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Everything posted by Fresser

  1. I have a picture of Shaw and me holding up a man-yam. I'll post it later.
  2. I'm glad people enjoyed the Country Fried Bacon and the Deep Fried Chili. Name of the restaurant is Wiener and Still Champion on Dempster St in Evanston. ← Having noshed on both of these collations, I'm eagerly awaiting Deep-Fried Lipitor.
  3. Thanks for the props, Maggie. I think I developed my housecleaning fetish a few years ago, when Mama Fresser was spending one of her extended stays in the hospital. (We joke that she went there for the cable television). Coming home to an empty Fresser household gave me a serious case of the shpilkes, so out of pure nervous energy, I just started to disassemble appliances and clean them. Pull out stovetop pans and suds them up. Then lift the stovetop lid and vacuum out the various and sundry crumbs under there. I just couldn't stop--we're talking perpetual motion here. I looked like the Tasmanian Devil wielding a Windex bottle. Mama Fresser is back home now, ostensibly content with our crummy analog TV reception, but I still love to clean up kitchen messes, both to see the fruit of my labor ("Just LOOK at that shiny chrome range!") and to respect my host or hostess by leaving a kitchen cleaner than I found it. That's why I dug into Heartland Clean-Up Detail with such gusto. Ray Kroc's motto of "Clean as you go" was rattling around in my head as talented chefs CaliPoutine, NancyH and other whipped up tantalizing dishes. I figured that if I could clean as well as the rest of the posse here can cook, I could hold my own in the kitchen and socialize as well. Damn, that was fun.
  4. At the behest of Fat Guy, I've compiled brief write-ups of the places we invaded on our Niles Ethnic Food Tour. Pictures should be posted sometime tomorrow. First stop was New York Bagels & Bialys, our initial gathering point. Driving up in the Fressermobile, I spied Fat Guy in himself, wielding a bagel no less. "Very authentic," Steve proclaimed after sampling our fine Midwestern wares. Naturally, I had to share his praise with the counter crew--"See that big nosher over there? He's a NYC food critic and he likes your bagels!" This place also has a 24-hour store in Lincolnwood, just off the I-94 and Touhy Avenue exit. Remember it the next time you get the 2 A.M. munchies. Next stop for the caravan was Uni-Mart One Stop, a large Filipino grocery and bakery. Fish-lovers will be in heaven here, as a large freezer case of fresh catches sits in the front of the store. They also bake lots of sweets on the premises. Most interesting was Uni-Mart's "Nurse's Station," kind of a break room for all the Filipino nurses who work at nearby hospitals. Meat-lovers should converge on Schmeisser's Meat and Sausage, an old-school wurstmacher. They were kind enough to bring us into the kitchen where they hand-cut their meats and grind them fresh daily to make any one of a dozen different sausage recipes. "We can make custom sausages for any recipe," said the amiable chap who showed us around. "Big grocers like Costo can't do that--they're factories. We're a butcher shop," he emphasized. Schmeisser's seemed like the kind of place where employees stay for a long time, so I asked our host how long he had worked there. "Since age seven," he said and grinned. Whole Lotta Seoul You'll forgive the pun--our next destination was less a grocery store than an entire ethnic mall. H Mart was a cornucopia of all things Korean: kind of a Koreacopia. A full-fledged Korean grocery sits surrounded by dozens of Korean merchants featuring everything from bookstores, beauty shops, banks and wire transfer services to shoemakers and massage therapists. Our gracious host Jin Oh and her associates showed our group to a private reception room where they screen subtitled Korean videos that explain their culinary traditions and cultures. Being somewhat prepared for the event, I greeted our hosts by saying Ahn Yong HaSeo, which is Korean for "Hello" and the extent of my Korean vocabulary. They're eyes LIT up and they greeted me in Korean as well--Koreans just love it when an American can speak even a bit of the mother tongue. As we left, Jin gave each member of our group a goodie-bag with Korean teas and a luxurious bath-towel. If you're ever in their neighborhood, definitely call ahead and ask if they might be offering a tour. Here's a list of their stores nationwide: http://www.hmart.com/ourstore/ourstore_main.asp. Our last stop before schepping to the communal kitchen was Himalayan Restaurant, an Indian and Nepali restaurant that serves a scrumptious lunch buffet. Though I'm not an expert on Indian food, I just loved the Mutter Paneer and fresh vegetable selection with coriander-based sauces. For only $8.95 per person, you enjoy fresh Indian buffet, naan bread and a comfortable atmosphere. That's a LOT for your money. Thanks to everyone for such a wonderful, memorable time.
  5. All of missed you, Rooty-Tooty Judy. But you'll have lots of mugshots of the motley crew shortly. I wore bright yellow so I'll stick out.
