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Everything posted by saltshaker

  1. This is not a sausage. It is, according to the young man who sold it to me, a cucumber. It has a brick orange, leathery skin. I felt it more likely to be some sort of root vegetable, or maybe a squash, but he was adamant. In regard to flavor he said it was similar to regular cucumbers, but different. He was right. The inside is a gleaming white color. The flavor is very intensely cucumbery, and the seeds and the pulp that surrounds them taste exactly like a tart, fresh lemon. I did a bit of online research and the closest cucumbers I could come up with were the Chinese Yellow and the Uzbkski (I looked at various types of Lemon Cucumbers, based on the flavor, but none I could find seem remotely like this in shape, size, or color). The former I could only find pictures of that were quite vividly yellow, though a couple of seed companies asserted that the cukes turn orange if left on the vine too long. It’s also described as having a very sweet, melony flavor. My cucumber didn’t seem past its prime, and the flavor profile doesn’t fit. The latter I could only find descriptions of, and one photo, and it’s described as “A fascinating heirloom from the Mideast country of Uzbekistan. Big, fat 6″-8″ cucumbers turn brown when ripe, very crisp even at large sizes.” My cucumber sort of fits that desciption, but it’s not fat, and it’s nearly 14″ long. I’m up for hearing from anyone as to just exactly what this is! Meanwhile, I foresee a lemony cucumber salsa for some grilled fish in its future. Anyway, this got me thinking about other strange vegetables, or fruits, that we all might encounter shopping or wandering markets in various places in the world. I thought I'd start a thread for help in identifying them, or just sharing them.
  2. I've drunk coca tea, or better yet, chewed coca leaves, when up in the Andes. It's both legal in South America and it works. And it works well! Relieves the headaches and breathing difficulty within a few minutes. You'll find in most towns in the Andes that coca leaves and/or the tea are readily available - here in Argentina it tends to run about 1 peso for a bag that could easily last you a week or more. In terms of any concerns about the "cocaine" connection - it takes 100 pounds of the leaves to produce a pound of cocaine. An ounce of leaves is probably enough to last you a couple of days - not a major concern.
  3. Now, if only either of you lived here, it might actually be useful info!
  4. There are several markets in the three block stretch of Chinatown (in Belgrano) that carry a wide range of spices, herbs, and mixtures from all over Asia, including Indian spices. The selection tends to vary as stuff is imported seemingly somewhat at random, but at least the major stuff tends to be available regularly. Prices are very inexpensive. There are also many imported and (for here) exotic spices at Doña Clara - Av. Corrientes 2561, in Once. A little pricier, but really good quality, and not prepackaged, so you can choose how much you want of each. I like it more than El Gato Negro, which is only a few blocks away, and think they have both a better and fresher selection.
  5. It isn't that they didn't have wasabi, if you read my post, it's that you have to ask for it, something I've found in roughly half the sushi places I've visited. (And I've actually found a couple of locations that don't have it at all.)
  6. Tried Osaka yesterday. Definitely first class, and very creative. Selection was still minimal, salmon and two other fish, though chatting with the sushi chef, he varies what he has from day to day, depending on what's in the market, as any good sushi chef should. Still, kind of hard to believe that all that was available fresh was salmon rosado, salmon blanco, and "lisa", which is a type of mullet. Some fun twists on the combination rolls, and, although I recently also ate at Dashi, which had a better selection, Osaka has the plus of a combination sushi plate where you can mix a selection of your choices of whatever they have that day, Dashi's combo plates only allow various combinations of salmon and tuna, regardless of whatever else they may have. I also liked the atmosphere at Osaka more than at Dashi, though I enjoyed both (reviews for both on my site). Oh yeah, and had to ask for wasabi again, he doesn't put it on the plate unless you request it...I really find that strange!
  7. Personal favorite is Mi Cocina on Jane Street in the West Village - classic and modern twist cuisine from Oaxaca and the Yucatan pennisula.
