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kingfish

Prefered brand of yogurt?

Liberte plain 2%. I think it's the perfect texture -- smooth and creamy, not too thick, but not runny. Not a fat bomb like the Liberte whole milk flavored yogurts, which I can only get as treats (most if not all of them have not just whole milk but cream in them -- yum). It's from Quebec, and I can find it at WF and a few other places in the Boston area.

Food for Change: 5 Food Groups Doing Great Work

Check out The Food Project in Massachusetts:
http://thefoodproject.org/

Win the Valentine's Day Collection from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Any flavor my wife makes for me.

Providence recommendations!

Hit Farmstead for cheese, charcuterie, or sandwiches. The Cheesemongers Grilled Cheese, with bourbon onions, is delicious! Their sister bistro, La Laiterie, is supposed to be great too, but I haven't been:
http://www.farmsteadinc.com/

Al Forno is definitely delicious -- and cozy. Great time of year to go there.

Boston

I actually would not recommend going blind into the North End -- there are some good places there but there are a LOT of crappy joints catering to tourists that think they're getting "real" Italian. The food can be bad and overpriced. The Starving Student was lucky to find places he/she liked (I can't vouch for those), but you can just as easily get ripped off. The NE is cute, but if you want to go there I'd do a little research (Chowhound is useful), pick a place you want to try and go there. I like Neptune Oyster, though the service is kind of snotty, and Marco; I've heard great things about Galleria Umberto if you want something inexpensive there.

Other inexpensive ideas in Boston: Mike & Patty's in Bay Village, Taiwan Cafe in Chinatown. I agree with the suggestions for Flour and Cutty's. Some people are lukewarm on Sportello but I've had great meals there; I love the strozzapretti with braised rabbit. LOVE. And if you like cocktails, the bar downstairs (Drink, owned by the same folks) is fantastic. It does get crowded so I recommend going when it opens (4ish, maybe).

I second the Cape Ann suggestion for fried clams (Clam Box is a local favorite) or lobster. Russell Orchard in Ipswich is not far from the Clam Box and has apple picking, great cider and cider doughnuts this time of year. If you go to Salem, try A.J. King Bakery.

Definitely take the T -- driving in Boston for a non-native is tricky and parking is expensive!

Bake the Book: 'Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home'

My first taste of B3 ice cream (brown butter, brown sugar, and brownie) at Toscanini's in Cambridge MA.

Heading to South Beach...Where should I eat?

I was in South Beach last fall and wanted to get Cuban food without cabbing it all the way out to Little Havana. I did a lot of research and the consensus seemed to be that there was no great Cuban food in SB, but the best reviews in that area went to Puerto Sagua. I did go there and had a delicious Cuban sandwich, but I am hardly an expert on Cuban food. It was conveniently located and inexpensive, nothing fancy.

I get one night in Miami. Where do I go?

OK, I tried to post this once before...hopefully it will appear this time.

Check out Michael's Genuine Food & Drink. Kind of a dumb name, but the food was great. A bit upscale with interesting, casual, fun food, but certainly not swanky or formal. And not cheap, but you could pay a whole lot more on South Beach for food that wasn't as good. And they have great cocktails, too, though they aren't on the water.

My wife and I had a "one night in Miami" situation a few months ago, and after much research, Michael's was our choice. I do not regret it.

I get one night in Miami. Where do I go?

My wife and I were in a similar situation recently -- we went to Michael's Genuine Food and Drink and we were not disappointed. Everything was delicious. It is a bit upscale but not swanky or formal -- the food is very casual and fun. And it is not cheap but you could spend a whole lot more at some of the places in South Beach! They also have great cocktails. Not on the water, though.
http://www.michaelsgenuine.com/

I Steamed 12 Pounds of Dungeness Crab, Now What?

This doesn't help with your stock, but my wife and I LOVE this Spaghetti with Crab and Jalapenos:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/spaghetti-with-crab-and-jalapenos-recipe/index.html

Lunch in Portland, Maine?

Duckfat is great for panini, milkshakes and duckfat fries. And I recently saw the Porthole Restaurant featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives -- I haven't been there but the menu looks good and it seemed like they were making a lot of things from scratch, in-house (like brioche for lobster sandwiches).

Foodstuff gifts one can order online for diabetics?

Zingerman's has great mail order options, and a lot of it would be fine for diabetics, I think.
www.zingermans.com

Legal Seafood - 100$ Gift Card, What Should I Buy Online?

I am not a big Legal Seafood fan, but I too like their clam chowder. Many people consider it to be one of the best versions in Boston. I would go for that, but you'd have to buy two gallons to use up your gift certificate. None of the prepared foods (appetizers etc) stood out to me as items I've eaten in their restaurants, which means either that I have not had them or they weren't memorable.

