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The Fix Burger in Silverlake, California, Is Good But Still Trying to Get It Right

I haven't yet seen The Fix, but they have to work hard to lure folks away from Fred 62!

Who has a good online site to order coffee?

Thank you everyone for these great suggestions. There is a new Intelligentsia shop in Silverlake (suburb of L.a.) and while I've heard great things about them I didn't know they deliver. I'll take a stroll over there and give them a taste! Of course, I may have to oversee a large-scale tasting between all of these operations--I'm just committed that way.

Have you successfully duplicated a restaurant recipe?

I love trying to reproduce an enjoyable meal.

Keo's Restaurant in Waikiki (Hawaii) makes this wonderful dish called Evil Jungle Prince. It's a happy concoction of basil, coconut milk, veggies (with shrimp or chicken thrown in for good measure). How could you not love something with that name? Back on the "mainland" I was missing Hawaii and tried to make the dish. I found recipes online but something was missing. I played with it a few times and finally produced something that was, if not very similar, at least delicious on it's own! I've made it spicier than the restaurant serves it but I like it that way.

Anyone ever make a Gingerbread house?

I've made at least a dozen gingerbread houses. I've cemented walls together using royal icing and even by using pure melted sugar (not recommended for the danger it presents to you and your skin!). I've built stretches of fencing using mini gingerbread men holding hands. I've planted forests of edible pine trees on the south 40 by using inverted ice cream cones and carefully cut pieces of "gummy" type mint leaf candies. Stacked pretzels turn into firewood. Licorice and long strips chewing gum layed end to end form circular driveways and roads. Hard square shaped chewing gum pieces make excellent "ceramic tiles" that frame windows and doors. I've hand cut pieces of gingerbread dough to form water fountains, lamp posts, flights of stairs, mailboxes, holly hedges, ballrooms, churches, and one train station. I always made sure that every single component of the house (except the wooden base it was built on) was edible. However, I usually amped up the amounts of ginger and cinnamon in the dwellings to produce a nice scent. That amounted to a dough that wasn't terribly pleasant to eat.

My last structure was dubbed, "The Aaron Spelling Gingerbread House" by a friend of mine due to its impossible size and scale. It had an east and west wing and stretched roughly four and one half feet in length by two and a half feet deep. It was extremely heavy and wasn't moved once it was completed. They are TONS of fun to make if you have the patience. I'd love the chance to do another one, but I don't have the free days and hours required to finish the job.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Bacon of the Month Club

I'm comment number 271? Awwwww sheeeesssh!

Oh yeah, my preference; crisp edges, but not without some flexibility.

Win Your Thanksgiving Turkey!

I'll be cooking them down to use in stock and gravy. But, I have to make it a covert operation or too many people run screaming from the kitchen. I'm surrounded by food wussies.

Thanksgiving Soups

This "Silky-Coconut Pumpkin Soup" may sound a touch too exotic for most people's Thanksgiving table. However, I've served this to rather fussy and non-adventurous eaters at holidays and also served as soup "shots" at cocktail parties. It's gorgeous, comforting, and goes down oh so easy!

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/104372

Win Your Thanksgiving Turkey!

Stuffing scooped out of the bird is far tastier than the casserole variety, but I never cook the bird in order to speed cooking time. I still make a killer dressing though!

Where to Eat Turkey Day Out

Did you actually go and indulge in a huge meal, unbutton your pants and stretch out in each establishment to research this? You know, I'd move to NY in a heartbeat if there was a job as your assistant. I'm excellent with such homework assignments. I diligent pupil indeed!

Win Your Thanksgiving Turkey!

Skin--pried off the roasting pan with a knife in one hand while your other hand wields a knife pointed at anyone who might fight you for it. Yeah, holiday dinners can get violent at my house.

Turkey Talk 2007 with Gourmet's Ruth Reichl

I'm with Ruth on sharing cooking responsibilities on the big day; just let me do it. To some, that approach may sound over-controlling and selfish but it wouldn't if you knew the people who park themselves at my Holiday dinner table. These people don't like to cook and only offer to bring things because it's considered polite to do so. I really get into preparing the perfect experience at Thanksgiving. I plan every detail from the music to the lighting. weeks in advance. If you are my guest I'd like you to enter my home and be totally free to enjoy! Don't worry about me because my marathon endurance test of a day is one of my happiest days of the year.

