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Motorino Hong Kong: Off to a Decent Start

It was with no small amount of excitement that multiple friends—from die-hard pizza aficionados in New York City to fellow expats who have been living a rather bleak, pizza-less existence—barraged me with the news that Motorino was opening its first international outpost here in Hong Kong. Needless to say, I was eager to see how the famed New York pizzeria was faring in its early weeks abroad. More

The New $199 Sansaire Sous-Vide Circulator is the Solution We've Been Waiting For

@Kenji - from the photos it looks like the clip on the Sansiare is metal? Did that heat up when you used it? (I understand you've only got a prototype vs a final build version but just out of curiosity.)

I'm definitely glad to see more domestic sous vide options coming on the market. Particularly with regards to circulators, since I've had a pretty meh time with my Sous Vide Supreme: I finally gave up and chucked it a few months ago, after having to get it replaced twice, and more instances where the temperatures were inaccurate than accurate - which is a pretty big dealbreaker for something an appliance of this sort at its price point! - and have been (rather impatiently) waiting for the arrival of my nomiku. But like a bunch of people before me have noted, this seems awfully similar to the nomiku (more or less just in a different colour and maybe 1.5-2x the thickness?) from the photos anyway.

Also, I'd be pretty impressed if they managed to get their units shipped according to that rather optimistic sounding timeline on their kickstarter page, especially since they haven't even finished tooling.

I wish there were more specs posted online so it would be clearer as to whether that US$100 price difference will buy me more than just an aesthetic advantage. The nomiku's slender size was one of the things that sealed the deal for me to take a risk with them (over an established product like one of the polyscience circulators) so fingers crossed that (apart from getting it before the Sansaire backers do! haha) there'll be some specs-related benefits that justify that price difference. :)

Motorino Hong Kong: Off to a Decent Start

@Ryan_M: Ah yes I've been to 208, their pizzas are not bad at all - in fact, as much as theirs may not be an international gold standard either, that's who I had in mind when I mentioned that I wasn't sure if Motorino had earned the best Neapolitan pizza title just yet. Sadly I wasn't at Motorino when Mathieu was manning the oven - did you go then, and if so how was your meal? Have you tried Ziti's out in North Point? I've heard some good things but haven't managed the trek out just yet. (Call me a pleb but there's been enough non-Neapolitan pie closer to home to keep me sated haha.)

Motorino Hong Kong: Off to a Decent Start

@rodalpho: The brussel sprouts pie, and the clam one, are definitely next on my To Try list :)

@lazyox: Like I mentioned to @deliciouslymeta, I've seen a couple of places around town that aspire to but don't quite meet the Neapolitan standard. Which, is a little strange considering how food- and trend-obsessed HK can be. But even if not specifically Neapolitan-style, pizza (and not of the Domino's or Pizza Hut variety) sure seems to be gaining popularity, with NY-style-ish pizzerias like Pizzeria Pubblico or Paisano's being packed to the gills every night, and obviously able to support their steep Soho rents too. As for the kitchen, I didn't notice any extreme measures they took to cool their chefs down, but I can't imagine it's that much more comfortable smack in the middle of a NYC summer either heh. I'm just thankful someone slaves over those ovens so I don't have to!

PS Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone, and especially to Niki for yanking me on board. :)

Motorino Hong Kong: Off to a Decent Start

@nuevoyork: I hope so too! A few of my friends have been separately, and some have been served much better pies than what I got, so fingers crossed they work out any consistency/execution issues soon. :)

@deliciouslymeta: like @lazyox mentioned, from the times I've been in the area, the main clientele seemed to be mostly expats and finance types, with the odd gastronaut thrown in. It is still in the early days yet, so I hesitate to jump into the demographics of Motorino's popularity! And you're right - HK doesn't have a Neapolitan cult following. There do exist some places that claim to make their pies the Neapolitan way but I've yet to taste one that compares what you'd get in the US. (Sadly, I've never been to Naples, so this is all I've really as a basis for comparison.)

@thezaman: I can imagine! Most food can be unforgiving enough if you take your eye off it for a minute or two, but for something that cooks in 60-90 seconds, it's practically blink-and-you-miss-it territory!

