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eG Foodblog: Pan - How to stop cooking and love life


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There was a question about Kiev. I won't pull any punches: I thought the old Kiev sucked, but I haven't been to the new one. Maybe Kiev used to be good in days long gone by, though; that, I couldn't say. But my memory of the old Kiev is from the time a few years ago when I had some potato pierogis that had exactly the consistency of the flour-based paste used for glueing things in kindergarten.

Oh, that's so sad about the Kiev! You'll have to trust me that it did use to be a lot better... but then again, it's been several years since last I was there, so who knows what's happened to it since then? But at least now I know that, if the latest incarnation of the Kiev still sucks when next I'm in NY, I can at least go get good pierogies at Teresa's.

Makes me sad too - don't think I ever tried the pierogies though. We always got kielbasa and eggs, or kasha varnishkes or mushroom barley soup.

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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If you have that tea over ice and add sugar, you have agua de jamaica, a very popular Mexican drink - you can even freeze it to make ice-pops or granita - sometimes I put a bit of lime in it...

I hope this isn't going too far off topic, but you've just solved the current food mystery in our house - what flavor is "Jamaica" Kool Aid? (I'd bought a number of packets labeled in both Spanish and English, and they were all "exotic" flavors that we've been enjoying a great deal.) It was deep red, kind of fruity, and we could not figure out what it was supposed to be - it must have been Kool Aid's version of agua de jamaica!

And more on topic, the pictures from the bakery nearly made me weep. I'd commit mayhem for a real cheese danish about now.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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Those flat disc things are called "kichel," which just means "cookie" in Yiddish. They're crisp and sprinkled with sugar and sometimes cinnamon, they're very good.

I love Moishe's bakery, mostly because it's so nostalgic for me. It's just like the bakeries in the Bronx neighborhood I grew up in, walking in there is somewhat like being in a time warp. I always get a rye bread, no seeds, sliced please. :rolleyes: The texture is not as firm as the breads I remember getting as a kid, but they are very good. And I still love to eat the end pieces. I've also had their black and whites, assorted cookies, bialeys, and God knows what else. I don't get there that often, but I've yet to come across something I don't enjoy.

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Stop it... you're making me cry!!!

The three foods I miss from NYC:

NY pizza

Tongue sandwiches

Cheese danish

Sorry, Suzi. :rolleyes:

But I'm sure I'd love all the great Asian food in Hawaii.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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gallery_786_1488_24567.jpg

I forget what the flat disc things on the third shelf are called, but have you tried them?  They're really good.

Yeah, they are. Big, crunchy sugar cookies. What's not to like? :biggrin:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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[...]

And more on topic, the pictures from the bakery nearly made me weep. I'd commit mayhem for a real cheese danish about now.

Marcia.

Cheese danish is a real New York (or Eastern Seaboard) thing, eh? No decent cheese danish in your neck of the woods? Oh well. But you have the mountains and clear air, don't you? I hope this doesn't sound very preachy, but I had an experience last week that reminded me that we all have to appreciate what we can where we are. And then again, there's always travel! :biggrin:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Hi Pan

Great to see you blogging at last. Have really enjoyed what you've posted so far and am looking forward to the rest of your week.

Kopiko! Something that's familiar over these parts!

Your pictures of Moishe's Bakery have stirred up a craving for something sweet ... will have to go out at lunch to fix that :raz: !

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Great to see you here, Shiewie! :smile:

Shiewie was an invaluable resource to me the last time I was in Malaysia, in July-August 2003; her knowledge of eateries in Malaysia is practically encyclopedic! Say hi to Maukitten for me, please.

And here comes dinner.

