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

Diary of a New Food Truck Owner: Part One

Diary of a New Food Truck Owner is an ongoing series where we talk with Meg Hilgartner and Siri Skelton, owners of a fledgling San Francisco mobile soft-serve ice cream business called Twirl and Dip. In this first entry, Meg describes wrangling a 500-pound industrial soft-serve machine, and having to throw away the results of most of their recipe-testing sessions. READ MORE

Whatever Tops Your Waffle

The waffle is incredibly versatile, a very "forgiving food," says moh, that goes with "whatever you feel like eating that day." Some of the best waffle toppings are the most traditional. TheSwedishFish prefers "thin, crispy waffles with heaps of maple syrup, or strawberries and whipped cream," and ipsedixit likes waffles topped with a poached egg and some bacon. kermit gets a little more daring with "thinned out nutella, banana slices and toasted walnuts or pecans," or lingonberry jam with whipped cream.

Emme really gilds the lily. She makes maple taffy, cuts it into little pieces, and stirs it into waffle batter. "My ex loved a ricotta and sometimes blue cheese waffle with a caramelized fig topping," she says. moh loved waffles smeared with passion fruit butter in Hawaii; or try chestnut purée, raspberries preserved in brandy, or caramelized apples in rum butter. And dijon offers a family favorite: "Try sprinkling cheddar cheese on top of the waffle before closing the top iron. Crispy brown cheese, fine with real maple syrup."

Discuss: Waffle day—what's your favourite waffle topping?

Burger Finds

Most hounds have a mental burger map of their vicinity, with landmarks placed at tried-and-true locations. But even though you may be loyal to those old friends, sometimes you're just in the mood for something different. Board picks for unusually good burger-slingers include:

• Kingston Station: "[H]ow can you go wrong with bacon, cheese, and a fried quail egg," asks Karl. He also recommends the truffle fries appetizer, a "massive bucket of deliciously salty crisp fries with some melted cheese on them and an awesome aioli to dip them in."

• Wild Willy's, which Dan Boston says straddles the boundary between fast food and gourmet burgers, with six-ounce patties that are neither too decadent nor too stingy. You can order standard or grass-fed (Dan always opts for the grass-fed), and it's cooked to order, with fine toppings like locally grown tomatoes and Vermont cheddar: "There is nothing particularly noteworthy about the burgers. They are not made of short ribs, stuffed with foie gras, or topped with truffles. It is just a really good solid burger for $6-$7," says Dan.

• Sel de la Terre, which continues to dazzle hounds with its offering: "The flavor of the beef is outstanding, cooked to perfection, and with a great crust," says Soxfan49, who found out in a chat with the chef that the beef is sourced from a single farm in Maine. The burger's served with cheddar, grilled onion, and pepper rémoulade.

Kingston Station [Downtown]
25 Kingston Street, Boston
617-482-6282

Wild Willy's [MetroWest]
46 Arsenal Street, Watertown
617-926-9700

Sel de la Terre [MetroWest]
1245 Worcester Street, Natick
508-650-1800

Discuss: Recent Burgers

Overheard on the Boston Boards

"I welcome all of the skepticism that this recommendation will garner, but as a child of New Yorkers who has spent many a car ride home from NYC with a cooler full of corned beef, pastrami, bialys, pickles, nova, and whitefish salad, you have to trust me when I tell you this. We continue to bring all of those items home from every trip to NYC with one exception. We now get our whitefish salad at Costco. Yup, Costco. Seriously." - BJK

"Can't tell you how many times over the years I've been pressured to try ribs and I always say that I just don't care for them.... Today, once again. the pressure, this time a takeout from Mrs. Jones.. I have to say sometimes it's good to give in to peer pressure." - Pegmeister

"The small fruit plate is the best we've seen—mix of tropical, berries, seasonal—all very ripe—really goes nicely with the piles of grilled mashed." - Bob Dobalina on brunch at Ball Square Café

Enter the Pineberry

A white strawberry that tastes like a pineapple? We have seen the future, and it is small, flavorful, and boasts bright red pips. The British supermarket chain Waitrose will be selling pineberries throughout the berries' five-week growing season, and explains them as follows in a piece in the Telegraph:

"The pineberry originated in South America as a wild variety of strawberry but was threatened with extinction until seven years ago when Dutch farmers began growing it commercially, according to the retailer."

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How to Forage and Eat Garden Snails

By Iso Rabins

Iso Rabins of forageSF is guest blogging for us every once in a while. Read his last post on his underground restaurant. Follow him on Twitter @forageSF.

You’ve probably had escargots. Delicious, aromatic, filled with garlic, perhaps complemented by a nice glass of Pinot Gris. What many people don’t know is that American garden snails and escargots are nearly the same thing (different species, same genus), and taste similar. If you really want to eat local, take that small mental leap and turn garden pests into haute cuisine. Here's how to do it.

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Tasty Noodle House Is Aptly Named

There is mass Chowhound consensus: Tasty Noodle House is fantastic. Hot and sour soup and pork and leek dumplings are exemplary, says conor610.

Jellyfish head will tempt lovers of interestingly textured foodstuff: "If you like the crispy/crunchy texture of regular slivers of jellyfish, but want a bit more body, jellyfish head is for you," explains PandanExpress.

Buns are excellent, too. Pan-fried pork buns have a salty, doughy wrapper. The three-savory-flavors dumplings (shrimp, pork, and sea cucumber) are good, but need to be eaten steaming hot for maximum flavor impact, says PandanExpress.

odub says his uncle has been raving about this place for having the best beef noodle soup in town. Other orders: thin, crispy scallion pancakes, and a cold appetizer of flat mung bean noodles, shredded pork, sea cucumber, and cucumber—“a really brightly flavored dish with incredibly clean, fresh notes, accented with the slightly sour tang," says odub.

Pork sparerib stew is simple, clean, and beautiful. "I've had variations on this other places but nothing quite so well-executed in its simplicity," says odub.

The menu says "Northern Chinese cuisine," but there's other stuff on it, like Sichuan dishes. When PandanExpress asked, the boss lady said that since her area's cuisine isn't part of the notable regional Chinese cuisines, she had to adopt dishes from other regions to fill it out.

Tasty Noodle House [San Gabriel Valley]
827 W. Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel
626-284-8898

Discuss: Anybody's been to Tasty Noodle House?

How to Use Compost in Your Garden

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Julie Chai, associate garden editor at Sunset magazine, explains why compost is an essential component for achieving good soil for edible plants. CHOW Tips are the shared wisdom of our community. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

How to Grow Your Own Salad Greens

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How to Grow Your Own Salad Greens Julie Chai, associate garden editor of Sunset magazine, shows how you can save money by growing your own greens, as well as the best ... WATCH THE VIDEO

How to Make a Hanging Garden Basket

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A great way to garden in a small space. ... WATCH THE VIDEO