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

Nouveau Decanting Pourer

Nouveau Decanting Pourer

Aerate, but don't spill. READ MORE

Candy Matching Game

Candy Matching Game

Find the jellybeans. READ MORE

Masai Blu Tea

Masai Blu Tea

From Africa with love. READ MORE

Staub Round Cocotte

Staub Round Cocotte

Start doing grown-up cooking. READ MORE

Pigging Out at Porky’s

At Porky’s, the pig’s the thing, unsurprisingly. Following a hound tip, kjs wandered into this place and found excellent, smoky and tender pulled pork. It makes a good sandwich too, with a boatload of BBQ sauce.

Brisket has some gristly bits, but wilp says it’s usually awesome. Ribs are spice-rubbed, meaty and tender. Nothing comes up short on flavor.

Chicken dishes look good–smoked and fried–but no one ever seems to get around to trying them.

Sides tend to be on the sweet side. Dirty rice is really good, slaw is above average and macaroni and cheese standard-issue stuff. Potato salad is the mustardy kind, and tastes like there’s a touch of curry in there, too.

Prices are kind of high for ‘cue, but you get a lot: a combo plate of two kinds of meat, Texas toast and two sides is $18. But that’s 12 ounces of meat, guaranteed. A more economical option is a sandwich: the pulled pork one is just $5.

Porky’s BBQ [South LA]
801 E. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood
310-671-2900
Locater

Board Links
porky’s bb on manchester

$4.25 Breakfast in Monterey Park

Chinese American joints in SGV serving Western food are a fantastic deal–at K.T. Grille, a $4.25 breakfast gets you bacon, eggs, toast, tea or coffee, and oatmeal or macaroni soup. Go before 6 p.m. and get an early-bird special of quail, pork chop, or fish fillet, plus soup of the day, for $6.95. It’s all reliably good, says kure.

Along the same line, try Regents Cafe and/or ABC Cafe, says cfylong–you can’t go wrong.

KT Grille [San Gabriel Valley]
501 W. Garvey Ave. #108, at Ynez, Monterey Park
626-576-8028
Map

Regent Cafe [San Gabriel Valley]
1411 S. Garfield Ave., Alhambra
626-289-9398
Locater

ABC Cafe [San Gabriel Valley]
100 N. Garfield Ave., Monterey Park
626-573-0718
Locater

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K.T. Grille/MPK

Ohzi Al-sham at Ali Baba’s Cave

At the Valencia Street branch of Ali Baba’s Cave, you can get a dish called Ohzi Al-sham. It’s a baked filo pastry, about five inches in diameter and three inches deep, weighing about a pound. Inside you’ll find lamb, pine nuts, basmati rice, almonds, and peas. The bottom is soaked in a spicy, pepper-infused oil. zippo pronounces it one of the best Middle Eastern dishes ever. It costs $4.50, and they also have a vegetarian version.

hankstramm likes it, too, but warns that you have to get it fresh–if it’s been on the steam table too long, the bottom of the pastry gets tough and chewy.

Ali Baba’s Cave [Mission]
799 Valencia St., San Francisco
415-863-3054
Locater

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Ali Baba’s on Valencia

La Bodeguita del Medio

David Sloo has been going to La Bodeguita del Medio for a decade, and the quality of the food has been variable. However, he thinks that they’ve hit their stride, and he can now recommend the place for the excellent food–not just the lively atmosphere and rummy rum.

He recommends the oyster shooters–good-quality oysters served in a shot glass, adorned with cocktail sauce, a generous dose of grated horseradish, and habanero rum. The rim of the shotglass is dipped in salt and powdered habanero, making for an intense and delicious experience for non-crybabies. Lamb chops are thin and elegant, grilled beautifully with lots of cumin. Surf-and-turf (a piece of grilled skirt steak and a couple of grilled shrimp) was delightful years ago, then started to be overcooked and lame, and now looks delightful again. And “the purple mashed potatoes are the sort of thing you’ll like if you like that sort of thing,” says David Sloo.

La Bodeguita del Medio [Peninsula]
463 S. California Ave., Palo Alto
650-326-7762
Locater

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Bodeguita del Medio: the quality returns

Spicy, Sturdy Soups at 51st and Broadway

A soup vendor at 51st and Broadway turns up the heat two ways, dishing up warming and spicy meals for the Midtown lunch crowd. Pea soup and chicken gumbo deliver deliciousness and a vigorous chile kick. Lobster-crab bisque is another winner–deep, rich, and filling, says InfoMofo. Quality can be up and down, but these soups easily beat the local deli competition, says guspapp.

Soup vendor [Theater District]
51st St. and Broadway, SW corner, Manhattan
Map

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Soup Guy on 51st and Broadway

Where Does Your Thanksgiving Come From?

Thanksgiving is near, and proponents of eating locally want us to think about where our turkeys (and cranberries and mashed potatoes) are coming from—or even better, join in the campaign to celebrate a 100-Mile Thanksgiving.

With the average food item traveling at least 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate, the movement to support locally and sustainably raised products is growing. As the annual harvest feast of Thanksgiving approaches, a campaign to encourage local foods at the dinner table is in full swing.

Announced last week on the Eat Local Challenge blog, the 100-Mile Thanksgiving encourages participants to source their holiday meal from within a hundred miles of where they live. While some participants are aiming at 100 percent local produce, others are choosing to prepare one local dish, or planning for a certain percentage of locally raised products (cranberries being a common exception for those living in bog-less areas, along with cinnamon and ginger for pumpkin pie).

The Washington Post picked up the story yesterday, looking at the beneficial impact of eating locally and quoting a local eater from Maryland. “‘If people made the effort even 20 percent to eat local, it would have a huge impact on the environment, the local economy and their communities,’ says Sarah Irani of Frederick.”

At the 100-Mile Diet website there are recipe and stories from participants, and the tone is definitely upbeat. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to talk about food, about the virtues of locally grown food, and to learn about and celebrate the special food resources and heritage,” writes one participant. Another points out that “Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter menus are the easiest to plan, as all feature seasonally available food.”

Others are focused on finding replacements for traditional favorites. “I’ve got a source for locally raised turkey and most of the vegetables,” writes one participant, “but what about ingredients used as back-up players … hello!—cinnamon is the bark of an Indonesian evergreen tree!”

Something tells me there wasn’t actually a lot of cinnamon in use at that first Thanksgiving, either. You could always go without and say you’re aiming for historical authenticity.