The CHOW Blog rss

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

Overheard on the San Francisco Boards

"We learned today that you don't have to show up with a friend of the owner to get some very good dim sum at Tai Wu." – charliemyboy

"The best smoked salmon I've had is the 'smoasted' salmon from Santa Rosa Seafood." – Melanie Wong

"Hearkening back to those glory days of Tra Vigne, Bottega is packing them in and with good reason." – CarrieWas218

Singapore at Your Door

Under the name Organic Chicken Rice, the former chef of the now-shuttered Kopitiam is making Singaporean specialties for delivery on Thursdays to the East Bay communities of Berkeley, Orinda, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Danville, and San Ramon. Chicken rice isn't quite as good as it was in the restaurant, but it does come to your door, complete with soup and a choice of vegetable, says jmarek.

But even better is the beef rendang, which wasn't available at Kopitiam. It's "spicy, complex, and richly coconut-y," jmarek says, with perfectly tender beef that reheats like a dream. "This is certainly the best delivery food in the history of Lafayette!"

For another take on rendang, check out Indonesian restaurant Jayakarta, where it's "stringy and chewy but not tough, with a dark, very tasty and mildly spicy sauce," says charliemyboy.

And Borobudur, another Indonesian restaurant, has a broad menu. Start with a selection of vegetable appetizers with fresh-tasting sauces, and move on to mie tek tek goreng, a spicy noodle stir-fry with egg, vegetables, and chicken. For dessert, try the roti prata manis: wedges of paratha with layers of grated cheddar, chopped nuts, chocolate sprinkles, and sweetened condensed milk. "Strangely addictive," says Cynsa. Of course, the regular roti prata, just the bread with curry dipping sauce, is good too.

Organic Chicken Rice [East Bay]
No formal address
925-236-1936

Jayakarta [East Bay]
2026 University Avenue, Berkeley
510-841-0884

Borobudur Restaurant [Union Square]
700 Post Street, San Francisco
415-775-1512

Discuss: Organic Chicken Rice delivered (from Kopitiam chef)
Jayakarta — Indonesian in Berkeley!
Indonesian Lunch at Borobudur

Yemeni Culture in a Clay Pot

The Yemeni national dish of salteh, a rich lamb stew with vegetables and egg, is a specialty at the newly opened Yemeni's Restaurant, reports CarrieWas218.

But first, the appetizers include a variety of tasty spreads, such as an ultra-creamy hummus, baba ghanoush, and another enticing eggplant spread. They come with freshly made paratha-like bread. After you've worked your way through that, the salteh comes boiling hot in a clay pot, with fenugreek and hulba, a Yemeni salsa that's pretty mild here. Zucchini, peas, and potatoes round out the stew, which comes with another kind of flatbread that's made by a local Moroccan woman, lightly grilled with butter.

The special Yemeni coffee is more like a light and intriguing tea, made with the husks of coffee beans and ginger and cardamom.

The owner, Ali, seems excited about sharing his national cuisine and says he's happy to prepare any classic Yemeni dish (with the proper notice, presumably). It's a halal restaurant, so no alcohol is served.

Yemeni's [Nob Hill]
1098 Sutter Street, San Francisco
415-441-8832

Discuss: Yemeni's Restaurant

Maisa’s Eastern Explorations

Fridays at Maisa often bring an off-menu North African or Middle Eastern regional specialty that's made for a group that meets there, but it's available to anyone. So far, the ones that 10foot5 has tried are really good. Molokhia, a classic Egyptian dish, resembles an Indian saag curry but is less spicy, with brighter vegetable flavor. Maisa's version, made with lamb, features meltingly tender meat and comes with fluffy rice, warmed pita, and lemon.

Maisa [East Bay]
377 13th Street, Oakland
510-835-3777

Discuss: Molokheiya (Egyptian Spinach) at Maisa - Downtown Oakland

Rasputin’s Last Meal

We get some provocative books at CHOW.com. Like just today we got LL Cool J's Platinum 360 Diet and Lifestyle, as well as Love at First Bite: The Complete Vampire Lover's Cookbook. Often, these books are disappointing. What boring-ass vampire would make Toothsome Turkey Tenderloin with Lime for dinner? But sometimes they deliver the afternoon pick-me-up I need to stay away from the bad hot chocolate dispenser in the break room. Their Last Suppers: Legends of History and Their Final Meals is just such a book. READ MORE

Shrimp Po’ Boys in Peril, Revenge of the Barista, Dogfish Does Maple

Water Crisis Makes It Harder to Get a Buzz: A broken water main leads to a "boil order" for 2 million people in and around Boston over the weekend, making it hard to get tasty beverages and ice. Popular watering hole the Eastern Standard offers a "Water Crisis Cocktail List" and Grub Street Boston keeps a list of places where Bostonians can still find a cup of coffee. (Tests later show the water was fine all along.) via the Boston Channel and Grub Street Boston READ MORE

Will Oldham’s Freaky Dogfish Head Ad

In this epic, strange, long, and very amusing commercial for Dogfish Head Brewery, musician Will Oldham plays a reporter who is taken on a tour of a brewery that has been taken over by robots. If you've ever wanted to know what kind of genitals robots have, this is the video for you.

via MetaFilter

How to Make Hot Sauce

The power of chile peppers should not be underestimated. The bhut jolokia pepper is being employed in anti-terrorist hand grenades. And while it makes perfect sense to weaponize heat, I'm against hurting people with my favorite thing in the world. I like hot sauce so much, I made my own using habaneros and serranos, blood oranges, and key limes. I call it Habanero Blood Orange Death Kick. If you can't find blood oranges or key limes, play around with different citrus fruit. Here’s the recipe. READ MORE

Liberace Meets Popsicle

Nothing says summer like the feeling of grape popsicle runoff on your bare toes. Stylish ladies and gents, you can now take advantage of the "big ring" thing going on in fashion right now and eat icy juice products at the same time. Find fun flavors to experiment with, even alcoholic ones, at Pops! cookbook author Krystina Castella's website. Then mold them with these.

Tovolo Freezer Jewel Pops, $10

A Ginger Step Forward

A Ginger Step Forward

This week's mission: Ginger Syrup looks like a fussy specialty good but acts like a pantry staple. READ MORE