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

The Drinking Hound’s Guide to Brooklyn

At The Double Windsor in Brooklyn, craft beers dominate the dozen or so taps, the vibe somehow channels both British pub and California bar, and you shouldn't expect to catch the Yankees on the tube.

This Windsor Terrace tavern is the latest subject of a series of well-observed, pint-by-pint dispatches from the watering holes of Brooklyn by Bob Martinez, veteran Chowhound and bar crawler.

He sampled two India pale ales: Racer 5 from Bear Republic in Northern California (described as a floral, aromatic English-style ale, but "it read better than it tasted"), and an organic one from Wolaver’s in Vermont (moderately complex, not overhopped, "pleasant enough"). So he wasn't blown away by either, but with 11 others on tap and several dozen more in bottles, he adds, "I easily could have found more appealing choices if I’d kept at it."

There's food, too. Mike R. recommends grilled cheese or Buffalo chicken sandwiches; EricaJo likes one with pork and chipotle mayo. Bob also spotted a sign advertising house-made beef jerky, ”a reminder that I was in Brooklyn where artisanal charcuterie is the order of the day."

The staff was efficient, the crowd was young and well-behaved, the soundtrack ran to vintage English rock, and the one television was tuned to Turner Classic Movies, Bob reports. "The implied message," he figures, "was 'This Ain’t No Sports Bar.'”

The Double Windsor [Windsor Terrace]
210 Prospect Park West (at 16th Street), Brooklyn

Discuss: Brooklyn Beer Bars Part 6 – Double Windsor.

Overheard on the New York Boards

"[O]ne of the best sandwiches in NY right now might be the Firehouse Special at Defonte's, thin sliced roast pork, broccoli rabe, fried eggplant cutlet, and provolone—clearly related to a classic Philadelphia sandwich (Tony Luke's) but not trying to be exactly that—on good bread, makes a pretty satisfying lunch." – Pearlie

"After driving all around [Coney Island Avenue], Church Ave., etc., fruitlessly seeking green mango on Saturday, I scored one, along with some nice curry leaves, green mango, Desi Dahi, and some fresh guvar beans from the well-kept supply of Indian vegetables in their refrigerator case. Since it is a small store I will say, tongue in cheek, that it is 'well-curated.'" – jen kalb on Patel Grocery

"A large slab of lamb here, which included the breast and some ribs carved tableside. The lamb seemed to have been slow-braised, then coated with a light batter and topped with tons of toasted cumin, dried chiles, and white and black sesame seeds." – scoopG on the Muslim-style lamb chop at Fu Run

Steampunk Cupcake Launcher

Kamp Grizzly, a Portland, Oregon-based production company was inspired to build this pneumatic, steampunky cupcake cannon for clothing designer Johnny Cupcakes' recent promotional tour stop in PDX. The slow-mo documentation of people facing the frosting and sprinkles firing squad is priceless.

Via Eater National

The Basics: How to Make Rice Pudding

The Basics: How to Make Rice Pudding

Creamy, comforting goodness. READ MORE

How to Dine with Dogs

How to Dine with Dogs

If you must bring Fido, read on. READ MORE

You’re Lame If You Use Briquettes

Hardwood lump charcoal or briquettes? It's fuel for fire, it cooks things, what's the difference? I grew up with the uniformly shaped briquettes, watching my dad douse them with lighter fluid and then stepping back as the flames whooshed up. But flaming lighter fluid, while entertaining and exciting, doesn't do much for food. READ MORE

When Kitchen Work Kills

"At 19 I had my first executive chef job at Palm Beach's oldest restaurant. The house specialty was strawberry pie filling dumped out of a #10 can into a rude lard crust." So goes an absolutely crackling read over on Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine narrated by a former chef.

Without either woe-is-me drama or rose-tinted romanticism, Marianne Miller tells the story of cooking professionally as it so often is: brutal, exhausting, draining, and perhaps most important, alcohol-soaked.


Homesteaders in Hot Glasses

It’s official: We've left the age of irony behind us. How else can you explain the packed room at Southern Exposure gallery last night in San Francisco, where boys sang about calendula flowers, a girl played an Autoharp, and everybody watched a film about a woman making her own linen underwear out of flax plants?

Putting Vegetables on Steroids

Amanda Cohen is the chef-owner of Dirt Candy, a small vegetarian restaurant in New York City's East Village. She often serves dishes that use the same ingredient in a number of ways, such as "Pea": garden pea broth with a spring pea flan and wasabi pea leaves. Or "Corn": stone-ground grits, corn cream, pickled shiitakes, huitlacoche, and a tempura poached egg. We spoke to Cohen about modern vegetarian cuisine, getting the most flavor out of vegetables, and eating nonveggie food to become a better veggie chef. She also shared a recipe with us for sweet carrot risotto, which we've adapted for home cooks. READ MORE

Hitting the Sweet Shrimp Spot

Newly opened Sushi Aka Tombo is a gift to its neighborhood. "I am not sure I can find better sushi in San Francisco," says CarrieWas218 after two very different visits. Whether diners eat solo at the sushi bar on a busy night or stop in at a quieter time and get lots of attention from the chef, both fish and service are topnotch.

The beautiful $30 sashimi platter has to be the best deal in the city, Carrie says, with 10 kinds of seafood, including tender baby octopus, maguro, toro, nori-wrapped uni, scallop, yellowtail, amberjack, red snapper, and sweet shrimp. You also get warm, rich chawan mushi, a brothy egg custard with shreds of shrimp and tiny cubes of carrots, as well as a clear dashi broth with nori and mushrooms.

When ordered à la carte, the uni ("astonishingly fresh") comes bedecked with 24-karat gold leaf and the sweet shrimp is decorated with tobiko. The shrimp heads are fried and served separately.

One of Chef Yoji's more creative flourishes is a lettuce roll-up with mackerel, nori, jalapeño, garlic, and sesame. "The saltiness of the fish complemented the fresh, spicy chile and clean, crisp lettuce leaf," Carrie says.

Sushi Aka Tombo [Japantown]
1737 Buchanan Street, San Francisco

Discuss: Sushi Aka Tombo – the new game in town...