Chris VR's Profile

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In the spirit of the season... hidden chow tips

About 4 minutes from Trader Joe's by foot...

Dec 21, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Sweetmeat Empanadas with New Mexico influence

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing that picture!

Dec 20, 2014
Chris VR in Home Cooking

Keeping melted American cheese liquid

Sodium Citrate should do the trick. This is a pretty informative article http://www.molecularrecipes.com/hydro... If you can't get it through your suppliers, I've bought it on Amazon.

Dec 20, 2014
Chris VR in Cheese

cheese making

I went to a Cheese Making class in Western MA, where we made easy cheeses mozzarella, ricotta) as well as more complicated cheeses (colby, and chevre). I'd recommend finding a local course that will teach more about making harder cheeses. You can also find sources for cheesemaking information online.

Dec 20, 2014
Chris VR in Home Cooking

Paul Bakery Natick

Can I just say how much I love that there's a French law about the shape of croissants and what fat they're made with? There's a culture that takes its food seriously.

Best seafood restuarant in Cambridge or Somerville?

Heh, inspired by this thread (and some good news on a health front) we went out to Summer Shack last night that the pan roasted lobster is just what I had! I always forget what a mess it is to deal with, but so worth it! They had a Nantucket Bay Scallop salad on the apps menu that was just lovely- sot of a scallop ceviche with diced pears and maybe some fennel, with a citrus vinaigrette. Light and crunchy and those bay scallops are so perfect,

Where can I buy Pheasant?

Torlovsky asked "Where can I buy pheasant in the Boston area?" It's pretty much a given these days that anything can be bought online, and everyone knows how to use Google. If someone is asking here where to buy something locally, I think it would be nice to respect those parameters and suggest sources here in the Boston area where you know it can be found.

In that spirit, I will say that I think I have seen it in the frozen case at Wilson Farm, but will look the next time I am there.

Dec 20, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Maine Meat (aka MEat) in Kittery, Maine

Ground beef/bacon sounds amazing! I grew up with a family friend who was a butcher and really miss his amazing homemade sausages. Sounds like this is worth a trip. Thanks for this tip!

Dec 19, 2014
Chris VR in Northern New England

In the spirit of the season... hidden chow tips

The patisserie has come in over the last year. They've had baguettes and croissants since soon after they opened, but they're slowly adding more and more to the shop. They will also gladly have you taste anything and everything in the cheese case to find what you like. It's really a business well worth supporting... and going out of the way for! I hear a lot of people speaking French to them so it's probably a great place to put rusty French skills to work. They don't wince at my "bonjour" and "à bientôt" but that's about the extent of my French shop vocabulary.

Dec 19, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

In the spirit of the season... hidden chow tips

It's maybe a mile? past Penzey's. Probably less? I am so bad with measuring distances! Oh, also, right on the way from Penzey's to Wilson Farm, which is maybe 1/2 mile away. It's a great little shop run by French owners and a great place to stock on cheese, sausage and a number of French goodies. They are also making crepes in house although I haven't had one yet.

Dec 19, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

In the spirit of the season... hidden chow tips

I don't think it's been mentioned here, so now I feel like I've been holding out. So I will share that Ma France in Lexington has the most lovely Paris Brest pastries (I think only on weekends). Including a picture in all its creamy goodness. Go enjoy but please save one for me because now I'm craving one!

Dec 19, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area
1

Best seafood restuarant in Cambridge or Somerville?

Shoot me if you must but I consistently have good seafood at Summer Shack at Alewife, especially things from their specials menu. It's godawfully kitschy (and kid friendly, which is why I end up there) and I think if you want something that's going to feel more adventurous, that's totally not where to go, but if you're looking for a wide variety of seafood, near parking or T, Summer Shack is a solid choice.

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

I'm on Chrome and don't see any of this, but perhaps you have browser plug-ins that I don't have?

Dec 17, 2014
Chris VR in Site Talk

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

It didn't change for me on the first thread I looked at after ticking the box, but the next thread showed up just as it always has (except for the disabled grayed out pagination at the bottom).

Dec 17, 2014
Chris VR in Site Talk

10 Must-Make Christmas Cookies

I've had a lot of luck with CHOW's Crackly Sugar Cookie recipe http://www.chow.com/recipes/11289-cra... They come out with cracked, crunchy sugar tops, but the texture of the cookie overall is soft, not crunchy.

