• Location: Albany, NY

Ask the Critic: What 'New York' Food Souvenirs Can I Bring Home?

Pastrami and onions on a cross-country flight? That's just inconsiderate.

AHT Giveaway: Case of Pat LaFrieda Burgers

Overcooked burgers.

Chip-Faced: We Try All the Flavors of Larry the Cable Guy's Tater Chips

DB Currie sent me some of the dill pickle chips in a food exchange; I wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised. They had a lot of true dill flavor, not just vinegar flavor.

Serious Holiday Giveaway: The Baking Steel

Pickled peppers.

Food Jokes Anyone

Customer to waiter: "Bring me a bowl of turtle soup, and make it snappy!"

Anyone know how a top-cut hotdog bun factory works?

"you never see the end rolls- the ones that have one brown side"

You've started with a bad premise. I buy store brand NE rolls, and trust me, the end rolls DO have a brown side. And the bun with the brown side is slightly shorter than the middle buns. With better brands, there's some sort of blade that excises the brown side. I know this because I've seen the extra piece hanging off the bun in the case of an incomplete bun surgery.

Dishes you eat when sick

For throat or respiratory issues I like soup with all sorts of fresh garlic, sambal paste and fresh ground black pepper. The soup is secondary to the seasonings when I'm feeling sick, so while homemade is really special and wonderful, this cure works equally well with instant ramen.

Snack Ideas

Cheese sticks/string cheese can often be found on sale, whole grain crackers, bananas, peanut butter or hummus that you break down into individual servings, trail mix, dried fruit...keep in mind a snack of a single string cheese probably isn't going to help you out too much, so do your best to have a serving that's larger, but no so large that it makes you feel sick.

help with a meal plan

Add peanut butter to the ice cream you eat daily. Boost what you already eat with dried fruits and nuts.

I'm confused by something in your post: "Also I work 7-3 so I cant exactly poach eggs" Why do these particular work hours prohibit you from cooking eggs? Why can't you cook them before 7 or after 3?

Niagra Swirl, Lake Ronkonka-Mint

Also, use this spelling: R-O-N-K-O-N-K-O-M-A.

Niagra Swirl, Lake Ronkonka-Mint

Try spelling it like this: N-I-A-G-A-R-A.

Those names don't sound like Stewarts flavors to me.

What's the most decadent thing you've eaten at a fair?

When I'm around fair food or any food trucks, my brain can't focus on anything but gyros. Certainly not very exciting!

Salt, tuna salad, husband and Kenji

Although Kenji is not a household name in our home, his work is well-known. It comes up every time we talk about how/if/when to season our burgers.

Pre-made pizza crust: Why? or Why Not?

Pre-made dough, yes.

Pre-made crust, no.

We Try Two New Ben & Jerry's Flavors

I love Chocolate Therapy. I've only had it from the scoop shop so it's a rare treat. The chocolate flavor is sooo dark and intense. I've never found myself wishing for something crunchy in this ice cream. It's all about the cholcolate intensity for me.

Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Arbor Mist Frozen Wine Cocktails

Soooo close. Two names, not one. Lakes not rivers. Central New York, Finger Lakes region.

Onondaga Lake
Canadaigua Lake

The Food Lab: For The Best Sun Tea, Forget The Sun

Forgot to mention, I also brew my boiled water tea extra-extra strong and add a 1-cup ice cube to dilute and cool.

The Food Lab: For The Best Sun Tea, Forget The Sun

I like my iced tea strong, so I use the boiled water method. I've moved away from sun tea in the past few years because I find it too weak compared with the boil-n-brew method. I've also left Lipton tea behind. I find the Red Rose brand to be far less astringent.

I'm looking forward to trying the fridge method, but I'm thinking I may need an overnight brew to give me the stong tea I prefer.

Daily Slice: Mulberry Street Pizzeria, Los Angeles

Yeek. I'd rather skip lunch.

Help for Too Spicy Soup...

Time might help. I made some pico de gallo that was waaay too hot, but by day 2 it was perfect.

