There's no denying that homemade beef stock adds great flavor to sauces and soups. But if you don't have any on hand, Salbert wonders if there isn't a better alternative to canned beef broth, which can have an unpleasant metallic flavor. Chowhounds say umami-rich alternatives—which happen to be vegetarian—add real depth to both beef dishes and meatless preps. READ MORE
Dang! Butterscotch Root Beer combines sassafras flavor with butterscotch, resulting in a beverage that drinks like a root beer but lands on a lingering flavor of brown sugar and butter.
It's expensive to ship bottled beverages, so don't bother: you can find this treat in San Francisco. Chowhound user hyperbowler spotted it at Monterey Deli in Sunnyside; he says it might also be in stock on occasion at The Fizzary, a specialty soda store in the Mission District, but call ahead to check. READ MORE
A spoonful of sweet-tart rhubarb syrup (pictured) lends a pretty pink blush and bright flavor to a glass of prosecco, a drink that's even better with a splash of the orange-and-rhubarb-flavored aperitif Aperol, Breadcrumbs says. Chowhound foodieX2 uses rhubarb syrup in a margarita made by mixing one part each syrup, pink grapefruit juice, and silver tequila with a half part triple sec and lime juice to taste. READ MORE
If you're not wild about the taste of commercial veggie burgers, or would prefer to avoid the heavily processed soy that's often their main ingredient, there's good news: It's pretty simple to make your own using whole foods like beans, grains, and nuts—and the seasoning options are almost endless. Try these seven recipes loved by users of Chowhound's Vegetarian and Vegan discussion board: READ MORE
The difference between baby back and St. Louis-style ribs doesn't really have to do with how you cook them, but in the cut you start with, hill food says on Chowhound. St. Louis ribs are spareribs with the so-called rib tips removed, mike0989 says. Spareribs come from a spot on the pig next to the belly, arguably the tastiest zone of the animal (see: bacon). And rib tips themselves are beloved by Chowhounds, who consider them a delicious treat. READ MORE
So juicing is a thing. Practitioners range from DIYers who occasionally liquefy a sheaf of kale to the sort of person who has bottles of cucumber-watercress delivered each morning. Juices are expensive, so look to Chowhounds to tell you where to find quality for the price.
• Pressed Juicery is an LA-based chain with locations in and near San Francisco. Chowhound user dunstable sampled most of their juices at the Noe Valley location and says they taste OK, if spinach-kale juice is your thing, though there are some fruity options. The product isn't cheap or exclusively organic. READ MORE
It's a reasonable question: a Chowhound user who is planning to visit Napa likes the idea of visiting The French Laundry, but the specter of a quadruple-digit bill makes Thomas Keller's famed restaurant a no-go. Are there any undercover bargains in Napa that are worthy of a special-occasion meal?
Napa expert CarrieWas218 says don't bother seeking out a lesser-known restaurant in Napa: The area is well trod by tourists, locals, and day-trippers from the city. For her money, tapas at ZuZu make a memorable, affordable special-occasion meal. On another note, if you're willing to eschew Keller's precision for hearty French fare like onion soup and sole meuniere, Bistro Jeanty fits the bill.
As far as a tasting menu experience, you're not likely to find budget versions in Napa. Look south, to Commonwealth in San Francisco and Commis in Oakland, both of which offer tasting menus for under $100 with optional wine pairings for an additional fee.
ZuZu [Napa Valley]
829 Main Street, Napa
Bistro Jeanty [Napa Valley]
6510 Washington Street, Yountville
Commonwealth [Mission District]
2224 Mission Street, San Francisco
Commis [East Bay]
3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland
Photo from Commonwealth
Unlike regular scissors, which only have two blades, herb shears have six or even ten blades spaced evenly apart, and can quickly snip even segments of herbs. But are they a useful tool you'll reach for again and again, or should you just stick with knives and scissors?
While they're not at all necessary, some cooks who lack confidence in their knife work might find these unitaskers useful, kaleokahu says. They effortlessly create unerringly fine cuts at perfectly uniform dimensions, if that's important to you—well, effortlessly if you don't count the cleaning, kaleokahu says. mbCrispyBits, however, finds they make the process of snipping up herbs less messy than using a cutting board. READ MORE
Heads up, lovers of baked goods and reality-TV junkies. The new reality series The American Baking Competition premieres Wednesday, May 29, at 8 ET / 9PT on CBS.
The American Baking Competition is based on a hit show in the UK, The Great British Bake Off. The host for the American series is comedian Jeff Foxworthy (pictured, right). Judges are Chef Marcela Valladolid and baker Paul Hollywood (he’s also a judge on the British series). READ MORE
After cooking for years in the underground dining scene, husband-and-wife team Whitney Flood and Julie Retzlaff surfaced late last year with Muddy Leek in Culver City’s Arts District. The food preaches the gospel of seasonal and organic—Chowhound lil mikey checked it out recently and came away a believer.
Rich porcini ragu on garlic bread; a sophisticated egg-and-leek puff pastry with nasturtium sabayon; a tender flatiron steak with asparagus and garlic flan—everything was delicious. But the show-stoppers were the desserts with spring berries, especially a blackberry–lemon verbena pie in a soft crust that lil mikey loved. READ MORE