My dream: To open an indie burger joint.

  • Location:
  • Favorite foods: Burgers, pizza, quesadillas, roast beef sandwiches, chili, etc.
  • Last bite on earth: One of my quesadillas.

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Pair Vietnamese Noodles With Italian Flavors for a Seafood Pasta Salad That Never Ends

Great series, Danny boy, but the final one? I was hoping for one with a quick and easy ramen pasta salad, dammnit! Oh well. Since I'll have to come up with my own, which dressing will work with which flavor packet?

The Chain Breaker: A Dairy Queen Like No Other

Jackie should try the DQ on South Illinois Avenue in Carbondale, Il. Similar seasonal closing times, and they occasionally have chocolate soft-serve.

The Tea Lover's Way to Make the Best Cold Brew Iced Tea

During your tea lovers series, I kept thinking, "What about iced tea?" Fear of being called a heretic or something prevented me from commenting. Thanks, Max, for putting my mind at ease.

The Good Bagel Manifesto

Before I got into quesadillas, one of my favorite breakfasts was a plain bagel with cream cheese with hash browns and bacon (I don't eat eggs for breakfast). Once both halves were sufficiently covered with cream cheese, I put the bacon on top of one half and covered it with the other. Not very kosher, I know, and Kenji might kick me out of the party (to use the manifesto theme), but still pretty good to me. Then again, what do I know, right? The closest thing to a bagel store in Carbondale, Il is the bakery at the Neighborhood Co-op, and I haven't tried them. Anyway, when that started to get about into the $9-10 range, I made 'em at home with Thomas bagels (hey, at least I didn't use Wonder) and put a hash brown patty on top of the bacon.

And another thing, Kenji; toppings-wise; how the Hell can you leave out pizza toppings? If the topping portion of the manifesto isn't amended to include pizza sauce, your choice of pizza toppings and shredded mozzarella, there will be red stuff flying, and I don't mean pizza sauce.

How to Make the Ultimate Poutine

Actually, for the ultimate poutine, replace the gravy with chili (with or without beans, whatever kind you prefer) and replace the cheese curds with shredded cheese (whatever kind you like) Chili cheese fries OWN poutine!

Forget Totchos, Nugchos, and Spamchos; Steakchos are The Ultimate Nacho Hybrid

While Steakchos (and even Spamchos) sound like the ultimate man food, who really has the time to go through all that? Any man worthy of the title wants his meatchos to to be as simple and quick to make as plain 'ol tortilla chip nachos. Therefore, I laugh at your spamchos and steakchos and introduce..... Jerkychos! Just take your favorite meat jerky, cut the strips in half (or not), top 'em, cook 'em long enough to melt the cheese and eat 'em.

In Praise of a Turkey-Free Thanksgiving

Usually nowadays I go to my younger brothers' house for Thanksgiving, and it's usually traditional, except maybe for his bacon-baked beans (and this year he's making a wild rice blend instead of stuffing). But I've just received two cornish game hens as part of a Thanksgiving package, and I'm wondering if I could deep fry them during the weekend.

The Serious Eats Guide to Italian American Recipes

You guys came out with a great Italian-American line-up, but where's the mostaccioli? Whattsamattayou? Don't you know that it's hard to find a big Ital-Am dinner in the St.Louis area without it? But then again. it's hard to find the traditional mostaccioli, with the stripes. Just about everyone nowadays is mistaking penne for it.

Open Thread: What's the Best Frozen Pizza?

I never really "got" into Jeno's/Totino's "party" pizzas; they were too skimpy for me even as a kid. I'm more of a Tombstone/Jack's fan when it comes to frozen. My usual go-to frozen pizza is Jack's bacon cheeseburger pizza, but Jack's Canadian bacon pizza is great when I add extra mozz and bacon bits to make it a double-bacon pizza!

AHT needs its own Burger Hall of Fame! Get your picks in!

Note to Serious Eats writers - get your picks in for the Burger Hall of Fame. Your picks are very much welcome!

Open Thread: What's at the Top of Your Pizza Wish List?

Actually, Kenji, I would need two; although the pizza steel could make great burgers, the Kettle Pizza couldn't.

Chili Cheese Tater Tots at Crif Dogs

I was first introduced to chili cheese tots at the breakfast/lunch vending machines at my night shift job. To me, it's actually the second best thing in the machines, right after the cheddar and bacon "loaded" baked potatoes. I've even made chili cheese tots at home on a few occasions, and I think I'll make some next week.

Open Thread: What's at the Top of Your Pizza Wish List?

Wishing that I could keep a grill on my apartment balcony. I'd actually have two, one with half a flat-top, so I can make burgers without setting off the smoke alarm, and a Weber with a Kettle Pizza and a pizza steel on top.

Taste Test: British Digestives

Since Wal-Mart owns Asda, you'd think you'd see more Asda-branded items in the international section of your nearest Supercenter, so why don't they? And it's also curious that only two of the "posh" supermarket brands were among the favorites (although Sainsbury's is at the top and Marks & Spencer's was third), and the more "common" supermarket brands (Asda and Tesco) owned most of the favorites list. What exactly was wrong with the other two posh brands, Morrison's and Waitrose?

The Burger Lab: How To Make The Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger

As I read this, I'm thinking, "What about round Italian pancetta bacon?" The supermarket where I usually get picked up and dropped off from work has it, and it's great with a hash brown patty in a toasted bagel with cream cheese sandwich.

Echo and Rig Blurs the Line Between Butcher and Steakhouse in Las Vegas

I almost forgot. The cheeses would be top-quality, pickles would be either whole or wedges on the side, and at the Burgerhouse, bacon on the burgers would be it bits, rather than slices, to compliment, not overpower the meat. I'd save the bacon slices for my BLTs, BLBTs, and BLBTBs.

