Architecture, art, football, film, and food -- pretty much all I need in life. Oh yeah, and my wife, too, otherwise there will be nobody to enjoy the architecture, art, film, and food with ;) (...she's not so much a fan of the football part... ;P )

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Favorite foods: Burgers! And all things Chinese and Swiss. Though not necessarily all three mixed together...
  • Last bite on earth: Stir-fried wide rice noodles with beef, soy, scallions, and bean sprouts. Pretty common Chinese dish, but I'm not sure what it's called in English...

The Best Lobster Rolls in Boston

@Porgy_Sashimi -- I can't tell if you're being serious, but I did try the McDonald's version years ago in Cape Cod :P I'm ashamed to admit that it was very first lobster roll I ever had...! But then again, I'm from CA, so I know absolutely NOTHING about proper lobster rolls. Having said that, however, we have a diner out here that makes decent lobster rolls once in a while, but then started making the cold version with pico de gallo instead of celery/mayo -- even I knew that that was some kind of lobster roll sacrilege! Thankfully they've started going back to the traditional cold preparation since...

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Nooooooo, not Mr. Bear....!!!!!

A 5-Stop Eating Tour of LA's San Gabriel Valley for Under $40

Having said that, I heartily second wetdog2's recommendation of Emperor Noodle House -- the shen jian bao there are great, and I'd take their XLB over Din Tai Fung's any day.

A 5-Stop Eating Tour of LA's San Gabriel Valley for Under $40

Savoy's Hainan chicken rice is just plain awesome. I've been eating there for years and can't ever muster any desire to order anything other than the Hainan Chicken rice.

I've never tried the shen jian bao at Kang Kang, but probably will at some point. The problem is that it takes 20 minutes to find a parking space in the lot, assuming you hadn't already given up after seeing the line of cars still lurking in wait for people to leave...

Everything You Need to Know to Make Chinese Hot Pot at Home

We use bean thread noodles (glass noodles) -- they cook relatively quickly and retain a nice chew. And the sacha/satay sauce also works really well as a dipping sauce -- just dilute the paste with soy sauce and/or chili oil. The glass noodles are particularly tasty mixed in that sauce. We've also used XO sauce for dipping before, but it didn't really add much flavor-wise, and I feel like it's a waste of XO sauce...

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: What Happens When a Restaurant Dies

Good god, you scared me with that post title...

Is there anything such as rent control for commercial/retail properties in NY? In CA, at least, residential rent is only allowed to rise a certain percentage every year, assuming that the property is rent controlled, but I don't know if it also applies for retail space.

Also, why are there no laws in place preventing owners from withholding employees' last paychecks? Is it a Chapter 11 kind of provision that allows this?

As painful as it undoubtedly is to see one's business fold, I hope that the closing-restaurant owners can at least find some solace in that their equipment is going towards helping someone else try to keep their restaurant afloat -- they, of all people, probably understand the difficulty of doing so.

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: Changing the Menu and Considering Feedback

I'm actually kind of surprised that Cheerwine doesn't sell. It's fairly popular even in CA, so I would have thought that those wanting an authentic Carolina barbecue experience (i.e., those complaining about certain items being absent from the menu) would love having Cheerwine on the menu. In any case -- keep up the good work, Uncle Ho -- we're pulling for you, and your series has been a very good read...! (I've recommended it to a friend who's in the process of opening up an ice cream shop; not really the same thing, but he can still relate to the challenges of trying to make a dream a reality)

Also, I second pdonphillips -- hushpuppy waffles sound brilliant...

Robyn Lee Is Leaving Serious Eats a Mere 7 1/2 Years After She Got Here

Boo. We'll miss you, Robyn -- happy trails on your new adventures!

Tea taste test/brand preferences?

If you have a Cost Plus World Market near you, they are on the more affordable end of loose leaf and higher-quality bagged teas.

I also second the suggestions to find an Asian market, whether it be Chinese, Japanese or Middle Eastern -- they will have loose leaf teas at a very good price point. I also second the Mighty Leaf recommendations -- one of the better bagged teas I've had. I have yet to find a bagged green tea that comes remotely close to loose leaf flavor, but Tazo Green Tea Tips come close in my opinion. So do some of the Asian brands.

And I must defend Lipton, as they are the best tea for making Hong Kong style milk tea and ying yeung :)

Tea taste test/brand preferences?

If you have a Cost Plus World Market near you, they are on the more affordable end of loose leaf and higher-quality bagged teas.

I also second the suggestions to find an Asian market, whether it be Chinese, Japanese or Middle Eastern -- they will have loose leaf teas at a very good price point. I also second the Mighty Leaf recommendations -- one of the better bagged teas I've had. I have yet to find a bagged green tea that comes remotely close to loose leaf flavor, but Tazo Green Tea Tips come close in my opinion. So do some of the Asian brands.

