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Posts posted by SusanGiff

  1. It's true...but I'm not alone in being a little disappointed in it after visits the last couple of months. Just a slight falling enough, but enough so that when I took some first-timers two weeks ago they were unimpressed. Hopefully just a dip.

  2. Don't mean to change the conversation here, but I think Briarcliff Manor is close enough to Blue Hill at Stone Barns for you to give that a try. I must confess I wasn't as blown away by the place as a lot of people are; it felt to us a little bit like a sustainable-foods theme restaurant. But it's a cool place and a pretty room, and the food IS good.


    Edited to add: Oops. Just realized someone already slipped this in up thread. Sorry.

  3. I'd go with Pierre Marcolini.

    i've heard good things about pierre. anywhere to get his chocolate in the US?

    There's a little shop on Madison Ave., somewhere in the 50s.

    Speaking of little shops, I'd also add Kee's to the list. But Le Maison is probably still at the top of mine.


  4. Zoe, don't feel dumb--I know exactly what a box of cake flour looks like, and they definitely didn't have it in my A&P the last time I was looking for it (correction: they carry self-rising cake flour, which you don't want unless your recipe calls for it, and most don't).

    If you want to go high end and out of your way, you can find King Arthur cake flour at Chef Central.


  5. Il Forno, on S. Fullerton in Montclair, has the best Italian bread I've had around here. My second choice would be Shoprite, which carries La Brea bakery products, or King's, where you sometimes can get Sullivan St. or other good bakery products. And I'm sure the Balthazar bakery has amazing stuff; I just haven't managed to get there yet.


  6. It has good semi-bulk and sometimes hard to find items for home bakers like me--large bags of good chopped walnuts, pistachios out of the shell, dried cherries, etc. And nice snacks--where else can you get pretzel nuggets stuffed with peanut butter? Yum. But the frozen foods do leave me, um, cold.

    That Hamburg Turnpike one is a real pain for me to get to, so I'd welcome one on 17, so's I can stop in after Chef Central and the Container Store.


  7. My wife has been working tirelessly with an organization called the Katrina Krewe.  Twice a week they go out and clean up.  It started small, just a group of friends who wanted to get buisy.  Now when they hit the streets they get as many as 200 or 300 folks out.   They have gotten some corporate help as well.  A pharmaceutical company brought five hundred people down for a cleanup last thursday.  After six months everyone needs to get on with other things so they are downsizing at this point and are only going to go out once a month, and focusing more on helping the various neighborhood associations, and getting them to realize that each group needs to help each other and doing other public awareness stuff.  But the French Quarter Hotel association promised to donate rooms for future cleanups for outoftown groups, and Home Depot donated an obscene amount of contrator bags after Ellen DeGeneris got involved.   She was down last week as well and my wife's friend took her on a tour.  You can check if anything is going on your weekend at cleanno.com.  ch

    Another non-food post from me! I think I actually found out about Katrina Krewe on eGullet, and when we were down, my family went out with them on the Saturday morning that we were there. I'd absolutely second this endorsement. Not only do you feel as if you're tangibly helping, you get a MUCH better sense of what an overwhelming task lies ahead for these folks. I really give them high praise for what they're doing, and gratitude for giving short-term visitors the opportunity to pitch in. I'd urge anyone who goes to New Orleans (and heck, I'd urge everyone to go to New Orleans) to consider donating a few hours of their vacation to Katrina Krewe.


  8. My family and I were in New Orleans the weekend before Jazz Fest (French Quarter Fest was happening). Like you, my husband and I debated whether or not it was 'appropriate' to tour the worst hit areas and gawk. (In fact, I almost emailed Mayhaw Man from our hotel for his opinion, but I got shy, especially since it wasn't a food-related question.) Anyway, ultimately we decided that getting on a Grey Line bus would feel too weird, so we asked one of the bellmen at our hotel if he knew of a knowledgeable taxi driver who could take us around.

    He found us someone fantastic, and if you pm me I'll try to round up his number. I can't urge you strongly enough to do this. People will tell you you just can't believe how bad it is until you see it, and it's true. It's absolutely stunning and, I felt afterward, very important to see. And very important for kids to see. It's going to be a big piece of American history, for one thing. And we left there committed to a) keeping closer track of what's going on in New Orleans, a city we really care about and b)continuing to help any way we can.

    And, yeah, them Acme Oysters were quite tasty. We had a terrific meal at Herbsaint, but I think if we were going there now we'd probably try Cochon or August, either instead or, preferably, in addition.

    By the way, you NOLAns out there--did one of the muffellata places close? Either Progress or Central? I could have sworn they were separated by just one storefront, but when I went looking, I only found one (sorry, can't remember which it was). It was Sunday, so it was closed anyway, but I did wonder.