Dec 16, 2014
Chris VR in Features

Xmas Eve Venue

I have never seen Mandarin Reading have their buffet open at dinnertime, so I'd check on that first. I'd also disagree that it's not a place for "authentic" seekers. Their specials menu often has interesting and different options that I think are more "authentic" than their normal menu.

Slice in Wakefield was really really good, but I haven't had it since they reopened after their renovation. Maybe give it a try one of these hectic pre-Christmas nights and see if it fits the bill? http://www.slicepizzaandmore.com/inde... I would be surprised if they are open on Christmas Eve, and I am not sure if their newly renovated space has room for sit-down dining, but it's worth a call. Lisa's Pizza is not bad but it's a takeout shop as well.

Dec 13, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

What are some ways you have seen technology been used in restaurants?

Are you doing market research? Your other post at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/997534 is a similar type of question.

Dec 12, 2014
Chris VR in General Topics
1

Is it just me, or is this really utterly ridiculous?

That's news to me, and apparently to whoever puts the copyright info at the bottom of Boston.com, since it reads
©2014 Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. Wikipedia says that Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC owns Boston Globe. Seems that there's a direct connection between Boston.com and The Boston Globe to me, but I'm curious where you got your info?

Dec 11, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Is it just me, or is this really utterly ridiculous?

Not me! I just LOVE firing up my browser and surfing around to restaurant websites to see whose music will brighten my day today! </sarcasm>

Belmont: Mark and Toni's Coal Fired Pizza

We had a wings craving tonight and got takeout. The boneless buffalo tenders were about as boring as I expected them to be, and dry to boot. The regular coal fired wings were pretty good but the real standout was the "kicked up" coal fired wings. These were the standard wings, "Our signature wings, (roasted not fried) with fresh rosemary, sea salt, olive oil, lemon & caramelized onions" with the addition of a vinegary pepper sauce. Not super spicy but pretty delicious. They aren't buffalo wings and wouldn't fit the bill for that craving, but I'd go out of my way for these again.

Dec 09, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Girl Scouts goes Digital!

No worries, hopefully this thread will help someone else with similar questions!

Girl Scouts goes Digital!

"your local cookie booth" is referring to the booths we, the troops, set up in cooperation with local stores/markets. For those cookies, you are buying the cookies that we, as a troop, pre-ordered and paid for in advance. We'll have cookies on site, for you to buy and take home that day. That's how the cookie booths have always worked, and I believe even this function to find a local cookie booth was available in previous years.

Dec 09, 2014
Chris VR in Food Media & News

Girl Scouts goes Digital!

The way it's been presented to me, is my daughter has an account, and through that account we can send digital invites to buy cookies. I tried one this morning and the invite came, but the ability to buy is not up yet. The girls are definitely not personally handling credit card information in any way. It's being processed through the GSA website. For our troop booth sales, we have to buy a Sage Credit Card Device if we want to accept credit cards, which has the ability to process the transaction securely. Of course, people can always pay via check or cash.

I don't believe it's set up that anyone with a Credit Card can go online and buy cookies. Navigating through the GSA website brings me here https://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs... which explains: "So how does it work? In true Girl Scout style, the girls always initiate the cookie sale. So if you know a Girl Scout, tell her you're interested in becoming a Digital Cookie customer and she will take it from there! Please note that as we launch Digital Cookie nationally for the first time, girl participation will depend on market area, and not all girls will be participating just yet."

A bit later it says: "Don't know a Girl Scout? That's OK! You can still support girls and all of the amazing things they learn and do by buying cookies at your local cookie booth. Find cookies now! Just enter your zip code in the box at the bottom of the page." The way I interpret that is strangers do not have the ability to interact with Girl Scouts online in any way, and GSA is not undercutting the girls by selling direct to customers.

This is all new and I certainly could be wrong, but that's my understanding.

Dec 09, 2014
Chris VR in Food Media & News

Girl Scouts goes Digital!

Customers can't be pro-active. The only way (as I understand it) a customer can buy cookies is for a girl scout to send him/her an invite to her online sale page. I don't think you can just go to the site and buy cookies. Have you taken a look at the "Meet My Customers" badge? It's actually pretty neat, IMO, the way it's encouraging girls to build skills and not just send the sheet to work with mom or dad. I'm not saying that doesn't happen, but it's not the way it's supposed to. Here's what one council suggests for earning that badge https://girlscoutsrv.box.com/shared/s...

Dec 09, 2014
Chris VR in Food Media & News
1

Girl Scouts goes Digital!

