The CHOW Blog rss

Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Olive Oil Gelato Madness at Pizzaiolo

Pizzaiolo recently hired a new pastry chef, and hounds love her inventive, tasty, frequently changing desserts. Doodleboomer has tried several, and especially likes the rosemary-infused ice milk with blood orange granita, though olive oil gelato is also fantastic and worth a visit all on its own. JasmineG was also blown away by these stupendous gelati, and puts in a good word for the apple fritters. Cerise 37 likes the ice milk with tarragon. It is not only an interestingly savory taste, but a great palate cleanser.

Pizzaiolo [Temescal]
5008 Telegraph Ave., Oakland

Board Links

Desserts at Pizzaiolo

Jerusalem’s Organic Kitchen

bbulkow is a big fan of Jerusalem Organic–the food is fast, cheap, and well-spiced. lintygmom finds the food very fresh. Hounds are partial to the schwerma and the chicken, and even the salmon is excellent. Also delicious: the little dab of chutney-ish stuff they give you with your plate of food. “And the owner, Anny, is a real sweetie who looks uncannily like a young Alan Arkin playing the owner of a Middle Eastern restaurant,” says lintygmom.

Jerusalem Organic Kitchen [East Bay]
1897 Solano Avenue, Berkeley


Board Links

Jerusalem Organic Cafe

Catch of the Day: Lobster Sashimi at Ushiwaka Maru

When it’s man vs. lobster at Ushiwaka Maru, bet on the man. Sushi chef Hideo-san is undefeated, having ripped apart countless live crustaceans with his bare hands. The prize: sweet, sumptuous and obviously fresh lobster sashimi. Scope out the tank; if there’s lobster in there, it’s on the menu.

Others recommend Bond Street or Blue Ribbon Sushi for lobster sashimi.

Ushiwaka Maru [Greenwich Village]
136 W. Houston St., between MacDougal and Sullivan, Manhattan

Bond Street [East Village]
6 Bond St., between Broadway and Lafayette St., Manhattan

Blue Ribbon Sushi [Soho]
119 Sullivan St., between Prince and Spring, Manhattan

Board Links

Lobster Sashimi
Bond Street Question

Napa and Co.: Seasonal Bounty in Stamford, CT

Stamford hounds are buzzing about Napa and Co., an ambitious food emporium that brings something new and welcome to town. “Stamford finally has a ‘destination,’” exults Fairfield Foodie, who recounts a spectacular dinner highlighted by foie gras with apple, braised short ribs, sirloin with chanterelles, and a knockout custard for dessert.

Chef Bill Taibe, who gained a following at the now-closed Relish in South Norwalk, offers an upscale, weekly-changing American menu with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. “Phenomenal. The food is New York caliber,” raves iheartoffal, who faults only a few opening-month service miscues. The wine list is deep and Napa-centric, as you’d expect, but also includes numerous Old World choices. Lunch sounds as promising as dinner. tdchow loves the Napa Burger, made of wagyu beef–$17, but “you get what you pay for.”

In addition to the restaurant (formally known as the Kitchen at Napa and Co.), there’s a takeout shop called the Pantry, a wine store, and a catering operation. The Pantry’s menu of salads, appetizers, cooked entrees, and more includes a very good Cuban pressed sandwich, Johnleah reports.

Napa and Co. [Fairfield County]
75 Broad St., in Courtyard by Marriott, Stamford, CT

Board Links

Napa & Co. in Stamford
Napa & Co. in Stamford

Killer Empanadas at Jackson Heights’ Chivito D’Oro

Grilled meats are the main event at El Chivito D’Oro, but the empanadas also rock. The ones stuffed with ground beef or spinach are fabulous, says jason carey. (The chicken filling, on the other hand, can be dry.)

MKS admires their optimal size and flavorful baked pastry–and gives them the edge over the smaller fried empanadas at another hound favorite, Empanadas del Parque.

El Chivito D’Oro [Jackson Heights]
84-02 37th Ave., at 84th St., Jackson Heights, Queens

Empanadas del Parque [Corona]
56-27 Van Doren St., at 108th St., Corona, Queens

Board Links

fantastic empanadas.. Jackson hts.

