• Location: Washington, DC

Do you have to refrigerate truffle oil once opened?

Ditto Teachertalk. It also helps retain the truffle smell for longer. Def let it sit out for a bit so you won't be left impatiently waiting for the oil to slowly slick out onto your salad/pasta/delicious meal!

How Do You Frizzle an Egg?

I just did this by accident this morning, and remembered this thread:

I poured way to much oil into my wok (jetlagged..), cracked a couple of eggs in, and left it there at high heat.

When I came back from washing my hands a few minutes later, the bottom was all crisped up. I basted the whites with the hot oil (I used canola), and it was done.

Philly Restaurants in the University City area

@Nicholas Chen that'd be Pho & Cafe Saigon =).

If you don't mind trekking a little further,both Vietnam and Vientiane Cafe on 48th and Baltimore are really good (but, like Nicholas Chen said, it is cold..).

Unfortunately Don Memo and Koja aren't open on the weekends.. pity b/c they're both so delicious (and cheap).

Also, Biba, a wine & cheese shop that's sister to Tria in the Gayborhood, recently opened up on the bridge at 31st and Walnut. More a small bites place under $10 (go for the truffle eggs over potatoes!)

Philly Restaurants in the University City area

@shasta Hemo's isn't open on the weekends, I believe.

To add to the list:

Yue Kee (btwn Walnut and Locust on 38th) is pretty good - check out for the menu and number, as they take a while.

Nan, which is Thai French fusion, is great and BYO if you have the time.

Near HUP there is Potbelly, which does great sandwiches.

Koreana at 38th and Walnut (tucked in the parking lot behind Chili's) does great food at below $10.

If you want breakfast sandwiches under $5, check out Bui's at 37th and Spruce. Whatever you get, be sure to ask for Bui's sauce.

What is the best/cheapest college meals to make?

@janaatwg that was pretty much me in Philly, as well.

What do you mean, you hate _________?!

Can't stand carrots. Raw, cooked, anything.. really don't like them.

Your Favorite Meal?

1. Scrambled eggs with onions, drowned in soy sauce and Chinese vinegar.
2. Scrambled eggs topped with shaved white truffles. Lots of them.

Seriously Asian: Why I'd Rather Eat Vegetarian Chicken than Mediocre Meat

A very traditional Chinese "wheat gluten" dish is kao fu (the wood ear mushrooms / bamboo shoots look like the dish!).

Just had it, and have loved it since my mom first tricked me into eating it by telling me it was beef. Just had it in Chinatown and it brought back those memories..

Chinese use of mock meats is common, esp. during the day of Buddhist eating. So I understand mock meat as an Asian veggie.

Mock meat in the form of Morningstar's line I'm less convinced of. As well as veggie cheesesteaks.. just kind of creepy. But yummy nonetheless!

What do you do when a recipe doesn't turn out?

Lol @Hunnyoil.

Since we're in school, new recipes are often tried out and oftentimes fails will get refridgerated and never eaten (there are two or three tupperware dishes as evidence of that right now in the fridge).. Most of the time they end up in the trash.

Once in a while I'll try to incorporate what's left into a stir-fry or another dish composed of leftovers. The soups that haven't turned out well have never seen anything but the trash bags, unfortunately!

What are you cooking/baking today?

I made a lazy take on veggie lo mein by just cooking some linguini and dumping it in a wok with veggie oyster sauce and soy sauce. It wasn't very good (with me being to lazy and cold to even chop up garlic after having gone until 4pm without eating!). Saved it by sprinkling in tons of crispy fried shallots.

Garces Trading Company in Philly?

Garces Trading Company is technically still a BYO as gingercookiewithlime said, it has a liquor license it acquired recently so they could serve mixed drinks, but you can still BYOB (take advantage of the PLCB store right in-house!).

I haven't eaten there, but I've been a couple times to look at produce (and snack on samples hehe) and buy wine. If you do go, I have heard that the deep dish pizza is just not worth the time or $.
Barbuzzo has had good reviews, but as LaBan noted that it's still very busy there.

