The CHOW Blog rss

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

Food, Fat and Fall seems to be as confused about food as the rest of us. Do we love it? Do we fear it?

The publication just posted the most deliciously schizophrenic food-related slide show of the year.
In “Fall’s Most Fattening Foods,” picture after picture clicks by, each more food porny than the last. Perfectly rare rack of lamb oozing juice into a cloudlike pillow of creamy mashed potatoes. Decadent (banned) foie gras ready for its close-up. A winsome-looking trio of of Buffalo wings swaddled in a crusty, spicy coating.

But just as you’re thinking, here’s a great resource for planning my next dinner party menu, you notice that underneath each scrumptious-looking picture the text tells you the calorie count, a paragraph on just exactly why the food is bad for you, and an “Exercise Equivalent.” Working off duck a l’orange will take more than 4 1/2 hours of yoga.

It’s the ultimate foodie buzz-kill.

Cook’s Country Snacks on a Leafy Green Basket of Crow

Cook’s Country magazine, the rustic, gap-toothed cousin of Cook’s Illustrated, has pulled off the small-scale equivalent of publishing a gushing profile of the amazing new luxury ship Titanic —on April 16, 1912.

This month’s edition features a lavish full-page spread celebrating “Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing.” It opens with a stirring affirmation:

In the salad world, not much satisfies like a wilted spinach salad —a hearty mix of earthy spinach, warm bacon-enriched dressing, and creamy hard-cooked eggs …

And these days, nothing packs quite the intimidation factor, either. At this point, having an earthy wilted spinach salad is an act of culinary bravado akin to eating a live, Tabasco-marinated pit bull.

Obit: R. W. “Johnny” Apple Jr.

Famed political reporter and food and travel writer R. W. “Johnny” Apple Jr. has died at the age of 71 due to complications of thoracic cancer.

In a career spanning more than 40 years at The New York Times, Apple “wrote about war and revolution, politics and government, food and drink, and the revenge of living well from more than 100 countries,” notes Todd S. Purdum in his obituary of the journalist with a “Dickensian byline, Churchillian brio and Falstaffian appetites.”

That omnivorous appetite—and the expense accounts that supported it—was legendary, and the sheer pleasure he took in eating came through in his writings about food and drink from around the world (his last article for the Times, a travel piece on the cuisine of Singapore, was published this past weekend).

Purdum writes:

For his 70th birthday, he gathered friends at the Paris bistro Chez L’Ami Louis, which he often described as his favorite restaurant, for heaping plates of foie gras, roast chicken, escargots, scallops and pommes Anna, washed down with gallons of burgundy and magnums of Calvados.

[Calvin] Trillin, who later wrote about the evening for Gourmet, quoted one guest who summed up Mr. Apple’s attitude toward the party, and toward the rich, long life and career that produced it: “It’s my understanding that Apple has simplified what could be a terribly difficult choice by telling them to bring everything.”

He is survived by his wife, Betsey.

Will I Get Trichinosis from Eating Undercooked Pork?

Will I Get Trichinosis from Eating Undercooked Pork?

Relax, it's a rare condition. READ MORE

The Lapinators

For those who watch Bambi and think Thumper looks delicious, several area butchers around the East Bay can supply fresh rabbit meat for home cooking adventures.


Egg Curry and Lemon Pickle at Namaste

Namaste is an Indian place with a buffet, but don’t write it off–it has a following among the chowhound family. It’s family dog’s number one restaurant, period, and Kitchen Imp likes it so much she drives there…from Berkeley. Seasoned Chowhounds love it, and it’s also an excellent introduction to Indian food for those not familiar with the cuisine.

Namaste features both North and South Indian dishes, including exciting things like cabbage curry, lemon pickle, and egg curry. Egg curry is basically whole hard-boiled eggs in a beautifully balanced, mysteriously spiced curry sauce. The gifted cook makes about 20 different dishes per day–delicious, varied, and Ayurvedically balanced. All you want from the buffet for $8.99, a real bargain.

