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TongoRad

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    Northern Valley, NJ
  1. The main difference I found with the 56th street branch, as opposed to the 39th street one, was a more liberal hand with the Scezhuan peppercorns. One of the things I am going to miss most about no longer working at Columbus Circle is lunch at that branch. Two dishes in particular really stood out to me, too: the Ma Paul Tofu and the Chicken with Roasted Chile and Green Chile (I've seen this called 3-Pepper Chicken elsewhere). I bet they stand up to any other versions in the city.
  2. I'm really enjoying the blog so far. Portland used to be a summer stomping grounds of mine (from '92 to '96) and I absolutely loved the days I spent there. I'm sure that a lot of it is very different these days, but I still find myself trying to catch a glimpse of something familiar. I do remember enjoying a bunch of great German food, both from awesome delis and restaurants, the most memorable being the Westpahlian Ham that we used to get. Whether you go to the same places still, well, I couldn't fathom a guess (I was merely a tagalong to my guides at the time), but I did get the sense that there was a pretty nice German community in town. In regards to the mini cakes- did you add the blueberries in their frozen state? That sounds like a neat trick, along the lines of 'why didn't I think of that?', if you did. I'm going to have to try it one of these days. And, FWIW- the city that Jeff Smith used to reference all of the time was Takoma, WA (close, but no cigar...)
  3. It should scare you - with it's camo label, it could sneak up on you in the woods and go all Rambo on you! But, yes, UHT (ultra-pasteurized, shelf stable) milk does taste odd - it has been cooked, after all. But, when I can find it in small "drink box" size, I'll grab a pack. It's great to have on the shelf if we run out of milk some morning. It does serve a purpose; we keep a sixpack of small ones in case of power outages or refrigerator emergencies. Of course, it's rare that it ever comes to that so then I'll gradually use them in my coffee as the expiration date approaches. Those few times they've been required, though, keep them in the pantry at all times. I do enjoy a shelf stable butterscotch pudding every now and then when I'm brown bagging it. It's not the best, for sure, but enjoyable enough for when the choice is that or nothing.
  4. Jeez- I didn't think the puffins were that bad. I'll have to try them again the next time I'm up there, just out of curiosity now.
  5. Puffins might fit the bill, and they even have a cinnamon flavor. I've had them while visiting my parents' house- I think my mom gets them at Trader Joe's- and they do indeed stay crunchy for a while.
  6. TongoRad

    Street eats

    There is a outdoor plaza nearby with tables you can use too, between 45th/46th just east of 6th Ave. There are also a number of other carts in that area, including Moishe's if you want to do a falafel comparisson. hungryscotsman- if you don't want to be too literal about getting your food 'on the street', you can also include other quick bites that will give you a good feel for what the city has to offer. I'm thinking specifically about slice joint pizza, hot dogs from papaya king (or something similar), pastrami sandwiches, stuff like that. Also, certain neighborhoods can be great for casual food- Chinatown, Curry Hill, East Harlem, etc. If you can post back with an idea of where you will be visiting I'm sure we can get you more specific recommendations.
  7. TongoRad

    Kitchen geometry and fatal flaws

    The only thing I'd change is my range hood- it's not strong enough, nor does it cover the front burners all the way, nor (and this what is critical, to me) is it high enough above the cooking surface). So if I'm cooking pasta in a tall stockpot I have barely enough room to lift the pasta out of the water and into the sauce on the adjacent burner. Really annoying, especially if I have to use tongs on the longer pastas like linguine. If we ever re-do the place that will be my #1 concern.
  8. TongoRad

    Best Bargains in Booze

    The single malt Bowmore Legend is quite good for the price; it can still be had for under $30 per 750. It falters a bit on the finish, but the nose is very nice indeed. I've been drinking it for a while now, back when I could get it for closer to $20, but it's still a great value in my eyes.
  9. TongoRad

    Beet Stems and tops

    The problem I find is that with a bunch of beets (3 or 4, usually) there aren't enough of the greens, by the time it cooks down. So I like to combine them with red chard, myself. They are simply prepared- first brown some pancetta, or bacon, then add sliced shallots and sweat them, in goes the greens, and finish it off with salt and a splash of red wine vinegar. This can be served by itself, or tossed with pasta, or even on a "white" pizza. I'm not the sort to put truffle oil on everything, but recently my parents gave me a bottle from Italy that was just past the 'best-by' date- so I've been putting it on whatever I can think of. It sort of killed when I used it on the chard/beet greens the other day, better than I expected- I bet that would make a great pizza topped with some Fontina.
  10. Chinese restaurants that served flaming drinks and Pu Pu Platters (OK- I'll admit that back then all I had from the drink department was the maraschino cherries from my dad's cocktails, but I'm essentially recalling a style of place). I would probably pine for this stuff more often if I didn't have a relic from that era not too far from home: Chan's Dragon Inn
  11. Definitely Fudgetown cookies, and maybe some of the others from the Burry stable (like Gauchos).
  12. TongoRad

    'Smoked' Beers

    Talk about a blast from the past... karlos- a beer that I have gotten into more recently (as in the past two or three years) is the Weyerbacher Fireside (from Easton PA), a spring seasonal. Hopefully you can get it in Rochester- it's an ale that clocks in around 7% abv, moderate on the smoke, with a whole host of other complexities but also dangerously quaffable. Affordable too- around $8 a four-pack.
  13. Fabulous job, I enjoyed this blog immensely. Thank you so much.
  14. Well, if we're talking about cut up fruit to place in your glass of wine, and leave it in there as you are refilling it throughout the meal, and then eat at the end, well- I'm going to have to go with the 'Daddy-O' method ("he's got apples and peaches for you"). Peaches being the #1 choice, naturally.
  15. Perception and balance can be a tricky thing, especially if you are just relying on your palate. There could be sugar there that you aren't noticing- I bring this up because you mentioned that you believe that there is no sugar in beer. In truth, on average beer will have 75% apparent attenuation. 'Dry', in beer terms, means it is approaching 80%, and something truly dry is a rare bird indeed. Something with a high amount of bitterness or tartness will require a significant amount of residual sugar to make it palatable, balance it out, although the initial impression (i.e. "jeez, that's hoppy") still tends to define the beer. Some elements of beer culture, it seems, tend to mirror cocktail culture, in that the 'hoppy' guys don't like 'sweet' beers, although in reality that residual sugar is more prominent than they realize.
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