You won't regret Zahav though - the hummus is so silky and delicious. Fried halloumi and the fried cauliflower are so delicious as well.

Bringing lunch to work, need some suggestions

Pre-popping popcorn and putting it in an air-tight container (like a Ziploc) is something that saved me when I needed snack options.

String cheese, Babybel cheese and Laughing Cow cheese wedges don't need to be fridged.

If you bring an avocado and some hefty bread, you can have avocado toast at work for lunch, which is so yummy and filling.

What do you look for in a food blog?

I'm with @lynnferda: the photos do it for me. I follow local food blogs that review establishments that I'm interested in trying. If recipes I'm looking for, I can easily find them on the internet.
Quality and an understanding and thoughtful commentary on food is what I look for. There is a local food blogger who's RSS feed I do follow (no need to point fingers here, of course) who seems to feel as though s/he does not need to comment more than what dishes are composed of. I prefer some more indepth commentary - those are the blogs I tend to follow more often.

SE is my fave because regardless of where I am in the world, the photos, recipes and reviews are so helpful and informative. Do you have a blog you'd like to direct us towards to give commentary on? If you do, just point us to your profile, or let me know.

Baked spinach chips - your thoughts / alternative snack recipes?

Accidental double post! Please mods, delete whichever is less responded too! My apologies.

Poll: Pizza ... Even When It's Bad, It's Good?

I have to say that I've had pizza from the exact location pictured on 3rd and South really hits the spot. But good pizza even slightly buzzed can't compare - especially considering that anything eaten while drunk is amazing.

Taste Test: Apple Sauce

I have to admit that when I'm feeling lazy, I don't even bother peeling the apples. I just boil them for longer before pureeing!

Favorited Form of Potatoes

french fries, either eating out or at home.

I prefer to oven fry them at home, with paprika, garlic salt and onions and oil. I've been meaning to try making latkes - I have all the ingredients minus eggs. I keep using up my eggs to fry them over easy to top veggie burgers!

Travelers: What's Your Favorite Airport Food?

@heeki - a lot of the food in the HK airport is chain-like (Burger King) but the Asian chains are great (think Ajisen Ramen)

Roundup of Celebrity Chef Burger Joints

Bobby's Burger Palace opened up on Penn's campus about a block from our place last year. We actually saw Bobby opening day.

My boyfriend had a burger - they were small for their price, overcooked, and he says Five Guys is better.

With so many great places to grab a great burger at a better price, he prefers other joints. I'm veg, but the margarita was strong.

What do you crave more: sugar or salt?

Salt, always! I'm the complete antithesis of my sister, who loves desserts.

Philadelphia: Simple and Subtle Burgers at 500˚

Funny story about 500 - my boyfriend sometimes has his burger there, and then we go to the vegetarian Chinese restaurant right next to it (Su Xing) to get me some vegan soup.

Those truffle fries are delicious!

Dinner Tonight: Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans

Is that whole wheat rigatoni? I don't think I've ever seen that, I want to find it if it is!

Potential self-promoter alert

whoops didn't see the link, thanks for the heads up. feel free to remove this post if warranted.

What's your favorite bagel flavor?

Another vote for everything, followed by onion.

Poll: Four Loko, Ban or Don't Ban?

@chanterelle: I hear you on being responsible when drinking. I think this applies universally to whatever you do, 4 Lokos or otherwise.

I don't have a license (actually, don't know how to drive), but I would never do so if I had anything to drink, regardless of what I drank or whatever amount.

I feel like Four Lokos got a lot of press from the horrible incidents that started the controversy, and that actually negatively contributed to more people wanting to try it. I do have college friends that have made the conscious decision to not the touch the stuff as well, so this may be a double-edged sword.

Baked spinach chips - your thoughts / alternative snack recipes?

I've been trying a baked baby spinach recipe, roasted them in the oven for 15 mins at 350F. My boyfriends and my own consensus is that they taste interesting - sort of like roasted seaweed - but not good enough to put into our regular rotation.

