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Everything posted by Dukeofyork

  1. Is the Hibiscus 'tea' they drink in Africa made from the flowers? You can buy that 'tea' fairly easily, I think, and it might be cheaper to bust open the bags than what you're doing. I think you could get it at any Middle Eastern, Caribbean or African grocer. EDIT: I think they call it Sorrel in Jamaican/Caribbean shops
  2. Well, I'm back. I must admit first of all that I was rather lazy. I didn't feel up to walking all the way to Lou Mitchell's in the mornings, as I tend to be rather grumpy before I get my breakfast. I did venture down to Lou Malnati's, where I sat at the bar and generally enjoyed the long wait for the pizza. I had attempted once to make 'deep dish' pizza at home, but this failure bore no resemblance to what I received at Lou's. Very nice, crisp crust, lots of filling. My only complaint was the illogical sizing: I was told that the individual size would be too small, the small too large, ... hence I erred on the side of frugality and ended up with too little pizza! I did go to Al's for an Italian Beef sandwich. Got it with hot peppers, but I gave no other special instructions. It was wonderful - juicy, chewy, spicy. Why has this sandwich not spread beyond Chicago? Then again, I hate to think what I would get if I asked for one in London. I popped into Fox & Obel: very nice, though it seemed rather empty - how do they make money? Finally, I found a non-descript Chicago hotdog at some point, which was okay, in fact nice, but $4+ is a lot for what I thought to be rather a small hotdog! I hope to go back some day, as I really enjoyed myself in Chicago. The city had a much more interesting vibe than either Toronto or London (both places I've lived).
  3. Many thanks all! I'll be sure to report my findings.
  4. I'm going to be in Chicago in early May, staying at the Hilton (at 198 East Delaware Place). Never been before but really looking forward to the experience. I know these questions have been asked a million times before, but I thought I might get some new and location-specific advice: 1. Where's the best place near the Mile to get Chicago pizza? Hot dogs? Italian beef? I know these are stereotypical but I don't think I could leave without sampling them. 2. What's the weather going to be like? Roasting hot already? 3. What's the/a typical Chicago breakfast item? E.g. in Montreal, a bagel. If there is such an item, where would I procure it? If not, what's a good place to visit? Hotel breakfasts are uniformly boring. 4. Likewise for my morning coffee. (Are there lunch counter type places still in Chicago, like in Toronto? If so, one with good coffee would be a bonus, as I love the long counter and the stools...) I think that's it. Feel free to add useful advice or suggestions which, in my ignorance or negligence, I have failed to ask about!
  5. The Schweppes Tonic Water in the UK also has Saccharin in it (even in non-diet versions) alongside the glucose/fructose, which may make it seem sweeter. To me, this is an affront, as saccharin is not even legal as a food additive in Canada.
  6. Liquorice Allsorts (especially the Bassett's brand). Open the bag, and before you know it, they're all gone, except for the awful chocolate ones. I find dried figs to act the same way. I no longer buy either, needless to say!
  7. I've tried a form of this, though only with Vegemite and NZ Marmite. It's ... hmm ... interesting. I think a Canadian upbringing has made me feel that peanut butter only pairs well with sweet things, like jam or honey. Admittedly, I've only done the marmite-pb combo with the unsweetened pb they have here though - I wonder what it would be like with good ol' Kraft?
  8. Used to hate a lot of things: cheese (all kinds), butter, eggs, squash, bananas, mushrooms, asparagus, any fish (beside fried), olives ... I realised later that I disliked many of these for their 'slimy/soft' texture: bananas, squash, etc. I like some of them now, others I still haven't worked my way up to yet. I've grown to love strong flavoured things, so olives and cheese (especially blue) have actually become some of my favourites. I find it hard to imagine a time when I would have picked olives and mushrooms out of anything I ate. I still can't get over two of the strongest aversions: butter and eggs. I hate these. The only time they're acceptable is in baking. I'm a vegetarian now and this makes my life more difficult than you might expect. When people hear they're having a 'vegetarian' as one of their guests, I always get quiche! I end up picking the vegetables out and eating the crust, and pushing the eggy bits around my plate...