  9. Well, I think of it more as a soul/Southern food restaurant than a bbq joint. And you're right, I like the bbq, but haven't been blown away by it. But I've never been disappointed by the rest of the food. I often go for the catfish, the lightest item on a heavy menu; it's excellent. When they first opened, I had some of the best fried chicken of my life (and I grew up in the South). The sides are good, and overall I give the place extra points for authenticity, and the atmosphere's nice, too. On the other hand, as I said, I don't see it mentioned here very often, so maybe I'm in the minority.


  10. I was toying with a Cinqo de Mayo type formula for my son-in-law's May fifth birthday. I always feel more freedom with cakes for family and I didn't want to go to the store or spend any money & just use what I had in the house too. Well I was working with this recipe & that recipe & then I didn't really have the right ingredients for any one particular one so...I have made this twice. The crumb is not as open as it could be but man is it good. The cayenne does not shock or overtake--it glows in the throat and the back of the mouth after you swallow--really really nice. If your kidlette digs chocolate I think she will like this. It balances wonderfully with the icing but it's not bombastic at all.

    Many thanks to Cheryl, SweetSide for the heads up on the right amount of cayenne. I used 3/4 of a teaspoon for my husband's to zing it a teensy bit. A half teaspoon is sufficient--3/4 is pleasantly zingy. More than that I think will take it off the chart.

    Oooooh, I love anything with the chocolate/cinnamon/chili or cayenne combo. Vosges Chocolate makes an Aztec cocoa that I would mainline if it were possible.

    Off topic and a lot little less high-toned than Vosges, but have you tried this Haagen-Daz Mayan Chocolate ice cream? Deep chocolate, lots of cinnamon, really tasty.

  11. I'm not sure if it's the one you heard about, but Indigo Smoke is in Montclair, on Bloomfield Ave., and offers fabulous barbecue, among other great items like catfish, a mean fried chicken, incredible sweet potatoes, etc. I'm always surprised it's not mentioned here more often.


  12. I just wanted to add one to the list: Chatham Bakery and Bread Shop, right across from the middle school on Main Street in Chatham. I'd say it was in the mid- to high-end range. Everything I tried, from a bear claw to a slice of carrot cake to a dark chocolate pasty, was really top-notch--fresh, quality ingredients, not too sweet (bakery goods that taste primarily of sugar are a pet peeve of mine). I'd never heard of it and just happened to be there because my daughter was at an all-day event at the school. So with time to kill, I had an opportunity to check out many offerings. A really nice surprise!


  13. Nope. I've never heard of anyone eating Chinese food this way. Must have been frustrating.

    Does anyone know how Americans first encountering Chinese food (I'm thinking of when Chinese restaurants began to open up in cities outside New York) "learned" to share it? It seems like such a universal Chinese-restaurant practice (which is why your experience was so odd), but it must have seemed new and strange at one time. Did the proprietors of the restaurants have to teach their patrons to dine family style? Any restaurant historians out there?


  14. I bought the Kitchenaid based on the Coffeegeek review, and on the fact that it simply would look better in my kitchen than the comparably priced Solis. I love it, for the same reasons Tim does. It's quiet, easy to clean, and leads to some excellent cups of coffee (although I should note that I don't make espresso, so I can't speak to its quality there). My only complaint is that beans sometimes get caught in the hopper, so I have to jiggle the entire heavy thing as it's grinding to make sure every last one gets through. Not a big deal, just a funny-looking addition to my morning routine.


  15. Is it just me, or are most of the folks outside what is usually considered jazz?

    They don't book much jazz at Jazz Fest. That's why it's so popular.

    Aw, be nice. Don't you think there's still plenty of jazz if you're looking for it, in Economy Hall and the big jazz tent? Do brass bands count as jazz? I'll tell you, coming in out of the heat and hearing Irvin Mayfield's orchestra is my idea of cooling off (well, was, last year). It's true the big names have absolutely nothing to do with jazz and only marginally to do with heritage. But good music, anyway.

    And since this isn't e-Eardrum, I'll get back on topic by adding my own swoon over the cochon de lait poboys I had last year and the year before. Oh, man. How I wish I were there. We went for French Quarter Fest this year (because Spring break fell at the wrong time for jazz fest), and as soon as I got home I went online to see if I could pop back this weekend. $700 was just too much for popping back, though. FQF was pleasant, but culinarily speaking, couldn't hold a candle to the Best Restaurant in the World (Mayhaw Man, I think you better copyright that one).


  16. Cafe Eclectic in Montclair. Not that it's so great, but it's a comfy place to hang out, especially in what used to be the smokers' side. And just today I saw them painting the place, with doors and windows wide open. I'm hoping this means they'll be playing by the rules.


