Latest Comments

The Food Lab Video Series is Here!

As a long time reader with high respect for Kenji's great work, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed by what I saw in the cheesburger video. As has been mentioned, there's minimal real content. I can accept that for those familiar with the Food Lab column there will be a significant amount of covering previous material as the videos get off the ground. However, the emphasis on style over substance was what really turned me off. I love Food Lab because its the exact opposite. The cost seems a little steep but if there was a serious amount of content I'd be willing to pay. I'm not interested in paying for expensive production with no meat on the bone. "In Our Time" crushes "Radio Lab".

NYC tasting menus?

+1 on ESNY1077's recommendations. Narrow it down by deciding on what type of experience you would like - very formal, etc. I recently took my wife to Momofuku Ko for her birthday. Loved it. Great casual place with amazing food.

The Food Lab: Deep-Fried, Sous-Vide, 36-Hour, All-Belly Porchetta (Or, The Most Freaking Delicious Thing To Ever Come Out Of My Kitchen)

To everyone with questions about alternatives to an expensive thermal immersion circulator (e.g. Sous-Vide Supreme), a couple of comments...

1) These questions & discussions come up in all of Kenji's sous vide posts so checking comments on those old posts will yield many answers.

2) My understanding (an please correct me if I'm wrong) is that the limitation to all of these other approaches (oven, crock pot, etc) is the precision and accuracy of the temperature regulation. The cooler hack works great because the large volume of water stabilizes the process but the obvious limitation is that this manual temp regulation can't be reasonably sustained over long periods of time.

To my knowledge, the cheapest DIY approach beyond the cooler hack is a PID controller married to a rice cooker/crock pot. See:

Another option is to keep your eye out for used thermal immersion circulators on eBay. Lauda is the most common manufacturer. May come built into water baths but the best ones have no bath and can be clipped on to any tank. I have one from ebay that I picked up for $80. I clip it onto a large aluminum stock pot. Works just as well as a Sous Vide Supreme.

Here's an example:

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

I'll give it a try. You should get on a plane to New Orleans. I suspect there's an oyster poboy at Domilise's with your name on it.

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

Unfortunately, now all I can think about are oyster poboys!! Any other options in Boston or am I going to have to get a flight back to Louisiana? It's hot as hell but the flights are cheap.

Maybe fried oysters might be a good Food Lab.

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

While I think @Bkhuna may have come out a little to strong, I don't see where Will "recognized that it's not a Po'Boy". Will said he was "no po'boy aficionado" but that's not quite the same thing. At least from my perspective all I would have liked to see was the recognition that it wasn't a poboy - just to keep things real.

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

@will: I don’t think anyone is asking for a treatise on the definition and history of the po’boy but I think many of us would like to see that the writers at SE know a po’boy from grinder from an oyster sandwich. It’s not about pedigree or authenticity it’s about being serious about the matter at hand.

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

Do an image search for "Domilise's oyster po boy" to see the real thing.

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

@Aya The bread is what makes a poboy a poboy. It's not just french bread but a very particular kind of french bread that's evolved in New Orleans - a thin crispy crust and an airy middle. Many would argue that it's impossible to have a true poboy outside of NO and environs because you just can't get the same bread. Leidenheimer is considered the ideal by many but a few others contend.

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

As a fellow oyster lover, I'm willing to give this sandwich a try but calling it a po'boy just ain't right. Next we'll be calling any ham and cheese sandwich a Muffuletta.

Some Like it Cold (Brewed): 5 Cool Coffee Methods

@lalalex, Blue Bottle has a recipe on their site that only requires a mesh strainer. See the link above. You can also find one on the site. Note that the Toddy Cafe "recipe" is unnecessarily complicated. Dump in the grounds into a large container, add water slowly with a little shaking to break up dry clumps (don't stir if using the Toddy maker b/c it will clog when draining), let it sit over night and pull the plug to drain.

Be warned, the cold brew method is more expensive b/c it uses significantly more ground coffee. It's not a way to save money. While the brew is more concentrated it doesn't even out in the end unless you dilute to a very weak final product (which defeats the purpose). I'm an addict so I think it's worth it. Similar to a previous poster, I usually do a second extraction of the grounds to improve the yield and reduce costs. I've done a head to head of the first and second extraction and have noticed diminished quality but not by much. I combine the two extractions. You could also reduce the grounds to water ratio to accomplish the same thing but that requires two clean ups. I suggest going with the original recipe to get a baseline then fool around.

The method for making cold brew isn't rocket science. Soak coffee grounds for ~12hrs and then strain out the liquid. The straining method does influence the flavor. Toddy makers require the liquid to flow through the grounds more than a french press would. I've never compared. When I worked in a coffee shop in NOLa we changed from Toddy Makers to a larger scale operation that involved large permeable bags of ground coffee soaking in the water. Like a 10lb tea bag. After a set amount of time the bags were removed and allowed to drip dry. We didn't change the ratio of coffee to water but customers immediately noticed a difference in the taste. This makes me think that the separation method does influence the final product

I use the Toddy Cafe maker but I don't think it has any special properties. It's an easily cleaned, dedicated apparatus that simply allows a scale up of the process compared to a french press. A single batch can last at least a week in the fridge so I have a nice iced coffee every morning. I clean the filters with a dilute bleach solution followed by multiple washes, so there's no disposable component in the system. My kit has been running for 5 years with a few filters in rotation. Best $35 I ever spent on coffee.

