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  1. If you were going to sushi restaurant for the first time, what would you order to explore their menu and try and figure out the quality of their fish? The obvious answer is "omakaze" which is great for some of the higher end places, but it is also expensive. Another obvious answer is "ask the sushi chef what's good/fresh" but I've done this and very often the response I get is "Everything's good/fresh" Usually I'll start with some sashimi, like maybe yellowtail and if they have any good toro. Then I'll move on to nigiri, and basically try to sample all the basics. Then if I've had good luck so far, I will try their uni, ikura, maybe ama-ebi (though I don't really like the frozen stuff) and lastly mackarel. In my experience I very rarely find good mackarel and bad mackarel is nasty. Then I'll try a maki roll or two, depending on what's in season. I try not to ask "what's popular" because I have found that I usually don't like "what's popular". Or I'll just ask the chef to make something for me. I'll finish up with a bowl of miso. I rarely get dessert, I've been let down too many times. If I really want something sweet I'll get green tea ice cream. Anways, I'm not a sushi expert, just a sushi fan. I'm really curious what other people order when they check out a new sushi restaurant. Or am I making some sort of mistake in my list/order? Feedback welcome. Sorry in advance if this is the wrong forum for this question if so let me know. I searched around for a bit for previous posts on this topic and this is the closest I found: Japanese foods--sushi/sashimi, favorites/etiquette/general discussion
  2. Deep Fried Kimchee Basically a deep fried pickle with an exotic twist. The preparation of the dish greatly reduces the pungency of the kimchee making it a tasty way to introduce this Korean staple to reluctant adults or children alike. Easy to make by following the directions below, or check out the video <a href=" To Deep Fry Kimchee</a><br> 1 qt peanut oil* 2 c kimchee (most common variety - spicy<i> baechu</i>, or Napa cabbage) 1/2 c all-purpose flour (for <i>pre- egg wash</i>) Egg Wash 2 eggs 1/2 c milk 1/4 c buttermilk 1/4 c kimchee juice** 1 tsp cayenne pepper Breading Mixture 1/2 c seasoned bread crumbs*** 1/4 c corn meal 1/4 c all purpose flour 2 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp lemon pepper 1 tsp Korean red pepper Kimchee Ranch Dressing 3/4 c Ranch dressing 3 T kimchee juice 1 tsp Korean red pepper * Can substitute Canola or other oil. Amount may vary depending upon size of pot used. **Kimchee juice is the excess liquid in the kimchee jar ***Seasoned Bread Crumbs - Use store bought or make from scratch by blending following ingredients until fine: 4 ounces Italian bread, cubed and baked at 400°F for 12 minutes, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp dried parsley flakes, 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese. <br> 1. Heat oil to 375°F in pot or deepfryer 2. Remove thin, leafy green parts of kimchee and cut firmer white portions into approximately 1 inch squares 3. Combine 3 tbsp kimchee juice and Korean red pepper with Ranch Dressing. Refrigerate. 4. Beat eggs and combine ingredients for <i>Egg Wash</i> in bowl 5. Combine ingredients for <i>Breading Mixture</i> in bowl. 6. Bread each kimchee square: <p style=" text-indent:15px; ">a. first coat in <i>pre- egg wash</i> flour</p> <p style=" text-indent:15px; ">b. dip in <i>Egg Wash</i></p> <p style=" text-indent:15px; ">c. coat with <i>Breading Mixture</i> thoroughly</p> <p style=" text-indent:15px; ">d. set aside each breaded kimchee square on a wax paper covered dish 7. Carefully add kimchee squares to hot oil in batches of 4-6 pieces. 8. Remove when golden brown - approximately 25-35 seconds. Place on paper towel lined plate. Lightly season with a touch of salt. 9. Allow to cool approximately one minute. 10. Garnish with Korean red pepper and serve with Kimchee Ranch Dressing Keywords: Appetizer, Vegetables, Korean, American, Vegetarian, Deep Fryer, Easy ( RG2155 )
  3. Morda - I use a recipe similar to worm@work's. It's a pretty standard recipe, if your book doesn't have it let me know and I will post a recipe with exact quantities. I think the amchoor is really important as it provides a nice tanginess. For other ideas besides potato pea, here's link to another thread. Good luck! P.S. if you haven't made samosas before, rolling out the dough can be a real pain . I know some people use pre-cut dough, but I find the process is not as bad if you find someone to make them with you!
  4. monikaaji - Welcome to eGullet! Thanks for the great descriptions of the meals you prepare. You got me thinking of trying a reindeer meat curry, hmmm...