And I must defend Lipton, as they are the best tea for making Hong Kong style milk tea and ying yeung :)

The Best Valentine's Day Giveaway Ever: Lobel's 4" Prime Dry-Aged Heart Shaped Steaks for Two

Cast-iron, medium rare.

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

We had sandwich spread around the house when I was a kid, too. Not sure if my mom picked up the habit from Hong Kong (i.e., British habit) or Oklahoma (i.e., American habit) though. I haven't seen it lately, but I do know we bought it from Vons/Safeway or Ralph's/Kroger or something like that...

Super Bowl Party Giveaway: Pat LaFrieda Sliders

Watching with a Seattle-native friend, lamenting the fact that they beat my Niners...

AHT needs its own Burger Hall of Fame! Get your picks in!

Is the burger/taco/pastrami/fried everything-stand phenomenon a just a Southern California thing, or does everyone have them in their home cities? Is there perhaps a place in the HOF for the first stand (assuming anyone knows who started doing it first) that popularized the one-stop-shop for local street cuisine?

What's the Weirdest Ice Cream Flavor You've Ever Tried?

Not really weird, per se, but we had some avocado ice cream at last year's Carpinteria Avocado Festival that really tasted like eating a frozen whipped avocado. It was really pleasant until we got halfway into the bowl, when it started tasting like frozen whipped sweet guacamole (we're almost certain there was onion powder in the mix somewhere).

...which is kind of how I would describe the taste of durian, except that the durian has more onion...

Super Bowl Party Giveaway: 17th Street BBQ Baby Back Ribs and Pulled Pork

We sit through a 4-hour live-draft for my fantasy football league every year (even though the auto-drafted teams always seem to do better than the live-drafted ones...) because the draft host spends 2 days prior smoking meat in his Big Green Egg. It might not seem like such a bad thing until we get down to the 16th round in a 12-person league and nobody has any idea who any of the remaining players are. Yeah, First World Problem...

'Time' Names the 17 Most Influential Burgers of All Time

I agree with tankwatkins -- Rite Spot at least claims the first cheeseburger, so there should be at least some mention of it, or whoever else claims to have invented it.

And Krusty Burger...? What did that influence...?

Pantry Essentials: All About Marmite and Other Yeast Extracts

My old roommate loves Vegemite and describes it to the uninitiated as, "feels like peanut butter, tastes like soy sauce..."

The Best and Worst Coffee Beans at Trader Joe's

I like the Tanzanian peaberry as well, even though it brews (I use a press) a little more acidic than I typically like (could be a problem with my grind, since I'm just using a -- gasp! -- flat-blade grinder that doesn't grind particularly evenly). They may have it a little more often here in CA since there are more TJs out here.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

...aaaaand now I just spent the past couple hours watching people knit...

Watch People Eat Their Most Hated Foods in Epic Slow-Mo

Oh dear God, mayo guy...

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: 'Round Things Are Tasty' Tote Bag

Bao of all kinds!

Poll: Do You Cut Your Burger in Half Before You Eat It?

Depends on whether I'm exercising restraint/portion control...

What did Santa bring you?

We got honey-walnut squaw bread from Schaatz, some homemade blackberry and peach preserves, and assorted chocolate-covered dried fruit from Santa, as well as a long-coveted cast iron skillet and dutch oven, which I might have helped Santa out a little bit with... ;P

National Frozen Yogurt Day...?

So according to Yogurtland, today is supposedly National Frozen Yogurt Day. I can't find any documentation about today being the actual day except for Yogurtland ads and people linking to them. The only other thing I found says that there's an entire National Frozen Yogurt Month, but that's supposed to be in June.

I wonder who comes up with these things...?

Jonathan Gold's Burger Quiz

Let's see how well the SE universe measures up to LA's food guru:,0,4172306.story

I only got 8/10 -- I feel like I've shamed AHT... :(

Rice Krispy / Cheerios Treats w/o Butter?

Hey Gang!

Does anyone have a good alternative for butter in Rice Krispy / Cheerio Treats? I still want to use marshmallows, but want to cut out the butter, but also don't want to burn the melting marshmallows or make the finished product hard as a hockey puck. All the non-butter recipes I've found online also seem to completely omit the marshmallows (opting for honey and peanut butter as the cereal binder/chewy-fier). Anyone have a happy medium that has worked for them?


Root Beer in San Diego?

Hello Again SE'ers!
Anybody know of any microbreweries that make their own root beer in or near downtown San Diego (i.e., Gaslamp Quarter, Harbor Island, and thereabouts)? Or any other shops that have a good variety of root beers for sale?
Thanks again!