I am the troop leader, and yes, we did a badge last year focusing on teaching money management, sales, customer service and other business-oriented skills (the "Meet My Customers" badge). I felt good about tying cookie sales into developing definable skills, rather than the way it was when I was a kid: "here's your order form, go sell cookies". As someone with a background in sales, I did a lot of roleplaying and working on how to communicate with customers, and I feel that those skills will serve the girls well in whatever career they choose. Just learning how to speak clearly, confidently and slowly with adults is a developing skill for this age of girl, and since almost everyone knows what a Girl Scout is and what Girl Scout cookies are, it makes it an easy way to make a quick and positive connection with a girl and an adult, even if a sale isn't the result.

I think any volunteer organization is squeezed for labor right now. I wanted my daughter to see if being a Brownie was for her, so I stepped up and did the training, connected with a like-minded community member, and feel that our girls have really learned a lot through all of our activities, not just cookie-selling. Our troop does benefit from the sales (60 cents out of each $4 box) but I emphasize with my girls that they don't need to sell cookies if they don't want to. Some girls really love it, some don't care. My daughter was thrilled to put on her Brownie vest and talk to people at our local hair salons who were excited about the chance to buy some of their favorite cookies.

Money is needed to keep any organization going, and cookies have been the cash cow for GSA for a very long time. I don't object to them finding a way to sell more cookies, even if it is partly self-serving. Digital communication is becoming the norm, and yes, is replacing face-to-face communications in many cases. Like it or not, this is the world these kids are growing up in. I really have no problem with digital sales being offered as a supplemental way to connect with friends, neighbors, family, colleagues. She'll still be making phone calls and talking to people who are local, but having another way to widen her net isn't objectionable to me. I use email and Facebook and other social media site to share information with others, so I don't see any reason not to teach my daughter how to do it... appropriately and safely. From what I've seen of the program so far, it's doing that (although I think it's a mistake to offer the option to upload a personal picture, and did not let her choose that as an option.)

Dec 09, 2014
Chris VR in Food Media & News

Girl Scouts goes Digital!

http://www.bostonherald.com/business/...

My daughter is a Brownie and we found out this week that she'll have the option to sell cookies online, although our understanding (which isn't reflected in the article above) is that there's a required minimum of a case for digital orders, so it's less of a big deal than it sounds... not many people really want an entire case of cookies. Still, it's neat to see this program introduced. Selling cookies these days is part of an overall focus on teaching skills-- money management, sales, customer service and other business-oriented skills. Adding a component to allow girls to run an online business under the auspices of Girl Scouts seems a really smart progression of skill building, given the age in which these kids are growing up. You have to be personally invited by the scout to buy, so that should keep things in a safer place, privacy-wise. More info here http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_... Pretty neat!

Dec 09, 2014
Chris VR in Food Media & News
1

10 Must-Make Christmas Cookies

12 different kinds of cookies from around the world?! Would you be interested in sending a care package to a poor grandma-less adoptee? ;-)

Dec 08, 2014
Chris VR in Features

10 Must-Make Christmas Cookies

Chrusciki is the name I know them by, and Googling for Chrusciki recipe leads me to a bunch of results that look like what you and monavano describe. Maybe monavano can share his/her recipe, but otherwise, here are a couple:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chruscik...
http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/ch...

I hope these point you in the right direction!

Dec 08, 2014
Chris VR in Features

10 Must-Make Christmas Cookies

Ah, your recipe must be a bit different than mine, a dough vs. a batter, but probably fitting the description of "angel wings" better than my suggestion. Mine (which I should pull out soon because all of my siblings will be around at the holidays and would be THRILLED to have these) is definitely a batter, thinner than pancake batter and couldn't be fried without the irons. They end up super delicate (and breakable) but I have seen the type you describe sold here in groceries in the Boston area and they look similar.

Dec 08, 2014
Chris VR in Features

10 Must-Make Christmas Cookies

It sounds like you are talking about Chrusciki which is a holiday favorite in my family. You have to have the irons to make these. I bought them a few years ago, they're sold as "Rosette Irons". Here's one link http://www.amazon.com/Cast-Iron-Roset... I think I got mine at William Sonoma but maybe they don't sell them anymore because I don't see them listed.

Make sure you are buying cast iron, NOT aluminum! There are some cute ones here but some are aluminum. http://www.bakedeco.com/dept.asp?id=6...

Anyway, I just used the recipe that came in the box and they were perfect, just how I remembered them! Good luck!

Dec 08, 2014
Chris VR in Features