My friend Meg (eGullet Society member megc) came into town tonight. We went to dinner at Grand Sichuan St. Marks. I am so happy that Grand Sichuan opened a branch there. For years, there was no really good Chinese restaurant that delivered to my building, and the closest really excellent Chinese restaurant, Congee Village, was 10 blocks from here. (Well, it still is 10 blocks from here, but you know what I mean.) Now, 10 blocks isn't very far, but it's at the very limits of their delivery area now and I believe they didn't use to deliver at al, so we were talking about a 15-minute walk -- fine, but not for every situation (awful weather, exhaustion, God forbid illness, or just plain lack of time), not to mention that Congee Village can get totally mobbed at times. Plus, as much as I love Congee Village's take on Hong Kong cuisine, I like something spicier at times. When a historically important building on St. Marks Place between 2nd and 3rd was renovated a bit less than two years ago, in moved a Quiznos Subs, the St. Marks Market, and a branch of Grand Sichuan (remember the song "One of these things is not like the others" from Sesame Street? :raz:). They hired a chef from Hunan Province so that they could feature Hunanese food more than the other branches owned by the same owner (i.e., the Chelsea branch at 24th and 9th and the Midtown branch just north of 50th and 9th). The St. Marks branch quickly established itself as a restaurant of high and increasingly consistent quality, ultimately surpassing the Chelsea branch and rivalling the Midtown branch. I may very well be their best customer. I get delivery and takeout from there several times a week, and Phoebe, the cashier, has memorized my name, address, apartment number, and telephone number. I tip the deliverymen well and my food comes piping hot (except for cold dishes, of course :biggrin:).

But today, we ate in. I recommended some dishes Meg wouldn't have had before in other restaurants, and she chose another.

First to come was our cold dish of Sweet & Sour Lotus Roots, a Hunanese dish having nothing to do with the gloppy red stuff peddled by run-of-the-mill takeout joints throughout this country:

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I forgot what the red berries are called, but they're supposed to be healthful and I think dessert soups are made with them. Anyway, I like them. Meg hadn't tried lotus root before and it reminded her a good deal of jicama, which I can understand because of some similarity in their textures. The sweet-and-sour character of the dish is simply a solution of vinegar and sugar in water.

gallery_786_1493_15083.jpg

These are Sichuan Wontons with Red Oil. As you can see, they're not in just red oil, but in a sauce that includes red oil. Also in the sauce are soy sauce, sugar, scallions, garlic, and ginger, I believe. The wontons are filled with pork, and the dish is really, really flavorful.

gallery_786_1493_75772.jpg

This dish was Meg's pick: Sauteed Sweet Potatoes with Ginger & Scallion. A very good pick it was, too. This is one dish that doesn't do too well in a takeout/delivery container, but it's excellent for eating in. I daresay most of you have never had sweet potatoes cooked this way; try it, it's very good.

gallery_786_1493_18888.jpg

This is Gui Zhou Spicy Chicken. Aside from chicken, you also see scallions, bamboo shoots, and dried hot pepper in the dish. This dish is an old favorite of mine from the other Grand Sichuan branches as well as this one, and my parents also like it.

We had some complimentary orange slices for dessert and read the "fortunes" we got in our fortune cookies. Meg got a nice adage; I got an annoying one. :biggrin::raz: But the Chinese word on the back of my fortune was one I know and like: yu (fish).

Meg enjoyed her meal very much, as did I. The total cost was $27 plus tip, and Meg got to take the remainder home for tomorrow.

Next: Bubble tea.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Those red berries are wolfberries (lycium barbarum). Very healthy, but I'm a bit hazy on WHY they are so healthy!

I'm enjoying this blog, Pan, particularly because your photos *show* me some of the strange, exotic US food I encounter in books or on the Web, but never see! :raz:

...so now I know what Black and Whites look like! Thank you.

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Many of you are probably familiar with the bubble tea chain, Saint's Alp, which started in Taipei and has spread to many other places with Chinese communities and gained popularity well beyond Asian and hyphenated Asian populations. A few years ago, Saint's Alp opened a branch on 3rd Av. between 9th and 10th Sts., and it has been very popular with the large student population in this neighborhood. NYU (New York University) is a tremendous presence all around the East Village, and Cooper Union is right there too, while other colleges are not far away. I love having this teahouse in my neighborhood, as it's so much fun to get a big iced taro green milk tea to go when it's 95 degrees F. outside. Well, tonight, it's downright comfortable, but bubble tea is good anytime.