Fried Rice Surprise at Spicy and Tasty

Spicy and Tasty is a perennial hound favorite for lusty Sichuan dishes like cold noodles with chile sauce and pork in fresh hot pepper. So rose water wasn’t expecting much when someone at her table ordered the wimpy-sounding scallion-and-egg fried rice. Turns out it kills: full of fluffy scrambled egg, bright green from pureed green onion. “It was earthy and scalliony and surprisingly good,” rose water admits.

Spicy and Tasty [Flushing]
39-07 Prince St. #1H, between 39th and Roosevelt Aves., Flushing, Queens

Board Links

NY Times Awards Spicy & Tasty 2 Stars

Los Feliz Goes Hot and Cold: Yai’s Spicy Thai and Pinkberry Fro-Yo

Yai, a Thai restaurant that’s sibling to the well-liked Yai (and Yai Noodles) in Thai Town, has finally opened after months of sitting empty (is rent free or what?). Chowpatty went to check it out and found the food pretty much the same as at the original Yai, if a little greasy. A big plus compared to Thai Town–super-easy parking.

Just up the street, a new Pinkberry has opened in Los Feliz Village. Great for cooling off after some spicy Thai.

Yai [Los Feliz]
1627 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles

Yai [Thai Town]
5757 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles

Yai Noodle [Thai Town]
5401 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles

Pinkberry [Los Feliz]
1726 N. Vermont Ave., between Prospect and Kingswell, Los Angeles

Board Links

Yai Thai pushes eastward
Los Feliz gets its very own Pinkberry

Armando Isn’t the Only One With Fantastic Salumi

Fra’Mani salumi is nothing short of extraordinary, says Barham Turner–the aroma, the mouthfeel, the rich flavor. Recently featured on KCRW’s Good Food, Fra’Mani is a salumi company started by Bay Area chef Paul Bertolli, formerly of Chez Panisse and Oliveto.

Salumi runs about $25 a pound. It’s available at Artisan Cheese Gallery, the Cheese Store of Silver Lake, Robins Nest, and Whole Foods.

Artisan Cheese Gallery [East San Fernando Valley]
12023 Ventura Blvd., Studio City

Cheese Store of Silver Lake [Silverlake]
3926 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles

Robins Nest Market [Beaches]
68 N. Venice Blvd., Venice

Whole Foods [Areawide]

Board Links

This salumi knocked my socks off

Sun-Dried Tomatoes by the Bagful

Sun-dried tomatoes sold in bags are most often rehydrated in boiling water before using. You can use them right after rehydrating, or you can pack them in a jar, with some herbs and peppercorns if you like, and cover them with olive oil to store. They add a deep tomato flavor to foods, no matter what the season. They’re a great addition to omelettes and frittatas, pizza, pasta, salads, and tomato-based sauces. If you store them in oil, you can use the flavorful oil in these dishes, as well.

carswell uses them in pesto rosso, a chunky puree of equal amounts of sun-dried tomatoes and pitted black olives with fresh thyme and rosemary leaves, garlic, crushed chiles, and olive oil. He spreads it on toasted country bread, or cod before roasting, and uses it as a sauce for spaghetti with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.

Chopped or julienned without being rehydrated, sun-dried tomatoes make a fine ingredient in quiches and risottos (they may soak up a bit of extra stock in risotto). adamclyde likes them chopped finely in pasta salads, and sasha1 eats high-quality sun-dried tomatoes out of the bag as you would dried fruit.

Board Links

much-maligned sundried tomatoes

Varieties of radishes

Radishes have a lovely crunch; it’s especially nice to mix up spicy radishes with mild radishes. Farmers’ markets will often have a number of different ones to choose from:

The daikon is a large Asian radish, with a sweet and mild flavor.

The French breakfast radish is also mild and will be along in the springtime. Eat them French-style, Das Ubergeek suggests, “with a sliver cut out of the top, a bit of sweet butter smashed in the cut, and a teeny sprinkling of sea salt.” They’re equally nice thinly sliced onto a well-buttered baguette, and seasoned with a shake of good salt.

They’re also very easy to grow. All you need is a few flower pots and some potting soil; the plants don’t require much depth. Sow some seeds, water, and wait. If they sprout up too close together, thin the plants out, and add those shoots to a salad.

Info on growing your own.

Board Links