Suggestions for extra cranberries

I made this Cranberry Vanilla Coffeecake for Christmas breakfast last year and it was delicious and very festive.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cranberry-Vanilla-Coffeecake-350876

Sentimental food?

My grandmother always made a family recipe for steamed chocolate pudding every Christmas. It is more like a cake or an English-style pudding rather than an American-style pudding, steamed in a metal mold. It was a bit dry but it didn't matter because it was served with copious amounts of something called floradora sauce, which was made from eggs, cream and sugar and which I would have gladly consumed by the bowlful.

My mother and my grandmother are deceased, we've had additions to our family as well, and there aren't a lot of Christmas traditions that survive from my childhood. But as long as there's steamed chocolate pudding on Christmas, I'm happy.

"OpenTable" Critique

By the way, there is some interesting commentary about this over at Chowhound:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/741455?tag=search_results;results_list

Hope the link works.

"OpenTable" Critique

Re: Adam Kuban's "I always feel like if you call in person, you might be more likely to score a table if there's been an opening or a cancelation" and Kitchenista's "Whenever I get shuttled to an Open Table page, it tells me there are no tables available at the time and date requested and I end up calling the restaurant. They have always had tables."

My understanding of the system is that in order to accomodate traditional phone-call reservations and walk-ins, restaurants choose to offer only a percentage of tables on OpenTable. That percentage might differ from restaurant to restaurant. So you might find the restaurant is all booked on OpenTable, but they may still have tables open for callers.

Age old question---

Not a fan of stuffing the turkey. I'm not concerned about foodborne illness as much as I am about dry turkey breast. I suppose microwaving the stuffing first, as someone suggested, might enable you to have hot stuffing and a non-dry bird, but I prefer to just cook the stuff separately -- the better to get a crusty outside layer.

How about a Boston Serious Eats?

Fools. Boston is a lot more than hot dogs and chowder (and beans).

One day in Boston

There are plenty of great restaurants in your price range for Friday dinner, but it's hard to suggest one without knowing your tastes or location. More info?

For Saturday lunch, I second the suggestions to try Flour Bakery on Farnsworth Street or someplace in Chinatown. I really like Taiwan Cafe in Chinatown for steamed pork dumplings, homestyle braised eggplant and pea shoots.

Who makes the best set of measuring cups/spoons?

I remember reading a test someone did several years ago to determine which of many sets of measuring cups on the market were the most accurate, and the answer being the OXO plastic set, which I then purchased. But I can't actually find this information online, so who knows where I read it or if I remember it correctly. OXO does now make a stainless steel set, which appears to be available at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

I have the plastic OXO set and a stainless steel set I bought at TJ Maxx once. I also have OXO plastic measuring spoons and 2-3 sets of stainless steel measuring spoons. I have no doubt they are all a little different but I use them interchangeably and you know what? It all works out.

Meat and Potatoes is a shameless rip-off of Man vs. Food!

@boobird, I agree. I haven't seen THAT much of Meat and Potatoes, but it really doesn't seem like the same show as MvF at all. That said, the host IS boring. And I agree with @jzoccoli -- Food Wars and Food Feuds ARE essentially the same show.

What to serve with fondue?

Sorry I did not have a chance to get back on here yesterday, but THANK YOU to all who offered ideas! Love the stuffed mushrooms, wrapped scallops, tomato soup, extra veggies, and pickle ideas!

@allot -- exactly, it seems like something that sounds fun to college students. But guests range in age from 27 to 50ish and I think would prefer a meal they don't have to dip. Maybe that's just my prejudice. I like fondue, but don't want to make a meal of it -- especially when it's also served at dessert.

@nycpunk1 -- unfortunately, she wanted to start the party at 7:00, which to me says dinner. I feel that it's unrealistic to expect that people will eat dinner early enough to be ready to consume MORE food (especially rich food!) by 7:00. I do think her expectation was that the fondue would BE dinner, so it's just a matter of finding a way to make it as balanced as possible. I do agree with your hors d'oeuvres ideas. Anything to break up the cheese!

@moonlyt -- agree re: white wine instead of beer, although ultimately we will have a variety of beverages and people can choose what they want. I was planning on using Emmentaler and Gruyere, which is what I'm used to.

@Kerosena, no one is making anyone feel miserable or guilty -- do not presume to know me or my family based on a two-paragraph SE post. I am not your passive-aggressive family member. When my sister said she wanted a fondue party, we told her we had reservations about the logistics of it (among other things, one fondue pot and up to 14 guests). She gave us a few reasons why she thought it would work fine (including people who would lend extra fondue pots), and we said OK, no problem, and dropped the discussion because we felt it was more important to do what she wanted. We have not said a word since about liking or not liking the fondue idea, and we don't plan to because it's not about us. That's why I am asking strangers for ideas instead of my sister -- because I don't want to make her feel like we hate her menu choice, even if we do.