Namaste Indian Cuisine [East Bay]
1671 Willow Pass Road, Concord

Board Links
Recs for Khana Peena … not the buffet or CTM
Concord -More on Namaste North & South Indian Cuisine ???
Trader Joe’s coming to Walnut Creek!

Challah Fame

Diamond Bakery makes an excellent loaf of challah, just don’t go when you’re in a rush. Even if you pre-order, it can take well over an hour just to pick up your order during the holidays, says PaulF. There are sometimes Diamond baked goods at Ralph’s.

Schwartz’s does a great job with their simple challah and special raisin New Year’s challah, says Jerome.

Pre-order at Bea’s and you’ll get to skip the line for their fantastic challah, honey cake, and sponge cake, says Simihound.

Junior’s round challah has remained consistent over the years.

Pastries by Edie bakes wonderful fresh challah on Fridays, davinagr says. Their pastries and panini are incredible any day of the week.

An order of Gelson’s challah for New Year’s was so fresh that it was falling apart. It was delicious, and gone in about five minutes, says liu.

Diamond Bakery [San Gabriel Valley]
140 W .Valley Blvd. # 120, San Gabriel

Diamond Bakery [San Gabriel Valley]
744 W. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park

Diamond Bakery [Inland of LA]
1015 Nogales St. Ste. 105, Rowland Heights

Diamond Bakery [Inland of LA]
18414 Colima Rd., Rowland Heights

Diamond Bakery [East LA-ish]
1940 Frank Stiles St., South El Monte

Diamond Bakery [Artesia-ish]
17801 Pioneer Blvd. Ste. D, Artesia

Ralph’s Market [Citywide]

Schwartz Bakery [Fairfax Village]
441 N Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles

Schwartz Bakery [Midtown]
8616 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles

Schwartz Bakery [Midtown]
7113 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles

Bea’s Bakery [West San Fernando Valley]
18450 Clark St., Tarzana

Junior’s Deli [West LA]
2379 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles

Junior’s Deli Boys [Beaches]
451 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach

Pastries By Edie [West San Fernando Valley]
21608 Sherman Way, Canoga Park

Gelson’s Market [Citywide]

Board Links
Diamond Bakery …

Return of the Oysters

Return of the Oysters

Oyster aquaculture may help save the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. READ MORE

Freshly Fried Fish

At 99 Ranch and other Asian markets around town you can choose live fish and the butchers will deep fry them for you. Rex sole, black pomfret, and tilapia are all great for frying, elmomonster says, but whatever’s on sale is always a good option. You can use the fried fish for anything from stews, to seafood hotpot, or even for fish tacos, but elmomonster just serves it over steamed rice and a stir-fry of green vegetables, with some homemade nuoc cham.

One of the Filipino markets on Vermont Avenue fries whole tilapia at the bargain price of $1 a lb., and serves it with chile-spiked vinegar, says monkey

You’re not limited to just choosing whitefish either, meatier fish like salmon cut into steaks and deep fried work great too, says mabziegurl.

99 Ranch [Citywide]

Unknown Filipino market on Vermont Ave. [East Hollywood]

Board Links
Deep Fried Fish (99 Ranch, other Asian markets…)

At Stop and Shop, a Lobster Roll for Bargain Hunters

At the deli counter in the Stop and Shop in Glendale, Queens, they’re not big on portion control–which means more lobster for us. Order a $4.99 lobster roll and the staff will often shovel in a staggering amount of lobster salad ($20-plus per pound when sold separately). “They just fill it up until it looks right,” says BigGuy, who’s not complaining. “I think I’m usually getting about a half-pound of lobster. This is a helluva meal.” It’s decent stuff, too: mayo-moistened lobster meat in big chunks, not chopped into mush.

It certainly is a bargain, agrees gravitch. His serving included something like three full claw pieces. A bit more mayo than he would prefer, though.

Stop and Shop Supermarket [Glendale]
8989 Union Tpke., between Woodhaven Blvd. and Margaret Pl., Glendale, Queens

Board Links
Lobster Rolls in Queens