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22 Supermarket Items You Should Leave on the Shelf (and What to Get Instead)

I usually love everything you write Kenji, but I really think you need to adjust the shrimp statement. Fresh is definitely preferable IF you live in a place near the coast where shrimping is still a source of income for many people (eg the gulf coast). Quality is much better and it's often cheaper. Also it's super important to check the source of frozen shrimp. Local is best, American is required. This isn't some crazy nationalist thing but just based on a certain level of quality control that shrimp requires and many countries don't have.


Tried it last night. Sauteed the kale like many of you suggested and added it to the sauce right before serving. It came out great! So good that we're going to make it all the time now! Thanks for the tips, all.

Advice on Starting a Small Food-based Business

Great advice! I will look into the laws regarding this. Glad to hear some of you think it's a good idea, at least, so thanks.

Tales from Tales of the Cocktail: A Little Advice

"The people are nice, but that doesn't mean that they won't kill you." is one of the funniest/saddest things I've heard about my hometown.

A Sandwich a Day: Banh Mi at Dong Phuong Restaurant and Bakery in New Orleans

This is one of my favorite neighborhoods in New Orleans with a fascinating history. Really has to be one of the most unique places in the U.S. Everyone I know in New Orleans calls them Vietnamese Poboys. I really had no idea what a banh mi was for the longest time, even though I at them all the time.

Cordova Farmer's Market International: The United Nations of Food In Memphis

SinoSoul's comments are a perfect example of why foodies have a reputation for elitism and pretentiousness. Despite your assumptions, the entire "rest of America" is not composed of people who have such immediate access to exotic ingredients that duck feet become mundane. Many of us (millions!) live in places where these types of resources are exciting because it means we can get food we previously couldn't have without traveling to another city. It doesn't make us uninformed, ignorant, or less interested in trying new things. It just means our resources are limited.

So thanks, Ben. I'll be checking out this market this weekend, and I hope you keep writing for SE so I can learn more about good food in Memphis.

A Sandwich a Day: Las Tortugas Oreja de Elefante Torta in Memphis

To clarify: I love barbeque and fried things, but as a recent transplant to the area, I've found it hard to find good food recommendations outside of those two categories. Especially Mexican, so thanks.

A Sandwich a Day: Las Tortugas Oreja de Elefante Torta in Memphis

A SE article about Memphis that doesn't involve BBQ or something fried?? Keep em coming!

Forget Tahini; Make Hummus with Peanut Butter Instead

Genius! The only reason I don't usually make hummus at home is that I never feel like buying tahini. Thank you!

Sauces for Chicken breasts

A classic and great go-to:

Dredge the breasts in flour and saute in a pan with oil. Once they're cooked through take them out of the pan, add minced garlic and/or shallot and 1 cup of liquid - mix of white wine and stock, just stock, stock and water, lemon juice and stock... whatever you've got. Scrape up the brown bits from the pan so they dissolve in the liquid. Reduce by 1/2, add parsley, thyme, or other fresh herbs. Turn off the heat and melt in a bit of butter.

'International Influences on New Orleans Cuisine': NOLA History in Six Courses

There is some fantastic Italian-American food in New Orleans that is totally unique to the city. Whenever people come to town I always tell them to go to a place like Mandina's. I'm still trying to replicate their red gravy.

Bouillon Cubes

Thanks for the comments. I do prefer to make homemade stock, but right now that's just not an option b/c of time (job, kid, house blah blah blah).

So the general consensus seems to be that the cubes are OK for adding salt and a chicken-ey flavor, but if I want to make some broth I should get BBB. Seems like BBB would still be cheaper than boxed or canned, and it lasts longer. After reading your commends I've come to the conclusion that I should think of bouillon cubes as gussied-up instant ramen seasoning packets. I can work with that!

Bouillon Cubes

I have used better than bouillon's chile (chillie? chili?) base a few times and thought it was OK, but I realized that my chile was just fine without it. Going to use the bouillon to make a quick pan sauce with chicken tomorrow so I'll just under-salt in the beginning and taste as I go. That sauce is pretty simple so it will probably give me a good idea of the bouillon's flavor.

