Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.
Gumdrops, broccoli, sugar cubes, marshmallows, corn, peanuts, and popcorn are among the props St. Paul–based artist Steve Tomashek uses to complement—and bring a sense of scale to—his itty bitty sculptural animal creations. A menagerie of carved and painted tiny wooden monkeys, sheep, camels, dogs, penguins, dragons, and loons hang out in the generally food-themed little worlds that Tomashek designed for them. Thumb through his gallery—it’s a guaranteed delight and diversion.
Photo used with permission.
The easiest, most addictive dessert ever. READ MORE
In an alternate universe—maybe yours—people get invited to fancy rich people’s houses in the Hamptons, and need to find a unique-and-classy hostess gift. Why gosh darn it, this porcelain flower, one of a kind, made to replicate table decorations used by the Bavarian monarchy in 1765, is just the ticket! These “fantasy flowers,” each one a different flower and one-of-a-kind, were made by craftsmen in Nymphenburg, Germany. Pricey, yes, but in this alternate universe, it’s a mere bagatelle.
Fertile Garden: Table Flower, $330
Representatives for TV food critic Katie Lee and Billy Joel confirmed Thursday that the pair are on the rocks. Their official statement says they’re still friends, admire and respect each other, yadda yadda. But, as Fox News sensitively reports, “Lee, 27, has been rumored to be involved in a romance with Yigal Azrouel, a 36-year-old Israeli fashion designer. The two have been photographed together and were reportedly spotted dirty-dancing together in Miami last January. Azrouel is even said to have referred to Lee as his ‘girlfriend’.” Fox News also ran a photo of Billy flanked by Katie and Alexa, his daughter with Christie Brinkley, who’s only four years younger than Katie. The photo is captioned: “Which one’s the daughter, which the wife?”
Ouch. That has to really hurt. But probably not as much as this NY Daily News story, which features a picture of Azrouel, looking tasty and youthful, right underneath a shot of Billy Joel looking every one of his 60 years.
Image source: flickr member kevindooley under Creative Commons
“A little Italian and a little eclectic,” Cafe 15 is a gem of a place in downtown Oakland helmed by a chef who previously worked at Eccolo, says Food Smith.
The organic menu includes local produce and Acme bread. “The flavors are so fresh and the food made so lightly that you walk away satisfied,” Food Smith says.
The menu includes dishes like Mexican corn soup, with a delicious tomato base layered with corn, pasta, and spices. Fried chicken with lemon mayo is also a pleaser, and there’s also a good pulled pork sandwich with salsa verde, and croque monsieur. Prices are all under $10.
Try to avoid the noon-to-one lunch hour, when the staff can be a little overwhelmed, or just get takeout.
Cafe 15 [East Bay]
597 15th Street, Oakland
Board Link: Downtown Oakland (Organic) - Cafe15
A West Oakland pizza joint that opened last fall is the home of the best barbecue rib sandwich ever, swears rworange. Sweet and tangy, with light background heat, the rib sandwich at Popo’s Pizza comes on a hearty artisan roll sprinkled with finely chopped garlic. There are little bits of onion and plenty of flavorful chopped pork ribs, with just a little fat here and there.
The Sunday special of slow-cooked rotisserie chicken offers plenty of food for two, rworange adds. Again, garlic plays a major part, this time in a garlic-herb rub. This isn’t the crispy-skin type of chicken, but it sure is tasty. The shiitake mushroom rice stuffing has plenty of dried mushrooms for deeper flavor.
Barbecue ribs come with the salad of the week and are $8.25 small and $13.95 large. The sandwich of the day is $4.95, but somehow rworange’s barbecue rib sandwich cost $2.50. Rotisserie chicken is $6.95 half and $10.95 whole; the rotisserie chicken dinner is $13.95.
No reports on the pizza, which, like the muffins and cookies, are made daily from scratch with fresh ingredients, according to information from the husband-and-wife owners.
Popo’s Pizza [East Bay]
1671 Eighth Street, Oakland
Board Link: West Oakland: Popo’s Pizza - Thin crust pizza, chicken stuffed with shitake mushroom rice, chocolate ganache cookies and the BEST bbq rib sandwich ever ($2.50)
Not summer whites or summer rosés. READ MORE
Turquoise is a beautiful coffee-table style Turkish cookbook I’d been meaning to cook from for a while. Most of the best-looking recipes seemed to have lamb in them, and I wasn’t feeling like eating red meat, so I went with the Chicken and Vermicelli Soup with Egg and Lemon. It’s like Greek lemon soup.
So easy: Sauté onion and chile, then add chicken broth and pasta, chopped boneless/skinless chicken breast, egg and lemon, and finally paprika and parsley. Done. Took about 40 minutes total.
A couple janky things: You have to grate and drain an onion. I’ll bet you could skip that. It called for an ounce of butter—why not a tablespoon? And I couldn’t find vermicelli, so I just used thin egg noodles.