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Cook the Book: Lonely Planet's 'The World's Best Spicy Food'

Ghost and Scorpion pepper fresh salsa I made from the bounty (very hot bounty) of my garden. Couldn't feel my face for an hour.

Cook the Book: Andy Ricker's 'Pok Pok'

Kai Look Kuey, aka Son-in-law Eggs. When I lived in San Diego in the early 90s, I happened upon this recipe in a Thai cookbook, which, at that time, were rare. It involved craziness--boiling eggs then deep-frying them.

Then there was a fish-sauce and tamarind sauce. Showers of fried shallots and garlic and cilantro.

I ate it with a chile-vingar sauce with rice on the side. Over the years I've made this dish dozens of times. It never fails. This was Thai food I never got in American Thai restaurants. It's still my favorite.

Taste Test: Potato Chips

I don't know what "widely available nationwide" means exactly, but I can tell you that I've never seen Herr's, Utz, or Wise on sale in my home state of Oregon, and I've never even heard of Herr's or Utz. Never saw them for sale when I lived in southern California either. Maybe they are available nationwide except for the west coast?

Cook the Book: 'Burma: Rivers of Flavor'

Not so exotic, I suppose, but a blast from my childhood last week: venison liver fried, with carmelized onions, and cottage cheese and fried potatoes on the side.

College Tours: Where to Eat Near UCSD

Do you know approximately when (year?) that the "California" burrito, i.e. burrito with french fries or other fried potato and meat became a thing? When I lived there in the early 90s, such a thing had yet to be invented. And also, then, a good beer list was rather hard to find.

Portland, OR: Small Prices and Huge Flavor at Little Big Burger

I ate at Little Big Burger in Eugene a few months back. A few notes:

1. It should be called "Little Little Burger." The burger is small...It may weight a quarter pound if you include the bun and condiments.

2. Mine was definitely not cooked medium, nor was it juicy. It was well-done and dry. While I was eating, a customer came up to the counter to complain that his burger was rare. Some kinks need(ed) to be worked out, apparently.

3. Despite the dryness, the burger had a good meaty taste.

4. The cheddar cheese was nearly undetectable. I'd go without.

5. Spicyish house ketchup--very good.

6. Fries. Frozen or not, delicious and perfectly cooked.

Next time, I'd order two, and hope they cooked them properly.

Another thing: they asked everyone "eating in or takeout"--and no matter your answer, you get the order in a takeout paper bag. Odd.

My Thai: Son-in-Law Eggs (Fried Hard-Boiled Eggs in Tamarind Sauce)

Thanks for this, Leela! Khai-look-kuey (sorry if my transliteration bothers you) is one of my favorite of all time Thai dishes.

So many variations are out there. This one is nice and simple. Thanks. Maybe I'll have it tonight!


I have been making hummus for quite awhile now, and I've learned a few things that result in a better-than-Sabra (or at least as good) product.

Most important:

1. Used dried beans/peas. Soak overnight.
2. Cook beans until fairly soft. Reserve a bit of the cooking water.
3. PEEL the beans. Tedious, yes, but the texture can't be beat.

Everything else:

1. Homemade tahini is great, but any commercial tahini works perfectly as long as it's fresh. Tahini goes rancid pretty quickly. Make sure it's fresh.
2. You always need more lemon juice than the recipe calls for.
3. You probably also need more olive oil than the recipe calls for.
4. If you can't get it to a smooth enough texture in the food processor, push it through a fine-mesh strainer. Again, a bit tedious, but it's all about that smooooth texture.
5. If the hummus is too thick for your taste, thin it with a bit of the cooking water.
6. Adjust seasoning with salt, cumin, lemon juice, paprika, before serving.

That's it. Of course hummus lends itself to endless variations, but I still prefer the classic recipe.

Happy Chickpea Peeling!


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

I have a whole case of Otter Pops in my freezer!

Rice in Burritos: Yea or Nay?

I'm with Lorenzo all the way on this one. I currently live in Oregon, and with few exceptions the ONLY burrito you can get here is the SF style, and it's just not my thing. Unless you're specifically ordering a bean burrito, there should be no rice OR beans in a burrito. Those are side dishes. A real burrito is mean, maybe some guac or salsa, in a tortilla. That's it. It should taste of its protein, not of bland rice and (usually) bland beans. Maybe it's the San Diego in me, but I can't fathom truly enjoying the SF version.

A Sandwich A Day: Roti from Feroza's Restaurant Roti, the Bronx

"but without the rice." Sigh. A real burrito has no rice. Sigh.

Weekend Cook and Tell: Meatless Mexican

Meatless Mexican? For shame. Fie. A pox on your house.

How to Make Fried Pork and Cabbage Dumplings With Homemade Wrappers

Great article, Kenji. But you gotta add some chile oil to that sauce!

Taste Test: Cherry Soda

Boylan's is hands down my favorite.

Chain Reaction: Burgerville

Thank you. For years I'm puzzled over how not only Portland, but the national press goes gaga over Burgerville. So I keep trying to eat there. As you said the food is inoffensive, but with pretty much no flavor. It's like eating air. Expensive air. Oh, one exception--their shakes and smoothies are pretty tasty. But yeah, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Gimme In-N-Out. Hell, I'd even take a burger from Del Taco over Burgerville.

Eating in San Francisco

Tu Lan, off Market St. Cockroaches and all.

Taste Test: Best Salsa

Another vote for Mrs. Renfro's--esp. the habanero salsas. Frontera's line is hit-or-miss for me; I've found many to be rather bland for my taste. The Frontera Guajillo salsa is a winner, though.

Chicken stock FAIL. Serious Eaters, what am I doing wrong?

My chicken stock always gels. I use mostly wings (you need a lot more than you think you do).

8 Pizzas That Haunt My Dreams, 2010

Here in my neck, (western Oregon), pickled jalapenos are pretty much standard on pizza. Can't remember them ever not being so in my nearly 40 yrs.

Cook the Book: 'Fiesta at Rick's'

Bayless or Batali for sure. Oh wait, David Chang too! Can I invite them all?

Slice Poll: Best Frozen Pizza?

American Flatbread is pretty amazing stuff. But I also love Totino's. Completely different products but both have their merits. :)

Cook the Book: 'Tacos'

Fish tacos with cabbage and that strange white sauce.

Rocky's Crown Pub in San Diego

Do any San Diego old-timers remember Doodleburger?