Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.
At Pittsburgh's Conflict Kitchen, takeout is served with a side of irony: The art project–cum-restaurant–cum political message serves food only from countries that the U.S. is battling.
Conflict's first iteration, which opened Saturday, is the Kubideh Kitchen. It serves kubideh, Iranian ground grilled meat, on flatbread with slices of onion, plus mint and basil leaves, for $5. Sammich looks delicious, as do the gorgeous wrappers that feature commentary on such subjects as bread, tea, and the green movement in Iran from Iranian people living in Pittsburgh and Iran. The menu served by the restaurant will change every four months.
If you've ever wondered about the gastronomic heights that can be attained by mangoes, this video by Ribbon Made Productions posted on the Daily Beast is worth viewing. Starting in Berkeley, moving to Mumbai, and then traveling into India's mango-growing heartland, the video's makers explore the story of the Alphonso mango, the "king of mangoes," and why this fantastic fruit is subjected to radiation before it hits the U.S. market.
You can probably polish off a few while reading this column and not feel any worse for wear. READ MORE
It's really too bad money doesn't grow on trees. But you know what does? Fruit. Fruit grows on trees. How can I take things like fruit, which, remember, grows on trees, and use it to get money, which doesn't? eHow member Knowball has some ideas, which he lists in the instant classic How to Make Money with Food. The way Knowball sees it, all you have to do is decide what you like doing with food. READ MORE
Britain's Advertising Standards Authority has given a clean bill of health to an edgily stupid (or stupidly edgy) Burger King ad campaign premised on the idea that "King," as an adjective, sounds uncannily like "****king." Confused? Let the context do the work. As in an Internet audio ad featuring a conversation that starts as follows:
It was almost a year ago, on a sticky July evening at the corner of Bienville and Bourbon Streets outside the Old Absinthe House in New Orleans. Boisterous folks working off a few too many Sazeracs (including me) flooded the streets. A friend pulled me toward a well-dressed man wearing a hat and holding an old-style doctor’s bag. The man opened the black leather case and pulled out a bottle. READ MORE
The newly opened El Molino Central features Blue Bottle coffee, but it's the food that's a real eye-opener, says davina. And no surprise—the place is run by the owner of Primavera, and the corn for the masa is soaked and ground in-house. That means a simple memela (like a jumbo sope) is ultra-fresh and delicious, filled with black beans, sweet onions, a gently spicy salsa, cabbage, and cotija. Tamales are good, and you can grab a dozen to go ($18) from the case. There are also thick, hand-patted tortillas for $3.50 a dozen.
The counter workers pull a great espresso, davina says, but on opening day Sam B got a drip coffee that was weak and not that hot.
El Molino Central
11 Central Avenue, Sonoma
No phone available
Discuss: El Molino Central, Sonoma
American Cupcake takes the cupcake concept several steps further than most, says Pei, into the realm of all-American comfort fare like PB&J (with housemade peanut butter and different types of jam or fresh fruit), mac 'n' cheese, sliders, even popcorn. There's coffee by day and wine, beer, and cocktails by night. Order a cupcake flight, and you'll get a cupcake with a drink in a matching flavor. It'd be interesting to see what would go with the bubblegum cupcake, which was one of Pei's favorites. Lemon and red velvet are really good, too. The cake part is fluffy and moist, the frosting creamy. There are also mini cupcakes, candied apples, cotton candy, and fried Oreos. And the drinks-with-dessert theme continues with the beer float, featuring coconut porter.
1919 Union Street, San Francisco
Discuss: New Cafe/Cupcakery: American Cupcake
With the opening of SJ's Crawfish, you can now get Louisiana-style crawfish, boiled in a bag with spices, from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. There are several levels of heat. "Mild plus" gives a slight tingle but is still plenty flavorful, with a touch of cinnamon, says PegS. The crawfish are fresh and good quality.
Eight pounds of crawfish, a pound of clams, three sausages, and three ears of corn came to $124 before tip.
2335 Irving Street, San Francisco
Discuss: SJ Crawfish on Irving