Meg got an iced green milk tea:

gallery_786_1494_22976.jpg

This was more interesting than I expected. It seems like they used at least some jasmine in the tea, and it had a nice perfumy taste, in addition to being pleasantly frothy.

I got a hot ginger milk tea (green milk tea, I believe):

gallery_786_1494_11302.jpg

Both teas had black tapioca balls on the bottom, though you can't see them in my teacup. The ginger tea had a subtle but enjoyable ginger bite.

The waitstaff had no problem with us staying for some time and talking without ordering more tea. As you can see, they do serve desserts. In fact, they also serve savory food, and many customers were eating noodle soups and other things. I still have yet to get anything savory there, but I haven't forgotten that you recommend their food, Jayanthi. :wink:

Now, I am at home waiting for my hibiscus tea to cool down a bit.

Tomorrow afternoon, I will be meeting another eGullet Society member and friend to try out a new Vietnamese sandwich place in Chinatown -- unless we change our plans. :biggrin:

Thank you all for reading and for your kind words, and please let me know if I've forgotten to respond to anything or if you'd like to ask me any questions.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Those red berries are wolfberries (lycium barbarum). Very healthy, but I'm a bit hazy on WHY they are so healthy!

I'm enjoying this blog, Pan, particularly because your photos *show* me some of the strange, exotic US food I encounter in books or on the Web, but never see! :raz:

...so now I know what Black and Whites look like! Thank you.

Thanks for the name. Wolfberries. My father likes them a lot, too; they add a lot to that dish. They're a bit, hmmm, sort of tangy/spicy.

Helen, if you have the chance, some time you should come and visit and try some black and whites. Unfortunately, taste-a-vision hasn't been invented yet. :biggrin:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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ummm... what exactly is a black and white cookie? Is it just the icing or is the cookie itself 2 colours? Is is a vanilla cookie or a chocolate cookie... or what? :unsure:

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This is a great blog Pan.. I enjoy following you around the city and hearing your perspective..

I often go to Moishes and get there homentash for the office.. I see they have them in the front right of there window.. Have you tried theres..

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Pan, the lotus root is intriguing. I've purchased it at the asian market and sliced it thin on the mandoline and fried it like chips but have never seen it on a menu. What is the texture cooked this way? Cripy like a raw potato or does it soften up?

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Pam R, they are a lightly lemony vanilla cookie, with glossy black and white icing. Usually they are oversized I think?

This is VERY interesting for someone who's never been farther north than Washington, D.C. I am very jealous of what you have available to you. Hopefully, one day I can see it for myself!

-Becca

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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This is a great blog Pan.. I enjoy following you around the city and hearing your perspective..

I often go to Moishes and get there homentash for the office.. I see they have them in the front right of there window.. Have you tried theres..

Yeah, I like the poppy and prune hamentaschen/homentaschen particularly. (Lexical note: Homentash, plural homentashn, is a Yiddish word meaning "Haman's hat." Haman is the villain of the Megillas Esther -- i.e., the Biblical Book of Esther. Yiddish is written in the Hebrew alphabet and can be transliterated into English various different ways.)

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Pan, the lotus root is intriguing.  I've purchased it at the asian market and sliced it thin on the mandoline and fried it like chips but have never seen it on a menu.  What is the texture cooked this way?  Cripy like a raw potato or does it soften up?

It's crunchy, like jicama or, I guess, raw potato. It has a mildly earthy taste and can be used in both savory and sweet contexts. For an example of a sweet use of lotus root, slices thereof can be candied, which is something I like very much. I love lotus root.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Pam R, they are a lightly lemony vanilla cookie, with glossy black and white icing. Usually they are oversized I think?

