The CHOW Blog rss

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

Vidalia Onions

Vidalia onions are the pride of Vidalia, Ga. They’re sweet onions–big, juicy sweet onions. For most locations, availability depends on the season, but they’re always available online, or by calling 800-447-9338.

Once you get them home, advisor_Girl says they’ll keep up to a year in a drawer in the fridge, when they’re individually wrapped. Another good storage tip: slip them into the leg of pantyhose and separate them by tying a knot between each one.

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TGIF–Thanksgiving in Florida

Apple Guide

Apple Journal is a terrific website to refer to when selecting apples. It describes the parentage, appearance, and texture of different apple varieties. It also tells you how well each type keeps.

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In search of an apple . . .

‘Tis the Season to Hate Rachael

According to The Boston Globe, Rachael Ray hatred is as much on the rise as the Loud One’s exhausting career.

The Rachael Ray Sucks Community is an outwardly innocuous space on LiveJournal where hate-minded individuals can spew anti-Ray diatribes to their hearts’ content. On any given day, you can find posts such as these:

Then she made a ‘chowDAH-mac’. ‘I have to call it chowda because I’m a New England girl teeheeheeheeheeheesnort’. I guess this is some vile mixture of crab and corn cowdAHH and macaroni and cheese. She’s calling this ‘Easy Entertaining’. I’m not kidding.


I just finished watching her 30MM show today on how to cook a Thanksgiving meal in one hour. I caught just the last ten minutes as was absolutely stunned. The so-called pumpkin soup looked like vomit. The apple & brandy ‘gravy’ looked like thickened transmission fluid. The muffins were an abomination…She even dumped the transmission fluid on the ‘microwaved green beans.’ If I was a guest being served this sh*t on Turkey Day, I’d walk out.

The Globe article reveals that the founder of this big steaming pile of sneer and loathing is Michigan resident Misty Lane (someone, I think, who will never need smack her pet’s name and street name together to determine her porn name). Lane created the site three years ago when she wanted to share her Ray-centered scorn with others.

A cooking enthusiast who enjoyed picking up tips and inspiration from ‘true chefs,’ Lane complained that Ray trafficked in culinary ‘common knowledge.’ And that she kept waving her arms.

‘She just used to drive me crazy,’ Lane says, laughing.

Having written for Television Without Pity for seven hate-filled years, I’m not surprised that hate is a powerful uniting force or that this particular Rachael Ray hate site now has over 1,000 happy members.

Isn’t there some famous quote about how you can measure success by the number of your enemies?

Go for the Gumbo

The Southern Foodways Alliance in Oxford, Mississippi, wants to know what you ate in New Orleans. Whether you were a longtime resident or a brunch-at-Brennan’s tourist, you can contribute to their ongoing oral history project by sharing a favorite gastronomic memory. (Go to their website for info on how to contribute.)

In related New Orleans food news, thanks to loads of volunteers and donations, the SFA and the Heritage Conservation Network has almost finished its restoration of Willie Mae’s Scotch House, a small, well-loved neighborhood restaurant/home that was nearly destroyed by the floods, mud, and mold of Hurricane Katrina.

More cash is still needed, but 89-year-old owner Willie Mae Seaton is planning a grand reopening in December, complete with plenty of her famous fried chicken. In an effort to get the money rolling, Restaurant Rio Mar in New Orleans will be holding a Scotch House benefit dinner on December 17. In addition to the dinner, ticket holders will receive an “I Support Fried Chicken” certificate, good for one plate of chicken at the Scotch House.

Fork on the Left, Knife on the Floor

Fork on the Left, Knife on the Floor

Designers reinvent the table setting. READ MORE

I’ll Have What He’s Having

Blogger and mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler is a man on a mission. His goal: to help spread the news of Repeal Day, the only holiday devoted solely and entirely to drinking.

Celebrated on December 5, Repeal Day marks the anniversary of the day the 18th Amendment (that would be Prohibition to you and me) was repealed, thereby allowing all God-fearing Americans of a certain age to drink legally again.

Morgenthaler points out that, although there may be other holidays that incorporate alcohol, all are sullied by the distracting influence of competing aspects to the day (St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, etc.). Repeal Day can focus exclusively on the booze. Morgenthaler has a list of compelling reasons why the day should be celebrated far and wide. Among others:

We have the Constitutional right to do so. How many forms of pleasure are guaranteed by the Constitution? None, unless you’re one of those who get an inflated sense of ego from holding a firearm or speaking in public. Me, I’m going to stick with alcohol.

