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

Chewy Cakey Fudgy

Chewy Cakey Fudgy

We sample and rank mail-order brownies, then give you a recipe for the "perfect" brownie. READ MORE

Harold McGee Speaks

Harold McGee Speaks

Harold McGee is the king of kitchen science, the man who solves food mysteries ranging from how much oil you can emulsify into a mayonnaise with one egg yolk to why frying spatter ends up on the inside surface of the cook's eyeglasses. READ MORE

Pucks of Pu-erh

You may have recently seen those little hockey pucks of compressed tea leaves. They are Pu-erh tea, from the Yunnan province of China. READ MORE

Wait! Before You Bake…

Hint: Frosting is easier if your cake is cold. Plus, the ultra-secret crumb layer trick. READ MORE

Make Then Open the Box While You’re There

Lavish chocolates make great gifts. Here are our favorites, top to bottom. READ MORE

Duck Eggs

Duck eggs are much larger than chicken eggs. The yolks are thicker too, so they can get rubbery if overcooked. Chocolate chick had some duck eggs (with bright orange yolks) cooked over-easy in Scotland, and proclaims them the best eggs she’s ever eaten.

They’re also rich and wonderful for baking, and they make custards turn out silky smooth.

Here’s a nice photo showing off the yolk and the dense white.

Order duck eggs online at

Board Links: Duck eggs?

Yuzu Pepper Paste

Yuzu pepper paste is a Japanese condiment that’s spicy and salty, with the citrus flavor of yuzu. In Japanese, it’s called Yuzu Koshou. There are two varieties: green, from green chile peppers and green yuzus, and red, from red peppers and yellow yuzus. A little goes a long way, and it’s great as a rub for chicken, fish, or meat. Look for it in Japanese markets.

Board Links: yuzu pepper paste

Fast Homemade Mozzarella

With a gallon of good whole milk, a microwave, and a couple of specialty ingredients, you can make your own fresh mozzarella in half an hour! It’s not difficult, say hounds, and, with a bit of practice, you can get the texture just the way you like it. You’ll also have the option of customizing with additions like fresh basil or sun-dried tomatoes. (Read the recipe along with a step-by-step tutorial.)

In addition to non-ultra-pasteurized milk, you’ll need citric acid and rennet. You can order supplies at, or buy in stores.

Citric acid is often available at stores selling home brewing supplies and sometimes at Middle Eastern markets. You may find rennet tablets sold under the brand name Junket alongside pudding and Jell-O mixes in the supermarket (make sure to buy plain rennet tablets, not the mix). Chowhounds have reported finding liquid rennet sold refrigerated at Whole Foods.

Board Links: 30 minute microwave mozzarella?
Citric acid, Rennet, etc… what kind of stores carry these, typically? Also, possible substitutes?

Traditional Waffle Irons

Traditional flat waffle irons are the exception these days, with thick Belgian waffles commanding prime breakfast real estate. Chowhounds endorse several irons that yield old-fashioned thin waffles.

Cuisinart makes three models garnering thumbs-up for ease of use and even heating. The Round Classic waffle iron and Heart-Shaped waffle iron (which produces a roundish flower that comes apart into 5 hearts!) cost around $30, and both store horizontally so they don’t take up much space. The 6-square iron is a larger, heavier model that makes a lot at once–great for serving a bunch of people or making batches for freezing.

Allstonian has been very happy with VillaWare’s Classic Heart Waffle Iron, which has a light and sounds a tone to let you know your waffle’s ready.

Board Links: Need a Waffle Iron Rec

Casual Seafood Spots Around Long Island

Montauk’s newish MTK Cafe is looking shipshape, says coll, who reports a fantastic lobster roll and other decent chow–salads, panini, burgers, wraps, and more.

Elsewhere in town, the Inlet Cafe is a dependable spot for fresh seafood–it draws on the catch brought ashore at the nearby dock–and unbeatable views of Montauk Harbor.

At Fort Pond, you’ll find solid fish-shack fare at the Lakeside, the longtime nightspot whose casual seafood cafe is now in its second season. The waterfront deck is the perfect place to relax with a beer or a mojito and a platter of delicious fried clam bellies. “This will be one of my new favorite places to hang out,” says coll.

In Amagansett, the Lobster Roll–better known as Lunch, for its big blue sign–remains a Hamptons perennial for chowder, grilled seafood, and fish and chips, as well as its signature specialty. “I have moved out of state but would go back just to have lunch there,” swears pdxgirl. A second location in Riverhead is also good, if less atmospheric.

On the North Fork, there’s a standout lobster roll at Orient by the Sea, a casual joint overlooking Gardiner’s Bay. “The lobster salad was as good as I’ve had,” reports coll, who faults only the untoasted bun.

Closer to the city, Strudel recommends Babylon Fish and Clam as a great stop after a day on the beach at Robert Moses State Park.

Farther west along the South Shore, the Point Lookout Clam Bar serves nice chowder and bisque, as well as fried and grilled seafood, says stuartlafonda.

Others recommend Jordan Lobster Farms in Island Park, Bigelow’s in Rockville Centre (go for fried belly clams, urges byrd), and Peter’s Clam House in Island Park.

MTK Cafe [Suffolk County]
779 Main St., between the Plaza and Edison St., Montauk, NY

Inlet Cafe [Suffolk County]
500 W. Lake Dr., at Gosman’s Dock, Montauk, NY

The Lakeside [Suffolk County]
183 S. Edgemere St., near Emerson Ave., Montauk, NY 11954

Lobster Roll Restaurant [Suffolk County]
a.k.a. Lunch
1980 Montauk Hwy. E., Amagansett, NY 11930

Lobster Roll Restaurant [Suffolk County]
3225 Sound Ave., between Horton and Roanoke Aves., Riverhead, NY

Orient by the Sea Restaurant and Marina [Suffolk County]
Main Rd., next to Cross Sound Ferry, Orient, NY

Babylon Fish and Clam [Suffolk County]
458 Fire Island Ave., near Yacht Club Rd., Babylon, NY

Point Lookout Clam Bar [Nassau County]
99 Bayside Dr., between Hewlett and Inwood Aves., Point Lookout, NY

Jordan Lobster Farms [Nassau County]
1 Pettit Pl., near Long Beach Rd., Island Park, NY

Bigelow’s New England Fried Clams [Nassau County]
79 N Long Beach Rd., at Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre, NY

Peter’s Clam House [Nassau County]
600 Long Beach Rd., near Austin Blvd., Island Park, NY

Board Links: Lobster Rolls ?
Jones Beach
Lobster Rolls and great seafood in the Montauk area.
farmstands and lunch on Long Island? [Moved from Outer Boroughs Board]
Lakeside in Montauk DOES have home made fried clam bellies…..and Almondito review