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Everything posted by TimS

  1. OK, the two mentions of the Ocean View Chinese restaurant got my attention; I've never been there after having lived here for years. Coincidentally, half the family had commitments last night, and one of my sons asked for Chinese--I figured what the heck, we'll try the Ocean View to find out what the 'idiosyncracies' were all about. Got there about 6 p.m., no one in the place. Just me and two kids. The waitress, who I assume was one of the owners, was very, very nice. The menu is HUGE, with another separate menu just to cross-reference the 'top 10' customer choices and 'chef's recommendations' with the main menu (and this separate menu was big too). The waitress made a point of repeatedly telling me that we must try the chef's recommendations, as that's what sets them apart from all other Chinese restaurants. I honestly don't know much about Chinese other than the typical things found in generic American Chinese restaurants, and with slightly higher prices than normal and two kids, last night wasn't a night for experimenting. My daughter wanted chicken fingers and white rice; was told they were out of white rice, but had brown. While talking my daughter into the menu change and commenting that daddy often makes brown rice, the waitress exclaimed that we've never had brown rice like this before. My son wanted beef teriyaki and chicken fried rice. No beef teriyaki available. I decided to round out the order with General Gau's chicken. Was told that it's normally made with dark meat (of course), but they were out of dark meat, so it would be a $1.00 surcharge for white. Interesting. And as she was walking away, she mentioned over her shoulder that there would be a surcharge for the chicken fried rice too. I thought this was weird, but was in a good mood and went along with all this. The chicken fingers were great--super hot out of the fryer and not all dough-y like most places. Brown rice was indeed very good. Fried rice was average, and the General Gau's was unusual. The meat was incredibly tender and moist huge chunks in a yummy sauce. We asked for it spicy (like it's labeled on the menu), but no spice. Oh well. Went to settle up, and found out no credit cards. Hmmm, must've missed that on the way in. Personal checks OK though. All in all, I'd go back with my wife and explore the menu a bit more. The waitress seemed genuinely disappointed that we didn't try any of the chef's recommendations, but I explained it was our first time and I wanted to stick with what we knew for the first time. I promised I'd be back and try some of the other stuff. It was fun. It was good. Just be prepared for a little goofiness.
  2. I live in Narragansett, so maybe I can help. I concur with the Crazy Burger recommendation; a funky place with a funky menu that I'm sure you'll love. I haven't had a chance to get to the Matunuck Oyster Bar, but I've only heard great things about it. There will definitely be a wait, so the only issue is if your son will mind or not. I'd recommend the Mew's Tavern in Wakefield if you like beer (something like 69 varieties always available). The menu there is American fare (burgers, steaks, wings, pizzas, etc.), but all of it is nicely done. It is a loud place that attracts a young crowd, but it's a good family place. A locals hangout with decent burgers and seafood is Twin Willows, in the north end of town. Close to Twin Willows is arguably the best ice cream in the area: Brickley's. Down by the beach is another ice cream place that has very good gelato--Nana's. You can get fresh lobsters off the boats down by the Block Island ferry terminal. There's a fish market down there too (Champlin's), but I've never bought there--I live in the north end of town, and use Clipper Seafood--a much smaller selection, but decent prices and convenient to me. If you end up in Wickford (a great little walking town with shopping, cafes, etc.), there's a great seafood market there--Gardner's Wharf seafood. Flo's is still good (Island Park location is better than Newport's in my opinion, but a bit of a drive from Narragansett). If you go to Carrie's, you definitely want the doughboys for dessert from Iggy's also right there. I'm not a fan of Evelyn's. Love the location, but not impressed with their fried clams. Much better at Flo's. In Narragansett you have Monahan's seafood shack at the beach. I haven't been this season, but it's generally been decent. I'm not aware of any food trucks in the Narragansett area. I can't speak to Providence area restaurants, but I know Chris Amirault on this board lives/works/dines in the area, so maybe he'll post with some info. And as far as the NY system weiners, you just can't replicate that experience in Olneyville anywhere else on earth That being said, the Kingston Pizza location on 1A in the north end of Narragansett has 'wild weiner Wednesdays' when they sell NY system, but I've never had them there. My oldest son walks there every once in a while for the weiners, and says they're good. If you do go there, skip the pizza. Actually, you need to skip most pizza here--I'm not a fan of most of the local joints. However, the Mews Tavern mentioned earlier does have a wood-fired oven and puts out a good pie (no delivery). I really hope you enjoy your trip. The past couple of weeks have been gorgeous here. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
  3. I'm in New England, so lobster would be standard. But my family and I much prefer steamers ('soft-shelled' clams) accompanied by corn-on-the-cob (when in season). Lots of butter (and salt for the corn), but no additional seasoning. I don't like to do the 'boil' thing common here in RI: shellfish, chourico, potatoes, corn. I don't think steaming them all together really does any favors for the individual ingredients. Something's always overcooked. Even though I'm of New England decent, I lived for a few years in Maryland, and much prefer crabs with Old Bay over lobster any day. Crabs are getting too expensive to mail order any more, though. I think I'm going to do a crawfish boil for the family this summer; I had them a few times in New Orleans, but the wife and kids have never had the pleasure. A lot more economical than placing a crab order, and more fun to eat than lobster. Beer (lots!) is my beverage of choice for all the above.
