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

Home-Style Cantonese Food

At Tasty Garden, henrychan888 finally found hearty home cooking like Grandma used to make. For example, the salty fish with steamed ground pork–a lot of places just don’t serve it because of the strong smell. Tasty Garden serves it alone or with a rice hot pot.

The same dish is served at Phoenix in Alhambra, says cfylong, where they also have minced squab on lettuce leaves, another home-style dish. Phoenix Inn in downtown Chinatown is the original location of Phoenix restaurant, notes monku, and still has the same owner. The must-try dish there is the boneless salted chicken.

Chinese restaurant scout Chandavkl points out a hot spot of four very good Cantonese restaurants within walking distance of one another in Monterey Park: NYC Seafood, Seafood Village, LYL Garden and Lucky City. Most of these have lunch specials and fill up quickly, especially on weekends.

Tin Tin has reopened after remodeling, says kure–they have good specials up until 6 p.m.

Har Lam Kee is a good Cantonese joint, says Will Owen, and cheap too.

And at Embassy, Ciao Bob reports having had many a fine meal.

Tasty Garden Restaurant [San Gabriel Valley]
288 W. Valley Blvd., Alhambra
626-300-8262
Locater

Phoenix Inn Chinese Cuisine [San Gabriel Valley]
208 E. Valley Blvd., Alhambra
626-299-1238
Locater

Phoenix Inn Chinese Cuisine [Chinatown]
301 Ord St., Los Angeles
213-629-2812
Locater

Har Lam Kee Restaurant [San Gabriel Valley]
150 E. Garvey Ave., Garfield, Monterey Park
626-288-7299
Locater

Tin Tin Restaurant [San Gabriel Valley]
7621 Garvey Ave., Rosemead
626-573-1983
Locater

Embassy Chinese Restaurant [San Gabriel Valley]
a.k.a. Embassy Kitchen
218 S. San Gabriel Blvd., San Gabriel
626-286-8148
Locater

NYC Restaurant [San Gabriel Valley]
715 W. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park
626-289-9898
Locater

Seafood Village Restaurant [San Gabriel Valley]
684 W. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park
626-289-0088
Locater

LYL Garden [San Gabriel Valley]
500 W. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park
626-289-8329
Map

Lucky City [San Gabriel Valley]
415 W. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park
626-307-7338
Map

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Authentic home cooked Cantonese joints/restaurants in L.A.?

Lubricating Rice for Flavor and Texture

Many hounds like to toast long-grain rice, especially basmati, in oil or butter for a few minutes before adding water or stock to enhance its flavor. Whether you choose a neutral oil, olive oil, or butter depends on your taste and the dishes you’ll be serving the rice with. DanaB says she sometimes sautees rice in lightly browned butter, which gives the rice a nutty, extra-buttery taste. You can saute until the rice turns tranluscent or until it’s golden, again depending on taste. Fleur uses the method for texture as well as flavor, saying it comes out perfect, with the grains always fluffy, but separate.

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Do you pan-toast your rice before cooking?

$3.99 Lunch Specials at Thai Patio, and Beef Jerky for Dessert

Thai Patio has replaced the old strip-mall Palms Thai. The $3.99 lunch special is, of course, a deal–pad kra pao, fried tofu with basil, peppers and onions, is nicely spiced and tasty, but the straight-from-the-bag salad and fried wonton wrappers on the side are forgettable, and it comes with anemic white rice–not jasmine.

Lad nah chicken ($6) has a good gravy-noodle ratio, and the noodles carry the elusive char flavor of wok hay. The chicken is sliced white meat, and the gravy is nice and garlicky and rich with soy sauce.

Chowpatty checked out Thai Patio for dinner and enjoyed some of the more expensive dishes, like red curry with shrimp (about $18). It’s great, with a strong but pleasant flavor of kaffir lime. Steamed trout comes in a pungent sour broth that’s light and flavorful. The only caveat, she notes, is that you need to explain carefully if you want your food spicy–they seem to be catering to a clientele, shall we say, not that familiar with Thai spicing. But once that was accomplished, she had an excellent, assertively flavored meal.

Oh, and there are Thai dance performances on weekend evenings (at about 9 p.m.).

After dinner, the natural place to go for dessert is just a couple of doors down, Ban Khanom Thai. pandapenny describes some favorites:

Sakoo sai moo–tapioca balls filled with ground pork/peanut/radish eaten with bird chili, cilantro, and lettuce

Khanom sai sai–toasted coconut ball surrounded by salty coconut cream

Khao tung–Thai rice cracker flavored with dried shrimp, green onion, cilantro

Khanom tien–garlicky, white pepper center surrounded by a chewy glutinous rice flour goo

Klong kang–fried dough of rice flour/coconut milk tossed in a sweet syrup flavored with white pepper and green onion

Galamah–coconut/rice flour candy (sometimes flavored with Pandan)

Cotton Cake–colorful steamed cupcakes that smell of flowers

Thai beef jerky–dried and fried with coriander seeds

Thai Patio [Thai Town]
formerly Palms Thai
5273 Hollywood Blvd., at Hobart, Los Angeles
Locater

Bhan Kanom Thai [Thai Town]
5271 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
323-871-8030
Locater

Bhan Kanom Thai [East San Fernando Valley]
12714 Sherman Way, North Hollywood
818-255-3355
Map

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Thai Patio in Thai Town

Great Carrots, Braised and Glazed

Chowhounds rave about Marcella Hazan’s braised carrots with Parmesan, even though the recipe takes two hours of hanging around near the stove. “I’m a lifelong carrot hater but these would convert anyone,” says cheryl_h. “The caramelized, concentrated flavors are just superb. I would never have thought carrots could taste this good.” Not content to fuss over carrots on the stove for a couple of hours, miss louella successfully adapted the recipe for the oven; she explains how here.