Lunch Near Sea-Tac?

Hi SE'ers!
I've got a 2-1/2 hr layover in SEA Airport in a couple weeks. Any ideas on where to grab a good lunch within walking distance?

"Crumbly" Soy and/or Low Fat Ice Cream?

Hi Everyone!

I've been experimenting with different substitutes for heavy cream in making ice cream in order to get the "normal" ice cream texture. I thought it had something to do with fat content or possibly whipping enough air into the emulsion before I start freezing it (I use a Cuisinart).

Lower fat content, as we have discussed several times already on this board, seems to result in frozen-solid ice cream once it gets transferred into the freezer, so instead of cream, I started using coconut milk, which has less fat than heavy cream, but higher fat than whole milk or soy milk. My last batch was coconut milk in place of cream, and soy milk in place of whole milk (which had the added benefit of being entirely dairy-free), which actually produced a pretty good creamy texture once the ice cream is on the spoon.

The problem I'm still having is that, even with a higher fat content and additional whipping, my ice cream is still "crumbly" in that it doesn't hold together like normal heavy-cream ice cream. While this is fine in a bowl, it means I can't really put it in a cone, or scoop it out in a big scoop at all. It's still a little hard (as in solid), but I haven't tried adding the alcohol/xanthan/pectin that others have suggested, so I don't know if that would make a difference.

Any ideas?


Dim Sum Poll! (and a question for SE'ers in L.A./San Gabriel)

Calling all Dim Sum Lovers of the SE Universe!

How do you guys prefer your dim sum: ordered from a cart pushed past your table, or selected from a written list and brought by waiters? Both have their charms -- the former lets you order items based on which carts pass by and whether or not it looks good (regardless of whether or not you know what's in it), while the latter guarantees you'll get what you want (as well as a few surprises if you order an item with an unfamiliar name). So either way, it's good! Just wondering which style people like better :)

Also, I just found out that my go-to push-cart dim sum place in San Gabriel closed down. Since I still have a couple menu/list style places in the bullpen, it's not too big of a concern. However, in your opinion, what remaining push-cart style places in the San Gabriel Valley (or menu-style places, for that matter -- can't have too many dim sum places in the bullpen, after all) would you recommend replacing it with?

Ventura Day Trip

Hi All!
Heading up to Ventura this weekend for the day, but don't really know what's up there. Any suggestions as to what to do/see, and especially what/where to eat?

Burgers between LA and Sana Ynez?

Hi Everyone!
We'll be packing up the car for a road trip for the long weekend, and were wondering if anyone had a recommendation for a good burger & malt we can get between LA and Santa Ynez. We'll probably be passing through the Santa Barbara/Goleta area at lunchtime, so things around there are preferable, but not required. Been to The Habit already, so that's my backup plan, and unfortunately the Burger Bus isn't running on Saturdays, so I'm open to any suggestions. Thanks!

What to do with freezer-burned beef tenderloin steaks?

Hi there everyone!
I've discovered some beef tenderloin steaks in my freezer that have been there for a while. The package says that they're filet mignons, but I really can't tell (like I said, they've been in the freezer a while -- MIL just gave them to my wife before they went out of town...). They're probably 2" thick, but somewhat freezerburned. Seeing as they've been in the freezer for a while, does anyone know if they're still safe to use as steaks (i.e., not cooking the insides through all the way)? Seems an awful shame to use filet mignon for stewing meat, so I'm just wondering if there are better ways to use it...

Also, has anyone every tried salting filet mignon like they would salt other steaks? (i.e., salt crust at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before cooking, rinsing off salt and patting down, then skillet cooking) I've used that method for lower quality cuts of meat before (chuck steaks, sirloins, and even ribeyes), and I'm told it works really well for porterhouses, but I'm not sure if that's the proper prep for a nicer cut -- I've honestly never cooked the really nice cuts before myself...!


Where should we eat in Portland??

Hey there, fellow Serious Eaters!
I'm planning a bachelor party in late May for my buddy, and we've decided to hit up Portland, OR for the weekend. We wanted to go to a city none of us had ever been to before, and Portland sounded cool (we're all from either San Francisco or Los Angeles...). Consequently, we have no idea what there is to do/see in Portland, and more importantly, have no idea where to eat...

Thus I am appealing to your culinary wisdom: given that we only have a weekend (2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2-3 dinners) and we'll be staying somewhere around the riverside/downtown area with only public transit at our disposal, where would you say we MUST eat while we're there??

Portland specialties, burger joints, and at least one place for a nice dinner would be great! And if you have recommendations for what to do/see while we're there, that would be great, too!

Thanks folks!

