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What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

Thanks BC.

about 13 hours ago
beetlebug in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

After eating at Honey & Co, I bought the cookbook. Actually, I first pretended to think about it as I looked at the cookbook, but I knew it would be mine. Many of the things I sampled at the restaurant were in the cookbook including the amazing lamb schwarma and the refreshing orange blossom ice tea.

As I was browsing at Fortnum and Mason, I saw this cookbook that looked appealing. It's called A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones. Anyway, I just requested it from the library. It looks fairly new so wondered if anyone has tried it yet.

about 14 hours ago
beetlebug in Home Cooking
1

London report - May 2015

Dishoom - whoa. so many interesting things on this menu that it was hard to narrow it down. We came for an early lunch since I had early dinner planned. I wanted to try the King's Cross restaurant but it was a bit too out of the way for the rest of the day. That building looked interesting but we settled on the Soho one.

We started with the Keema Pau which was spiced lamb served with pau buns. This was tasty and the buns were nice and soft. My personal preference is to have spiced ground beef over rice. I'm more rice based then bread based. Anyway, I "managed" to eat the bread and meat but made sure that there was some meat to spoon over the bread. Next we had the chicken ruby with the suggested roti. So much flavor in this curry. My mouth just sang. Then it was confused because I also ordered Dishoom's special dal. Wow, for something that is simmered for that long, the lentils still had some bite. I loved both these dishes and couldn't decide which bite tasted better.

While my friend and I enjoyed this lunch, I do wish I had more people at the table so I could try more dishes.

NOPI - I'm not going to lie, I worship at the altar of Ottolenghi (words borrowed from a friend of mine). I did plan my trip around eating at Nopi and possibly stopping it at one of this other restaurants. After buying my plane ticket, the next thing I did was to book dinner at Nopi. When we arrived at Nopi, they couldn't find my reservation. I stated, with slight panic, that I did receive an email confirming. It turns out that the reservation was for the next night. They must have seen my look of panic and desperation that there were two seats downstairs but a reservation for 90 minutes out. I said that it wasn't a problem and we would be out of there in time. It's a good thing that I had made dinner on the early side otherwise one of my main reasons for my trip would have been denied.

Anyway, as I was sitting at the communal table, I watched the kitchen interaction. I thought I saw someone who looked like Yotam Ottolenghi but he looked different. I decided I better focus on the menu since we were under a time constraint. My cocktail of ginger and coriander was delicious and refreshing. Starters consisted of burrata, peach and coriander seeds (the seeds were flash fried and just sent this dish over the top) and courgettes with samphire (my latest favorite thing), broad beans and lemon (spring time on a plate). Main courses were curry spiced guerand (bottom feeder fish) wrapped with a banana leaf and pineapple sambal (utterly fantastic) and the baby chicken with chili sauce (finger licking good). The only off note was the chard with yuzu and monk's beard. I wanted to try monk's beard and love yuzu and chard. But, the chard was over blanched and the stems were difficult to eat. There was too little monk's beard on the plate that I couldn't really discern it's taste. Dessert was do fu hwa with ginger syrup, mango and fresh coconut. This was amazing. Light, refreshing with complementing flavors and textures. I suspect it's a dessert where you either love or hate the textures.

As I was settling the bill with our waiter, I asked him if Mr. Ottolenghi was in the kitchen earlier this evening. And, he was! Aaargh! I should have asked when I first saw him and missed my opportunity for a geeky photo op. Oh well. At least I was able to eat at Nopi. Anyway, the waiter said that they were opening another restaurant in the East End (or East London?). I don't see anything on the website unless it's an Ottolenghi and not a new named place.