Foods that are better (or still good) cold

What to serve with baked zucchini fritters?

Sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

The Scoop: On Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

I married a "Selective Scooper."

Sunday Brunch: Quick Zucchini and Dill Pancakes

I make zucchini pancakes with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs; enought of each to form a little bit of batter around the shreds. I serve them as napoleons with sliced tomatoes and fresh mozz.

Dreams of Queso, Realities of Separating Cheese

Fennel Pollen

I have an ounce of fennel pollen coming my way. I don't know a whole lot about it, other than what I read in "Heat."

Have you used it? How? Any special recommendations or tips I should know?


Eat This and You'll Feel Better

This is a spinoff from BitchinFixins' thread about foods that were ruined for us. Another commenter suggested it, and I thought it was a great idea. It made me think of Hanukkah Harry on SNL, when he was worried about Santa's stomach bug: "Eat some cottage cheese, it'll settle your stomach!"

So what do you think will make you feel better, and what has someone suggested to you that sounds absolutely horrible?

I *did* eat it as a kid...and I never stopped!

db currie's post got me thinkin': there are a lot of foods that I ate when I was younger that I understand now are pretty junky, but that I still eat occasionally. Things that, if I tasted them today for the first time, I would probably not necessarily enjoy.

Jello pudding, Spaghetti-o's, I'm looking at YOU!

New England Style Pancakes

The New England recipe post reminded me of something:

Recently, my husband and I had a dish described as "New England style pancakes from our family recipe." They didn't look great, but they were the best pancakes either of us had ever tasted. They were thin and light, though not as thin as crepes. They were moist and practically melted in your mouth. I picture the batter being thinner than a standard american pancake batter.

I googled it with all sorts of name configurations. I asked my cooking friends. Husband and I speculated about the recipe. All to no avail. I didn't feel comfortable asking 'mom and pop' at the restaurant as I didn't want them to think we'd take their recipe and never patronize their shop again.

Any ideas or experience with this type of pancake?

Thanksgiving Dinners Past: Best and Worst

When trying to make plans for visiting family on Thanksgiving, my husband let it slip that he did not care to eat the meal with my mom's family because he doesn't like their food. I never really thought about it, but he's right. The food isn't that good. Lots of microwaved vegetables that are either horribly undercooked or overcooked. My aunt insists on making mashed "puh-day-duhs" every year with unholy amounts of fat free half and half and margarine. So I guess we'll join that part of the family for Mrs. Smiths pie and fat free, sugar free cool whip after we have dinner with his family.

What are some of the best and worst things you've seen on the Thanksgiving table? Bonus points for posts that include stories about crazy relatives!

Thickening Gluten-Free Soups

So my husband and I are in the process of opening a cafe and deli (cafe portion is open, deli will be open in 1-2 weeks). There are quite a few customers who are on gluten free diets, and we have some options (like GF pancakes and crepes) that have been well-received.

I know there are a number of GF options for thickening soups or gravies, but I don't really know what would work best. Obviously, some soups are GF naturally, but I'm thinking of a specific example: I made a really yummy soup of caramelized onions, cheddar and beer. I started with a chicken broth, and did not want to use a ton of cream, so I thickened with a flour/water slurry.

I guess I'd have to find a GF beer, too. But for thickening, should I use a GF flour? Agar? Something else?

Thanks in advance for responses!

How Often Do You Eat Meat?

The question about canned food got me thinking: how often do serious eaters eat meat?

I am by no stretch a vegetarian, but I had a hard time remembering the last time I ate meat. I think it's because the vegetables are so good this time of year, I forget that anything else exists. And as much as I want dairy products, they don't agree with me.

As it turns out, I ate a hot dog on Monday. And before that I had a few bites of steak last Friday.

Jamaica Resort...but we like to eat awesome food

So the wedding is soon. We're taking a two part honeymoon. Part I, right after the wedding, we rented a cottage in Woodstock to relax and explore the deliciousness of the Hudson Valley.