  5. I made murgh do piazza once. I know there is some debate on the etymology of the words "do piazza" but I have heard it means double onions. Largish onion chunks are included in the dish in addition to the base being made with onions. It came out very tasty, and one of my guinea pigs even said it was the best "curry" he had ever eaten. As for the types of onions, because I enjoy the taste of the onions, I tend to use Vidalia onions which are readily available to me at the grocer and I find them both tasty and a little stronger than some of the sweeter ones. Richie
  6. jb - sounds like a great trip. On my recent trip to Philly (reported here), I liked Jim's and Pat's the best of the places I tried. I'll have to check out some of your other recommendations next time I'm down there seeing as how we share similar taste buds and all... Thanks for the great report! -Richie EDITED TO ADD: Welcome to eGullet!
  7. hillvalley - I should have been more attentive to the onions as that was one of the few ingredients in my steaks. Unfortunately, I didn't think of it when I first put the categories together. I do remember Jim's onions well, as there were a big pile of them carmelizing on the grill, and they were a tasty addition to the steak. I remember Pat's, Geno's, and D'Allessandro's onions similarly, not as browned as Jim's (more translucent) and offering more texture than flavor. I don't remember anything about Tony Luke Jr.'s, but maybe because I was distracted by the Roast Pork!
  8. Couldn't fit that one in ahr! If you say it beats out Jim's I will have to compare them on my next visit! So that's Amoroso, not Omarosa, right? YOU'RE FIRED! Haha. Seriously though, that makes a lot of sense that it's the same bread. Perhaps the difference I thought I tasted at Jim's had more to do with the freshness of the rolls (probably fresher at 3PM than at 3AM) or maybe it was completely imagined by me. Anyways, thanks again to everyone for all your suggestions (especially for guiding me towards the Roast Pork -- I have joined your crusade to try to convert the masses!!!!). We're already looking forward to our next visit!
  9. Just posted the results of my Cheese Steak testing here. As for Buddakan, we had a nice time. It was more about hanging out with friends than the dining experience. Did NOT enjoy the service, everyone working there that we dealt with seemed to think they were very important and that we, the customers, were lucky to be there. The food was decent although not very memorable. The crab and shrimp spring rolls were yummy and we ordered a second round (I was told they were crab/shrimp but looking at the menu and it describes them as just "shrimp" hmmm). My friend did most of the ordering and got 6 aps and 6 entrees which we ate family style. I did order the Black Cod and it was actually pretty good flaky and fresh tasting. Might have been the best thing we got besides the spring rolls. Did NOT like the wasabi tuna pizza or the "angry" lobster (first time I've had lobster "asian style" and didn't really dig it). We also got a chocolate bento box for desert which was edible and was presented with a lit sparkler. Oh, and the GF like the asian barbeque pork - I thought it was dry but I did enjoy one of the extra large onion rings it comes with. 7 people the total came to about $650 with tax, tip, and $100 of wine, not so bad. I probably wouldn't go back voluntarily.
  10. Months ago I planned a trip to Philadelphia to see what all the hype is about on the "Big 3" of cheese steaks (Pats', Geno's, and Jim's). After posting my plans on eGullet, I received numerous replies urging me to expand my "research" to include other places not as well known to non-locals. Through some careful planning, I was able to include D'Allessandro's and Tony Luke's Jr in my 18-hour excursion. To add some objectivity to my tests, I developed a rating system based on categories: Appearance, Meat, Cheese, Bread, Texture, and Size. I assigned a numerical rating (1 to 10, 10 is best) for each and used the ratings to help me come up with an Overall rating. The Overall rating, however, is not mathematically calculated from the other categories. When possible I ordered "Whiz with onions" as that seemed to be the standard at most places (and also because I love Cheese Whiz). Because I wanted to focus on the sandwich itself, I ignored other factors such as service, availability of 'fixin's', decor, and atmosphere. Also, throughout the report I use interchangeably the following terms: hoagie, hero, sub, and sandwich – I know there can be some debate between the differences of these words, but for the purpose of this report they will refer to the same thing. We went down last Friday night and had 9:30 dinner reservations with friends after which I went back to the hotel for a brief 3 hour "power nap" before I set out on my quest. 