Economic consultant in DC with a passion for non-academic and non-desk job things like cooking, mixing cocktails, drinking, design, and most of all, music

  • Website
  • Location: DC
  • Favorite foods: Anything really hot. Lao, Sichuan, Thai, Indian, Mexican....Most Mediterranean food, esp Spanish, real Italian, Turkish, and Lebanese. Plus Iraqi and Persian!
  • Last bite on earth: Probably Mapo Tofu with a side of homecooked Iraqi food

Sushi By-the-Piece at Wasabi, Times Square's Newest Fast Food Import

Conceptually yes, but at least in the UK, Pret is higher quality.

The 6 Best Budget Ryes

@oishi, Old Overholt and Pikesville are cheap as chips around here. Like, $11-14. However, I wouldn't call Pikesville easy to find - from what I can tell, in the entire DC area, only the Montgomery County stores have it, for example.

Video: The Paper-Thin Pita of Gazala Place

Just to add to Shain, the type of bread that is topped (known in Lebanon as man'oushe 'al saj) is thicker and smaller than the mar'ou' bread shown in the video, no more than 12" in diameter and maybe ~1/8" thick - overall more substantial.

So in other words the saj is used for two related but slightly different products

Video: The Paper-Thin Pita of Gazala Place

There's nothing especially Druze about this, this bread is found all over Lebanon, and is known as a mar'oo' (aka markouk/marqouq/ مرقوق) and is known as a rural/mountain specialty across all sects

Brussels Sprouts Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Ask The Food Lab Anything, Thanksgiving Edition 2013

With your spatchcocked Turkey, how palatable are the vegetables underneath once they're done? Are they good enough to serve as a dish by themselves? If not, if one put a separate pan of vegetables to roast in the oven at the same time as the Turkey, would the temperature and/or cooking time need to increase?

Serious Cheese: Have You Ever Had Laban Kishk?

Not to be that guy again, but laban/liban in Arabic just means yogurt. And in Lebanon, the stuff is called Kishk, with a k. Written just like kashk in Persian - k-sh-k.

Automatic Turkish Coffee Takes to Manhattan

The little hookah bars in Jordan probably did NOT have such a device. They probably made a very large batch, or had several cezves/rakwes going at all times, if it was a popular place

The Best Dive Bars in the Washington DC Area

@MerMei, you a SAISer by chance? As Big Hunt is the cheap SAIS bar of choice...

Ask a Bartender: What Bar Would You Take A Visitor To?

Bar Pilar is so full of shit. I asked for a Hemingway daiquiri there, and the bartender said "we don't do daiquiris" - I said "what, no rum and lime to be found?" or something on those lines, then was fed some tripe about not having the ice slushie machines. Screw them.

New Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum Straddles the Bourbon/Rum Divide

Not necessarily.

And this rum is just a bastardization representative of MG's increasingly corporate, profits-over-product nature. Sad.

Georgian Pomegranate Sausage, Cheese Bread, Eggplant with Walnuts at Mtskheta Cafe in Bath Beach

In 10 days in Georgia last year, i NEVER saw badrijani nigvzit with dill...and I ate a lot of it!

The Food Lab: Three Ways to Grill Corn

Persians grill the naked ear directly on the coals, like your first method, but shucked. It cooks MUCH quicker, and they then dunk them for a second in a pot of salted water. It's a very good method, too.

First Look: Black Whiskey, Washington DC

Had the Blackadder Smoking Islay earlier this week there. Pricey but damn good.

Ask a Bartender: What Are Your Favorite Spring Ingredients?

is it just me or a lot of these summer ingredients?

Ask a Bartender: What Cocktail Should Disappear Forever?

If these guys bitch about making mojitos (with all the ingredients ready to go, i can make one in not much longer than it takes to make a conventional shaken or stirred cocktail), how do they feel about the Ramos gin fizz?

Lunch in the Loop: Pret A Manger

I find it reprehensible that with the dollar in America having roughly the same purchasing power as the pound in Britain, Pret charges $7 for a sandwich here, but only £3 in its home country.

First Look: The Rye Bar, Washington DC

$22 cocktail? BAH!

Win 2 Tickets to Sweetlife: A Music + Food Festival!

Grilled corn, cold watermelon, and steamed Chesapeake blue crabs with Old Bay and melted butter on a riverside dock near Annapolis, with some super cold beer to keep it going

The Pizza Lab: Foolproof Pan Pizza

I made this exactly according to the recipe, and I didn't get nearly the oven spring as in Kenji's pics. Any idea why?

How to Brew Coffee in an Ibrik: A Modern Take

I'd have posted it there too had I seen it before this...

How to Brew Coffee in an Ibrik: A Modern Take

God damn it, as a speaker of Arabic and Turkish, I need to put this "ibrik" thing to end. A Turkish coffeepot IS NOT AN IBRIK! In Turkish it's a "cezve" and in Arabic either a "rakweh" or a "dalla" depending on the dialect. An "ibriq" means a pitcher.

Snapshots from Turkey: Istanbul Tea Culture

Iraq runs on tea in exactly the same way and style, only it's stronger. Follow the steps here and you'll have the same tea - just swap in Turkish tea (from Çaykur) instead of Ceylon, because Ceylon tea is stronger.