The Godzilla at Eagle's Deli & Restuarant

If you dropped that sucker on a building in downtown Tokyo it would do the same crushing damage as the beast it's named after. Actually, anyone who can actually eat that entire thing might just be able to crush a train under his heel too. Yikes!

Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in L.A., N.Y., and Everywhere: Where's Your Favorite?

Campanile's sandwich night is STILL so popular that you can't even walk past the joint without a reservation made a couple of weeks in advance. Which is sad because we can never get in when we think of it! Also seductively alluring, but not an official menu item, is a grilled gruyere sandwich at the Bowery on Sunset (at Vine). It was just an ad-libbed item but was born as a perfect marriage of crunchy toast and warm gooey cheese.

Are Healthy and Delicious Mutually Exclusive?

As Jack Nicholson said in ‘The Witches of Eastwick,” “When I die I want to be sick, not healthy.” There is some twisted logic to that statement. I think I’d just clarify that I want to die sick, but at an old and respectable age. I don’t want to die of clogged arteries when I’m only 50 years of age so some preventative steps are required.

Unfortunately my partner Ed comes from a long bloodline of high cholesterol guys. His father required bypass surgery in his early 60’s. And most unfortunate of all was when Ed was told that he needed double bypass surgery at the ripe old age of 47! There is no greater motivation to change your eating habits than having your ribs opened up like swinging saloon doors. Especially when you are so young!

Our diet is what I would now label as “sensible.” We don’t shun In and Out burgers, occasional batches of home made ice cream, or a juicy rib eye steaks. We just settled into a pattern where they are balanced out with a heart-healthy diet. We don't follow any diets per say and we don't restrict any food groups. If your diet is "forced" and unnatural it's bound to fail. I find that when I cook at home, it’s very easy to prepare healthy food. I have no problem making lean chicken, beef, pork and fish preparations that are really tasty, and still low in fat and cholesterol. That way when Friday night rolls around and the boys want to indulge in steaks and martinis we are ready! Of course, a quick hike in the neighborhood on Saturday morning helps too.

I’ve also discovered that eating patterns in motion tend to stay in motion. What I mean is that when we groom our appetites for burgers and pizza then it quickly becomes habitual and we start salivating for those foods frequently. On the flip side, once we focus on a lighter diet and navigate toward fresh healthy dishes we tend to find it easier to stick to that dietary path. It’s hard to break the pattern but once we did it wasn’t the bummer we thought it might be.

Oh, Ed's cholesterol is GREAT now and even though mine was never problematic I am enjoying lower numbers too!

Be Your Own Wine Critic

I am a person who enjoys wine but doesn't boast a terribly sophisticated wine palate. I've tried to educate myself and train my memory to file away the bottles that I've enjoyed. I find that using Cork'd makes the job easier!

Serious Eats Shout-Out: Our Sponsors

Thanks. I'll be humming that for a week! :) Gotta love some "Family."

Oh yeah, pork, ice cream and AMEX are okay in my book too.

David Haskell on Online Food Crit

It's slightly off topic, but I'll take the opportunity to lavish some love on David Haskell and Bin 8945. The restaurant offers such inventive and succulent offerings that I can't help but salivate when I walk past it's cozy sidewalk patio. Major kudos to David! Now I'm craving some duck fat french fries!

Education Op: The Ins and Outs of Food Blogging

Wow Matt, it looks like you are a hit!

If anyone in the NYC are is sitting on the fence, let me say that not only does Matt have a boatload of helpful information to share with bloggers, but he is a genuinely nice and funny guy too! You can bet it will be an enjoyable two hours.

For Father's Day: Stone Fruit

I'll vouch for the quality of these peaches. Once the season hits, I carry a handkerchief with me at all times to wipe sticky juice off my chin and upper lip. They are the ultimate summer treat.

Don't Throw Out That Pizza Just Yet

I've never left unattended food on top of a trashcan which might possibly add to more misdirected trash and fly bait. But I have taken doggie-bags from a restaurant with the intention of giving it to someone on the street who is happy to receive it. I understand the unfortunate liability that a restaurant might run into if food is left around town in their packaging, so perhaps identifying bags and such should be removed. There are many people on our streets who do indeed need this food and I wouldn't bark at any attempt to offer it.

