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

Cafe Grumpy – Java Mastery in Chelsea

They pour seriously great coffee at Cafe Grumpy, the tiny new Manhattan outpost of a hound-endorsed java joint in Brooklyn.

iraform reports faultlessly pulled espresso, rich and strong, “with that heavy mouthfeel you get only from good espresso.” Drip coffee is made with equal care, precisely extracted from a daily-changing selection of beans (recent choices have included Red Mountain from Papua New Guinea and Yirgacheffe Ambessa from Ethiopia).

Coffee geeks inclined to peek under the hood will appreciate the state-of-the-art hardware, which includes Clover machines for drip coffee and a Synesso for espresso.

Cafe Grumpy [Chelsea]
224 W. 20th St., between 7th and 8th Aves., Manhattan

Cafe Grumpy [Greenpoint]
193 Meserole Ave., at Diamond St., Brooklyn

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Coffee to go around 10th Ave. & 23rd St.

Royale Burger Is a Real Showstopper

You’ll find a grand item of slow-food/fast-food at B&R, says kevin: the Royale burger. It’s like a Fatburger in heaven. We’re talking two half-pound burgers of well-seasoned beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, house-made beef chili, a fried egg, relish, other condiments, and a few slices of bacon (or is that pastrami?). You’ll need a knife and fork.

The menu’s motto is, “Our fresh meat and produce purchased daily.”

It’s an excellent burger for just $5.

B & R Old Fashion Burgers [South Bay]
3512 W. Rosecrans Ave., Hawthorne

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B&R’s burgers the old fashioned way

Howzabout a Fish Taco Face-Off?

Determined to pit the kings of the fish taco against each other, Das Ubergeek arranged a face-off between Tacos Baja Ensenada and El Taco Nazo.

The fish in tacos from both places was a bit dry (but they’d traveled a bit to the face-off), but Tacos Baja Ensenada came out the winner. TBE’s cabbage was shredded more finely, and the crema was fresher. TBE’s fried hot peppers also have a tangier seasoning.

El Taco Nazo, though, takes the crown for shrimp tacos. Shrimp are juicy and wonderful, fried in a tempura-like batter. Salsa is good (better than the crema), but all it really needs is a hit of lime.

Tacos Baja Ensenada [East LA-ish]
5385 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles

El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
121 S. Beach Blvd., La Habra

El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
9611 Garvey Ave. # 105, El Monte


El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
13032 Valley Blvd., La Puente

El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
163 N. Azusa Ave., Azusa


El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
14676 Pipeline Ave., Chino Hills

El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
5250 Philadelphia St. # P, Chino

El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
635 E. Bonita Ave., San Dimas

El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
1620 W. Foothill Blvd., Upland

El Taco Nazo [South OC]
701 S. Weir Canyon Rd., Anaheim


El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
320 E. Foothill Blvd., Pomona


El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
18013 Valley Blvd., City Of Industry


El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
356 S. Glendora Ave., West Covina


El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
14343 Ramona Blvd., Baldwin Park


El Taco Nazo [East LA-ish]
13128 Telegraph Rd. # A, Santa Fe Springs


El Taco Nazo [East LA-ish]
8713 Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera

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El Taco Nazo vs. Tacos Baja Ensenada

Super Recipe Search Engine

Wondering what to do with the ingredients in your fridge or looking for Tunisian recipes? Foodie View searches a host of popular recipe web sites and food blogs for recipes that match the criteria you enter, including sets of ingredients, cuisines, and chefs, among others. You can also simply browse by categories. If you register, you can save recipes you’re interested in to a recipe box on the site.

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What is your favorite cooking magazine


Chartreuse liqueur is made from a long and secret recipe of herbs and flowers. The bright green version is most common; it is strongly herbaceous, and quite potent (it’s 110 proof). There’s also a yellow Chartreuse that is milder in flavor and lower in alcohol, at 80 proof–and flavored with honey, according to fafner.

Green Chartreuse combines surprisingly well with chocolate, say hounds. Bob Brooks adds a good slug to brownies, and dct says it makes an excellent flavoring for truffles that intrigues many who can’t place the flavor.

fafner offers a cocktail recipe for each color Chartreuse:

The Last Word:

1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. maraschino
1/2 oz. Chartreuse
1/2 oz. lime juice

Shake, serve up.

The Amber Dream:

1 1/2 oz. gin

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

1/4 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash bitters

Stir over ice, serve up.

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Chartreuse Liqueur as ingredient


If you order salchicha in Latin America, don’t expect something exotic; what you’ll get is a hot dog.

In Latin America, you’ll find dogs in rice, sandwiches, and omelets. laylag has ordered papas fritas (french fries) and got french fries topped with hot dog. anonimo contributes this photo of fries, with sliced hot dogs in a bowl, in the background.

This is good info to have when traveling with the kiddies!

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Salchichas–What’s the Deal

Good Coffee for Cheap

Eight O’Clock Coffee is an old standby brand; it started at A&P stores. No one calls it the best, but for the price it’s very good. Buy the whole beans and grind them at home, or even at the store.

coll likes the mild Boca blend; it’s $6.99 for a two-pound bag of whole beans. The French Roast isn’t all that tasty. Atomica says that it goes on sale every other week. Sometimes it’s half price or a two-for-one.

namreb says Eight O’clock is as good as coffee gets for storebought. It’s great in the old percolator!

Here’s Billjriv’s method for brewing in the microwave.

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“Has anyone tried 8’O Clock coffee and how is it?”