A Sandwich A Day: Sheep's Head Sandwich in Istanbul

Özkaymak means "original/essential cream" in Turkish. That amused me

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Counter Culture Coffee Subscription

Most mornings - through a Hario V60 - perfect for one person, fairly easy, good results, especially if using good coffee.
When I'm feeling bolder or making coffee for more than just me - French press (beans coarsely ground in a Hario Skelton).
Both of the above black sans sugar.
If I want a super black-as-death caffeine fix, then it's definitely Bialetti Moka Express time (often done Cuban style with Demerara sugar mixed in with the coffee grounds)
And if I really want to take my time and enjoy the slow luxuries of life...
1. Turkish coffee. Medium sweet. Sometimes with, sometimes without cardamom. Best when using freshly roasted and ground coffee brought back from vacation in Lebanon!
2. Vietnamese milky coffee, either hot or iced - usually iced.
3. South Indian filter coffee, done overnight or over several hours in a Vietnamese coffee filter, mixed with simmered milk and aerated much like a Malay teh tarik. THIS shit is STRRRONG!

Rescuing my cast iron pan

So my mother set the oven to self-clean not realizing my Lodge cast iron pan was in there....All the seasoning has been stripped off, the pan is now GREY, not black, and has a fair amount of rust on it. How do I remove the rust? Is it worth arduous reseasoning, or should I just be patient and wait for an affordable vintage piece on ebay?

Yerba mate drinkers- question!

So I have a newish mate gourd, I "cured" it as recommended by filling it up with mate and pouring boiling water in and letting it stand for a few hours. Been using it for a couple weeks - notice a few black mold spots. The other day, after use, let it dry (with paper towel inside to absorb moisture), and there are black spots all over! Some mate website said this is normal and not harmful, but man that freaks me out.

Is that actually normal? What can I do about this?

Crispy Pajeon - HOW??

Pajeon is one of my favorite quick things to cook when I don't have a lot of time or ingredients in the house. No matter what I do, I can't get it crispy like the Korean restaurants I go to. It doesn't matter the ratio of flour to water, AP flour to rice flour, whether there's an egg or not, whether i mix the scallions in the batter or put them in the pan first....

Do I just need to use a ton of oil and shallow fry it? I'm sort of making mine like Western pancakes, with enough oil to coat the pan but not much more.

What should I make tonight?

Here's what I have in my fridge/pantry

less than 100g ground pork
sichuan chile bean paste
1 leek
3/4 of a kabocha
napa cabbage
lebanese olives
salted black beans
dried shiitake
kouya tofu
a small amount of firm silken tofu
aged cheddar
chicken broth
dried facing heaven chiles
sichuan pepper
an array of indian/arabic spices
fresh thai chiles
some scallions (maybe)
sesame seeds
sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin, sake, venegar, various cooking oils, butter
fresh udon
dried soba
brown japanese rice
white japanese rice
basmati rice

In about two hours I need to make dinner. I was thinking Mapo Doufu (it would conveniently use up the pork and chile bean paste, as well as the leek). Only concern: I don't have a ton of tofu, nor do I have much of the right kind of rice, and I don't like eating East Asian food with basmati rice....

Should I just go for it, or can you guys suggest something else?

Chicken stock in the UK?

So I'm in London for a little while over from the US, and I can't for the life of me find those boxes of chicken stock, the ones that last forever and once opened will last for a little while in your fridge. All I can get are stock cubes (gross!), or tubs/bags of stock which are VERY expensive. What to do??

Vodka cocktails

OK, so I'm poor and am randomly laden with a bunch of vodka lying around. I'm not a vodka person, unless it's for shots before going out. Is there anything I can mix with it for a nice autumnal drink? Or am I doomed to tonic, ginger ale, and juices?

Japanese vs. Western knife ethic

So I have a Japanese gyutou and I love how sharp it is. But since it's so thin and delicate it's not best for all applications. In the Western kitchen, 99% of work is done with a heavy chef's knife and a paring knife.

But it seems the standard in Japanese kitchens is you have multiple knives, specialised tools like the yanagi, deba, nakiri, usuba, honesuki, etc.

This is where my question sort of emerges. A gyutou is a "Western-style" Japanese what paradigm does that fit under? Is it still meant to be used with a large cast of supporting knives? Do people in Japan use them with just one or two other knives? I'm a bit confused

First time making!

So I'm having several friends over for a barbecue, and I'm strongly considering making ribs. All I have is a large Weber kettle. From what I understand: put the coals on one side, put wood chips on top, put a drip pan with water next to it, then put the grate down and put the ribs over the pan and let it go for 4-5 hours.

I've also heard about foiling, a second pan on top of the grate... and then how do I maintain the temperature? Will Kingsford briquettes last 5 hours, or will I likely have to top up the coals?

Experts, please help!

Vodka infusion advice neeed!

Hi everyone, I'm making a bunch of infused vodkas for a party saturday. I've got kiwi, which is coming along well, chai spices, which is turning out AMAZING, citrus with mint, and rosemary.

The problem is the herbs. It's only been 24 hours for all of them, but the rosemary one smells really unpleasant, and the citrus/mint one too, but to a much lesser extent. I can't describe how the rosemary one smells, other than like old rotten herbs I guess. It's still totally intact and does not appear to be decomposing at all (it shouldn't, it's vodka!). Even weirder, it tastes ok, but the smell is repulsive.

The citrus-mint one has a faint smell of mint that's been sitting in water way too long, like if you leave the ice cubes in a drunk mojito to melt and soak the mint for an hour or two. It also carries a hint of that taste.

Needless to say this is not at all desirable! What can I do? Is this normal? I've seen recipes for mint and rosemary vodka and none of them mention any sort of problem like this.

I muddled a lot more mint and am now infusing a smaller quantity of vodka, for a shorter amount of time, in the hope of adding the strained result back to the citrus mix.

By the way, I'm using pretty good (Pinnacle) vodka, 80 proof, so it's not the alcohol.