• Last bite on earth: A dry Plymouth martini and a grilled skirt steak, cooked rare. Or a nice IPA and some fried pork dumplings.

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An Inside Look at a Halal Slaughterhouse

It's good to know that animals killed in adherence to halal guidelines can be easily acquired in New York. And what with the prices not being high, one can eat both inexpensively and humanely. If only other slaughterhouses adopted similar procedures. The only downside is no halal pork, so there goes half my meat consumption! Alas.

From Behind the Bar: On Fernet Branca

"A melange of spices"? Please tell me that's a Dune reference (though it could be just that my mind is focused on Dune and Arrakis because it's what I've been reading...)

I'm curious to know why Fernet - over other amari - has become so popular. I find it kind of unpleasant-tasting. Del Capo, however, is a great amaro, especially post-dinner. Smooth, delicious, lovely scent and texture. Amari have become a very popular thing among Americans, which amuses the Italians I have met because it is traditionally drunk by old men and women. Not at all a young peoples' thing.

Spot of Tea: Palais des Thés Créations

I've tried this tea, though not the ones recommended. Ever had the other famous tea from Paris, Mariage Freres? Runs about the same price, generally good, very fragrant teas. Comes in these cool, fat black tins that look like they should hold potions. They have a ton of flavors but I like their Smoky Earl Grey. It is weird, inticing and tastes occasionally like it has been infused with bacon. Walking into the old shop in the Marais district in Paris is like wandering down Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter world. Old, spooky, and a little magical.

Soda: Will Dudes Really Like Dr Pepper Ten?

Can't vote on the soda itself, but I find the ad campaign inane which sucks cause now it diminishes my loyalty towards Dr Pepper. I understand that they're trying to be funny by banking on what Old Spice did. But the difference is that the Old Spice ads are very funny. They proclaim that Old Spice is manly, while also poking fun at the whole idea. It's silly and sorta goofy. Dr Pepper just slams down that it's for men, as if to grab their balls and go "see?! I'm a man!" It doesn't make you laugh.

Football, Deviled Eggs, Bloody Marys: NFL Week 3

"I'm very cocky for a man who can't even effectively puree cattle." So funny that I laughed out loud, startling my boss as he walked by..

Will, you're the best. I think the time has come for tshirts to be made in your honor.

From Behind the Bar: Weathering the Storm

Love it. I was not in town at the time. I'm glad the storm didn't cause the wreck so many feared it would. Ward III is the perfect shelter to weather a storm, having done so there many times.

Egads! You're friends with the guys at Whiskey Tavern?!!? Holy crap, my east side and west side joints are compadres! I'm actually not *that* surprised, more delighted. Whether I go to Ward III or Whiskey Tavern depends on whether I'm east or west of Broadway. Rob is an angel and his memory for names, faces and drink orders convinces me he's been transported here from the future. Dude is probably Romulan or something. A month after the first time I met him, he remembered my name, drink order, and the name of my brother who I'd mentioned wanting to bring by the Tavern.

Drinking the Bottom Shelf: DeKuyper Fruit-Flavored Things

Love your writing, Will. Your column is one of the main reasons I visit Serious Eats.

Only DeKuyper I ever had was the Sour Apple Pucker which I bought along with six bottles of flavored vodkas and various mix-ins for college friends when I was 18. (I love how by displaying a metric ton of chutzpah I discouraged the cashiers from carding me. They didn't seem to mind that I looked 16 and was buying an obscene $200+ worth of shitty booze.)

I recall it tasting like a sour green apple Cry-baby but with the weird syrupy consistency of Dimetapp. That led me to wonder why they never tried marketing Sour Apple Dimetapp. Probably because people would have tried mixing it with vodka.

A Sandwich a Day: Oyster Po'boy at Tupelo in Cambridge, MA


"This sandwich is to a po'boy what Domino's is to Patsy's"? Your credibility went right out the window if you think Patsy's is any good. Their original place has long gone downhill. That's like comparing McDonald's to FuddRuckers. They're both terrible.

Keep it up, Will. Your posts are fantastic. The sandwich sounds like something to try. Who cares if it's a po'boy?

Proper Sweet Tea in New York

Thanks for all the recommendations, and the recipe! I'll check them out. Hopefully it'll sway my friend's opinion...

Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Old Crow Reserve

Ahhh, Old Crow. My great-grandmother, a half-Irish, and half-Cherokee Southern lady, would have a glass of Old Crow for breakfast in her later years. It's a nice whiskey.