  4. Does your kamado have any sort of rack that hangs below the main grate, or another grate to stack on top of the main grate? Unless you can push your coals over to one side, you'll have to figure out some way to put a barrier between the coals and the meat: some fire bricks or an aluminum pan filled with water or sand. Though I haven't tried, putting the meat on a few layers of foil might work. The likely problem with that will be accumulation of drippings, possible steaming/braising your meat--a rib rack might mitigate that issue somewhat. As far as the cooler goes, it's at ambient temperature when you put the meat in (wrapped in foil and towels). Generally, the cooler is used if you need to hold the meat for a period of time. If you plan on eating the ribs within a reasonable time of pulling them off the smoker, no need for the cooler. If you haven't checked it out yet, see www.amazingribs.com for lots of great smoking tips, for all kinds of smokers/grills. Good luck, and let us know how you make out!
  5. Chitlins for me as well. Smelled like sh!t. Tasted like what I imagine sh!t must taste like.
  6. I have a brisket smoking right now. Made up a sauce, and thinking about throwing it on the smoker after I pull the brisket. I want a little smokiness in the sauce, but not sure how well this experiment will work out--my biggest concern is burning due to the sugar in the sauce--I'll see if it will pick up some smoke before things get too far along. Throwing a rack of beef ribs on at the same time as well. Another experiment. I've smoked short ribs plenty of times, but not a rack. They were in the bin next to the brisket (pretty inexpensive--for a reason??), so I figured, why not?
  7. Chris, Your fried clam, stuffie, and chowder experience pretty much mirrors mine in South County. Which is truly a shame, considering the great local product we have available. I'm especially embarrassed by the clams; premium prices are routinely charged for a small portion of anemic clams. Anyone can make much better versions of all three of these dishes at home; I don't bother wasting my money at the clam shacks for these anymore. And don't get me started on the clam cakes! Thanks for the details of your latest shopping trip. We really don't have much diversity in the markets around me, so it looks like some trips a bit north are in order. Continuing to enjoy this thread while dealing with the in-laws in PA.
  8. Chris, As a lurker who also lives in RI (Narragansett), I really enjoyed following this thread. My own Christmas menu, not nearly as ambitious, got whittled to the basics since I came down with something Christmas Eve. Spent almost all time in bed since; reading this helped pass the time. Thanks for sharing.
  9. I have a Primo XL. I picked it primarily for the oval shape. On another thread, someone complained about lack of 'safe' spots on the BGE; i.e. not being able to move your food off a hot area. The oval handles this nicely, as it does whole racks of ribs and other long items. You can also choose to only light half the grill, if you don't need the whole surface for some reason. And the addition of some raised racks lets you put a lot of food on there (turning items can be a challenge under that configuration, however). I've had it for about 3 years now, and love it. From low-and-slow BBQ to high-heat Neopolitan-style pizza and everything in between, it does a great job. Someone mentioned all the BGE forums out there for support. There's a Primo forum out there too, but last I recall, you have to register before you can read/post on it. Some very nice and helpful people there. I've never needed to use Primo customer support, but those who have say the experience has been very, very good.
  10. My go-to tools: -long-handled, spring-loaded tongs -after pulling a brass bristle from my son's gums after a grilled meal a couple years back, I switched to the 'billy bar' for grill cleaning; no more brushes for me. Works like a charm. -instant-read thermometer -those stainless sheets for grilling vegetables work just fine. With the lid closed, you'll get the smokey flavor you're looking for. -I do have a dome thermometer installed on my grill; it's nice to know what the temperature range is that I'm working with to aid in the determination of cooking times. -diner-style burger spatula -fish spatula My advice is to steer away from any 'bbq kits'; at most, you only seem to get one useful tool out of the set.
  11. If you're moving out of your initial price range (by looking at the BGEs), you may as well look at the Primo ceramic grills. I cook on a Primo XL, after going from gas to Weber charcoal to the Primo. I found smoking on the Weber a bit cumbersome--it can be done, but temp regulation can be tricky. Lighting of the Primo's lump charcoal is, in my mind, equivalent to lighting gas if you use a MAPP cylinder. Ok, maybe it takes 5 minutes longer to come up to temp, but for me, the taste difference between gas and lump is worth a few extra minutes. The Primo allows me to smoke at 225, grill at whatever temp I want, and do 750+ for Neapolitan-style pizza. I really like it. The BGEs will do the same. Among other reasons, I picked the Primo due to it's oval shape--more useful to me than the round of the BGEs.