  9. Long story short, I was washing dishes in the kitchen I share with my floormates when I noted that one of them was cooking rice like pasta. That is, boiling it in lots of water. I shortly had to make way so that he could drain it. I commented on how this was an unusual way to cook rice and he went on a long tirade, implying that I was an idiot and a fool to do it any other way (he's a bit of an a__hole, but we'll leave that aside for the moment). He said that it was faster, never burned the rice, and produced superior results. And yet all my life I've been using the absorption method to great satisfaction, and all my Asian friends seem to do the same. Is the boil-and-drain method really superior? I was so dumbfounded by this fellow's forcefulness that I couldn't think of a single thing to say in response.
  10. And yet this is the way of many, but certainly not all, manufactured items. Clothes come to mind. The construction of suits from the 20s and 30s is much better than what you will get today, because they were meant to be owned and repaired over many years, rather than tossed when they went out of fashion or frayed slightly. Shaving is another thing - I've not used any modern cartridge razor that even touch the closeness and smoothness (i.e. lack of irritation) of a double-edged safety razor designed over 100 years ago. I think it's just a question of manufacturers realising that they can cheapen products, make them work less well, and people will still buy them. It's certainly better business to sell items that are cheaper and won't last as long, as long as people don't associate their failing with poor craftsmanship. And, apparently, most people don't.
  11. My favourite as a child and through my teens was a canned salmon sandwich on white fluff bread, spread thickly with French's mustard. No other ingredients. The salmon was usually Atlantic red (not the cheap pink stuff) and for some reason my mother never seems to have gotten upset at this seemingly horrendous waste of expensive fish. I've had one a few times since. It's still good. The sour bite of the mustard goes perfectly with the salmon; other, fancier mustards don't seem to work as well. Try it!
  12. I don't really resent the ridiculous English that I see on many restaurant menus, especially those mistakes made by non-native speakers. I also find a similar variety of errors in 'English' language websites, brochures, etc., for hotels and restaurants in France, Italy, etc... one can hardly expect everyone to speak my language perfectly. But I've often wondered whether I could get a few free meals (etc.) by offering to correct the menus or brochures for foreign, or foreign-language speaking, restaurant and hotel proprietors. Do you think a restaurant, especially a mid-high end place, would simply resent the suggestion that the language on their menu/brochure makes them look a little goofy?
  13. Thanks all! I ended up going to Noura Central, on Jermyn. Exactly what I wanted - we ordered mezzes to suit our varying palettes, and some Lebanese wine that was on offer. Had a wonderful time, good service, very nice surroundings...
  14. Heya all, My father is coming for a visit next weekend and we'd like to go out to dinner. I'd like to bring my girlfriend along. London is not Paris, however, so I'm wary of just finding a spot and crossing my fingers. I'd like: 1. Somewhere quietish where we can have a conversation 2. Somewhere not too far from Zone 1 (easier for all involved) 3. Somewhere where there are a few vegetarian options 4. Somewhere with good service 5. Not too expensive! £20-30 without drinks per person. No restrictions on cuisine type... I live in Cambridge so I don't get around London restaurants that often. Any suggestions would be welcome and appreciated!
  15. Dukeofyork

    Toast toppings

    No.1 choice: Frank Cooper's Oxford Vintage Coarse-Cut Marmalade No. 2 : Peanut-butter and jam/honey No. 3 : NZ Marmite (I'm Canadian, by the way) Frank Cooper's was a bit hard to come by in North America, but now that I live in England things have improved (though not as much as I had expected!).
  16. I do like Ely (just north of Cambridge), and it's closer to what you seem to be looking for in a town than Cambridge/Oxford, both of which are big and bustly by my standards. HOWever... I am not in a position to recommend a restaurant there! It looked like there were plenty when I visited a month or so ago.
  17. An interesting story. I wonder about how anyone could make baby caskets all day and still maintain their sanity about the world. I also wonder about what you learned in the new job at the restaurant.
