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belinskaya

  • Location: Washington, DC

Footlong Lobster Rolls Near the Bronx Zoo: A Trip to City Island

This article reminds me of so much that I miss from Will Gordon on this site (I suspect he's firmly in the "monkeys make everything better" camp, too). The funny, highly individual voice that tells me useful things about the food while being entertaining as heck. I don't like beer, and I read Will's beer reviews on Deadspin strictly for the writing. I will devour anything else you're willing to publish from Allison accordingly.

The past couple days have had really good content - interesting, useful, somewhat unique, and well-written. Keep it up!

Taste Test: The Best Fast Food Chicken Nuggets

The reasons why particular things rated low were extremely useful in figuring out in what ways tastes differ and what marginal products were still worth using.

I trust the taste tests here the way I do Consumer Reports ratings - seriously tested and willing to give the good and bad of all tested products. I understand the pressures, being ad-based, so while I mourn the loss of the previous way of doing things, I recognise that you don't have the freedom of a self-financed group like Consumer Reports and respect that you've chosen to maintain as much publishing integrity as possible while mollifying the people who keep the computers on.

Budget Wine Hall of Fame: 24 Great Bottles for $20 or Less

I suspect CandiRisk is right on a lot of this - wine pricing varies so much regionally (even county to county, much less state to state) that strict price levels are hard to match. I'm lucky enough that I have a county liquor store walking distance from my house; the beer/wine places are required to purchase wholesale from the county, so the county store undercuts their prices, but they are more convenient for a lot of people. The same inexpensive bottle will be up to $5 more expensive if you don't visit the county store (as I have learned to my chagrin, since the beer/wine places keep later hours than the county store and are admittedly more conveniently located). But some of these beer/wine stores carry a very different selection - one is run by a guy who really enjoys wine, so he has a lot of interesting bottles, but for slightly more than they really ought to cost when one notes the general markup.

Vinho verde should never cost more than $10, Montgomery County! NEVER!

I sometimes feel like these articles need a baseline so that we, around the country, can understand. What is the average non-sale price of Woodbridge or YellowTail? Then we can get a sense of how many dollars above that baseline (or perhaps percentage increase in price) the authors are actually suggesting looking. Just a quick footnote with jurisdiction (state and perhaps county) and the baseline price for context.

The Tea Cup and the Dragon: Secrets of China's Favorite Green Tea

Fantastic article! Especially the lack of judgment, especially from the experts. (compare to the tone some have perceived in some of the coffee articles in the past.) I'm not a drinker of fancy green tea, but I feel I learned a lot of really useful advice for drinkers of any tea, including cheap tea bags.

And I'll join the chorus of "if a trip to India is offered, send Max to Darjeeling!" Sri Lanka is also an entirely acceptable option, I'm sure.

The Best Food to Order at Panda Express

Since I'm stuck in one building all day with only mall food court options for lunch (our only Mexican choice right now is Taco Bell, which is why the coming of Qdoba next month is super exciting even if we'd all prefer Chipotle), I have been thrilled to have Panda as an option. Because while I usually bring my lunch, I just got moved to the office with no fridge and no microwave, and sometimes I just want some hot food that's reasonably tasty. Panda is a godsend for that - the steamed veg is never mushy, the things that claim to be spicy have actual flavour (though not necessarily a lot of spice), and the meat is identifiable. The Shanghai Steak they have right now is totally worth the upcharge. And if you check the nutritional info online, the only real issue is the sodium, but I eat low-sodium at home anyway, so I think I'll live.

Yeah, when I started working there three years ago, I told myself I was above wasting money on any of the terrible food options, but we all have those days when groceries didn't happen or everything in the fridge looks too boring to eat or you're leaving for vacation directly after work and don't' want to deal with dirty lunch dishes. And for those days, Panda bowls are my salvation.

We Taste 9 Fast Food Vanilla Milkshakes (and Risk Permanent Brain Freeze)

For those complaining about Chik-fil-A, keep in mind where a lot of their stores are. Can you guarantee that franchisees of other chains in those regions are not making large donations to similar causes?

Example: I live in a very liberal county in Maryland, so I've not been to my local Chik-fil-A in a few years now. However, I'd have zero qualms about patronising them over other restaurants in, say, parts of Utah, as I suspect my money would be going to similar places. Your local grocer may not be perfectly ethical on this stance, either. At that point, you might as well go where the food is best.

Everyone has to make their own decisions based on their available options and in a well-covered topic such as this, there's no more discussion, just shaming of people who have this as an available option. And that's just mean.

Back to topic, I miss Steak 'n' Shake. I want an orange freeze so badly. I don't even have a Dairy Queen nearby! Maybe I'll walk over to Potbelly this afternoon. Banana shakes with real banana, not flavouring.

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Puff Pastry

Oh, and as to the article itself, SE, thanks - I'm frequently cooking dairy-free for friends with allergies, so it's good to know that Pepperidge Farm makes a good option.