  12. The requests amount to maybe one meal/week. From the older kids/wife, I generally get 'when are you going make X again?,' or 'why don't you try making Y?' My youngest likes to pick dishes she finds in a cookbook she got me for Christmas, based on the pictures (one-dish meals, or something like that). In lieu of suggestions, I'll base the menu on things I'm pretty sure everyone will like. Luckily, everyone but the youngest is OK with trying new stuff (and I'm certainly open to criticism if they think I shouldn't attempt a given dish again). I make a note of particular favorites, and use that list to populate my menu as well. There are definite standards rotated in: easy pasta dishes (puttanesca, clams & spaghetti, etc.), various roasted/grilled meats and veggies, etc. Though I try occasionally, I don't have the skillset to 'throw something together' like many here do, other than the basics. I'm working on it though, and working on stocking my pantry better to allow me to do so.
  13. I do the food shopping and cooking for the family. Being the father of 3 school-aged children and working full-time, I first lay out the events for the week that are going to impact cooking times--evening sports practices, etc. That's the biggest driver to my planning. I generally keep the meals simple when cooking times are restricted, and I do my best to steer clear of processed foods. If any foods require prep in advance of a meal (dough, marinating, etc.), I'll write those on the menu too, to make sure I do what needs to be done in time. Weekends are for experimenting with technique and new dishes. Weekends usually generate enough excess for a 'leftovers' meal either Monday or Tuesday. Planning the menu before shopping, and shopping on the same day each week keeps the impulse-buying to a minimum (that's why I do the shopping ). Exceptions to the once/week trip are things (fish, shellfish, ground beef, etc.) that I prefer/need to cook same-day; those are grabbed on the way home from work, when needed. Posting the menu on the fridge lets everyone know what to expect. The kids (and wife) are always free to nominate dishes by writing it at the bottom of the menu, and I'll try to incorporate it into the following week's meals.
  14. Someone mentioned Mama Testa's; I was in SD this past weekend, and did the Mama Testa's thing to see what the hype was about (you know, the FoodTV throwdown win and all that). I was disappointed. One of the draws of the place is supposed to be their salsa bar. I showed up at about 8 p.m. on Saturday night, and was told they were out of chips. Bummer. First item on the menu I wanted to try was their beef soup. I was told they were out of that too. Got a combo plate of carnitas, beef, and marinated pork tacos. The first two were OK. The marinated pork taco was phenomenal. I probably could've eaten a 1/2 dozen of those things (portions are small). For dessert, I ordered flan. I was told they were out. Got a tasty churro instead. I guess I could understand being out of a dish or a special during the week, close to closing time. But at prime time on the weekends, this was pretty unsatisfactory. And to run out of tortilla chips at a Mexican restaurant?!? I did have a great carnitas taco for lunch one day at a 'hole in the wall' place called Aldarabo's or something like that (on Rosencrans, I believe).
  15. Unfortunately, Twin Oaks is still considered by many to be 'fine dining'. One visit as a guest of my boss was enough to convince me that I'll never go back. He thought it was fabulous.
  16. dougal- Thanks for the welcome. And thanks for pointing out the cod farming article. As a recreational fisherman who likes to stay abreast of fisheries management and conservation issues, I thought I knew what was going on WRT fish farming. Looks like I need to stay better informed; I really do appreciate the info. agray- I've been using Morton's kosher salt up to now, and specifically went out and bought Diamond for the brine, since I noted the weight difference between the two. But, I used the Morton's for the cooking (being frugal, I figured I should use up the last of my Morton's before transitioning my basic cooking salt to the Diamond). Looks like that may have been the culprit of my dishes being just a bit too salty. I'll have to try the recipes again using the Diamond and compare.
  17. My first post. I gotta say, there seems to be a great group of people and tremendous amounts of information on this forum!: Made Keller's buttermilk fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and Cobb salad last night. Everything was great; here are a few comments: -The chicken, involving a brine flavored by lemon and herbs, was very tasty and moist. Perfectly cooked by following Keller's instructions. I liked it, but prefer a more traditional batter-based fried chicken (my dad's is great; I need to get his recipe some day). My wife, however (biased as she may be), thought it was the best fried chicken she had ever had--she really liked the flavors imparted by the brine. Me, not so enamored by it--I guess not 'traditional' enough for me. It was good, but I wouldn't make it again for myself. If the wife asks, no problem. -The buttermilk biscuits were very good, but just a tad salty. IIRC, the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. I think I'll drop the +1 teaspoon next time. -The buttermilk dressing and roasted tomatoes in the Cobb salad were winners. Will definitely make this again. I made the 'wild cod en persaillade' a couple weeks ago as well. A nice simple dish, but I was a bit heavy-handed with the salt (I think I may be taking Keller's recommendations for seasoning well with salt just a bit too far). I am put off just a little bit by the recipe title though--all cod, is of course, wild. I think we need to save that designation for fish that can be farm-raised (farm-fattened is more accurate), like salmon. Otherwise, it doesn't really make sense. I really enjoy this cookbook. I read through TFL cookbook, and decided I'll get back to those recipes. For now, I'll concentrate on ingredients and a skillset more at my level--this book suits me perfectly in that regard.
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