The CHOW Blog rss

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

Chinese Beef Jerky Specialists

There are such things as Chinese beef jerky specialists in the San Gabriel Valley. Of course, if you can imagine anything eaten by any Chinese person anywhere, there’s probably a specialist for it somewhere in the San Gabriel Valley. This jerky is not tough or leathery, unlike regular American beef jerky or supermarket Chinese stuff; it’s freshly made beef jerky from people who have basically devoted their lives to making beef jerky.

ipsedixit, one of the ruling kings of San Gabriel Valley chow, sends us to Prime Cut. Many Chowhounds also like Champion for beef jerky. It’s “my go-to place,” says fdb.

Prime Cut Beef Jerky [San Gabriel Valley]
2017 S. Hacienda Boulevard, Hacienda Heights
626-333-8393

Champion [San Gabriel Valley]
140 W. Valley Boulevard, Suite 113, San Gabriel
626-571-8188

Board Link: Chinese Beef Jerky

Slate’s Rotten Apple

You won’t believe it, but guess what—Slate has published an article wherein a writer for the magazine is a total contrarian buzz-kill. While most of us celebrate autumn with Halloween costume parties and obligatory airings of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Slate embraces the season by dusting off a three-year-old article with the following thesis: “Apple picking may be a satisfying ritual and pleasant day out with the kids, but it’s also a wasteful scam.”

In the story, Daniel Gross says of apple picking, “It’s the best use of child labor since Manchester’s early 19th-century textile mills,” and declares that it “sheds light on some unflattering truths about the American economy.”

We can only hope that the magazine spikes Gross’s upcoming piece about Christmas cookies, in which sprinkles are compared to “a rainbow of tiny thalidomide pellets,” and, while talking about linzertorte cookies, Gross invokes Stalin’s liquidation of the Soviet kulak class.

Pizza Every Which Way, Brooklyn to Queens

Grandma pizza, the home-style sauce-over-cheese Sicilian variant, is better known on Long Island than in the city, though it seems to be pushing westward. Mike R. loves the one at Ciccio’s in Brooklyn: “it’s got all the right flavor, with sweet rich tomatoes and the burnished edge like good Sicilian pies should have.” As long as you’re there, he adds, check out the special fresh-mozzarella slice and the regular slice (with relatively rare sesame-seed crust).

There’s another great grandma pizza, in Queens, advises Jeffsayyes, at Louie’s in Elmhurst. The regular slice is also hound-worthy, boasting a very thin crust with a nice crisping of flour. This relative newcomer is “seriously good,” icelandadam declares, and especially welcome in a neighborhood where first-rate pizza is scarce.

Ciccio’s Pizza [Gravesend]
207 Avenue U (at W. Fifth Street), Brooklyn
718-376-9695

Louie’s Pizza [Elmhurst]
81-34 Baxter Avenue (between Ithaca and Judge streets), Elmhurst, Queens
718-440-9346

Board Links: Upside Down Pizza at Ciccio’s
best pizza in elmhurst?

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A Sandwich Shop Sends In the Aircraft Carrier

For Midtowners, Barros Luco feeds a previously unsatisfied craving for Chilean-style sandwiches like the Chacarero Completo. This is the aircraft carrier of sandwiches, says chowbound, with an all-hands-on-deck filling of beefsteak or chicken, plus avocado, melted cheese, tomato, mayo, green beans, and banana peppers. “I thoroughly enjoyed [it],” says chowbound, who especially liked the understated but unique contribution of the green beans. It comes on something like a hamburger bun, but denser and doughier, with a light glaze.

Beyond sandwiches, Barros Luco, which opened this month in a hard-luck space on a side street, makes empanadas, soup, and vienesas, or Chilean-style hot dogs. It’s a welcome addition to this corner of the east side, says badabingdesi, if not quite as good as a hound-endorsed spot farther afield, Chacarero in Boston. Some might fault Barros Luco’s sandwiches as skimpy. They’re big enough, badabing promises, with a side of sweet potato fries.

Barros Luco [Midtown East]
300 E. 52nd Street (near Second Avenue), Manhattan
212-371-0100

Board Link: Barros Luco: Serving Up Tasty Little Bastards

South Asian Heat in a Bowl of Soup

As winter moves in, hounds have been talking soup around Queens. round2 tosses a newcomer into the pot, Herb International Soup Factory up in College Point.

The owners are Indian and Afghan, and the menu—around six soups and four stews, plus daily specials—leans South Asian. round2 and her husband loved a vegetarian dal soup, another with chicken and lentils, and delicious, freshly baked Afghan-style bread. Other soups in the lineup might include pumpkin and vegetables, lentil with lamb and vegetables, chicken with rice and vegetables, and chicken curry or tandoori masala with vegetables.

Servings are a generous 16 ounces for $3 or $4. The setup is mostly takeout, though the interior is “rather lovely and comfortable,” round2 adds. Those who stick around might find themselves doubly warmed—by robust soups as well as Bollywood heat on the video screens.

Herb International Soup Factory [College Point]
15-20 College Point Boulevard (between 15th and 18th avenues), College Point, Queens
718-886-2266

Board Link: Any new or interesting South Asian in JH or elsewhere?

A Bull in a Box

Red Bull’s recent promotional freebie for its cola is probably the coolest thing it’s done since it sponsored extensive can-derived art. The promo, as shown on the Dieline package design blog, is a custom bag containing a custom box containing the 17 key ingredients that give Red Bull Cola its taste. Say whatever you like about energy drinks and mass-market colas—the ingredients that go into Red Bull Cola look damn near majestic when presented in raw form in a compartmentalized wooden box.

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