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Posts posted by stuart_s

  1. I've always enjoyed kosher salami, both hard and (?)regular. Recently, I've bought several hard salamis and, as tasty as they are, it's a frustrating experience.

    How do you get the wrapping off? I spend a long time struggling, I hack up the salami a little bit and when I've had enough, I eat more plastic than I'd care to admit.

    I think putting it in the refrigerator for a day helps. After I struggled to get enough wrapper off to eat a few slices of one particular salami, I threw the balance in the fridge. The wrapper came off relatively easily the next day.

    That was a medium hard and my current full-hard salami was difficult to peel even after a day in the fridge.

    For those who may not be familiar: I'm dealing with a Vienna brand beef salami. Other brands I've seen include Best and Hebrew National. When you buy a whole salami, there's an outer wrapper. Inside that wrapper is a string. You hang the salami. When it's dried out to your tastes, you remove the inner wrapper and enjoy. Would that it were so simple.

    I've tried to dry them myself, but I don't have enough patience. I cave after just a couple weeks.

    So, what's the deal? Is there a trick? Or, am I just inept?6028733_f093686d71_z1.jpg

  2. Yes, it's exactly a dumpling. It's a lot like a ravioli. According to wikipedia, the kreplach may have been inspired by the stuffed pasta of Venice.

    I dug a little deeper into the google search results and found some interesting information. Regarding my original question, I found a restaurant that serves them fried with caramelized onions.

    Harold's New York Deli is interesting in its own right. It's a deli that serves Taylor ham. And Chinese restaurant style bbq pork.

    So, there's at least someone out there serving kreplach without the soup, but is it some crazy thing he though up or did he learn it from his zayde?

  3. I know that I'm allowed to eat kreplach however I please, but I'm curious about the culture and history. I'm mainly interested in the meat filled version. I understand (thanks Wikipedia!) that other fillings are used for kreplach as part of the Purim celebration, but that's not exactly what I'm looking for. Did our great-grandparents have a dozen different ways to serve kreplach which have since been lost as we've assimilated? Or have kreplach always been tied to soup?

    Did your family eat them in some other preparation? Is there a contemporary tradition of eating kreplach without soup that I'm oblivious to?

  4. Between here and Chowhound, there's plenty of material for me to read about who has the best falafel in New York. But there are some details I'm interested in that seem to get lost in the volume of the discussions.

    Are there good falafel neighborhoods in New York? Does one borough stand out above the rest in this particular measurement?

    Who's got the really good condiments? Salads? Pickles? A rainbow of sauces? I half remember, as though it were a dream, a falafel sandwich of my youth I had on a trip to Israel. Red sauce, green sauce, yellow sauce, spicy, sour...

    What about cultural differences in condiments? Who has distinctly Iraqi, Israeli or Lebanese sauces?

    A place called Pita Hot seems to be well regarded on Yelp! but isn't mentioned at all in very lengthy threads on either Chowhound or eGullet. I think I was there once several years ago and I vaguely remember liking it but for whatever reason I'm also a little suspicious of my own memory in this case. Is Pita Hot any good? How does it compare to your Mamoun's, Azuri's, Olympics, etc...

    Also, apparently Pita Hot makes their own pita. Is that still the case? How common is this among the usual falafel suspects?

    And they put french fires in the schwarma sandwiches? Which good falafelerias also do this?

    Thank you

  5. Internet access at the hostel is a little too slow so I haven't uploaded all of my pictures. Since uploading pictures to eGullet is something of a hassle on top of that, I've only uploaded the to flickr.

    I've got my picturesfrom Blackbird up. When my pictures from Lao Sze Chuan are up they will be in the same place.

    In case you're interested in the non-officially sanctioned events of my Chicago trip, you can see my pictures from Alinea. Pictures from Hot Doug's, Los Faroles, Army & Lou's and Taqueria Uptown are forthcoming and will be accessible at the same link.

    It was a pleasure meeting all of you. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to organize it. I'm looking forward to seeing all of your pictures and reading your descriptions. Hopefully, I'll see you all again in '09.

  6. Thanks for your patience with my slow speed at grasping this.

    How is the liquid extracted? Is it just spooned out? Filtered? Is that final picture exactly what it looks like when you use it?