All in all an excellent eating week and I'm slightly sad to be home.

about 14 hours ago
beetlebug in U.K./Ireland
1

London report - May 2015

One more note about Medlar - they gave us passion fruit marshmallows and chocolate truffles. The truffles were tasty but the passion fruit marshmallows just sang of fruit. So tasty and unfortunately, so smooshed from the journey home. I'll just have to peel them off the plastic bag.

about 14 hours ago
beetlebug in U.K./Ireland

Long London wrap up

I was staying near Kensington High Street so most of the places were less then a 2 mile walk. I did run over to Hammersmith a few times to go the gym. I saw outdoor market being set up and was tempted by the Portuguese baked goods. I didn't have any money on me though.

Sadly, I am now back home.

I'm jealous of the hot dog tour. Please post your results on the NE board. And, since your friend hasn't put her house on the market, it means that you have to go back for a visit.

about 15 hours ago
beetlebug in U.K./Ireland

Long London wrap up

Thanks for the post Joanie. I went to Evans and Peele detective agency and loved it. My report is below.

May 21, 2015
beetlebug in U.K./Ireland

DUNLOP March Cookbooks of Month: Vegetables and Bean Curd

I'm impressed that you prepped and cooked fish favas for this dish. I have a hard time deviating from the Zuni fava dish with the salami and cheese. I'm making a mental note to make this dish when I get my csa favas next month.

May 21, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking
1

London report - May 2015

Borough market - this place was fantastic. It's much bigger then I thought so I stopped in at the welcome center to get a map and bearings. They were so helpful in orienting me. The market is the perfect place for noshing. Tons of samples of just about everything. I tried samphire for the first time and fell in love. If I could bring some back to the states, I would have.

Anyway, I was on a mission to find this chicken schwarma that a hound recommended. The help desk was able to give me an idea as to where in the market. Essentially, look for Brindisa (spelling) the store, not the restaurant. Look for a restaurant called arabica (sp?) and then to the little cart to the right of that. I was psyched that I found it and then was crushed to discover that it was closed on a Wednesday. I really wanted to try the schwarma bathed in its chicken juices and fat.

But I rallied with more samples as I decided what to eat. I settled on a fresh pasta place, the sample sold me, located in the Rochester Alley. The wild boar tortellini with tomato sauce, olive oil and cheese was fantastic. After I ordered, I saw that they had individual truffle tortellini and asked if I could buy one to try. The nice woman just through it into the pot for me. I swooned with my bite.

Other stalls that intrigued included the Ethiopian stand and the Thai stand. The Ethiopian one had a long line and the giant woks filled with food looked intriguing. But I was trying to show restraint since I had a big dinner planned. I was also able to sample the coconut tart from the Thai stand. It's a small (about the size of a two pound coin) crepe pie shape with coconut cream in the middle. Not overly sweet, a tad crisp, it was a nice little treat.

Medlar - 3 course prix fixe with the best company and service. We had so much fun that the food was a bit of a blur. The flavors were excellent and the standout was the appetizer of cod cheeks, asparagus, fava beans and tagliatelle. The skate main course was perfectly seasoned and I liked the little mushrooms. I do wish they had deboned the fish though. Dessert was fantastic and the description didn't do it justice. English strawberries with a prosecco jelly, lemon granita and a strawberry sorbet. The whole thing was just lovely with the prosecco jelly pulling it all together. I had a taste of the mango sorbet which rivaled my dessert in deliciousness and who can go wrong with a carefully curated cheese plate. Service was gracious and patient as three laughing ladies spent all their time not looking at the menu. All in all, a night to remember and cherish.

May 21, 2015
beetlebug in U.K./Ireland

London report - May 2015

I've been in London for four days and having the best time. Sadly, I only have about 2.5 eating days left. Here is a summary of what I've had so far and I hope to update this thread in a more timely manner.