Popeyes' New Louisiana Leaux Menu: 'Healthier' Naked Chicken Options

I'm with ekeog and twa1972 - Popeye's red beans are usually pretty good and many people in New Orleans swear by them. Either you got a bad batch or they just don't know how to cook them outside of New Orleans. They are pretty mushed up but that's how a lot of us cook our red beans. Also, their biscuits are reason enough to go there. I once watched a couple get into a serious argument when one stole the other's Popeye's biscuit.

Bottom Shelf Beer: Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale

This stuff literally made my stomach hurt - and not because I drank too much. My wife said the same thing. You could fill up an empty bottle with Franzia and I'd call it better beer.

SE Staff Picks: Kenji Opts For The Cheese Course

A hunk of Roqeufort with a glass of port is one of my favorite things in the entire world, and I also usually eat that when my wife's away. It doesn't make her sick but she doesn't like it. If we're splurging on fancy cheese we get something we'll both enjoy.

Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Olde Savannah Sweet Tea Wine

This had me laughing out loud in my office. Kind of sad that this stuff is so bad, though. I was thinking of trying it.

Eyewitness Booze Investigation: Mercy Hangover Prevention Drink

In college I worked at a smoothie shop where we had all kinds of additives for the drinks. Two things in particular made the best hangover cure - powdered caffeine and electrolyte powder. Electrolytes are the main "thirst quenching" ingredient in sports drinks and they are what helps you get rehydrated. A healthy dose of that plus the caffeine mixed in a shot of water (it tasted awful) worked wonders. So maybe check out a smoothie shop or health food store to see if they have it.

KitchenAid Grinder Attachment - Yay or Nay? Kenji?

You've probably already seen it but Kenji's meat grinding article is great -

I've never had a problem with my KA, and agree with dbcurrie that it seems like something would have to be seriously wrong with it to be spitting out sludge. I've only had mine 6 months so I'm still a novice, but have gotten great reviews of everything I've made with it so far. The only real con I can think of is finding a place to store it, but that'll depend on your kitchen situation.

Sweet Pea Crostini

Sounds like it would also be tasty if tossed with pasta. Might do it tonight...

Snapshots from New Orleans: Grilled Oysters from Drago's Seafood Restaurant

One of my absolute favorite dishes in town, and one I always recommend to visitors. Even if you don't normally like oysters you will love these, and dipping your bread in the leftover butter is essential (kind of like the sauce at the bottom of a plate of steamed mussels, but with a charred flavor). Drago's has a modified fire truck that they bring to festivals that has a giant grill on the back and beer taps on the side, along with big flat screen TVs all over. I was lucky enough to get into their private tailgating party before the NFC Championship Game in 2010, where they had the truck parked near the Superdome. Free charbroiled oysters & Abita on tap, and the Saints going to the Super Bowl! One of the best days I've ever had!

Sauced: Chimichurri Sauce

Also great if you sub cilantro for the parsley and lemon juice for the vinegar.

A Sandwich a Day: Hot Muffuletta from Napoleon House in New Orleans

@ex_snob: I'm with you, and I'm from New Orleans, still live here, and eat muffalettas all the time.

While you can get them cold, I think most people prefer them warm (not piping hot). Usually if you order one in a sit-down restaurant they will bring it to you warm, and most sandwich shops offer to heat it or just give it to you warm by default. Central Grocery will warm them for you, and often does, but I think they don't offer if it's busy so you have to ask. I also think Napoleon House's muffalettas are overratted - not bad but not worth all the hype. Aside from Central Grocery the best place to get them is Nor-Joe's in Old Metairie. Off the beaten path for many but so, so worth it and not just for the muffalettas.

Food souvenirs from New Orleans?

I live here so I'm not really sure what you can or can't get elswhere, but here are the the things most frequently requested by people who don't live here for us to send to them: Tony Chachere's Seasoning, Roux in a jar (Savoies or Richards), andouille, boudin, Zapp's potato chips, and beignet mix.

For cooking-related stuff I'd suggest Roux Royale at the corner of Royal and Toulouse - kind of touristy but it's all geared towards food and cooking. Lots of aprons, cookbooks, kitchen accessories, etc. For actual food get out of the quarter because you will be overcharged. Go to a local grocery like Dorignac's, Langenstein's or even Rouse's (largest chain in the city, not New Orleans owned but Louisiana owned).

Have fun, the weather will be great this weekend!

Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Old Crow Bourbon

This column is quickly becoming my favorite on SE. Keep them coming, please!


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