Snapshots from Hong Kong: Roast Goose Leg and Roast Pork from Yat Lok

@Jdbli: I want in on this goose taste testing please! :)

Have You Ever Had Airline Food You Actually Liked?

PS i also love how SQ normally serves a little tub of Haagen Dazs for dessert :D

Have You Ever Had Airline Food You Actually Liked?

Yet another vote for Singapore Airlines! On an economy flight from Singapore to London I was served Nasi Lemak for breakfast (local Singaporean dish of rice cooked in coconut milk and flavoured with pandan leaf, plus sambal chilli, a fried chicken wing that was still rather crispy, omelette slice, peanuts and fried ikan bilis - small fish somewhat similar to anchovies) and it was DELICIOUS. I inhaled it all. I fly SQ frequently between Hong Kong and Singapore now (economy mostly) and in general whenever I pick the Asian meal selection I'm more than happy with whatever they serve (fried noodles, braised chicken with rice, not-too-mushy and still-brightly-coloured steamed vegetables). I also loved a roast duck salad appetizer I got on a recent flight.

I also once got served a foie terrine on a Business flight between Singapore and Beijing. :) Best I've gotten off other airlines would probably be Cathay Pacific, but only in business is the food ever palatable. (Shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, and not half bad roast chicken with potatoes once.) Their economy meals, however, frequently feature grey, unidentifiable meat pieces that taste more of rubber than anything else. Pfft.

Poll: How Do You Like Your Mac and Cheese?

always creamy and gooey, made with real (non-powdered) cheese - whether gruyere or fontina or a mix of a whole bunch. and i love a crisp topping, though i always feel cheated when restaurants use something like crushed cornflakes (!!) on the top. breadcrumbs are okay, but i think it's best when there's extra cheese scattered over the top and run under the broiler so it gets stringy and melty with golden crunchy bits.

also, extra points for adding caramelised onions and chewy bacon lardons!

Going to Japan

Definitely hit up Sadaharu Aoki's patisserie in Tokyo Midtown! The matcha eclairs there (along with everything else I tried, including but not limited to the chocolate caramel tart, almond croissants, and a few other eclairs) were To Die For.

Do You Have a Favorite Brand of Butter?

Beurre echire (both salted and unsalted) for spreading/eating, presidents unsalted for cooking/baking!

What's So Weird About That?

i grew up not eating a lot of raw stuff, like raw oysters straight from the shell, sashimi etc, and lots more "exotic" and "fancy" food along those lines. i convinced myself (and told everyone else) that it was because i didn't like it, but since i've grown up, i've found it's really only because my mom hated the stuff and so even when i tasted any of it i was psyching myself up not to like it. so no, not a lot of weird food i'd eat that anyone else thought was odd.

except maybe this one dessert i'd whip up for myself any time of the day (or night) - i'd take about a 1 inch slice of frozen chocolate sara lee pound cake, douse it in half a cup of fridge-cold milk, and mash the hell out of it until it was like this blackish sludgy-soup. i LOVED it. and everyone i forced into trying it hated it to hell and back and told me i was insane.

i still eat it now (when i can sneak a sara lee pound cake into my groceries without anyone noticing), but i've long grown out of trying to convince anyone else to try it. :\

It's not worth it to make _______ when I could just buy it

i can't believe people really feel this way about stock! my heart hurts. and my head too.

puff pastry's the one thing i'd never make on my own on a regular basis.. i've failed too many times, and after a while it just becomes a sin to waste that much butter-glorious-butter.

MAKE YOUR OWN STOCK, PEOPLE! If you do it right then you'll realise why it's worth the difference!

How do YOU quiche?

my favourite's pretty standard - sautéed bacon and ham! Sometimes with some onions that have been sweated down, but not caramelised.

A great sorta-vegetarian one I made for my mushroom loving friends was caramelised red onions (with some balsamic), wilted spinach, and mushrooms sautéed in butter, olive oil and a touch of garlic.

What do you put on pasta?

XO sauce! Loosened with a little olive oil, and some of the pasta's cooking water.

