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

Flavors of Ghana in the Bronx

West Africans like their meat chewy, and fredid is coming around to their way of thinking. At Papaye in the Bronx, the stewed goat that comes with palaver sauce, the Ghanian stew of greens and egusi (ground squash seed), is "gamy and great!" This luncheonette, the older of two Papayes in a small Ghanian enclave, is a friendly joint, but the illustrated menu is short on explanation. fredid suggests that those new to the cuisine might want to read up a bit before dropping by.

Papaye [Bronx]
196 McClellan Street (near Sherman Avenue), Bronx
718-681-3240

Discuss: Delicious Ghanaian food! In the Bronx, easily accessible

Foraged Nasturtium Pesto

By Iso Rabins

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

People love to eat flowers. It’s a fact. I was talking to a vendor at a farmers market one time, and he told me that the $4 salad mixes he sold could sell for $8 if he put in a couple edible flowers. Nothing fancy, just nasturtiums or wild radish, things he found around the farm. There is something about eating something so beautiful that draws people in. Consuming beauty, rather than just observing it…maybe too deep, but maybe true.

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Overheard on the New York Boards

"I was passing my favorite restaurant, Crispo, and noticed people sitting in the cafe eating what looked like some sort of vegetable frittata and my favorite, their spaghetti carbonara with a poached egg on top. I went inside and found out they just opened for brunch and didn't advertise because they're just testing the waters. Well, I'm ready to jump in the water, especially if I can get a seat in the garden." – faylow11

"We were delighted to find that they have started serving lunch from Tuesday on (closed Monday). This talented chef has created a few new dishes for lunch at great prices. I had a superb bowtie pasta with salmon, broccoli, and capers in a light tomato sauce ($7). My husband had the corvina (from the dinner menu) with yucca sauce ($8). Both were delicious and freshly prepared." – phylrose on Malagueta

"Mark Ladner loves lamb, and it shows—the lamb dishes are always fantastic, especially if you like lamb bold and gamey as I do—he doesn't hide from the gaminess, he embraces it. Lamb rack comes with an intensely reduced puttanesca, shot through with shreds of tail meat. Very rustic and seemingly simple, but one of the best lamb racks I've ever had." – sgordon on Del Posto

The Couple That Scoops Together

Thick 'n' creamy ice cream is the house scoop at Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, a new ice creamery in Bayview, says hhc. "I'd compare it to Bi-Rite, but Mr. & Mrs Misc. is organic, so big thumbs-up!"

Flavors include classic vanilla bean, mint chocolate, choco-malted crunch, and candied ginger. "Grapefruit sorbet was liking eating a real grapefruit, wow," hhc says. Less impressive was the intriguing-sounding Ballpark (Anchor beer, peanuts, chocolate pretzels)—the pretzels weren't so great, hhc thinks.

Like the ice cream, the cones and toppings (including hot fudge, caramel, and butterscotch) are made in-house by owners Ian and Annabelle, a super-nice couple.

Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous [Dogpatch/Potrero]
699 22nd Street, San Francisco
415-970-0750

Discuss: NEW: Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous ice cream shop, SF – Recommended!

Bay Area Ramen Watch

Now that Orson is serving weekend brunch, it's the place to go for the best ramen in San Francisco, says Melanie Wong.

The crown jewel is the cha su pork, "four generous slices of meaty heaven" that are tender and succulent, with the perfect hint of cured tanginess. They're paired with wide, hand-cut noodles that would be great if they weren't cooked in advance, but they're still nicely elastic. Unfortunately, the broth is "low on meaty intensity" and its spicing is harsh.

Elsewhere in the ramen world, Halu is doubling down on its spring specials with tan tan men, a spicy blend with miso and sesame seeds. It's rich, spicy, meaty, and slightly sweet. The broth is more like a sauce, too intense to really sip, Melanie says. The nutty, firm whole wheat noodles complete a great bowl.

Orson Restaurant [SOMA]
508 4th Street, San Francisco
415-777-1508

Ramen Halu [South Bay]
375 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose
408-246-3933

Discuss: Brunching on Ramen + Ramos Fizz @ Orson Restaurant Bar + Lounge in San Francisco
Spring Special Tantan Men at Ramen Halu in San Jose

Overheard on the San Francisco Bay Area Boards

"Their baba ganoush is the best I have tasted outside the Middle East—very fresh and a little chunky." – charliemyboy, on Aladdin Deli

"I took a Vietnamese person to Yummy Yummy once and she got so mad at the food she almost stabbed me." – monkutaro, on the search for bun rieu

"Last week, while waiting in the recently redecorated space for my lamb kebab they offered me a taste of ash-e reshteh, a Persian vegetable and noodle soup that was fantastic." – flavorenhancer, on Middle East Market

8 Things That Will Piss Off Your Bartender

Bartenders see people's worst drunken shenanigans. But when we spoke to them about what behaviors were most annoying, the real problem was not a little raucousness but customers' lack of basic courtesy. Here are the top eight complaints: READ MORE

Carnivore Job Discrimination, Nose-Candy Candies, Extremely Caloric Travesties

Meat Eaters Need Not Apply: An Internet flap ensued after the Sweetpea Baking Company in Portland, Oregon, tweeted a help-wanted ad that specified, "Being vegan is also required." After a debate about the legality of the requirement ensued in Tweetsville, the bakery tweeted a kinder, gentler ad: "The ideal candidate would also be vegan." via Eater National READ MORE

Secrets for Great Meatballs

A variety of techniques and ingredients make tender and well-flavored meatballs to eat with tomato sauce on pasta or in sandwiches.

Most hounds like a mixture of meats, such as beef and pork or Italian sausage. Karl S thinks that beef or bison gives depth of flavor, pork or bulk pork sausage adds sweetness, and veal lends a better texture. CHOW's Italian Meatballs combine, beef, pork, and turkey.

Many prefer using a panade of bread soaked in milk to breadcrumbs; cocktailhour uses buttermilk to soak the bread. "I use English muffins," says coll, "soaked in heavy cream. When I switched from regular bread to muffins something just clicked. If you want to add a handful of breadcrumbs, panko will fluff everything up nicely."

There are lots of seasoning possibilities. kookiegoddess likes the combo of parsley, nutmeg, lemon zest, salt, freshly ground pepper, and "a good heap of Parmesan." Spot says a couple of anchovies heated in olive oil until they dissolve add "a salty umami hit." "I fry a test meatball to see if I've got the seasoning right," says vafarmwife.

Cynsa's favorite recipe is these meatballs braised in tomato and white wine from A16 in San Francisco, which include beef, pork, pancetta, and ricotta. Phurstluv makes Cook's Country magazine's big Italian meatballs and freezes them by the batch.

Discuss: I want to make GREAT meatballs

Summer 2010 Gift Guide

Summer 2010 Gift Guide

Hot for summer, hot for giving. READ MORE