    Are the bean/flour slices added to the brine whole?


    After they're soaked in brine what steps remain?

    The whole thing sits out in the sun for a number of weeks - as long as it is sunny.

    Your last pictures don't look like soy sauce. How do you separate the soy sauce and the miso?

    They soy sauce is quite light - and has a sharper tang to it. My uncle theorizes that this is because that we don't get enough hot sun here in Vancouver. So the mash does not 'cook out' as long as it should. I think he just pours off the liquid - obviously, the filtration is not 100% - but given the light color and short period in the sun - he did not want to filter off to much of the flavors.

    Is anything left over after those are extracted?

    The solids left over is the miso. I don't think that you discard anything. The miso has better flavor if you let it evaporate down and not extract the liquid as soy sauce.

  7. Fascinating. Thanks for starting such a great thread.

    Are the bean/flour slices added to the brine whole?

    After they're soaked in brine what steps remain? Your last pictures don't look like soy sauce. How do you separate the soy sauce and the miso? Is anything left over after those are extracted? Is there anything that needs to be discarded?

    Thank you.

  8. The olives should be fine

    I actually baked some yesterday - Delightful

    I finally got around to posting a picture of the sables aux olives noire that I made. I liked them. They were "sandy" as advertised which was fine and they were buttery and the olives were a nice (mild) salty contrast. Thanks for the advice.


  9. As far as cocoa, read THIS topic on dutch cocoa if you haven't already.  Then, I'd go back to WF and check again - unless they said they sold out.  It took me over two years of searching for a supplier for my store before I realized that I could have had it all along.  Many of the dutch processed cocoas don't label that way on the front - thus leaving less informed store clerks thinking they don't have it.  The two most common brands found in the US are Droste and Rademaker (both the exact same product - just different boxes).  Callebaut has some too but I haven't been able to find that except in bulk.

    With nibs - I've stopped using them in lieu of Domori roasted beans that are processed.  Those beans are addictive and I think they have an even better texture.

    I decided that you can't have too much cocoa and bought some Droste Dutch process cocoa. Is there some reason that Whole Foods wouldn't sell it? Do they consider "Dutching" the chocolate to be unnatural?

    I used the nibs but I'll definitely try to do something with those beans at some point. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Anyway, I liked the cookies. Others seemed to like them but who knows whether they're just being nice. They were crunchy? Were they supposed to be crunchy? My oven temperature isn't very reliable and I cooked all of my cookies for longer - sometimes much longer - than was suggested in the recipes.


  10. So, I'm also making Clotilde's Very Chocolate Cookies. Cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, dark chocolate and chocolate extract. I'm excited about using the chocolate extract. But I have a couple questions about some of the other ingredients.

    First, the cocoa powder. As you can see the recipe calls for Dutch process cocoa powder. Whole Foods didn't have any so I went web surfing and read that you could substitute regular cocoa powder with some baking powder. I was pecking away at my phone in the market so I wasn't inclined to check several different websites but now I'm worried that trusting the first and only website I checked which was chosen purely at random may not be the best strategy. Given this specific recipe, what would the effects be of using cocoa powder with baking powder? What about just plain regular cocoa powder? Should I try to find some dutch process?

    So, these cocoa nibs? I tried some. Let's just say I don't think they're addictive. Are they going to integrate themselves into a wonderful chocolate harmony or did I buy something weird? They're El Rey roasted nibs and the recipe didn't mention anything about roasting. Will this make my product worse, just different or is this what I was looking for in the first place?

    Thanks again.

  11. So I'm going to make Pierre Herme's sables aux olives noires.

    I'm still wrapping my head around the idea of olives in cookies but the pictures look too tempting and the description is too mouthwatering.

    The recipe calls for black olives and olive oil. Fruity olive oil and taggiashe olives. The specific type of olive seems more a suggestion than a requirement. The recipe does specifically call for avoiding Greek olives as they are "too dry." I bought Cobram Estate "premiere," extra virgin... deep breath... first cold pressing, 2006 Harvest olive oil. And I bought olives labelled Cerignola and Coquillos.