Cheap dark rum?

Rhum Barbancourt is fantastic. From Haiti and priced around $20.

From Behind the Bar: On Bellwether Cocktails

An Old Fashioned, or a dry martini. If the bartender messes up a martini, then he (or she) shouldn't be bartending.

From Behind the Bar: On Vodka Sodas and First Dates

Amazing the vitriol this is generating. Drinks are like food or movies or books in that if you don't share at least similar tastes, getting along may be difficult. I wouldn't date a man who doesn't at least *try* to step outside his safety circle of wine or vodka sodas or what have you. How do you know you hate it if you don't try it? Because you're being a pigheaded brat, like some of the commenters here.

Side note, high praise for Ward III. One of the few cocktails bars in New York without pretention. There are so many bars in this new crop (like Little Branch) that make you feel silly or unintelligent simply because you don't know what to order, or just aren't well-versed in bartending knowledge. The guys at Ward III (including Mr. Neff who has made me a cocktail or two before) are very nice and accomodating.

"I only have 1 item. Can I sneak ahead of you?"

I never ask, because I don't think one should ask. But I have offered, and have been offered. Kindness is a virtue, but it works both ways. Don't you dare try and jump ahead of me if I have a couple items. You can wait, along with everyone else.

Off the Beaten Path: Golden Shopping Mall in Flushing

8 months late, but OH MY GOD. I am jealous you got to check it out with Fuschia Dunlop, who is my Chinese cooking idol. But it sounds like you had an awesome time! I am going to go there this weekend because it sounds so amazing. Ahh, I so love this city.

Coffee Chronicles: Stumptown's Red Hook Tasting Room

Yay! More cool stuff in Red Hook. I should definitely check out the Worth St. location.

Do you know La Colombe? They are on Church St. just a few blocks north of RBC. Their coffee is fantastic and it is a very nice place to sit on a rainy day and people watch.

Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke: Blended Whiskies Aren't Always So Bad

Compass Box is great. I love their Peat Monster. So reasonably priced too. Looking forward to Flaming Heart!

I never used to like blended scotches. I went to Paris recently and the only inexpensive whiskey you could get a glass of was Chivas. (I guess the French don't like Irish whiskey which was no where to be found.) But re-discovering Chivas was great and has opened me up to other blended scotches. It's a nice whiskey for a very cold night.

My little 2 a.m. food excursion... were did I eat ??

There is a great noodle shop open until like 6am or something crazy. Yes. A NOODLE SHOP. Open late! Egads!! With great bowls of noodles, beer, tasty dumplings and a few other nice dishes. It's in Brooklyn, off the Metropolitan stop on the L train. It's on Metropolitan Ave. between Lorimer and Union. If you're in Williamsburg for whatever reason late at night, it's worth a stop before going home.

Pickled Watermelon - Where To Buy in NYC?

Thanks; I'll check out Whole Foods. They had pork belly for 4.99 a lb, but I prefer to buy it in Chinatown downtown or Brooklyn. Much cheaper generally.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk tastes quite different from coconut water, or coconuts themselves. It has a more savory kind of taste. If you're making a sweet recipe, I'd try condensed milk instead which has an almost nutty flavor with a sweetness like dark brown sugar. The use of condensed milk also allows you to cut down on the amount of refined sugar you're using. Say, in puddings or in cakes.

In savory recipes, though, I find the use of coconut milk is essential in a lot of recipes, like the coconut curry popular in Thai cuisine. It doesn't taste like the commercially recognizable flavor of coconut - is this what you dislike? If you haven't tried coconut milk, I highly suggest giving it a shot. Coconut milk has a very complex, interesting flavor that can work wonders in spicy dishes, especially with ingredients like lemongrass, or lime leaf, or chiles.

Please do post whatever you eventually do. I'd be very curious to see other usable alternatives to coconut milk.

Strangest Sweet and Savory Mashups?

Also, a friend of mine eats cottage cheese with balsamic vinegar on it that I made fun of several times before I tried it. It was strangely tasty. Don't believe me? Try it.

Check out the cookbook "Hot Sour Salty Sweet." Aside from being a phenomenal cookbook, it's also got some really interesting mashup recipes that are great.

Strangest Sweet and Savory Mashups?

Peanut butter, tomatoes, cilantro, chili sauce, and lime. On toast. It's delicious.