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The Food Lab: How To Buy A Lobster

I much prefer female lobsters over male. I am surprised you did not discuss this.

My Friend Nora Ephron Is Dead: The World Has Lost Someone Very Special

When I was a kid in the not-chic, not-hip Brooklyn, her writing in all the popular magazines, most particularly New York, was a blue print for the good life in Manhattan. In those days, NY Magazine had the best food coverage, and wwii babies and baby boomers were chronicling the best delis, pizza places, chinese restaurants and new restaurants, beginning an American food revolution which is still bearing fruit today.

As I said to my friend, Nora Ephron lived in the City - it was not Manhattan then - where people had dinner parties, drank wine and ate Julie Child - everything to which I aspired (and ultimately obtained). She was an inspiration and a hilariously great writer.

Help! I forgot to make dinner reservations for tomorrow (NYC) -

We've been going to the Brindle Room quite a bit. It's casual, but the oyster appetizers are excellent. We also like the steak tartar. All the main courses are very very good - I favor the fried chicken.

Marcato Atlas Pasta Machine Motor?

Yes, it would be the tendonitis. See above.

I am Italian-American. I have been making pasta with this machine - and ones exactly like it - since I was a 14; that's 41 years.

Extruded pasta at home is a waste. I wouldn't bother. It's a commercial product.

A Tour of Kalustyan's, the Indian Specialty Food Megastore

I have been shopping at Kalustyan's a very long time (20 years maybe?). They have gotten very expensive, and I would caution anyone shopping there to compare prices, particularly on staples like beans, cornmeal, nuts etc. These are usuriously overpriced.

Otoh, for difficult to get spices and ingredients, it is incredibly convenient.

I like the spice store on the corner, occasionally I will go to Dual on 1st Avenue. Unfortunately, Sahadi's is not convenient, but I know they are cheaper. For nuts - Bazzini. And if you have the foresight, a great deal can be saved online. I order all my Vanilla Beans in bulk online.

Hungry at night

Spaghetti all’aglio e olio. Those Romans know what they are doing.

Marcato Atlas Pasta Machine Motor?

A Marcato Atlas is exactly like the Imperia, but believe it or not - I have gotten tendonitis in my shoulder from cranking. I agree this is a great pasta machine.

We Try Everything at Japadog

We live a couple doors down from JapaDog and were very excited when it opened. (We are hot dog people. We eat 'em least once, maybe twice, a week. I grew up walking distance from Nathan's when Brooklyn still had a ton of great Jewish delis.)

All the JD's are pretty awful and pretty expensive. Texturally they are mush. We ate quite a bit of the menu hoping to find something we liked. Uh uh.

If you are going to bring hot dogs to NYC, you better bring your A game - there are so many great dogs here already. Japadog just doesn't cut it.

We are not alone, I think. It's mostly empty most of the time.

How Do You Pay the Bill at Restaurants?

Good manners dictate:

that you offer to split the check evenly prompting the drinkers to say something like:

Well, I drank let me get the tip or take an extra 20 - we had drinks.

If they don't, you have the dignity of knowing you more well-bred.

Side Dishes to liven up main course

Brussel Sprouts with Double Smoked Bacon and Locatelli Shavings
Corn pudding
Peppers, onions, garlic sauteed in olive oil w.balsamic served at room temp.
Fennel, Red Onion and Orange Salad w/Poppy Seed Orange Dressing
Lebanese Couscous with Mushrooms and Saffron
Sauteed pea shoots

Favorite Carb?

1. If price were no object, which carb would you purchase?
Milles Feuilles at Le Dome on Blvd Montparnasse or any pasta in Emilia-Romagna.

2. What carb do you eat most often?
Beans/Lebanese Couscous.

3. Which carb is your guiltiest pleasure?
Corn pudding.

Book Corner: 10 Italian Cookbooks We Love

I like Marcella Hazan's son Giuliano Hazan's Pasta Cookbook.

My Favorite Japanese Meal: Yudofu, or 'Hot Water Tofu'

Do any of the Japanese markets in the East Village carry a worthy product? Thank you.

Gimme Your Burger Lab Requests!

I would welcome information on grinders, grinds and grind blends. Also on fat additions. Your burger recipe indicates that actually frying the burger in its own fat causes a delicious crust - but what if you wanted to make a few at a time in a larger frying pan (say you have a family) - could you use bacon fat? Duck fat? Crisco? Tallow? Lard?

I am fat obssessed, obvs.

Top 20 Restaurants in the US - Have you been or plan on it?

I've been to most of this places - indeed most in the world. These lists were far more useful 20-30 years ago when they were required to ferret out talented chefs. Now, so many people are doing so many interesting things, these lists are more often behind the curve than ahead of it.

Share Your Sweets: Pi Day

The last pie is quite like Rose Levy Bernbaum's Open Fresh Blueberry. I love the numbers pie.

Video: "I'm Making Cook's Illustrated Beef Stew! (Prep Time: 29 Hours)"

I've cooking seriously (and professionally) for about 40 years, and I don't know that I have ever encountered a CI additional steps recipe that I thought was worth it. Are there ones there really do merit the extra work?

From Behind the Bar: On Barbacks

Forgive my ignorance, but save for Dickensian servitude, how does one become a bartender now - is Harvard offering a doctorate in mixology these days?