12 hours, 5 restaurants, 7 sandwiches and about 11,000 calories later, I accomplished what I set out to do and compiled the data below. Pat's King of Steaks The plan was to begin by hitting Geno's and Pat's at the same time since they are located across the street from each other. I woke up to an alarm in my hotel room, I got dressed, and took a cab over to my first destination armed with a notepad and a digital camera. It was 3:00 am and both Geno's and Pat's had long lines of hungry, eager patrons. A friend got in the Pat's line and I went over to Geno's. While I waited in line at Geno’s, I apparently missed seeing Don Vito (of Jackass fame) roll up to Pat’s in a SUV. From what I was told, his driver ran out to get a huge bag of Pat’s while the Don glared out of the passenger seat waving to the excited, drunken masses who screamed “DON VITO!” and snapped photos. The friend who got me the sandwich put ketchup on it. I usually love ketchup on my cheese steaks, but for this test I avoided extra condiments. I tried to ignore the effects of the ketchup on my results. Appearance: 7.5 This looked like a tasty sandwich. It glistened with juices begging to be eaten. Meat: 9.5 Wow! This meat was savory and juicy. The thin sliced steak, tender - not gristly or chewy - blended well with the cheese and onions. Cheese: 8 A generous portion of Whiz mixed well with the other ingredients and was evenly distributed throughout. Bread: 8.5 This was very good bread. It was soft and fresh with a slightly chewy crust. It held the juicy ingredients well while not getting soggy. This seemed to be identical bread to that used at Geno's and very similar to D'Allesandro's. Texture: 7 Good texture. The bread and cheesy meat offered two different layers that worked well together. Size: 8 Good size although I was soon to find out that most of the places I hit sold the same sized subs. Overall: 9.5 This sub really set the bar for the rest of the trip. It was so delicious I had to force myself not to get a second. This sandwich and the Jim’s steak I tried later were the only two subs that produced an orange, liquid mess of drippings on the paper. These drippings formed puddles on the paper wrapper that you can dip the sandwich in. The drippings (oil, water, cheese Whiz, and other juices from the meat) were a testament to the juiciness of the sandwich. Geno's Steaks A wrapper from Pat's was under this sandwich, but this is actually from Geno's. Appearance: 4 This did not look that appealing. It kind of looked like Steak'Um's on a hero. Meat: 6.5 The meat was just OK. It was not bad tasting. It just really wasn't that savory or juicy. It was kind of bland. The meat was also thin sliced but not as tender as Pat’s. Cheese: 7 Cheese Whiz was good, to be sure, but there was not a lot, and it did not seem to blend in with the rest of the sandwich. It just seemed to sit on top of the meat and in between the bread. Bread: 8.5 The bread was really good. The bread was almost identical to that used at Pat's and D'Allesandro's. Texture: 5 Biting into Geno’s reminded one of the texture of a roast beef sandwich with lots of mayonnaise. Size: 8 Standard size. Overall: 6 Was sad to have to give this historical site a low rating. I thought long and hard about it, but I just really couldn't think of any reason to rate it any higher. It tasted like what the sum of the three ingredients (bread, meat, and cheese) should taste like, and nothing more. There was no synergy between the ingredients to produce the magical taste I got from Pat’s where each bite was like a mini-celebration in my mouth. I went back to the hotel with a full tummy to grab a few more hours of sleep before my next stop: D'Allesandro's I quietly left my girlfriend sleeping in the hotel room and hailed a cab. With directions in hand, I tried to explain to the confused cabby where I was going. He immediately called his friend on a cell phone and soon the friend pulled up and I was told to switch cabs. The new cabby was a nice Punjabi fellow named Raj and we spent the next hour together as he took me out to Roxborough, waited for me to eat, and drove me back to downtown. I just want to say that after hearing so many horror stories about the cabbies in Philly, this guy was the exact opposite. After talking about Indian cuisine at some length, he actually invited my girlfriend and me to extend our trip and have dinner with him and his family at his home that night. I truly wish we could have taken him up on it as it would have probably been the best meal we ate while down there. Appearance: 7 Decent looking sandwich. Wasn't "glistening" with gooey goodness like Pat's. Meat: 8 This meat was chopped, (bigger than ground but not sliced like at Pat’s and Geno’s). I think I actually prefer the meat this way as it offers a nice texture and allows the other ingredients to mix in with the meat better. The meat, however, was not quite as tasty and juicy as Pat’s, in fact it was a little bland. Cheese: 4 Provolone, BOOO! No Whiz available here, hence the lowered rating. I don’t have a problem with Provolone per se, but I just like Whiz so much better. Bread: 8.5 The bread was really good. The bread seemed almost identical to what I ate at Pat's and Geno's. Texture: 6 I’ve found that Whiz acts as a catalyst bringing all the other ingredients in to perfect harmony. The lack of Whiz combined with the less juicy meat created a dry sandwich. Size: 8 Standard size. Overall: 8 This rating would probably go up if it had Whiz, but it still wouldn't have been as good as the Pat's I had