The Serious Eats Guide to Whole Grains

Grains have been a staple of the human diet for the last, oh, 10,000 years. And if you think about it properly—by which I mean with a few debatable leaps of logic and some generous omissions—grains are also basically responsible for all the best things: beer, adorable pets, beds, cheesy popcorn, and, yes, internet. In that fertile crescent-agricultural revolution-cradle of civilization sense, that is.

But have you ever listened to someone wax rhapsodic about the delights of whole grains and thought to yourself, meh? Welcome to the club that I totally just quit.


The Food Lab: How To Make Traditional Vietnamese Pho

There are few things better for the soul or the body than a tangle of slick rice noodles in a rich, crystal clear, intensely beefy broth; the warm aroma of cinnamon, cloves, and star anise rising up in a cloud of steam. The intensely savory-salty hint of fish sauce balanced by a squeeze of lime juice and a handful of fresh herbs and chilies that you add to your bowl as you eat. Here's how to make it at home. More

Illustrated Guide to Steak Cuts, Plus Grilling Tips

If you're new to steak, beef up (pun intended) your meat knowledge with this overview of nine affordable cuts of beef from food writer Tony Rosenfeld at The Washington Post. Rosenfeld also shares steak grilling tips plus photos. Related Robert St. John's Grilling Tips Chris Lilly's Grilling Tips The Lobels' Grilling Tips... More

The Serious Eats Guide to Ramen Styles

With the amount of regional styles and specialities out there, we're not even going to pretend that a comprehensive style guide to all of the ramen in the world is possible. But we can dive deep into ramen broths, soup bases, noodles, seasonings, toppings and oh-so-much more to give you something to noodle over. More

The Complete Serious Eats Barbecue & Sauce Style Guide

A few years back, When Pigs Fly columnist James Boo published two separate but equally comprehensive guides—one to American regional barbecue styles, the other to American regional barbecue sauces. Now, to celebrate Barbecue Week, we've combined both posts into one glorious super guide, designed to provide you with the most encyclopedic barbecue coverage possible. More

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Dry-Aging Beef at Home

This guide will show you exactly how to dry-age at home, how relatively simple it is, and how it can vastly improve the eating quality of your steaks and roasts until they are better than what you can buy at even the best gourmet supermarket. And unlike many other places that claim similar results, I actually have the blind taste tests to prove it! More

5 Things You Might Not Know About Maple Syrup

On a recent trip to Montreal, I visited the Maple Museum which chronicles the history and science of maple syrup and the shop sells a range of maple-related food products, such as maple salad dressings, maple salts, and maple butter. Here are five things to know about maple. More

The Food Lab's Complete Guide To Pan-Seared Steaks

Summers are made for the grill, but what's a steak lover to do when the weather's too cold and wet to light the suckers up? Just cook them indoors. Indeed, pan-seared steaks have several distinct advantages over grilled steaks—enough that there are times when given the two choices, I'll choose pan-seared just for the sake of it. While grilling will get you a rapid-fire crust on your steak with all those delightfully crisp, on-the-verge-of-burnt bits and a good smoky flavor, I find that the even golden brown crust you can develop in a hot cast-iron pan really accentuates the flavor of the beef itself, letting it shine. On top of that, pan-searing affords you the opportunity to add your own flavorings in the form of aromatics. Pan-seared steaks come out about 4 percent moister to boot.

Here's the best way to do it.


How to Make Fried Pork and Cabbage Dumplings With Homemade Wrappers

Of all the foods off the A1 through A24 section of your local Chinese takeout menu, fried dumplings (that's Peking ravioli to you Bostonians) are perhaps the ones that benefit most from some home treatment. Unless you're really lucky, takeout dumplings are thick-skinned and greasy, any crunch having left them in the long steamy bike ride from the kitchen to your door. More

Homemade Bagels, à la Jo Goldenberg

[Photographs: Adam Kuban] This is my go-to recipe for homemade bagels. It's adapted from Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Breads. Clayton, in turn, got the recipe from the folks at the now-defunct Jo Goldenberg's, the famous Jewish restaurant and delicatessen... More

Know Your Beans: A Field Guide to Coffee

Even if you're just a casual coffee lover, you've got a basic bean-spotter's vocabulary down, I'm sure. "Dark roast" is going to look darker than "light roast", and things called "Italian", "French" or "Viennese" may be distractingly dark and shiny. But have you ever explored the layers beyond—or even before—everyday roasted coffee? We offer this first in a series of pictorial field guides to help expand your visual vocabulary, one bean at a time. More

Thai Tea Ice Cream

This ice cream tastes just like a cup of Thai iced tea, but with a stronger tea kick. Serve with a slurp (or two) of sweetened condensed milk. If you want to remove all tea particles from the ice cream, strain the custard through a cheesecloth. More