    My question for you is this: Did I come close enough to the ingredients that are required for my recipe? With my limited baking experience this project has enough going against it already without inappropriate ingredients.

    Does anyone have any experience with this recipe?

    Thanks everyone and Happy Holiday baking.

  12. I'm afraid you won't be able to get to try the best donut that I've ever had. According to their website Velocity is closed permanently. Cleveland Scene named a place called Spudnut the best donutery in Cleveland in 2006. I'm not sure how much trust to place in those awards but I was happy with the donuts that I ate at the 2005 winner. Honeygirl Donut and Bakery closed shortly after my first visit but reopened in a different location (on North Royalton) which I haven't gotten around to visiting. The old location (Richmond) also is now also a bakery and I believe they have donuts - Marianne's Homestyle. Lucy's Sweet Surrender (Buckeye?) makes donuts from the same dough they use to make their excellent sweet breads. It makes for an interesting donut which I think is worth trying.

    And you won't be able to try a Honeygirl donut either. I trekked out there to see if the donuts were as good as I remembered and they were closed. I'm afraid I don't have any donut recommendations to share.

  13. "Down right snob?" I can appreciate why you might not want to eat Asian or seafod but I don't want you to suffer under the misunderstanding that Cleveland has none of either. Go to Siam Cafe for Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai food. Or Asia Foods for a small selection of Vietnamese and an even smaller selection of Hong Kong style Chinese food.

    Please let me explain that I was not disrespecting the Asian or seafood offerings here in Cleveland. Appologies if my "picky/snob" comment came off that way. I am an Asian (3rd generation Asian-American actually) who has never been fond of seafood or rice. Therefore, sushi with raw fish is not something I go out of my way to find. That being said, I did visit Siam Cafe late last night as my body was crying out for Asian soup after more than a week of marathon incredible Southern food (my last meal in Nashville having been at the Loveless Cafe with their awsome biscuits).

    I was in the mood for some simple wonton soup which I did not find. I did have their winter melon soup as winter melon is in season right now. The soup is extremely basic like a simple chicken soup. The winter melon came under-cooked, crunchy actually. :unsure: I had to send it back for further cooking. The soup itself was quite undersalted as well. With a little addition of salt and white pepper my body was quite grateful of the RX. After a cupful or two, I felt better and ordered the sweet/sour ribmeat which I thought was fabulous. :smile:

    Yes, Cleveland does have some wonderful Asian options which you all are aware of. I may also have some Cambodian beef soup at that Cambodian restaurant near Westside market if I get another soup craving before I leave but I am trying to eat as much of stuff that I can't get in the PNW as possible.

    Again, thankyou sharing your thoughts and info on where and what to eat. BTW Rockandroller, thanks for your caution re: Sokolowski's. The last thing I need right now is a bad meal.

    I have been writing down & mapquesting all of your suggested venues just in case I happen to be driving near those places. I am always open to more suggestions...

    sincerely, :rolleyes: wl

    No explanation necessary. I understood what you meant and I'm sorry I didn't make that clear.

    Phnom Penh intimidates me. I've had good meals there and okay meals there. Whenever I go, I feel like I'm starting with absolutely no knowledge of the cuisine. The menu is so big and so many of the items have such similar descriptions that I can't seem to get a basic understanding of what's going on. Anyway, what's the name of that beef noodle soup as it's labeled on the menu? It sounds interesting. Thanks.

    I'm afraid you won't be able to get to try the best donut that I've ever had. According to their website Velocity is closed permanently. Cleveland Scene named a place called Spudnut the best donutery in Cleveland in 2006. I'm not sure how much trust to place in those awards but I was happy with the donuts that I ate at the 2005 winner. Honeygirl Donut and Bakery closed shortly after my first visit but reopened in a different location (on North Royalton) which I haven't gotten around to visiting. The old location (Richmond) also is now also a bakery and I believe they have donuts - Marianne's Homestyle. Lucy's Sweet Surrender (Buckeye?) makes donuts from the same dough they use to make their excellent sweet breads. It makes for an interesting donut which I think is worth trying.

