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Posts posted by SusanGiff

  1. Hi. I made my first this weekend, from a recipe in Gracious Plenty, and it was just missing something that I can't put my finger on. Does anyone have a good, traditional, somewhat dense and spicy version to share? I'm thinking of the kind you'd get in a meat-and-three or BBQ place in the South.


  2. You might try American Bistro in Nutley (yep, it's Italian). It's not exactly a hole in the wall, but it's not at all sleek and upscale--if I'm reading you right, you want something sort of old-school Italian-American, and that's what they've got. Great food--order a half portion, unless you want something absolutely massive.

  3. I am at the same crossroads.  I am shopping for a new range and previously and currently have always had gas.  Everyone seems to say that electric is better and even if that is true, how much better is it really?  Does anyone know someone who got a gas range and is kicking them selves for not getting electric?


    I just moved from a house with a dual-fuel range (Thermador) to one with all gas (Viking), and I really miss the electric oven. I keep a thermometer in there, and find that temperatures in my gas oven are inconsistent. Stuff I've been cooking for years browns and burns. Probably some of this is just getting used to a new oven, but if were replacing it, I'd definitely, definitely opt for dual fuel.

  4. My husband and I held our wedding reception at what was An American Place on 32nd St, where Artisanal is now. I mention it only because it was a great space for a wedding--nice and open, with room for a small band--and I don't believe the basic footprint has changed much. And auspiciously, we're still married! I see they do large events, and the food's definitely wedding worthy, so it might merit some further research.

  5. Right now, I keep my many types of open bags of flour tucked in Ziploc bags to keep the bugs away, but honestly, they look kind of messy. Does anyone know of a vendor for Tupperware type containers that will snugly hold a bag of flour? I'm interested in just popping the bag itself in, not emptying it into a container (that would be too easy to find!), so I can see right away which type I'm reaching for. Oh, one more condition: They should seal tightly enough to keep out the flour moths. King Arthur sells exactly what I'm talking about, but specifies that the seal is not airtight, and therefore not bug-proof.


  6. By sheer coincidence, I hit on this thread (wandering away from a search I was doing), saw your rug, and knew immediately where it had come from. It's beautiful, and I completely second your endorsement of Louisiana Loom Works. We have three of them in a beach house, and they're sturdy and beautiful and so cheerful. Best of all, they support an excellent local business and remind us of our trips to New Orleans, always a good thing. Your kitchen is gorgeous, and I love the way the rug echoes the floor. Nice job!

    Now I'm going to see if I can find a place for some rugs in the house we just moved into. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Oh, yeah, it's amazing. I won't go into everything we overindulged in except to second the makarounis suggestion (they're amazing) and also highly endorse the grape leaves, which made me realize I have never had actual, freshly made stuffed grape leaves before. This menu is very unusual--unlike any other Greek restaurant I've been to. Much more extensive and ranging far beyond standard Greek restaurant fare. Definitely make a reservation. We went on a weeknight and had to wait a good half hour at least.

  8. Had I known I would have never taken the time from my day to help you think about Sunset Pub & Grill. You originally stated you'd be willing to travel to Hoboken and I offered a venue near your residence. <sigh>

    Did, you really have to write this? Tracey is looking for a place for her birthday dinner and you have to give her crap for not choosing your favorite new place. Remarkable.

    Tracey, you come on down to Hoboken and wherever you decide to go, I'd love to buy you and yours a birthday drink.

    Lua has 1/2 price off on wines by the bottle on Monday. City Bistro has a outdoor bar for you to have a cocktail before. Enjoy your birthday and good luck deciding on where to dine. Nutley used to have good restaurants with outdoor seating but the locals scared them off.

    I don't want to start an argument, but it was inconsiderate to ask for basically anywhere within the radius of Wayne to Hoboken. I thought it as a convenient place so I suggested it, favorite or not. Then in a reply I'm directly told, no, I want a place in Montclair. Well, if ya wanted a place in a specific town, ask. If you ask for Montclair I probably wouldn't have posted because I don't KNOW of any outdoor venues in that Community. I'm not saying two wrongs make a right, but I felt I need to make that point. Please don't make this into a battle and "pick sides" ... it happened, it's done. Tracey is an adult and as you stated can go anywhere she pleases (you didn't have to add salt to a wound).

    Exactly how much time did it take out of your day to make your suggestion? As long as it's taken you to reprimand Tracey twice? Geez. Big deal.

    Meanwhile...Although it does have a liquor license, not BYO as you'd like, Highlawn Pavilion has a large outdoor seating area with great Manhattan views. I've never eaten there (unless you count oysters at the bar), but you can't beat the atmosphere.

  9. Okay, I'm probably too late for this. I read through the frozen cake controversy thread last summer, because I am a rank amateur who was asked to bake cakes for my neighbors' kids bar mitzvahs (they're twins), and I turned here for help. I'll tell you, I had one of those test layers in my freezer for nearly a year, and defrosted it recently, and it's STILL good. Not that I'd serve it to anyone, but fine for my personal chocolate fix from time to time. It's the Double Chocolate Layer Cake. You should be able to find it in recipes here, or on Epicurious. I have "fantastic" written on the recipe. As I recall, it held up very well with the ganache I used to fill and frost it, and it doubled or tripled or whatever I did very well.

    Shortening? No, no, no! Although it does have vegetable oil, not butter.

    Good luck.

  10. I went about three weeks ago. It was fine but completely forgettable, unfortunately. Seriously. Apart from some fried asparagus, I don't remember what any of us had. I was really disappointed. I'm a big fan of Five Points. On the other hand, I also ate at their rendition of Provence and had the same reaction.

