p

pixellle's Profile

Title Last Reply

Challenge: Sunday lunch for 6 within 10 blocks of Grand Central; inexpensive (long)

How about The Kati Roll Company? 49 West 39th Street. Do they have seating for a party of six??

May 27, 2015
pixellle in Manhattan

Challenge: Sunday lunch for 6 within 10 blocks of Grand Central; inexpensive (long)

OK, here's my problem. I used to live in NYC; now I live nearby. Obvs, food is near and dear to me.

Some relatives and I, forming a group of 6, have been meeting about every second or third month. For years now, we've met for dim sum, either in Chinatown (Jing Fong) or Westchester (Central Seafood, Hartsdale).

Dim Sum had a lot of advantages for us. It was cheap and delicious. We could take up a whole table, and the experience is entertainment as well.

In our group, we have: two people who "don't like spicy," a young man with a large appetite; three fairly timid eaters (although they all grew up in or near NYC, so many ethnic cuisines are familiar to them), two adventurous "foodies," and one willing to try. Plus two older people who have trouble walking long distances.

I've been asked to choose a place within 8-10 blocks of Grand Central, for the six of us to meet, on a Sunday, for lunch. *sigh*

I'm not a huge fan of "brunch," but if you've got a really good one, sure, let's hear about it. Otherwise, I was thinking ethnic of some kind. Cost: I have to make them aware that we won't get the kind of value-for-a-buck that we've been getting with dim sum, now that we're meeting in midtown. They'd like to keep cost in the cheap-to-inexpensive range, maybe up to $30 pp before tax/tip/drinks? And a place that doesn't hustle us out too quickly would be great.

I had been thinking Xi'An Famous Foods, but have been told that it wouldn't be good for a group of six.

I thought of Cho Dang Gol, an atypical Korean place known for homemade tofu and homestyle dishes. Does that seem like a good choice? I've read good things about it.

A few of us aren't crazy about meeting at a Korean BBQ where you cook it yourself, as we do enough cooking, and want to be able to talk without having to keep track of turning times. Korean food is fine, thought; maybe some Koreatown restaurants have other good dishes that you don't have to pay attention to...?

If they weren't too far, I'd try places like Gazala (Druze/MiddleEastern); Bali Nusa Indah (Indonesian); Naya (Middle Eastern, pricy but can do meze); Haldi (Indian/Jewish); or Empanada Mama.

So, do you have any good suggestions where a group of 6 can eat on Sunday lunch, and satisfy both the foodie and the timid eater, linger for a bit so we can chat and catch up, and keep it pretty cheap??? I'd jump on a sushi bar, but with the way I order, it gets expensive. Any ramen places near GC? Other suggestions?

It could be that, given our short-walk-from-Grand-Central restriction, we should think about more "traditional" brunch options as well as the ethnic ones I was first thinking of. If you've got a good one, let me know.

Thanks so much! Grand Central area is always so hard... I really appreciate your help!!

May 27, 2015
pixellle in Manhattan

Xi'An Famous Food - a waste with "non-spicy" eaters???

Thank you, ipsedixit and PegS! Since I've never been to any of their locations and I don't live there to do a "walk-by," I appreciate your info! None of the reviews I read mentioned that. I knew there was "no atmosphere" (but we've been going for dim-sum; that's fine) but I didn't know seating 6 would be a problem.

Now I think I should start a new thread and re-think this. Thanks for your help! :D

May 27, 2015
pixellle in Manhattan

Xi'An Famous Food - a waste with "non-spicy" eaters???

I'm meeting my elder-ish uncle, aunt, my dad and his friend, along with my cousin and my husband, in nearby NYC. We don't get in much these days, and as a foodie, I'm always looking to try the places on my list.

This group, we've been meeting for dim sum for a long time, but now we're trying to keep things near Grand Central. We've been spoiled in a way, because dim sum is 1) a lot of food for very cheap, and 2) an activity that takes time and becomes the entertainment.

But several of us are coming in from out of town, and my dad has trouble walking, so a place within 8 blocks or so of Grand Central was requested. As the "expert," I was asked to pick a place.

I thought about the mid-town locations of Xi'An Famous Food, the place for hand-pulled noodles. I've never been to any of them before.

Here are my questions. My aunt and uncle don't like "spicy" food. I am assuming that we can order something for them that isn't too hot/spicy. Am I correct, that there are some noodle dishes that aren't too spicy (one of the chicken ones comes to mind) that we can order for them? The rest of us range from being able to tolerate/enjoy either a bit more or a fair amount more hot/spiciness than they do.

Second question: Is there any difference between the two midtown locations, at 14 E 34th Street and 24 West 45th Street? West 45th is closer, so I'd probably go there if everything else is equal.

To recap:

Xi'An Famous Food: A waste of time with non-spicy eaters? or OK anyway?