  14. Being Asian and being inundated with too much PNW seafood, some of you know that I am a somewhat picky eater and down right snob with it comes to those two food categories.  I am really looking forward to a true (& quality) experience of what is fabulous to eat in the Mid-west.  I guess you could say that I am looking for the indigenous & wonderful that is Ohio.  Good Middle Eastern (hopefully @ Aladin's...) and great pizza sounds like the just the right things to balance my head/palate back to a baseline.  I do like good donuts and pastries, if they exist there.

    I will definitely be putting in an appearance to some of last July's highlights.  Carrie Cerino's with or without the blue eggs, VT's virgin root beer floats and curiosity over missed opportunity to try the teas and tea menu of Monestary which had stellar "jasmine pearls".  This sounds strange but I missed going to Sokolowski's in Cleveland (which I will visit in secret on my own) but is there any restaurants like this in the Akron-Canton et al area.  This to me will be a unique experience that the PNW does not offer.  I will sample just about anything once :unsure: .

    If you like donuts you should go to Velocity. I was generally pleased with my meal and I'll return eventually but the donut dessert was fabulous. Fruit, house made ascarpone and lots more. It will make your teeth ache just looking at it but... Best. Donut. Ever. Pastry? I like J Pistone on the East side and I just recently started going to Great Scott's on the West. Neither one has a very large selection. Or a very fancy selection. Cake, brownies, cookies, cupcakes. Great Scott's has croissants, danish, strudel...

    If you want Middle/Eastern European food in Akron I would recommend Al's Corner. They're not Polish but Hungarian food has that same stick-to-your-ribs quality, right? Please excuse me if I've ignorantly disrespected your culinary heritage. I've never been but they make their own sausage and grind their paprika fresh. I'm looking forward to getting there soon.

    It's been forever since I went to Abba's but they had the best falafel in town several years ago. They have a huge menu but I would avoid any of the stuff that isn't Middle Eastern. Scene Magazine recently had a roundup of Middle Eastern food. I concur with their positive assessment of Judy's Oasis (not a restaurant, just a stand in the West Side Market). I'm not familiar with most of the others. I have eaten at several Middle Eastern restaurants and generally I've not been impressed. I'm even worried that Abba's has slipped. They used to have a small salad bar with condiments for your sandwich but it disappeared and I'm worried it may be part of a general deterioration although I have no other reason to be concerned. There are lots of Middle Eastern restaurants in Cleveland that I haven't gotten to including one I mentioned in my other post and another called Layalena. Hope springs eternal, as they say.

    "Down right snob?" I can appreciate why you might not want to eat Asian or seafod but I don't want you to suffer under the misunderstanding that Cleveland has none of either. Go to Siam Cafe for Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai food. Or Asia Foods for a small selection of Vietnamese and an even smaller selection of Hong Kong style Chinese food. You can search here an on Chowhound for particular dishes that I've recommended. And try the seafood at either Moxie or fire without fear or hesitation.

  15. As far as new in Cleveland, I would recommend Dante. Dante Boccozzi left his executive chef position at Charlie Palmer's Aureole in New York to open it. Consider doing the personalized chef's dinner. I've had some amazing dishes when I put my meal entirely in Chef Boccuzzi's hands. I've already become a regular.

    There's also Bar Cento. Jonathon Sawyer left Parea in New York (before it closed) to open a gastropub in Cleveland. They're still working on it and I don't think it's even near opening but he and his partners seem to have gotten Bar Cento up and running in record time. I went to a pre-opening party and I've eaten there once since they opened and I've been very impressed. It's a wine bar with pizzas and a small menu of simple but delicious food. I'm positive I'll be a regular here, too.

    I've only been to Wonder Bar (review) once. The food was good and judging from the chef's blog they frequently have interesting specials. I'm sure I'll be back.

    Crop Bistro (website) opened recently and much of the meal was good. I'll get back there some time. Chef Shimoler has worked in many different parts of the food industry and he's been very successful in all of his ventures.

    This seems like an exciting time to be eating out in Cleveland. In addition to these restaurants which I've already tried there are many others that have opened too recently or that will be opening in the coming months. The Free Times had a roundup of coming-soon restaurants. Some of them should be open by now.

