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

Masters of the Bean

Masters of the Bean

Today’s coffee connoisseurs want to be on a first-name basis with their roaster. They want to know not only which country the beans came from but which region, or even which “estate.” They obsess over freshness and brew time and water temperature. READ MORE

Super-Peanutty Peanut Butter Cookies

These flourless peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies, inspired by San Francisco chocolatier Michael Rechiutti, are for real peanut butter lovers, says free sample addict aka Tracy L. They’re dense, not chewy or crisp like traditional peanut butter cookies, and a sprinkle of crunchy fleur de sel on top makes a nice contrast with the sweet chocolate.

8 oz natural unsalted peanut butter
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
6 oz chocolate chunks
Fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix peanut butter, egg, sugar, baking soda, and salt thoroughly, then stir in peanuts and chocolate chunks. Drop by spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for around 12 minutes, until golden and puffy. When they come out of the oven, sprinkle them with a bit of fleur de sel and let them set up for a few minutes before removing from cookie sheets.

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Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Success

Wine Saver; it’s a Gas!

Fortified wines, such as ports and sherries, suffer less after being opened than unfortified wines. They’ll keep a week or so in the fridge, but will slowly lose potency, says carswell.

A gizmo like Private Preserve extends the life of open wines. Each time you open the bottle, just inject it with “gas,” and reclose. It also works, they say, with spirits and even fine oil and vinegar.

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Storing Sherry

Stovetop Popcorn

It’s pretty easy to make popcorn the old-time way–in a covered pot on the stove. Here’s how: heat oil in your pot over high heat, then add 3 kernels popcorn and cover. When the kernels pop, reduce heat to medium, add popcorn, and cover again, leaving the lid just slightly ajar so steam can vent. Shake the pot until the popping stops. Voila–popcorn!

Many chowhounds eyeball the proportion of oil to corn,

La Cabana Rodriguez: Fried Chicken, Dominican Style, in Flatbush

Among the cheap, satisfying Dominican dishes at La Cabana Rodriguez in Flatbush is expertly fried chicken, says bigmackdaddy. “It’s crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. It has a nice spicy flavor and amazingly enough is not greasy at all.” Great fried pork skin, too.

La Cabana Rodriguez [Flatbush]
1062 Flatbush Ave., between Beverley and Cortelyou Rds., Brooklyn

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Best fried chicken in NYC?

Torres’s Chocolate Factory Retools for Ice Cream

Chocolate maker Jacques Torres has branched out into ice cream. It’s great stuff, says wurstle, who sampled chocolate ice cream sandwiched between two house-baked chocolate chip cookies. The ice cream is light in texture, and the chocolate flavor is reminiscent of Torres’s popular hot chocolate. The cookies are first rate, filled with big chunks, not tiny chips, of Jacques Torres chocolate. “Quite good on a hot day,” concludes wurstle, “all in all miles above a Chipwich.”

The rotating ice cream flavors also include vanilla and hazelnut. It’s available at both Torres stores, in the West Village and DUMBO.

Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven [West Village]
350 Hudson St., at King, Manhattan

Jacques Torres [DUMBO]
66 Water St., near Dock, Brooklyn

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Ice Cream at Jacques Torres & DUMBO as an ice cream destination

One Hot Delivery: the Hatch Chile Express to LA

Hatch green chile season is here, and while there’s no canned substitute for the real thing, you can get the real thing by mail order, by the sack or by the pound. El Rey Farms delivers the chiles to La Puente High School on Saturday, August 12; Saturday, August 26; Saturday, September 9; and Saturday, September 16, says Norm Man. There may be another date in late September, depending on Mother Nature. There will be vendors in the parking lot who can roast your chiles on the spot.

El Rey Farms [East LA-ish]
Jim Fabian
P O Box 5824, Whittier

La Puente High School [Inland of LA]
15615 Nelson Ave., La Puente

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Frozen New Mexico Green Chiles in LA?
El Rey Farms —LA area source for fresh Hatch New Mexico Green Chilis

Another Oasis in the LAX-Adjacent Desert

Truxton’s is brightening up the chow-wasteland that is Westchester, reports Mr Grub. It’s an “American bistro,” which is restaurant code for upscale comfort food. Burgers are excellent, mac and cheese very good. There’s spaghetti and meatballs, if you like. The Argentine skirt steak may not be American in the sense we were thinking, but hey, it’s great. Vietnamese avocado spring roll, on the other hand, is inexplicable and nearly inedible.

There are lots of generous salad choices, plus a well-proportioned bar and accessible wine list.

Big windows and an open floor plan give the place an airy feel, and prices are within the cost-conscious neighborhood’s comfort level.

Truxton’s American Bistro [South LA]
8611 Truxton Ave., at Manchester, Los Angeles

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Truxton’s report

Destination Baking

Unlike so many of the crappy bakeries in the area, which bake up frozen, prefab items, Destination Bakery bakes true, says Atomica. Destination makes every element of their baked goods from scratch, except for the little round chocolate candy topping some of their cupcakes. That one single thing they buy from one of their customers.

Sticky buns and banana cream tarts are excellent. Nectarine tarts have decent pastry, but perfect fruit. Nancy Berry’s favorite is their apple crumb tart, with great, buttery crust, and soft-but-not-mushy apples. She also likes their raspberry jam and marzipan tart, and coffeecakes, too. In fact, everything she’s tried at Destination has made her happy.

Destination Baking Co [Glen Park]
598 Chenery St., at Castro, San Francisco

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Creighton’s Bakery on Portola Drive, SF

We Will Give You All of Our Cannolis and Biscotti

Everybody who likes cannolis, biscotti, and focaccia absolutely must go to La Biscotteria, screams hhc. Cannolis are made fresh from good ingredients: mascarpone, ricotta, and a little wine. Foccacia is topped with ingredients fresh from the baker’s garden–homegrown rosemary, eggplants, potatoes, artichokes, and more. But be aware: focaccia and cannolis are only sold on Saturday, and they sell out easily, so place your order early. Call a week or two ahead of time.

Angela, the front counterperson, is one of the sweetest, friendliest people ever. She lets everybody sample as many varieties of biscotti as they wish, and will even give you some foccacia. It’s all delicious. One lb of biscottini costs $9; amaretto cookies are $5, panettone are $9 and $12, rosemary crostini are $6. They take cash and checks only.

Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 6 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday: 6 a.m.-3 p.m.. Closed Sunday and Monday.

La Biscotteria [Peninsula]
2747 El Camino Real, at Oakwood Dr., across from Ferrari Maserati, Redwood City

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La Biscotteria, Redwood City report—It’s Great, everyone that likes focaccia, cannoli, biscotti must go!