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Everything posted by TongoRad

  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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Wow- that meal looks totally incredible. I wouldn't even know where to begin, and I mean that in the best possible way. The noodle dish does look very special, I can't recall having anything like it before.
  16. The freshness of even dried chiles can make a difference. I just made some chile colorado over the weekend with what I knew were old pods, but I wanted to clean out the cabinet and make use of them anyway. In the end the flavor definitely needed a bit of punch. Also- I am not familiar with Diane Kennedy's recipes (definite mea culpa on that, but my other resources haven't been too bad) but most moles that I have made needed more salt than the recipe has called for, and that can make a big difference.
  17. Robbie- if I had to guess, it's probably that most people associate Americanized Mexican food with being overly greasy, over simplified, pulling punches in terms of flavor and ingredients, and overuse of cheese (and probably the wrong kind of cheese at that). For example- one of my favorite dishes is a chile releno; in my local joint I can get a freshly roasted poblano stuffed with any number of fillings, but at the chain place it will most likely be a canned Anaheim chile filled with cheese. Still, like you said, if you go to the right place it can certainly make for an enjoyable meal.
  18. Yesterday it was really cold here in NYC, I was chilled to the bone and I really needed something to warm me up. Then I saw that photo of those potato chips, including the ones with MaLa flavor, so I took it as a sign. I ordered up some Ma Po Dofu (called Ma Paul Tofu in this particular restaurant), and ate it as I continued to enjoy the blog. It definitely did the trick. (fwiw- those are the only flavor of chips from that shelf that I'd probably get if I had the chance). Great job so far, I'm really enjoying it- especially the shots in the markets.
  19. My father is Italian (Calabrese) and my mother is from Kentucky, so we grew up with a combination of Italian and Southern cooking in the house. When I was a teenager I was introduced to both Mexican and Indian restaurants and really took a shine to them. The food definitely clicked with me, but it was also that time in one's life where you start branching out and doing things on your own. So I happily went down that path, with the reading, shopping, experimenting, etc. until it got to the point where that's all that my family associates with me these days (random quote from my dad: "sure we'll come over for dinner, just make sure you don serve any of that crazy Indian stuff"). So I guess I'd have to go with either one of those two, maybe even a combination (I have been known to put tandoori chicken in an enchilada or two).
  20. That's been my experience as well. I've had some nasty cuts from dull box cutter blades slipping, and I change them pretty regularly now. Same thing with my kitchen knives, they are regularly sharpened these days. Whenever I've gotten a little slice it has healed quickly and easily. Thankfully I haven't had anything more than minor mistakes, though. My box grater must be pretty dull by now, but I don't know if that's a blessing or a curse. I just caught my knuckle the other day when grating some beets, and you couldn't tell where I stopped and the beets started. When all was said and done it was not as bad as it initially looked, maybe the dullness saved me this time.
  21. I have, and still use my grandmother's old foley food mill. It shows no signs of slowing down or wearing out, either. Recently I got a newfangled one, but to tell the truth I think the antique works a lot better (it definitely has a better 'grip') and I'm still going to continue to use it. I'm going to be a sad dude when it no longer works.
  22. I don't know what it's called, but I've had a prosecco cocktail (with a little Campari and lemon juice) that would probably fit the bill. Definitely has bitter and tart elements, and is on the red side.
  23. TongoRad

    Green bell peppers

    I'm with you there. I prefer them in many things- it's a more 'aggressive' flavor than the red (ripe) type, sure, but those reds tend to get lost in certain dishes. Stuffed- green. Pizza- either way, but green is prefered especially on slice joint style (coal oven pizza with fresh mozzarella is one place where I'll prefer the roasted red peppers). Most of all, though, a sausage and pepper hero or pepper and egg absolutely require green peppers. The hot frying peppers are good too, but they have to be green.
  24. As an extended family we have used the Pel-Freez rabbits since I can remember (which would put it back to the 1970s, though I suspect it goes further back than that) in the NYC Metro area. I bet my Aunt Rose still uses them for every Christmas dinner that she prepares- it's a traditional dish for us. My parents discovered a way to get fresh rabbit at the local German pork stores in the late 80's, and switched over at that time; they did have to be ordered in advance, though. Even more recently that that you could just show up at the Fairway market and get a fresh one out of the case, no special ordering. In this area, at least, you could pretty easily get both frozen and fresh.
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