  8. I just recently read about Osaka, so it got added to my list of places to try. Now doubly looking forward to it!
  9. I'm not going to swear to this, as it's possible there's a bread that's colloquially known as "tieso" somewhere in the Andes, I run into stuff like that all the time. Tieso literally means stiff, or erect, and the only thing I've been able to find in relation to bread is having it used as a term to refer to the dough during the kneading process, and not very commonly - as the word also has the slang usage referring to, let's say, "the male member."
  10. While I understand how you drew the idea, I have the feeling it's more likely coincidence than anything else. The tradition of dressing up for a weekend evening dinner, especially Saturday goes back in Europe, and via import to other parts of the world that were colonized by Spain, England, Portugal, etc., to before the time of the large influx of Jews to Buenos Aires (and, by the way, BsAs still, I believe, has the largest Jewish population in Latin America). It would be nice to think my people had that level of influence to change the entire culture here, but I'm betting not. It's also not particularly tradtional within the Jewish culture that Saturday night, at the end of the Sabbath, in particular be one of "dress up," in fact being the end of the Sabbath it's the time that traditonally, within many Jewish communities, one puts on work clothes and gets back to work, since work is forbidden on the Sabbath. It's more likely that those who came here picked it up as a practice from another community.
  11. Let's see Vic, that would be your personal company, and you're a competitor to the two companies that are just "ok" and "poorest quality." I've bought your products in the past, especially when I was travelling in Australia, but I'd have to say you've just lost at least one customer.
  12. There are differences in the fillings, the doughs, the cooking methods. Probably like any popular food, there are as many different versions as their are people cooking them! Interestingly, in response to EHernandez, here in Argentina (and I'd guess in most if not all of Latin America), if you go into a Chinese restaurant, they actually call potstickers and wontons "empanadas".
  13. Top recommendation in La Boca would be Don Carlos at Brandsen 894. Classic portena restaurant. But no menu. They just cook and serve, and cook and serve, and cook and serve, and... don't plan on a short lunch or dinner... :-)
  14. Nice posting! I'd second a lot of the recommendations. A couple of thoughts... I'd go later on your estimate of opening time for restaurants. For non-tourist places, it's relatively common that they don't open until closer to 8:30 or 9:00. If you simply must eat earlier, you're limited mostly to the Centro (business district) area where many places cater to business travellers, and Puerto Madero, which caters to tourists (for a price). Not all of Recoleta is "a pocket of wealth," with pricier restaurants. There are many great value restaurants especially in the northern part of Recoleta where I live, Barrio Norte. I'd disagree on La Boca. It has some outstanding "local cuisine" restaurants, both at lunch and dinner - some of the more "authentic" food you'll find in the city. And while I wouldn't want to walk around La Boca at night, taking a cab to and from a restaurant is, I would say, fairly safe (most restaurants will call a radio cab for you when you're ready to leave). Regardess, because of the touristy nature of the center of the neighborhood, many of the places are open at both lunch and dinner. The couple of blocks of bright colored buildings with touristy shops are a very small part of this historic district. There are some great museums to visit (the Martin Quinquela museum is outstanding), as well as things like river tours to be taken from here.
  15. Doesn't mention cake flour in the recipe, and it does for other recipes, so I think this one is just regular flour. As for trying it, you're the one who wanted to make 'em, I'll leave that to you.
  16. I went through my various baking books and finally found a recipe for Pan de Viena which states that it is "para pebetes." Haven't tried the recipe, but sounds like it's what you're looking for. I'm going to leave it to you to translate... Ingredientes 1 kg de harina 60 g de azucar 45 g de levadura 20 g de sal 600 cc de agua 100g de margarina Chuño 500 cc de agua 50 g de almidon de maiz preparacion En un bol o amasadora colocar la harina, el azucar, la levadura, la sal, el agua y la margarina. Mezclar bien para obenter una masa suave y homogenea. Dar 10 vueltas de palote o sobadora. Cortar la masa de acuerdo con el tipo de pan que se desee elaborar, respetando los siguientes gramajes por pieza: 90 g para pebetes (2 docenas) .... Bollar suavemente, tapar y dejar reposar alrededor de 15 minutos. Dar la forma definitiva y estibar en placas engrasadas. Dejar fermentar a 30C de temperatura y 70% de humedadad relativa hasta que alcancen el doble de su volumen. Hornear a 200C de 15-20 minutos, segu el tamano. Al retirar del horno, pintar con chuño o con una mezcla de agua y huevo en partes iguales. Chuño: Calentar 250 cc de agua. Diluir el almidon de maiz en el agua restante, fria. Añadir al agua caliente y revolver hasta que rompa el hervor. Retirar del fuego y utilizar. Hope that helps ya'.
