The CHOW Blog rss

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

A Check on Rude Behavior

A Check on Rude Behavior

"Forgetting" cash and other questionable moves. READ MORE

Overheard on the Home Cooking Boards

"I love strawberries in salad. My favorite is spring mix with sliced strawberries, toasted sliced almonds, shredded poached chicken, and poppy seed dressing." – Yamalam

"I made brownies in my mini-muffin tin and they came out crusty and chewy—perfect!" – Ruth Lafler

"The yummiest burger I have made had the following: slow-roasted tomatoes with herbs, [salt and pepper], meat stuffed with blue or Gorgonzola, arugula, and a Dijon mustard." – JEN10

Checking Yelp’s Work

Frequent diners bitch a lot about user-generated reviews. Almost as much, in fact, as they complain about the reviews written by professional food writers. But few people do anything about it, which is what makes this Yelp semi-takedown by Tim Carman such an interesting read.

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Pee-wee’s Playhouse Meets Food TV

Robert Lloyd, the Los Angeles Times TV critic, adores the wacky, colorful sock-puppet-strewn world of Thu Tran's television show Food Party, which is now airing its second season on IFC. The show, which Lloyd describes as a cross between Julia Child's The French Chef and Pee-wee's Playhouse, grew from Tran's installation art, and a desire to hang out with friends and "have something to show for it." While it might not give you any practical 30-minute-meal ideas, the psychedelic stoner anime vibe of the show is a lot more fun to watch than the manicured slickness of the Food Network. Have a look for yourself.

Home-Aged Jack Cheese

BobB forgot about an unopened package of Monterey Jack cheese in his fridge for a few months. He was going to throw it away but noted there was no visible mold, and like a true hound, decided to try it. "What a revelation!" he says. "The biggest difference is in the texture—it has ripened into a semi-soft cheese, at room temperature actually spreadable. And the flavor has deepened, not in an 'off' way, but somehow richer and more savory than any Jack I've ever tasted. The only thing I can compare it to is a really soft Bom Petisco."

Melanie Wong has had soft-textured aged Jack made from raw milk and aged over 60 days. "This cheese had developed a richness and nutty nuances with a semi-soft texture that reminded me of Alpine cheeses," she says. "The cheesemonger who sold it to me said he had suggested that the name be changed to something else, as this cheese has little connection to what we think of as Jack cheese."

Discuss: Aged Monterey Jack – who knew?

The Flavor of Apricot Pits

The typical dried apricot, as greygarious understands it, is halved and has its pit removed before drying. Slip-pit apricots are dried with their pits in; then the pits are removed. But once in a while, a lucky and resourceful Chowhound can find dried apricots that still have their pits in them. greygarious had some of those recently; "I found that the pit-ins were spectacular, imbued with a stronger oaky, amaretto flavor than the slip-pits," says greygarious.

Vetter also loves the flavor of apricot pits. "I still have a whole bag of apricot pits in my freezer from last summer—I was going to make ice cream with them," says Vetter. "I better get on that!"

Note: Apricot pits do contain some cyanide; eat at your own risk.

Discuss: Speakeasy apricots

My Experiment Throwing a Potluck for Total Strangers

By Iso Rabins

Iso Rabins of forageSF is guest blogging for us every once in a while. Read his last post on foraging for mussels. Follow him on Twitter @forageSF. Read his blog at at foragesf.wordpress.com.

A few weeks ago I decided to throw a potluck because I wanted to meet the people on my 11,000-person email list. I talk a lot about building community through food and figured a potluck is the perfect way to bring people together. READ MORE

A Skilletful of Fried Apples

Chowhounds from outside the American South are surprised and intrigued by the dish of fried apples. vafarmwife likes to fry them and serve them on biscuits. "I usually use the early harvest apples and fry them in my cast iron skillet with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Good eatin'," she says. LauraGrace likes them over grits with a little cream. It's "dessert you can justifiably eat for breakfast," she says. "To me 'fried apples' is a side dish I could find at Cracker Barrel or a barbecue joint," says bluemoon4515. "Although I've never been served them as part of a home-cooked meal here, I can't remember even seeing them on a menu anywhere else."

ChrisOC even found some canned fried apples at an outlet store. But the first ingredient was high-fructose corn syrup, unfortunately. All the more reason to fry your own!

Discuss: Fried apples?

10 Summer Grilling Gadgets

10 Summer Grilling Gadgets

New toys to help you play with fire. READ MORE

Overheard on the General Topics Boards

"Back in Norway, it would be pickled herring for breakfast, open-face shrimp sandwiches (rekker smorbrod) for lunch, and either pan-fried cod tongues and cheeks, baked salmon stuffed with chanterelles, or a reindeer roast for supper." – Passadumkeg, on a hypothetical day of regional eating

"After I slice up a rare London broil, I put it on a new plate, then I make sure no one is looking, and drink up all the blood directly from the other plate." – michele cindy, on secret food behavior

"I'm with you and Chowser—there's nothing I like more than a nice big fat cherry or 200, raw, so as to take advantage of the seasonal wonderfulness. My favorite cocktail is a glass of tequila with a bunch of pitted ripe cherries thrown in, warmed a little in the microwave to convince the cherries to give up some color and juice." – EWSflash