  18. It's almost apple season, so I thought I'd bump this up... I'm an apple fiend. It's the fruit that has a satisfying crunch, good starch, keeps well, no mess or peel. Oranges, kiwis, peaches ... all nice, but apples are the standby. Growing up in southern Ontario, we used to pick our own apples every fall. We'd drive out to an orchard and fill two bushel baskets on a glorious, crisp day. MacIntosh, Golden Delicious, Sparten, Empire, Cortland, Jonagold, Northern Spy, and my favourite, the Russet. They would sit in the coolness of the garage until Christmas (if they lasted that long) to be made into pies, muffins, cakes ... and of course, snacks! Having moved to England, I've been searching out the interesting local varieties with limited success. Braeburns, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Pink Lady (especially), etc., all the 'industrial' varieties are off limits. I call them 'evil apples'... I find the marketing and Weberian rationalisation behind the Pink Lady particularly insidious (Pink Lady). I've found some North American varieties here (Jonagold, Empire) but I do enjoy the Russets (very similar to those back home), which are a variety that dates to the 16th century (similar to these). Tart, and slightly dry. Cox are OK (a bit sweet - I like tart apples), but new in August are 'Discovery' apples (Discovery). They are super crisp and have a distinct strawberry flavour. They say the rest of the English apples will be out in the market in a week or two, so I anticipate some new discoveries!
  19. First thing I thought: why, it's a tiny Hagia Sophia! I don't want to think what the other picture represents...
  20. I never found them offensive, and indeed they often served a purpose when I was in a rush and couldn't think of anything else I wanted for lunch. But I had real trouble justifying it on an economic basis. The cheap sushi places in Toronto will give you a sit down bento meal for the same price as buying 8 pieces of mediocre supermarket stuff. So really, what's the point?
  21. How about Dangerous Dan's, east of Yonge? Is that place still around? I seem to remember they were more about size though...
  22. It actually went pretty much as described by the others here - not outstanding, but not terrible, either. As a vegetarian, I found the menues, whether for normal 'cafeteria' style dinner in Hall, or even for Formal Hall, were a tad repetitive. Lots of goats' cheese roulades, vegetables in pastry, etc.. Although I never tired of attending Formal Hall for the chance to dress up in suit and gown, and socialise over a glass of sherry before (and port after) I found myself starting to avoid regular Hall about 6 months after I got here... it just felt like more of the same, and as I started to get more stressed with dissertation woes, I wanted something good that I would enjoy, rather than just fuel. Cambridge is not Toronto, though. Unfortunately I have found occasionally difficult to find ingredients to make what little I can with my limited kitchen facilities. It's frustrating having to pay £3 for a smallish loaf of rye bread (6$Cdn!), and finding Asian ingredients requires a trip to Mill Road and a good deal of luck. I finally discovered that the 'Sourdough' baguette sold in market square is pretty much the only one worthy of the name available in the city. All the rest is that hideous 'bake-off' fluff baguette that reminds me of the early 90s in Canada. Aside from this I miss sour pickles and other North American favourites, but I'll survive. The cheeses available have partially made up for all this. The market stall (Fridays and Saturdays) is the best deal, though the Cambridge Cheese company (All Saints' Passage) is nice if you're feeling flush. Formal Hall in other colleges, especially St. John's, can be very good. May Ball had a nice selection of food, too, but of course the tickets to that are £110 and it comes but once a year! There's good and bad, as any reasonable person will have to expect moving to another place. Today I find out where I'll be living next year, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for a place with real kitchens. That will be an improvement indeed!
  23. As strange as it might sound, I often find myself reading Latin texts with descriptions of grand banquets or lists of foodstuffs, and naturally I wonder what it would be like to have been present in the triclinium of Trimalchio or at Charlemagne's banquet table. I've been to one 'medieval' feast, put on by a number of graduate students, that took recipes from a 14th century English cookbook. Some of it was good, some not so good ... what most intrigued me was the combinations of spices. English food in the Middle Ages seems to have been as strongly flavoured as Indian today. But there was also the interesting habit of combining dried fruit and meat; there was one pie filled with pork, currents and other fruit. I've found one website that lists many of the things I remember: Medieval Recipes I'm especially interested in Roman cooking, though, especially since a cookbook, the De Re coquinaria has survived. This site has it translated and adapted to modern conventions: De Re Coquinaria So, does anyone have any Roman / Medieval cooking experiences? Does anyone know of restaurants (anywhere) that cater to this sort of curiosity?
  24. Thanks! Nadia's doesn't do bread anymore (I asked) but I'll have to go searching for the rest...
  25. I've been in Cambridge for the better part of a year now and the best bread I have found has been in the Market. But this stuff is far from stellar, and when you move beyond the selection of rye breads (of which there is an impressive selection) the quality is ... hmm ... questionable. Now, having just returned from Paris I am at a loss to find a single place in Cambridge that can make a decent baguette, with its wonderful chewy-crisp combination. Anyone else know of a good bakery in Cambridge for such things?
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