Shallots! What do you do with them?

Shallot oil!! Slice them up and gently fry them in a little mild-flavoured oil (try canola or safflower) over a very low heat. They should just go translucent and very very soft - not brown at all. After about 10-15 minutes of the gentle heating, drain the oil, reserving it (you can now use your shallot oil as the basis of stir fries, or in salad dressings, or anything else you'd want to use shallots in but maybe don't want BITS of shallots or want a very mild fragrance instead of strong flavour).

Don't throw away the shallots either though - they too can be tossed into your guacamole or any of the other ideas above, or you can season them and stir through a little red wine vinegar (or reduce them with some red wine) to make some "shallot confit" which will keep in the fridge for a week or so and goes great on sandwiches, savoury tarts, or anything else you can imagine!

How Far Does Restaurant Loyalty Go?

I would go back, but I would also let them know. If I'd been there so many times before and this was the first time I'd gotten sick from their food, chances are it was a fluke - probably nobody's fault at all. But just let them know anyway so they can be aware. (And so they hopefully appreciate you going back all the more!)

Dinner Tonight: Hainanese Chicken Rice

No way, you need to cook the rice in the rendered fat from the chicken, not canola oil! The best way to do it is to pull out the big lumps of fat from the cavity of the chicken before you start cooking it, and render that out. Top it up with extra oil only if you aren't able to render out enough fat to coat the rice grains well before cooking.

The Omnivore's 100

Yay I hit 81! (See my post here - but there was something wrong with my blog so the formatting's a little different.)

The only two things I wouldn't eat are roadkill and umm rocks/dirt/wtf?!! Now I have a goal, foodwise :)

What Are Your Favorite Kitchen Tools?

microplane and my knives. :)

Why Don't Recipes Include Salt Amounts?

I agree with @iwannacook and @Joy Manning, but to add to @iwannacook's point - if a recipe for say some pasta sauce calls for a can of tomatoes, unless the recipe specifies the brand of canned tomatoes (which may not be available everywhere), it's very difficult to specify something like salt. Add to that different preference levels for salt, as well as different sizes of salt crystals between brands of kosher salt (let alone the difference in amount of salt between 1 tsp of X brand kosher salt and 1 tsp of Y brand table salt), it's really almost impossible to specify.

Tasting is an important part of cooking, whether you're an amateur home cook or am experienced chef, and seasoning your food with salt is probably the most important skill you could ever learn!

Essentials: Strawberry Shortcake

I *love* strawberry shortcake! But I have to say - and I know this is going to get me slammed by the purists - that I prefer the versions done with home-made, fluffy sponge cakes, at least when it's in the 8 or 9-inch size. Otherwise, I normally make smallish ones using plain cream scones

Barnyard Finger Foods

Neither fish nor bears are really part of a barnyard, but these goldfish crackers look cute and are rather yummy.

Snapshots from Asia: Coffee to Go

haha, my favourite poster in one of these local-styled coffee places is one that goes, "Want a skinny latte? Stop at half a cup!" :)

My Favorite Coffee Videos

If your weekend was anything like mine, it may have included one (or two?) too many margaritas. To help perk up your Monday morning, here's a selection of some of my very favorite coffee videos: I always play through this caffeinated list when I'm feeling a little bit, shall we say, sluggish to start. More

Baristas and Customers: How We Can All Get Along

We've read both sides of the story here, many times over. Customers complain about "hipster" baristas who are too cool, too slow, or too lecturey. Baristas complain about customers who breach line etiquette, don't understand what a macchiato is, or order espresso to go. Coffee-loving friends, listen to me: We can and should peacefully coexist across the counter. Here's how. More

Take It With You: Great Coffee Travel Gear

For those who plan to "rough it" during holiday, or anyday, travels, bringing your own brewing gear keeps getting easier. Whether you're crazy-passionate about coffee or just really want a decent start to the day, whether you're sharing with your family or steeping behind closed doors so as not to offend your mom, here are 5 compact, lightweight, durable coffee solutions you can totally fit in your bag to avoid terrible bad-coffee emergencies anywhere. More