Knockout Noodles: Duck Fat Yaki Soba at Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar

Looks delicious, but they look more like udon than soba to me. Plus - and someone more well-up will please correct me - I was under the impression soba do not contain egg.
Actually nor udon for that matter.

My Thai: Thai Tea Cake with Condensed Milk Custard Sauce

Hi Leela,

Thank you for this - sounds lovely.

I bought a cannister of the dried leaves a while ago, and was very pleased as they made tea that tasted exactly like the ones we've had in Thailand (and decent Thai restaurants elsewhere), with that quite remarkable orange-red colour. I was somewhat surprised though that the leaves contain vanillin and food colouring. Are they what make Thai tea leaves Thai??

I love lots of rubbishy eats but fake vanilla and FD&C red & yellow are probably new lows....

Are menu descriptions overwrought ?

@Kenji: Agreed.

However, the other images are not captioned the same way, eg. see slide 9, which comes close to being a proper sentence. Within the context of a slideshow, captions are what animate the narrative so differences in styles(?) become much more obvious. Perhaps in this instance they were captioned by two or more people?

All this is simply a roundabout way of saying I see why this caption reads funny, but only within the slideshow. Perfectly legit as is otherwise.

Care Package Ideas

What a lovely thing to do for your friend.
Not much to add to the great ideas above - how about savoury pies in individual portions, and some of her favourite music perhaps?

The Food Lab's Asparagus Week, Day 1: Asparagus and Ramp Soup with Yogurt

What about those who hate asparagus or can't get it within two sq.ft of where they live? Is it too much to expect that you'd tell us what we can substitute for the asparagus and still end up with asparagus soup? And a whole week of it - really??!!

Worst thing you ever ate?

Sannakji (raw octopus) in Korea. They look revolting (the pieces are served still squirming), have barely any taste, and the suction cups stick to the roof of your mouth, making them all but impossible to chew, let alone swallow. Really vile stuff.

Are your customers AKA your family sometimes not grateful?

+1 Teachertalk.

I recently discovered food. What should I eat?

Be careful Kenji, people say it's terribly addictive.
I'd hate to see you end up a foodie.

The Nasty Bits: Chopped Liver

I enjoyed reading this - thank you! Do follow up, please, and let us know how the talk went.

Here's a thread I found interesting, in the unlikely event it hasn't shown up on your searches...

Cook the Book: 'How to Cook Everything The Basics'

How to be a domestic goddess

Cook the Book: 'Ripe'

Cook the Book: 'Ripe'

Cook the Book: 'Asian Tofu'

Discovering Otokomae's 'Johnny' tofu

One Meal in Los Angeles

Jitlada, if you'd like to try non-watered down Thai. The usual suspects like pad thai, tom yum etc are offered, but the menu also has lots of other dishes that aren't found at other places. Undoubtely authentic but more importantly, eormously enormously delicious.

Overused food descriptions.

@Mr Fed Up: Would you take "hand-cut" fries over "hand-crafted" ones? The latter exist, and I've tried them. They tasted very very much like potatoes.

Also seems hand-crafted dog food is all the rage now. Dogboy has been behaving very well lately so we might switch up next time, from the "artisanal" of course.

Overused food descriptions.

@wadejay26: Yes!

That's in the same category as "awesome," which has become the go-to word to describe everything from your grandma's knickers to her apple pie.

The Search for America's Best Tacos: West Coast Contenders

Also please accept my apologies; right after commenting last night, I started noticing the 'things we like'-type posts, so it seems SE only shoots for sensationalism part of the time!

My bad, as your people say in these parts. (insert smiley)

The Search for America's Best Tacos: West Coast Contenders


I'm with you - there's virtually no way to please everyone (or anyone it seems). While, as you say, no-one should take these things too seriously, you cannot deny that delicious tacos are enormously important in life. I'm afraid you must persist!

The Search for America's Best Tacos: West Coast Contenders

I personally have no beef with these sort of lists, but perhaps a (refreshing?) change to something like "Tacos we really... really like" will avoid 1. sensationalism, and 2. offence to those who might possibly feel slighted. Although perhaps some may feel that it's too pedestrian to be attention-grabbing...


I think one has to approach Yelp with managed expectations - it is simply a platform for anyone pleased/cross enough to put pen to paper. Writers on sites like SE generally offer considered and thoughtful reviews, because well, I imagine they're considered and thoughtful to begin with, but more importantly, they write with a sense of accountability to their readers.

