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

Dinner Rolls That Really Impress

Thee’s Bakery makes some damn fine dinner rolls, says the ever-picky JudiAU.

“When warmed in the oven they were revealed to be very fine with a soft pillowy interior, deep yeasty flavor, and a sheen that may in fact really be butter! I was impressed because nothing, ever, has come this close to my mom’s. Five days later an unopened package was still in great condition….I was very pleased, and to quote Mr. JudiAU–hey, how often does that happen?”

Thee’s is definitely underrated, chimes in Paliman, who puts in a vote for the hamburger buns, hot dog buns. and petits fours.

A dozen smallish rolls are about $5-6.


Thee’s Continental Bakery [Fairfax Village]
The Original Farmers’ Market
6333 W. Third St., Stall # 316, Los Angeles
323-937-1968
Locater

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Awesome yeasty rolls

Upscale Chinese at the Kitchen

An upscale Hong Kong-style restaurant based in the Bay Area, the Kitchen, has extended its reach to Alhambra, reports Chandavkl. He’s dined at the Millbrae original and says it’s one of the best Chinese restaurants up north.

Dim sum is very good and delicate, with some unusual dishes like cheung fun (rice noodle roll) with a crisp-fried exterior. Fish paste with egg white and milk is also a thing of custardy goodness. On opening, the dim sum menu was only in Chinese, but we hear they’re getting menus with English translations. It’s a hybrid ordering system, with dim sum circulating in carts and by order from the menu.

The dinner menu has a lot of innovative items. They’re also open late, till 1 a.m.

Food is kind of pricey–dim sum runs $1.90, $2.80 or $3.80 per order. Almost nothing on the dinner menu is under $10.


The Kitchen [San Gabriel Valley]
formerly NYC Jumbo Seafood
203 W. Valley Blvd., Alhambra
626-289-4828
Locater

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Checking out the Kitchen

Lemony, Creamy, Tangy Dessert Topping (and Cannoli Filling!) with a Heart of Goat Cheese

By combining creamy goat cheese with Meyer lemon zest and heavy cream, nja came up with a delicious and silky cream with just a touch of tang and richness. With a bit of honey, it’s a great complement to cakes and pies; with more goat cheese and a pinch of nutmeg, it’s a dynamite cannoli filling.

Meyer Lemon Goat Cheese Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
zest of 1 Meyer lemon
2 oz. soft fresh goat cheese
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar, or more to taste

Place 1/4 cup cream, lemon zest, goat cheese, and honey in the top of a double boiler. Stir until cheese and honey melt. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Once cold, strain through a fine sieve and discard lemon zest. Whip the remaining cream and 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar in a separate bowl. Taste the whipped cream and lemon-cheese mixtures for sweetness; if you will want a sweeter product when it’s all combined, add more powdered sugar to the whipped cream (it’s hard to adjust the sweetness once it’s all mixed together). Stir about 1/4 the whipped cream into the cheese to lighten it up, then gently fold in the remaining cream in 3 equal additions. Serve immediately or keep well chilled for up to 3 days, stirring briefly before each use.

Cannoli Filling Variation

Follow the same procedure as above, but increase goat cheese to 4-5 oz. and leave out honey. Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg to the 1/4 cup cream with the goat cheese and lemon zest. After straining the cheese mixture, add 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar and beat with an electric mixer for a few minutes, until stiff and chunky. Continue as above with whipped cream and powdered sugar, and pipe into cannoli shells.

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Success: Meyer Lemon Goat Cheese Whipped Cream for pies, cakes, and cannoli

Cooking with Orange Marmalade

Orange marmalade makes a great ingredient; here are some ways to use it in cooking.

