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Sov

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RIP Hot Doug's: A Love Letter

Just before my first trip to Chicago after I'd heard of Hot Doug's I emailed his webpage FAQ. I had the time, and wondered if one needed a car or taxi to get there from the loop, or if there was a decent transit option.

Well, it apparently wasn't a FAQ, because I got a personal response from Doug timed at 6:30 the next morning. He not only told me the way, but added the link to Chicago transit.

First, adding the link shows Doug's typical thoroughness, it seems to me. Second, Doug's days were much longer than most banker's; on the website early, then to the place for service, and after service testing recipes, I expect. Add ordering and standard management hassles, and it was probably more than a full day, every day.

I do have one more trip to Chicago planned before October. I'm not gonna miss it.

26 Must-Eat Dumplings in NYC

I took Kenji's advice and stopped at Prosperity Dumpling (on Eldridge just north of Canal) just 3 nights ago, on a trip to NYC. It was fabulous. 10 large steamed dumplings for $2.75. I make a similar filling at home, and I can't figure out the pricing even if they own the real estate. I think I may have learned something to improve my filling, though.

An 11-Stop Tour of Chinatown and Little Italy for Under $15 a Head

Doh! I mean a duck main dish, not a dumpling, obviously.

Sov

An 11-Stop Tour of Chinatown and Little Italy for Under $15 a Head

Looks like I'll be out there next month, and this might be an evening itinerary. Kenji, if you had to add a Chinese place for duck to this, what would it be?

Thanks,
Sov

Cream Potato Lefse From 'The New Midwestern Table'

I've eaten lefse for at least 60 years (they might have fed it to me when I was 2, which would make it 61). My grandmothers both made it, and there were/are plenty other locals who make it for sale in the the small Minnesota town I grew up in. (Don't tell the FDA!) I'll have some Christmas Eve and Christmas, but I'm also going to master this recipe so I can have it any time I want.

I like it with just butter, but I've never had much of a sweet tooth. Traditionally for us NorgioAmericans, it's butter and sugar, cinnamon-sugar, or some jelly--ideally lingonberry. Yes, I saw one of my grandmothers using a chopstick instead of a lefse stick. She'd been a missionary in China so it probably seemed self-evident to her. And we never ate them warm, but they're best at room temperature, though I've always seen them stored in the refrigerator, and we ate them cold as well. But room temperature is best in my book.

For me it's real comfort food, and I miss it 10 months of the year when it's hard to find, even in Minnesota. It's great with a hot bowl of Cream of Wheat or oatmeal in the morning.

What Do You Like to Drink With Oysters?

First choice is a dry, hoppy beer. Pilsner Urquell, for example.

Then Gin. Ice cold. Straight from the freezer is best.

Open Thread: Thanksgiving Disasters!

I'll never forget going to an in-law's mountain house in the Blue Ridge for Thanksgiving. We were invited down for Wednesday night, while the 20-30 other guests all arrived, from nearer by, on Thanksgiving. So we had a light dinner, some wine, a few Pilsner Urquells (we brought a case), and a Cuban cigar or two, while we laughed, prepped the two turkeys, oyster dressing, a huge ham, big sides for the next day, and generally had a great time. Late (thankfully) the next morning the ham went into the neighbors' oven for a long slow cook, and the turkeys into the oven. Then we sat down to breakfast. First thing we see in the fridge are the two jars of oysters that we somehow forgot to put into the oyster dressing. Not minutes later, we walked over to check the ham, just in time to prevent an ovenfire from a misread oven control. Only the four of us knew. One of the best Thanksgivings ever.

How to Grill-Roast a Boneless Bison Rib Roast

Kenji,

I for one, can't really taste the difference between the grass fed beef I've had, and the grain finished. Admittedly, the only grass-fed I've had were pot roasts, (both were gifts). Are grass fed roasts and steaks really distuinguiable by most folks?

How a New York Native Fell in Love with Chicago Hot Dogs

I don't get to either New York or Chicago as often as I used to, but I always thought the classic New York hot dog is served on my own personal yacht, the Staten Island ferry--kraut and mustard. Next is the Sabrett's on the street corner. Nathan's is next, or sometimes first, depending. The Chicago dog is too full of conflicting flavors and textures for my money. Though the Vienna Beef dogs themselves are great, tomato and pickle and whatever are just too much. The ferry and Sabrett's are great because you know they aren't high cost, gourmet dogs, they're inexpensive dogs done right

Poll: Are You a White Pie Person?