    There are even others that they neglected: Latitude 41n (note), Wine Bar (Jill Vedea from Saucy Bistro is chef and Rocco Whalen of Fahrenheit is a partner, website), Pasha (review), Henry's at the Barn (website), Flying Cranes (British and Japanese?), Paladar (website). I believe these are all open.

  16. Last night, we attended yet another wonderful beer dinner held in a prominent Cleveland restaurant.  fire entitled the evening "octoberfest celebration".

    Kudos to Chef Katz and his talented staff (someone please fill in the names; I did not get them and they deserve to be recognized for putting this feast together).

    And Cleveland - keep those beer dinners coming!  It's more fun than a bottle of wine!

    Well, I can't help with full names but the Chef's first names are Jeremy, Emily and Jason. Emily is an intern and was responsible for the dessert.

    The beet sorbet was great but I think I would have enjoyed it just as much if it were merely chilled rather than frozen as sorbet. The boar ravioli was fantastic and the dessert was also fantastic.

    I'm very excited about this series of dinners. Chef Katz plans to do a repeat of last year's Turkish themed wine dinner and in addition they expect to add an Indian wine dinner. I even heard one of the staff say something about a Thai themed dinner. I wish they would spice those dinners aggressively but I'm sure they'll be excellent in their own way.

  17. There's an interesting article about Cleveland's Chinatown in the current issue of the Free Times. They note the new cafe (Sweethearts) and discuss the expansion of Asia Plaza and the construction of the new Asia Town Center. Asia Town Center is being developed by the Duong family who own Asia Foods and Siam Cafe - my two favorite Chinese/Vietnamese restaurants in the city. The center will include several restaurants which will offer authentic Asian cuisine. I think this will be a quantum leap forward in the Asian food scene in the Cleveland area.

    There aren't very many details. Oddly, the only restaurant mentioned specifically is Crust and Crumbs. Crust drew rave reviews before it outgrew its previous space and closed. The owners have experience in some impressive kitchens. I never managed to get there myself and I was afraid that their temporary closing had become permanent after too long without any updates. I'm very glad that they've found a new home. From the bites column in the same issue:

    Shooting for a late December opening, Robinson says the new location will allow the business to "grow up a little bit and get away from being just a bakery and cafe." The 55-seat restaurant will serve lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Diners can expect an American menu with subtle Asian influences. "The menu has been stepped up tremendously and will allow us to show our skills."
    In addition to Crust and Crumbs, the complex will feature three or four new restaurants. "We're in talks with several restaurants right now," says Alex Duong. "I envision a number of authentic Asian restaurants. Not just four or five Chinese restaurants." Duong expects to open before year's end.
  18. According to Chef Katz there are still several spots open for this Wednesday's beer dinner. This was as of yesterday morning. I'm going. He also mentioned that Karen Small is hosting a beer dinner at the Flying Fig. The menus for each are available the websites of the respective restaurants. They both look like winners and I know personally that you can rely on fire to do a great job with all of their special dinners.

  19. Pacific East is the best sushi in the area. It's been a while since I ate sushi anywhere else but before I started eating at Pacific East I explored far and wide and food was generally disappointed. There were a couple decent restaurants and there may be a couple that I never got around to trying but I feel confident in saying that Pacific East is the best. If you're going to Pacific East for Japanese (they also have Malaysian) then try the gindara (not sushi, but a good appetizer).

    I was planning to comment on Pacific East even before this recent mention but my intention was to recommend the Malaysian food. I think the Malaysian side of the menu stands on its own as one of the best Asian restaurants in the city. I've only had Malaysian food at one restaurant besides Pacific East but it was named second best cheap Asian restaurant in all of New York city by the New York Post. The roti canai at Pacific East is better. That and almost every thing I've had has been excellent. The curry chicken noodle soup is fantastic. The chicken actually tastes like something and the curry is smooth and rich. Tofu and seafood in curry sauce, beef ribs in broth, nasi lemak... All great.

  20. Siam Cafe is amazing. Cleveland is lucky to have them. Judging from comparisons to what is claimed to be among the best Asian food on the West Coast I think that Siam Cafe deserves the same level of praise.