This is VERY interesting for someone who's never been farther north than Washington, D.C. I am very jealous of what you have available to you. Hopefully, one day I can see it for myself!

-Becca

Your description of black and whites is accurate. To my palate, the black icing is indeed chocolate, but it just occurred to me that the white icing is sugar rather than vanilla, I think? Usually oversized for sure. The cookie part of a black and white is only one color, a sort of normal cookie color.

I'd love to visit Louisiana myself, as an adult. Actually, my parents tell me that when I was 2, I spoke with a thick Louisiana accent, though no-one else can believe that. My father was in residence at LSU (Louisiana State University) in Baton Rouge from 1966-67. Of course, I remember nothing of those times, as I was just 2 1/2 when we came back to New York. The time in Louisiana did have culinary effects I can remember, though. When I was a kid, in the days when my mother still ate pig (why she doesn't any longer is a long story having nothing to do with Judaism), my father and mother used to cook up dirty rice sometimes. (Dirty rice is a Louisiana staple that includes scraps of bacon among other things, and I really enjoyed it.)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Cheese danish is a real New York (or Eastern Seaboard) thing, eh? No decent cheese danish in your neck of the woods? Oh well. But you have the mountains and clear air, don't you? I hope this doesn't sound very preachy, but I had an experience last week that reminded me that we all have to appreciate what we can where we are. And then again, there's always travel! :biggrin:

No, no decent cheese danish in these parts - there is a noticeable lack of local bakeries. and the few I did find when I lived in CA mostly didn't have cheese danish. (They had great donuts, though.) The few times I have found locally made cheese danish they had the runny cheese filling, which was disappointing. I grew up in northern NJ, and cheese danish always had that sweet, dry, somewhat crumbly but still moist cheese filling.

Yes, there are advantages and disadvantages to every place, even here :biggrin: ...but your blog is making me nostalgic for the bakeries and foods where I grew up! Not to mention those won tons - they look SO good.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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I've had some more Ting Ting Jahe ginger candies tonight.

Those wontons really are good, Marcia, but I don't mean to rub it in...

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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This is a great blog Pan.. I enjoy following you around the city and hearing your perspective..

I often go to Moishes and get there homentash for the office.. I see they have them in the front right of there window.. Have you tried theres..

Yeah, I like the poppy and prune hamentaschen/homentaschen particularly. (Lexical note: Homentash, plural homentashn, is a Yiddish word meaning "Haman's hat." Haman is the villain of the Megillas Esther -- i.e., the Biblical Book of Esther. Yiddish is written in the Hebrew alphabet and can be transliterated into English various different ways.)

Yes yes thems are the ones, they are the cookies for the holiday Purim, but are great any day...

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I've had some more Ting Ting Jahe ginger candies tonight.

You must like them more than I do. When I saw the photo you posted of those ginger candies, I noticed that the price tag was a lot lower than what I pay here in L.A. (about over $1). I, too, agree on its throat-soothing properties. Do you like eating ginger in other forms?

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I've had some more Ting Ting Jahe ginger candies tonight.

You must like them more than I do. When I saw the photo you posted of those ginger candies, I noticed that the price tag was a lot lower than what I pay here in L.A. (about over $1). I, too, agree on its throat-soothing properties. Do you like eating ginger in other forms?

Yeah, I love ginger! I love it in savory dishes in Indian and Chinese styles (e.g.), I love it crystallized and in ice cream, and I enjoy a fresh ginger beer.

Ginger is a really healthful food. If your stomach is overwrought, take a garlic press and crush some ginger into water. Heat the water in a pot on the stove and drink it. Or just take a section of fresh ginger and munch on it. You stomach will relax.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Great blog Pan.

To make your mundane fortune in the fortune cookie more interesting, add "in bed" at the end. It works everytime.

This is a tradition that began when I lived in Atlanta in the '80s. Now my family and friends around the world have adopted it too.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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