The CHOW Blog rss

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

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

Bobby Flay Has More Lives Than a Cat: NY Early Report on Gato

For a guy who usually has things going his way, TV chef Bobby Flay's taken his share of throwdowns in the death sport known as Manhattan real estate. Last summer, facing a whopping rent increase, he closed his flagship Mesa Grill after 22 years. But the blow that struck hardest may have been the loss of his Spanish restaurant Bolo, which fell victim to developers in 2008. At two-week-old Gato—his first New York City opening in nearly a decade—Flay revisits Spain but also ventures into neighboring lands, promising bold flavors with citrus, garlic, olive oil, and other Mediterranean staples front and center. READ MORE

Why Alta CA Is the Zuni Café of Right Now

This is an essay about why I love bistros, disguised as a piece about a restaurant in San Francisco. You should pronounce Alta CA's name like I do, by saying just the first part, Alta, no cah or California, or if you're a stickler, you can verbally spell out the last part when you say it, Alta see-A. I mention this because Alta’s owner is Daniel Patterson, a chef I like a lot. Half of why I admire Patterson is that, after eating his food at Coi, I can say he is a man who thinks a lot about the details. A name with a silent ending is a clue to the quietness of the experience here, a restaurant with an understanding of both history and place, but where you can just get a burger at 1 a.m. and not have to think about much if you don’t want to. READ MORE

Spice and Rice: In Sri Lanka with “The Amazing Race” and Chowhound

Nobody knows global travel like CBS’s The Amazing Race, just like nobody knows food adventures like Chowhound. To celebrate great food and great travel, CHOW has teamed up with Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan for the new season of The Amazing Race: All-Stars. Here on CHOW, Phil will document his food adventures throughout the journey, as we share Chowhound favorites from the same locales. Think of it as your Express Pass to amazing food-adventure Pit Stops! READ MORE

3 Party Salsas in 30 Minutes

I’m not a multitasker. Ordinarily, I never attempt more than two recipes at a time, because structure and planning just aren’t my strong suits. I spent last year cooking my way through most of Jamie Oliver’s 30-Minute Meals—almost all of them took me 1 1/2 hours. The only exception to my two-recipe rule is salsas. I have three go-to recipes, all different: avocado pico de gallo, mango salsa, and tomatillo guacamole. I make all three at the same time, production-line style—it’s as organized as I ever get in the kitchen. READ MORE

Jacobsen Black Licorice: My Sweet, Salty Crush

Scandinavian salty licorice can hit you like a stinging lump of tar, so punishingly astringent you scramble for anything even vaguely napkinlike to spit it into. But in Portland, Oregon, a company harvesting sea salt makes a salty licorice you want to linger over till dissolved. Jacobsen Salt Co. launched Salty Black Licorice last fall, without much buzz. Owner Ben Jacobsen poked around Scandinavia, learning to harvest salt and also—go figure—developing a thing for salty licorice. READ MORE