  17. I have a bag of Harina 0000. It's really just all-purpose white flour, perhaps slightly more finely ground than usual. But it's not specifically bread or pastry flour. As to chuño, I think of that as something totally different. For me, chuños are Andean potatoes that have been fermented in the ground, dried, and then reconstituted as part of sauces, or side dishes - common in Peru and Bolivia. They're a very strange chalky texture, and quite oddly flavored. On the other hand, my dictionary just lists chuño as "potato starch," so I guess the former usage is more colloquial. You might want to just do an internet search for breads that combine flour and potato starch, there are lots and lots of them out there. Then just experiment until you find one you like.
  18. Are you just looking for the recipe for the bread? I tend to think of pebetes as ham and cheese sandwiches on a long white bread roll that you pick up at a kiosk for a peso or so...
  19. The description was in Spanish from a site about what Morelia was doing as a specialty, and it was pretty close to that as a translation. There may be some differences from the New York version, but it definitely wasn't anything that involved, say, barbecue sauce.
  20. Ten years ago I wrote this article that used the whole clothing analogy thing... 'twas aimed for the gay community, and was written "tongue-in-cheek". But it was funny to see that someone has more recently done it and aimed it at women, and not done it tongue in cheek... QSF - Uncorked
  21. Still haven't tried one in BsAs, but read a little about them - it's essentially what in New York we called a "grilled pizza". Very thin pizza dough brushed with a little olive oil and grilled on one side, then flipped over to grill the other side while the toppings are put on the already cooked side. In NYC you see them at places like Gonzo and Otto.
  22. Still a personal favorite... no doubt a tribute to multicultural sensitivity in the workplace...
  23. Maybe one day when I'm with a friend with a car we'll check out Luna Caprese - it's a long way north!
  24. I have to admit, I haven't encountered a bbq pizza here yet. I'll have to keep my eyes open. The most common thing I'm seeing is more and more "trendy" places that are sort of lounge-style food service, much as has been going on in major cities in other parts of the globe. Things like sitting on sofas with low tables, and food that's significantly more creative than in the past, and lots of decor and waiter uniforms in black. There's also starting to be more of a demand for imported wine, something that in the past wasn't seen much. It will be interesting to see if the government responds by lowering the import taxes on foreign wine so that it's affordable here. Dan
  25. A few things to comment back on... Katie (and Odysseus), I suggested writing a letter to the owner as the final step if approaches to correct the situtation in the restaurant don't work. Not as the only thing to be done. You don't have to agree with it, but like any good business, there are procedures in place to manage conflicts and complaints. And for many restaurants, that procedure has a way of contacting the owner. It's really no different than, say, a retail store that has a complaint procedure, or a utility company, or anything else. You may want it to be different, but that's not reality. Odysseus, I don't know what restaurants you've been going to, but in the world of, at least, fine dining, I can't think of a single restaurant I've been to, or know of, where the owner is regularly in the dining room during dinner service. Doesn't mean they don't exist, but it's in my experience not at all common. (Look, for example, at the feature article on the main page here, about Richard Corraine - he's essentially the chief of operations for several major restaurants and he's done and out of there by the time dinner starts, and don't expect to see the owner Danny Meyer or the other investors hanging out either. Occasionally yes, but regularly, no.) Yes, customer satisfaction should be a key goal, but as someone else commented, a lot of diners just smile and say "everything's fine" and then go home and complain to their friends about it. Nobody wins that way - neither the customer nor the restaurant. I merely tried to outline what I think is not only a reasonable approach (with, again, the letter y'all keep going on about as the last resort), but one that from several decades of restaurant experience, works. No one has to use it, but to me it seems more satisfying and more effective than coming to egullet and posting rants about some place you had an unsatisfactory experience at.
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