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.

Latest Comments

Crimes Against Pizza: An Opinionated Guide to Not Messing Up Your Pie

@Copperkettle218: I appreciate your reasoned argument, and I think you make some excellent points. I especially appreciate that you didn't fall back on the lazy and inaccurate "casserole" thing.

But I also think you're fighting a battle you can't win, or even a battle you may have already won but which won't change anything. People are still going to call it pizza, and they probably always will.

Crimes Against Pizza: An Opinionated Guide to Not Messing Up Your Pie

Jon Stewart said "casserole" that one time, and unfunny people have thought it was clever to repeat it ever since.

I appreciate it when somebody says it, though, because it lets me know that I no longer need to take that person seriously. How knowledgeable can they be if they don't even know what a casserole is?

Teriyaki Burgers

I made these pretty much exactly to the recipe (I forgot the shichimi togarashi, oops, so I just used some pepper instead) and the burgers were so, so, so good. My wife had been deeply skeptical, but too polite to say so: now she is now demanding further teriyaki burgers. (I think the kewpie mayonnaise helps a bit, too.)

6 out of 5, Kenji. These burgers are seriously amazing.

To the folks asking in this or other threads... do *NOT* mix the teriyaki sauce into the meat before cooking. You will absolutely be rewarded if you layer it onto the outside over the course of cooking.

How to Not F#&k Up a Caprese Salad

I agree with you entirely, Kenji. It is a near-perfect thing. Why screw with it? Apparently your co-worker doesn't agree though:

Sous Vide Your Way to the Juiciest, Most Flavor-Packed Corn on the Cob

Next time I take a bath I'm going to wrap myself in plastic and call it "sous-vide." I'll let you know if I come out more tender and flavorful.

The Food Lab: These Fried Chicken Sandwiches Take Only 5 Ingredients to Make

Wait, I missed an Amadeus reference? That's my favorite movie. Whatever HIMYM did to it, it's different enough that I didn't catch it at all.

Also, is it ironic or just an amusing coincidence that I had to see a Panera "Food doesn't need a lab" pop-up ad to read The Food Lab? I'm leaning towards irony.

Why Serious Bakers Have Mother Issues

@Tambourine Grrl: Thanks so much for the link - while I was reading this article, I kept thinking "you know what would be great, is if at the end there's a link to instructions for creating your own starter." I was disappointed... until I got to your comment! I think I'll be giving this a try soon.

Los Angeles in 3 Days: The 25 Best Bites in LA for $20 and Under

@mgnnn: McConnell's is good. But have you tried Salt & Straw, on Larchmont? It's pretty amazing.

Put an Egg on It: 20 Great Ways to Eat Fried or Poached Eggs

As good as all these things sound, one of the best things I ate in Japan was also one of the simplest: A perfectly poached egg on a scoop of fluffy rice. When I poked the egg with my chopstick, all that golden gooey goodness ran down into and got absorbed by the rice. So, so, so good.

The Food Lab: The Best Meatloaf

It's a bit too hot in Southern California to have the oven on for that long in this little house, but I'll definitely give this a shot next time a loafy mood strikes me.

One tip I got from ATK is instead of cooking the freeform loaf on foil in a sheet pan, put the foil on a wire rack, poke little holes in it, then put the rack in a pan and bake the loaf on that. A lot of the grease will drain off so your loaf isn't sitting in a puddle by the time it's done. If you don't want to have to clean the pan, you can line it with foil, too.

Los Angeles in 3 Days: The 25 Best Bites in LA for $20 and Under

I feel really dumb. I've gone past Pollos Alla Brasa about a zillion times, and never bothered trying it. That's something I will do my best to remedy as soon as possible. (And yes, next time you come back, do visit the Grand Central Market.)

Traditional or Not, There's Technique at the Heart of Teriyaki Burgers

@Kenji: Oh, I'd use fresh cabbage on the burger itself. I meant coleslaw on the side!

