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Everything posted by sxr71

  1. I'm fan of the Italian brunch at Perbacco in the East Village. They only do it on weekends. Great eggs.
  2. 1) The British writer John Evelyn included the following recipe in his Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets (1699): But spinach has never been a particularly popular vegetable in America, relative to other vegetables (and that's not saying much; even in 1977, only artichokes, asparagus and eggplant ranked lower in per capita vegetable consumption). One explanation rests in the relative availability/lack thereof of fresh spinach in different regions and in different eras (think about canned spinach and you can see what I mean). There are other explanations, as well. For example, heartier greens that could be cooked for a long time with bits of pork have long been a favorite in the south; growing and cooking spinach is a relatively labor-intensive proposition, and you don't get much bang for your buck, i.e., poor source of calories for the manual laborer; often spinach is overcooked; many other greens, including wild ones that we don't generally eat today, were more popular; and the list goes on...A few final notes: -- A small-leaved spinach was cultivated in the American colonies; however, it was not until the late 1800s that a more appealing variety was developed -- Beeton’s Book of Household Management, published in 1861, includes recipe for "Spinach Dressed with Cream" (not quite what we mean by creamed spinach, however...) -- Boston's famous LockeOber restaurant has had creamed spinach on the menu since 1875.... ← Let's be honest about America and vegetables. Americans in general can't cook vegetables (of course there are exceptions). Yes, I know I'm going very far with that statement, but compared to any cuisine in the world American renditions of vegetables are just poor. I thought it was funny when you said artichokes, eggplants, and asparagus are the vegetables ranked lowest. That list IMHO is a list of the best vegetables you can use in cooking - spinach included. Italian cuisine uses those exact vegetables the most, and they are great dishes. Mediterranean, Arabic, and Persian cuisines also use those vegetables in many great dishes. Indian and Chinese cuisine can take eggplant and spinach and make some great dishes. Those seem to be the most used vegetables in many other cultures. In America people take some sweet corn and douse it in butter, that's not even fair. I bet corn is the number one used vegetable in the US. It's sweet and has a lot of butter, anything would taste good prepared like that. Then you have steamed broccoli with with melted cheese, again flavorless broccoli just loaded with cheese that is the only source of flavor in that dish. No wonder Americans don't like vegetables. IMHO, they generally don't know how to cook them. I'm a sucker for creamed spinach just like anyone else, I love it, but it's really just got to be good when the dish has more fat than vegetable.
  3. Does or doesn't keep up? ← Sorry I wasn't clear, it does not when it comes to Hot and Sour soup - not even in the same league unfortunately. However, the seafood I had there was good. The lobster in Cantonese sauce was very nice. My personal preference is lobster in ginger and scallion at Jumbo Seafood in Boston, but that's an unfair comparison. The Cantonese sauce was a nice surprise considering it has egg in it, but it was very nice. Anyway it's all moot now since even the place next to Kam Cheuh is closed. I lament the loss of Kam Cheuh, I can't seem to find a place quite like it anymore.
  4. I live close to Ali Baba and I think their mezze platter is the best thing there. However, for Turkish overall I find Beyoglu to have slightly better mezzes and their entrees IMHO are a level above Ali Baba. However Ali Baba isn't bad by any means.
  5. Yes. Banh Mi Saigon, on Mott between Hester and Grand, is much more flavorful. Thanks to mascarpone for originally introducing me to the place. ← A&S Pork store for great italian cold sandwiches. For burgers, I'm going to have to give a slight edge to Corner Bistro over Le Parker Meridien's Burger Joint. Corner Bistro can be a little inconsistent, but of late it's been hits instead of misses.
  6. This is certainly part of it. Obviously overall interest is high. But I just don't get the same sense of ecstatic enthusiasm that the BABBP engendered in the foodie community in years 2, 3, and 4 when it was at fever pitch. But, then again, as I said before, barbecue of this quality was virtually unknown to most NYC-area foodies during those years. Since the first BABBP, we have seen the opening of Dinosaur Barbecue (2004), R.U.B. (2005), Rack & Soul (2006) and Hill Country (2007), not to mention serious improvement at Blue Smoke. It's just not as exceptional anymore for New Yorkers. I mean, to put this in context, a lot of my foodie friends were pretty ecstatic when Virgil's opened however many years ago, and most wouldn't deign to eat there now. A point of comparison might be the iPhone. Tons of people still buy them and tons of early-adopter types and Mac addicts still buy the latest models. But there just isn't the buzz that there was in 2007 when they came out. ← Sure but you still can't get a decent NC style pulled pork in NYC. In fact of everything I tried this year Ed Mitchell's pulled pork was the one thing that stood out. Sadly everything else I could have lived without. EDIT: The Baker's jalapeno cole slaw was another good memory. Fastpass was nearly useless since they sell a lot of them now, and places running out at 3 was annoying. In any case the quality seems to go down as the hours go by.