Cocktails at Evans & Peele Detective Agency (Earls Court) - thanks to boston hound Joanie for this tip. I loved this place. It's a tad hidden bc there is no address on the web site but my friend Google was able to help me. When you arrive you get buzzed in and meet with the detective in this cute little office. You state your case and then are admitted into the speakeasy. The drinks were fantastic. My first was a riff on the old fashioned but my second was the knockout drink. Laphroaig and Jura scotch with other things. It was their take on the sazerac and it was perfectly balanced. My friend had this cherry drink which sounds vile but was delicous and too easy to drink. Rosemary popcorn nibbles were a delicious plus.

Kerbisher and malt - fish and chips. I ordered the small portion of fried Colley. Beautiful and light batter my quibble is that it was under seasoned. When I tried adding salt, it bounced off. The curry dipping sauce was truly delicious.

Borough market - Cafe Drood. We split the kofte wrap and it was unexpectedly delicous. We arrived at the market when all the stalls had shut down. Super fresh lettuce with the the flavorful lamb made this the perfect snack.

Honey and Co - I was a bit peeved when I got here for a late lunch to an hour long wait. But it was completely worth it. The staff are so gracious and helpful. We started with the spring starter mezze plate so we could have a taste of everything. Standouts included the spring salad with peas and manouri cheese. For mains, we split the lamb schwarma and the manti dumplings. Dessert was the ice cream sandwich with tahini and date ice cream as well as a hazelnut financier to go. The whole meal was swoon worthy.

Barrafina - another swoon worthy meal. We got there before opening and sat right in front of the prep station/kitchen. I loved the setup and my favorite dish was the grilled octopus with capers. The special oyster (from Ireland) had a delicious mignonette but the special mushrooms were a bit disappointing. Not as flavorful as I expected. The Spanish cheese plate was a perfect ending to a lovely meal.

Tukdin - I was lucky that some local hounds were available for a hound dinner. This Malaysian place is a gem and we had a delicious meal. The highlight was the whole mackerel in a spicy mango curry sauce. I was pretty much spooning the sauce alone. Other dishes included the beef and bamboo with yellow curry, aubergine with chile sauce, rice with meat sauce, egg and fried chicken, shrimp chips and satay. The fried chicken with the rice place was fantastic and I could have eaten a dish of it. After we wandered to the Lebanese place next door for tea and baklava. The restaurant looked to have great potential and there was a pleasant heated outdoor spot. Lovely way to end a lovely dinner.

Leong's Legends - stopped here to get soup dumplings. There were fine, but I've had better the top was too thick and slightly dried and there wasn't enough soup.

Maotao Kitchen - post xlb and this place was great. I wish I could have ordered more. We settled on the roasted lotus roots (whoa), tofu with salted egg and fried hand pulled noodles. I generally prefer soup noodles but nothing peeves me more then bland broth with homemade noodles. Fried, they were delicious. There is a lot on this menu to explore.

More eats to follow.

May 20, 2015
beetlebug in U.K./Ireland

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

Cocktail cupcakes. I hope there is a bourbon chocolate caramel one. I'm going to have to look into this.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

Hey GG,

Check your spam box. I sent you a couple of emails over the last few days. I suspect you didn't receive them. Thanks.

May 11, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

I don't know about the Cooking From thread. But, one of my favorite (and few) recipe is the butternut squash with the cilantro herb sauce and chile yogurt. I think I've made it 3-4 times since I've had the book. It's a great dinner party dish because so many of the parts can be made ahead of time.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

If you open the box on June 25, it will be Christmas in June.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

Perusing that website is like watching a an eclipse. I can't look away and feel compelled to look.

May 09, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking
1

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

To add fuel on to the fire, bookoutlet.com is having an extra 25% off all books, including scratch and dent. Lots of temptations including Alice Medrich's Flavor Flours. Sale is good until May 11.

Must resist. Sigh.

May 08, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking
1

is there a place where I can find some reliable Sonoma wineries itineraries?

El Brinquieto, Agua Caliente

It's on the main road that one drives from Sonoma up to Kunde and Ledson. It will be on the left going that direction.

More details in the link in my earlier post.

is there a place where I can find some reliable Sonoma wineries itineraries?