tried earlier because the meat wasn't as juicy or savory. Tony Luke Jr's After getting back from Roxborough and doing a little shopping, we met some friends at Tony Luke Jr's. I can't confirm it, but I was told that the sandwiches are pretty much the same here as at the original Tony Luke's on Oregon Av. I ventured outside the scope of my test here and ordered both a cheese steak AND a Roast Pork with Broccoli Rabe and Provolone. The latter was an amazing sandwich that changed my life. I've included a pic and description as an appendix at the end of this cheese steak review. While we were waiting in line a delivery guy was picking up large order that he said he was taking to Fleetwood Mac at the airport. Appearance: 8 Smothered in Whiz and set in a good looking French roll (doesn't come out in the photo but it was some really good looking bread) Meat: 7 Sliced. Tasty. Not quite as juicy as I like. Cheese: 7 Although there was plenty of Whiz, it was unevenly distributed throughout the sandwich. Bread: 7.5 This bread looked really good. And it was good bread. But just not as good for cheese steaks (went perfectly with the roast pork though). It was a little dryer and not as soft. It did not soak up the cheese and juice as well as the other bread I had tried. Texture: 4 The bread and uneven Whiz made this texture unappealing. Size: 8.5 Not sure if it was an optical illusion but it seemed slightly longer than all the other hoagies, and for that it gets a slightly higher rating. Overall: 7 A friend I was with described this as a good “mid-day sandwich” because it was mild. I agree. It was not as juicy, messy, tasty or seasoned as some of the others I had tried. Jim's Steaks After some more shopping and walking around (we got great weather and Philly really does have some beautiful areas), we went to Jim's. It was 4:00pm and there was a long, 20 minute line. But it was worth the wait! Appearance: 7.5 Good looking sandwich. It looked big, juicy, and a little messy. Meat: 9.5 The meat was very tasty, juicy, and chopped or minced, kind of like at D'Allessandro's (not sliced). This meat was at least as good as Pat’s and may have been slightly better, but I’m giving Pat’s the benefit of the doubt and rating Jim's the same. Cheese: 8 Nice even distribution of Whiz which mixed well with the meat. Bread: 9 This bread was same consistency as Pat's/Geno's/D'Allesandro's, but was actually a little tastier. It tasted fresher and had a little more flavor. Just like those others it had a slightly chewy crust, a soft middle, and soaked up the juices well. Texture: 8 Good texture. You don't want the crust of the bread to be so chewy that it squashes the rest of the bread when you bite it, but you want a little resistance. This bread had that proper amount of chewiness in the crust. The chopped meat (as opposed to sliced) combined with the other ingredients to make for a nice juicy center. Size: 8.5 Seemed a little fatter than the other sandwiches I'd tried so I’m giving it a slightly higher rating. Overall: 9.6 This was a tough call, but in the end I decided to declare Jim’s the winner by a slight margin. To me, Jim's edges out Pat's because of the taste of the bread and the texture of the meat. Both Pat’s and Jim’s had the orange drippings factor going for them. In my opinion, this is what makes them superior cheese steaks. Even though I had eaten 6 other subs in the last 12 hours (5 cheese steaks and the roast pork), Jim’s was so good that I ate a second one! Additional Thoughts Everyone has their own tastes and this has been based on mine. I like Whiz and I know many people hate this artificial cheese product. I like my sandwich a little messy (but not so messy that it falls apart in my hands). What I find juicy the next guy may find disgusting. I think part of what makes Jim's steaks so juicy is that they add water to the meat. I know this because I saw the grill man pour a little on while he was cooking up a new batch of meat. They probably do this at Pat’s too. It might not make sense that the secret ingredient to making a cheese steak juicier is to add a little H20, but those steaks really were jucier. Maybe if D’Allessandro’s added some water and a little salt to the meat I would like it better, but they don’t. Another thing that made Jim’s and Pat’s a cut above was the very even distribution of Whiz. It detracts from my eating pleasure if one bite is all Whiz and the next bite is dry meat. In a perfect testing environment I would have all the sandwiches lined up fresh in front of me for comparison. Unfortunately this was impossible. It was also unfortunate that I could not try out some of the other suggested spots: Gooey Louie's, original Tony Luke’s, Steve’s Prince of Steaks, Chink’s, Chubby’s, Campo’s and countless others. Overall, we loved Philadelphia, we will definitely be back. I would highly recommend checking out the City of Brotherly Love. Thanks much to eGulleters who helped me out, as well as my awesome Philly hosts: Casey, Al, and Jason. Appendix: Tony Luke's Roast Pork with Broccoli Rabe and Provolone This sophisticated sandwich really blew me away. The pork was so tender and flavorful. There was some type of garlic butter or sauce mixed in with the meat that was a totally unexpected pleasant surprise. The provolone perfectly complemented the tastes of the garlic and pork. Cheese Whiz would definitely not work here. The broccoli rabe offered texture and a bitter element that was not overpowering and worked well in this. The slightly harder French roll held the sandwich together just right and offered a good texture. A softer bread like those used in the other cheese steaks I tried would not have held up as well in this situation. My next trip to Philly will begin and end with this sandwich! EDITED FOR TYPOS