  17. Apart from the 'pork flavor' bit, what'd you think of his criticisms?


    Well, I thought what he said was rather general and not very descriptive.. And to say Southern BBQ means nothing to me.. Was it southern in terms of vinegary pork from NC, or the white bbq sauce from S.C, or the dry rub from Memphis, or the BBQ from Texas, or the Cue from Arkansas.. I also was disturbed by implying that because it was made by a black grandfather, that meant something.. Spice notes on a sausage? Huh? He doesnt like classy BBQ and then talks about spice notes..What the hell is a spice note..

    Oops. That 'Southern BBQ' thing was me, not him, and I should've known better. Mea culpa.

  18. I don't think you attacked him, but you did say, "As I mentioned before , if you like over sauced, over smoked BBQ then this is not the place for you." Any time you call something "over-" anything, you're saying it's wrong or bad and that someone who likes it has impaired taste buds. If you'd said, "heavily sauced, deeply smoked" it'd be a whole different matter. Apart from the 'pork flavor' bit, what'd you think of his criticisms?


  19. k43, what's your baseline for good BBQ?  i can understand and appreciate that you didn't think it was all that, but it would be helpful if you mentioned places that you actually like, or styles that you like, etc.

    as far as 2 guitars and deafening sound, when's the next show!  :laugh:

    My baseline is a no-name place in Chattanooga, TN, on Dodson Avenue next to the bowling alley. It's been run by a black grandfather, father and son since the 1950s. Their ribs have a great crust and burnt ends that raise the flavor level, which Front Street didn't have. By comparison, Front Street had little pork flavor.

    FS's sausages were, for me, too upper class, with too many spice notes. I prefer juicier ones with maybe one spice and the Southern amount of fat.

    FS's cole slaw was very good, but again, an upper class version that called attention to too many flavors. It should be an accompaniment, not a co-star.

    The FS baked beans were blah. The sugar was under control, but I want more bean flavor, with some fatback rather than lean pork.

    BBQ should be a sin, not a gourmet dish. I want to pull off the meat and gnaw the marrow out of the soft ends of the bones.

    Finally, I want the experience to be about the BBQ, not the music.

    You certainly have the right to your opinion, but your description is way off. The type of BBQ you are describing doesnt really have the pork flavor you are speaking about.. Crusty ribs or burnt ends is more about the burntness, the smoke and the sauce used.. The type of BBQ that FSS has, highlights the flavors of the Pork.. As I mentioned before , if you like over sauced, over smoked BBQ then this is not the place for you..But to say this place has little "Pork Flavor" is highly inaccurate... That is unless you got the two pound beef rib.

    Besides the place you described, are there any places in NYC or NJ area that you enjoy?

    Daniel, I'm betting K43's place in Chattanooga is neither oversmoked nor oversauced, and has plenty of pork flavor along with its crusts and burnt bits, which I agree are an essential element of great barbecue. If you don't like true Southern barbecue (or haven't had it), that's one thing, but I wouldn't call K43's description "highly inaccurate" or imply that because he didn't swoon over Front Street, his taste in barbecue is off.

    Truth is, while I like Front Street a lot, I have never had barbecue anywhere in NY or NJ that's as good as what I've been served down South. Obviously, not all the barbecue I've had down there has been better than all the barbecue I've had up here--but the best of the Southern 'cue beats all.


  20. Great thread, y'all! I'm already printing out the flourless orange ginger cake recipe (even though I thought I had my menu all set). 2 questions:

    1)Has anyone tried the sponge cake with Concord wine recipe that was in Gourmet this month?

    2) A friend told me yesterday that she freezes her uncooked matzoh balls and they come out just fine. However...I have not TASTED her matzoh balls, so I don't know her definition of 'just fine'! I'm not gonna mess with it this year--too risky--but does this make sense to you all? Anyone else freeze these babies with success?



  21. I'm sorry if this has been covered already--I haven't been following this topic and haven't had time to go through all six pages! Although from what I've read so far, I really should.

    Here's my question: Can you freeze an unfrosted yellow cake for later use? I tried the recipe in this month's Fine Cooking and like it a lot.

    Here's my reason: My neighbor has asked me to bake a cake for her daughter's bat mitzvah. I'm wildly flattered (really, I'm not that good). The catch is, the bat mitzvah falls during Passover. The cake will use regular flour (go figure). That's her business, and I don't mind, but I'm just observant enough a Jew to not want to bake the actual cake during Pesach! So I'd like to make it early next week and freeze it until the day before, then frost it that morning.

    If I can't freeze it, I may just tell her I know this fabulous bakery, and it'll be my treat.

    Thanks very much.


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