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Posts posted by estherschindler

  1. Do you enjoy Indian food?  You must have been in an Indian market (Punjabi. etc.) .....  Any dish (like curry) that uses tumeric, ginger, mustard seeds and other Indian spices can be fried (the initial step) with fresh as well as ground.  Just would recommend doubling the dried volume using fresh.  In that way, fresh vs. dried spices conversions map to ethnic cooking.  Enjoy!  Let us know what you create!  Oh, try to use clarified butter (ghee) if you do an Indian dish.

    Actually, it wasn't an Indian market, just your (cough) garden-variety farmer's market. But I've cooked plenty of Indian food, and I'm certainly not afraid of doing so.

    I can work with that tip: use twice as much fresh as I'd use dried, and fry it with the other spices.

    Now. Hmm. What would be a good recipe...

  2. Roaring Fork isn't on your list, molto e. I have good memories of dinners there a few years back...Is that restaurant still around?

    A friend (who usually has very good taste) reported that he ate at Roaring Fork a month or two ago, and his meal was terrible. Not "didn't live up to expectations" but "I paid HOW MUCH for THIS?" So it appears that the restaurant has gone downhill since McGrath left. :-(

  3. I'm pretty sure that the woman from whom we bought the fresh turmeric -- which looks like small ginger rhizomes, only smaller and with a rosy/orangey blush -- had no idea what to do with the stuff. That must be why she bagged it up and gave it to us when we simply _recognized_ it. I'm fairly sure she grew it because it was interesting, and then wondered, "Now what do I do with it?"

    I have plenty of recipes that use dried turmeric. But the only cookbook I have that mentions what it looks like on-the-hoof says, "...but you can't get it in this country anyway, so we won't give you any instructions," or something much to the same point.

    I have a large handful, maybe 4 ounces of the stuff. NOW what do I do?


  4. Sounds like a great idea. I will be curious to read opinions and perhaps try it myself.

    I couldn't wait for someone else to make a report. So I asked the company for a review kit, and just posted the review here on Consumer Electronics Network.

    In short: very nifty. But a product desperately in search of the right price point.

  5. In her weekly e-mail newsletter, Lynne Rosetto Kaspar mentioned a new product called Timestrips that she hasn't tried yet:


    Timestrips® are single-use, disposable, smart-labels, which automatically monitor lapsed time, ranging from under 1 day to 6 months.

    The technology behind the revolutionary Timestrip® works by capillary action, allowing a tinted liquid to migrate through a micro-porous material at a consistent rate.

    It definitely sounds neat. I'd actually be able to estimate how long that BBQ sauce has been in the refrigerator without consulting my past social schedule. ("Let's see, did we make that before or after Grace was here?")

    Anybody played with 'em yet? Got an opinion?

  6. I did end up at Sam's Cafe for that game -- though next time, I might try Camus. Or Lo-Lo's, but I have to admit, moltoe, that this is not a combination I would ordinarily attempt. Fortunately, I trust your opinion!

    I finally did get to Barrio Cafe for dinner, with three friends. One of them is a foodie like us, but the other two dear souls are much more comfortable at Garcia's. <shudder> One of them asked the waitress, "Don't you have any REGULAR enchiladas?" Sigh. I loved everything, anyway. As far as the ball game night goes, I'm not sure if that's a meal I want to rush through, especially since we always worry about parking.

    Where did you end up going for your birthday dinner??

    Hmm. On my birthday, we -- pretty much the same gang of friends I mentioned above, as we have a monthly dinner date -- went to the Polish restaurant in Chandler. The one that's next to C-Fu Gourmet, at Dobson and Ray: Na Zdrowie. It was okay, but I wouldn't drive out of my way for it.

    Later in that week, I got a job offer (for a new position that started in February... explaining my irregularity here), and we went out to the White Chocolate Grill to celebrate (101 and Scottsdale Road). They do a darned good roast chicken (isn't it time for a Best Roast Chicken in Phoenix thread?) and a great Cobb salad, but the bill is always a little higher than feels fair.

  7. I know that there's been a resurgence of restaurants in the downtown corridor. But I almost never go downtown, so I'm not familiar with the options -- especially not when one is in a rush for a 6:40 baseball game. Got advice or recommendations for casual restaurants, close enough for us to park just ONCE?

    The obvious answer, I suppose, is Pizzaria Bianco. But I assume that it has huge crowds on game days, and I don't always feel like pizza. (That must be the reason I left New York.)

