The CHOW Blog rss

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

Diner Fare Goes Uptown at a Chelsea Landmark

Some old New York diners never die. If they aren't carted off to uncertain fates in parts north or south, they're reinvented like Chelsea's Empire Diner—more than once, if they're lucky. This gleaming moderne landmark was most recently revived in January by Amanda Freitag, whose cooking had earned Chowhound props long before she started chopping upstart alpha chefs on TV's Food Network. READ MORE

Mad for Crazy Hot Dog Toppings

Chowhound Hot Dog Toppings Chowhounds' most creative ideas for dressing up hot dogs. READ MORE

Mountain Bird Takes Wing in Harlem

A charming little bistro called Mountain Bird flew under the radar for a time after opening last fall on an unlikely block of 145th Street. It's since attracted some notice, and Chowhounds are on to Chef Kenichi Tajima's refined cooking and poultry-centered menu, which ranges freely from cockscomb to gizzard to leg. READ MORE

When Will Chefs Be Honest About Smoking Weed?

I’m not a consumer of weed, but it interests me—it has the precise dimensions of a food geek’s pursuit. Modern cannabis is a product of botany over decades. Like 18th-century amateur gentlemen gardeners in France, patiently breeding some ideal of the perfectly perfumed pear, serious weed cultivators are pushing the boundaries not just of human pleasure, but of our species’ complex symbiosis with plants. READ MORE

Fifty Seven’s David Nayfeld on LA’s Best Low-Cost Eats

It’s no secret that downtown Los Angeles has evolved into a fine-dining hub, with restaurants Alma and Bestia as anchors. Tomorrow, March 27, the Arts District adds Fifty Seven, an upscale newcomer. Located in an old Heinz loading dock, the restaurant takes an unorthodox approach: short-term stints by a roster of chefs. The opening round features Bay Area native David Nayfeld, former senior sous-chef in New York at Michelin-rated Eleven Madison Park.In light of LA Weekly’s recent 99 Essential Restaurants 2014, I asked Chef Nayfeld to share his own short list of affordable LA essentials. READ MORE

LA Is Butter Town. Who Knew?

If you live in the City of Angels and butter is your vice of choice, listen up. CHOW readers have uncovered the top spots, from farmers’ markets to grocery stores to restaurants, to score a taste of high-quality butter in LA. READ MORE

Good News, New York: No More Sneezing on Your Caesar

Sucking it up has been the working code for restaurants long before Escoffier organized the kitchen along actual military lines in the 19th century. It’s always been how things are done: You cut your finger, even shear-the-tip-off badly, but can still grasp a knife in your bandaged, finger-cotted, and latex-gloved hand, you finish your shift. It’s a mark of your commitment to the craft. Same’s true of getting a cold or the flu: Unless Chef takes pity (or gets pissed because he sees your sweat droplets hit the brunoise), you suck it up and work. Kitchens—and dining rooms—are not for the weak. READ MORE

Make Your Own Flour Tortillas

It was the mid-'90s; I was in a band. We all lived in San Francisco, in the Mission District. My bandmates and I, we’d eat in the same two taquerias almost every night, then head to the Toronado to drink beer until 2 a.m. When we did cook at home all I remember are my girlfriend Aurora’s perfect flour tortillas. In the past two weeks I’ve tried to re-create the flavor and texture of those tortillas four times. My first attempts were terrible: dry, brittle, not chewy the way I remember them. Then, Chowhound Antilope shared this recipe from Rick Bayless’s Mexico: One Plate at a Time. It’s really close to Aurora’s, a little bit of the '90s back in my kitchen. Thanks, Antilope! READ MORE

Hey SF, You Can Taste Stylish Food from Guam

All I know about Guam is that it has a lot of brown tree snakes. Oh, and once on TV I watched Guy Fieri eat some pretty sweet-looking Guamanian food from a truck in Portland (Guy called it the “Guam-Bomb-Dot-Com,” but that’s just Guy). Now I’ll be able to taste some pretty stepped-up Guamanian food in San Francisco. READ MORE

Caviar and Nova on a Roll, Nordic Style

Long before the New Nordic thing, which introduced New Yorkers to conifers and hay smoke, there was Good World, which fed a changing Lower East Side into the wee hours with gravlax, Swedish meatballs, and other drink-friendly Scandinavian chow. READ MORE