I think wasliche hit the nail on the head when he/she said, "it's probably a good idea to make it look like 'look how creative the guests are' and not 'look how we circumvented your requested theme.'" I do feel an obligation to serve a good meal to guests, to make sure as many of them as possible enjoy the food and leave happy (not ill!). I do NOT want my sister to feel as if we turned her request into something else because we didn't like it. I think/hope that serving the fondue with a big salad, serving non-cheesy hors d'oeuvres and steering away from rich accompaniments (i.e. pound cake, she asked for angel cake instead which I think is wise) will achieve this. You've all given me a lot to think about -- thanks again!

Trying to eat thoughtfully - what do you do? Priorities?

For me, none of the food issues are more disturbing than what I've read about CAFOs -- the environmental impact is bad, the inhumanity of the conditions is disgusting, and the health impacts of consuming so many antibiotics is scary. That said, I do love my meat. So my wife and I have a meat CSA from a local farm. It's not cheap -- we pay $115 a month for 15 lbs of frozen meat -- but the quality is high, and I feel confident that the meat is raised as humanely and as sustainably as possible. Unless we are entertaining a large group, we do not buy any meat beyond what we get in our share. This also keeps our overall meat consumption far below that of the average American. Our meat share does not supply milk and eggs, but the local market we shop at happens to carry local milk and local eggs, so we do buy them for the same reasons we buy meat from the farm (the fact that they're local doesn't mean they are raised well, but we've researched the farms that provide them enough to feel that these are our best choices).

That's the battle we've chosen. Beyond that, I don't have any particular commitment to buy organic, though I don't avoid it either -- it's sort of on a case by case basis, based on price, type of item, etc. I aim for local when it makes sense. I do grow veggies in my backyard in the summer, and I buy as much produce as possible from farmer's markets when they're open, but in Boston that isn't an option for much of the year, and I don't sweat it during the winter. The farm I like best uses Integrated Pest Management, which is not organic but I think is better than most of what's out there. I try to buy local for items like maple syrup and honey, because it takes me so long to go through them that any additional cost is absorbed over a longer period of time (and it's nice to support local business). But I don't worry about the fact that certain items, like olive oil, cannot be sourced in New England. And when I go out to eat, I don't really worry about it. A lot of the restaurants I like use local purveyors when possible, but if I go to my neighborhood pizzeria once in a while and eat a slice of non-organic, non-locally-sourced pizza, I'm pretty sure the world will not end.

Apple-picking outside Boston, MA?

I've been checking Chowhound and the like for cider doughnut recommendations in the Boston area, as I'm hoping to get one before the season is over. The highest recommendation seems to be for Russell Orchards in Ipswich. They also have apple picking, a farm store, and you can get some fried seafood while you're in the area! I've been to Russell and I've had their cider doughnuts and I can say they're the best I've had. There are also a lot of recommendations for the doughnuts at Cider Hill in Amesbury. I haven't been.

http://www.russellorchardsma.com/bakeryandstore.php
http://www.ciderhill.com/

Both of these farms are about an hour north of Boston, but so far, my searches have not turned up any good cider doughnuts closer to Boston. If you don't need the doughnuts, you'll have more options -- check out http://www.pickyourown.org/ for listings.

Enjoy!

What to serve with fondue?

My sister is turning 30, so my wife and I offered to throw her a party (we have more space than she does, and my wife used to cook professionally). She told us she wanted to serve cheese fondue for dinner and chocolate fondue for dessert. We didn't like the idea for a variety of reasons -- it seems gimmicky as a party theme, it's messy, it requires sitting around a table and our table seats fewer people than invited, and it is in no way a balanced meal (but seems too heavy to just be a party "snack"). It also offers no alternatives to someone who doesn't like fondue (this is the case for at least one guest), unless they want to just eat bread cubes for dinner. So we tried to talk to her out of it, but she insisted that was what she wanted, and we backed down. It's her birthday and her party, not ours.

Now that the party is approaching, we are worried about it. We love to entertain and we put a lot of thought into menus, and we feel like this one just doesn't work. Although it was my sister's menu choice, we feel an obligation as hosts to provide a good meal to guests. We'll have fruit and veggies, as well as bread, to dip into the cheese, and we talked my sister into having a salad as well (which will have apple and celery root in it for a bit more bulk). But we still feel like it's not a full meal. We'd like to have something to serve alongside the fondue that won't take away from it but will offer a bit more substance, especially to people who don't love fondue or don't want to/can't eat a lot of rich cheese. At the same time, I'd like it to be something that kind of "goes" with the fondue -- i.e. not a pizza! I thought of tarte flambee/flammekueche, but my wife thinks it's too much bread. Does anyone have any ideas? We're totally stumped.

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