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

Turkish Delights at Cafe Istanbul’lu

Turkish Cafe Istanbul'lu just opened last month in Somerville, and it's fantastic but not pulling in the crowds it deserves. sablemerle frets that "this location really does seem to be cursed. The owners are really lovely people and the food is very good."

And speaking of that food, the soft bread is house-baked and comes out with a red pepper dip. Sandwiches are served on the same bread. pekmez tried the lentil kofta, squished beautifully in a press with tomato, a nice tahini-like sauce, and tasty greens. Another delightful thing was the sandwich with "mixed Turkish smoked meats (one pepperoni-like, one pastrami-like, amazing seasonings) and sharp cheese and tomato."

sablemerle says the cheese boreks are "Maximum yum." pekmez agrees, and adds that the spinach borek and the mucver, zucchini fritters, are also worthy.

Cafe Istanbul'lu [North of Boston]
237 Holland Street, Somerville
617-440-7387

Discuss: Cafe Istanbul'lu

Gourmet Rides Again, Kinda

[caption id="attachment_49261" align="alignright" width="193" caption="Gourmet Live."][/caption]

Eight months after its demise at the hands of the cost-cutting Condé Nast group, the widely beloved Gourmet magazine may be back. Sort of. DailyFinance reports that the comeback would arrive "in the form of Gourmet Live, a 'digital content product' developed for use on the iPad and other mobile devices."

The most interesting thing about the free app (which will include some options for paid content) is that by reading articles, users can accumulate points that can be spent to unlock more content.

Unsaid in the article is to what extent the Gourmet app will feature the writers, editors, back catalog, and overall tone that made the magazine the institution that it was.

READ MORE

Honey Still Hot from the Hive

Marshall's Farm, a honey producer just outside of Napa, California, makes my go-to honey, an affordable and smooth one called S.F. Bay Area Beekeeper's Blend. It's not as obtrusive as, say, a tupelo or fireweed honey, it's just a nice medium-spicy but subtle honey that goes well with a variety of foods. But when I was picking up a few jars of the Beekeeper's Blend at the farmers' market the other day, the honey merchant gave me a little spoonful of a new variety: Honey-So-Fresh. It's guaranteed to be no more than a week out of the hive when shipped to you (or presented on a spoon by a cheerful apiarist at a farmers' market). You can taste that freshness, a floral, buzzy, ethereal party on your tongue. And you should.

Honey-So-Fresh, $10

The World Cup Drinking Game

The World Cup Drinking Game

Each team has a drink for you. READ MORE

Enter Yummly.com, Your Newest Recipe Database

Yet another recipe aggregator has arrived on the scene, this time cutely named Yummly, which has over half a million recipes compiled from Epicurious, the Food Network, RecipeZaar, Martha Stewart, CHOW, and other websites. Users can filter through multiple criteria, including food, course, diet, price, nutrition, and source. If you're an "ovo vegetarian" who's had problems searching other recipe sites, wait no longer. For those of us who want ever more virtual friends whom we can creepily stalk but never meet, you can now have TasteBuds! (Get it? Awww.) These fellow users create profiles including information about cooking skill/experience and their food likes/dislikes. If "bakergirl" tends to make food you like, you can choose to share recipes with her.

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How to Turn Your Kettle Grill into a Smoker

How to Turn Your Kettle Grill into a Smoker

Hotbox your meat. READ MORE

Beginner’s Guide to Summer Smoking

Beginner’s Guide to Summer Smoking

Recipes for smoked ribs, chicken, fish, and more. READ MORE

Babies Are Lightweights

How many years of prison are appropriate for a babysitter who gave a nine-month-old baby a wine-filled sippy cup in a bid to quiet the tot down?

Eight, as it turns out, according to CBS News Crimesider. Babies, notable lightweights, don't know the meaning of moderation—the tot in question had ramped up to a Rip Torn-esque .33 blood alcohol level by the time his grandmother arrived to pick him up.

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Oklahoma Style ’Que and Barbecued Bologna

What to get at Bonnie B's Smokin' Barbeque Heaven, specialist in Oklahoma-style barbecue: beef brisket. "It's tender, smoky, and their house-made sauce is good," says WendyT.

Their beef ribs are fine, too. "I've got two words to describe their ribs ... rib perfection!!" says mrshankly. "Definitively the best ribs I've had anywhere aside from taking ribs fresh out of my own smoker at home."

The most bizarre thing you can get here: barbecued bologna. It's an Oklahoma thing, and it's strangely enjoyable, says WendyT. Other great things: fried catfish, greens, and moist, delicious cornbread. Folks seem to love their beef dishes and be middling on their pork dishes.

Bonnie B's Smokin' Barbeque Heaven [San Gabriel Valley]
1280 N Lake Avenue, Pasadena
(626) 794-0132

Discuss: New BBQ Place in Pasadena: Bonnie B's Smokin' Barbeque Heaven

Expensive Yet Awesome Malaysian

Some folks have been complaining that Manja's too expensive. It's true that the dishes here run in the $15 to $25 range, say other hounds, whereas the dishes at a night market in Singapore run about $2 to $3. But that's overseas, and this is here, in a high-rent neighborhood in Los Angeles, with fancy digs and, most important, first-rate ingredients, some of which are flown in from Malaysia. "The dishes are more Malay than Chinese/Malay," says bulavinaka.
"There's a brightness in the spicing of the foods that is noticeable, particularly in the curries."

An appetizer of cucur udang is perfectly fried and toothsome. "My wife and I simultaneously had one of those 'AHA!' moments when we dipped the house-made roti into the curry sauce. Had this been outdoors, with 90 percent humidity and the funk and noise of a hawker center, we could have closed our eyes and assumed we were in [Kuala Lumpur]," says bulavinaka.

Nesi lemak is outstanding, and the sambal has nice big chunks of meaty squid and no cheap-squid funk. Bandung drinks are wonderful as well, says bulavinaka.

All in all, "pretty good food," says the less satisfied bsquared2. "Was it worth the price of the bill? Not sure."

Manja Malaysian Cuisine [Mid-City]
8165 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood
323-656-9000

Discuss: New Malaysian-Manja-Restaurant in WeHo