Thanks!

Oh, yeah, I also thought about Cho Dang Gol (55 West 35th Street) Korean; not a BBQ place; famous for fresh-made tofu and Korean homestyle dishes. Any thoughts? Too different for my older, less adventurous relatives?

Thanks again!

http://xianfoods.com/about/
http://www.cdgnyc.com/our-menu.php

May 26, 2015
pixellle in Manhattan

Brown now, cook tomorrow?

Thanks! I see my local Japanese market carries Sun Noodles. I'll try them next time!

Jan 18, 2015
pixellle in Home Cooking

Brown now, cook tomorrow?

Chemicalkinetics, you know, it really wasn't all that hard. Yes, you have to plan ahead. But if you're used to making any kind of broth or stock, it's really just the same.

I make huge batches of chicken soup twice a year, and actually, this pork broth was easier. For a recipe like this, it takes time but not too much effort. Most of it is hands-off. And now I have the pork broth in the freezer, so I can make ramen much faster! Especially since I used dried noodles.

I may try making the noodles from scratch next time. Now that will be a bit harder...

Jan 18, 2015
pixellle in Home Cooking

How long can pancake batter keep?

Wow, ChowDee. Here's some more info.

1. The batter keeps just fine for 5 days. I set a circle of parchment paper on top to prevent surface browning.

2. Our family tries to avoid processed foods as much as possible. I think buying frozen pancakes or pancake mix is crazy (no offense). It takes me 5 or 10 minutes to make batter for the whole week, maybe less. Sometimes I'll combine all the dry ingredients together the evening before, to make our own "prepared mix." I would never (again, no offense) buy Aunt Jamima or Pillsbury mix. It's tastier and much cheaper to make your own.

3. When we did try freezing the pancakes, I agreed that they weren't very good. I wouldn't like them, either. On the other hand, our recipe (using a blend of white, whole wheat and white whole wheat flour, Fage 0% yogurt mixed with skim milk, and bananas) is healthy and delicious.

4. Our home ethic of cooking from scratch, using real ingredients and avoiding processed foods is a key value of our family. I think it contributed to my daughter's healthy eating habits. She is an accomplished baker. Her specialties include key lime pie, red velvet cake, black & white cookies, New York-style cheesecake, and an amazing three-level chocolate, white chocolate and raspberry mousse cake. As a college gift, I am making her a cookbook of our family recipes.

5. Each family has their own priorities and values. I would never judge anyone else for having different views. Peace and good eats, everyone! :D

Brown now, cook tomorrow?

Just wanted to share... the recipe came out great! The broth definitely needed the tare, and I added some Japanese pepper mix (shichimi togarashi, lit. seven flavor chili pepper), but with those two additions, the broth really did taste like the ones I get at the ramen places in New York. Success! Next, I want to try making a miso ramen and tonkatsu ramen.

Jan 16, 2015
pixellle in Home Cooking
1

Brown now, cook tomorrow?

Yes, exactly; I'm used to the quick-cooking method, like this one:

http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/ve...

I would guess that the cold-soak method would yield a more subtle flavor; maybe because it's only part of a stock that includes a lot of other flavors, you'd want a more subtle dashi. The miso soup recipe only has dashi and miso basically, so maybe it benefits from a more assertive flavor.

That's just my guess....

Jan 14, 2015
pixellle in Home Cooking

Brown now, cook tomorrow?

I know what you mean, but I'd been browning it for less than 10 minutes, so the interior was still cold, and the surface seemed to cool pretty fast. I had let it sit for maybe ten minutes, and then it felt cool and I'd put it in the fridge. If I felt it might be unsafe, I would buy another piece fresh tomorrow... Better be safe than sorry. Does this info change what you think, or should I just not take a chance?

That'll teach me not to read the whole recipe through more carefully before starting!!

Jan 14, 2015
pixellle in Home Cooking

Brown now, cook tomorrow?

Sure, I'll share the recipe! It's a cold-water soaked kombu dashi -- no cooking. I've made quick dashi before, too; I have a great, easy miso soup recipe. So, here's the ramen recipe:

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/shoy...

Doesn't it look good?? I'll let you know how it all turns out!

Jan 14, 2015
pixellle in Home Cooking

Brown now, cook tomorrow?

I'm doing a home-made shoyu ramen, which begins with a pork stock. The recipe has you browning a rolled-and-tied pork shoulder all over, then adding vegetables, dashi, etc. I hadn't read carefully enough, and after I was almost finished browning the pork shoulder, I realized that my dashi wasn't ready yet; it had to soak for at least five more hours. I took the pork shoulder out of the pot, let it cool a bit, sealed it in a zip-lock plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator. I plan to finish browning it and continue with the recipe tomorrow. Do you think that's OK, to brown the meat today, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator,and finish it tomorrow?

