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

Manoushee’s Fresh-Baked Chicken Wrap

Manoushee is really excellent, with fresh-made, delicious food all around, says LisaN. "When I go, I end up bringing home grape leaves, hummus, pita, tabouleh, or this fantastic chickpea salad to eat for lunch for the next couple of days." Cheese and spinach turnovers heat up nicely the day after, too.

But best of all is the chicken wrap: chicken, tomatoes, garlic sauce, and turnip pickles, all served on pita bread. And they bake that pita bread right before they serve it to you—you can't get much fresher than that, says LisaN.

The sweets are all awesome, too—with baklava and lots of other cookies.

Manoushee [North of Los Angeles]
27131 Sierra Highway #100, Canyon Country
661-251-6666

Discuss: Manoushee —Santa Clarita = Excellent

What’s a Better Name for “Cocktail Nerd”?

What do you call yourself if you're really into liquor? CRAFT liquor, that is. Small-batch spirits. The good stuff. Quality, not quantity. Lou Bustamante, craft liquor aficionado and former marketing manager for St. George Spirits, asks the question in San Francisco's Drink Me Magazine, and comes up with a term we predict is going to go big: liquorist. Seems like a perfect descriptor for today's cocktail nerds, many of whom seem to dress in 19th-century garb. Lou, can your next article delve into why that is?

Turning Foraged Weeds Into Dinner

By Iso Rabins

Iso Rabins of forageSF is guest blogging for us every once in a while. Read his first post, about the Underground Farmers Market, here.

California garden snails, AKA Helix aspersa, are actually in the same genus as the ones we pay top dollar for at restaurants. With that in mind, I collected a bunch from peoples' backyards around San Francisco, and served them at the one-year anniversary of my underground restaurant, The Wild Kitchen, a few weeks ago. I called them escargots.

The Wild Kitchen is not a typical restaurant. One month it might be a houseboat in Sausalito, the next month, somebody's flat in the Mission District. Most of the ingredients are foraged in and around San Francisco. I collect the greens for the salads in local urban (but clean) parks.

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Overheard on the Los Angeles Boards

"I am a sushi snob and this place is not bad at all. The fish has been very fresh, big pieces, and well, I just wasn't expecting this to even be decent, let alone pretty good." - Clyde, on Starfish Sushi, surprisingly good for the Miracle Mile

"They're quite different from Kogi. In fact, they're closer to what I imagined 'Korean tacos' to be. The emphasis is on the meat with both Mexican and Korean flavors/spices. Like crossing al pastor with spicy Korean barbecue." - mikeop34 on the new Korean tacos at that USC-area classic, La Taquiza

"Wide open pastures and cows, rotated alfalfa crops to keep the cows well-fed, a mobile milking barn trailer that moves to the pastures where the cows are feeding. It's an oasis in the middle of a region filled with filthy conventional dairies... you can smell the difference from miles away." - Mr Taster, on visiting the farm of our local raw dairy purveyor, Organic Pastures

A Video History of Craft Beer

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a series of collaborative beers between Ken Grossman, and other craft brewing trailblazers like Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing Company and Jack McAuliffe of New Albion. The brewery recently released this video/mini-documentary about the project and these pioneers of craft brewing.

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Powerthirst Will Make You Have 400 Babies

This video's been around the web for a while, but I still feel the need for its burst of Menergy for power sleeping, power dating, power lifting, power eating, and power laughing. This is safe for work, but wear headphones or turn the sound down.

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Japan’s School Lunches Contain Actual Fresh Vegetables

Inspired by Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project, a blog about the disgusting school lunches a teacher ingests daily, a teacher in Japan is blogging about the school lunches he encounters across the Pacific. And the contrast between Fed Up With Lunch and Mr Ferguson's Classroom could make you cry. The American teacher eats bagel dogs, pizza, pretzels, and sweetened "fruit juice icees." Mr. Ferguson? Baked fish, tofu, recognizable vegetables, fruit, soup, and rice.

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Standout Gelato in Whitestone

janie, a well-traveled gelato lover, doesn't hesitate to crown La Dolce Via's the best she's had in the New York area. Devotees of the much-praised Villabate in Brooklyn "will love this place even more," she promises.

Flavors are numerous, creative, and wonderful, Janie reports: among them are cinnamon, vanilla chip, green apple, rainbow cookie, watermelon, chocolate in multiple forms, and popcorn. Yes, popcorn—“to my surprise it was spectacularly amazing," swears JuventusFan. The gelati also come with pizzelle (waffle cookies) or fashioned into gorgeous cakes. "I'm definitely getting one for my son's birthday," janie says; "this place is a winner."

La Dolce Via [Whitestone]
12-58 150th Street (between12th Road and 14th Avenue), Whitestone, Queens
718-747-3652

Discuss: FINALLY FANTASTIC GELATO IN QUEENS!!! LA DOLCE VIA in WHITESTONE
crepes in whitestone?

The Basics: How to Make Seared Chicken Breast

The Basics: How to Make Seared Chicken Breast

Flavorful, moist, boneless, skinless. READ MORE

Uptown Hounds Welcome Tre Otto

Tre Otto comes along at a good time in a good place. Uptown hounds, feeling underfed in their corner of town, are embracing this Italian restaurant opened last month by the owners of the old Fratelli Cangiano market downtown.

If pappardelle with duck confit ragu is on the menu, aguy239 urges you to get it. If the justly praised version at Lupa is a 10, he reckons, Tre Otto’s is a solid 8. "Lighter sauce than Lupa's, with a good background taste of vegetable/tomato," he reports. "I didn't leave a molecule behind." Others recommend tagliatelle with wild mushrooms, fried calamari and zucchini, grilled octopus with a fennel and orange salad, and, for dessert, semifreddo with almond, pistachio, caramel, and chocolate sauce.

Among the few early missteps were spotty service and an overpoweringly garlicky trenette with pesto, but hounds figure this kind of thing will get ironed out, and so far they're turning out in force. "Tre Otto shows promise and we hope it succeeds," says City Kid.

Tre Otto [East Harlem]
1408 Madison Avenue (between E. 97th and 98th streets), Manhattan
212-860-8880

Discuss: Tre Otto? (E. Harlem/Carnegie Hill)
Tre Otto for lunch