I think it was a couple of hours (maybe less). We did the first tour at opening (1030). You start with a tasting in the main building and then you brought the glass of wine into the van. The van ride was about 10 minutes up the mountain where the guide pointed out the sights (old vines, movie props, history, etc.). Then the van is parked (and some cows are shooed away) and you enter into an enclosure with seats overlooking the valley. I think there were 3-4 wines here. We stretched this out because it was a gorgeous day and we were the only ones on the tour. Anyway, after shuttling back down the mountain, there was one more wine tasting (dessert wine) and it was then lunch time. That's when we went to the chicken road stand for lunch and then Whole Foods to wash up post lunch.

My older parents are still raving about the mountain top views. It was definitely memorable.

is there a place where I can find some reliable Sonoma wineries itineraries?

We went to Kunde at the end of January and loved it. That mountain top tour was one of the highlights of the trip. The movie, Bottleshock was filmed at Kunde and they show you many of the places where the movie took place. Beautiful views, delicious wines and great company. It was a win win win.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1003...

Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours, by Kim Boyce

Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary and Chocolate

I made this cake sometime within the last two months. I loved it. This dessert hit all of my loves, savory combined with sweet and a really delicious crumb. I used close to 2T of chopped rosemary but kept the other proportions the same. Next time, I'm going to try Caitlin's suggestion of switching the oil and milk proportions.

I'm hoping to make this again in the summer when my own rosemary comes in. It did kill me a bit to buy rosemary when I have so much of it in the summer and fall months.

Here is a link to the recipe.

http://www.thewednesdaychef.com/the_w...

May 2015 COTM: EAT, Chapters 1-4, pp. 1-171

Do you think it would have been easier to handle without the skewers? Maybe first saute the pork and then add the mango? Pretty picture.

May 01, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Honeymoonin' from Napa/SF to LA (with a stop in NOLA)

The Schramsberg cave tour is really interesting and the tastings were wonderful. Be aware though, if any in your party have allergies to mold or other things in that category, they may have an issue with the cave. Since the cave is very old and there is moss and things growing in it. My father had a huge allergy attack including swollen eyes and coughing fits from it. After we left the cave and got him some allergy meds, he was much better. The cave people were lovely but the allergy fit was unexpected.

Oriental Gourmet v. Hunan Taste - quick questions

Thanks. That octopus was originally on the list but then we went for the fish head. As it was, we had too much food so the octopus got cut. Lucky for us, that fish head was in the great category that day.

Then shrimp with lotus leaves and homemade fish balls are intriguing to me. I love fish balls. My parents only eat Chinese food (with an occasional korean soondubu) and they live in Rockville. It's rare for them to go to VA for Chinese food. But, I'm going to keep this in mind if we fly in to Dulles again).

April 2015 COTM Announcement: POLPO

I was really nervous about the whole return/refund process. After a google search, I found numerous complaints about paperback shop and really debated on keeping the broken covered book. But I balked bc it's such an expensive book and with that price, I wanted it to start off with attached covers. It seemed to take a long time but it was probably less then a month. I also did constant follow up and emailed them receipts, etc. and they came through.

Unfortunately, I don't think you are alone with your horrible experience. I think I was lucky because they had many copies of the book in stock.

Apr 17, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

April 2015 COTM Announcement: POLPO

Yes, that was me with the broken cover on the new book. I'm happy to report that paperback shop has been great to work with. They refunded me the return shipping charge and sent me out a new book. I received it earlier this week and hope to make my first dish tonight.

Note: paperback shop were fairly responsive to emails. On the most part, it wasn't an immediate response but always within a business day. Regardless, I was pleased and will order from them again.

Apr 17, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking
2

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy hurry up and be Spring already, April 2015 edition! [OLD]

Maybe you should encourage having mother's day earlier this year? Who says it has to be on a Sunday? And, you can try and sell it as, an off day mother's day makes everything easier because prices and reservations won't be marked up.