Also, the recipe says to cut a whole garlic head in half and add it to the stock. I've never used garlic with the paper and the root still attached, unless it was to roast the whole garlic and squeeze it out. My instincts said to remove most of the paper and cut off the root. Have you used a whole head like this?

Thanks for your feedback!

Jan 14, 2015
pixellle in Home Cooking

Sea urchin

I would love to order the fresh, whole, live uni-in-the-shell I've seen online, but none of my friends are interested, and it would be too much for me to have alone.

If you've never had uni in the shell, it's fantastic! I used to sometimes get in a NYC restaurant years ago. It's noticeably more mild/mellow and sweet than the usual packaged uni that you get in sushi bars. If you like uni, I would absolutely recommend that you try it in the shell sometime, if you can!

Dec 07, 2014
pixellle in Southern New England

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte

Yes, Trockwood is right. It's just plain pureed pumpkin. And I used it in a hot toddy tonight (just whiskey, a teaspoon or so of the pumpkin spice syrup and hot water -- decided it didn't need the traditional lemon). Yummy!

Oh, and I'm afraid I can't take credit for the photo -- it was on the recipe page.

Dec 07, 2014
pixellle in Home Cooking

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte

Yes, great minds think alike. Last night I mixed it with apple cider and rum. Maybe I'll do a hot toddy tonight.

Nov 29, 2014
pixellle in Home Cooking
1

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte

Oooh, over oatmeal! That sounds perfect!! Thanks!

Nov 28, 2014
pixellle in Home Cooking

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte

I wonder if there are any uses that are not so dessert-y or sweet in nature... (Yes, I know it's a sugar syrup.) Maybe I could use it to sweeten pumpkin puree as a filling for for pumpkin empanadas...??? How about an alcoholic drink recipe??

Using the syrup for cake is a great idea, but we have four leftover cakes from Thanksgiving in the fridge right now! :D Thanks for the suggestions!

Nov 28, 2014
pixellle in Home Cooking

How long can pancake batter keep?

Well, someone asked if my daughter was now making her own pancakes. Daughter is now 17, and is an amazing chef, specializing in desserts. She make four different cakes, peanut brittle and cookies for Thanksgiving!

Following up on the pancake batter thing. I now regularly keep the batter for 5 days: make the batter on Monday, use it through the week, and dump any leftover on Saturday.

We make our pancakes with 1/3 white flour, 1/3 whole wheat flour and 1/3 white whole wheat, a few tablespoons of Fage 0% yogurt mixed into the milk (like buttermilk), and a banana mixed in to the batter. When I cook the pancakes, I slice another banana on top, which then caramelizes when flipped. On special days, some chocolate chips somehow find their way in, too!

Sea urchin

Not sure where in CT you are, but in Fairfield County, Fuji Mart, a Japanese market, usually carries it in their refrigerated section. Fuji Mart, 1212 East Putnam Avenue, Old Greenwich.

Nov 28, 2014
pixellle in Southern New England

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte

I decided to try making a homemade version of Starbucks' pumpkin pie spice latte, so I made this pumpkin pie spice syrup (lots of recipes online; I used the one above.

Now I have a jar of pumpkin pie syrup in the fridge. Any suggestions for other uses, besides drizzling over ice cream?

Thanks!

Nov 28, 2014
pixellle in Home Cooking

Apple Upside-down Cake: Refrigerate or not?

I cooked this cake - http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ma... - on Tuesday and am planning to serve it on Thursday. The recipe didn't say if it needed to be refrigerated, but I thought it should. Then I left it out (covered) overnight by mistake. This morning I put it in the fridge. Do you think it will be fine? And do you agree, that it should be refrigerated? Thanks!

Sep 24, 2014
pixellle in General Topics

New to Mount Kisco, need the lay of the land

I'd like to mention Table Local Market
11 Babbitt Road
Bedford Hills, NY 10507
914-241-0269

Grass-fed, organic, locally and humanely raised meats, local eggs, cheese & organic produce

"Cute" inexpensive lunch spot in Southern Fairfield county?

So, my friend who lives in NYC is coming in for a visit, and asked for a "cute, inexpensive" place for lunch. Here's what makes it tricky: She's not big on bread/wheat, so not sure if she'd go for sandwiches, pasta, etc. She's always dieting, so it should be, or offer, healthy options -- interesting salads, etc. Also, it's a Sunday, but we don't want brunch.

Locations could be Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk or even Westport, I guess. First I'd thought that Organic Planet on Greenwich Avenue would be perfect, but it's closed on Sundays. Here are what I've been considering:

The Lime in Norwalk. Haven't been there for years and years.

Bartaco in Stamford. With their California-style fish (soft) tacos, maybe she'd go for it. Plus I've been wanting to try it.

