The CHOW Blog rss

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

Follow That Bagel Man

Roland of the now-shuttered Roland's Bagels has taken his delectable ring-shaped treats to Terra Bakery in Hayes Valley. "The bagels are good ($2 each, but hefty), the interior a bit softer than my favorites from New York; bialy is very very good," says dordogne. Want lox with that? Be prepared to fork over $10. There's also "a surprisingly elaborate and varied menu of appetizers, sandwiches and entrées," dordogne adds, including steamed mussels, smoked mozzarella pizzette, and a sandwich of crisp, juicy fried chicken on a housemade club roll. The pastries also look amazing, SteveG notes.

But watch out: Roland may already be on the move, says ChowFun_derek, who heard from a server that Roland "stormed out and is looking for a new place."

Terra Bakery [Hayes Valley]
401 Gough Street, San Francisco
415-863-2233

Discuss: Roland of Roland's Bagels opens Terra Bakery and Cafe

The Obvious Dysfunction of Functional Foods

Dan Mitchell, writing at Slate's Big Money, discusses "functional foods," a trend that's both painfully obvious and obviously legitimate if you happen to review mass-marketed food on a regular basis.

READ MORE

With Crust, if You Must

Steamed char siu bao is all very well, but sometimes you want the satisfaction of biting into a nice, deeply browned crust before reaching soft bread and a filling of sweet Chinese barbecued pork. That's when Cynsa goes to Lung Fung Bakery, where "the filling is tasty, not too sweet, tender chopped char siu, not-gloppy sauce, and the baked dough is just right—light with just a mere whisper of sweetness." Plus, her mom's senior citizen line dancing class orders them by the box for an after-class snack. What better recommendation can you get? Also try warm, fresh gai mei bao, filled with coconut paste, dan tat (egg custard tarts), and red bean buns, Cynsa says.

Melanie Wong enjoyed the lightness of the bread, but says, "I miss the winey notes of Cafe Bakery's filling." Unfortunately, she says, quality there has gone down. Her fave baked buns are still the smaller ones at TC Pastry.

And in Oakland, Sun Sing Pastry Dim Sum has the best baked char siu bao in Chinatown, abstractpoet says. The steamed ones are solid, too.

Lung Fung Bakery [Richmond District]
1823 Clement Street, San Francisco
415-386-3775

Cafe Bakery [Sunset]
1365 Noriega Street, San Francisco
415-661-6116

TC Pastry [Sunset]
2222 Irving Street, San Francisco
415-753-1133

Sun Sing Pastry Dim Sum [East Bay]
382 Eighth Street, Oakland
510-763-9228

Discuss: Does dim sum just suck in San Fran?
Baked pork buns at Lung Fung Bakery in SF
looking steamed pork buns in the east bay

Overheard on the San Francisco Boards

"I can recommend the brioche donut with raspberry preserves and the Kouign-Amann that is a crunchy, flaky, butttery, caramelized wonder." – Melanie Wong on the goods at Satura Cakes, which are now 50 percent off one hour before closing

"[T]he guy behind the counter gave me a taste and said it was classically prepared shredded pork that actually tastes like canned tuna." – CarrieWas218, on tonno di maiale at Avedano's

"When you are deep in suburbia, finding a little gem in a strip mall is worth the drive." – PeterL, on King Palace

Chef Fight Club, Despicable Infant Formula, Haute Bong Tokage

Red Meat Fans, Rejoice: A study by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that steaks, burgers, and other nonprocessed red meats might not be a heart disease risk after all; it's the processed kinds like bacon and sausage that you've gotta look out for. The study suggests that the high levels of salt in them might be the real culprit. via Wall Street Journal READ MORE

The Basics: How to Make Bananas Foster

The Basics: How to Make Bananas Foster

Light stuff on fire for dessert. READ MORE

What Does a Good Cheesesteak Have in Common with Cocaine?

"Anyone, anywhere, can make a passable cheesesteak. What distinguishes the great from the mediocre is context," writes Tom McAllister, Philly native and former cheesesteak jockey, on the Hungry Beast. McAllister attributes a great cheesesteak to five factors: ingredients, location, clientele, self-awareness, and time.

READ MORE

Hey Stranger, Help Me Start a Business

Hey Stranger, Help Me Start a Business

Funding the next wave of food start-ups. READ MORE

Fiddlehead Ferns: A Rite of Spring

Fiddlehead ferns are a late-spring crop with a delicate flavor. They must be cooked before they're eaten or they can cause stomach discomfort. They must also be cleaned thoroughly, as they harbor lots of dirt. JoanN recently followed instructions to blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes to get rid of dirt and bacteria. "Not sure I'd done that before," she says, "but I will from now on. Was shocked at how much dirt and gunk was in the bottom of the pot. Even after rinsing and trimming."

downtownfoodie likes to treat fiddleheads very simply, to highlight their fresh flavor. He steams them over salted water for a few minutes, until not quite cooked, then sautés for another minute in butter, and finishes with a squeeze of lemon and some sea salt. GoodGravy gilds steamed and sautéed fiddleheads with cream seasoned with anchovies: Grind an anchovy or two with garlic in a mortar and pestle, reduce some cream, and stir in the anchovy-garlic mixture.

JoanN thinks fiddleheads and asparagus sautéed together in olive oil with slivered garlic make a lovely combination; squeeze lemon juice over all. And Passadumkeg notes that many asparagus recipes will work with fiddleheads. Cat123's favorite recipe is this fiddlehead chowder.

Discuss: ISO: Fiddlehead recipes

Blue Ribbon’s Comfort Food with Good Technique

The saying that you should only eat in a Chinese restaurant where Chinese people are eating is a cliché. But it's hard to dispute that a restaurant filled with great chefs is going to be top-notch. When Eric and Bruce Bromberg opened Blue Ribbon Brasserie in SoHo almost 18 years ago, the brothers kept the restaurant open late. Soon Mario Batali and Jean-Georges Vongerichten were dropping by after work. They came for the bistro-style food, like the now-famous and much-copied marrow bones served with toast. Next the Brombergs opened Blue Ribbon Sushi, then Blue Ribbon Bakery and a handful of other New York restaurants. Now they have written the Blue Ribbon Cookbook: Better Home Cooking, filled with unpretentious dishes like fried chicken and steak and eggs. (Try out some of the recipes they gave us: Garlic Dill Pickles, Sautéed Calamari with Parsley and Garlic, Doughnut Muffins, and New York Strip Steak with Caramelized Shallots.) We talked with them about how they got here.

READ MORE