  6. Back in 1987, long before Fat Guy ever lifted his first shrimp fork (or at least got paid to do it), I was reading Car and Driver to learn more about cars. Brock Yates reviewed a 911 Turbo Cabriolet and he wrote, .Twenty years later, the only time I've traveled 130 MPH is when taxiing down an O'Hare runway and I'm no closer to owning a Porsche. But I'm still a car nut and I still enjoy reading Yates. Have all of you heard a Ferrari V-12 at redline? How about the lopey idle of a Chevrolet big-block? Or even the metallic rasp of a Porsche 911? Probably not. But I have heard these wondrous noises and am privilged to be able to write about them in a way that maybe you CAN hear them. When I wrote Bulletproof Cuisine, a photographer who read the piece wrote to me and said he "(F)ound myself unconsciously licking my fingers whilst reading this article." I'm thrilled that I could share the Harold's experience with friends in a way that didn't involve either a cash outlay or the risk of becoming lard-assed. We all fantasize about cars we may never own and meals we never eat, but skilled writers let us enjoy the experiences in the meantime. Rumble-rumble. Did that noise come from under the hood of a car or within my stomach? I'll write about it and let you know.
  7. Pictures don't substitute for life itself--they enhance it. As proof, I present this titillating signage: For those who now wish to "get out and do it," I propose field trips to 63rd & Stony Island, 79th & Racine and other ratty sections of Chicago where Harold's is located. Without food blogging & photography, how would we know about these gems? And while you're there, don't forget to try the livers.
  8. Many of us will never eat at French Laundry or perhaps even Katz's, but at least this way we can savor part of the experience. And the able noshers who DO eat at these places and write about it like to share whatever part of the meal they can. Perhaps I take you too literally (or seriously), but to rank food-related blogging and photography just above navel-gazing misses what lots of us are trying to convey. Snapshots of emerald-green relish and odes to divey fried-chicken joints are how we share our passion for various arts: photography, writing, metaphor and, yes, even poetry. Lots of what goes on here is an intellectual exercise, and a passionate one at that. Call it mental masturbation if you wish, but vivid description of food is tantalizing. And it can be downright sexy.
  9. Smack dab in the middle of the Niles Ethnic Tour route is Jerry's Produce & Garden at Oakton & Milwaukee Avenues in Niles. This would be a great place to pick up fresh spices and whatnot.
  10. Any chance you could whip up something non-alcoholic, Toby? I'd love to try one of your concoctions.
  11. I always say I'd rather cook 100 meals than clean up 1 meal. I hate to clean as well!! Of course I appreciate everyone who does the set up and clean up. ← I'm probably not as sophisticated a chef (or gourmand) as lots of the crew here, but I take pride in rendering a well-used kitchen immaculate. Put me to use, Randi!
  12. So does this make me a Gastro-Stud? Cooking as a courtship ritual is more fun than cleaning, but I think the meticulous cleanup really wows the ladies. Once after a Hanukkah party where latkes were a fryin', I tore up the hostess's stove to clean up all the grease splatters. I pried off the stovetop knobs, grill pans and other hardware to suds up and clean everything. The hostess remarked, "I have a cleaning lady that doesn't clean up this well!" Too bad she was married.
  13. Rubbish. I leave a kitchen cleaner than when I found it.
  14. I am planning to cap the ethnic tour with a stop for lunch. I have in mind an ethnic spot, as befits the theme, but Chicago-style pizza or hot dogs are also options. I'm torn between a real lunch, which will require reservations for a group, and fitting in another store, in which case a quicker meal at a hot-dog stand will be most practical. ← Superdawg definitely fits the bill here for out-of-town eGulleteers. They have car-hop service, an animated Maurie and Florie Wiener jitterbugging atop the store's roof and lots of other hot-dog kitsch. Plus, it's only a mile or so south of the Niles ethnic stores. Wear your poodle-skirts for this one, Ladies!
  15. I'm a sous-chef. Woo-hoo! I have a toque in my closet all ready for the occasion. Regarding the Niles tour, I used to live about two miles north of there and can shuttle Heartlanders through the neighborhood.
  16. I wonder if BubbleheadChef has read this.
  17. Yes... they cut them off and crumb them for sale in the frozen section. Rubbishy food, but sometimes it is exactly what you want. ← What about the fishies' opposable thumbs?
  18. I'd be happy to pitch in with any prep work as needed...
  19. The mere mention of purple cauliflower triggers my gag reflex.
  20. Unless we're expecting a simian contingent, I suggest this video be renamed Guerrilla Gourmet.
  21. You mean there's no room in the next administration for a Minister of Libations? Or a Doyenne of Debauchery? Now I've lost all interest in politics. Pray tell, just WHERE are these incriminating images you reference, o Cocktail Queen?
  22. I've never had a JJ sandwich, but their motor-mouthed commercials drive me batty. They rattle off their scripts so quickly that a NATIVE speaker of English can barely comprehend them.
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