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

Gone Crabbin’

Gone Crabbin’

CHOW spends a seasick day on a crab boat south of San Francisco. READ MORE

The Mellow Yellow Cure

I’ve just finished battling my way through this behemoth. The characters are constantly eating delicious-sounding meals and snacks, making this book as mouthwatering as it is compelling. All that reading about idlis, kulfi, and dal has led to a lot of cooking of Indian food at home this week.

And now USA Today is reporting that the turmeric I’ve been using in prodigious amounts may have some unintended effects (besides, that is, staining my counters a cheery yellow).

Apparently, aside from the antiseptic qualities that have been exploited for generations, turmeric has a host of curative properties. It seems to help joint pain caused by arthritis. It can inhibit the spread of some cancers. It can help ward off Alzheimer’s.

And, the article notes, it may even be useful in weight control. But not if you’re eating your turmeric in these.

Essentials for the Home Baker

Essentials for the Home Baker

Baking supplies that won't collect dust. READ MORE

Kulfi at Lahore Karahi

The kulfi at Lahore Karahi is really special, says Big Larry. It comes in irregularly-shaped hunks, speared with toothpicks. Mango, pistachio, and cardamom are all part of this ice cream experience–rich flavors, but not too sweet. And the texture is pleasantly solid. Eat it.


Lahore Karahi [Tenderloin]
612 O’Farrell St., San Francisco
415-567-8603
Locater

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Lahore Karahi Dessert

New Central Vietnamese at Ngu Binh

Ngu Binh is a new Vietnamese restaurant that appears to be focusing on central Vietnamese food, like the kind of stuff they serve in Hue, rather than Saigon or Hanoi. This place is only a few weeks old, and they’re still sorting out the menu, but hounds say it’s promising. zippo is charmed by the delicate bahn nam, little tiny dishes filled with a layer of soft, custardy rice cake, topped with chopped shrimp, chives, and croutons ($4.75). Ruth Lafler likes the thin, lacey crust of the bahn xeo ($6.45), with its distinct coconut flavor, but thinks the filling-to-pancake ratio is off. And Melanie Wong finds the bun bo hue much more delicate (“a better word might be ‘watery’”) than versions she’s used to. Those seeking the funky, fishy flavors and unctuous textures of hardcore Vietnamese food may be disappointed. However, all the hounds who have tried it plan on going back. Catch a late breakfast–they open at 8:30 a.m.


Ngu Binh (Dac Biet Bun Bo Hue) [Tenderloin]
formerly Hung Ky
337 Jones St., between Ellis and Eddy, San Francisco
415-346-3100
Locater

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Ngu Binh–new Vietnamese @337 Jones, SF

Chico’s: Carolina ‘Cue and More in Guilderland, NY

Chico’s shows its barbecue chops in Carolina-style pulled pork: tasty and smoky with ample bark, reports jkent. It’s first-rate ‘cue, especially for the Northeast, and surprisingly true to Carolina tradition, says bbqfan. He faults only the thick, sweet sauce, a substitute for the thin, vinegary one served down south.

But Chico’s barbecue ranges beyond Carolina, including solid “St. Louis-style” ribs and smoked, fried chicken wings. Most meats come in platters or in ample sandwiches made on excellent rolls. Service is casual, friendly, and efficient.


Chico’s BBQ and Restaurant [Albany County]
2490 Western Ave. (Rte. 20), near Rte. 146, Guilderland, NY
518-456-0940
Locater

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Chico’s BBQ–Guilderland NY

At Peanut Butter and Co., Elvis Lives

The king of the sandwiches at Peanut Butter and Co. is the Elvis: a grilled number stuffed with bananas, honey and, of course, peanut butter. Bacon is optional–but not for billyeats, who insists on it: “It is an awesome sandwich with the bacon–as it should be eaten. Really decadent and delicious.”

billyboy goes for the Seinfeld (peanut butter, honey and cinnamon on a toasted bagel), The Heat Is On (spicy peanut butter, grilled chicken, pineapple jam), and the aforementioned Elvis with bacon. “I don’t think the drugs are what did him in!” he adds.

Dissenters dismiss this place as a one-trick pony (two tricks, if you count jelly). “It’s good for peanut butter and jelly, but there’s limits to how good that can be,” carps icejew, who also observes that everything on the menu will make you thirsty, and drinks are expensive.


Peanut Butter and Co. [Greenwich Village]
240 Sullivan St., between Bleecker and W. 3rd Sts., Manhattan
212-677-3995
Locater

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Peanut Butter & Co.

Top-Notch Tavern Burger at Tierney’s in Montclair, NJ

Tierney’s Tavern turns out a surprisingly excellent hamburger, possibly one of the best in New Jersey, swears tamerlanenj. It’s nicely griddled, agreeably greasy and juicy, and the bacon version is loaded with crispy pork.


Tierney’s Tavern [Essex County]
136-138 Valley Rd., between Claremont Ave. and Van Vleck St., Montclair, NJ
973-744-9785
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A Burger at Tierney’s, Montclair

Israelis One-Up the Greeks on Yogurt

If you like Greek yogurt, you’ll probably love the Israeli yogurt at Elat Market. It’s even creamier, and a bit more sour than regular plain yogurt, says arkestra. It comes in fat-free, 1.5% and 3% fat versions. Look for “Danone,” from the Strauss dairy at Elat, an Israeli supermarket. A 6-7 oz container costs almost $2.


Elat Market [Midtown]
8730 W. Pico Blvd., at Robertson, Los Angeles
310-659-7070
Map

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Get your Israeli groceries

Your Own Personal Guacamole Mixmaster

Los Gueros is a bargain delight that offers a fantastic tableside guacamole, says The Oracle.

Their guac has the right amount of everything, and the flavors blend harmoniously. Since it’s made in front of you, you can get it customized (i.e., more or less jalapeno or onion or something). Chips, unfortunately, are sometimes overcooked.

Enchilada with chicken, mushrooms, and spinach in a flour tortilla comes with half green and half red sauce, a side of rice and salad. The enchilada is as huge as a burrito, stuffed with tender chicken chunks and flavorful, juicy mushrooms. Not much spinach in evidence, though. Rice is decent, but salty.

It’s a small space, with red, white and green booths, banda music playing on the speakers and specials handwritten on a board at the entrance. They have some great deals, like 99-cent Corona/Pacifico on Mondays, kids eat free on Tuesdays, 99-cent margaritas on Wednesdays, and 99-cent pina coladas on Thursdays.

The owner also has a hole-in-the-wall sports bar just down the street, adds RoxyGirl. Everyone’s really friendly, and they make mean carne asada tacos you can eat while playing pool.

Get a coupon for free tableside guacamole.


Los Gueros Mexican Restaurant [Pasadena-ish]
313 W. Huntington Dr., at Magnolia, Monrovia
626-358-0200
Map

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Great tableside guac