Layla's, Tabouli Grill, Sierra Grill I thought of but don't know if they qualify as "cute."

Don't think she likes Indian, or I might try Navaratna. Ditto sushi, re Tengda.

Parkway Diner actually has pretty nice salads, but again, I don't think it fits the bill.

Do you good folks have any suggestions? By the way, re "inexpensive," if there's a place that sounds perfect but may be mid-range (or even a bit higher -- tapas for lunch??), I'll just treat her to lunch.

Aug 23, 2014
pixellle in Southern New England

LA restaurant not too far from Woodland Hills

Just wanted to follow up to all you very helpful folks.

We ended up going Japanese both times, going to Nobu Malibu on the first day, and back to Shunji (12244 W Pico Blvd) for omakase on the last.

Prompted by your suggestions, I used Uber for the first time, and it was fantastic! Very quick, very convenient, very easy, and far less expensive than a cab. Thanks, guys!

The omakase at Shunji was superb, as usual, as is their selection of fine cold sakes, served in generous glasses. The house-brewed sake is worth trying. We were the only non-Japanese in the small room. We had many small courses, only the last of which was traditional sushi. Sparkling-fresh seafood presented beatifully: uni in a miso broth; giant clam; something with squid ink, grilled yellowtail collar, and much more. The bill for omakase plus a few sakes was steep, but not by New York Masa-standards: the tab for the two of us was $320.

We really enjoyed Nobu Malibu, too, for several reasons besides the food. The setting is great, right on the waterfront. There's a large bar area that spills out to a patio with chaises and low tables. The view of the ocean was great, but the view the other way was even better. The people-watching alone was almost worth the price of admission. Then again, we're poor little country mice, and I kept wondering if any of those interesting-looking people were *somebody.* Yes, I know, Nobu has been around forever and the trendies want the newest, hot place, but I bet there were Malibu locals there, and someone more clued-in than I might have recognized someone.

We had omakase again at Nobu, remarkably different than Shunji. Overall, a spicier profile and more involved manipulations of the ingedients (i.e., seafood "salads," etc.) Fewer, larger-sized courses. We had plenty to eat, and spent almost exactly the same amount: $350 for two.

We'll be returning to Woodland Hills again next summer. I'll be here, looking for new ideas then. Until then, thanks again for all your great suggestions!

LA restaurant not too far from Woodland Hills

Actually, our two days are not consecutive, but I think I'll use Uber instead of a cab. Never used it before, so this is a great time to try it out.

I will do anything I can to avoid eating at a chain restaurant. I see them take over small, unique mom-and-pop restaurants everywhere, plus their over-processed food is loaded with hidden calories. Granted, Morton's isn't the same as TGIF/Applebee-type chains, but there's nothing different or special about chain restaurants. Please, no offense meant! I do go to Starbucks and have been know to eat Subway's on a road trip, so I'm far from "pure" about this! :D

Thanks so much for your recommendations! Saddle Peak is looking good!

Jul 20, 2014
pixellle in Los Angeles Area

LA restaurant not too far from Woodland Hills

I love the Nobu in NYC, so Nobu Malibu might be fun. And as far as we're concerned, there's no such thing as sushi too often!

Jul 20, 2014
pixellle in Los Angeles Area

LA restaurant not too far from Woodland Hills

Oooh, that looks good. We love game, although I usually think of game as autumn/winter food rather than summer. But the menu looks great and it's not too far, and really, why not elk anytime??

Jul 20, 2014
pixellle in Los Angeles Area

LA restaurant not too far from Woodland Hills

Great advice re Uber! I think that's the way to go!

Jul 20, 2014
pixellle in Los Angeles Area

LA restaurant not too far from Woodland Hills

My daughter and I are flying from the New York area to attend an historical costuming convention in Woodland Hills, a suburb of LA. We won't have a car so will need to take cabs for decent dinners. We're dining one night at Shunji Japanese (12244 W Pico Blvd) (we ate there last time -- excellent omakase!). We need one more place to eat.

We're both foodies (why else am I here?). We love almost everything, from regional/seasonal to ethnic. We're not big on burgers. This is a treat for us, so I don't mind spending on dinner, but I'd rather keep the cab ride shorter. Shunji is in Santa Monica, but maybe there are good places in other neighborhoods within range of Woodland Hills. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!

Jul 18, 2014
pixellle in Los Angeles Area

Inexpensive-to-midrange lunch spots in Portland, ME's Old Port district?

My daughter is a Junior Counselor this year at her arts camp in Maine. They get a day off in Portland (Old Port area), and she'd love to know a few good but not too expensive places to suggest for lunch. So far on the list are Duckfat and the Flatbread Company. Any other suggestions? I'm more familiar with the more expensive/special dinner places than the casual/lunch category. Thanks so much for any suggestions!

Jul 07, 2014
pixellle in Northern New England