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Spot of Tea: Twinings Jasmine Green Tea

I also love Twinings Jasmine Green Tea. I buy it locally for considerably less than $3.99.

From the Cookie Aisle: New Pepperidge Farm Milano Melts

I'm suspicious of the packaging--at least what I can see in the photo. Am I wrong in surmising that the "creme" does not contain real chocolate?

Recap: Top Chef All-Stars, Episode 15, Last Supper

I'm with mamiejane. I'm sick to death of those gimmicky challenges. If I wanted to see a chef prepare a meal while s/he is hanging upside down from a chandelier, I'd go to the circus. I want to watch talented chefs create their most brilliant cuisine, period. Bravo may as well hand Top Chef over to Penn & Teller and call it a day.

10 of Our Favorite Pancakes in America

@mwheeler: Just read your comment. Could that be Joe's Diner in Lee?

Champagne for Valentine's Day

Nothing compares to good Champagne. I can't tolerate Prosecco; to me, it tastes like wannabe. If I can't afford a full bottle of the real thing (and most of the time I can't), I'll take respectable bottle of non-sparking wine, but none of that stuff with the gas pumped into it.

That's Nuts: Torrone, the Italian Nougat Confection

Love, love, love Torrone. Nothing compares. I've been known to order it from various importers when I need my fix. Anyone have a favorite importer?

Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do

@PrettyNicola: Note that he qualifies #100 with "...or something else management approves." I wouldn't say he's talking about comping. A glass of port or a plate of biscotti to show appreciation to a good table is, for the restaurant, a sound investment.

Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do

@PrettyNicola: Thanks. Good idea.

I applaud all of these. But this one made me downright giddy:

97. If a guest goes gaga over a particular dish, get the recipe for him or her.

Brilliant!

Serious Chocolate: Understanding Necco Wafers

I regularly eat whole packages of Neccos. I just love them. It has to be a childhood thing, since I'm quite sure that if I were introduced to them now, I'd never understand why anyone would eat them.

Mario Batali's Jarred Pasta Sauces

Ya know, I've not tried any of his pasta sauces, and I'm usually loathe to try celebrity-endorsed (or -launched) products. But I love my Mario Batali vegetable peeler.

Popcorn: Do You Err on the Side of Unpopped or Burnt?

Add me to the "weird" list. I like mine slightly burnt. I haven't a clue where I developed that peccadillo, as I can't tolerate any other food that's overcooked.

Cook the Book: '100 Best Vegetarian Recipes'

Avocado and brie with ripe tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts on crusty whole grain bread. Fabulous sandwich.

Quinoa catastrophe!

Good to know that I may not need to bother with rinsing. Next time I buy quinoa from my local store, I will ask them if the stuff they sell in bulk is pre-rinsed.

@bareneed: something was wrong with the quinoa you prepared. There is absolutely no aftertaste with rinsed quinoa, I promise you.

Quinoa catastrophe!

Sorry, gastronomeg, I didn't notice you made that recommendation until now. Kudos to you as well.

I purchased the quinoa at my local organic food store, where they sell it in bulk http://hawthornevalleyfarm.org/store/store.htm. But it's not at all difficult to find.

Quinoa catastrophe!

Misterhee, you saved the day. Grazie mille. I often forget that cooking and baking require science as well as art.

Gastronomeg, the quinoa has a lovely nutty taste with a very pleasant little crunch. I was going to prepare it for breakfast, with chopped dates, raisins, and almonds, but I got too hungry and grabbed some oatmeal. I will probably have it tonight, topped with some stir-fried broccoli, mushrooms, and onions.

Quinoa catastrophe!

Thanks, misterhee, I'll try heating the pot. I'll report back!

Quinoa catastrophe!

Glad to be of service, gastronomeg! The pot is no longer hot, but I already tried prying the lid off with a fork, several different knives, and a screwdriver. Really. It's as if the thing were superglued.

What to give a new freshman at the University of Chicago?

Wow. More great ideas. chgoeditor and bobcatsteph3, thanks for reminding me what life is like for college freshmen and the importance of care packages when you're away from home for the first time. And chgoeditor, big thumbs up for the information on the CTA. You've all give me much food for thought.

What to give a new freshman at the University of Chicago?

Thanks for some really good ideas, Serious Eaters! (I think I'd take a pass on the beer money, misterhee, even if the U of C were a party school.)

Serious Grape: Gew├╝rztraminer, the Spicy White Wine with the Difficult Name

I've yet to find a Gew├╝rztraminer as complex and delicious as those from Alsace.

Coffee with Something Added: Way or No Way?

No way! Been drinking it black since I was a kid. There was a time when I enjoyed iced coffee in the summertime, but for some reason I can't stand the stuff now. Hot black coffee--definitely my drug of choice.

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