Have you tried it out (e.g. at lower temps) with better results? Do you have better low cal snack ideas? Please share!

Serious eating with health consciousness in mind.

Moderation is key, and Ed's Serious Diet column has been a great insight to me -- but I'm curious:

How do you all mix good (great!) food with health in mind?

I find the best recipes use butter, cheese etc. and true to form - as we are meant to find them - taste best. I cut down on fat by using PAM a lot, whole grain bread and rice, low-fat cheeses etc.

I started cooking with health concerns in mind, but flavor was, and always will be, #1 for me. I try to stick with fresh, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients that require minimal amounts of doctoring for a good meal (aromatics and spices make this so much easier!).
Creamy and oil-heavy meals are an indulgence for me - and mainly in restaurants.

I'd love to know how SE-ers love to mix both great flavor and health conscious recipes on a daily basis.

Vegetarian cooking - do I need a cast iron skillet?

A lot of cast iron skillet one-pot recipes I see pertain to meat (steaks, chicken etc. - meats that benefit from Maillard reactions).

As a veg, I can only think of caramelized onions, as well as fritattas and quiches that would require finishing in the oven that would make a cast iron skillet a worthwhile investment for me (I do have baking dishes, so I could add to do the dishwasher load instead).

Thoughts or suggestions? Or any veggie cast iron skillet ideas? Thanks in advance!

Five Spice Tofu - what should I do with it?

I know I've seen five spice tofu cooked in some applications in mainland China when I used to visit, I just can't remember how! I just stir-fried some with garlic and veg. oyster sauce, but I keep on thinking that I had it in some kind of spicy marinade as a child.

Any ideas / recipes? I'd like to use it as the main ingredient.

Key lime pie - sweetened lime juice?

I bought all the ingredients for key lime pie minus the lime juice (d'oh!) - my SI's mother went out to get lime juice but came back with sweetened Rose's lime juice from concentrate.. I somehow really doubt this will work, but don't want to be a bother.
Any thoughts?

Do you browse SE at work?

Was just curious - do you ever browse SE at work (this question excludes those of you who work at SE!).

My boss can see my screen, and maybe because I am a scared intern I don't browse SE because my company is a newswatch agency, and food has nothing to do with it!

Do you browse? Do you click away quickly if someone walks by so it doesn't seem like you're procrastinating?

A microwave and an oven. What can I make?

While I'm interning in DC I couldn't pack a lot onto the Chinatown bus from Philly, so I only brought a baking sheet and microwave safe Tupperware. Bad idea - all my woks, steamers, beloved skillets.. all in Philly. I've been roasting corn in the oven, that's about it.

Any suggestions for what I can make that's cheap, healthy, vegetarian and good?

Does this sound too disgusting to eat?

I was hungover and thinking about the hamburger fatty melt and then.. BAM! I had a drunk food / hangover cure idea.

... French toast PB & J sandwich?? With a little maple syrup on top? My boyfriend was grossed out by the idea, but I think I may try it tomorrow (or tonight, after a few drinks).


Another "dealbreaker" poll: s/he doesn't care for good food?!

Would you see it as a deal breaker if your significant other didn't really appreciate good food (e.g. fast food burgers will always beat the best Kobe beef) and considers microwaving 'cooking'?

I feel like a good meal is such a communal experience, that if one person truly enjoys it the other needs to be able to appreciate it to some degree. Your thoughts?

Bruni's Born Round

I picked up a copy of Frank Bruni's autobiography, Born Round, and have read through maybe 75% of it.

I've noticed that he described his self in such a way that I expected him to look a lot bigger in the photos he included. Especially the one of him as an adolescent at a swim meet -- I couldn't see any love handles!

While he does appear to be on the heavy side at times (e.g. on the campaign trail), I wouldn't characterize him as being as overweight as I'd imagined him to be based on his own self-descriptions.

Has anyone else noticed this? I thought this might just be my opinion (although I am pretty tiny at a size 2 and grew up in thin-central Asia, so I do recognize that people tend to be heavier in the West than the East), or that he just might have viewed himself as being "bigger" because of his food issues.