It’s a great base for a basting sauce or glaze. Thin it with orange juice to baste chicken or pork, or with Grand Marnier to glaze duck. Mix it with Dijon mustard and use it to coat chicken pieces before baking. scrapcatb melts orange marmalade in a saucepan with soy sauce, freshly grated ginger, and a bit of sesame oil, and glazes broiled salmon or scallops with the mixture.

coll likes to add orange marmalade to butternut squash soup.

scrapcatb makes fresh cranberry relish with orange marmalade: grind 12 oz. cranberries in a food processor or with a food grinder, and mix with 1/2 cup each marmalade and sugar.

For sweets, try adding marmalade to bread pudding, or mixing it with farmers cheese to use as a stuffing for blintzes or crepes. Warmed marmalade with orange segments over thick, creamy yogurt makes a delicious dessert, says huruta. Kagey recommends a simple Nigella Lawson recipe for chocolate orange cake made with marmalade.

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what to do with marmalade?

Craving Cheese Curds?

Cheese curds…you’ve gotta love them. They’re an integral part of that Quebec speciality called Poutine–french fries and cheese curds smothered with gravy.

Before cheddar cheese is pressed into molds, the fresh cheese is in the form of curds. The irregular shapes are sweet and creamy and give a little squeak when you bite into them. They’re also good deep fried. You can satisfy a craving for them by ordering online. They’re from cheese curd country: Wisconsin.

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Gravy on French Fries

Fry Sauce on the March

The Associated Press is breaking the news that fry sauce—invented, as its own story discloses halfway down the page, in 1948—is starting to spread from its home base in Utah to other Western states.

The sauce, which is nothing more than a mixture of mayo and ketchup, is intrinsic to the Mormon State’s identity.

‘I think we have fry sauce specifically in Utah. People really correlate that with Salt Lake City,’ [restaurant owner Gary] Roberts said. ‘Jell-O is sold in every state in the nation. You can’t say green Jell-O is synonymous with Utah.’

Nor can you say that green Jell-O is synonymous with making french fries taste totally delicious. The brilliance of fry sauce is that you get the nice spikey tomato sweetness of ketchup, but slightly mellowed out by the full, fatty, lipidtastic goodness of mayonnaise.

A little secret for people living outside of Utah: All you need to do is mix ketchup into a little side dish of mayo until things are tasting awesome, et voilà—homemade fry sauce.

Food Blog Awards

In case you missed it, the Well Fed Network announced the winners of its 2006 Food Blog Awards yesterday. Many of the winners are established food bloggers with loyal followings and indisputably smart, engaging content, like David Lebovitz, Becks & Posh, The Amateur Gourmet, and Leite’s Culinaria (though the latter is technically not a blog, and won the “best non-blogging” category). But a few of the awardees were new to me—the mouth-watering Sydney-based restaurant-review site Grab Your Fork, for one, and the mesmerizing Farmgirl Fare—and will definitely become part of my regular reading list. (Full disclosure: The Grinder was nominated for an award in the group blog category but didn’t win—the always-fantastic Slashfood did.)

In other recent blog-world news, Orangette, winner in the best-writing category, also recently joined the ranks of food bloggers with book deals. I’m psyched to read it, though I wonder how long the “narrative cookbook” wave will last. Do you have any favorites in this genre that you cook from regularly? Or are they basically coffee-table titles for you?

When Restaurant Critics Screw Up

Food writer Ryan Tate, on his blog Covers, catches Chicago Tribune restaurant critic Phil Vettel in a big boo-boo.

The article in question, titled “A $3,000 Taste of Vegas,” is a fairly obnoxious recounting of how Vettel has $3,000 to spend on four days of dining in Las Vegas (“I suffer for my art,” he says, making me want to smack him). According to Phil, this translates to “about $2,000 for chefs Robuchon and Savoy, and $1,000 for everybody else.”

The article is fairly vapid, doing little to deepen anyone’s knowledge or appreciation of the dining scene in Las Vegas (the takeaway: In Las Vegas, high-end dining is expensive—oh, and food critics are lucky and obnoxious). But as Tate points out, Vettel really puts his foot in his mouth when he writes that “brothers Thomas and Hubert Keller have Sin City outposts.”

