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

Monster Energy Versus Vermonster Spat: The Aftermath

Beernews.org reports on the results of an interesting food feud from last year, wherein the Hansen Beverage Company, makers of Monster Energy Drink, was contending that the tiny Rock Art Brewery in Vermont should not be able to call one of its beers "Vermonster." Hansen backed off after a massive public outcry, and the two companies reached an agreement (posted as a PDF download on the Rock Art website) which allowed Rock Art to keep using the name Vermonster.

The case may also become the basis for a broader investigation into the question of whether big businesses are abusing their trademark rights to intimidate small businesses:

"[Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy] introduced a bill this week that, among other things, will look into whether large companies are using trademark litigation inappropriately. The Senate unanimously passed the bill on Thursday night and it will now go to the House of Representatives," writes Beernews.org.

In his statement about the bill's provision to investigate abuses, Leahy says:

"I am concerned that large corporations are at times abusing the substantial rights Congress has granted them in their intellectual property to the detriment of small businesses. We saw a high-profile case like this in Vermont last year involving a spurious claim against Rock Art Brewery. When a corporation exaggerates the scope of its rights far beyond a reasonable interpretation in an attempt to bully a small business out of the market, that is wrong."

We can only assume Ben & Jerry's lawyers were in too much of a blissful food coma to consider suing Rock Art, as the ice cream maker also has a Vermonster on its menu, a massive bucket filled with "20 scoops of ice cream, hot fudge, banana, cookies, brownies, and all of your favorite toppings."

An Empire of Soup Dumplings

Xiao Long Bao Kitchen is the third and newest sibling of Shanghai Dumpling Shop and Shanghai Dumpling King, which also specialize in the meat-and-soup-filled dumplings. And how: Andrea Nyugen, author of Asian Dumplings, considers Shanghai Dumpling King chef Lu Kuang to be the local master of the XLB craft; she filmed a CHOW video to show how Kuang makes the dumplings.

wineguy7 loved the new Kitchen incarnation, saying an order of xiao long bao nets you eight "dumplings with extremely thin wrappers, small amount of a flavorful and porky soup and plenty of meat." Zelmira seconds that emotion, especially when it comes to the delicious dumpling filling. There are also fresh and tasty vegetable dumplings, and good Shanghai-style stir-fried noodles.

K K has been underwhelmed by Shanghai Dumpling Shop, but ML8000 says that Shanghai Dumpling King has the edge anyway: The XLB there "were a little more delicate and the other menu items better prepared."

Xiao Long Bao Kitchen [South San Francisco]
331 Grand Avenue, South San Francisco
650-589-8188

Discuss: Xiao Long Bao Kitchen

Vegetarian Indian Through a Barbecue Lens

The masala dosas at Madura Indian Cuisine are good enough, but the chutneys that accompany them are spectacular, especially the tomato and coconut versions, says mdg. In fact, "dosa variations seem to be like barbecue variations," mdg theorizes: "Madras Cafe is more like Texas style where the dosa is the star and the chutney, if any, is secondary; Madura is more like Kansas City where the chutney plays a more central role, though the dosa itself is still very important. One's not better than the other, it's just a different stylistic emphasis."

Madura specializes in the vegetarian cuisine of India's southernmost state, Tamil Nadu. (Madras, a.k.a. Chennai, is a city in Tamil Nadu.) zartemis, a big fan of Madura's thalis, or combo meals, says they're too generous to finish, featuring more variety in vegetable curries than most other places. However, zartemis prefers the rava dosas at Saravana Bhavan, but not SB's madhouse atmosphere.

Madura Indian Cuisine [South Bay]
1635 Hollenbeck Avenue, Sunnyvale

408-245-2111

Madras Cafe [South Bay]
1177 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
408-737-2323

Saravana Bhavan USA [South Bay]
1305 S. Mary Ave, Sunnyvale
408-616-7755

Discuss: Madura Indian Cuisine in Sunnyvale

Ssssh! Burmese Goat Curry Is a Secret Special



Larkin Express's occasional special of goat curry won't appear on the menu, but word of mouth makes all 10 servings go fast, says Cynsa, who describes it as "a delicious $8.50 serving of tender falling-off-the-bone chunks of goat in a rich curry sauce that is not too spicy." Make sure to order a side of rice so none of the sauce escapes.

Larkin Express Burmese Kitchen [Tenderloin]
452 Larkin Street, San Francisco

415-474-5569

Discuss: Burmese Kitchen's Special of the Day: Goat Curry

Overheard on the San Francisco Boards

"Flying Fish falls on the correct side of the homegrown-touristy dichotomy ... There's no view to speak of (unlike all of the awful places at Pillar Point Harbor in HMB), and the food here is far better." - mikeh on Flying Fish Grill in Half Moon Bay

"The thought of spicy Lao sausages in a sandwich sounds pretty good to me." - munchies247 on a sandwich at Pal's Take Away

"It is unfair to judge a place by the soft opening ... but since it is already very good, and my early read is that this place is going to be great, people should know." - jmarek on Barbacco, the next-door sibling to Perbacco

10 Ways to Photograph Food

10 Ways to Photograph Food

More than point and shoot. READ MORE

Part Italian, Part Slovenian

Part Italian, Part Slovenian

National borders converge in curious Friuli wines. READ MORE

How to Fold a Wonton

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The apotheosis of wrapper and filling. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

How to Wrap a Dumpling

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Three simple methods. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

Do You Eat Food off the Floor?

Riffing on a Connecticut College study that found that you actually have about 30 seconds (not five) to pick up and eat food that you've dropped on the floor before it gets bacteria-laden, San Francisco's SFoodie blog gives us "The 30-Second Rule: A Decision Tree."

If you've dropped something on the ground and you need to know if it's still edible, simply follow the flowchart to find out the food's fate. Funny, I can't help noticing that "eat it" is the most popular option—something I agree with, particularly if no one is around to see you picking up your lolly and clapping it right back into your mouth without so much as a token rinse.

Do you eat food after you drop it on the floor?

Already voted? See results.