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Andrew Fenton

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Everything posted by Andrew Fenton

  1. I had lunch there soon after they opened. The shish kebab was very good, as I remember, and the baba ganoush wasn't bad either. I really ought to go back soon. Katie, you have my number...
  2. I like both kinds of slaw, though I probably prefer the vinegary version. Slap that on a bun with some butt and you've got something approaching a BBQ banh mi. Look deep into your heart. You know the answer already.
  3. Bumping this back up to ask if anybody has a recommendation for a remote BBQ thermometer other than the Maverick. I bought a Maverick (the ET-73, I believe; it's the two-probe one) last year, and while there were lots of things I liked about it, it had a number of serious defects: - terrible, idiotic design. You have to open the battery case to turn it on? Really? - cheap parts, especially the on/off switches. One broke after about five months, which meant I have to take the batteries out to turn it off. - the "food" probe burned out after four months, leaving me with only the "smoker" probe functioning. Basically, I'm looking for something with the same functionality-- two probes and remote transmission for sure, with an alarm and timer as nice plusses-- but that won't break after a dozen smoking sessions. I've looked online and don't see a lot of alternatives out there. That surprises me... is there something I'm missing?
  4. Seafood in which sub-category? I mean, there's Little Fish. Yes, yes, blah blah Bon Appetit blah overhyped blah blah. But the food there is very good. But a chef-driven BYOB is trying to do something very different than a seafood palace, soulless or no. I had a great lunch at Snockey's back in the winter and have been meaning to get back there. But again, divey oyster bar is a completely different experience. There's good sushi, I guess. But I'd rather pluck my own eyes out rather than get into one of those ridiculous "where's the best sushi" pissing contests. Ken's Seafood does great seafood. But they also do great Peking duck: does a Chinese restaurant count? I don't know whether we have any great high-end seafood places. 10 Arts doesn't seem to have brought (or have been intended to bring) that ol' Bernadin magic to Philadelphia. Am I missing something?
  5. Ah, the creosote! That makes sense. I wonder what would happen if you left the smoker open a crack to let the smoke out. If you had it on a burner at a low temperature, you'd get a decent smoking period, at the end of which you could put in new wood. It'd be a massive PITA, and would play havoc with the temperature of whatever you were smoking, but might let you smoke something for a couple of hours, anyway, giving it more flavor before you finished it in the oven. If I were still living in my apartment, I might try it out.
  6. First pull those grades up, young man! Then we'll talk.
  7. It's interesting how different experiences can be. The missus had a pretty bad lunch at Union Trust last week. She wasn't impressed with the service: in particular, her food was cold, which will spoil a meal like nothing else...
  8. There is at least one pretty good thread on indoor smokers already. Until I moved to a house a year ago, I was in the same apartment-dwelling boat as you, jonesing for smoke. My experience with my Cameron smoker is that it's very good at certain things: mostly, small pieces of meat that don't require long smoking. Chicken wings are terrific (finish them under the broiler to crisp the skin). Fish is good, as are chicken and duck breasts. Sausages are tasty, too. Vegetables are okay, though the Cameron smoke chips have a slightly acrid flavor that can overwhelm the vegetables. What doesn't work especially well are big pieces of meat. You do NOT want to smoke something for an hour or more: it will have a bitter, intense flavor that is unpleasant. You can smoke a pork shoulder for ~45 minutes, finish it in the oven, and chop or pull the meat, mixing it all together, and get something that isn't as good as long-smoked meat, but is about as good as you can manage in an apartment.
  9. I guess the issue is what sort of restaurant provides bragging rights to a 16-year-old? Even if nephew is a big ol' foodie, I doubt his buddies will have heard of, or care about, Fuji or Distrito. I like Mano's idea of a place where he can go backstage, as it were, and meet the chef. That'd be pretty neat, I imagine.
  10. It certainly would be bragworthy. And his mother would KILL me. Ah, just ask mom if she really wants to encourage good grades or not... Anyway, I don't really know what places would be bragworthy to a 16-year-old (have you asked him?), but Morimoto seems like a good bet. It has the celebrity thing going for it; sushi impresses a lot of people; and the kids nowadays like Japanese stuff. Alternatively-- and if the kid is a little adventurous-- why not see if you can't get somebody to set up an offal tasting menu? I think Cochon can do that for you, and I bet there are other places. Ansill, maybe? Your nephew would be able to tell all his friends about all the odd organ meats he tried.