    When we go downtown, we often end up at Sam's Cafe for dinner. It's reasonably priced, and it has the added advantage of (relatively) cheap parking in the lot next door. I suspect that I'll end up there tonight, but we're going to more and more games.

    And heck, we haven't had a Phoenix regional discussion in a while.

  8. Even if you get out REALLY late, you could go to Carlsbad Tavern, on Scottsdale Road just south of Osborn. I think they're open until midnight or 1am. They have very good, very spicy New Mexican food. Relatively inexpensive, too, and quite casual.

    They're also in a good spot for foodies -- next door to House of Rice (Asian groceries and cooking supplies), and directly across the street from Penzey's Spices. Neither of which will be open late on Sunday night, so that's for the lurkers.

  9. Lalibela (I am not sure I am spelling it correctly) is an interesting Ethiopian restaurant near the college where the show is held.  I don't even know if it is still open, but I liked it.

    Lalibela (I'm not sure of the spelling either) is still there, and it's open. It's a good choice with two or three other people, as you can order a big platter to share. There are one or two spicy items, but I'm sure they'd have substitutions if you can't handle them.

    Someone at the hotel is bound to direct you to Monte's La Casa Vieja. It's been around for at least 50 years, and the ambiance is wonderful -- but don't go. The food is rather amazingly disappointing, unless you're in the mood for diner food (i.e. mashed potatoes served with an ice-cream scoop).

    There's a mideastern restaurant inside a market in Tempe (I can't think of the name, but someone at the hotel is bound to know which place I mean) that's very good for casual and relatively fast food -- falafel plate, that sort of thing.

    Tempe isn't my normal stomping grounds, I'm afraid, and I don't head there for fine dining. (In part, it's because most of the options are geared towards students' budgets.) I usually end up at Char's, which is Thai and spicy -- so not a good choice for you.

  10. My dad is partial to Pasta Brioni, in Scottsdale, any opinions?

    Oh! I've been to Pasta Brioni twice, and I enjoyed it both times. The first time was -- oh dear, back in the dot com era, so it must have been 1999 or so -- and I was impressed by the service and the quality of the food. The second time was with a group of 5 or 6 people, and to my surprise they were packed on an ordinary Tuesday night. In fact, instead of waiting for an hour (!), we ended up at their casual, sort-of-take-out outlet next door. The menu was more limited but it was still quite nice.

    I keep saying I'm going to meet friends for dinner there, but I never think of it at the right time.

  11. Oh, so THAT's where the real farmer's markets went. In the past few years, I've gone to a few with the name plastered on -- like the "Market Street" market at Pima north of Thompson Peak Parkway -- only to find one or two sad looking booths of sad vegetables, and no particularly good deals.

    There's a farmer's market at Cactus and the 51, too, on Saturday morning, but I never seem to be up-and-organized before noon, which is when it closes up.

  12. ...Top of his list was Southwestern cooking.

    What books do you recommend?  What books do you recommend avoiding?  Why?

    Oh! What a cool question!

    I've had most of my Southwestern cookbooks for more than 20 years, so many of them are bound to be out of print. Or no longer as nifty as they were when they were new. Both of those apply to Jane Butel's Tex-Mex cookbook; it shows its age, but several of the pages are food-stained, especially her recipe for chiles rellenos. (I also have her "Hotter Than Hell" cookbook, but it's on my "eh" list. Sounds like fun, but I never found anything in that book I wanted to cook.)

    In going through my (200-or-so) cookbooks, I realize that I don't have many "southwestern" cookbooks. Mostly, I have Mexican cookbooks, but that isn't what your son is asking for. I do have Cafe Pasqual's cookbook from Santa Fe (I love the book, but I never end up cooking anything from it), and a *very* nice "The Southwestern Grill," by Michael McLaughlin, which also has the virtue of being inexpensive. I've cooked more than a few of THOSE recipes, and I definitely recommend the grilled margarita chicken (which gives you a good excuse to drink margaritas).

    For a present, though, I might choose Southwest : The Beautiful Cookbook, even though I think Barbara Fenzl's cooking is good rather than great. It's certainly pretty and inspirational.

  13. To the person who swiped the hambone, I would have done the same thing. A better twist would be to take it, use it for your stock or whatever, and then return it. Leave it in her desk.

    Preferably right before the Christmas week vacation, when the office is closed.

    --Supporter of ham bone acquisition

  14. Cider, lots of sage, bay leaves, sliced oranges and sometimes lemons, simmered until I think it's flavorful enough (it's easier to make that call if I leave the salt until the end of the simmering; the sage and bay flavors need to be considerably stronger than I'd want them in a finished product).