I'm one of those people with a tiny apartment kitchen with next to no counter space plus two roommates, so getting any extra fridge/freezer space is a luxury. Cooking projects, as opposed to food, are pretty rare, and baking even more so, as I can do some things on the dining room table, but flour and carpeting are a terrible, terrible combination. It's not just the time savings that make certain premade ingredients valuable: it's the ability to be a much better member of society by not demanding more than my share of space or kitchen time when I'm making something for a potluck.

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Puff Pastry

Based on the commentary, yes, Candide, you are alone.

Let us remember the wise teachings of your tutor, praise the little spirochete without which we'd have no chocolate to eat, and accept that all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.

Washington, DC Cheap Eats: 10 Great Dishes Under $10

Bub and Pop's - just want to make sure anyone not in the know can find it :)

Lunch in the Loop: Devouring the Hot Dog Salad at Rudy's Bar & Grille

Congratulations on the job! At least during the sucky unemployment, you had Cricket to keep you company. (I did 18 months without even a mouse to keep me company whilst scraping together temp gigs at the height of the crash.)

I want that martini milkshake.

Behind the Bugs and Critters We Ate in the Bronx This Weekend

Too many pictures for it not to be real - it'd have been a lot of photoshop or staging of patently weird things (note the label on the sushi).

However, despite my skepticism that raw porcupine is really a good idea, I'm more concerned with why the seeming MC guy is still in curlers. What new hipster fashion hell have I just discovered?

Taste Test: Dennis Eats All of Cricket's Cat Food

I love you, Dennis. Especially the stuffies gathered round to witness your debasement.

Does Cricket also eat crickets, spiders, whatever arthropod comes into her path? Because I know you share those, too, if she does.

Open Thread: Do You Lick Your Beaters?

It was a sad, sad day when the mixer died and we had to replace it. The old mixer was a lovely shade of avocado green (which will give some idea of the vintage) and had those fantastic wide blade beaters where each of the four blades was curved like a little scoop to be perfectly emptied with a swipe of the tip of your tongue. Great licking.

All the new mixers (this was in the 1990s) had those crazy thin newfangled wire things that are so much more difficult to clog and have so little stuck to them at the end that licking has become pointless. Yet I do it anyway, because it must be done, even when disappointing.

I swear the rubber scrapers have gotten better, too, leaving less in the bowl to lick. Or my mommy was kind to me when scraping the bowl, which is also a reasonable hypothesis.

Lunch in the Loop: Perry's Deli

Congrats on 200! I look forward to all your articles even though I haven't lived in Chicago in more than 10 years.

I look forward to more videos, too - and I don't usually watch videos online!

What's your favorite way to prepare cauliflower?

Roasted with smoked paprika. I could probably eat the whole head.

Also, this recipe is great: http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/cauliflower-with-saffron-and-pasta It reheats well for work lunches, too - I keep the feta on the side and mix it in single portions. (haven't tried it with shrimp yet) I sometimes roast the cauliflower then mix it with the onions and seasoning for extra browning action, but that does mean getting another pan dirty and is obviously not required. As a side dish, it doesn't even really need the pasta, but the pasta makes it a filling main. Could easily go with rice, too.

Looking for a Horseshoe Sandwich in Chicago? Visit 6 Degrees in Bucktown

Horseshoe days were the best of the not-pizza days in the high school cafeteria - half a burger bun, hot ham, tons of crinkle-cut fries if you were lucky (if you weren't lucky, they were kinda thick and rarely fried well enough), all smothered in cheese sauce for $2. One of the best things you could do with government cheese.

Chain Reaction: We Try the Dunkin' Donuts Eggs Benedict Sandwich

I don't think you can make happy trees with this stuff. They would be very sad trees, indeed.

I feel like the only thing truly good from Dunkin is the French Cruller. Even the classic Boston Kreme donut could be better but does hit the spot as morning junk food after a long week at work.

Lunch in the Loop: Harold's Chicken Shack

Oh man, fried mushrooms! A thing I forgot I even missed from my midwest upbringing.

Eating Roasted Alligator and Spider-on-a-Stick at the Explorer's Club 110th Annual Gala

While I can appreciate the thought that goes into whole-animal presentation, can we all agree with Niki that the fetal position in aluminum foil is not an appropriate version?

(also, why does the ostrich look like it has the beak of an ibis? what am I actually looking at?)

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Burgers

I'm glad to see Pixel got something good out of this taste test.

The Serious Eats Guide to Whole Grains

Sucking the life force out of small children! Robyn drawings! Gluten development that sounds like something from Hedwig and the Angry Inch!

I love this article even before it gets into thorough and helpful descriptions of things I should try.

We Try the New Lemon Oreos

This is good news, because lemon sandwich cookies are always great, and I don't want to sound unappreciative of this nice review, but are we going to get a look at the cookie dough ones? Because those look amazing and terrifying all at once (I love cookie dough frosting; I can imagine Nabisco screwing it up).

I do thank you for testing these. (and @thebookpolice and @khark, I, too, have fond memories of the Lemon Chalet Creme Girl Scout Cookies. Very basic, but well done.)