  11. Today was awesome. The GF and I got there at 11:45, bought some 'cue-pons', and got in a couple lines. We started with Mitchell's. I'm sorry, but the cold meat mixed with the coleslaw juices and tasted like tuna salad (pretty good tuna salad though). We then went to Salt Lick for sausage and briscuit. The briscuit was tasty though probably could have been cooked a little longer, we liked the sauce, and the sausage was great. For dessert I tried some rhubarb cobbler from the Blue Smoke dessert booth. Although it was sort of tasty, I was a liitle annoyed to have waited in line and paid $4 for 1 tablespoon of icecream, a small wafer sized piece of shortbread, and 6 pieces of small-diced rhubarb. Because we got there so early, we didn't wait more than about six or seven minutes in any line. We didn't think the crowds were so bad. Pretty tame compared to say, a free Sting concert in Central Park. The GF had to leave around 2:00 to study so I did the rest of the day solo. I found the Barbeculture panel fascinating. I didn't realize there was so much to be inferred about a person by the type of sauce she uses. I met FatGuy, Pan, BondGirl, and some people who I didn't catch their eGullet names and everyone was really nice. Pleasure meeting all of you! Looking forward to future eGullet events. -Richie BTW: As I was walking out around 4:15 they were saying it was up to 2 hours wait for food. They weren't selling any more cue-pons because, I guess, they didn't want to be there all night. I did manage to find a couple of die-hards who took my remaining tickets off my hands, but I felt like I kind of lucked out. Next year I would probably try to get rid of my extra tickets earlier.
  12. Well I'm sorry to dissapoint, but I am going to go to Buddakan. I'll just go there expecting the worst meal of my life, being surrounded by wannabe posers, and knowing that I would probably get more satisfaction eating a Big Mac as I threw $100 bills into the fireplace. Sometimes I don't mind making sacrifices for well-meaning, misled friends... As for the big Saturday, I will get a roast pork and I will try to hit a couple of the other places on top of Geno's, Pat's, Tony Luke's, and Jim's...
  13. OK. Well I spoke with my friend in Philly and, at this point, we've changed the schedule to include Tony Luke's. He said Dalessandro's was in "Northeast Philly"? and he hadn't heard of Steve's but said it was probably up there as well. So at this point our Saturday looks like it will be: Geno's and Pat's for breakfast, Luke's for lunch, and Jim's for dinner and for the road before we get back on the train. I hope Tony Luke's uses plenty of cheese whiz. As for Buddakan, my Philly friend is really excited to go there and I just didn't have the heart to give him your not-so-great reviews. He is our host, and set up the reservation, so I think we'll just make the most of our evening there. I am in NYC but I guess I just won't have to go when it opens here. I made a note of the black cod.
  14. The GF and I are heading down to Philly this weekend to once and for all end our ongoing debate about the best cheese steaks in Philly. We will be hitting Jim's, Geno's, and Pat's all on this Saturday. Although I highly doubt it will come even close to the fine dining establishments mentioned above, we have dinner reservations at Buddakan on Friday night. I have searched this Penn forum and only found some mentions of Buddakan without any specifics. Can anyone offer suggestions on some dishes we must try there? The GF has a very delicate palette while I will eat anything I can fit in my mouth. I will be posting a full report of our trip when we get back.
  15. Scott123 - As to the almond paste, I think I am wrong on this. I dug up all of my old recipes for this dish (about 30) and of them there were 11 references to cashew nut paste and only 1 reference to almond paste (interesting that's around 30% as you mentioned in your post and even more interesting that I found even one - this one - that uses almonds). Also I checked some menus and the only reference I found to almond was, as you said, in korma. I am pretty sure I know of one place that includes almonds in the description but that would just seem to be an exception. I think I may have confused that ingredient early on in coming up with my own recipe and never questioned it after that. I look forward to trying it with cashew paste. Also, I was going to PM you but I guess this would not be an entirely inappropriate place to ask you where are some of the other places you've found good butter chicken?
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