrimp & why should I care?" I guess staying in New England gives them a leg up. My wife's cousin lives in Friendship & runs several hundred lobster traps. Unlike the shrimpers he rarely leaves town.
  13. Dang, Friendship is a long way from most places in Maine, let alone Connecticut. They really drive down there just to hawk the stuff by the roadside? Can I ask where you're located, that they'd pull enough traffic to make the whole endeavor worthwhile? Sounds like there's more of a story here.
  14. ghostrider

    BYO tea

    Care to elaborate? The Tazo "Awake" tea is pure black tea as far as I iknow. It's one of the few restaurant/cafe teas that I can stand. I have no expectations of good tea when I'm dining out. Even when you find it, 90% of the restaurant world doesn't know how to brew it properly. (If they're bringing you a pot of hot water, the battle is already over & you've lost.) I just go with the flow, drink whatever I'm drinking with the meal, order a shot of espresso if I need the caffeine & have my tea when I get back home.
  15. What kind of place was Uva? Surely not Sri Lankan?
  16. Belgiovine's Deli in Montclair also makes their own soups every day. There are usually one or two hot ones (more varieties are available frozen) on offer, sometimes three. You won't find a choice of ten but you will find 'em freshly made.
  17. Just wanted to post, belatedly, that we had our traditional entering-Maine lunch at Black Tie Bistro (mentioned upthread) a few days before Xmas. This has become a ritual for us - land in Portland, pick up rental car, drive down to Black Tie, have lunch & grab a Bollard. The place continues to be a delight. Potato leek soup, mmmmm. A killer chicken/apricot salad. They seem to get everything exactly right.
  18. I've never had parking issues in Ridgewood or Montclair. We do tend to dine late though. Plenty of parking for A Mano in Ridgewood up at the train station, it's just a short walk down from there. Very good pizza; just don't expect onions or garlic. I don't know of any pizza in Montclair that's comparable to A Mano. Would be glad to hear of some. There's Foschini's Brick Oven pizza, 298 Ridge Rd, in Lyndhurst. It's been discussed elsewhere on eG. Some locals like it; I haven't yet tried it.
  19. Before this memory fades into Christmas, I've got to give a nod to City Diner for what they did on Thanksgiving. It's a fun, bustling, hip place on what seems to be a newly thriving strip in one of StL's old old neighborhoods. They were serving a $15.95 / all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving special, & quite a few tables of very big guys were taking full advantage of that. We weren't in the mood for turkey. I got the smoked pork loin with cornbread stuffing. Pork a bit dry but very tasty, stuffing excellent. The killer touch was the side dish, simply described as "green beans," in reality beans that were still green & crunchy sauteed with onions, butter & bacon. Really fine. My SO had the pot roast. Huge portion & I was still famished from our travels so I ate about 1/3 of it, along with the mashed potatoes, all first-rate. Nice big chunks of carrot, celery & onion in the accompanying gravy. Not fine dining, but well prepared, thoughtfully constructed diner food. We were very glad that they were there for us that night & wouldn't hesitate to go back.
  20. Good deal, CA. I assume those are headless but tail-on? Were they in good condition? I picked up a pound of headless for $3.99 at our local Hannaford for last night's app. Served piping hot and dipped in garlic & sage butter. They're $4.99 at the Whole Foods here in Jersey. Yer gettin' robbed in RI! (Headless, tails on, in primo condition.)
  21. Made my usual season opener last night - Maine shrimp, sauteed quickly in olive oil & garlic, sprinkle with fresh thyme, add juice of a lemon, toss in spaghetti, top with a little pecorino. I'm in a rut with this dish but I like it. Those flavors do sparkle!
  22. And that - absence of pronounced saltiness - may be part of the key to why Maine shrimp have that unique sweetness. The Mainers hit my part of NJ (courtesy of Whole Foods) for the first time yesterday, so that leg of the distribution channel has been activated. Now if only I can find some time to cook....
  23. I think it's hard to make sweeping conclusions based on personal experience. My mom, born & raised in Missouri & certainly of the Jungle generation, cooked everything properly - roast beef was always medium-rare, veggies bright & crisp. My MIL, on the other hand, was a notorious overcooker of everything & certainly reinforced the New England regional stereotype. So I personally associate overcooking with regionality more than hominess. (Not going to say anything about skill & taste cuz I really love my wife's family. )
  24. After Athens has recently (meaning sometime in the last year) revamped its menu to expand their offerings of meze. The portions are generous & it's easy to make a meal out of 2-3 of those plates. They do seem rather casual about bringing the check - another way to look at it is that they don't rush you out - but I've never had a problem catching our waiter's eye & getting the check transaction done in what I consider a reasonable span of time.
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