That would be (American) Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se, and (French) Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys. Brothers? Amazing!

It’s hard to imagine a professional restaurant critic making such a mistake (come on, Phil. They don’t even look alike).

Perhaps he should have spent a small fraction of that $3,000 on a decent fact-checker.

Toss Your Measuring Cups

Toss Your Measuring Cups

A scale is a must-have tool for precise, consistent cooking. CHOW reviews the best. READ MORE

North Hollywood’s World of Bakeries

North Hollywood has a surprising variety of ethnic bakeries, and Das Ubergeek is your self-appointed guide:

For bolillos, you need to go to Panaderia Las Americas.

For Cuban bread and fantastic pastries, go to Porto’s.

For chorny khleb (Russian-style sour rye black bread) go to Blackjack Market.

For lavash and pita, go to Karabagh Market.

For sourdough, go to Tallyrand Restaurant, but don’t sit in any of the seats if you have clean trousers on…get the sourdough to go.

For standard pastries, go to Belwood Bakery.

For Portuguese pastries, go to Nata’s Pastries.

For Chinese-made cakes, go to Hing Lung Bakery.

For Filipino baked goods (pandesal, etc.) go to Good-Ha or the Seafood City bakery one block north of there.

For baguettes, croissants and wonderful mini-pies, go to La Spaghettata at the Studio City Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings.

If you can make it to Eagle Rock, Eagle Rock Italian Bakery is worth it.

Finally, a bit out of the way but so, so worth it is Berolina Bakery, a Swedish bakery with very, very good pastries and prinsesstarta and outstanding bread.

And for a classic kosher bakery, adds GVDub, go to Continental, where they make wonderful rye (especially onion rye) and pumpernickel as well as excellent rugelach, cookies, strudel, and even some Israeli desserts. Their chocolate babka is fab, adds Das Ubergeek, but for regular babka (non-kosher) go to Olive Marketplace; and for challah, cross the street for Sam’s.


Panaderia Las Americas [East San Fernando Valley]
15047 Roscoe Blvd., Panorama City
818-893-2747
Map

Porto’s Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
3614 W. Magnolia, Hollywood Way, Burbank
818-846-9100
Map

Blackjack Market [East San Fernando Valley]
12643 Sherman Way # G, North Hollywood
818-759-7818
Map

Karabagh Market [East San Fernando Valley]
13747 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys
818-781-4411
Map

Tallyrand Restaurant [East San Fernando Valley]
1700 W. Olive Ave., Reese Place, Burbank
818-846-9904
Map

Belwood Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
12634 Ventura Blvd., Studio City
818-755-8853
Map

Nata’s Pastries [East San Fernando Valley]
13317 Ventura Blvd. #D, Sherman Oaks
818-788-8050
Map

Hing Lung Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
12634 Ventura Blvd., Studio City
818-755-8853
Map

Manila Good-Ha Fast Food [East San Fernando Valley]
8205 Woodman Ave. # 101, Van Nuys
818-787-1882
Map

Seafood City [East San Fernando Valley]
8231 Woodman Ave., Panorama City
818-988-872
Map

La Spaghettata [East San Fernando Valley]
at the Studio City Farmers’ Market
12001 Ventura Pl., Studio City
818-655-7744
Map

Eagle Rock Italian Bakery [Eagle Rock]
1726 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles
323-255-8224
Map

Berolina Bakery & Pastry Shop [East San Fernando Valley]
3421 Ocean View Blvd., Glendale
818-249-6506
Map

Continental Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
12419 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood
818-762-5005
Map

Olive Fresh Garden Marketplace [East San Fernando Valley]
12521 Oxnard St., North Hollywood
818-985-2662
Map

Sam’s Kosher Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
12450 Burbank Blvd. # H, North Hollywood
818-769-8352
Map

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North Hollywood bakeries