How to Order Cider in a Restaurant or Bar

A "list" of cider? I don't understand this concept. I'm just overjoyed when there's one on tap.

Lunch in the Loop: More Than Just Sandwiches at Bánh Mì & Co.

As long as the place doesn't smell like Hollister . . .

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Hello, Tesla!

I think Pixel's fort is the only legit use of the burgers, not just the boxes. You're a brave woman, Erin.

Seattle Recs?

A friend and I will be in town for a couple of days at the beginning of May connected to a show at the Paramount Theatre. We'll be staying downtown (a couple blocks from the Paramount), we won't have a car, and we may be a little pressed for time due to curtain times.

Looking for:
Dinner Saturday evening before an 8 pm curtain
Breakfast/lunch (maybe brunch) Sunday (options for both helpful as we intend to get up early and explore a bit)
Dinner Sunday (no timeframe)
Breakfast Monday before going to the airport for an 11:45 flight out.

The twist in all this is that my friend is diabetic (type 1), so as much as I appreciate coffee shop pastries to start my morning, breakfast for her really needs to be protein-based (eggs, sausages, something v. low carb).

My priority is to go to Pike Place Market, look around, and eat fish (since I am too polite to eat all the loads of carbs I want in front of her). Her priority is to get a look at the central library.

How do I best make this work to keep her fed appropriately for breakfast without breaking the bank or running all over town? Where should we eat tasty fish without spending more than $25 a person on entrees? If she wanted to use some carb points for something exciting, what sweets cannot be missed at Pike Place Market?

Thanks for any direction you guys can give! It's the breakfast thing that has me thrown off most. In London, there's greasy cafs all over that have us covered; in NY, there are diners everywhere. Seattle? That's a new world.

What to bake with sour cherries?

Picked up a quart of sour cherries at the farmers market this morning knowing how hard these things are to find. (Also picked up a pint of sweet cherries, but I know what I'm doing with those - rinse and stuff face.)

I'm also a nice person who intends to share with my roommates, one of whom is deathly allergic to milk products (and peanuts and tree nuts - almonds are fine). Thus the original idea of a clafoutis or this lovely tarte aux griottes is completely out.

Currently thinking Sour Cherry "Clams" from this website, using vegan puff pastry, but I'm open to any and all ideas.

So what would you do with a single quart of sour cherries?

Pie plates - glass/ceramic vs metal

I'm in need of a pie plate/dish/pan. Growing up, my mom had old (over 30 years old) lightweight metal ones that I'm used to. A couple apartments ago, I acquired a couple cheap kitchenaid dark metal ones that I could not stand and thus left with that roommate. The KitchenAid issue was largely that it has handles on each side, so it is impossible to get a nice crust edge. Also, we did something in washing them that caused the underside rim to rust almost immediately.

Looking today for a replacement, it looks like glass or ceramic are everywhere and metal are impossible to find. Are glass/ceramic plates actively better, or are they just considered more attractive right now?

I can find metal tart pans easily, but not a basic pie plate. What's the difference in functional terms? As in, I know a tart pan's bottom comes out, the sides are fluted and straight rather than angled, etc., but why are metal tart pans so easy to find and metal pie plates not? What does the different material do for each type of baked good?

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Diet sodas - recommendations?

A friend was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes this spring, so while we've been managing ok, I'd like to pick up a six pack for her or at least make some recommendations of diet soda other than Diet Coke that does not suck.

Her favourites before the diagnosis were San Pellegrino Limonata and any variety of ginger ale, so these are the ideal flavour profiles, but really, any recommendations on anything would probably be helpful to a subset of readers.

We're both in Maryland - she has access to the usual national brands; I've got a few more options what with a nearby Whole Foods, Target, and can probably access some specialty varieties in various places as I'm in the DC suburbs. (She's on the Eastern Shore.)

Thanks!

Pork Shoulder + Crock Pot = ?

I have pork shoulder in the freezer (2 pieces weighing about 2 pounds each). I have a crock pot. First attempt was a pork/sweet potato stew that came out fairly decently and got me through a cold and nasty week.

Now, what else should I do? I'm thinking maybe a pseudo-carnitas, as that might have multiple applications and thus be less boring (single cook here, so whatever is done will be protein for a week).

Recipes? Suggestions? When left on my own, I have a tendency to buy a bag of frozen veg, a bag of frozen shrimp, and a bottle of teriyaki sauce and just eat stir fry all week, which gets really old really fast. The pork roast purchase was an attempt to move beyond that, but I need to actually cook it instead of have it continue to sit in the freezer.

Maple Black Pepper Pork Chops

I am addicted to this dish. Usually I have to cook so many new dishes a week, I don't have time to revisit the really impressive ones. But I've made an exception for this one. I understand on paper it doesn't sound like it should work. The recipe from Eggs On Sunday uses a lot of maple syrup, Too sticky sweet? Nope, everything is balanced by the cider vinegar and black peppercorns, which transform into this rich, meaty glaze that miraculously makes each bite taste like the best rib eye you can imagine. More