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Ed Ward

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  1. divaslasvegas' pork pudding sounds a lot like classic Cajun boudin to me. That's definitely a case of "you don't want to know what's in this" food, but from one of the classic places like Johnson's Grocery in Eunice, definitely a classic. I used to steam boudin and eat it with fried eggs back when I could get it. It's pork sludge, rice, green onions, and cayenne at the minimum, and yes, there's a boudin noir made with blood, but it's illegal to sell in Louisiana. You can still get it under the counter, though, at a lot of butchers if you ask nicely.
  2. Berlin Restaurants

    I have to say, having lived here for 13 years, I don't think anyone comes to Berlin to eat. Certainly not high-end food, at any rate. Maxwell's is near my house; I pass it every day. You get very small portions of indifferent "creative" cooking at inflated prices, and get to see loads of celebrities you probably won't recognize if you're not German. The couple of times I've been there with Americans they've been outraged at the ticket and the service. My suggestion is to try to hit the mid-price restaurants for German food (Lutter & Wegner, for instance, or the Brecht Haus), and maybe one of the Muntagnola family's Italian places (Contadino Sotto le Stelle). Downgrade your expectations and you'll probably have fun.
  3. December's not the choicest time to be in the Languedoc, but if it's not raining torrentially, you'll have the place to yourselves. I'm in the process of moving to Montpellier, so I know that town fairly well, and like it a lot. For a hotel, I can recommend the Hotel des Arceaux, which has lovely rooms with free wi-fi, and the best baguettes I've ever tasted for breakfast. An almost pornographically wonderful market sets up across the street on Mondays, too. There's also a very fine shop selling mostly wine in town, the Maison Régionale des Vins et Produits de Terroir at 34 rue St Guihelm, where you can get some idea of the breadth of the region's production, at least on the higher end (ie, over three Euros a bottle). I picked up a couple of wine maps on my last visit in January. One says Région Langedoc Roussillon, and comes from the Languedoc Roussillon Tourist Board and the other is the Wine and Heritage Route map of the Montpellier agglomeration, which I must have picked up at their tourist office there on the Comédie. There's a small chance I'll be in the area from November thru February, so I might well be able to offer more and better suggestions as the date gets closer.
  4. Samosas

    Hmmm, my memory is of her complaining about having to write the book for money, her no-good, layabout sons, and her indifferent husband. It's been a while since I had it in my hands, though. And thanks for reprinting that. I may try to make some one of these days!
  5. Actually, you can bring the Nurnberger Rostbratwurstl back with you; a number of places there sell them in a can! Now, I have no idea how these stack up against the fresh ones, although you might be able to bring back some of the memories by cooking them over a beechwood fire, like they do in Nurnberg, but I was astonished to see these cans when I was there a couple of months ago.
  6. Samosas

    Somewhere in storage I have a cookbook by the bad-tempered Mrs. Balbir Singh that I bought for a dollar a thousand years ago. In between complaning about her family, she does have some good recipes, and her samosa recipe is one of the best. Secret ingredient: pomegranite seeds! It is, like most noted here, potato-pea, etc., but there's more to it than that. Best samosas I've ever had.
  7. Not the *only* thing on the menu, but the only thing you should try! They also have Currywurst and probably Bratwurst, but I've never seen anyone order them. Be sure to look at the letter from JFK over the bar!
  8. I cooked a pizza last night at home, and it occurred to me that I should mention a place I've never eaten, but which stands a great chance of being very good: Nizza la Bella in Albany. It's on San Pablo at the foot of, uh, Solano? (I moved from the Bay Area 25 years ago, so pardon the haze). The chef there is Evelyne Sloman, who literally wrote the book about pizza: The Pizza Book (Times Press, out of print), and whose recipe I use for my crust. I've corresponded with her ("You've kneaded the dough enough when you whack it and it's like a baby's ass.") and we share a lot of the same esthetic. She's also in huge demand as a consultant to restaurants and the pizza industry at large, and *some* day she's going to revise that book. Anyway, if you're in that neighborhood, stop in and check it out. And report back here, since I'm curious myself!
  9. Good catch on Rogaki, anju! It's definitely a Museum of Protein, with all the fish you don't see elsewhere (Berliners aren't big on fish) and lots of meat and Wurst. I got a Christmas turkey from there a couple of years ago, never frozen, top-notch quality. Not, however, cheap.
  10. Guacamole

    Astonishing: nobody's mentioned my favorite addition, which I discovered in a now-gone Salvadoran restaurant in San Francisco: hard-boiled eggs. I used to scandalize Texans with this, but it does taste good. I had avocadoes, a couple of thinly-sliced chile serranos, green onion tops, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and salt to bring out the taste in mine. Very close to what el Tazumal used to serve, and I love the contrast in texture between the avocado and the hard-boiled egg, which also serves to (somewhat: you don't want to spoil the fun) damp down the serranos a little.
  11. Tomasso's always gets my nod, because besides the pizza, which is excellent (make sure you get one with sausage, which is made especially for the restaurant), you can get the legendary coo-coo clams as an appetizer and one of the marinated vegetable salads.
  12. I'd second the recommendation of Barillito, especially the 3-star, which is the finest rum I've tasted. Nearly impossible to find, even in Puerto Rico, but worth looking for.
  13. Berlin's likely to be a disappointment, food-wise. Not much is grown around here except some root vegetables, and the native cuisine is basically pretty stodgy. That said, everyone makes the pilgrimage to the food floor at the KaDeWe, which isn't as interesting as it was before the store was bought out by the Quelle group, but might have some things that'll interest you. At least, as far as German food goes, it's pretty encyclopedic. I also shop in the Lafayette Gourmet basement at Galleries Lafayette, but that's because it has a good range of French stuff -- probably not what you're after! There are a couple of rather thin farmer's markets at Hackescher Markt (Thursday) and Kollwitzplatz (Saturday) which might be of interest.
  14. Making Tortillas at Home

    dockhi, flour tortillas are easy! Take a cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mix it all together. Then chop in (or, if you're lazy like me, whir in with your food processor) a couple of tablespoons of -- yup -- lard. Then a quarter cup of water, maybe a bit more depending on the ambient humidity, and mix until you've got a nice ball of dough, which you then let rest wrapped in a paper bag for around a half-hour. Get out your flour again, put a little on a board, heat up a non-stick frying pan, take a small ball of dough, toss it in the flour, bring it out and flatten it with your hand on the board. Then take a rolling pin and -- the only bit of zen in this whole process -- make sure you apply the pressure mostly towards the center of the tortilla. Peel it off, stick it on the frying pan, start the next one. It'll bubble in a little while, at which point turn it, but don't let it sit too long or you won't be able to fold it. Stick finished tortillas in foil (or a tortilla warmer if you have one) while you make the rest. This makes me about six 5" or so tortillas for potato-and-egg tacos on Sunday morning. Wish I could get decent masa here in Berlin, but I understand the EU has made it illegal.
  15. There's a nice restaurant inside Tivoli (which means you have to pay admission to get into the park first) called something like De Slot, which means "the ditch." I went with a Danish friend and her complaint was "jeez, if I'd known this was what you wanted we couldv'e had my mom have us over for dinner," which as far as I'm concerned is a recommendation. Only other place I could think of is the Shark Hut, but that's too far from where you'll be, very likely. Not at all sure where the Square Hotel is, but I assume it's in the square by Tivoli.
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