    I find that the major factor in whether a brine ingredient contributes any flavor is simply whether or not it's been simmered in the brine first: if you can't taste it in the brine, you won't taste it in the turkey.  Even then, the drippings and the skin -- and the smell when you open the oven -- are much more affected than the meat.

    I like your logic AND your recipe!

  15. We've brined our turkeys the last couple of years, and we're planning to do so again. Even though we get a free range turkey grown (relatively) locally, the brining does seem to help.

    However, I can't find either of the brining recipes I used. And I wasn't THAT gone on 'em to begin with.

    What do you put in your brine? How far do you take it? Just sugar/salt/water, or do you throw in oranges, juniper berries, etc.?

    We'll be deep-frying the bird, by the way. Not that I think it matters for this.

  16. I have a friend who will going to work at Arizona State in the sports program.  She will be living in Chandler and the school is located in Tempe.  So she asked if I could find out about any great places for her to eat at.

    First, tell her "welcome!" We're glad to have her, and you, 'round these parts.

    Putter through the messages here; there's a lot of options. Chandler and Tempe probably have more ethnic restaurants than do other areas near Phoenix, so she should be able to choose from good Chinese, Thai, etc. There's even a Polish restaurant about which I've heard good things.

    I live further north, in Scottsdale, so Tempe and Chandler aren't my main stomping grounds. I'm sure you and your friend will find plenty of choices from earlier egullet conversations, though.

  17. Well, of course you could get a fabulous breakfast at Jean Philippe Patisserie in Bellagio. Freshly baked croissants, danish, etc. and made-to-order sweet or savory crepes. The only drawback is the limited seating for dining in.

    I also personally think the Bellagio buffet is the best on the strip.

    Wow, Neil -- thanks for that link!

    Would you also recommend Bellagio for a place to stay? (That would give me an excuse to have breakfast at your place.) I'll be going to yet another conference in Las Vegas in November; it'll be held at Mandalay Bay but I don't feel compelled to stay on site.

    Taking pity on the original note-writer: I had a few really good breakfast buffets at Mirage. A little more expensive than some, but the choices were much wider (smoked salmon for instance) and the quality better. But it's been a few years.

  18. Sorry to hear of the disappointing Pie 'n' Burger trip. I've actually never eaten there for breakfast, and always stick with a burger and a slice of pie for lunch or dinner.

    Oh, it wasn't disappointing, exactly. Just not quite as special as I'd hoped. :-)

  19. Hi, honey, I'm home!

    Thanks to everybody for the recommendations. Because of scheduling and such, we didn't take all the advice, but I'm sure grateful for the suggestions we adopted.

    At the top of the list is Din Tai Fung. I wasn't quite sure about it at first; we got to the restaurant early, at 10am Sunday morning, and there was already a line in front. This caused us to look at one another and say, "Oh no, is it the Chinese equivalent of Cheesecake Factory?" (Where you wait for an unreasonably long time for food that's merely good.) I'm glad we prevailed, because it was a truly wonderful meal. Since we got there early, we had the weekend-only soup dumplings... Din Tai Fung is definitely worth a trip back.

    We also had breakfast on Saturday at Pie 'n' Burger. That was quite a wait, too, but frankly it was only okay. I can imagine, though, how fond I'd become of it if I grew up nearby. Or perhaps it'd be better for lunch -- the pies looked mighty attractive.

    Our other meals included Thai at Tampopo (well, it was something like that), partly because it was right next to our hotel, and we were too tired to go anyplace. It's solidly good Thai, somewhat different style than we get here in Phoenix, but I wouldn't make it an intentional destination. We also had a late dinner on Saturday at Cameron's Seafood, also because it was within walking distance; everything was excellent, but not in a "wow, you have to try their specialty!" way.

    We spent Saturday at the Huntington Library and Gardens -- what a lovely place! -- and, despite the fact that my guidebook said reservations were essential for the teahouse, walked right in. The food, service, everything about that place transports you to another time, when the choice between cucumber sandwiches and salmon-and-cream cheese sandwiches is the hardest decision you'll make all day. That was a really lovely stop; I'd go there again.

    Our "excuse" for picking Pasadena as our getaway destination was to visit the Gamble House. (We're decorating and fixing-up our style in Arts & Crafts.) That, too, exceeded expectations. And I came home with $200 in books, which certainly doesn't surprise me in the least.

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