That chubby guy, from the thing. Yeah. I'm the one who used to work in the frozen pizza factory, remember?

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Favorite foods: Everything from asparagus to a rare ribeye to a chili-cheeseburger. I have far more of a weakness for salty and savory than for sweet. Bring me a steak and a baked potato, and skip the dessert.
  • Last bite on earth: I plan to never have a last bite, as I have no intention of dying.

How to Pair Beer With Mexican Food

Negra Modelo is pretty much the only Mexican beer I buy any more. It's good stuff.

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Veggie Burgers

A good veggie burger is a fine thing. Our local burger joint serves them as well as regular burgers, and I order them quite often. I'm pretty sure they use Original Gardenburger patties.

Taste Test: We Try Every Flavor of Cheez-It Crackers

I must not be hanging out in the snack aisle of my local grocery store often enough, because the only non-original flavor of Cheez-It I knew existed is the White Cheddar. Also, I have found that eating more than about a vending-machine-sized bag of Cheez-Its leaves me feeling a little green around the gills, and as far as I know they only make those sizes in original, so....

That said, when I have tried the white cheddar ones, they were really good! I like them even better than the original.

What's Your Biggest Gripe About New York Restaurants?

This applies to all restaurants, not just ones in NYC, but - when I go to your website, I want to know three things: Your hours, your menu, and a phone number I can call for reservations. I don't want a Web 2.0 experience, just some basic info.

One Bowl Baking: Buttermilk Hushpuppies

No fair showing me this - right over a picture of fried chicken - when I'm really hungry! I'll definitely give these a shot.

Poll: Do You Take Photos of Burgers?

Once in a blue moon I'll take a picture of food I made, if it's particularly interesting for some reason. Such as the time I made a shooter's sandwich, or the Simpsons-inspired peanut butter and pretzel sandwich I made for my kid. But other than that, I'm with @AndroidUser - there's no reason for anybody but food reviewers to do it.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Ooooh, I look forward to the shooter's sandwich recipes. I made one once and it was good, but I wanted it to be better.

Koliba's Hibernation Fare, Czech-Style

This sounds so good that it almost (almost) makes me wish I lived somewhere that it gets really cold in winter.

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

Sadly, Big Mama's and Papa's pizza is kind of crappy.

We Try 7-Eleven's New Diet Coke FROST Cherry Slurpee

Maybe they should've tried Coke Zero Cherry flavor instead? I'm a Diet Coke fiend myself, but I absolutely love Coke Zero Cherry.

New Nutrition Labels, Childhood Obesity Drops, and More in Food Policy This Week

@zorazen: Me too! I don't have a lawn any more, but the plants I do have still like water.

New Nutrition Labels, Childhood Obesity Drops, and More in Food Policy This Week

Well, we'll find a way. If I have to drive through LA ripping up every lawn sprinkler I see, we'll find a way.

The Food Lab's Guide to Pan-Seared Pork Chops

Speaking of scoring I generally try to score the fat cap a bit to help keep the chops from cupping. If you put slits about an inch or so apart around the cap, it seems to work. Do I not need to do that with this method?

New Nutrition Labels, Childhood Obesity Drops, and More in Food Policy This Week

The good news is that California just had a good-sized winter storm that dropped a lot of water. The bad news is that it's over and that's probably about it for the season.

We Try All Five Burritos From LA's New Burrito Vending Machine

I know I'm way late to this party, but the thing that I don't get is, many gas stations with mini-marts also have frozen burritos and microwave ovens. So why the hell does anybody need this thing?

Manner Matters: Don't Cook at My Dinner Party!

Sorry for three posts in a row, but I just realized that maybe there's another way to go if people insist on bringing things: Completely, over-the-top nuts!

Manner Matters: Don't Cook at My Dinner Party!

I should amend that to say: If a guest really wants to bring something, I'd ask for a salad (and I also forgot to say that I agree with Molly, that bread is another great thing to ask them to bring.)

Manner Matters: Don't Cook at My Dinner Party!

I'll often ask a guest to bring a salad, because usually all that requires is a bowl. I guess I must have lazy friends, though, because nobody has ever showed up at my house expecting to be able to cook, and I guess I must be lazy too, because I'd never show up at someone else's house expecting to cook either!

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Deep Dish Pizza

@chrstyt I've had Masa's deep dish, and I agree, it's pretty good, but I think Hollywood Pies is better. We always order the "sausage a la zwieg" which is basically the layer of sausage on the top, like a Malnati's sausage pizza.

The Food Lab: Vegan Nacho Sauce That's as Good as the Real Thing

@frackle: You ought to brie ashamed of yourself. That joke was not gouda.

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Deep Dish Pizza

@heytrud: Well, if you ever come back to California - Los Angeles, to be specific - there's a place here called Hollywood Pies that makes pretty damn good deep dish. It's not quite as good as a freshly made Malnati's pizza, but it's close.

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Deep Dish Pizza

My in-laws occasionally send us Malnati's frozen pizzas all the way to my home here in Los Angeles. It's great, and you're right - they are definitely better with toppings. Or, specifically, one topping, sausage. It's more like a sheet of sausage than bits. The amount balances perfectly with the amount of cheese and sauce. If you'd been testing that one instead of the plain cheese, it may very well have ended up as #1.

There's a Spanish Chain Called Taste of America and This is What They Sell

Is that Williams-Sonoma pancake mix any better than, say, Bisquick, or the usual mass-market pancake mixes? For that matter, is it better than just whisking up some dry ingredients on your own? I realize that sounds snarky, but I'm honestly asking.

