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Andrew Fenton

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Posts posted by Andrew Fenton

  1. I checked out Spread Bagelry this morning. I don't know from Montreal bagels, but these were as described: a little smoky and a little sweet. The sweetness I could do without, but the wood oven gives them a nice flavor. One of the three I bought was a little burnt, which I guess is a sign of its artisanal character but really, I could skip that too. Also, $2 for a bagel? Oy. Or I guess, "yo."

    Oh, and Sarcone's now has bagels on weekends. They taste like what they are: an Italian bakery's interpretation of a bagel. So, matte rather than shiny and less dense than a classic bagel. They're good, not great, but still, it kind of makes me happy that Sarcone's is making them.

  2. Ate here just the other day and forgot to ask Han about this issue. I can't say I recall seeing any actual sichuan peppercorns, but I certainly tasted them! I suppose it's possible that they're using it more in a ground form or infused in oil, who knows, maybe people were freaked out by crunching down on them. In any case, I definitely detected the flavor.

    This is a good point: I didn't see any peppercorns in the dry-fried pork, but the flavor was definitely there.

    I gotta try the beer duck.

  3. I haven't been to Union Trust but I have had the bistecca alla fiorentina at Osteria and I agree with tim e, it's an excellent steak, full of that dry-aged, mineral-ly funk if that's what you're looking for. Of course, Osteria isn't a steakhouse, but you knew that.

    It is a really good steak. But in addition to it not being a steakhouse, I don't think a fiorentina would appeal to SWMBO, if she's partial to the more tender meats.

    (Sorry, I can't help! I don't really do steakhouses, though...)

  4. Has anyone noticed that the food at Han Dynasty is missing the Szechuan peppercorns recently? Someone made this complaint a month or two ago but I hadn't been recently. I went a couple days ago and had several dishes which have in the past had szechuan peppercorns in them (mapo tofu, dan dan noodles, the cabbage side dish), and the tongue-numbing, brain-pleasing effect was absent from all of them. Their absence was obvious in the cabbage dish because they were visible in the dish last time I had it.

    I had the dry fried pork last night. Definitely had Szechuan peppercorns in it. Good stuff!

  5. Is it just me, or have the lines at DiNic's lengthened radically over the last couple of years? Seems like if I walk by any time in the vicinity of lunch (up to maybe 1:30 or so), there will be a super long line.

    I don't know if that's because they've gotten nationwide press, or have benefited from the demise of Rick's Steaks, or what. I'm delighted for DiNic's, of course, but I wouldn't try to get a sandwich there on a weekend; definitely not around lunchtime.

  6. dcarch, that technique is so clever, you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel! I've never bought peeled garlic before, but given the number of recipes I use that start with garlic and olive oil in a pot, there's no reason not to give that a try.

  7. It's a good list. I have quibbles, like I think Meme is overrated (n.b., I haven't tried their fried chicken). And I've said it before and I'll say it again: John's water ice is just not that good. But quibbles are the point of as list like that, and it's a solid one.

  8. Disappointing lunch at Matyson yesterday. Some of the dishes were up to their standards, including a really terrific smoked trout sandwich. But there were a couple of missteps: oversalted calamari and a steak salad that included inedible (and a little dirty!) lettuce stems. Maybe it's August and the staff's mind is on the shore?

  9. A visit to Franklin Fountain. Here's your Old School soda fountain. These guys make their own ice cream and real old fashioned sundaes, floats and phosphates. Authentic right down to their handlebar mustaches and arm garters.

    Katie's not kidding about the mustaches; they're really extraordinary. You'll dig it, Rona.

    eta: also, the ice cream is good! It's a neat place.

  10. which city/area ??

    At a guess (and from the title) in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. :wink:

    I see them at the Reading Terminal Market, though I can't speak to quality or season. (Not a fan myself; the texture is a little too... toenail-like for me.)

  11. I'm not sure how a city east of Pittsburgh qualifies as "Heartland", but that's just semantics at this point.

    Given our love of roast pork, cheesesteaks, Tastykakes and so forth (to say nothing of our former status as America's fattest city), I tend to think of Philadelphia as more "heartclog" than "heartland". But whatever works...

  12. Because sometimes we really do just need them to eat. Anything.

    Exactly. I'm not going to worry too much about the healthfulness of a restaurant meal, because restaurant meals aren't usually healthy, period. If I wanted to make sure that the kids got a balanced serving of vegetables, whole grains, etc., we'd be eating at home.

    I don't have a problem with the kids having chicken nuggets and french fries for dinner as a treat when we're out at a restaurant; we'll make up for it the next night. If they'll try some of our food, so much the better. But if that treat will keep them happy, fed, quiet, and inclined to let me, mom, and the rest of the restaurant enjoy our meals, well, mission accomplished.

  13. I've learned a lot about sandwich making from eating banh mi.

    Obviously you need some good bread. A baguette is good; Italian bread will work fine.

    A pate + cold cuts are a nice combination of textures, flavor and salt.

    The thinnest layer of mayo possible. Or garlic butter, if I'm feeling expansive.

    It should have something spicy. Maybe hot peppers, maybe a shot of sriracha.

    Thinly sliced cucumber gives it some crunch and coolness to balance out the heat.

    Why not some pickled vegetables? Some nice pickled radishes give sourness and a pleasant funk.

    Some herbs- basil, cilantro, mint, whatever's on hand- for a vegetal aroma.

    Any or all of those techniques will make for a good sandwich.

  14. Cool. What makes [the New Vegetarian Epicure] better?

    I haven't actually read the original, but in the notes to the new cookbook, she mentions that the recipes were heavy, with cheese and dairy taking a central role. The recipes in the new cookbook are definitely vegetable-centered. They're not all hits, but there are a few recipes (including a really terrific broccoli soup) that I make regularly.

  15. Comparing Vegetarian Epicure and Moosewood Cookbook to see which is worse is sort of like trying to decide whether a flat tire or a shattered windshield is worse. They both really, really suck.

    To give credit where it's due, Anna Thomas eventually realized that the Vegetarian Epicure sucked, and wrote a new book. The New Vegetarian Epicure isn't a bad cookbook.

  16. How about pastrami hash?

    You beat me to the punch. This is what I do with all the unevenly-sliced and end pieces left over from when I make pastrami. It's tremendously good.

    I also save the liquid left from the steaming session and use it later. Sure, it's mostly salt and smoke, but it works great as a soup base, or to cook greens.

    eta: in the Fentondome, the fate of leftover barbecue is usually Brunswick stew. I've never used pastrami for that, but I bet it'd be good.

  17. 20110424_0212_stitch.jpg

    I don't know if this is what you call a grid system but this is in my pantry. The wall hanging section is 4'x4', it has an 18"x 5' three shelf wire shelf below for Stock Pots, micro wave,IE heavy things that I don't need in the kitchen every day. The wall rack was purchased at a local retail fixture shop. It stands off the wall about an inch and a half.

    I'm just impressed that you have a hacksaw as a kitchen tool.

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