    So far, the only other restaurant where I bother to eat Chinese or Vietnamese food is Asia Foods. It's mainly a grocery store. They have a prepared food case. It includes five spice beef, pig ear, beef tendon, roast duck, roast pork and a couple other things. On Saturdays the have banh mi. They also have a bakery display case with a small collection of buns and cakes. I've seen a savory rice cake, coconut buns, a couple types of Chinese donuts, pineapple bun, lemon cake... Finally, they have a room in the back with several tables but I've been alone each of the four times that I've eaten there.

    This might be cause for concern but the food has been excellent each time I've been there. First, I had the goi cuon and Hong Kong style chicken. I'm not entirely sure what Hong Style entails but there was no sauce. It was served over a small portion of ground pork and a big heap of rice. It was perfect - as good as any chicken I've ever had. On my second visit I had the bun bo hue and the bi cuon. Bi cuon is a roll similar to the goi cuon with pork skin substituted for the shrimp. It was served with fish sauce rather than the hoisin that the goi cuon comes with. It was fantastic. On my third visit I had the Vietnamese style pork chop. It was phenomenal. I also had a good red bean paste sesame ball and an excellent donut. It wasn't the long type. It was more like a small elephant ear with sesame seeds. On my forth visit I bought a banh mi from the prepared foods area. They bake their own buns and I think they use rice flour. I did learn the hard way that the sandwiches don't include peppers unless you specifically request them.

  21. The second gypsy dinner:


    Corn milk and lobster soup with essence of vanilla


    15 heirloom tomato salad, greek olive oil, Lake erie creamery goat cheese, arugula, balsamic drizzle


    Scampi with grilled beans, ises candy tomato, feta, micro cumin and cilantro


    Cox comb with chicken summer vegetable moussaline


    Summer melon sorbet with lavender syrup


    Lavender lemon hanger steak, grilled shallots and potatoes


    Olive oil cake with summer berry compote orange blossom goat cheese ice cream

  22. ...

    Her cold noodles with sesame sauce have so little sauce on them that you can't even see it -- it's like noodles perfumed with sesame-sauce essence, and given interesting texture by bean sprouts and additional flavor by slices of shiitake mushroom. It went on and on like this: dishes that were familiar yet realized at their highest levels.


    We had an unplanned lunch at Phnom Penh, the Cambodian restaurant around the corner from West Side Market. We basically just showed up with 16 people and they took it in stride, creating an impromptu banquet for us at just $12 a head. Some wonderful flavors, especially that beef-noodle soup.


    Sesame noodles? Does anyone know if this is on the regular menu?

    Phnom Penh? One of the reasons I don't go there as often as I might is the menu. It's so big and some of the sections seem so similar that I wonder whether they were just accidentally repeated. Also, they aren't exclusively a Cambodian restaurant and it's never clear to me what is Cambodian, what is sort of Cambodian and what isn't Cambodian at all. What are the staple dishes of Cambodian cuisine? What should I order to learn about Cambodian food and its differences from similar cuisines?

    I'm glad Cleveland is treating you well and I'm looking forward to the rest of the pictures.

  23. So, I'm going to try making coconut mochi. I'm going to use this recipe. It seems just simple enough that I can manage it. I'm not very adept in the kitchen. Anyhoo...

    How should I serve it? I was thinking of kinako (rice powder?) if I can find it. Barley malt. Red beans. Fresh fruit.

    Besides that I was considering condensed milk. Is all condensed milk the same?

    I once had eight (seven? nine?) treasure rice at a Chinese restaurant, seemingly filled with all sorts of fruits, beans and jellies. I've had ice kacang (Malaysian dessert) which had a slightly different assortment of little sweet mystery objects mixed with ice and condensed milk. I think Koreans have a similar dessert. I had a dessert-slash-beverage at a Vietnamese restaurant which had all sorts of unfamiliar things floating in it.

    Intuitively, these items seem related to my mochi but I'm way out of my area of expertise here. I could be catastrophically mistaken.

    Anyway, what do you think that I should put on top of my mochi? Uniquely Hawaiian ideas are appreciated as are ideas from Japan and beyond.

    Thank you.

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