HillJ braises sliced carrots in white wine and chicken stock until fork tender, then sautees them in butter with nutmeg and black pepper.

Procrastibaker boils carrots until they’re tender, then sautees in butter, glazes in honey, and seasons with paprika.

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Looking for best glazed carrots recipe.
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking: Vegetable and Salad Recipe Reviews
How have you changed/simplified Marcella Hazen recipes (with great results)?

When in Rome…or Oaxaca

Sometimes, traveling or living abroad, you see the locals eating something really cool, or eating the same old thing in an exciting way. In Oaxaca, spigot learned to put a little chile pepper and lime on fresh fruit–it sharpens the flavor and undercuts the sweetness. In Italy, piccola learned to toss a chunk of Parmesan rind into soup to add flavor. BobB likes to serve quince paste with sharp cheese, as he learned in Madrid. (Other Madrid fare: fried whole anchovies.) And lots of chowhounds like to rub ripe tomatoes on crusty bread, with or without a pinch of salt, as they do in Barcelona.

In Melbourne, oakjoan learned to love the combination of yogurt, stewed rhubarb, and meusli for breakfast. In Ecuador, Dave MP learned to add a cut-up banana to arroz con pollo, and to put bits of sharp, hard Andean cheese in hot chocolate. Taralli learned to love Greek breakfast offerings, like octopus marinated in olive oil, lemon, and oregano. In Uganda, Hoosierland learned that fried grasshoppers make a fantastic snack with beer.

And do not limit your fries to a ketchup bath. Malt vinegar, mayonnaise, and bearnaise sauce all make great international condiments for french fries.

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Favourite tips you picked up while travelling ? [Moved from Home Cooking]

Chowhound Gift-Giving Tips

What presents of food are most welcomed during the holidays? Anything homemade gets automatic points with chowhounds–surprisingly, even if it’s not that good. The effort put into it and the warmth of the gesture makes up for a lot, and the recipient gets to try something unique. Unusual things that come from a special place (and aren’t available at the local supermarket of the recipient) are especially appreciated, like a special bottle of vanilla extract from Mexico, chocolate from South America, pecans from Georgia, or saffron from Spain. Any food that the giver actually smuggled through customs is looked on with special favor. A bacon-of-the-month-club subscription is appreciated, but make sure the recipient is not a vegetarian.

Almost universally reviled: fruit. Whether in fresh fruit baskets or attractive arrangements of dried fruit, chowhounds put the gift of fruit right up there with coal in the stocking.

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What food item do you love/hate to receive as a gift?

Overlooked and Misunderstood

Overlooked and Misunderstood

The building blocks of the kitchen should get a little more attention. READ MORE

Would You Like a Patchouli Parfait?

Pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini is teaming up with Macy’s department stores to offer desserts paired with specific perfumes. Musk Melba, anyone?

Iuzzini, of Restaurant Jean Georges, will give an hourlong presentation that focuses on fragrance notes in the perfumes that are echoed in the specifically chosen desserts. The final component of the event will be a dessert and fragrance sampling. Iuzzini will be assisted by chef Bill Yosses.

According to this article, “Macy’s and Iuzzini are hoping that the multiple sensory elements to the presentation will allow for a memorable connection to the fragrances, thus resulting in increased fragrance sales.”

Channeling chocolate in order to hawk high-priced perfume to women? That might not be such a bad sales plan.

The programs will be offered at four different Macy’s locations: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Miami. There is a $25 attendance charge, which can then be applied toward any fragrance purchase.

Just don’t tell me they’ll be offering a Sandalwood Sundae.

Junkin’ on the Job

Forget the dreaded “freshman 15.” If you think college makes you gain weight, try locking yourself in a room writing funny dialogue for city-dwelling singles or precocious bratty kids all day.

In yesterday’s New York Times Magazine, Virginia Heffernan invades sitcom writing rooms to find out why TV scribes always seem so schlubby. What she finds out may shock you:

Brownie Bites. Dunkers. Sandies. Peanut-butter cups. Keebler Chips Deluxe Cookies. Keebler Fruit Delights. Teriyaki beef jerky. Salt-and-vinegar Kettle Chips. Cheez-Its. White-cheddar Cheez-Its. Junk, in other words: delectable, irresistible, shelf-stable experiments in partial hydrogenation seasoned with sugar, salt and red-orange “spices.”

But the orgy doesn’t end at snack foods. Sitcom writers, under stress to produce episodes on the fly, generally don’t leave the writers’ room for meals; instead, they have lunches and dinners brought in. Multicourse lunches and dinners.

Jon Beckerman, a creator of ‘Ed’ and of ABC’s ‘Knights of Prosperity,’ says: ‘Eating restaurant meals twice a day, every day, seems great at first. The food is delicious, and you don’t have to pay for it! Plus, you find yourself thinking, I’m trapped in a windowless room for 16 hours a day: I deserve a five-course Greek meal. Before you know it, you’ve gained 30 pounds. Which I have.’

Heffernan notes that the writers’ drug of choice used to be be cocaine. Now it’s Chocodiles, a treat for which she obligingly provides a delicious-sounding recipe. Maybe she should have provided one for apple slices instead.

A Taste of Chinese Toronto

Fantasy Eatery is the U.S. beachhead of a Toronto-area Chinese restaurant, with a menu ranging from Chiu Chow items to hot pots to some caf