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


Now this is dead brilliant, what?

Check out these two ingenious devices for cooking perfect eggs. First we’ve got the British Egg Information Service (yes, that’s a real thing), with their “self-timing egg,” which is

... imbued with the powers of heat-sensitive invisible ink that turns black the minute that it is ready. All you need to do is decide whether you prefer your eggs soft, medium or hard-boiled, and buy accordingly.

Just think: No more agonizing over gray yolks! You’ll take first prize with your deviled eggs at the next office picnic!

OK, you can calm down now and take a dekko at the PerfEGG, which was designed by a 22-year-old industrial-design student at Brunel University. The PerfEGG “keeps the water temperature constant for 8.5 minutes without reaching boiling point. The aim is to let the egg white coagulate but keep the yolk runny.”

Being slightly more oriented on the soft-boiled process, the PerfEGG is impossibly, delightfully British. Except for the Anglophiles who stock egg cups along with tin toast racks and bottles of Pimm’s, most Americans don’t seem to have too much call for soft-boiling their eggs, perching them in the aforementioned egg cups, beating a staccato with their spoon, and dipping hot buttered toast strips in the golden pool within.

However, as I am one of those Anglophiles and also wish to take a blue ribbon for my deviled eggs, I have my fingers tightly crossed that both these eggzacting devices make it across the pond very soon.

Savory Cooking with Maple Syrup

Maple syrup and balsamic vinegar complement each other well in salad dressings, and a slug of maple syrup can liven up a store-bought balsamic vinaigrette.

It’s good on roasted winter squash, or pour a little into the squash’s cavity before roasting. Add to any roasted or pureed root vegetable (e.g., carrots, parsnips, turnips, etc.).

Pour a little over crookneck squash, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts sauteed in unsalted butter and let it caramelize, suggests Kitchen Queen.

momjamin makes Vermont baked beans using maple syrup instead of molasses.

FlavoursGal makes a glaze for salmon fillets by mixing maple syrup with a bit of Dijon mustard, some ancho chile powder, and salt and pepper. Brush it on the fish and roast at 450F for no longer than 15 minutes.

Maple syrup is good mixed with crushed pineapple, lemon juice, and a little soy sauce, then poured over chicken or game hens and baked, says blue room.

krissywats makes a pork dish with maple syrup she says is “crazy simple and really superb”: Season pork loin with salt and pepper and sear in olive oil; remove to a plate. Add 1/4-1/2 cup maple syrup and a couple tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary to the pan and heat until the syrup bubbles. Return the pork loin and its juices to the pan, turn to coat with syrup and rosemary, and finish cooking in the oven.

Val offers this maple-based recipe for “five-ingredient chicken,” saying the unlikely sounding combo of spices tastes great, and the sauce is delicious on rice:

2/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup Dijon mustard, thinned with 2 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. rubbed sage or ground sage
2 tsp. curry powder
6-8 pieces of chicken, skin removed if desired

Preheat oven to 425F. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except chicken. Stir over medium heat until sage and curry are well incorporated. Season chicken pieces with a little salt and freshly ground pepper, and place in a casserole or baking dish so they fit closely. Pour mustard sauce over chicken and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes, basting every 10-15 minutes with sauce. If the sauce separates, skim off fat before serving.

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Need Ideas with Maple Syrup

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

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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


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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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]

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This salumi knocked my socks off