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

Overheard on the San Francisco Bay Area Boards

"This is high-quality ramen, all organic, all from scratch. Having never tasted a sous-vide egg before, I was blown away by that in particular." – vulber, on a sneak preview of Hapa Ramen, the new venture by a couple of Nopa veterans that's set to open a stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market in June

"They are freaking delicious. And I am NOT a doughnut person AT ALL." – Jeni Bean, on Grandma Dierk's cinnamon-dusted, fried dough pull-aparts at Dierk's Parkside Café

"The food is good enough that it's mobbed all the time. Traditional Cantonese dishes—some of which I haven't seen since my mom stopped making them decades ago." – Claudette, on Cooking Papa

Popsicles Are In

The days of freezer-burned Bomb Pops are over. Creative food people have turned their full attention to popsicles, and the results are herbal, weird, and fresh. New York has several exciting options, including People’s Pops (pictured here), which offers seasonal fruit flavors like cantaloupe with tarragon.

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The Longest Asparagus Ever?

What's going on in this nearly silent video? No, that twisty green thing is not a jungle vine. That is apparently five stalks of asparagus discovered by a farmer in Zadar, Croatia, that are about 12 feet long, reports CBS News RAW. Guinness is on the job, and we'll soon know if that there is world-record-worthy asparagus.


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Dudes Dissin’ Dude Food, Wolfgang Smurf, Badass Pastry Chef Advice

Cook to Bang was the Last Straw: In a humorous article, Josh Ozersky (ironically, given his duditude) says that "dude food," has gotten out of hand, citing examples ranging from "Dudai Lama" Guy Fieri to the "aggressively vile" blog-turned-book Cook to Bang. via Time READ MORE

All Your Grilling Needs, Met

All Your Grilling Needs, Met

Recipes galore, plus inspiration and edification. READ MORE

Kicked Out of “Sacred Space”

E. coli lettuce? Whatever. The most shocking food story of the week came to light in the New York Times blog Diner's Journal in a post by Rob Lieber titled "Why I Got Kicked Out of a Restaurant on Saturday Night." READ MORE

Ice Cream Cakes for Your Happy Birthday

Ice cream cakes are a blank slate for the imagination, with layers of cake, ice creams, sauces, and add-ins in any flavor combination that appeals. (Some, such as CHOW's Pistachio-Strawberry Ice Cream Cake, use a crumb crust or simply crushed cookies instead of cake layers.)

Hounds recommend assembling ice cream cakes in a springform pan, so you can remove the sides and serve from the base without having to unmold. If you bake a cake to use, bake it in the springform pan, split it into layers if you wish, and use the same pan to assemble the cake.

It's ideal to start at least a day before you want to serve the cake, because each layer must be frozen before adding the next. Freeze the bottom cake layer, then spread with softened ice cream and top that with sauce and add-ins, freeze, and add more layers of cake and ice cream as you wish, freezing each before adding the next. Most hounds frost the top and sides with whipped cream right before serving.

Oil-based cakes work better than butter-based ones, which tend to be dry when frozen, says jsaimd. Crushed Oreos are popular for sprinkling between layers, because they don't get too soft. Crushed Heath bars are another favorite addition. Or go another direction and add fruit between layers.

"If anybody wishes to make an ice cream cake but is a little lazy," says John E., use grocery-store ice cream sandwiches: Line the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with ice cream sandwiches, add a layer of crumbled cake or crushed cookies, then fudge or caramel sauce. Repeat with a second layer of ice cream sandwiches, pressing down on them before adding more cake and sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze.

shaebones recommends a "delicious" mocha ice cream cake, and lexpatti likes this chocolate-peanut butter one, which is made like a jelly roll.

If you really want to gild the lily, "I serve hot fudge sauce on the side with my ice cream cake," says TrishUntrapped. "Best of all worlds."

Discuss: Has anyone made an ice cream cake?

Release the Kraken!

Release the Kraken!

This week's mission: A giant mythological squid wants you to get your rum on. READ MORE

Ren Faire Food an Uncreative Anachronism

Spring ushers in a period where Renaissance Faires are held all over the country, attracting clever nerds who like to dress in linen costumes, say "prithee" a lot, and gnaw on giant turkey legs. But is the festival food served at Ren Faires a decent representation of Elizabethan cooking?

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Chug from a Kug

A couple of young Brits, in search of a way to help arthritis sufferers who struggle to lift a full teakettle, have come up with a keen new way to make and drink hot beverages. Britain's Daily Mail tells the story of the sleekly designed Kug, an easy-to-wash-cup that nests inside of a small heating element capable of boiling water in 90 seconds.

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