Any thoughts?
The book has been a great read, so far, though!

How do you like your eggs?

OK I know that this question has been covered in the breakfast sandwich poll.. but how do you like your eggs (naked, and on their own with S&P?).

I just tried poaching my eggs via the SE technique recommendation -- basically hard-boiled them, but after having amazing poached eggs on a lentil pilaf I am WON OVER.
I also love scrambled eggs with soy sauce and vinegar, but w/o the condiments I don't like 'em, which eliminates them.

I love runny eggs (all the better to dip my bread with!) so over-easy or over-medium (and the aforementioned poached) are my number ones. When I feel like being healthy, hard-boiled egg whites do it for me,

And you?

Pasta dinner: what's your recipe?

Tonight is topped with breadcrumbs made with toasted crushed saltines,over garlic and sauteed mushrooms, peas, and pasta tossed with parm and thickened some reserved cooking liquid.

Finals week at college: your power recipes!

Beyond the Red Bulls and cheap Domino's pizza: what are your good, cheap, quick recipes that can be easily-made ahead and downed straight out of the fridge, which will provide enough nutrition to get through all-nighters and exams week?

I'm currently running on energy drinks, string cheese and Chinese take-out (and procrastinating on studying for my 9am final by posting this).

Suggestions and recipes will be greatly and tired-ly appreciated.

The "hot oil" component in Asian dipping sauces

Having missed on many opportunities in the kitchen preparing Chinese food with my mom growing up, I find myself often calling her (whenever the 12 hr time difference allows) and emailing her for recipes that I try to replicate at college while homesick.

For a lot of dipping sauces and noodle dish sauce (where we pour the sauce over the noodles and mix, such as this bean-paste and tomato sauce we used to make), my mom tells me to add a little bit of "hot oil" on top to finish. Can anyone elaborate on this Asian technique? Have you heard of using it in other dishes or is this something my mom has picked up from generations of traditional Beijing-style cooking within our family?

Asian cucumber salad

I often eat (at home in Hong Kong) a cold cucumber salad that's definitely Chinese-inspired. I've tried to get the recipe out of my mom several times but her English isn't fabulous and all she can has e-mailed is "salt cucumbers, no cooking!".

I had the dish again in DC, and have been trying to replicate with the (sparse) help of online recipes.

Basically what I've been doing is slicing the cucumbers in bite-sized wedges, then salting them in a coriander to remove moisture for half an hour. Then I marinate them in 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar, 1 tbs of lite soy sauce, and a Splenda packet and adding a dash of sesame oil (per whole cucumber). It still doesn't taste "quite right" so I was wondering if any other SE-eaters had an original recipe or could give me some intel (at least until I can get my mother face to face to show me how she makes it!).

P.S. I also tried to make it today with my newly purchased Slap-Chop, which is a disaster of a purchase and a painful waste of $15 to a college student. Stay away!!

What's your potato salad recipe?

I have a bag of potatoes I'm going to use up and decided to do potato salad.

What's your recipe, and what do you put in yours?
At home we do peas and cut up gherkins and pickles with mayo.

Cheap DC vegetarian eats!

I'll be interning in DC this summer (staying at GWU), and I was wondering where I could find cheap, vegetarian food near the campus and around Capital Hill.

I visited the Mall yesterday and then Chinatown and no kidding was the Chinese food awful. I've seen the DC food guide, but I'm from Philly and love truck fare. Does it exist beyond those pretzel / half-smoke / ice-cream vendors around the Mall?


Baked portobello mushroom ideas

I'm a strict vegetarian and am looking for some baked portobello mushroom ideas.

I'm currently marinating 2 portobello caps + stems in mirin, soy sauce and garlic to bake for tomorrow's dinner, and will be adding the leftover marinade to cornstarch to thicken and top an Asian-influenced mushroom sandwich recipe.