Food reviewing is a craft, as with all other kinds of writing that are not Yelp-esque. It demands a good grasp of the material, intelligence, time - TIME, Yelpers! - and I think, empathy. To state the obvious, a business is awfully hard work, and a good reviewer needs to think a little about the impact their writing might have on the restaurant. Not to excuse plainly bad food/service as such but constructive criticism should certainly come into play. The typical Yelp reviewer is simply not going to think about what their readers are going to do with that information, and they really don't need to.

Not to get too political here, but Yelpings are a little like SuperPac ads in form and function. They're often just plain daft and a lot of noise, but also have the potential to give you a sense of the candidate. Ultimately though, if I want to find out more, the onus is on me to turn to better sources, not moan about the ads. Otherwise we may all get the moose stew we deserve... (which I hear is enormously delicious, although it's off the menu this year!).

The Food Lab, Ramen Edition: How to Make a Marinated Soft Boiled Egg (Ajitsuke Tamago)

@Kenji: Your egg - the proper one - looks delicious, but so does the "bad" egg to be honest! The small ring of cured yolk doesn't bother me; in fact, I quite like the texture against the liquid yolk...

Another thing I'm wondering about is the amount of sake in your marinade. I see you've explained your rationale, but - and I'm not being facetious - is it meant to taste of sake? Recently we had ramen at a highly rated place. The egg looked absolutely perfect, like yours, but the sake taste was so pronounced as to be disagreeable. When I make them, I typically use less than half the amount you call for, and they always taste good-ish (at least to me). Your post + our recent experience has me thinking perhaps we're in fact connoisseurs of bad ni-tamago!

Notwithstanding all that, thanks for another nice post.

The Food Lab: How to Make Tonkotsu Ramen Broth at Home

Utterly brilliant - and written like a true ramen otaku I may add. Hunting down good ramen is a bit of an obsession in these parts too, so this post is a lovely surprise.

However. With the volume required of a business, I can't imagine many ramen-ya washing and cleaning the bones like you did (Zen-ifying as it may be!), begging the question of how the guys who do this for a living get the broth so unctuously milky?

Where to eat/what to do in Portland and Seattle

Seattle: Tilth is lovely, really well-prepared food served up in human-appropriate portions. Can't say the same for another of our favourites, Toulouse Petit, although it has great New Orleans-nesque food and a lively (if noisy) atmosphere. You want to order the pork porterhouse.

Enjoy your visit to the PNW and watch out for the rain*!

*Although I assure you it's mostly a myth really, to discourage more people moving here...

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Recchiuti Chocolate Bars

Royce nama chocolate

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Donabe Hot Pot and Hot Pot Book

Ramen and Mahler

While browsing SE tonight, Mahler's First came on, which immediately made me think of Tampopo. It's one of my all-time favourite movies, not least because I absobloodylutely adore ramen. (Mahler, on the other hand, I generally find to be less transporting... Then again I'm almost certainly a philistine, and in any case the scoring works great in the film.)

All this is a roundabout way of asking if you have a similar experience or whether there's a piece of music/song you too associate with certain food(s) - please share!

Amusing aphorisms/signs in restaurants

Hello everyone,

Kitchener's post about memorable restaurant names somehow got me thinking about the amusing signs that I've seen at some restaurants.

Prominently displayed at a hole-in-the-wall in Udaipur - 'Remember the three Ts: Things Take Time.' Indeed, we waited nearly 1 1/2 hrs for the first dish - spinach paneer - to arrive. Can't say we hadn't been warned, although it was still a bit odd considering that we (two) were the only ones in the place. To their credit, the food, when they finally deigned to serve it, was fabulous so I wasn't too cross. (Then again, by then I would have been grateful for raw spinach and ghee.)

Witty (or otherwise) restaurant aphorisms, anyone?

Snapshots from France: Nutty Sweets and Biscuits from Brittany

While traveling through northwest France, I was on the hunt for new, nutty discoveries in Brittany. Strolling through the tiny historic tourist village of Rochefort en Terre, I stumbled upon a tiny shop, L'Art Gourmand, and was blown away by all the nutastic treats. Almost every nut is represented here: almonds, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, even humble pignolis, not to mention one of the largest, most playful assortments of marzipan I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot of marzipan). Puppies, dinos, bunnies, pigs, and an assortment of fruits—all in marzipan form. More