What's Up in Pizza: Pizza Hut's Touchscreen Tables, Oscar Pies, and More!

You don't like much award shows, too? Kate, I think I'm starting to fall in love with you.

Echo and Rig Blurs the Line Between Butcher and Steakhouse in Las Vegas

This great piece of journalism is like serendipity to me, because just last week, a concept popped into my mind about a half-butcher shop, half-restaurant, only instead of steak, my concept specialized in burgers; at the butcher shop side, you could get ground steak in single cuts, multi-cut blends and even ground dry-aged cuts and blends by the pound, in patties or in what I call "burger balls," for people who like smashed burgers. The restaurant side would be a "Burgerhouse," combining the best of steakhouses and burger joints, where you could get mini-samplers, 1/4 and 1/3lb. smashed burgers, and 1/2lb. or griddled bigger burgers made from the ground cuts and blends (even the 30 day dry-aged ones), cooked to your order. The toppings would be simple, but quality; romaine lettuce, beefsteak tomatoes, red, white, green or Vidalia onions (your choice), and since the butcher shop/restaurant idea would be in Chicago, giardinara and sport peppers, among others. The sauces would again be quality, but applied sparingly, to let the meat shine through; Dijon mustard, a "house sauce" more steak sauce-based than Thousand Island (although you can get that, too), and ranch dressing, among others. The buns would be potato rolls for the minis and medium-sized burgers, and right now I'm thinking of a kaiser roll made with potato flour for the 1/2lb. and larger burgers. The sides would be a mix of traditional steakhouse sides (definitely wedge salads and creamed spinach, I'm thinking about others) and burger joint favorites, like beef fat fries (for those who remember McDonald's original fries; I think the butcher house side would provide enough fat to make these possible), although regular hand-cut skin-on fries would be available, among others. And to wash all this down, cocktails, a red-dominated wine list, and plenty of Chicago area beers, including Old Style. I'm still wondering if this concept would be a hit, comments are welcome.

As for Echo and Rig, if you can get dry-aged steaks at the butcher shop side, that would be perfect.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Thanks for responding, Kenji. I'm still tempted to get a waffle iron, but any fries that would go in there would have to come straight out of the freezer, fresh-cut, or straight out of the fryer. When I make fries, like I did just 20 minutes ago, there ain't no leftovers ;-D.

Ever thought of waffling hash browns (not patties but Southern-style loose hash browns)? I'd second tater tots, too.

What do I need from the Korean grocery store?

How are you fixed for chopsticks? If you don't have 'em already yoour friend's next gift should be Korean stainless steel chopsticks. Great for almost everything Asian, and a hell of a lot more eco-friendly than those disposable bamboo chopsticks.

Carbondale, IL, where I live, has got a Korean-run store, but it's on the other side of town, and it's a small place. I usually go to Monah's International Groceries. It's run by a Malaysian or Indonesian, I think, but it's much closer, bigger, and it's got just about everything you'd want for any type of Asian cuisine, plus Asian candy! It's where I usually go to satisfy my Pocky fix.
The Korean hole in the wall did have these microwave sticky rice bowls, however (CJ Foods is the brand, I think). Just follow the instructions, and you've got glutenous rice ready for whatever you want on it, or with it.

In search of: Popcorn Popper

If you don't have a wok with a lid already, you should totally get one. and you don't have to use coconut oil, either. Whenever I get the popcorn urge, I just cover the bottom with vegetable oil, pour in as much popcorn that can be mixed with the oil, then put the lid on it and put it on the burner set to low to medium heat, and I just keep it on there until the popping slows down a bit. You, ooops, I mean that "someone" will have so much popcorn, the problem will be finding enough bowls to contain all of it (unless you wait for the wok to cool down and you use that for a bowl).

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

BTW, how long did Kenji keep the fries in the waffle iron for? Fresh-cut or frozen?

Leftover Thoughts on Steak, Chicago Steakhouses, and Service

Oh yeah, I forgot a few things. Since it's Chicago, gianardera and sport peppers would be among the toppings. The buns? Potato buns for the minis and regular-sized burgers, maybe a kaiser roll made with potato flour for the bigger ones.

Leftover Thoughts on Steak, Chicago Steakhouses, and Service

After reading your steakhouse series (Great job!), a concept keeps popping into my head for a burgerhouse, a hamburger spin-off on steakhouses. Actually, it would half a butcherhouse, like Publican Quality Meats, selling chopped steak cuts, blends and especially 30-day dry-aged blends in patties and "burger balls" (for people like smashed burgers) for home use. The other half right next door would be the Burgerhouse, selling cooked samples of the butchershop's wares, in mini-samplers, smashed 1/4 and 1/3 pound patties, and griddled 1/2 pound and larger burgers, cooked to your order, of course. The toppings would be simple, but quality: romaine lettuce, beefsteak tomatoes; red, white, green or Vidalia onions (your choice); pickles would be whole or wedges on the side. Top quality cheeses and bacon bits rather than whole slices, so it won't overpower the beef. Sauces again would be simple, but quality, applied sparingly to let the meat shine through; Dijon mustard, a "house sauce" more steak sauce-based than Thousand Island, although you can get that, too, and ranch dressing, among others.
The sides would be a mix of steakhouse favorites (definitely creamed spinach and wedge salads) and takes on burger joint fare such as beef fat fries (regular, steak and maybe cottage fries would be available, too). As prices go, most of the burgers should be in the middle of the range, but of course, the bigger and dry-aged burgers would be costlier. So, do you think this concept would work in Chicago (definitely not in River North, more likely in the suburbs or a neighborhood where you could get a place big enough for both the butcherhouse and the Burgerhouse)?


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