Wedding Bell Blues

Low-carb, raw food, CR, allergies: Our diets have become as fragmented as a kaleidoscope, making planning any event where food is involved a nightmare requiring the lab skills of a food scientist, the sensitivity of an empath, and the precision of a master jewel thief. I get that.

But does The New York Times really have to quote people who make it seem as if the ethical beliefs of a bride and groom are inconveniences to be brushed aside?

I almost spit out my coffee when I read this quote in a story about wedding menu planning in the Times’s Wedding section:

Conflict over the wedding menu can occur … because of dietary restrictions or because the couple wish to impose their own dietary inclinations on their guests.

Elizabeth K. Allen, an owner of an event planning and design company in New York and Boston bearing her name, remembered doing a wedding reception for a couple who were vegans. That meant no meat, no eggs, no milk or other animal products.

‘I told them they needed to loosen up a little,’ Ms. Allen said. She suggested they at least broaden their horizons to a vegetarian menu so that the meal could include pasta, which has eggs in it.

‘I kept saying, “This is your belief, but this needs to be an evening for everybody,”’ Ms. Allen said. ‘Great-aunt Betty doesn’t necessarily want to eat vegan.’

Ultimately, the couple broke down and did a vegetarian menu so they could offer pasta to their guests. Last time I checked, there were a skillion vegan pastas out there …

If I were a vegan planning a wedding and the event planner told me to “loosen up,” I probably would find another event planner. I’m pretty sure that folks at Post Punk Kitchen could help out with a few names. And the annual wedding issue of Veg News profiles several couples who pulled off vegan weddings ranging from crunchy to elegant.

Pleasures of the Flesh

Most newspapers, when alerted that a long-awaited film is about to open, send an entertainment reporter out to interview the stars or director.

But at Scotland’s Sunday Herald, they do things right. To shed light on the new film that follows everyone’s favorite Chianti drinker, Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal Rising, the paper deployed not a tasteful critic or breathless celeb interviewer but Timothy Taylor, an archeologist specializing in the extremes of human behavior. The resulting article, “Nice to Eat You,” is a historical, cultural, and scientific look at the practice of cannibalism.

Not eating your friends after they have died, it seems, is a relatively new invention:

Item: Sterkfontein, South Africa, two million years ago; Homo habilis cranium with cut marks made in the fresh bone where the lower jaw was removed. Item: Gran Dolina, Spain, 800,000 years ago; Homo antecessor remains, extensively butchered with stone knives. Item: Bodo, Ethiopia, 600,000 years ago; early archaic Homo sapiens cranium covered in cut marks from systematic defleshing. Item: Zhoukoudian, China, 400,000 years ago; Homo erectus crania with enlarged hole at base for extracting brains. Item: Moula Guercy, France, 100,000 years ago; Homo neanderthalensis, two juveniles, butchered just like the deer from the same site. Item: Gough’s (New) Cave, England, 12,500 years ago; modern Homo sapiens remains, butchered in the same manner.

Taylor ranges through the natural world, discussing the cannibalistic practices of chimps, lions (the male that takes over a pride eats the cubs of his rival), and salmon. He describes how the aromatic smoke from the Aztec’s cannibalistic rites rose to the heavens as an offering for the gods.

He even makes like Clarice Starling, setting out to visit one of Brazil’s most notorious real-life blood drinkers, though not actually getting there.

Why do we love Thomas Harris’s Hannibal?

Central to Lecter’s grisly magnetism is his avowed gustatory pleasure in human flesh. Most real-life psycho cannibals have been pretty poor cooks…. Harris’s monster is monstrous because he couples an admirably cultured life, of painting, music, science and medicine with an appetite conditioned by war yet rendered unnecessary by the post-war economics of plenty. His compulsion is not that of a ravening madman. He does not just eat the brains of the US Department of Justice agent, Paul Krendler, while the latter is still alive, but dines on them, with all the trappings of a gourmet.

Kraft Goes Indie

Get your money out of orange mac ‘n’ cheese and into cigarettes, pronto: Food and tobacco giant Altria Group announced last week that it’s ditching its shares of struggling Kraft Foods, and analysts say Altria’s stock will soar now that it can focus on expanding its main holding, the Philip Morris tobacco company. (Maybe it’s time to take a cue from the French and smoke instead of eat.)

According to MarketWatch, the spinoff of Kraft, set for March 30, “will create the biggest stand-alone food company in the U.S. (and the second largest in the world after Nestle).”

But wait a minute—being big and independent should be a good thing for Kraft, right? And didn’t these stock watchers see Thank You for Smoking? Tobacco can’t win in our health-conscious society, people! As writer William Spain explains,

In theory, at least in the U.S., Kraft should have superior prospects. After all, cigarette volumes are declining as more American smokers quit or die each year even as they continue to gobble down food at an ever-increasing rate. But even though it is selling fewer smokes, Altria’s Philip Morris USA continues to build market share while squeezing higher profits out of each puff. At the same time, key Kraft brands are losing market share to private labels even as the company struggles with higher commodity prices.

Aaah, yes—nobody wants Kraft mac anymore, now that “all-natural” Annie’s is in town. The solution, some analysts say, will be for Kraft to tighten its international strategy and “[shed] businesses to focus on core categories such as biscuits, cheese, coffee and refrigerated beverages.” The still-enormous food company is likely to ditch 10 holdings, including Post cereals, Planters Nuts, and Jell-O desserts.

What will happen if these brands become indies? Oscar Mayer meats and Cool Whip at the farmers’ market—duh.