  7. Gemma. Completely agree. Way overvalued.
  8. Karavalli for sure - A MUST. Also Sahib Sind Sultan in the Forum Mall order the chicken biriyani, also great kababs for appetizers. I would just order those and eat them tapas style. Go to Samarkhand on Infantry road and order the Paneer Tikka - amazing! Other places I loved: Poolside Barbecue - West End Hotel - great lobster and all other dishes are great. Royal Afghan - Windsor Manor Sheraton For Southern Indian meat biriyani and thali: Nagarjuna Residency on Residency road. For South Indian Tiffin: MTR Jamavar at the Leela has excellent yogurt rice, but some will argue that it is outrageously pricey for what it is. But it's great. There are a lot of small places around town, but the problem in Banaglore is that places don't stay open very long and shut down and some just lose their quality. I would like to recommend more places but I can't be sure if they are still around and if they are still good if they are around. I go to places like Kabab Korner for a quick bite or even Fanoos if you can stomach the line. They will bring food to your car though. For Italian Sunny's is a safe bet, but why bother with Italian in India? Many of those restaurants are getting better but really geared to locals who want to try different cuisines. Koshy's surprisingly is a nice safe bet for almost anything. Not the best in any one thing (okay their vegetable cutlets are great - get the dinner order it tastes different from the regular order) but are safe to take a group since there is something for everyone. I have enjoyed also Tandoor on MG road, I go there every visit. Berry's is a little hole in the wall on Church Street but great food for a great price. The usual kabab places like Empire and Imperial are also worth a trip. Chicken kabab or chili chicken is the usual order at those places. I thought Northern Gate at the Gateway hotel was also nice, but I think you can do better on a quality/price basis. A little out of town at Angsana, Aquamarine deck was nice for seafood if you happen to be in the area. If anyone has been to Bangalore recently, please do tell of new openings.
  9. Oh yes, good point. Get there around 4 and you will have to wait as they reheat that oven, but the pies that come out from that newly reheated oven are simply great. That is by far the best time to go.
  10. Yes, I have and frankly was really disappointed. They usually are okay, not great, but the time I went it was just bad. Enough to not bother going there again. I think for slices the Margherita slice at 33rd and 3rd is among the best for slices. Nice balance of crust, sauce, cheese and basil. Surprisingly good for a reheated slice, and for a place that owes its existence to the bars of the that area to serve drunken crowds who in their drunkeness couldn't tell the difference. Anyway, just to be sure they don't lower the quality for the drunken crew, I would go before midnight. I haven't tried the new locations that have sprung up.
  11. More specifically, it is an article by someone who sells gas pizza ovens for a living, and has a vested interest in making it seem like gas can compete with wood and coal. It is also worthy of note that he is not talking about regular gas deck pizza ovens. These are special (and very expensive) ovens specifically designed to mimic wood burning pizza ovens. The one argument he makes for gas with which I completely agree is that "you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to master a wood-burning oven, but getting things right does require a bit of training and labor, which many employers are reluctant to provide." A lack of training does go a long way to explain the mediocre pizza some of the wood and coal places serve. But the bulk of his argument seems to be that wood fired ovens are the best, but these special gas fired "faux wood" ovens are almost as good and a lot simpler to use. The bottom line is this: standard gas-fired pizza ovens go up to a maximum of 550F, whereas a properly fired coal- or wood-fired masonry pizza oven will be between 750F and 840F. This is a huge and significant difference, and as a result there are things that are possible with a coal- or wood-fired masonry pizza oven that are simply not possible with a gas-fired oven. This fact alone suggests that that the assertion "ovens are basically ovens" cannot possibly be true unless one believes that there is no difference between 550F and 750F when it comes to making pizza. Now... different does not necessarily mean better, depending on one's tastes. A medium thick, "Ray's style" pizza cannot be made well in a hot coal- or wood-fired oven. So, for someone for whom pizza is mostly about the toppings and lots of them, the oven makes much less difference since they're all going to be using standard gas-fired deck pizza ovens at right around the same temperature. ← It's always good to remember the Q10 rule in biochemistry and one that applies generally to single step chemical reactions that a 10C increase in temperature doubles the reaction rates. Which is why a pressure cooker though only increasing temperature from 100C to 120C makes cooking time a mere fraction of the regular cooking time. It makes a huge difference in terms of what the skilled Pizzaiola can do.
  12. Funny you should mention Kam Chueh, I hadn't read your post when I composed mone above. The place no longer exists unfortunately. The place next door was not bad for some of the fresh seafood dishes but Kam Chueh hot and sour soup is the best I've had personally. The new place simply does keep up in that regard. Of late I haven't seen it open either at later hours. Kam Chueh was always a safe bet for me in Chinatown very consistent and very good.
  13. I have to agree with your general impressions of Fuleen. I tried to give the place at least two tries but came back disappointed each time. One time the whole restaurant just wasn't the freshest smelling place, a trip to the bathroom downstairs reveals exactly the sort of situation you speak of regarding cleanliness and at the end of the day the food really wasn't that great either time. I finally decided that Kam Chueh on Bowery was just better overall even if it may not be thought of as better by some. Too bad it closed down.
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