Years ago a friend who lived in Strasbourg took us to the Bourse http://www.restaurant-de-la-bourse.fr/ , and said we were having white pizza. He ordered, we didn't even look at menus. Turns out on the menu it's "tarte flambee." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarte_flamb%C3%A9e I don't care what it's called, it's crust and cheese and other ingredients, roasted in a wood fired, high heat oven. It was magical stuff. I presume it still is.

The Burger Lab: How To Make Surf & Turf Burgers (Bacon- and Lobster-Topped Burgers)

@CulinaryConnie probably has it right. If you're having a party, and want something completely and inevitably useless, it is this burger. Burgers are good; lobsters are good. There is no reason to confuse them or combine them. Especially if bacon is needed to tie them together (which is to say the bacon taste overwhelms both). This is so wrong.

Ah, Kenji, did you have some Pat LaFrieda beef or some lobster you had to work with before it died?

Sov

The Hog Days of Summer: Tyson Ho's Whole Hog Barbecue in NYC

This seems to be the time to post this story. 40 years ago a friend near Waterford, Minnesota (a mile north of Northfield) had a party. He got in touch with the Waterford Meat Market to do a whole pig. Remember, Minnesota in the 70s was not your basic BBQ hotbed. Hell, its still not, and probably never will be.

What the folks at Waterford did, not just once, but a couple of times a year, was, it turns out, sous vide. They'd drop a huge nylon cutting board with lifting ropes into a livestock water tank, drop a 250 lb pig onto the cutting board, and fill the tank with salt water. They'd then keep the thing at 200 degrees for a week or even a couple of days more. Then they'd pull the board and the pig out of the tank, truck it to the party and carve away. Serve it on white bread buns, with cole slaw on the side. It's 40 years, and I still think it's the best pork I ever had.

Haven't had it since, and haven't ever heard or read about the technique.

Anyone?

Sov

Got a recipe for Chinese "Mantou?" That's it in Mandarin

Many, many thanks to you all. My 95-year-old-twin father and uncle (born and raised in China) will be real happy if I can get this right! They haven't had it since their mother died. Not to mention that I'll be twice-blessed: I get to make it for them, and eat it myself, after 55+ years.

Need help finding a red wine

Aw, just go ahead and buy some chaps, wear heels, and knock his socks off! Oh, a rioja will enhance the moment.

Better Ideas for "French Dip" Beef Sandwiches?

You may want to check in with Philippe's in LA, which is acknowledged as the originator. If you're far away enough, they might give you some tips.

http://www.philippes.com/

I also like @onepercent99's thoughts. @Double_I is right about the difference between sous vide and roasting. But don't ever let anyone put cheese on a french dip!

Good Luck,
Sov

Should Cocktails Get Simple Again?

I first started 'tending in the early '70s, when the term "mixologist" was either satiric or demeaning. And rightfully so to this day. What these folks do (as witnessed by the previous post) is find new ways to sweeten drinks. They're soda jerks. BFD.

In my view a good 'tender should be like the guy who served me at Windows on the World back in '76. He mentioned he had 86 scotches behind the bar (an amazing number back then), so I asked what he thought I should have. He offered me an 104 proof Glen Farclas. It was eye opening (this was 3-5 years before the single malt marketing campaign began to work). You can tell that almost 40 years later, that's the 'tender I remember.

When I 'tended we did do some longer preparation drinks, but only if we had time, and only if we could make a show of it for the rest of the folks. So we flamed things, etc. We of course flamed the just-emptied bottle of Grand Marnier. I understand that. But housemade bitters, or tonic, etc. are completely unneeded and only cheat the customer, by unnecessarily raising prices. Once in the drink, no one can taste the difference. That's the truth. You can look it up.

Pizza Hut Canada Mixes it Up with Cheesy Beef Poutine and Creamy Butter Chicken Pizza

By experience, and then by definition, nothing at Pizza Hut can be less than a disaster. How do they stay in business? How's that work?

Pizza with Fresh Clams, Garlic, Mozzarella, Romano, and Basil

How do you make sure you're not adding sand to the pizza in the clam juice?