Readers' Favorite Burgers

If you've ever been lucky enough to stop by Irv's Burgers in West Hollywood on more than just one occasion, you've likely been greeted as an old family member on your second, and subsequent visits! Not only are these juicy, old-fashioned burger stand type burgers but the smiling face behind the window will remember your "usual" order and write happy greetings and wishes on your clean white to-go bag. No burger here is complete without hot, crunchy onions rings too!

Sadly, an ongoing battle to save the iconic shack from demolition is still being fought. It is one of the last examples of a post World War II roadside hamburger stand in West Hollywood and all of Los Angeles would mourn its "revamping."

http://www.irvsburgers.com/

Grind Your Own, Or Not

Adam, don't give "the beef stuff" a rest. Hamburgers are alive and well and happiness-inducing "stuff."

Really.

Seriously.

Don't do it.

Question of the Day: Bought but Never Opened

My cocoa nibs are sitting in the pantry unused. I'm still a nib virgin.

Interesting food combinations

Your Fritos story reminds me of an experience I had at the end of working a very long event out of town. My buddy and I finished the agonizing job and went to a local bar to unwind. We succeeded. We were so blitzed at the end of the night that we started looking for something...anything...to eat. Nothing was open in the neighborhood and we couldn't drive anywhere at that point. The bartender slid some packs of Cheetos across the bar to us and we doused them with Cholula hot sauce. They were great! I tried it sober too and enjoyed it just as much.

Help! Maybe I Need a Nutrition Coach

"Some nutrition coaches charge people as much as $500 an hour... "

Seriously? Maybe I need to BECOME a nutrition coach! Yikes.

Shedding Some Skin (Garlic that is)

I adore garlic and cook with very frequently. As a result, I often crawl into bed with garlic perfumed fingertips. This is not at all sexy. The pre-peeled, jarred/bagged variety is not good. Are there really any of those devices for peeling garlic that actually make the task faster and keep your skin untainted?

SweetLeaf Stevia. The next new thing?

On the heels of Ed's Splenda-rama this weekend, I would love to know how many people have heard of, or have tasted, SweetLeaf Stevia. This no-calorie sweetener sounds way too good to be true. I haven't tasted it but I've heard that it could actually pass for sugar. If nothing else they deserve props for the cute dancing monkey on their website. http://www.sweetleaf.com/

How much do restaurant reviews affect your dining decisions?

Will you completely avoid a venue based on a professional critic's published review? Has a glowing write-up of a dining establishment sent you scrambling for a reservation? I have enjoyed some very memorable meals at Los Angeles eateries Koi, Luna Park, and Citizen Smith, which have all been given one star by the Los Angeles Times. Even though the Bruni/Chowdrow epic saga makes for interesting car-crash style reading, I find that I tend to avoid reading professional reviews until after I’ve experienced it for myself.

Do I need a kitchen scale?

I've never felt that I've needed one but so many people are big proponents of using them. I live in the U.S. where cookbooks and recipes use cups and teaspoons and such it just doesn't seem necessary. I don't do much baking. I don't diet. I don't sell illegal substances (hey, these are the uses I can come up with for one). Do you use one in your home kitchen?

Do speciality wine glasses (such as Riedel)make a difference?

Does laying out the money (and bar space) for specialty wine glasses make a difference to the average wine drinker? I'm a wine novice but I'm enrolling myself in "self-taught wine appreciation 101." Will my not-too-sophisticated palate detect any subtle difference between a nice Cabernet Sauvignon sipped from a regular wine glasses and one from a Riedel Vinum Bordeaux glass?

I love any excuse to go shopping for stemware but the next earthquake to roll through L.A. is going to produce one heck of a glistening, crunchy mess around my bar!

What is the one dish that you've been intimidated to try? Why?

For some reason, I've been scared to make my own pasta. I have no valid excuse but for some unknown reason it has been my personal Everest. Others have said it's not difficult. I have flour. I have eggs. I even have the pretty, shiny pasta attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer. It sits all alone in the box it was given to me in. I vowed not to go into the office next week so I'm pledging right here that I will do it after Christmas.

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