Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.
Is it possible to find good marmalade in the United States? As far as orange marmalade is concerned, says Karl S, make sure your marmalade is made from sour (Seville) oranges, not regular sweet oranges: "a lot of American marmalade is of the sweet type, which is not the gold standard, as it were," he says. Imports are often a better bet. plum likes Wilkinson's Tiptree Tawny thick-cut marmalade, with its "dark, almost caramelised flavour and thick pieces of orange rind." It can be found in some large supermarkets or British import stores, says plum. And along the lines of dark, caramelized marmalade, cheesemaestro recommends Busha Browne's "Burned Orange Marmalade," made in Jamaica. "Availability in the US is spotty, but Gourmet Library in N.J. has it now," he says.
As for non-orange marmalades, Linda Whit thinks the tangerine marmalade from Aloha from Oregon is fantastic. cavandre likes Stonewall Kitchen Pink Grapefruit Marmalade, which isn't as sweet as most others. And smtucker loves all the Trappist Monk marmalades, but especially the lemon. KristieB agrees: "I would love to find another jar of that lemon marmalade. It was fabulous! I also like Rose's Key Lime marmalade on English muffins."
Discuss: what's the best brand of marmelade (orange or other)?
Oh, Moon Brine pickles were so wonderful! Crispy, flavorful, perfect ... too bad you can't get ’em anymore, because the guy who made them is moving to Oregon. A worthy substitute is Grillo's. "The guy who makes them was on hand at the Fresh Pond Whole Foods and he said he's following his grandfather's recipe, and making them in Newmarket Square. I'm not a dill pickle lover, but I thought they were the best dills I've ever tasted," says katzzz. Grillo's runs a stand outside of the T station if you want a taste; two spears for a buck.
In other pickle news, BostonZest responded to a request for Amish-style hot pickles with this scintillating news: "I was out at Wilson Farms in Lexington today and saw lots of pickled items. There were hot bread and butter pickles, Okra, beans, etc."
Grillo's Pickles Stand [Downtown]
Park & Tremont streets, Boston
No phone available
Wilson Farms [North of Boston]
10 Pleasant Street, Lexington
Discuss: Moon Brine pickle dude is moving to Oregon
Amish-style hot pickles
When last night's indulgences are making this morning a headache, giant Irish breakfasts are a good way to come back to life. Rashers of bacon, sausages, fried eggs, black and white pudding—these are stick-to-your-ribs foods to settle you on a Sunday morning.
Hounds recommend the fry-up at Sonny's Adams Village: "it's tremendously popular with the Irish folks in the neighborhood. The ones who are actually from Ireland and want a taste of home," says C. Hamster. "Plus the Village is the most Irish neighborhood around."
The other board favorite is the Druid in Inman Square, where Small Plates says there's an "[e]xcellent Irish breakfast that rivals any I've had in each of the 26 counties." It is served Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and includes traditional Irish Galtee sausage links, with "lovely crispy fried spuds and really wonderful crispy sunny side up eggs and baked beans," says mick_t.
Sonny's Adams Village Restaurant & Lounge [Dorchester]
750 Adams Street, Boston
1357 Cambridge Street, Cambridge
Discuss: What's the best Irish Breakfast around?
The geography blog Floatingsheep has done a magnificent job of dramatically illustrating something that I learned first-hand while growing up in south-central Wisconsin--the Badger State is the epicenter of drinking in the country, if not this branch of the spiral galaxy known as the Milky Way.
Casual drinking, professional drinking, irresponsible drinking, jolly drinking, stopping by the gas station to buy some beers for later before going to the bar drinking--it's all part of the state's folkways. A Floatingsheep map depicts red dots featuring places where bars outnumber grocery stores and Wisconsin cleans up. (No disrespect is intended toward northern Illinois and northern Iowa, nor parts of Minnesota and the other plains states, since they do OK.) It's gotta be some sort of perfect storm of Germanic heritage and six-month-long winters.
An Oshkosh resident chimes in on the comments section to add a bit of cultural clarity:
"It is someplace warm to go hang out and relax with your friends, neighbors, and coworkers and it has always been that way. I guess other places have coffee shops?"
Mofongo is a classic Dominican/Puerto Rican dish that elbev reverently calls "king of them all." It's not mangu, a gooey mash of boiled green plantains, and it's not a canoa, a plantain split down the middle, filled with spiced beef and cheese, and then fried. Instead, mofongo starts with deep-fried plantains, which are then mashed with garlic, broth, olive oil, and, when the lily is being gilded, pork cracklings. Then, "if someone is being extra fancy," says StriperGuy, they can make canoas de mofongo, patting the mofongo into a canoe shape, deep-frying it again, and filling it with meat or seafood. Yow!
Where can you get this paragon of fried meat and starch? Hounds suggest the mofongo offerings of Izzy's, Cafe Latino, and Rincon Macorisano.
Izzy's Restaurant & Sub Shop [Cambridge]
169 Harvard Street, Cambridge
Cafe Latino [Downtown]
2 Center Plaza, Boston
Rincon Macorisano [North Shore]
350 Washington Street, Lynn
Discuss: Puerto Rican? Mofongo?
"If every tofu tasted like that from Siam Taste of Asia, we'd see an immediate surge in soy bean futures," says elmomonster about the deep-fried tofu candy, "tricked out with a coating of a sticky, spicy, sugary-sweet glaze that might as well be, as I mentioned, a Willy Wonka confection."
Trust the server, heed her warning. Leave these alone for a minute when they come out. Because they will burn you. "I say this because even after thumb-twiddling a few beats, and blowing it like it was on fire, a friend bit into one and out sloshed a scalding torrent of soy-curd napalm. Ouch!" says elmomonster.
"The custardy, milky lava hides beneath the craggly surface of its crust—a crunchy shell with the same DNA as a tater tot—which is solid enough to make a hollow sound when you rap on it with a spoon," says elmomonster.
Besides the tofu, there's lots of other great stuff: spinach with golden shards of garlic; great pad see ew with meticulously thin-sliced Chinese broccoli. Tom kha gai soup "has a surplus of flavor and elegance," says elmomonster.
Siam Taste of Asia [Little Saigon]
3520 West First Street, Santa Ana
Discuss: Siam Taste of Asia – Santa Ana – Review With Photos
In an unscientific survey that never really happened, we found that about 85 percent of the people reading this website have fantasized about quitting a job and making pickles, going to work as a line chef in a restaurant, or opening a neighborhood specialty food store. The forthcoming book Culinary Careers (available May 4) is for those who want to take the leap, or at least become familiar with how quixotic it is. About two-thirds of the book is a voyeuristic peek into a broad variety of jobs in the food industry (88 profiles in all, including a few famous people like Thomas Keller). The rest is dedicated to surveys and info about getting into the professional food world. We spoke to author Rick Smilow, president of the Institute of Culinary Education, about what it takes to start a food career, how low the pay really is, and why business skills are probably more important than culinary skills. READ MORE