Apr 17, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking
1

Oriental Gourmet v. Hunan Taste - quick questions

I *think* I really dislike A&J's version of dan dan mien for that reason. But, their suan la mien more then makes up for it.

Oriental Gourmet v. Hunan Taste - quick questions

Also, Peter Chang's is directly across the parking lot. For whatever reason, they hung up the electronic open sign. The sign wasn't on but it was the first thing I saw. That location will have to fire on all cylinders at all times in order to compete with Sichuan Jin River. My parents and their friends have dropped Bob's (Nan Xiang) already bc of inconsistent quality, especially in the xlbs.

Oriental Gourmet v. Hunan Taste - quick questions

I'm not sure it's seasonal, it's whether or not the chef has made it. I've had it in the winter during my traditional visits.

The dan dan noodles are with soy and chili oils, ground pork and a tad bit of sichuan pepper. Simple but effective. I think it's one of those things where there are different versions. I've had it was sesame sauce in places and don't like it as much.

Sichuan Jin River was so fired up that we couldn't stop ordering things. Let's just say we had to have things immediately packed up because we didn't have room on the table. We were using the shelves behind us as well. My parents have leftovers for the week.

Oriental Gourmet v. Hunan Taste - quick questions

We ended up at Shanghai Taste for a lunch and Sichuan Jin River for our last dinner. Shanghai Taste is still my favorite especially for the cuisine, but Sichuan Jin River was significantly better now then in the past. It was always good but nothing as outstanding as it was last night.

Standout dishes:

Their cold dishes have improved by leaps and bounds. The soy noodles were particularly good (gan si) as was the taiwanese homemade sausage.

Seafood with Crispy bread.

Dun dun Noodles - excellent rendition.

Soup - I know, vague, but it's like a smooshed bean soup. It looks like a miso soup, how the miso can sink to the bottom and then you stir it and it melds into the broth. This was with beans and it was such a comforting taste.

Fish fillets - not the water cooked ones. If you look at the pictures, it's the one on the right hand corner. These are fish fillets with hot peppers, but it looks like black pepper on the fillets (it's not). There was nothing wrong with this dish.

Dry fried string beans - excellent fry job to get the beans shriveled but still tender.

Good - ground chicken with ya cai and the steamed buns. It's not fair to the dish, but I was pretty full by the time this came out. It's also not my favorite, stuff in the buns, but everyone else likes it.

Not good at all -

Suan La Tofu - the picture looked good and from the chinese characters, I thought it had promise. But, meh. Deep fried tofu with tons of hot peppers and sichuan peppers. Kind of one dimensional to me. And, misnamed.

I wish they had a menu online because I could do a better job as to what we ordered. But, we were full and happy.

Oriental Gourmet v. Hunan Taste - quick questions

We had a fantastic meal at Hunan Taste. I wish I had the time to look at the prior threads on this place, but I just did a general search for restaurants in VA. It was so hard to choose which dishes since we didn't want to leave leftovers in the car while we went blossom peeping.

We ordered:

Mao's Braised Pork with Brown Sauce - outstanding porky goodness.

Steamed Fish Head with Red Peppers - this was the standout dish. There seemed to be chopped tomatoes on top as well. This was a huge fish head/neck and it was just perfectly seasoned and steamed.

Sauteed lily root with corn and celery - this was good but could have been better with younger corn. Good flavor though.

Spicy hot pepper - another tasty dish. I love how you never know if you are going to get a spicy one of not.

Chinese Leek with dried bean curd and pork - competent but I've had better.

I know we ordered at least another dish. I'm sure it was good, just not memorable.

Regardless, this was the perfect spot for us coming from Dulles and on our way to the tidal basin.

ETA: it's been years since I've seen the cherry blossoms and I forgot how stunning they were. I'm really happy that my visit coincided with the peak bloom.