Any suggestions (cheaper ones, since I'm a college student, and baked, since my smoke detector goes nuts when I pan fry) greatly appreciated!


Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Soy Sauce?

We're far beyond the days of only finding soy sauce at sushi bars or Chinese restaurants, but if you have big bottle of soy sauce at home you might still be looking for new ways to use it. While we're fans of soy as an added kick of savoriness in soups, chili, and stews, what about warm weather dishes? Read on for some ideas. More

A Beginner's Guide to Onions

Even if you use them almost every time you cook, onions can still be pretty bewildering. With about a dozen varieties readily available in most markets, as well as several less common types, it can be hard to know which kind of onion to choose for your marinara sauce and which to select for your pico de gallo. Never fear: let our ingredient guide come to the rescue. More

A Guide to Tofu Types and What to Do With Them

High in protein, low in cost, and easy to work with, tofu has endeared itself to eaters across the globe. But with the dizzying array of tofu types out there, it's worth learning your soft silkens from your medium blocks. Here's a guide to identifying, shopping for, and preparing over a dozen different kinds of tofus. More

Where to Eat in Downtown Los Angeles

From Japanese standouts in Little Tokyo to sausage and beer halls in the Arts District to buzzy fine dining, these days there's no end to the possibilities in Downtown L.A. Here's our guide to where to eat in the revitalized neighborhood. More

The Best Restaurants to Eat Outdoors in Philadelphia, 2014 Edition

There are so many overstretched, overcluttered sidewalk cafes in Philadelphia that cracks about your soup being seasoned with tasty public transportation exhaust are becoming less sardonic and more straight-up true. It's difficult to escape the bustle of any big city while remaining within its limits, of course, but there are ways to do it—you just need to look and book a little smarter. More

The Serious Eats Field Guide to Asian Greens

When you walk into the produce section of your local Asian supermarket, you'll probably be greeted by a dazzling but daunting display of unusual greens. They're all great, and easy to cook, but it helps to be armed with some knowledge to tell your shoots from your choys. More

Taiwanese Pan-Fried Rice Noodles

Perfect for feeding a crowd or fixing a solo meal on the fly, this simple home-style Taiwanese noodle-and-vegetable dish may look bland, but hidden within are layers of flavor, thanks to plenty of white pepper, black vinegar, and broth. More

Chinese Noodles 101: The Chinese Egg Noodle Style Guide

From crispy pan-fried noodles to a bowl of wonton noodle soup, fresh Chinese egg noodles are a staple of Chinese restaurants. Just like Italian pasta or ramen, when cooked properly, they should have a firm bite and springy texture, and the wide variation in thickness and springiness makes Chinese egg noodles some of the most versatile to cook with. More

Chinese Noodles 101: How to Make Chow Mein With Four Vegetables

For me, a dim sum brunch isn't complete without a plate of Supreme Soy Sauce Chow Mein. A simple dish of stir-fried thin noodles cooked with bean sprouts and scallions, it's cooked with just a bit of thin, soy-based sauce that coats the noodles in a concentrated layer of flavor. I turn this snack into a meal by adding an array of colorful, crunchy vegetables and tofu. More

The Ultimate San Francisco Date Night Guide

There's no denying it: San Francisco is a city made for romance. Neighborhoods are full of hidden gems ripe for exploring; there are stunning, screen-worthy kiss backdrops atop every hill; and even the fog invites you to cuddle just a little bit closer. But what's a date without great food (and drinks!)? After years of dates both great and terrible in the City by the Bay, we hereby present our ultimate date night guide to this fair city. More

Xi'an Famous Foods: When Food Leaves Flushing, Does Flushing Leave the Food?

The term "cult following" was coined with places like Xi'an in mind, the sort of stall that Chowhounders and food adventurers work themselves into a tizzy over, whose critical reception in that world is so enthusiastic as to almost defy explanation. But, of course, a Flushing food court stall's move to St. Mark's—and any small operation's opening of a fourth location—could in fact result in food that's nothing like the first location. How would Xi'an Famous Foods, the East Village edition, stack up? More