Some Like it Cold (Brewed): 5 Cool Coffee Methods

@sugartoof "craze" or no craze, IMO iced cold-brewed coffee is much better than cold hot coffee. I've been using the cold drip method since I learned it at a cafe in New Orleans in 1990 and it was certainly done that way before I learned about it. My toddy maker always yields good results with little effort.

Also, I don't understand what you mean by "breaking down the coffee to create a concentrate". No one is suggesting that the liquid from the toddy maker be concentrated. It is concentrated. It's simple, by using a higher coffee to water ratio more "coffee" is extracted into the fixed volume of water. Thus, it is concentrated relative to traditional hot brewed coffee. Diluting the cold drip with milk or water yields coffee at a concentration near hot brewed coffee. Personally, I don't dilute it much at all. I like the very strong flavor.

Some Like it Cold (Brewed): 5 Cool Coffee Methods

@Eat4good, it may work but keep in mind that the cold drip methods generally use a high coffee to water ratio. It's not simply using the same ratio, using cold water and increasing the time. The Blue Bottle recipe only requires a large container and a fine mesh strainer.

@Madaketgal, it's very different. With cold brew you get a richly flavored concentrate with very low acidity. You'll notice a difference. I'm not a coffee snob - I don't roast or grind my own coffee and I don't buy fancy beans but I do know there's a big difference between cold brew and cold hot-brew coffee. I take the time to make cold brew. If you enjoy iced coffee give it a try. You won't be disappointed.

Some Like it Cold (Brewed): 5 Cool Coffee Methods

While I'm happy you’re extolling the virtues of cold brew coffee, I find this article confusing and sloppy.  The title implies a comparison of methods for making cold brew but it’s not that at all.  Cafe Grumpy and Kickstand are both described as using the Filtron (very similar to the Toddy Maker) and the “New Orleans Style Coffee” at Blue Bottle Coffee is basically the same thing.  The Kyoto Drip is clearly different and the only thing we know about Stumptown’s version is that it’s brewed in “steel tanks”.  Of course, since each of these places is using different coffee, it’s impossible to distinguish if the method or the material is contributing to differences in the final product.  Moreover, you’re comparing concentrates to pre-diluted to pre-sweetened.  Why not just call this a comparison of cold brew coffee options in NYC.  The suggestion that you’re evaluating the method is completely inaccurate.

Some Like it Cold (Brewed): 5 Cool Coffee Methods

Cold drip iced coffee rocks. Make it at home! There's no reason to buy the pre-made stuff.

You can fashion your own maker or check out and buy one. Cheap and easy.

You control everything - type of coffee, grind, brew time. Add as much water, milk, etc to dilute or not dilute. And sweeten with what you like.

Snapshots from New Orleans: Grilled Oysters from Drago's Seafood Restaurant

Drago's grilled oysters are excellent. If you're ever in east Texas another not-to-be-missed grilled oyster dish is Oysters Gilhooley at Gilhooley's in San Leon south of Houston. It's a very similar dish made with fresh-shucked oysters covered with bit of parmesan and garlic butter and smoked over a pecan wood fire. The experience is made even better by the great atmosphere. Doesn't get any better!

How to Marinate and Grill Flank Steaks

@Kenji Have you ever tried to cook flank steak sous vide? I'm wondering if a long 24-48hr sous vide would give something significantly better than a marinade and grill.

Regional Barbecue Sauces Available by Mail-Order

You've left out the Jack Miller's Barbecue Sauce from Ville Platte, Louisiana! Unbeatable.

Have You Switched to Iced Coffee?

BTW, is this product placement? An ad for Starbucks? Why do need to talk about so mediocre Starbucks drink as an entree to iced coffee?

Have You Switched to Iced Coffee?

I grew up in the south and despite now living in Boston I can't kick the iced coffee habit. I drink it all year round (with a little hot coffee added in during the heart of the winter). Cold Brew Only! Aside from Iced Vietnamese coffee (which is amazing) the ONLY way to go is cold brew. If you haven't tried it, you don't know what your missing. It's a totally different experience from the cooled hot coffee that most places serve - low acid, rich deep flavor, and an extra caffeine kick from the long brew time. Get a Toddy cold brew system (google) and give it a shot. You won't be disappointed.

Enough with the Ramp Rage!

@Kenji Another nice post. Would you mind sharing your pickling recipe? I've been interested lately. I've started a few batches of pickled vegetables but the recipes vary greatly and require a significant time investment to test. I'd be curious to know what you favor. Thanks.