The CHOW Blog rss

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

The Couple That Scoops Together

Thick 'n' creamy ice cream is the house scoop at Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, a new ice creamery in Bayview, says hhc. "I'd compare it to Bi-Rite, but Mr. & Mrs Misc. is organic, so big thumbs-up!"

Flavors include classic vanilla bean, mint chocolate, choco-malted crunch, and candied ginger. "Grapefruit sorbet was liking eating a real grapefruit, wow," hhc says. Less impressive was the intriguing-sounding Ballpark (Anchor beer, peanuts, chocolate pretzels)—the pretzels weren't so great, hhc thinks.

Like the ice cream, the cones and toppings (including hot fudge, caramel, and butterscotch) are made in-house by owners Ian and Annabelle, a super-nice couple.

Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous [Dogpatch/Potrero]
699 22nd Street, San Francisco

Discuss: NEW: Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous ice cream shop, SF – Recommended!

Bay Area Ramen Watch

Now that Orson is serving weekend brunch, it's the place to go for the best ramen in San Francisco, says Melanie Wong.

The crown jewel is the cha su pork, "four generous slices of meaty heaven" that are tender and succulent, with the perfect hint of cured tanginess. They're paired with wide, hand-cut noodles that would be great if they weren't cooked in advance, but they're still nicely elastic. Unfortunately, the broth is "low on meaty intensity" and its spicing is harsh.

Elsewhere in the ramen world, Halu is doubling down on its spring specials with tan tan men, a spicy blend with miso and sesame seeds. It's rich, spicy, meaty, and slightly sweet. The broth is more like a sauce, too intense to really sip, Melanie says. The nutty, firm whole wheat noodles complete a great bowl.

Orson Restaurant [SOMA]
508 4th Street, San Francisco

Ramen Halu [South Bay]
375 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose

Discuss: Brunching on Ramen + Ramos Fizz @ Orson Restaurant Bar + Lounge in San Francisco
Spring Special Tantan Men at Ramen Halu in San Jose

Overheard on the San Francisco Bay Area Boards

"Their baba ganoush is the best I have tasted outside the Middle East—very fresh and a little chunky." – charliemyboy, on Aladdin Deli

"I took a Vietnamese person to Yummy Yummy once and she got so mad at the food she almost stabbed me." – monkutaro, on the search for bun rieu

"Last week, while waiting in the recently redecorated space for my lamb kebab they offered me a taste of ash-e reshteh, a Persian vegetable and noodle soup that was fantastic." – flavorenhancer, on Middle East Market

8 Things That Will Piss Off Your Bartender

Bartenders see people's worst drunken shenanigans. But when we spoke to them about what behaviors were most annoying, the real problem was not a little raucousness but customers' lack of basic courtesy. Here are the top eight complaints: READ MORE

Carnivore Job Discrimination, Nose-Candy Candies, Extremely Caloric Travesties

Meat Eaters Need Not Apply: An Internet flap ensued after the Sweetpea Baking Company in Portland, Oregon, tweeted a help-wanted ad that specified, "Being vegan is also required." After a debate about the legality of the requirement ensued in Tweetsville, the bakery tweeted a kinder, gentler ad: "The ideal candidate would also be vegan." via Eater National READ MORE

Secrets for Great Meatballs

A variety of techniques and ingredients make tender and well-flavored meatballs to eat with tomato sauce on pasta or in sandwiches.

Most hounds like a mixture of meats, such as beef and pork or Italian sausage. Karl S thinks that beef or bison gives depth of flavor, pork or bulk pork sausage adds sweetness, and veal lends a better texture. CHOW's Italian Meatballs combine, beef, pork, and turkey.

Many prefer using a panade of bread soaked in milk to breadcrumbs; cocktailhour uses buttermilk to soak the bread. "I use English muffins," says coll, "soaked in heavy cream. When I switched from regular bread to muffins something just clicked. If you want to add a handful of breadcrumbs, panko will fluff everything up nicely."

There are lots of seasoning possibilities. kookiegoddess likes the combo of parsley, nutmeg, lemon zest, salt, freshly ground pepper, and "a good heap of Parmesan." Spot says a couple of anchovies heated in olive oil until they dissolve add "a salty umami hit." "I fry a test meatball to see if I've got the seasoning right," says vafarmwife.

Cynsa's favorite recipe is these meatballs braised in tomato and white wine from A16 in San Francisco, which include beef, pork, pancetta, and ricotta. Phurstluv makes Cook's Country magazine's big Italian meatballs and freezes them by the batch.

Discuss: I want to make GREAT meatballs

Summer 2010 Gift Guide

Summer 2010 Gift Guide

Hot for summer, hot for giving. READ MORE

Hamburger Vending Machines

The future of the $30 billion a year vending machine industry includes slider dogs, Nachos in a Bag, and pre-pickle-applied microwavable Dale Earnhardt Jr. cheeseburgers, writes Christopher Borrelli on assignment at the National Vending Show for the Chicago Tribune. Some of it, he says, is pretty good.

"Consider Pierre, a vending-machine food corporation with a name that suggests afternoon spritzers but actually makes a hamburger called the Big Az, which, indeed, is both its big seller and a subtle mockery of the body shape you will adopt if you regularly hit a vending machine in search of a Big Az. Pierre is at the high end of the quality scale, in terms of sandwiches that come in crinkly plastic wrappers and look disgusting. Pierre's sandwiches are not disgusting. Particularly its latest minis, sliderlike pulled pork sandwiches and breakfast biscuits.

Also a hot topic among vending machine owners at the convention: the future of vending machines at schools in a post-Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution climate. "Consider Inko's White Iced Tea, a new gentle-looking, gentle-tasting flavored tea in a can. Cecile Schamisso, wife of Andy Schamisso, the founder, told me, as did a number of companies, that they're eager to get out in front of the new school district nutrition guidelines, but 'it's hard to convince a high school kid to drink strawberry tea.'"

Check out the Trib's slideshow of future vending machine foods to get a glimpse of the slider dog, cotton candy machines, and Dale's Glazed Honey Bun.

Radishes, the Salad Star

Radishes are often mere accessories in green salads, but they play a bigger part in other salads, combined with ingredients from eggs to oranges.

Some hounds favor salads in which radishes are the main ingredient. dct likes a salad of sliced radishes, scallions, black olives, and feta with a simple vinaigrette. "I'm addicted to this Guatemalan radish salad," says rworange. It's simple and very good, she adds. Gio makes one with similar ingredients: thinly sliced radishes and carrots, cilantro, and jalapeño. She dresses hers with rice vinegar, salt, and sugar.

bushwickgirl makes a salad of orange segments, radishes, red onions, and mint, dressed with olive oil, a little orange juice, and salt and pepper. Missyme mixes coarsely chopped hard-boiled eggs with a small bunch of radishes, thinly sliced, and lightly dresses the mixture with a mustardy vinaigrette. It's "lovely and different," she says.

Discuss: your favorite radish salad?

Babies in Bars

Babies in Bars

Table Manners weighs in. READ MORE