It’s easy! There are no outfits to buy, costumes to rent, rivers to dye green. Simply celebrate the day by stopping by your local bar, tavern, saloon, winery, distillery, or brewhouse and having a drink. Pick up a six-pack on your way home from work. Split a bottle of wine with a loved one. Buy a shot for a stranger. Just do it because you can.

Morgenthaler’s campaign is gaining momentum, with a number of drink-oriented blogs rallying to the cause. Drink This Blog, The Art of Drink, and Days That End in Y are all on board with Repeal Day, as is The Museum of the American Cocktail. While Modern Drunkard Magazine is promising an article on the holiday, and DC Drinks is planning a Repeal Day celebration at Billy Martin’s Tavern in Washington, DC, a drinking establishment that opened for business on the first Repeal Day, December 5, 1933. There is even some classic newsreel footage announcing the repeal of Prohibition that can be viewed on Morgenthaler’s site.

Time to get your drinking plans in place—Repeal Day is coming. And if you need any further convincing, consider the words of a commenter on Morgenthaler’s blog: “This is so f*ing brilliant. Plus, Canadians would be sooooo jealous.”

Of course, that’s ignoring the fact that Canada wasn’t dumb enough to ban drinking for 13 long years, but whatever. It’s almost Repeal Day—cheers!

How do you plan to celebrate Repeal Day?

10 Holiday Confections

10 Holiday Confections

Cookies, candies, and cakey things to give or be given. READ MORE

Looks Count

Looks Count

CHOW's dos and don'ts of plating. READ MORE

Stack Your Salad (And Other Plating Tips)

Stack Your Salad (And Other Plating Tips)

An interview with chef Christopher Styler, author of "Working the Plate." READ MORE

The Pizza L.A. Has Been Waiting For

Raves have been pouring in for Mozza, Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali’s new pizzeria. This, it seems, is the pizza Los Angeles has been waiting for, with thin, crisp crust that’s char-blistered almost to a fault (they clip off the excess blistering) and toppings like oregano salami; mushroom, fontina, taleggio and thyme; and salami piccante, mozzarella and hot chilies.

Says Foodie McFood of the fennel sausage pie: “I won’t go into too much detail as to raise your expectations any higher, but I will say that my friends and I were splitting tiny pieces of sausage just to make sure we could all have a last bite.” For hrhboo, the lardo pizza was the winner. (Hint for dealing with those friends who might get squeamish about “cured pork fat”: Call it “white prosciutto.”) “The crust was liberally brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with rosemary, then baked. Once out of the oven it was topped with cold lardo, which soon began to melt into the hot crust. Absolutely divine.”

The only quibble that comes up is the topping-to-crust ratio–as Ciao Bob says, “With each slice you get one bite of topping WITH crust followed by three to four bites of lonely crust WITHOUT topping/sauce. It is just too bready, IMHO: kind of like basketball arena seating (puny floor with deep swath of surrounding seats) and I want a baseball park (similar seating but larger playing field).”

Pizzas are personal size, so there’s room for other stuff. The cured meats are excellent and the Tuesday special, crisp duck legs with lentils and saba, has been officially designated awesome. Ricotta-stuffed fried squash blossoms and arancini (fried risotto balls filled with meat and cheese in a bright tasting bolognese sauce) are both perfectly fried and tasty.

The caponata, says Fidelixi, “was utterly amazing to this eggplant afficianado and lover. Tender, not too oily or salty, balanced with acid and currants and pine nuts. Great. I want a bowl right now. I want a bowl every day.”

Desserts are mostly simple, espresso-and-cookie based things (although they’ll be phased out later in favor of an all-gelato menu), but the butterscotch pudding is divine, ending with the taste of burnt sugar on the top layer.

Wines are priced $25-50 a bottle–Adsvino recommends the rosato from co-owner Joe Bastianich, the Ceresuolo, the Alianico, and the sparkling Cortese. You can get a quartino, a carafe that serves one.

Oh, and although the restaurant was booked solid for dinner its first week and a crowd was waiting outside for it to open for lunch (hours are noon to midnight), hounds noted a lull between about 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Pizzeria Mozza [Hollywood]
641 North Highland Ave., Los Angeles

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just ate at mozza
Yet another Mozza review…
mozza: the wednesday edition
Shirking responsibilities for Mozza
Mozza again
So, who couldn’t wait and went to Pizzeria Mozza for lunch today?