Traditional or Not, There's Technique at the Heart of Teriyaki Burgers

Aha! Glad to have confirmation from the food science master himself that flipping burgers several times on the grill is a good idea. I generally start flipping them at about 45 seconds (to give it time to firm up just a bit), then continue flipping every 30 seconds or so until I decide they're ready. For this recipe, I'd probably skip the last few flips and instead glaze them a few times, every 30 seconds.

Also, we can use the rest of the cabbage to make coleslaw, which I think will make a delightfully tangy counterpart to the rich sweetness of the teriyaki burger, no?

Chicken-Fried Chicken With Cream Gravy

@HappyHighwayman I think he says so in the instructions, but if it's not in there, I can't imagine any reason why you couldn't use one. I imagine it would make the frying easier.

Chicken-Fried Chicken With Cream Gravy

Kenji discussed his reasons for not using the chicken drippings in the original Food Lab article. And, having used this recipe and method to make chicken fried steak tonight, I can say that I fully agree. That was an excellent gravy.

The Food Lab: Chicken-Fried Chicken Is Country Cooking at Its Most Comforting

Oh wow, do I feel like a doofus. I asked the question without even looking at the actual recipe. He specifies that a 12-inch cast iron skillet will work, along with the wok or the chicken fryer.

The Food Lab: Chicken-Fried Chicken Is Country Cooking at Its Most Comforting

@sbp123: I'd love a commercial deep fryer, but I just do not have the room in my little kitchen for something like that. Even the smaller models are too big, really. We have extremely limited counter space, and that's not the sort of thing you can stick in a cabinet (and even if it was, our cabinets are pretty full already). If I did more deep frying, I'd consider it, but... I don't, so for now I'll just muddle through using either cast iron or the dutch oven. C'est la vie.

@RichL: Thanks! That's what I'll use.

Oddly enough, thinking about this post made me want chicken-fried steak, and I think I could use this method. Although there probably isn't any point in an overnight marinade.

The Food Lab: Chicken-Fried Chicken Is Country Cooking at Its Most Comforting

Okay, this looks even better than the regular fried chicken. I think this is happening in my kitchen, and soon. I'm actually really interested to find out what a cream gravy with onions and garlic tastes like.

Kenji, if you've answered this question before I apologize, but will a regular cast-iron skillet work for the frying here? If not, how about a dutch oven? I don't have a chicken fryer or a wok.

The Food Lab: The Best Southern Fried Chicken

All I can say is to quote Rick Moranis as the Keymaster in Ghostbusters, when asked if he wants some coffee: "Yes, have some."

Staff Picks: Our Favorite No-Shame Snacks for When No One's Looking

I forgot to mention this one. My boss when I worked at the frozen pizza factory used to eat Cool Ranch Doritos dipped in Bob's Big Boy blue cheese dressing (which we also made at that factory). I am not kidding. She was skinny as a rail, too.

The Best Fried Chicken on the Planet: An Opinionated World Tour

I was only in Japan for about 10 days, but I ate *so much* karaage. So, so good. We also ended up at a fried chicken restaurant in Osaka that made American-style fried chicken that was on a par with Popeye's (or my favorite small LA chain, Golden Bird).

Staff Picks: Our Favorite No-Shame Snacks for When No One's Looking

Kenji, I feel better about eating my own shame-a-rito, knowing that my favorite cook and food scientist does too. :)

Staff Picks: Our Favorite No-Shame Snacks for When No One's Looking

I'm with Leanne. I love to crunch up uncooked instant ramen I don't even bother with the seasoning packet, honestly. I like it on its own, and at about 20 cents a pack, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than Doritos.

If I'm boozy but still functional, I like to take a few of the soft-taco size flour tortillas, smear them with a thin layer of refried beans and some cheese, fold them into thirds, then cook them in a non-stick pan or on my stove's griddle. Meanwhile I mix up a sauce of sour cream and Tapatio to slather all over the top. Nom nom.

If I'm less functional or just lazy, I have been known to take a slice of lunchmeat and roll it up with a slice of processed cheese food and eat it, with a glob of mayo to dip it into. It's a Shame-a-rito.

The Japanese Way to Make Potato Salad

Dang. I wish I'd had this recipe yesterday, when I made potato salad. Ah well - next time!