Baristas naturally appreciate the extra green in their tip jars, but there's something to be said about the little special extras that pass across the counter as well. We asked nine baristas what the best tip they every got was. (Surprisingly, none answered with, "Don't take any wooden nickles.")
'tips' on Serious Eats
On the surface, tending bar looks easy. You pour ingredients in to a glass, shake them up, and voila! That'll be twelve bucks, and please don't forget to tip your bartender. After slogging through the corporate grind, the free-wheeling life of a bartender looks ideal. No early meetings. No taking your work home. People operate under the illusion that bartending is easy, lucrative, and comes with a number of fringe benefits that are unattainable for people who lead more conventional lives. Working for tips, though, is a double-edged sword.
We caught up with Tom Colicchio earlier this week to chat about summer entertaining. With two little munchkins at home under the age of two, he likes to keep things real simple with cured meats, cheese, and olives—instant appetizer platter. Here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time hungry guests show up.
If you're really lucky, you live in a city with a year-round farmers' market, but even if you do, this is the time of year when farmers' markets start really picking up. Ramps, asparagus, artichokes, fava beans, peas, and new potatoes are all approaching their peak here in New York, not to mention the tomatoes, plums, apples, and wild mushrooms we still have to look forward to. Here are 7 tips to help you make the most of your visit to the farmers' market.
As I said earlier today, I believe you can always pick up tips from an experienced pizzamaker, no matter how much of a pie prodigy you think you are.* Something simple I learned during my Pizza a Casa experience? Use a spice/cheese shaker to dust your work surface with flour.
If you're serious about baking and pizza-making, a scale is a worthwhile investment. By measuring by weight, you're guaranteed accuracy, no matter how you pack the flour. Weighing your ingredients directly in the mixing bowl also means there are no extra measuring cups to wash.
"I call shenanigans. My secret pro tip wasn't even addressed: Were the eggs in this video room temp or were they direct from the fridge? I warm my eggs up slightly in a bowl of warm water for about 10 mins before cracking them and proceeding. It makes all the difference. Cold eggs hitting the hot pan makes them rubbery." —franko, on "This Week in America's Test Kitchen: The Perfect French Omelette"
With fresh fruits and vegetables bursting into season, it's easy to feel as high on heady seasonality as Ruth Bourdain is on pixie tangerine zest. Don't let that feeling slip away. Read on for ten easy ways to eat joyfully throughout the summer, and share your own hard-eaten wisdom in the comments.
If you grow your own lettuce, belong to a CSA, or sometimes get a little grabby at the farmers' market, chances are you'll end up with too much lettuce at some point from now through October. The good news is that although lettuce maintains a clean-cut, "just the salad, thank you" veneer in polite company, she's not the least bit afraid to take a couple of turns around the pan behind closed doors. When you just can't eat another bite of salad, try these delicious cooked alternatives.
Anyone can bring home a bunch of beets from their local farmers' market—and there, as elsewhere, showing up is half the battle. But a farmers' market is an embarrassment of riches in terms of fresh foods, artisanal expertise and the opportunity to make a meaningful connection with the source of our sustenance. Make the most of your experience with these 10 simple tips, and share your own advice in the comments.
To some of us, an overabundance of avocados sounds like the makings of a Lifetime Achievement Award. But the Crisper Whisperer serves at the pleasure of serious eaters everywhere, and Californians, Floridians and other highly evolved specimens are looking for a way to move beyond guacamole. Read on to learn (and share your own) avocado tips and tricks with the fortunate and unfortunate alike.
As the growing season hits its stride, the sheer magnitude of freshness delivered by a good CSA, farmers' market, or garden can start to overwhelm busy people with lives to lead. The good news is that with a little weekly preparation and planning and a few simple strategies, you'll rarely have a week where you can't use or freeze your whole haul. Read on for 10 ways to maximize your CSA experience.
It continues to baffle me how little attention is given to spices today. Maybe it's because we're told to eat local (they rarely are) or organic (they're usually not). Spices seem to still have a reputation of being slapdash cover-ups for mediocre chicken—and far too often they are—but they don't have to be. Yes, spice hunting requires a little time, effort, and money (though less than you think), but once you start using fresh spices in you're cooking, you may just find yourself addicted.
Would I consider myself a green thumb-obsessed environmentalist who loves the planet? Not really. All this started from the fact that I'm just cheap. Keeping a small herb garden and growing some even from seed isn't difficult. For the most part, the herbs one uses in almost daily food preparation are ones that are hearty enough for the even the most questionable green thumb. Here are some herb-growing basics for the no-muss, no-fuss crowd.
Most vegans (and Neapolitan pizza lovers) are probably well aware of this fact, but if you are friends with vegan folk, you never, ever have to worry about eating pizza with them if you keep this in mind: "Most wood-fired places serve a traditional pie called a marinara consisting of tomato, sea salt, oregano, basil (one leaf), olive oil, and garlic. It's almost always vegan, and delicious."Tonycalzone, thank you. That is a great tip to remember.
No one likes to feel like a dope when staring down a wine list. So here's a cheat sheet on how to avoid embarrassment, culled from the collective wisdom of sommeliers and other wine professionals. For example, never walk into a wine store or restaurant and ask for a nice, dry red wine. It's like walking into a grocery store and saying, "excuse me, do you have any FOOD?'"
Another one for the "Hey! Why Didn't I Think of That?!?" file. Bike Hugger's DL Byron shares this tip for using your toaster to warm hard taco shells. "Pop them up when they start to sizzle," he says on the site. This would be a great idea for make-your-own taco nights. Simply prep all possible taco fixin's, line them up in serving dishes, and place the toaster at the start of the assembly line. ... Now I wish I would have bought that four-slot toaster I had my eye on.
After trading my pen for a pan and working in nearly a dozen different kitchens, I've picked up some amazing techniques. I am still in awe every time I walk in a kitchen and watched the seasoned pros do their thing with such style and grace. They make it look so easy. It's not.
In this video over on the Christopher Kimball Blog, Kimball is full of great tips on figuring out when your cake is donezo. First, know your oven. Is it lying? When it says 400°F, does it mean it? He also recommends buying an oven thermometer—a worthy investment at $8. Watch the video for more cake-baking wisdom.
We're taking a break from hardcore testing at the Burger Lab and Food Lab for the next two weeks, but I thought I'd use the time to write something that a lot of folks have been asking me about: a basic handbook for taking your burgers to the next level. The tips I'm setting out here are ones that, with very few exceptions, apply universally to all hamburgers, regardless of style. Thus, one thing you will not find in this list is specific cooking instructions in terms of heat source, strength, and timing. As far as taking a formed patty from raw to cooked, there are no hard and fast rules that apply in every situation.