Sauced: Puttanesca

I once worked at a restaurant that served a version of Putanesca without the tomato sauce. Wish I could recreate it. I don't know what changed from one recipe to the other. Phyllis Richman, food critic at the Washington Post at the time, raved about it.

Open Thread: What's Your Favorite Chinese Takeout Order?

Steamed dumplings, hot and sour soup, kung pao or Gn'l Tso's chicken, mu shi rho, mapu dofu, any protein with ginger, any protein with snap peas, baby corn and all that. And sweet and sour pork for my food-wise unadventurous brother. (In fairness, I gotta add his adventures are far more adventurous than ethnic food.) If there's a hotness option, we're medium or medium plus on the Sichuan (sp?) scale.

I'm picking all that up for my father's 95th birthday party with relatives next Sunday, and taking it to the long-term care center. He was born and raised in China, and craves it.

Ask a Bartender: What's the First Bar You Ever Loved?

For St. Olaf College students it was Marguerite's (the sign said "A & M Bar," but Marguerite ran it). A mile-and-a-half south in Dundas, MN. A Ski-Ball game, schooners of Hamm's, and even some townies and farmers who liked college kids. In the daytime the place was theirs, though. We'd occasionally stop in, and act as invited guests. We'd watch the farmers string along the real estate developers down from Minneapolis who were buying drinks, and looking to buy land, and then shut'em down.

Chain Reaction: Pizza Hut's Crazy Cheesy Crust

Um, the telling thing of the post/review is that in slide 4 Niki says that like all Pizza Hut pizzas, it's "perfectly enjoyable." 'Nuff said about what we should learn about Niki's taste buds.

What's on Your Easter Menu: Ham or Lamb?

Lamb for Easter, and, of course, Reindeer for Christmas!

Snapshots from the Caribbean: Eating Goat in Anguilla

Just did an oxtail stew, modified from the great recipe from the old Silver Palate cookbook. As I ate, I was wondering how good it might be with goat.

Staff Picks: Our Favorite Food Moments in Movies

What's the Billy Crystal film where he's the NBA ref who falls in love with a transatlantic flight attendant? It's all stories told by friends around a table at a New York restaurant, with a snarky waiter included. No matter what they ate, it had to be a great meal.

Slam Dunk in the Midwest, I'm tellin' yah

I lived in the Mid-Atlantic states for nearly 20 years. I've since moved to the Midwest. Aside from blue crabs, which wouldn't ever travel well, there's one thing really I miss. Why, oh why, can't the Martin's Potato Rolls people manage to expand to the Midwest? We've got nothing like them out here, that I can find. To quote a CIA Director, "It's a slam dunk." This time he'd be right.

Incianapolis pork tenderloin sandwich

We're coming up on the Indy 500, and I'm curious if anyone has a home recipe for the traditional pork tenderloin sandwiches served at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (and nowhere else, that I know off). Is there egg in the breading? What are the spices?

And while we're at it, I hear all about the shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo's in downtown Indianapolis--but how are the steaks?

Anyone ever notice...

That virtually every cocktail recipe is a way to add sweetness to the alcohol involved? I'm not a guy for sweets, and I figured this out 40 years ago when I started tending bar.

Oh, and in my day "mixologist" was a tongue-in-cheek laugh line. And had been for years. Now people take it seriously? SMH

Pork broth?

OK, I'm an apartment dweller and love ribs, but can't grill or smoke outdoors. So occasionally I do the parboil and bake thing with ribs. I know, I know, so don't rag on me. I had some celery on hand last time (no carrots, and I can't believe I was caught without onion) so I reduced the boiling liquid down, and now I have cup or so of pork broth.

I know how to use beef and chicken broth, but I'd love some ideas about pork broth. Chinese maybe?

Thanks,
Sov

Sharing--how do you deal with it!

This may be an eternal debate: one of a couple pays more attention to food than the other. They go out to dinner, and the first finds the right things on the menu, and the other orders rather haphazardly. Then the second decides that "sharing is cool." The first just doesn't want to. How pissed can the first one get, and how long should one allow it to last, knowing that a custom is being established? Oh, and does gender have a role here? Are men less willing to share, or women using his willingness to share as a test? Or are women eager to share to show their willingness to nurture, and men generally just want what they want and don't want to share (a steak)? Or do men in general suspect that women know more about food, so they want to share, and are women becoming as selfish as men (if men are selfish, or women aren't testing?).

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