  11. I'd second votes for Nicky's amazing toffee and the J. Emanuel chocolates, and add this: The Chocolate Path on Lackawanna Plaza in Montclair. Susan carries chocolate bars you can't find anywhere else in the area (Michel Cluizel, Amedei) and a fantastic selection of truffles (Marie Belle, eg) and other treats. She's serious about her dark chocolate, and puts together some beautiful baskets, too. I'm not related or affiliated--just a loyal customer.

  12. Hi all. I'm bumping up this thread to recommend a fairly new Japanese restaurant in Upper Montclair, Toro, 44 Upper Montclair Plaza; it's in that strip between Charlie Brown's and Magnolia Wine. The fish here is fresher than any we've had in Montclair or New Jersey, and about as fresh and well-prepared as most of what we've had in New York. The straight-ahead sushi and sashimi are excellent; there are some innovative rolls and raw-fish appetizers as well, such as a white tuna wrapped around arugula with a yuzu sauce. Staff are friendly and skillful at recommending what's fresh and special (eg, the live-scallop sashimi we had Friday at lunch--oh man, we're talkin' fresh). The atmosphere is kind of generic sushi bar, so it'd be easy to look in, assume it's ordinary and move on, but I'd encourage eGulleters in the area to check it out. It's really good, and we want to make sure it sticks around a while!.

  13. You probably know about this already, but we recently had coffee and dessert in the back garden of the newish Gencarelli's on Bloomfield in Montclair. Very peaceful. Of course, that may have been because we literally were the only people there. Still, it's pleasant back there. Not sure I'd ever opt for a table outside on Bloomfield Ave.

  14. My 21-year-old nephew, who just graduated from NYU, chose Il Buco on Bond St. for his graduation dinner. The decor is Italian-country, pretty and comfortable (for dad), but the restaurant was just full of hip and beautiful diners, in a very hip neighborhood (for daughter). The food was terrific. They offer a menu of many, many seasonal appetizers and a smaller number of pastas and entrees; I'm sure a lot of people make a dinner out of a couple of appetizers, which would help keep the cost down. Not cheap, but not over-the-top either.

    Edited to add: My nephew is also a big fan of Shake Shack, so you're on the same track there.

  15. Having just returned from the first weekend, I'd have to say that absolutely the best bang for your food buck is at the Festival itself. You probably know that already, but I had to say it just in case, and because this is your first festival. My own tasting was limited this year by the torrential rains, and by my decision to actually focus on the music for a change, but still...Not to be missed, by our lights: The cochon de lait po' boy; soft-shell crab po-boy (go early and get one that's huge and still hot from the fryer); the pheasant/andouille gumbo; and the trout Baquet, which is buttery and topped with a big spoonful of crabmeat. I also tried a soft-shelled crawfish po'boy that in any other situation would fall into my not-to-be-missed list. And the oysters in the Grandstand: huge and fresh and a great way to start your day. Unless you'd rather start with the frozen cafe au lait. These aren't little samples--they're restaurant portions for $5 to $10 each. Brings lotsa cash. And have a fantastic time! I envy you. The music for this coming weekend looks amazing.

  16. So, after spending many months and many dollars on plans to remodel our small home and build a bigger kitchen, we've decided to chuck it and just move. The house we're buying has a Viking range with gas convection oven. I use the oven primarily for baking, am accustomed to (and like) my current Thermador dual-fuel. I rarely use the convection feature on it.

    The question is: How does gas-convection work for baking, particularly compared with an electric oven? Should I stick with it, or should we just bump up that loan a few thousand dollars and swap it for a true dual-fuel? BTW, the Viking in there is no more than 8 years old, but probably not much younger than that. The range we'd selected for our kitchen remodel was the 48" Dacor dual-fuel.


  17. journalistic "fact-checking" primarily involves names, spellings and dates....unless questions are raised after the fact

    Depending on the publication, fact checking can be far more thorough than that -- and often is. Having written for the New York Times on a few occasions, I can tell you that every factual claim I've made has had to be substantiated by references provided to my editor. Definitions of culinary terms are exactly the sort of thing the New York Times fact checks rigorously, so my guess is that this one just slipped through the cracks -- perhaps because the story didn't get edited by the dining-section team (it seems to have come from the Rome bureau as a news story).

    correct. but they don't normally check your references. unless it's a very high-profile story. the basic problem is logistical. way too much content in the Times every day...you'd have to have hundreds of people doing the checking.

    The New York Times does have hundreds of people doing the checking. The editorial staff is huge, and even routine stories go through levels of editing and checking. They have always checked my references, and have often come back to me to argue about what those references do and don't support.

    This is absolutely no reflection on your reportorial skills, more on what I assume the Times's stance is re: fact-checking: I would imagine that their assumption is that Times staff reporters are journalistically trained to get it right and are, in essence, their own fact-checkers. (That assumption explains why they've gotten themselves in hot water with people like Jayson Blair. They trust them.) So if the chef article was staff-written, then no, it probably wasn't fact-checked as well.

  18. Highlawn Pavillion

    I'll elaborate a little, because I was going to suggest this too. It's in Eagle Rock reservation in Montclair (or possibly West Orange--somewhere close to the border), way up on a mountainside, with unbeatable views of NYC skyline. The restaurant is very pretty, and at a wedding we attended, the food was, well, pretty darned good for an event like that. If your event is being held any time between late spring and early fall, you can do parts of it outside--plenty of lawn and patio space.

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