Open Thread: What's The Unsexiest Food of All Time?

Anything you eat off a person. It *sounds* kinky, but in practice it's kind of gross and often sticky.

Sometimes You Need a Microwave, or Lessons Learned From Taco Bell's Latest Desserts

The chili cheese burrito is what they called the Meximelt, isn't it? I don't think I've ever seen the former on the menu in Southern California, but I'm pretty sure you can still get the latter here.

Can freezing a meatloaf make it better?

We make meatloaf about once a month or so. We usually use the Cook's Illustrated method (yes, the one with the gelatin, and I beg of you not to yell at me about authenticity) with a few minor modifications (details upon request but I don't think they're too terribly important in terms of this question.) However as with many recipes it makes far too much for our little family to eat in one night, so we usually take the finished mix and form it into two loaves - one to bake for that night's dinner, one to freeze and bake for another night.

So tonight I made one of the frozen ones, as my wife was called away at the last minute. I didn't even have time to defrost it, I just quickly made a pierced-foil-on-a-rack-in-a-rimmed-baking-sheet cooking platform and chucked it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes. A probe showed it was still incredibly cold in the center so I put it back in for another 35, and then the center showed 150 - good enough.

The thing is... it had an *amazing* crust. Not just some browning like you get on most meatloaves, but a serious deep brown crust that took a bit of cutting to get through. And *yes* that crust was extremely delicious.

So after all that, I guess the question is... could it be possible that freezing a meatloaf could make a better meatloaf by giving it more time to brown on the outside before the insides get cooked?

London rioters defeated by kitchen staff

This story just came out today: a couple from Los Angeles were out for a fancy dinner in London recently, when rioters burst into the restaurant and attempted to mug them. Kitchen staff, armed with rolling pins and other "dangerous kitchen items" defended the couple and scared off the rioters.

Have you ever made your own flour tortillas?

Inspired by the recent post about making your own frozen burritos (I can't seem to find the link, but it was in the past few days), I'm considering making a batch of my own.

I also thought this might be a good time to make my own flour tortillas. One of the reasons I haven't before is that I'm not very good at rolling out dough, and so this seems like it'd be a huge pain for something my family probably wouldn't use up fast enough before they went bad. But if I'm making a batch of frozen burritos, spoilage shouldn't be a problem and the effort might be worth it.

So the questions are: Have you made your own? How much of a pain was it? Were they really tastier than store bought? And if you've got a recipe you really like, I'm all ears! (I gather purists say you must use lard, I'm totally okay with that.)

Potato Nails - do they work?

I've heard about people who put nails through the center of a potato they're going to bake. Does this really work? People say it does, but they give different reasons for what it actually accomplishes - does it speed cooking, or does it make the potato more evenly cooked?

I've always gotten quite good results by poking, oiling, and salting my potatoes, then baking them at 350 until they're done. No foil, no nothing, just right on the middle rack. It takes a while, but with a little planning that's not a big deal, and at least I don't have to do anything while they're cooking. As far as I can tell they're quite evenly cooked. If I used nails, would I really notice a difference in either cooking times or the quality of the final product?

Visiting New York

I'm taking my girl to NYC for our 10th anniversary. We're getting in the evening of the 28th, leaving late afternoon of the 2nd.

I should tell you that we've already got dinner plans for New Years Eve (which also just happens to be the day of our wedding anniversary): Restaurant Daniel. It's going to cost a mint, but what the heck, I expect to only have one 10th anniversary, so why not live it up?

Other than that, though, our gustatory options are open, and I'm soliciting suggestions for eats! Note: We've got theater plans for the 29th and 30th, so any dinner suggestions would have to be a place that has either early or late dining.

Also, fancy-pants is welcome, but certainly not necessary. How about a great place to get a slice? Is it worth standing in line at Shake Shack? Etc, etc. My only request is to go easy on the seafood places, since I'm deathly allergic to shellfish and not fond of regular fish.

I'm sure this isn't the first time this question has been asked, but if you don't mind answering again (and tailoring your suggestions for cold weather and my non-fishiness), I'd appreciate it!

Your childhood favorites: Are they still guilty pleasures?

Lately I've been overwhelmed with a desire to get some Strawberry Quik. Yes. The powdered stuff you mix into milk. and yes, I know: Blech.

But I can't shake the feeling that it will taste like my lost childhood, because man I loved that stuff. I can still almost conjure up the taste in my memory now. Still, we grow up and move on, and it must have been 20 years since I had any.

Besides, part of what I loved about it was the ritual. Back then it came in metal cannisters with a big round cap that you had to pry up with a spoon. You'd pour the milk, pop the cap, dip in the spoon, watch the crystals fall to the bottom of the glass, then stir and... drink.

These days they sell it in plastic jugs (yes, I've gone so far as to find it in the store. I know, flirting with disaster.) Not as good. Not at all.

So do you have any childhood favorites that you know are bad or bad for you, but that you can't help indulging from time to time?

A Sandwich a Day: Breakfast Sandwich at Market Café in Los Angeles

Market Café's breakfast sandwich ($6.75) breaks expectations even as it tows on the side of convention. The usual cast is all there, just in upgraded versions with better accessories. Eggs are scrambled in a thin layer, then folded and topped by aged cheddar cheese. A choice of turkey, baked ham, or bacon comes next. There is an ostensibly odd appearance of arugula leaves and sliced tomatoes, but any doubts tamp down upon bite. More