  11. I'm told the food at Delilah's (the strip club, not the RTM soul food place) is pretty good. If you could smuggle him in, it would DEFINITELY be bragworthy for a sixteen-year-old boy... ... but I'll let somebody else chime in with more useful suggestions.
  12. I've only been to Devon once. It was probably five years ago, and I don't really remember too much- my wife had a coupon of some sort. Other than the biscuits served with the meal, I remember the food as being pretty mediocre. I got the sense that their business model is based on location (and probably, drinks) rather than food.
  13. Yeah, those are really good! There used to be a cone fries place on South St, but they closed: I guess there just isn't the same walk-by business as there is at Times Square. Go figure. edit: whoops, my spies tell me that the Times Square frites place closed a while back. Shows how often I go to Times Square when I'm in New York...
  14. Is the issue for you that those are boring recipes, or because CI has done them all already? I've decided to let my subscription lapse, for the second reason. There's nothing ignoble about trying to perfect American classics-- who doesn't like a really good blueberry muffin?-- but I don't really need multiple muffin recipes that explore the infinite variations of muffindom.
  15. I would guess that MSG has a pretty negative image to most Cooks Illustrated subscribers and Marmite is a more socially acceptable recommendation. That was my guess too. Thing is, in a way, it would be entirely appropriate for CI to champion MSG. They take pride in taking a just slightly counterintuitive or unexpected position; seems like this would fit the bill. On the other hand, it would conflict with the "stopping by the kitchen on a snowy evening" tone of those dreadful editor's notes; so maybe MSG is a step too far...
  16. The current issue (May/June) recommends adding a little Marmite to certain dishes in order to perk up the umami: they report that stews, marinades and so forth can benefit from the extra glutamates. I'm sure that's true, but it makes me wonder: why not just add MSG? It has the same effect, but in a more concentrated form and without a flavor profile of its own.
  17. Will you be at Swarthmore on the weekend? You won't be too far from Cajun Kate's, but they aren't open during the week.
  18. Indeed you do! In the words of George Costanza, I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of the salted cured meats...
  19. Pastrami! Whoa nelly, this stuff is good. Brined a 3-lb brisket for three days (and it could have done with a little more), then smoked it today for five hours. A couple of hours' braise (I used some vegetable stock I had kicking around rather than water), cooling in the fridge, and here it is: I tried a couple of slices tonight... tomorrow, I intend to make a truly kicking reuben for lunch!
  20. More wisdom from Holly. But I worry that the server, on seeing you about to tear up the bills, will insist that you not tear poor Abraham Lincoln in half, and offer to work for free. At that point, you'll be forced to hand the money right over.
  21. Philadining is a trained professional; as he says, amateurs should fall back on the leftovers option.
  22. I'm not so sure I agree. I've actually been able to test this at home and found that, flavor-wise, BBQ that has come straight out of the smoker doesn't seem to be any better than BBQ that has been sitting around for a couple of hours, even a couple of days. I will grant you that the texture of fresh-from-the smoker BBQ is better, though, at least the outside crusty bits. And in some cases, sitting around improves the smoke flavor. I smoked a bunch of salmon last week. I tried it after it cooled, and it was fine. But the next day, the smoke flavor was more pronounced, and three or four days later, it was more noticeable still, as if the smoke had permeated the fish. At that point, it was really good. Salmon is different from pork, obviously: the pieces of meat are a lot smaller, and it doesn't smoke nearly as long (only 2-3 hours for mine), but I don't think the principle would be too different.
  23. Well, more testing can't hurt, can it? And they are on my way home, so I have no excuse not to go again...
  24. I've been driving by Dante's (no accent, I think) for the last few weeks, but never stopped by; I pegged it for a parboiled-ribs kinda joint, and until I saw Phil A.'s report, didn't get it together to try them. I'm glad I did! The St. Louis ribs are very tasty. Too much sauce for my liking- makes it hard to taste the meat- but the texture was very good. I'll get them Memphis-style next time and see how I like them that way. N.B. that Dante's is in a less than lovely section of Lancaster Ave., and there's no place to sit down in the restaurant, so you'll want to take them home (or eat them in the car, as I did.) And two layers of bulletproof glass at the counter just adds authenticity. But it's most definitely worth trying.
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