But we really want to go someplace warm this winter, too. Lots of our recently-married friends have had a great time at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, and the price is right. One friend reported, "you'll love the vacation, but neither of you will be happy with the food."

Do any Serious Eaters have thoughts on eating well in Jamaica? We're thinking Ocho Rios, but have not made plans yet.

Sooo Fancy!

This topic came up in another thread about rude/unappreciative guests, but I think Sooo Fancy! deserves it's own topic:)

In honor of POM:
"Every time I cook for my in-laws there must be an extended discussion of how "fancy" I cook and that there is no way they would ever eat such "fancy" food at home etc. etc"

And Avaryne:
"Another constant refrain from her is "ooooh, how faaaaancy" at something that I've prepared; she makes it sound derisive..."

It happens to you too, doesn't it?

Simple cleaning products

The recent 'kitchen sink' and 'cleaning stainless steel' posts got me thinking about simple cleaning products. I use baking soda paste on tough stains. I shake some into the shower drain and chase it with vinegar and then boiling water instead of using Drano. I use bleach and water with a drop of laundry detergent on the bathroom tiles.

What do you use? Any super-secret tips out there?

Vacuum Sealers

I bought one at a garage sale last year. It's the FoodSaver brand. I finally pulled it out to vacuum seal and freeze a ton of blueberries last night.
2 Questions:
-Any ideas for other summertime bounty fruits/veggies that will seal and freeze well? I want to be able to enjoy this yummy stuff when winter comes.
-Do I have to buy the roll of bags online or do they sell them in stores?

Speaking of bathing in special sauce...

The green sauce question started me thinking. Does anyone know what's in the white sauce served at halal carts? Not exactly tzatziki, definitely not tahini, not plain yogurt, but WHAT?
Simultaneously creamy, tangy and cooling.

Any ideas?

Does honey go bad?

I found an open jar of honey wayyy back in one of my kitchen cabinets. I know I purchased it several years ago (4 years? 5 years?). It's partially crystallized, which is fine, but it has a fairly serious beeswax smell to it. I can't remember if it smelled like this when I first bought it.

Should I eat it?

Apple quick bread

I never thought I'd say it, but I'm getting tired of apple pies and crisps. I'm not a great baker, so I was hoping for advice from Serious Eaters as I still have an insane amount of apples to use up. Does anyone have an easy recipe for an apple quick bread or cake?

Thanks in advance!

Finally...No Longer Rice-Impaired

I know rice cooking has come up before on this site. I know this because I'm one of the unfortunate ones. I can screw up a pot of rice in twelve different ways. So tonight, I was too lazy to pull out the rice cooker. I cooked it on the stove top, and IT WORKED!!!

Swordfish Ideas

So I ended up with some swordfish. Long story. I've never liked it because it's so dry. Now it's time to try again. What do Serious Eaters suggest for someone who doesn't have a grill?


Mussels for Father's Day

Dad would like me to cook for his special day. He's watching his weight, so I suggested mussels. Any great recipes? I'm looking for something that is any or all of the following: tomatoey, brothy, herby, winy, frenchy or italiany. Thanks!

Kewpie Mayo: a little disappointing

Ok, so I've read about this stuff on SE several times. Bought it this weekend and tried some smeared on bread with cheese (one of my favorite mayo-delivery systems), and, well, it didn't really do anything for me. It tasted a little bit like mayo mixed with mustard.

Any recipes or suggestions about how to use it? Help me tame the Kewpie!

Sexiest/ most romatic food

Apparently, I need a man in my life. First, the Mario dream, and now the thoughts about sexy food.

I had a great time (many years ago) with a guy and a grapefruit. Grapefruit was always too bitter for me, but the guy I was dating introduced me to peeling and removing all membrane, and just eating the jewley pods. Mmm, yummy.

Anybody else? Perky?

Irish soda bread recipes

Not my thing, but I've been commisioned to bake Irish soda bread for St. Paddy's day and Easter. All I have is mom's recipe, which is sooo dry. Advice?

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