The CHOW Blog rss

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

The Thai Pantry

The Thai Pantry

What to have on hand to re-create the flavors of Thai cooking at home. READ MORE

Thai Cookbooks We Like

Thai Cookbooks We Like

Explore beyond pad thai. READ MORE

Grant Achatz: What’s Next, Ren Faire?

Alinea chef Grant Achatz announced two new projects on Twitter this week that are ballsy to say the least. The first, a restaurant concept called Next, will feature four menus a year from different themed places and times. In a short video trailer, the words "Paris 1912, Hong Kong 2036, Sicily 1949, Sao Paulo 1968, Ayutthaya 1767, and Cajun 1977" flash across the screen to indicate what's to come.

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Gateway Dishes: Pad Thai

Gateway Dishes: Pad Thai

Thai street food at home. READ MORE

The Wisdom of Young Farmers: Joshua Bryceson

Josh Bryceson owns the 40-acre Turnip Rock Farm with his wife in New Auburn, Wisconsin. They grow vegetables for a 200-person CSA (community supported agriculture) and also raise pigs. At 29, Bryceson has been working on farms for the past nine years. After internships and managing a CSA, he had enough experience under his belt to qualify for a low-interest loan through the Farm Service Agency and buy the land and equipment to start Turnip Rock a couple years ago. Here is what he has to say. READ MORE

Whoopie Pies: Move Over, Macarons

Looks like Great Britain didn't get the macaron memo: Whoopie pies are being touted by the Telegraph as the next cupcake in the land of rain and first-rate dental care.

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Overheard on the San Francisco Boards

"We learned today that you don't have to show up with a friend of the owner to get some very good dim sum at Tai Wu." – charliemyboy

"The best smoked salmon I've had is the 'smoasted' salmon from Santa Rosa Seafood." – Melanie Wong

"Hearkening back to those glory days of Tra Vigne, Bottega is packing them in and with good reason." – CarrieWas218

Singapore at Your Door

Under the name Organic Chicken Rice, the former chef of the now-shuttered Kopitiam is making Singaporean specialties for delivery on Thursdays to the East Bay communities of Berkeley, Orinda, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Danville, and San Ramon. Chicken rice isn't quite as good as it was in the restaurant, but it does come to your door, complete with soup and a choice of vegetable, says jmarek.

But even better is the beef rendang, which wasn't available at Kopitiam. It's "spicy, complex, and richly coconut-y," jmarek says, with perfectly tender beef that reheats like a dream. "This is certainly the best delivery food in the history of Lafayette!"

For another take on rendang, check out Indonesian restaurant Jayakarta, where it's "stringy and chewy but not tough, with a dark, very tasty and mildly spicy sauce," says charliemyboy.

And Borobudur, another Indonesian restaurant, has a broad menu. Start with a selection of vegetable appetizers with fresh-tasting sauces, and move on to mie tek tek goreng, a spicy noodle stir-fry with egg, vegetables, and chicken. For dessert, try the roti prata manis: wedges of paratha with layers of grated cheddar, chopped nuts, chocolate sprinkles, and sweetened condensed milk. "Strangely addictive," says Cynsa. Of course, the regular roti prata, just the bread with curry dipping sauce, is good too.

Organic Chicken Rice [East Bay]
No formal address
925-236-1936

Jayakarta [East Bay]
2026 University Avenue, Berkeley
510-841-0884

Borobudur Restaurant [Union Square]
700 Post Street, San Francisco
415-775-1512

Discuss: Organic Chicken Rice delivered (from Kopitiam chef)
Jayakarta — Indonesian in Berkeley!
Indonesian Lunch at Borobudur

Yemeni Culture in a Clay Pot

The Yemeni national dish of salteh, a rich lamb stew with vegetables and egg, is a specialty at the newly opened Yemeni's Restaurant, reports CarrieWas218.

But first, the appetizers include a variety of tasty spreads, such as an ultra-creamy hummus, baba ghanoush, and another enticing eggplant spread. They come with freshly made paratha-like bread. After you've worked your way through that, the salteh comes boiling hot in a clay pot, with fenugreek and hulba, a Yemeni salsa that's pretty mild here. Zucchini, peas, and potatoes round out the stew, which comes with another kind of flatbread that's made by a local Moroccan woman, lightly grilled with butter.

The special Yemeni coffee is more like a light and intriguing tea, made with the husks of coffee beans and ginger and cardamom.

The owner, Ali, seems excited about sharing his national cuisine and says he's happy to prepare any classic Yemeni dish (with the proper notice, presumably). It's a halal restaurant, so no alcohol is served.

Yemeni's [Nob Hill]
1098 Sutter Street, San Francisco
415-441-8832

Discuss: Yemeni's Restaurant

Maisa’s Eastern Explorations

Fridays at Maisa often bring an off-menu North African or Middle Eastern regional specialty that's made for a group that meets there, but it's available to anyone. So far, the ones that 10foot5 has tried are really good. Molokhia, a classic Egyptian dish, resembles an Indian saag curry but is less spicy, with brighter vegetable flavor. Maisa's version, made with lamb, features meltingly tender meat and comes with fluffy rice, warmed pita, and lemon.

Maisa [East Bay]
377 13th Street, Oakland
510-835-3777

Discuss: Molokheiya (Egyptian Spinach) at Maisa - Downtown Oakland